Pro Life Movement

This was a big election for those of us in the pro-life movement. Legislatively speaking, the pro-life movement is in a better position than it has been in years. We have a very good chance of passing pro-life legislation, and will hopefully fill SCOTUS seats with pro-life judges. And most significantly, the number of abortions committed is down this year to its lowest levels since 1971.

So, why not just let the politicians do their thing and further the pro-life cause?

Regardless of what happens legally over the next four years, abortion is an issue of the heart, and morality cannot be legislated. We cannot rely on politicians and judges to create a culture of life. We must keep pushing to shift our culture.

Now please don’t misunderstand me, fighting abortion through the courts and legislation is a necessary thing and I’m glad that there are people carrying that burden. But, while we’re making progress, it’s not enough. Ordinary people like you and I have a place in this movement, and it’s not just in the voting booths. We need to be in our communities changing hearts and minds.

Abortion is an issue of valuing one’s life over another’s life. That’s an issue of the spirit first and foremost. We must keep working outside of the courts and legislature to address the root of the problem. We must keep teaching and living that every life is precious. We need to continue reaching women who may be considering abortions and supporting them. We must put our resources where our mouths are and volunteer, donate, and support organizations that work to care for mothers and babies in these incredibly difficult circumstances.

Even though legislatively things are looking positive for the pro-life movement right now, we cannot allow ourselves to quit fighting for life. Legislation is not the magic fix. Building a better, more moral culture that protects and promotes the value of life is the fix.

Hacksaw Ridge

It is important to tell you that there will be spoilers in this commentary.

There are two religious movies out right now from Academy Award winning directors. The first, Hacksaw Ridge, is directed by Mel Gibson, and is about a young Christian man who refuses to carry a gun into war as his faith will not let him take another man’s life. The second, Silence, is directed by Martin Scorsese, and tells the story of two young priests who go to 17th century Japan to find their mentor who they have heard has left the priesthood and apostatized — meaning he renounced his faith.

The two movies actually have quite a bit in common: they both star Andrew Garfield in the lead, they both represent the main character facing challenges to his faith, and they both require the main character to put his life on the line for his faith. While the similarities are strong, it is the differences that are important to consider in regards to how Christians must act considering the challenges to publicly living out our faith.

Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond T. Doss, who joined the Army as a medic during World War II. Unlike his fellow soldiers, Doss would not touch a weapon, as his faith precluded him from harming others. During basic training Doss was ridiculed, abused, threatened, encouraged to quit, kept from his own wedding, and even court-martialed, but he never gave in. He eventually was allowed to go to war without carrying a gun. Doss’ division was sent to Hacksaw Ridge — an extraordinarily dangerous and deadly location. Doss’ division attacked, but were eventually pushed off the ridge. Doss stayed behind and saved over 75 soldiers by carrying them from the battlefield to safety. Doss was awarded the Medal of Honor, and was the first conscientious objector to receive the honor.

Silence takes place in 17th century Japan, and follows the story of two Jesuit priests who travel to Nagasaki, Japan to find their mentor, Father Ferreira, and spread the Catholic faith. The two priests land in Japan and discover Christians are being martyred unless they reject their faith. They also realize that their mentor is now married, left the priesthood, and is helping the Japanese. Both priests are captured by “The Inquisitor,” and are told if they do not publicly reject their faith other Christians will die. One of the priests dies trying to help a fellow Christian, and the other remains steadfast as Japanese Christians are slaughtered. The Inquisitor has the remaining priest meet with his mentor who convinces him to give up his faith so that other Christians might live. The priest lives out his life working with his mentor to identify other Christians, and eventually dies without ever showing he returned to the faith. As the priest lies in his casket, the camera shows that he has a crucifix in his hand.

The differences between these outcomes are huge, and impact the way we see our faith playing out. Where Hacksaw Ridge illustrates the value of remaining faithful, Silence dangerously communicates that when you find conflict between your faith and others it is noble to hide it away and just live a “personal” and secretive faith.

