By Gregory P. Seltz
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24–25).
On Jan. 16 the nation will observe “Religious Freedom Day” and its vital role in the formation and endurance of a free United States.
On Jan. 19 in Washington, D.C., and on other dates around the country, many people will exercise that freedom by participating in the 2018 March for Life.
The second paragraph of the U.S. Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In other words, the United States is founded on the idea that human rights are granted not by a benevolent state, but by God, and that these rights are worth fighting for — not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors, our friends, even those with whom we disagree.
We march to spread the message of the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception, the inherent value of human life at all stages, and the dignity and potential of each person as a uniquely created child of God.
The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL) will be participating in the Washington, D.C., March for Life along with the LCMS contingent of believers and others from all over the nation who stand for life.
The LCRL exists to advocate for our LCMS people, churches and schools; to educate about two-kingdom citizenship for the sake of our testimony of the Gospel and the blessing of our communities; and to encourage those in Washington, D.C., who are exercising their vocation of public service for the sake of our nation and our Church.
The March for Life, in many ways, does the same.
When we march, we proclaim with our feet the message that in addition to having the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness for ourselves, we have the responsibility to do so for others.
As Christians, we know that God loves all His children, even if they are unaware of their redemption in Jesus Christ.
As advocates for life, we affirm the preciousness of human life as the key to virtually everything that matters, foundational to who we are and what we do as beings created in God’s image.
In Acts 17, St. Paul affirms that God “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). The God of the Bible is the one who “gives life to all things” (1 Tim. 6:13), who at the very creation of humankind “breathed into his [Adam’s] nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Gen. 2:7).
This truth is the foundation of liberty, justice and even healthy tolerance.
Today our culture is at war with such a view of life and, as a result, also at war with liberty, justice and tolerance, as noted by Francis Schaeffer in his book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?
“If man is not made in the image of God, nothing then stands in the way of inhumanity. There is no good reason why mankind should be perceived as special. Human life is cheapened. We can see this in many of the major issues being debated in our society today: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the increase of child abuse and violence of all kinds, pornography … the routine torture of political prisoners in many parts of the world, the crime explosion, and the random violence which surrounds us.”
Indeed, when another’s life can be categorized as “not worth living,” all kinds of violence can be excused.
Who could have ever imagined the routine practice of abortion, even infanticide, that occurs with deadly regularity upon the most vulnerable among us?
Who could have imagined health insurers counseling doctors to offer seriously ill patients the “option” of ending their lives with so-called “dignity” via euthanasia?
Who could have imagined the kind of senseless violence that is now all too common in our society?
When the most vulnerable among us can be dispensed with at will, all our lives are devalued. We march to be continually reminded of what makes life worth living, and to encourage those who need to hear that their lives matter, that we care for them, and even more, that God cares for them.
Human life has a purpose: to honor the God who gives us life, and to serve our neighbor in a manner pleasing to the One who created and redeemed us with His sacrificial love.
The March for Life is an opportunity for God’s people to be “people of life” for others in His name. We stand for life so that we can serve. We march for life to be counted, yes, but to be counted as people who love life not just for ourselves, but for those God has placed in our midst, who have been ravaged by a culture of death.
As we march, we begin to understand even more fully both the preciousness of life and the Author of life, who came so that we might live abundantly, now and forever.
The LCRL is in the nation’s capital for you — celebrating, advocating, even protecting our religious liberty for the sake of our mission and ministry. To that end, we stand with you FOR LIFE. See you at the march!
The Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C.
Posted Jan. 12, 2018