July 1, 2013 by Alex Johannigman
My facebook feed today has been covered with pictures of huge groups of people clad in blue at the Texas state capital showing their support for the proposed bill moving through the house and senate later this month that would put an end to late term abortion (after 20 weeks) in Texas and create stricter laws regarding the safety requirements that must be in place for an abortion clinic to operate legally. I’ve also received emails from different pro-life groups that I am a part of or support financially detailing the schedule of events at the capital this week. They include things like rosaries, praying at the cathedral, and prayerful marches to the capital. Through all of this, I’m once again experiencing a similar concern to what I experienced when I was at the Dallas March for Life last year.
I feel like we’ve begun to think of the Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice debate as a “Christians vs Atheists” debate when it is very far from it. The March for Life and this week’s rally at the Capital felt very much like Christian rallies, with a choice between going to a Catholic mass and an evangelical praise and worship service before the Dallas march began, and focusing almost as much on Jesus Christ as the issues that the pro-life movement stands for like an end to abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, and fighting against the culture of death. I feel like, although there is a strong correlation between people who are religious and people who are pro-life, we shouldn’t assume that everyone who is pro-life is Christian, or even religious.
Opposing abortion shouldn’t be about promoting your religion, it should be about promoting basic human rights that we should all be able to agree on, whether we are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, Agnostic, Buddhist, or anything else.
Many people are pro-life because it is an issue of basic human rights and they believe that a person’s right to life is more important than another person’s right to live as they please, and it has nothing to do with their religious beliefs or lack thereof. And Christianity isn’t the only religion out there that believes that all human life is sacred, nor do all Christians share this belief. The Pro-choice side suffers from a similar problem. I believe they’ve reached a point in their rhetoric where Christianity, and perhaps religion as a whole, has become the enemy, even though many of the people on their side profess a religious belief of some kind.
As much as I love the religious side of the pro-life movement and plan to continue to participate in prayer vigils for an end to abortion, maybe we should be doing a better job of including everyone in events like this week’s rally. I know there are probably many members of the secular pro-life community, (as well as the Christian pro-choice community) who are at the Capital this week wondering what to do and where they fit in. How about we welcome them with activities that don’t exclude them for their different religious beliefs, and focus on our similar views on the value of all human lives that are in their mothers’ wombs?