Get ready for a long battle | WORLD
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Get ready for a long battle

The fight for life will likely be a long one, but it is a matter of life and death

Activists gather near the U.S. Supreme Court building during the March for Life on Jan. 20. Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon

Get ready for a long battle
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Well, the votes have been cast, and, once again, the pro-life movement has been handed a defeat. This time, the ballot defeat came in Ohio. Ever since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, abortion supporters have racked up several important political victories on the state level.

Faithful American Christians need to look an ugly reality in the face: There are lots of people who are OK with murdering unborn babies. We have basically had a holocaust of the innocent in this nation. Millions of Americans cannot look that enormous sin in the face, so they deny what's happening, whether through anger or disengaged ambivalence. Many of our neighbors think that killing a baby can make bad situations better. Allowing mothers to have doctors kill their own children is somehow contorted into the compassionate thing to do.

The highly-motivated see a need to “shout your abortion.” They exchange law and justice for maximized license and individualism. The rot had been growing, with generations of pro-abortionists pushing for legalization and maximal access, with a deeply sympathetic media establishment. It’s been many decades since the progressives kicked thoroughly orthodox Protestants out of society’s upper crust. The Holocaust horrified us enough to back away from certain excesses and reaffirm some kind of inherent worth of human life, but only for a little while. Any hopes of a strong foundation for social morals were tossed out with the religiously orthodox Protestants, their understanding of the commons, and their Biblical convictions. Progressives continue to champion abortion, especially since their supposed “constitutional right” has evaporated. The indignation of pro-abortionists helps explain some of the pendulum swing post-Dobbs, but not all of it.

Many others take on a posture of moral ambivalence. And this ambivalent populace strongly preferred the pre-Dobbs world. As one commentator noted, “People hate talking about this issue, let alone being asked to take a stand on it. They much prefer the status quo they became used to under Roe—the one that allowed them to wave their hands of any responsibility and place the burden of the decision on someone else.”

Indeed, the moral ambivalence on the sacredness of human life in the womb is part of a wider cultural trend—a de-moralization and thus de-humanization of the American people, akin to similar cultural rot in other parts of the world. And by morals, I mean real morals—not the new “morality” of shrill progressive “wokeness,” which is actually an aggressive immorality.

Whenever we face a daunting but necessary project, the advice is the same: Just keep hammering away at it.

Real morality is still suffocating under the oppression of relativism. In and out of the classroom, Americans are taught to misconstrue moral ambiguity for moderation, to suppress (or never form at all) a sense of right and wrong, and to keep our heads down to realize our materialist ambitions. We cannot be bothered to take moral responsibility; we cannot trouble ourselves with moral horror at the sight of harrowing immoralities.

It may take a century or more of consistent effort, training in virtue, teaching, preaching, argument, charity, and good example to undo the warping of so many American souls. While there have been rapid moral swings in history to dislodge deep-seated evils, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

It’s time to sign up for a long struggle, fellow Christian. We must commit ourselves to the long-term fight for life.

The Church has a role to play in this moral crisis. She must teach her own children the truth about human life. We can do so in pulpit, during catechesis, in family devotions, in schools under her care, in writing, and more. We can continue to support ministries and organizations that defend life and care for vulnerable families that would otherwise be tempted to kill their own children. My own parish is increasing its efforts to support the pro-life cause in terms of financial generosity and raising awareness through hospitality, and other congregations should do the same. Now’s the time to become a firmer friend than ever to pregnancy centers. Now, more than ever, pastors must address this issue in the platforms at their disposal.

Whenever we face a daunting but necessary project, the advice is the same: Just keep hammering away at it. I do not know if the GOP will mobilize and strategize for life, or if candidates and strategists will find life a “losing issue” with the electorate. For the Church, it ought not matter how popular such an important truth is—we must champion it. Lives are on the line.

Christians might become a greater social outlier for our Biblical stance. We’re already a byword, but that may grow in the coming years. Folks might start saying, “Christians—those are the ones that hate abortion, aren’t they?”

Wear it as a badge of honor.

Barton J. Gingerich

The Rev. Barton J. Gingerich is the rector of St. Jude’s Anglican Church (REC) in Richmond, Va. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Patrick Henry College and a Master of Divinity with a concentration in historical theology from Reformed Episcopal Seminary.

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