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Published: January 19, 2013 1:36 am to Opinion Column

Dare to be an activist

The following may seem harsh, judgmental, unpleasant, and extreme. This is because it is demanding. But I’m saying this not because I’m angry, to judge the actions or lives of anyone, or for any other reasons than these: 1) because it is the only logical and honest conclusion I have been able to reach in the face of the reality of abortion and 2) because I love the unborn children who have died or whose lives are in danger of abortion.

I cannot speak for your life and how you choose to live it; I can speak only for mine. But when I speak for it, I hope that I can say that I lived it in courageous defiance of the abortion holocaust, that I lived it for the little ones whose lives were lost, that I was their voice and their witness in the world, and that I did not hold back or give up. All I ask is that you look into your heart with real honesty.

The first thing you must do is confront your data: that thousands of babies are murdered everyday. That abortion is the greatest social injustice of all time. That abortion is the most destructive force of human history. Twenty minutes away from where I live a comfortable and easy life, little babies’ lives are being destroyed – real people, real lives. Fifty-five million babies were murdered in the last 40 years – probably more. They’re dying in my city. Maybe they’re dying right now. This is the dark reality of 21st-century America, alongside which we live all too comfortably. This is our data; it’s the way things are.

Does this information change anything for you? Because for me, this changes everything. This isn’t a static piece of trivia. This is like the belief that your house is on fire, that your child is about to be hit by a car, that a gunman is shooting people in your school. If you believe it, you must act, and anything less than everything you can do is dishonesty. This is life and death.

But people do not confront their data; they do not like hard realities. We like inoculation. We like excuses, and we lie to ourselves: we protect ourselves against facing the reality. We have persuaded ourselves that we have confronted reality, but we have confronted only abstract ideas. We like abstractions better than hard realities.

I think that for many people, “pro-life” very quickly becomes a meaningless abstraction, so we can lie to ourselves that we are doing our part and go on living in comfort. Principles like the right to life, the value of the human person, justice…these are bits of literature, abstract ideas we’ve grown accustomed to thinking, not demanding forces that drive us to act. Abstractions are easy to live with – dead, murdered babies are not.

It’s more comfortable when “pro-life” is a political position you adopt that influences the way you vote. It’s easier when being pro-life is more about believing certain ideas than about an urgent, daily struggle to save lives. But being pro-life isn’t simply some ideal or value we can think about and believe in. Standing around and thinking good thoughts about this issue isn’t worth much in the long run. Babies are being killed. We are obligated to act. I wish it could be otherwise. But living in a world where around 125,000 unborn babies are killed every day makes that impossible. If we are honest with ourselves, we cannot be silent and hide ourselves from this disaster. We can’t go on living our lives in the same way. Everything is different. We can’t live normal lives anymore.

To be pro-life is to be enveloped by a desperate, agonizing moment in history. As awareness of injustice grips you, you cannot free yourself and it is a suffering. Here was terrible loneliness. I felt alienated from the world, from my culture, my society. I even felt alienated from my own country. Words like ‘liberty and justice for all’ didn’t seem real to me. I had a sense of painful separation. I had thrown in my lot with an unwanted people – and felt rejected with them. The unborn and I were one in the night of their abandonment. I felt the burden of being aware that a whole segment of the human family was denied their right to live. This awareness made it hard to just be free and enjoy life. The world was not a normal place anymore.
- Monica Miller, “Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars

This sort of information demands a radical choice. It forces us to confront our lives and why we live them and for what. This is the kind of information that makes you drop everything and do something. It jars us out of the routine and ultimately comfortable pattern of our 21st-century lives. If we are honest with ourselves and with the reality of abortion, then we have to choose to act. Anything less is to live an illusion, to inoculate ourselves against reality, to lie to our consciences, and to cooperate with the wholesale rejection of unborn children.

There is a connection between the mentality of the individuals and society who reject the unborn because they are inconvenient and those who neglect action to stop their slaughter: the unborn are a problem, and preferably somebody else’s. We are too busy for them, and we don’t really care about them. This is not love; it’s rejection – abandoning these real people to their fate. They are somebody else’s problem to deal with. Saving them is left to experts who have enough time on their hands to bother with it. At best, we’ll do our thing here and there – at least to assuage our guilt, to wipe their blood off our hands, to avoid blame for their destruction. But this is not love.

Love is about sacrifice. Love is about a gift, about giving of your self and your time and sharing your life with someone else. Love goes beyond simply doing your part. When you really love someone, you don’t count the cost – because it’s not a duty; it’s a gift. Love demands action. If we don’t act to help the victims of abortion, then we refuse to love them. Like the rest of the world, we deny their humanity, their value, their dignity. We deny that their lives are precious enough to spend everything to save. Can we ever say, “I’ve done enough to try and save them”?

It seems clear to me that the only honest response I can make to the data, to the reality, to the truth is to dedicate my life to stopping abortion. I am very young – I have my whole life ahead of me. But I cannot in good conscience dedicate my life to anything less than doing everything I can to stop abortion. As a Christian, I believe it when Jesus Christ said, “Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

I am obligated to act. I may not succeed, but as Mother Teresa said, “God did not put me into this world to be successful. He put me here to be faithful.” I follow G.K. Chesterton’s logic: “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” I can’t sit on the sidelines and live my life shutting out the cries of the victims of abortion. Somebody, somewhere has to do something. Why not me?

Do you dare to dedicate your life to something in a wholehearted gift of yourself? Do you dare to give your life for theirs? Then act. Don’t be afraid; get up and act. Do something. You cannot sit still and let the greatest injustice of all human history slip by while you inoculate yourself to its existence. If this is the reality of our age, then our age is the greatest opportunity for heroism, for all-out courage, for a real and bold greatness: it is a time for action.

In other times, when confronted with great evils, people stood up and fought them. Sophie Scholl, while on trial for opposing Nazi regime, said, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.” You can be that person, if you dare. See you in D.C.