President Reagan signed the National Sanctity of Human Life proclamation in 1984 to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is remembered every year on the third Sunday in January. A tragedy celebrated. But should the sanctification of human life even start with the thought of murdering a child? Should it start with the decision of whether or not to have an abortion? Should it start with the decision of whether or not to use contraception? Should it start with whether or not to give money to a crisis pregnancy center? Should it start with the testimony of someone who was nearly aborted? Absolutely not. The value we place on human life begins with self control, with man having enough dignity and civility to honor the women he comes in contact with. It begins when men realize that sexual ethics do not hinge on a woman saying yes or no. Men must place the same value on themselves as they do potential sons and daughters – as they do life itself. By surrendering control of sexual desire over to passion, man puts himself a little lower than the animals instead of a little lower than the angels. That’s why sexual assault and rape are not just isolated crimes. They are crimes against humanity. As tragic as the Holocaust was with an estimated 6,000,000 deaths, abortion has been even a greater holocaust in this country with over 50,000,000 deaths since Roe v. Wade in 1973.
When you think about the miracle involved with creating life, you begin to see how human sexuality is at the heart of Christianity. The two are intertwined so tightly you can’t see light between them. When the value of human life is diminished, so is Christianity itself, along with all of civilized society. That is what we are witnessing now in America today. Man is unable to respect himself because he can’t respect life. As Mother Teresa asked: “If a mother can kill her own child, what is there to stop you and me from killing each other?” Actually, there’s not anything. The potential for new life is what balances the boat of humanity.
We need to go back to the basic question, one that most Americans can’t agree on – When does life begin? Don’t we need to know the answer to that before we pay heed to the sanctification of life? I think so. In my opinion, life begins at conception. It does not start when a fetus reaches a certain size, takes its first breath, becomes viable, reaches a certain gestational age, etc. All of these are manmade legalities to obfuscate the responsibilities of life. In addition, it is our responsibility to see that all sex is open to life. That’s something that many Christians have a hard time accepting because . . . it requires us to risk the creation of life – even when it is inconvenient or unaffordable. Taking contraception out of the picture requires us to surrender control of our lives to God alone. Our plans for the future, finances, job status, education, and social standing itself are put completely in the hands of God when man and woman are joined as one and jointly risk making a new life. When the potential for new life is taken away with contraception and abortion, mankind denies God’s creation of life.
So men, we demonstrate the sanctity of human life every time we are in the company of a woman. We have the choice of either treating her like an object of pleasure or a creature of God to cherish and protect. And likewise, Christian women have the responsibility of treating men with respect, as joint creators of life. And we all have the responsibility of discussing sexual ethics, especially in our churches.
So this Sunday, I hope your church does more to commemorate Sanctity of Life Day than reviewing Moses and the Ten Commandments or bringing in guest speakers to incite drama with horror stories of near abortions. Hollywood can do that. I recommend that we commemorate Sanctify of Life Day by honoring self control and putting more focus on positive reinforcement for our young people – and a lot less on coathangers, contraception, and abortion. Honor the single men and women who understand the value of our creation, have not had sex outside marriage, and have not gambled with human life. Honor those who have not bought condoms or paid for abortions and the women who have not bought contraception pills or rendered their bodies sterile with surgical procedures. Embarrassing, you say? Look at the price we’ve paid for comfort and feeling good. Life is so much more than that.