Some Seed Fell...column
I was in Washington, D.C. last week, not for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, but for the annual March for Life. I was not there alone, but in solidarity with a crowd of 300,000 (one television station’s estimate), including many from our Diocese and even more from our state of Alabama. Something that will surprise those who have never participated in such a March (we have one in Birmingham every year too) is the overwhelming majority of the marchers are very young people, in their teens and twenties—those who are most likely to be confronted with life’s realities of the abortion issue. This is in stark contrast to the few opposing protestors who show up on the other side: they are old and clearly beyond their child bearing years. In other words, it is not even their issue.
The Catholic side of the March begins each year at the Verizon Center in Washington with a youth rally. If you are not there a good three hours before it starts, you don’t get in—and thousands don’t. Students from John Carroll found that out last year, and this year they arrived really early to insure that they had a place at the Lord’s table. Bishop Baker compares this Youth Rally to a mini World Youth Day. There are testimonies, music, and most importantly prayer—all culminating with Holy Mass.
The over 20,000 youth, gathered at the Verizon Center then march to the Mall where people of all faiths assemble to hear a series of talks. By the time our group arrived at the Mall the talks had already begun, so I did not hear all of them. However, the one that impressed me deeply was delivered by Pastor Luke Robinson, an African Methodist Episcopal preacher from Quinn Chapel located in Frederick, Maryland.
Pastor Robinson recalled the events of the week, beginning with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the inauguration of the first black president the following day. He praised the partial fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream.
Pastor Robinson then spoke about President Obama, “I am praying that God’s hand will lead him in righteousness and justice.” He continued:
“Today, Thursday, Jan. 22, we come here to deal with some unfinished business as it relates to the dream. We need change now more than ever. We are calling on the President of Change, President Barack Obama to be an agent of change as it relates to the lives of over one million children who will be slaughtered in this, his first year as President, by a horrible practice called abortion and ‘a woman’s right to choose.’ We need change, Mr. President, because every day about 4000 babies die by abortion. Every day, Mr. President, people with your ethnic background and my ethnic background die in astounding numbers. Abortion is the number one killer of African Americans in this country.”
“We make up about 12% of the population and about 34% of all abortions are black babies. In the last 36 years over 17 million African American babies have died by abortion alone. We need to change this picture. We need to stop this slaughter of the innocent preborn. Please, Mr. President, be that agent of change that can commute the sentence of over 1400 African American children and over 3000 children from other ethnic groups, sentenced to die every day in this country by abortion. We need change and we need it now. I pray with so many others that your administration will preside over the end to abortion and to the black genocide in America. At the conclusion of your term in office, may it never be said that you presided over the largest slaughter of innocent children in the history of the country and that African Americans became an ever increasing minority under your hand.”
Pastor Robinson received a huge ovation at the end of his remarks. He said eloquently what so many of us hope that President Obama will really be—a president of change. Unfortunately, if the first days of his office are any indication, not much has changed since the last pro-abortion president was in office. On Friday the newly elected president signed an executive order, once again funding foreign agencies that provide abortions—many in countries where the populace is rightly opposed to the practice.
I hope that all who read this column will make a special effort to pray Bishop Baker’s prayer for our new president and all political leaders, that they will experience conversion and become consistently pro-life in all issues. May they work tirelessly to end war, as well as the war against the unborn. May they see life as a gift, not as a threat to their children’s future.
When it comes to protecting the innocent in this country, to quote Pastor Robinson, “We need change and we need it now.”