I fought back tears in American Heritage as I realized one of my biggest fears had come true: I had become the Christian I swore I’d never be. My head and heart throbbed as we read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “A Letter from a Birmingham City Jail Cell.” King’s plea haunted me. He had begged the church to fight for equal rights, and for so long, his cry remained mostly unanswered. His words struck my soul: “I have been disappointed with the Church…some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.” I was stunned by the reality of the situation. How could a Christian ignore the injustice of segregation? If I had lived back then, would I have helped fight injustice? I told myself I would have tried to make a difference. I would have fought to see my African American brothers and sisters treated as equal human beings, made in God’s image.
But that day, I realized injustice happened in my hometown and I did little to stop it. Thousands of babies were brutally torn apart daily. I knew people who had experienced unplanned pregnancies. I knew where the Planned Parenthood was in my town, but I didn’t know where my local Pregnancy Resource Center was located. The opportunity to fight the injustice of abortion was right in front of me. Yet I was content to live my life unaffected by the reality that abortion was the mass murder of millions of unborn children. And there I was, in American Heritage, with the audacity to believe I would have fought to end the injustice of King’s generation when I wasn’t even fighting the injustice of my own.
I was the Christian with whom King pleaded. When I thought about it, abortion disturbed me, but I never decided to do anything about it. I wasn’t advocating for the rights of these little children who had no voice of their own with which to cry for help. I had a duty as a Christian to stand up against this evil, but I didn’t. Guilt plagued me as I counted down the minutes until I could leave class and go weep. I disgusted myself. What kind of hypocrite was I?
That day changed my life. It was the first of many days I woke up grieving abortion and thinking of how to end it in America. I was an over committed sophomore in college who didn’t know how to pronounce “abortifacient.” But I was desperate to calm my conscience. I emailed the president of Hillsdale College for Life and asked to be on the board. The board elections had already passed, but I had to ask. I’m still surprised she said yes.
For years, I made excuses for myself, and many of my fellow Christians do as well. We subconsciously think: “I can’t save anyone,” “No one will listen to me,” “I don’t have time,” “I’ll care about that when I’m older,” “Politics isn’t my thing.” Many of these excuses lived quietly in my head, without ever announcing their existence. And as a result, many well-meaning Christians have stepped back from the arena, afraid to speak up, afraid of being personally attacked or being regarded as unworthy of an opinion. Sadly, I was one of them. I began to believe the lie that abortion was not my fight.
Many of these lies have been fed to us by the pro-abortion movement. This culture tells us that men can’t advocate against abortion because it’s not their body in question. They claim that people are not pro-life unless they participate in all kinds of humanitarian aid. They tell us that we can believe that abortion is murder as long as we don’t impose this belief on others. All of these are lies that say we have no place to fight to end abortion.
I believed these lies for far too long. But if I sit back now, I am no different than the Christians who saw the prejudiced, hate-filled dehumanization of the Jim Crow era and did nothing. I am no different from those who saw the horror and annihilation of the Holocaust, yet were too afraid to fight injustice. I know about the injustice of abortion and I have a duty to do what I can to stop it.
The time to act is now. For far too long, I have been, as King put it, “more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.” I’ve had enough of that.
What will you do about the injustice of America? I’m not here to tell you what more you should be doing. But I am here to ask, if you are doing nothing about it, what should you be doing? Not everyone is called to do pro-life work for their career. But each and every one of us is called to stand up against injustice when we have the opportunity.
We all have a duty, to God and to man, to speak up for those without a voice — those who are defenseless. We can no longer ignore that duty. The time to act is now.