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Some years ago, after I gave a pro-life speech, a lady in the audience came up to me to tell me about her deceased father. She said that a speech I had given some years before, which her father attended, led him to change his mind about the pro-life issue before he died. She thanked me for that speech and told me that her father changed because I had convinced him that being pro-life is the American thing to do.
This weekend, I will be addressing Cleveland Right to Life on Saturday. The theme of the weekend is "Bring America Back to Life." In my talk, I will be emphasizing the fact that the life of America is literally all bound up with our nation's faithfulness to the founding premises that include respect for God-endowed unalienable rights. But if there is no God, or if His authority has no relevance to human affairs, then the conceit of God-endowed unalienable rights is without substance — without meaning.
In videos here at Church Militant, I have discussed the Declaration of Independence and its relevance to the fight for life in this country. I feel, however, that the majority of people engaged in the right-to-life battle are still unwilling to acknowledge this connection. That's at least in part because whole generations have now been deprived of the facts required to understand the unique foundation of the assertion of self-government — of, by and for the people that the United States represents.
They use words like "rights" without any understanding of what gives them meaning. They have been taught to accept without question a false doctrine of the separation of church and state, one that belies the lead and asserts that God has no place in our political discourse, even though our very existence as a body politic depends on understanding that our equal claim to be respected in the human capacity for right choice — which comes with our humanity — relies upon the choice of God and that cannot be as sustained without reference to His being.
There is, in respect of human experience, practically no statement I can imagine that is more absurd than the notion that all human beings are equal. Form, in practice (i.e., in respect of what we do or are capable of doing), there is almost no sense in all of us are equally capable. In what distinctively human activity does everyone perform at that same level of competence: whether it's physical, intellectual or creative activities some human beings always prove more excellent than others. This is especially true of the ones we value the most.
But according to our American creed, the concept of equality on which our claim to be members of the sovereign body of the people rests; and from which each individual citizen derives an equal right to contribute their might to the sovereign power of the people as a whole, applies to everyone, without distinction, as a matter of right. Though once restricted to nobles, monarchs or emperors, a share in the sovereign power of our nation derives from our very nature.
In consequence, each and every one of us is presumed to an equal share, which it is our lot to contribute to the deliberations that decide our nation's fate. Is there anything in our conception that corresponds to this understanding, unless it be the love of God for His creation, as He vests even the least particle of existence with His substance? For in being one, the least scintilla of that being continues, as it is and was and will be, in each and every object God self-determines to exist.
If and when we deserve the title of humanity, that title is not earned by our achievements, but God's. It is not derived from our authority but God's. So, in respect of God, there are no self-made men; no self-substantiating beings; no self-starters beholden for their success to no power but their own. Like the dwindling stature of our bodies as we move further away from the earth on which they stand, the infinite perspective of God reduces us all to equal stature in His sight.
So the endowment of God by conferring upon us the title of humanity confers as well that equal vestment of his infinite loving, and continuous being, which cannot be measured by our perception, nor by the instruments that extend us some little way toward the infinite understanding that surpasses, in and of itself, the largest reaches of any existing thing, including our own most powerful longings.
In this respect, as Christ, God came to remind us that we need not count robbery to be equal with God, but only so long as we are willing to acknowledge that equality in being that, like ourselves, enjoys the substantiation of His ever-present will.
But this substantiation of our existence comes at a price. We must be willing to observe the boundaries God has set to our existence, the determinations He has made so that, in the midst of the whole panoply of His creation, we can be outstanding as the sun, albeit simply in reflection. Of course, in our finitude, we all of us fall short of the infinite majesty, worth and power we are supposed to represent. In this deficiency, we are all upon an equal footing, but only so long as we observe the bounds that inform our little image of God's likeness. For without that likeness, who is to say we exist at all?
Upon reflection, the idea of equality seems to be a mere abstraction. But, whenever some natural or human power, decisively superior to our own, presents itself to challenge our existence, the fearful pang of our reaction to it serves to recall the infinite being whose living determination invests us with worth, in spite of all.
Then does our light flare against the darkness, and our silenced scream bear witness against the lie that seeks to extinguish us. Yet and still, the voice in which it speaks is not our own. It is the voice of our creator God persisting in the goodwill He still expresses with the words, "Let us make Adam," or Eve or any other name resounding like our own.
No matter that vain, presumptuous power denies that which we are. Whether it be ruthless kings, dictators and would-be tyrants, flaunting their self-condemning might; or the doubtful sighs of would-have-been mothers of God's design, seeping from the breaking heart of our humanity — one thing is sure: Their words postpone but never can defeat the word of God's creation.
Upon that word, Americans once staked their all — returning home in triumph every time. Now we are being defeated — as Lincoln foresaw it — only by ourselves. There are no words that will avoid the warrant, already speeding on its way from God. But if we turn to meet His judgment bravely, and to pray for the grace to disavow our wrongs, we'll at least be looking in the right direction. Then our broken hearts will be open, God willing, and ready to receive the word of life He never ceased or ceases to convey to those who are.