by Ethan Mack
Last Wednesday, people from all across the nation descended on Washington D.C. to participate in the 40th annual March for Life. Over one hundred thousand marched in the bitter cold from the national mall to the Supreme Court building. The March is held on January 22 every year in remembrance of the day abortion became legal throughout the nation. I have attended the March on two occasions and both times found it to be a fantastic, grace-filled experience. However, there have been several things I noticed during the March which point to some of the overall shortcomings of the Pro-Life movement.
We in the Pro-Life movement need to get our message across both charitably and lovingly. In acting out of our love for the unborn infant, we must not forget our love for the pregnant mother. We have a duty to share the truth with her, but not in a way which undermines our care, love and concern for her. However, it pains me to say that this is often not the case. Anyone who has ever gone to a Pro-Life rally has surely seen what I’m referring to. Images of dismembered babies, banners depicting abortion as Satan devouring a child, signs telling mothers that abortion will send them to Hell are just a few examples. Not only are these methods ineffective, as they could scare the mother from ever talking to a pro-life person again, they also depart from Christian Charity.
In the context of Christianity, there is virtue to be found in meeting someone where he or she is at when it comes to sharing the truth. Those who have a grounded knowledge cannot just wield the Truth like a weapon to smash over the head of the ignorant. The only thing this will surely result in is a hardening heart on behalf of the ignorant and their subsequent decent into greater falsehood. Perhaps no one exemplified this better than Christ himself. Any time some person or spirit tries to publically declare Him to be the Son of God, He rebukes them. He knows that those around him are not ready to understand who He is, and thus He reveals it gradually to them. This is the example the Pro-Life movement must follow if it is to truly fulfill its mission to build a culture of life.
To begin charting this new course for the Pro-Life movement, I think we first need to evaluate what is commonly meant by us fighting a “culture war” and what that really should mean. The problem that I have always had with the term is that the word “war” immediately incites images of man vs. man conflict. This has led some to erroneously conclude that the culture war we are fighting is a fight between Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers. However, we understand that as Christians we are called to fight a war against no movement or group. We are called to love Pro-Choice individuals as much as the unborn. The only war we are called to fight in is the war against sin, and it is in these terms that the culture war should be spoken of. We need to understand that many Pro-Choice women are deeply angry, not because they are inherently evil, or satanic, or similar nonsense, but because they are deeply hurt and have not been shown the compassion Christ showed in His time on earth. If we continue to terrorize and disturb these women, then we fail to show them this compassion and fall short in our mission to be Disciples of Christ.