2011 March for Life
Yesterday, a group from Murrysville Community Church and our sister churches in Murrysville and the Pittsburgh Presbytery participated in the March for Life in Washington, DC. Here are five thoughts about that event, in no particular order.
I am thankful to God for the people that organized and attended this event, both on the national and local/congregational level. It’s a huge task. Sacrificial and selfless service makes it happen. What a blessing to see so many, petitioning zealously - though graciously - for the defense of human life.
Likewise, I am thankful to God for our nation. At one point in the March, we passed the “Newseum,” a journalistic museum with the First Amendment emblazoned on the building’s exterior. Although marred and scarred by evils like abortion, America still serves as a beacon of liberty. The recognized liberty to assemble and protest is truly a blessing from God.
During the opening rally, several legislators joined Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Jewish and Evangelical leaders to call our nation to affirm the sanctity of human life at every stage. Republicans and Democrats, newly elected and old, spoke of their resolve to promote a culture life in America and its corridors of power. It was encouraging to hear of new legislative initiatives to turn back the socially unsustainable and morally reprehensible legacy of Roe v. Wade.
I was pleased to see many evangelicals in attendance, often with their churches, schools, or other organizations. However, it remains a sad and curious oddity to me that evangelical leaders remain a minority on the platform. Although described as a “non-sectarian” event, the March for Life – by design or default – remains an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic event.
Several years ago, I wrote to its organizers, seeking a greater venue for Protestant leaders to speak. I cannot imagine that pastors like Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, or others would not stir and grow the crowd in attendance.
As even the Washington Post commented, there seemed to be a very large number of high school and college students in attendance. It was pleasing to see a diverse crowd of different ages, races, and creeds. The movement seems to be growing on every front.
Many undoubtedly criticize churches for their involvement in the March for Life as a political cause better left to individuals. I’ve heard them, and I don’t agree with them – at all. Abortion is not a political issue, though it has political implications. It is a moral issue, perhaps the defining one of our time.
The difference is simple. Morality defines what is just and unjust. It provides the basis for law and defines the ends of governance. Politics, on the other hand, seeks the most agreeable and expedient means to the ends of justice. It doesn’t define justice; it figures out how to achieve it. The two go together, but they are not the same.
The Church does not have a decidedly political mandate from Christ, but it does have a moral one. The King of kings calls his Church to speak the truth in love, calling individuals and nations toward justice as revealed by the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.” When it fails to do so, it abandons individuals and nations to moral confusion and corruption. This is no act of compassion, but – in my estimation - of cruelty.
The March for Life is simply an occasion to proclaim what the Scriptures clearly affirm: the sanctity of human life. It's a joy to participate every year.