Forty-four years is a long time. I will have been ordained a priest forty-four years this coming May 5th. It seems like only yesterday ... and yet it seems like a lifetime. Friday was the forty-fourth time that people of conscience and conviction gathered in Washington to march in protest of the Roe vs Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court made the previous January, and in recognition of the sanctity of human life and the dignity of every person. This witness continues as if it is the norm for a late January gathering on the Mall in DC, and yet this witness speaks of an urgency that must address a decision based upon interpretations of laws and public opinion polls that stand in contradiction to our Scriptural and moral beliefs and the law of God. Meanwhile, our moral fabric is being unraveled and our compass has lost its direction.
Those in favor of Roe vs Wade prefer to be called pro-choice. They claim that it is the right of the woman to choose whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy. They use language and state polls that speak of the fetus as less than human. They declare that the unborn have no legal rights. And even if they would admit some potential rights, they would hold that their rights supercede any rights of the unborn.
We, as people of faith, believe that life begins at the moment of conception. We believe at that moment God creates in His image and likeness a unique human being that we hope will grow and come to term and be born into this world. We believe that this unique human being is loved by God and is offered certain rights by our constitution ... including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
Whose right ... which right ... is greater than the other? Is not the right to life first? If a pregnancy is unplanned or unwanted, does the rights of the person bearing that child speak louder than the rights of the unborn child who is without voice? Is that not where society has an obligation to speak for the defenseless? Are we not obligated as a nation to defend life?
These questions are not easy - thus the confusion and pain in so many lives. But we believe in the sanctity of life, in the truth of divine law, and in the goodness of human beings. That is why we march, year after year, in witness and in hope, that the law of the land may reflect the beauty and truth found in the law of God. And we ask God's forgiveness as a nation for the estimated 55 million lives ended legally by abortion in these past forty-four years. Friday also marked worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Day, remembering and asking for forgiveness for the six million Jews and Poles and others put to death in the camps without rights by those who claimed a superior right over them. Do we ever learn our lesson?