So long as you believe, right?

In a post a few months ago, I wrote that “Oftentimes, we take an individualistic view of Christianity that is centered upon a personal relationship with Christ. But Christ also requires our faith to be lived out (James 4:17). Our faith is a both a personal relationship with Christ AND the public expression of that relationship.” The cornerstone of Hacksaw Ridge is to live out one’s faith no matter the cost. In contrast, Silence’s foundation was if there is a cost it is OK to not live out your faith. We are seeing Silence play out over and again in our society; a notion that faith is a personal idea to be lived in church and at home, but not welcome elsewhere. And Silence is saying that it is OK to submit. But our Christian faith is actionable, and therefore not compatible with silence (the movie or the failure to speak out).

If we are going to build a better, more moral world, then we must share the Gospel, and live it out in love. We cannot accept conditions where we compromise, are shamed, or frightened into hiding our faith. Instead, we must forge into battle proclaiming the truth so that all might have life.

I knew if I ever once compromised, I was gonna be in trouble, because if you can compromise once, you can compromise again

Desmond T. Doss

Just over a week ago The Halcyon Movement launched a petition asking people to sign and demand President Trump fulfill the promises that he made during his campaign to protect and promote life. President Trump made four very specific promises that we are asking him to keep:

  • Appoint pro-life judges;
  • Defund Planned Parenthood;
  • Sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide; and
  • Make the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.

Thus far, Halcyon has been successful in getting thousands of people to sign and ask the President to protect the unborn.

In order to create the necessary impact we need more signatures.

This has been an important week for the pro-life movement. Besides the inauguration, President Trump reinstated a ban on U.S. funding for abortion overseas. Moreover, it is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in America. It is also the week of the March for Life where thousands in the pro-life movement march to protest the killing of the unborn. This seems to be a moment for real and substantial change — and Halcyon wants to ensure that change moves us closer to the end of abortion in America.

The last week has allowed Halcyon to assess the data in regards to responses to the petition, and there are four different reactions: 1) support for the petition; 2) pro-abortion rhetoric; 3) a strong reliance on the President’s character; and 4) A plea to give the President more time. It is important to offer a rebuttal — except, of course, to those who have signed the petition — to these reactions so there is no confusion on The Halcyon Movement’s position and reasoning behind the launch of the campaign.

“I am Pro-Choice”

While Halcyon doesn’t expect someone who is pro-abortion (when it is a matter of life and death there is no such thing as “pro-choice”) to sign the petition, it is surprising to see their voice so quiet in response to the petition. They comment with the typical arguments, attacks, and threats, but all things considered their voice has been relatively quiet, and the pro-life community has been incredibly strong in defending the unborn when pro-abortion comments are made.

A Strong Reliance on the President’s Character

There have been comments regarding a sincere belief that President Trump is a man of his word, and therefore no petition is needed. The President may very well be a man of his word — and we all pray that he is — but this doesn’t abdicate our duty as citizens to make demands of our president. This is not — nor has it ever been — a sign of disrespect to the person or the office. It is a responsibility of the citizenry. James Wilson, a founding father and nominated to the United States Supreme Court by George Washington, stated that the President “is the dignified, but accountable magistrate of a free and great people” (1791). The office of the President requires accountability to the people, which is why our right to petition exists. Our petition rests within this responsibility, and demands our government’s highest office protect our nation’s most vulnerable.

A Plea to Give the President More Time

As many of the thousands of comments noted, one of the President’s first acts was to reinstate a ban on on U.S. funding for abortion overseas. Therefore, it is only right that we give the President more time to act. In fact, many argued that the President has only had the job for a few days. Our petition actually started before President Trump was even inaugurated. Why? We don’t have any time when lives are lost every day…in fact, lives are lost every single second. While the President’s executive order is cause for celebration, there have been nearly 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade was decided 43 years ago. Demanding action now is not being overly exuberant; it is absolutely necessary. We demand the end of abortion every day until the killing has stopped.