Several colleagues and I were in Washington D.C. last week for our Evangelicals for Life Conference along with the annual March for Life.
A few observations:
Last week’s massive March for Life rally on the Mall unfolded in familiar fashion. Just before noon, pro-life stalwarts from every state convened to stand in solidarity, many of them carrying signs declaring life as the better choice. It was the 45th consecutive gathering and the longest-running demonstration of its kind. The crowd was its usual winsome self – earnest, hopeful, optimistic and spirited. The speeches were both inspirational and aspirational, including addresses delivered via video from the White House by both President Trump and Vice President Pence. Prayers were said. Songs were sung.
As I stood at the Supreme Court and looked westward toward the sea of humanity that sunny and mild afternoon, I was deeply moved by what I saw and heard. Children cheered. Bands played. Estimates suggest the crowd was more than 100,000 strong, a figure that seems extremely conservative. There were bright and joy-filled young people everywhere. Mothers were pushing strollers. Priests and pastors led huge groups of marchers, many of whom wore matching t-shirts or hats. Families were walking hand-in-hand. You couldn’t help but leave encouraged.
The March’s slogan this year was “Love Saves Lives!” – a phrase that was repeated by nearly every speaker on stage.
In contrast, the Women’s March was held on the same Mall the next day. The weather was equally good, a mild and beautiful winter Saturday in our nation’s capital. The crowd size was significantly smaller than the March for Life. I’ve seen some estimates suggest it was “in the thousands” – a figure that seems about right.
As it was, the rally, which was replicated in cities across America, felt less like a demonstration championing women and more like an occasion to denounce and protest President Trump. Profanity and vulgarity were everywhere. Merchants on street corners were selling t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase, “F&*# Trump!”
One of my colleagues, who encountered the crowd while touring with his son, said the anger in the audience was palpable.
The march’s slogan was “Power to the Polls,” and most of the speakers seemed to focus their message on the importance of electoral politics. “Grab ‘Em By the Midterms” was another popular, crass sign seen throughout the crowd.
Now my depiction of each rally reveals my bias, of course, but what I’ve attempted to share is more fact than opinion.
There’s no question that it was democracy on display, a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” moment come-to-life. It’s the beauty of our republic that it allows and even encourages the assembly and expression of diverse opinion. I’m grateful for this right.
What’s telling, even galling, though, is that the women’s march received three times as much media coverage as the March for Life. This is nothing new, of course. As the late radio newsman Paul Harvey used to say, “Noise and sin make news, and one gunshot makes more noise than a thousand prayers. It doesn’t mean it’s more important, just that it sells more newspapers.”
An insider at one of the top television networks once told my colleague that the reason they don’t like to cover abortion is because people’s minds are made up about it. “No matter how we cover it, we always make one side mad,” she told him.
Isn’t that interesting? When was the last time the news media was concerned about making someone mad? That sounds like a real cop out to me. What about you?
Nevertheless, our campaign to protect every human life carries on with enthusiasm and optimism. Thanks in part to the miracle of technology, the case for life is winning. The rising generation sees it. They get it. Like William Wilberforce’s decades-long plight to end slavery, so must we tirelessly advocate for the most vulnerable in our midst.
Did you watch or participate in the rally? I welcome your thoughts.