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Marching for Life…for the Very First Time

By Fr. Justin Clemente. January 25, 2022.

“They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. … To sum up all in one word — what the soul is in the body, Christians are in the world.”

-Epistle to Diognetus
Early Christian Apology, 2nd century

On Friday, January 25, I had the privilege to walk in my very first March for Life. As I walked with three of our bishops, many of our priests & deacons, and scads of our people, my mind wandered to the above quote from the Epistle to Diognetus. This epistle is, perhaps, the most ancient form of an apology for the Christian faith.

Listen to how it describes Christians: as the soul of the world. As thousands upon thousands of people gathered in our nation’s Capitol to mourn the outcome of the Roe V. Wade and to prayerfully call our nation to change, we saw one picture of what it means for Christians to be such a thing. Unequivocally, this was a public demonstration. But, the day was peaceful, joy-filled, orderly, and decent. There was no rioting, but there was chanting and singing!

As I reminded our people this past Sunday, so I remind you now: this is not an issue the church can or should turn a blind eye to. It is not a “hobbyhorse,” nor is it a Republican vs. Democrat issue. It is a deeply moral issue, and our response to it flows out of our recognition that it is God and not man who gives dignity to human life – every human life.

From the top to the bottom, I am so blessed and proud to belong a province in the Anglican Communion that so clearly and winsomely states its views on the sanctity of life. Consider Archbishop Foley’s statement on abortion:

“This is the greatest moral issue of our time, and we must not keep silent. We must not muzzle our voices influence. We must continue to knock on the door of the unrighteous judge and demand change.”

Abp. Foley Beach

Consider the ACNA Canon & Constitutions, documents which govern our life as a province:

God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, from conception to natural death all members and Clergy are called to protect and respect the sanctity of every human life.

The Church is called upon to show Christ-like compassion to those who have fallen into sin, encouraging them to repent to receive forgiveness, and offering the ministry of healing to all who suffer physically or emotionally as a result of such sin.

ACNA Canons & Constitution

Lastly, consider the clear words of To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism:

“Since God declares human life sacred from conception to natural death, I may not take the life of neighbors unjustly, bear them malice in my heart, or harm them by word or deed; rather, I should seek to cause their lives to flourish. (Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 19:16; Deuteronomy 19:4-7)”

“Jesus sought the well-being of all who came to him: he made the blind see and the deaf hear, caused the lame to walk, cured the sick, fed the hungry, cast out demons, raised the dead, and preached good news to all. (Luke 4:17-21; Matthew 14:13-21, 34-36)”

“Suicide, abortion, genocide, infanticide, and euthanasia are forms of murder. Related sins include abuse, abandonment, recklessness, and hatred or derision.”

“As a witness to the Gospel, I can love God and my neighbor by refraining from selfish anger, insults, and cursing, by defending the helpless and unborn, by rescuing those who damage themselves, and by helping others to prosper. (Matthew 5:38-48; 9:35-38; Luke 23:34; Acts 10:34-42; Ephesians 4:25-32; 5:1-2)”

To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism

I rejoice that I was able to take part in the March for Life, 2022, and I pray next year that some of you will join me in our nation’s Capital to be what we are. “As the soul is to the body, so Christians are in the world.”

Oh yes – and pictures!