Today in Washington, DC people are gathering from all walks of life to support life. I choose not to use the term to protest because that is not what they are doing. The March for life is just that and not a protest against anything but a support for something.
As Orthodox Christians we support life all along the spectrum of that life. Yes there is some disagreement between ethicists and theologians as to when life actually begins, but we all agree that it must be protected. Those in the world will argue that the law states that a child in the womb is not a human until a certain point. Well, I guess the law can define it that way, but God’s law says something different and choose to follow the law of God rather than the law of man.
But, with that said, we also need to be concerned about life once it is born. We need to be concerned about poverty, education, economics, health care, housing, food, etc. We need to be concerned with all of those things that are a threat to life today. Yes, we need to protect the vulnerable and those that cannot protect themselves and by that I mean the unborn, but we also need to be concerned about the growing number of homeless and hungry in our country, many of who are under 18 or over 65. If we are going to say we are prolife than we have to mean that and be concerned about all life.
At their most recent meeting, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and South America took up this call for life to be respected all along its spectrum. The statement released after the meeting included this position;
We must strive to eliminate the violence proliferated against innocents of every kind, particularly of women and the unborn. We call for responsibility by individuals, institutions and governments to ensure the welfare of every citizen.
Ensuring the welfare of all citizens is a tremendous responsibility but is one that needs to be actively worked on at all levels and the Church needs to be part of that solution.
In the bishops statement released prior to Sanctity of Life Sunday the bishops reiterated the long stand of the Orthodox Church regarding life;
The Church has consistently held that children developing in the womb should be afforded every protection given to those outside the womb. There is no moral, religious or scientific rationale which can justify making a distinction between the humanity of the newly-conceived and that of the newly-born.
They also called upon all Orthodox Christians to help support pregnant women, not just with our words but with our actions. It is not enough to just use rhetoric in the fight to protect life, we have to be moved to action to protect life. If we are going to call women to bring their children to term and deliver them, then we as a Church need to be willing to support these women and their children. We need to be willing to do whatever is necessary to aid and support them, not only during the pregnancy, but after and through that child’s life.
The bishops had this to say;
The Orthodox Church calls on her children, and indeed all of society, to provide help to pregnant mothers who need assistance brining their children safely into the world and providing these children loving homes.
The hierarchs of our Holy Church are calling us to action, they are calling us to live the message of the Gospel in a very real way. We are being challenged to let our “Orthopraxy attend our Orthodoxy.” It is time we stepped up as a church and did just that!
On this day when so many will gather on the Mall in Washington, I pray for them and for the 54 million innocents that have been sacrifice these last 40 years to the sin of abortion. I pray for the safety of those who will be traveling to DC and home. I pray for those who are working to end this sinful behavior and those who work to change hearts and minds one at a time. But I also pray for those who work with the homeless, the hungry, the immigrant, the prisoner, and those who need a voice. I pray for all of those who are working to make life better for someone.