March for Life


Today, January 22nd, is the Annual March for life in Washington DC.  As I write this thousands of pilgrims are descending from all over the United States to join their voices and their prayers in the hopes that the landmark Roe v Wade case will be reversed here in the United States.  I had planned to attend this year but I was not able to go but I join my prayers with theirs from a distance.

Although I believe abortion is an abomination I do not want to lose sight of what life is all about.  As an Orthodox Christian I hold to the belief that life starts with conception and continues until its natural end therefore we need to be concerned with life all along the spectrum.

If we are indeed supporters of life then we need to be concerned about poverty in American and around the world.  We need to be concerned about violence, war, intolerance and all of the other issues that cost people their lives.  We need to be concerned about hunger, education, health care in all phases of life.  What of the death penalty?  I am constantly surprised by the number of anti-abortion folks who support the death penalty, in my mind you cannot call yourself prolife is you support the state sanctioned end to it.  Sure one is an innocent life, but have we not progressed as a society passed the barbaric action of taking one’s life and blindly go along believing that this is somehow a deterrent to future murders?

What of mental health care in America?  In the last week there have been several reported school shootings.  When are we, as a society, going to have a conversation around improving mental health treatment in America?

Poverty is an ever growing problem in the richest country in the world.  We send troops all around the world in a vain attempt to force our sense of democracy on countries that have never, in their history, been a democracy.  We hope to bring freedom for all to these places while at home more and more people are becoming slaves to a broken system and are used by both parties as political pawns and punching bags.

If we as a church and a nation are truly concerned about life then we need to focus on life all along its spectrum.  Abortion is an abomination but so are children going to bed hungry and people not being able to find work or housing, or US Veterans waiting months for appointments at a Veterans Hospital.  All of these are an abomination and need to end.

At the conclusion of the 2012 meeting of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops, a statement was released with three bullet points in the hopes that our Orthopraxy would attend to our Orthodoxy.  Two of these points directly related to the sanctity of life:

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.

We must resist the wastefulness and greed that dominate our consumer society, confessing that our spiritual citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3.20) in order that our witness be characterized by the compassion and mercy as well as the generosity and philanthropy that distinguishes our God who loves humankind.

Let us pray that this will be the case.

My prayer today is for sanctity of life, all life.

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