“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men [and women and children] to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
She “just didn’t think it was fair.” That’s what actress Jemima Kirke recently said in reference to her child that she aborted years ago in college. She didn’t think it was fair to give birth to a child when she wasn’t ready to be a parent.
Her comments remind me of President Ronald Reagan’s comment, “I’ve noticed that everyone who’s for abortion has already been born.”
We’ve all heard someone say, whether talking about abortion or not, some variation on the sentiment, “It would be wrong to bring a child into this horrible world.” But really, if it’s such a horrible world, why are we so busy pursuing and often finding our own happiness? If the world is so terrible that a child would be better off dead, how is it that the world is an OK, or even a great, place for us?
The answer, of course, is that when we say it wouldn’t be fair to bring a child into the world, what we really mean is that it wouldn’t be fair to us.
That's even what's going on in the rape, incest and human trafficking debates. Since abortion can't cure any of these evils, is it fair to further victimize the women and their babies with more pain and subsequent death of their babies and maybe themselves? Isn’t it time to speak up and tell the truth?
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
Let's talk more about fair and unfair. In Georgia, where I live, a court case has just concluded where "APS 11" school teachers were involved in what’s being called the worst cheating scandal in our nation’s history.
Apparently, since 2005 a number of Atlanta elementary school teachers have provided students the answers to tests or changed the students’ answers on papers so as to improve test scores. By improving test scores, these teachers got raises.
While these educators and their superiors lined their pockets, however, their students were denied a proper education. Children were promoted who couldn’t read and write in accordance with their grade levels. Federal money that could have paid for remedial education for these youngsters was never used because their teachers were lying about their achievement.
Years of high level profiteering may have dulled the consciences of those involved – I don’t know. I wonder, though, how much or if these teachers and their superiors even thought about the students they were using for financial gain. Did they tell themselves that they were helping kids by making them look good on paper? It's all so unfair.
Several of the teachers are facing jail sentences. A day of reckoning has arrived.
That day always arrives, no matter how much we try to tell ourselves it never will.
When the world comes crashing down on the falsehoods we tell ourselves, we are left facing harsh realities. When it’s all too obvious that we were only thinking of ourselves, the words, “I was only thinking of [fill in the blank],” don’t fly anymore. What a downright frightening place to be.
I don’t mean to point fingers here. All of us, without exception, will face judgment. It may not be in a court of law in Fulton County or in the court of public opinion, but that day is coming. And it will come like a thief in the night.
The question we must all consider is, are we ready?
Being ready begins by acknowledging the truth about ourselves.
When we say that it’s not right to bring a child into the world; that the child will face poverty or abuse or whatever, let us examine those statements.
The first truth is that if a woman is pregnant, she has already brought a child into the world. She is already a mother.
Secondly, every single person faces poverty and abuse – obviously, some more than others. Economic or spiritual poverty, physical or mental abuse, or a lack of love are faced by countless numbers of people. All of these things are horrible, but they can be overcome – by love.
We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. A variation on this is the Golden Rule – to treat others as we would want to be treated. In considering whether to love or destroy an unborn child, let us ask, “If I were that child, would I want a chance at life?” The answer is obvious. Where there’s life, there’s hope.
But if we’ve already made bad decisions, if it’s too late to change what we’ve done, is it too late for us?
It’s never too late for love and forgiveness.
C.S. Lewis wrote that there are no ordinary people. We are all extraordinary, in part, because our souls are immortal. And Lewis reminds us that we will be immortal either in splendor or in horror.
Those immortal in splendor can be those who, like me, have aborted children or, perhaps like convicted teachers, have used children for financial gain. Everybody hasn't committed these sins; but everyone has many times fallen short of what is right, what is true, what is commanded by God.
Those immortal in splendor, though, will only be those who are eternally forgiven, having humbled themselves, repented, and loved the Lord.
As I continue to read the news every day, there is always another story, actually many stories, about what my Uncle MLK called man’s inhumanity to man. But there are always stories of love and forgiveness as well – we just don’t usually see enough good news in the media. Yet, if we look hard enough, beyond our selfish needs and problems, we can see that there is still good in the world around us: Because God is good.
Sometimes people forget this. Preachers, politicians, rich business owners, everyday people; we all tend to forget sometimes that we really aren’t running this show. It’s time to give the reins back to God, isn’t it?
God’s love bears fruit in the actions of those once broken and now healing. We have all been born broken – let us desire the Truth and let the healing begin.
Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the founder of King for America, Inc. and consultant to the Africa Humanitarian Christian Fellowship.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Priests For Life.