Steven Curtis Chapman has a gift. He can deliver Bible truths to a beat. The Christian rocker has been doing it for years. Chapman’s sound electrifies listeners with one number, then sooths them with the next. His lyrics are catchy and often inspiring. Chapman is at the top of his field, and he has five Grammy awards to prove it.
Chapman also has the wisdom to understand that talk, even talk put to music, is cheap. In The Walk, he asks whether he has lived as Jesus taught, whether he has answered God’s holy call to serve Him. “When the music stops, am I doing the Walk?” For Chapman, it’s a matter of faith in action. Nothing else is as important. Or as Chapman puts it: “You can run with the big dogs, you can fly with the eagles, you can jump through all the hoops and climb the ladder to the top; but when it all comes down, you know it all comes down to the Walk.”
On January 22 in Washington D.C., pro-lifers from across the country will literally and figuratively walk. They’ll join forces in the March for Life, a march that sadly still must be made. This year’s march marks the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision destroying our culture and country. Since Roe, we have legally killed almost 50 million unborn babies. Almost 200 sovereign lands aren’t that populous. The abortion rate here is about 1.2 million annually, meaning that around twelve human lives are destroyed every five minutes. It’s the American Holocaust, colored in blood red. Freedom for women? The hundreds, if not thousands, of women dead from legal abortion would surely say no.
The marchers figure to be even more determined this year because of another D.C. walk just two days earlier. It’s the inaugural parade ushering in the presidency of Barrack Obama. Though we are thankful for the peaceful transition of power, the transition will be anything but peaceful for the unborn. The president-elect has pledged himself to reversing pro-life gains, actions that will make him the most pro-abortion president in our history. By the time the pro-life walk steps off, the reversals will likely have already begun.
No church has been more outspoken in defense of the unborn than the Catholic Church, yet 54 percent of Catholics voted for our new president. What explains it? The economy? It’s hard to believe that people put pocketbooks ahead of life. I’d like to think that it was due to the lack of national attention given to the abortion issue during the campaign. It went virtually unmentioned. And I’d like to think that Catholics would be appalled by what now looms. President-elect Obama has promised to support taxpayer-funded abortions and destructive embryo research, the end of parental notification restrictions, the forced participation of health care workers in abortion regardless of their beliefs, the reinstatement of partial-birth abortions, and the removal of safety restrictions at abortion mills. He will only nominate judges for the Supreme Court who will support legal abortion. And he will fund United Nations agencies that advance abortion, even forced abortion, worldwide. Is this what you want?
So how do we respond? Perhaps we can start by remembering an American whose walk has allowed our new president to occupy his new office. Sitting in a city jail during Easter weekend in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King penned a letter explaining to clergymen why he was protesting in Birmingham, Alabama. In a word, it was because of injustice. Citing the teachings of Sts. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, King wrote that a just law is one that “squares with the moral law or law of God.” An unjust law is the opposite. King told us that we have a “moral responsibility” to disobey unjust laws. It didn’t matter to King that he was viewed as an extremist, for so were many great figures.
And the first on King’s list was Jesus, an “extremist for love.” Jesus walked from village to village seeing the injustices of life. He saw the Roman oppression of His people. He saw the oppression caused by misguided religious leaders who talked the truth but walked a different path. He saw the oppression caused by sin itself. He heard the cries of all, and He responded by sacrificial love. His life was a walk, and it led to the top of a hill. For us. He taught us the Walk.
Jesus didn’t face legal abortion in His time here. He left that one for our walk. He calls us to see the unborn. He asks us to hear their cries. And He challenges us to resist the madness of legal abortion. Just as we have a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws, we have a moral obligation to resist their enactment. Tell our new president about your opposition to his pro-abortion plans. Contact your federal and state representatives. Let them all know that you did not elect them to continue legal abortion and will walk away from them if they do. And walking with Jesus means that like Jesus, we must work to change hearts. Train your kids in the beauty of life and the horror of abortion. Engage your friends, workmates, even fellow Churchgoers on the issue. Speak the truth that legal abortion is a tragedy and a sin, not a loving choice. Volunteer for pro-life work, or start your own projects. Pray always.
Come January 20, a new set of big dogs and eagles are hitting D.C. They come with a harmful set of plans for the unborn. Jesus challenges us to respond.
It all comes down to the Walk.
Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois, where they raise their six kids.
© Paul V. Esposito 2009. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Visit us on the web at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/