For the last twenty years, my wife Lori and I have participated in the March for Life in Washington D.C. When our children entered the sixth grade, we started taking them with us. We live in Pittsburgh, so the bus pulls out at six in the morning and we are home around midnight. It means a day from work and out of school, but we believe that is a small investment. For some of you, the trip may be much longer. But here are three reasons why we believe it is important.
- We want our children to understand why we believe in life.
We believe that life begins at conception. Life is not a political issue in a political platform of a political party. It is a moral issue embedded in Scripture. Man is made in the image of God. Each life deserves to be treated with honor and dignity until the last breath. Technology has taken away the argument that a fetus in the early stages is simply a blog of tissue. These are truths that parents (not the youth pastor or Christian school teacher) must teach their children.
- We want to show our children the power of their participation.
There is power in one voice. And that power is magnified when it is joined with others. It was reported that between 400,000 and 500,000 people attended this year’s march. That strong showing was dependent on one person at a time making a decision to show up. We want to show (not just tell) our children that their voice is important and powerful when joined with others.
- We want to show our children that they are not alone.
Our children may be one of the few in their classroom or at the lunch table who believes in the sanctity of life. But as they march with hundreds of thousands of others, they are reminded in a vivid way, that they are not alone. We pray that the experience of having them involved in the march gives them the confidence to speak out on this important matter.
- We want to show our children that we must speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
After World War II, German citizens living around the Nazi concentration camps were required to visit the facilities to witness the atrocities they had permitted to occur. Though it was technically legal to kill Jews and political prisoners, these citizens were still blamed for remaining silent and not living by a higher moral code.
Many German citizens did speak up. One was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. For his decision to take a stand, he was put in prison. Bonhoeffer was put to death just days before the end of the war.
One of the prisoners who survived was Elie Weisel. Later in his life, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. In accepted the award, Weisel said this:
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endured suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps oppressors never victims. Silence encourages tormenters not the tormented.
Scripture says, Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). It’s one thing for parents to read that verse to your children. It’s another thing to show them that you mean it.