Every year, on or around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, pro-life Americans descend on D.C. for the March for Life, a protest against the legalization of abortion. In 2015 alone, media reports estimate that more than 500,000 marchers were in the District. This year, for the first time in my life, I had the blessing of attending with Hillsdale College’s Students for Life.
While there, I noticed something rather peculiar: Roman Catholics dominated the March for Life. They waved banners and held placards with Catholic slogans on them. People on the street approached my friends and me asking us to “sign this petition to encourage the Pope!” I could hardly count the number of men and women in habits.
Throughout the March itself, many of my fellow marchers prayed the Rosary or the Hail Mary and sing Catholic hymns. The number of students representing Catholic colleges and high schools absolutely astounded me, and the size of the fleet of buses from local parishes amazed me. Even our campus’ delegation to the March was primarily Catholic.
Not that this is wrong. In fact, I am very proud of my Catholic brothers and sisters for standing up against a culture of death, and I gladly stood with them. They are truly being a light unto the world, as Christ commands us to be. America needs her Catholic citizens to stand up for what is right, as they have since the 1970s. What is troubling to me, however, is the apparent lack of Protestant involvement with the March for Life. The March for Life does not need fewer Catholics to march every year, but more Protestants.
In 2013, Pew Research polled American Protestants about abortion, and 56 percent responded that they believed abortion is morally wrong. A full 75 percent of white evangelicals and 58 percent of African-American Protestants believed abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Even the 38 percent of the typically more liberal mainline Protestants who said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases is significantly higher than the 25 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans who responded the same way. So, why is the March for Life so dominated by Catholics? Why does it seem like there are so few Protestants?
If we truly hold these moral convictions about abortion, we must stand up for them. If abortion truly is one of the greatest evils of our time, as I have heard so many evangelicals claim, then we must stand with our Catholic brothers and sisters against it. As a Church, we are not called to be flimsy, we are called to be firm. I am not asking Protestants to agree with Catholics on every issue — Lord knows, I certainly do not. What I am asking, though, is for Protestants to stand with Catholics when they are in the right. That really should not be a challenge so much as it is a matter of common sense.
The good news is that Protestants are becoming more involved with the pro-life movement in general, and the March for Life in particular. At this year’s March, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, an evangelical pressure group, announced a new drive to bring more Protestants to D.C. in 2016.
At Hillsdale, we have a unique opportunity every year at March for Life. Many students are pro-life, and passionate about the issue, too. Our beliefs on abortion transcend denominational differences, and are one of the things which unites this campus. We ought to be sending a much larger group with Students for Life, and that requires more Protestant participation. Stand up with your Catholic brothers and sisters! When you hear them sing “Ave Maria” as they march down Constitution Avenue, link arms with them and sing “Amazing Grace.” March for Life 2016 should be the biggest one yet. We are the pro-life generation, so let’s prove it. Catholics and Protestants are a united front on abortion, and should be a united front at the largest pro-life rally in the world.