The Sanctity of Life Issue
By Mary Jo Werbiansky
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing." Albert Einstein
Many organized religions support the idea of the sanctity of human
life. Many Christians, including Orthodox Christians, will tell you that they believe
that abortion is murder and that removing life support from the elderly or infirm is
murder. To me, it is easy to have these beliefs. When we really let ourselves look into
the deepest place in our hearts, the place where we have always known right from wrong,
it is easy to know that taking a life is wrong. Sometimes we find ourselves arguing with
someone who will not defend human life, but who is insulted that we might be wearing
animal skins. Or someone who is insistent that women have a choice to take life from
their unborn child. Most are appalled to hear of a kitten or a puppy killed for
convenience ("we don't want it anymore"), and yet most remain silent regarding the death
of people that we don't want anymore. Children are born with an innate understanding of
right and wrong, but it is buried by the world in just a few years. Ask a 3 year old if
it is okay to kill a baby. Unless we can prayerfully get people to the place where they
can see into that deep spot in their heart where the knowledge of the difference between
right and wrong exists, we won't be able to change their minds.
And yet, I have come to a point in my life where I have more worry
about the complacency of those believers who do support the sanctity of human life than
those who are blind to the evil. Many such people lived in Germany and knew something
bad was happening, but looked the other way. A daily holocaust is occurring today and
the victims have no chance of running, hiding, or saving themselves. They are safe in
their mother's womb one moment, and a disposable pile of tissue and blood the next.
If we are to change minds and hearts we need to act. The simple act of
standing along LaGrange road for one hour per year on a sunny October afternoon holding
signs and praying can change minds. Yet few of us have the time for the Life Chain.
Maybe a football game or nice lunch or a nap takes precedence.
Joining other believers in action by attending a lovely, underwritten
banquet, praying, learning, and adding our financial support at a comfortable level is
actually an enjoyable and uplifting experience, yet we don't really have the time and
we don't join in the support even though we will say that we support their mission.
Buying a package of diapers once per year in May and bringing them to
church is also a simple and easy act of love for a mother who has decided to bring her
child to term. Only 4 people had the time and the heart to do that at St. Luke last May.
A tiny percent of Orthodox Christians in America walk in Washington, DC
each year to support the Sanctity of Life. They set aside their lives and plans to make
a visible statement to the nation alongside many others.
I might sound like a scolding mother. Forgive me for that. I have never
marched in Washington D.C. The amount of monthly support I give to PASS is not hurting my
lifestyle. I have missed the Life Chain in the past. In fact, I am sure there have been
multiple opportunities in my life where I could have shown support for the Sanctity of
Life and failed.
We have heard the news over the last decade. And we have responded. The
director of PASS has talked to us twice, a volunteer spoke to the youth group about
abstinence, a mother who gave her child up for adoption shared with us, a former
parishioner who was a single mom hand painted a bed and dresser and we filled it to
overflowing for a needy mom. In small part, our donations have helped put nurses and
ultrasound at the Tinley Park PASS facility. Another bright spot at St. Luke for the
past decade has occurred at Christmas. Many families share gifts under the PASS Giving
Tree. It is hard not to participate when there is such a lovely visual and such a
worthwhile experience for your children. And yet, even that support has dwindled in
On behalf of the unborn, thanks to each of you who have offered support
to save their lives in one way or another. Please continue and please encourage your
children, families, and friends.
In an era in our church where we might question if our financial
support for national charities really goes to those intended to receive support, I can
assure you that the support you offer for our Sanctity of Life programs at St. Luke goes
where it belongs. The diapers and gifts go directly to PASS and are given to moms in need.
Any donation goes directly to PASS.
Now, here is the challenge - find that spot deep inside that whispers
right from wrong. Jiminy Cricket called it your conscience. The Church Fathers have
called it that small inner voice, through which God speaks to our hearts. It does not
matter what you choose to do, but if you feel that life is sacred, please do something.
Go to DC, stand along LaGrange Road, support PASS either once per year or become a monthly
donor, support another pro-life group, buy a package of diapers, put a baby gift under
the tree, volunteer at PASS or another agency. In addition to active support, of course
we need to pray. But let me leave you with this thought: Do you think there have been
those who knew historic atrocities were occurring who prayed and yet did not act? Let
your actions be your prayer.
Approximately 46 million abortions are performed every year,
Approximately 126,000 abortions are performed daily, worldwide.
Only 22% of all abortions are performed in developed countries. The
remaining 78% of abortions occur in developing countries.
Over 1.3 legal, reported abortions were performed in the United States
in 2001. (How many of those mothers-to-be were expecting twins or multiple births?)
On average, since 1972, 80% of all abortions are performed on unmarried
women. (United States)
95% of all abortions are chosen as a method of birth control. The
remaining 5% are performed as a result of sexual crimes, health problems, or fetal
abnormality. (United States)
When asked if they were Pro-Life or Pro-Choice over a period of five
years, the public's approval of the Pro-Life position rose from 33% to 43%, and their
collective opinion of the Pro-Choice position declined from 56% to 48%.
Sources: Center For Bioethical Reform, AbortionFacts.com,
AbortionTV.com, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Gallop Poll, New York Times