Evangelicals Strengthen Pro-Life Witness at 2016 March for Life
It’s that time of year when hundreds of thousands of fearless pro-life advocates face the blustery wind chill of Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual March for Life, a peaceful demonstration commemorating the 43 anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This year, the number of Evangelical marchers might be noticeably larger than in previous years.
Let’s be honest: it’s our Catholic brothers and sisters who’ve been the dedicated stalwarts organizing, prayerfully and financially supporting, and participating by the busloads in the March for Life. Catholic high schools and colleges encourage youth participation by exempting students from class. Local Catholic ministries transform their facilities into lodging in order to help families cut travel costs. Simply put, many more Catholics than Evangelicals make the March for Life a priority in their Christian social witness.
This is unfortunate when we consider that abortion destroys nearly 4,400 unborn lives every day in the United States. In addition, abortion burdens approximately 4,400 new women every day with its long-lasting physical and emotional effects. By not participating in the March in some capacity, Evangelicals suppress their own public witness in a mission field all its own.
Southern Baptists and Focus on the Family hope to change this disappointing trend with the inaugural Evangelicals for Life event coinciding with the 2016 March for Life.
“I don’t want to see any fewer rosary beads at the March for Life, but I want to see more evangelicals here also at the March for Life,” said Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Commission (ERLC), to a gathering of Evangelical leaders during last year’s March for Life. “Our absence is a shame. And so we don’t need any less ‘Ave Maria,’ but we need some more ‘Amazing Grace’ in the mix as well.”
For most faithful Evangelicals, the issue is not whether to advocate for the sanctity of unborn life, but a question of how and where to start. The Evangelicals for Life conference can help. “This conference exists to help evangelicals articulate a truly Christian doctrine on the dignity of all human life,” Moore wrote in an article on his personal website.
In addition to promoting the dignity and personhood of unborn babies, this conference will educate Evangelicals on issues including adoption and foster care, the effects of fatherlessness, holistic support for expecting mothers, and church-based ministry opportunities.
The March for Life is more than a public demonstration of our pro-life stance. It’s not just about “making a big spectacle,” as some have asserted. That’s where our critics get it wrong.
Thousands of marchers are the “boots on the ground” for pro-life ministries. The March for Life offers crisis pregnancy center volunteers, adoptive and foster care parents, ministers, and counselors a moment to come together for a commemoration of death, but also a celebration of life. Armed with encouragement and solidarity, these pro-life advocates leave the March for Life refreshed and ready to return to their advocating life among their local communities. That’s why the March for Life is vital.
Please consider joining the Evangelicals for Life conference. Afterwards, we’ll march together as Evangelicals at the official March for Life. For more information, please visit http://www.evangelicals.life/.
This column first appeared on Juicy Ecumenism, January 13, 2016 and is reprinted with permission.