By Kelly Boggs, Baptist Message Editor
On Aug. 28, 1963, an estimated 250,000 people gathered in Washington D.C. for the express purpose of making a unified statement that all citizens of America – regardless of their skin color – should be treated with equality. It was to this mighty throng that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his most memorable oratory. With an economy of words, Dr. King eloquently articulated a vision that still moves people committed to life, liberty and justice for all.
Throughout his “I Have A Dream” speech, Dr. King echoed his vision of a colorblind America where people would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
“In a sense,” he told the crowd, “we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Dr. King’s words, as well as his actions, helped galvanize a generation on the issue of civil rights and change the plight of black Americans. Reflecting on the words Dr. King uttered on that hot summer day more than 48 years ago, I can’t help but feel a sense of irony that many Americans still refuse to apply his message to individuals – fellow citizens and members of the human race – that have yet to be born.
On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States of America rendered a decision that declared pre-born humans are essentially non-persons and thus void of any civil rights. The Roe v. Wade decision had the same effect on a baby in the womb as the Dred Scott decision had on a black person. In that 1857 case, the Supreme Court declared that blacks had no rights that whites had to recognize.
In the almost 39 years since the Supreme Court ripped the right to life away from those yet born, more than 50 million individuals have been denied the opportunity to take their first breath. More children have lost their lives to abortion than all the soldiers killed in all the wars the United States has ever fought.
In the 48 years since Dr. King articulated his dream of a colorblind America, much has been achieved in the area of civil rights. However, in the 39 years since Roe v. Wade, little has changed in the plight of the pre-born.
While some states have passed laws that make it more difficult for a child to be aborted, the fact still remains that in the United States of America a child’s life can be terminated at any time he or she is “in the womb.” And in reference to partial-birth abortion, the term “in the womb” is defined very loosely.
Dr. King stated in his 1963 speech, “It is obvious that America has defaulted on this promissory note [the promise that all would enjoy the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness] insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’”
The pre-born in America have been issued the same worthless paper, only they never even have the opportunity to hold it in their hands. Dr. King’s dream will remain unfulfilled until all Americans have the guarantee of the most fundamental of all rights: the right to be born – the right to life?
What can you do, what can I do, to press the United States into granting pre-born children the ability to draw on the promissory note to which all Americans should have access – the note that includes the guarantee of the inalienable right to life.
First and foremost, we can pray for our elected officials. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, the apostle wrote: First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority…”
We can pray that our elected officials will be convicted of how wrong it is to allow the killing of pre-born babies. We can pray that they will craft laws – or a law – that will withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court and bring an end to the ongoing slaughter of children in the womb.
We can also support alternatives to abortion such as crisis pregnancy counseling, maternity homes and adoption ministries. As a part of the Louisiana Baptist Convention you already support those very resources; they are provided by the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home.
Sellers Maternity Home, operated by the LBCH, is located in Baton Rouge. “Sellers provides young women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy an alternative to abortion … the opportunity to choose life for their unborn child,” is how Perry Hancock, president and CEO of the LBCH, describes the maternity home.
Another step we can take is to stand together with others across our state and nation in a visible statement that we are unashamedly pro-life. On Jan. 21, people around the nation will gather in state capitals, as well as in Washington D.C., to march together in unity and in so doing send a message to elected officials that life in the womb is to be respected and protected.
The Louisiana Life March is to take place between 10 a.m. and noon Saturday, Jan. 21. Participants will march from the Old State Capitol, up 4th Street to the current State Capitol.
At the Capitol there will be inspirational speakers, presentations, and prayers – all designed to call attention to the plight of the pre-born. The keynote speaker for the event will be none other than Fred Luter, Jr., pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church of New Orleans and the Southern Baptist Convention’s First Vice President.
Also appearing at the event will be the “Voices of LC” singing ensemble.
The LBC is one of many groups sponsoring the event, which also includes Louisiana Right to Life and Louisiana Family Forum.
When it comes to sending a message to elected officials, numbers are everything, so your presence is needed. Last year, more than 3,000 participated in the march. If that many, and even more, march again this year, it will tell members of the Louisiana Legislature that we are serious about the lives of pre-born children.
I hope you will make plans to attend. Gather a group from your church or come with your family. You will experience a great time of fellowship and inspiration. Most of all, you will be joining others from across the Bayou State in doing something about the plight of pre-born children.
For more information on the Life March you can call 866.463.54433. You can also visit www.LALifeMarch.comon the Internet or text “ProLife” to 22828. Additionally, contact me if I can be of any assistance. Reach me via the Baptist Message at 318.442.7728 or 800.376.7728.
Come and join other pro-life Louisianans in Baton Rouge on Jan. 21 as we participate in the Life March.