The Other 364 Days
Marches and rallies can be a great chance for pro-life people to get together and support each other. They build the movement as we swap notes about our various forms of work or just take some time out together. They are a chance to celebrate the gift of life when much of our time is taken up with witnessing death near abortion facilities, see gruesome images and videos, or read distressing articles and reports. There is no doubt that marches, such as the recent Melbourne March for the Babies, play an essential part in the lives of many pro-lifers and are rightly a significant date for us.
But there is another aspect to marches and rallies that I think we need to think about.
And that is, that there are 364 other days in the year which need equal attention from those people who call themselves ‘pro-life.’
The other 364 days are where the rubber hits the road.
Pro-life work needs to be carried out consistently throughout the year, and it isn’t always as pleasant as a day spent with like-minded friends.
This work is the hard slog of writing, lobbying, discussing, and strategising about changing the culture.
It is the tiring work of hunting for accommodation, baby supplies or friendly doctors for an expectant mother. Or the nerve-wracking work of being present in the birthing suite as she delivers her precious baby.
It’s the soul-destroying – occasionally rewarding – task of approaching politicians, clergy, teachers and lecturers with a view to hearing their stance on abortion. And the endless hours of researching dead ends or gathering data which may never be used. It’s the time spent getting the message out on social media, opening ourselves up to attacks by abortion enthusiasts and ignorant trolls, some of whom may be our relatives or acquaintances. And it’s the commitment to witnessing with little hope of seeing babies and mothers saved. It’s putting up with being insulted and sworn at and maybe spat upon from time to time.
This is all part of changing the culture and ending abortion.
It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that every life-affirming organisation in this country is understaffed, under-resourced and under-funded.
There is a relatively small number of dedicated people who work tirelessly to promote a culture of life. They do this in the midst of hostility and attacks and lawsuits, but this isn’t the worst challenge they face: the biggest problem they face is apathy.
Being pro-life is more than wearing a t-shirt one day of the year! It has a cost, and that cost is often very high. But it’s higher than it needs to be because many people just aren’t pulling their weight.
Now, we can blame our pastors and priests for not speaking out, but until we all make a commitment to work as tirelessly as those few dedicated culture-warriors, then criticising the clergy is just a cop-out. Because, truth be told, it is really up to us, the ordinary Christians, to do what it takes to change the culture.
How do we change the culture?
Let me count the ways:
Number One Task: Become really, really good parents: not just-getting-by, doing-the-minimum, leave-it-to-the-teachers parents. But parents who take seriously their God-given obligation to instruct, discipline and nurture their children’s faith and wellbeing.
That is the first step to building a culture of life. (Click here for more on this topic from a Catholic point of view.)
But also: Make a commitment to add one additional activity to your current pro-life workload – if you currently do nothing, then this should be quite easy for you to achieve! If you currently email politicians, then write letters as well. If you currently write letters, then add a weekly phone-call. Or help out at a pregnancy-centre. Or go and talk to your pastor. Or spend some time on social media. Or donate money, if that is a resource you have to spare.
If you’re creative and have the skills: Think about running some pro-life events to coincide with the next March in your area. Here are some ideas:
– a pro-life photography/art exhibition which can also be used as a fundraiser
– a training seminar for young people or sidewalk counselling training
– a pregnancy-centre resources drive
– guest speakers in your church
– a pro-life music festival
– maybe a few organisations will take it on themselves to hold a national pro-life conference, to draw people from other states to your city.
An even bigger commitment: maybe you’ve had an inspiration growing in the back of your mind – to become a counsellor, or to go into politics, or to study law or medicine? If so, don’t give up on this dream. We need so many more pro-life professionals in all these areas.
Abortion has ravaged this country for forty years and doesn’t shaw any signs of abating. In fact, with worse laws being enacted and even more death-dealing bills on the table, things are looking pretty grim.
So, it’s obvious we need to do something different and do it soon.
364 days is a long time to go without openly sharing the pro-life message. And 364 days of slogging it out, while overworked and under-resourced is a very long time indeed.
Just ask any veteran pro-lifer.
But don’t let another year go by before you make a stand for Life.
Editor, The Freedoms Project
Click here to find out more about Kathy