Editor’s note: “Matters of faith” is a column that provides local religious leaders a place to write about how their respective faiths provide hope, courage and strength in these modern times.
There are dates that are burned into our national consciousness often because they are surrounded by a profound sense of sorrow and loss. For my father’s generation it was Pearl Harbor, for my generation perhaps the assassination of President Kennedy, and for others Sept. 11.
We don’t celebrate the dates but we remember them. They hold that place in our mind that we will always remember where we were when we heard the news.
There is another event that probably should be one of those days but somehow has been expunged from our national consciousness. Every Jan. 23 since 1973, a relatively small number of people have gathered and mourned and counted the losses created by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United Sates.
The court invented a vague, previously unknown “right to privacy,” which illogically provided the legal framework for one person to have the option of ending the life of another person. To date that decision has been responsible for the death of over 56 million children. To paraphrase a statement, one death is a tragedy, the death of a hundred is a disaster and the death of a thousand is a statistic.
Considering the tragedy of that single death, I am aware it may have touched the life of someone reading this. The last thing I want to do is pretend to stand in judgment or add to the pain already experienced. My point is the number 56 million begs for a nation to respond to a profound moral dilemma.
Unfortunately, when we make political arguments out of moral issues, morality always loses. We can no longer hide behind the willful ignorance of what happens in a mother’s womb. We know it is a human heart we can hear beating at six weeks of age. Unlike the blob of tissue with gill slits presented in our “science books” in the 50s and 60s, it is a human child.
A child, which just 14 weeks later, will be able to recognize the voice of a mother it may never know. That same 20-week-old child, which in Utah and in 24 other states has no protection under the law, its first right of life may be denied at any time.
Perhaps a little known fact is the United Sates shares the dubious distinction of being one of only four countries in the world to allow abortion at any time. The other three countries without a time constraint on abortion are Canada, China and North Korea. Stellar company indeed.
What is so incomprehensible is in a culture that takes great pride in its concern for what is in a child’s best interest, the systematic extermination of children has been overlooked. Let’s be honest when people are raising money for a cause; donations increase when it is “for the kids.” For a legislator seeking to raise taxes or enact legislation, the “golden ticket” is to make it in some way connected to children.
Even when the premise is contradictory, concerns like childhood obesity and food anxiety consist simultaneously because it affects the kids. I have a copy of FDR’s speech describing “the day of infamy, which will live on forever in our memory.” That day was Dec 7, 1941 and oil still leaks from sunken hulls in Pearl Harbor. I have another candidate for such a day of infamy: Jan. 23, 1973 and the loss of 56 million children won’t be forgotten.
Upton is pastor of Tooele’s First Assembly of God Church.