The Orthodox Church in America’s leadership lends its support to the Annual March for Life in Washington, DC, each year. Methropolitan Tikhon also sends an annual message to all the faithful members of the OCA on the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday reminding us of the essential nature of defending human life in a time when the country’s supreme court has ruled that the unborn has no rights.
And while visibly protesting against abortion on demand shows our commitment to the sanctity of human life, as I noted in my post 2019 Sanctity of Human Life Sunday to be pro-life has to mean more than wanting laws that prohibit abortion. Pro-life means a commitment to helping and supporting families, including single moms, who struggle to raise their children. Pro-life should mean we commit ourselves also to being pro-family and pro-education and pro-health for these children whom God brings into existence. If we believe life is sacred then we should not ignore the fact that once some children come into the world they are thrust into poverty, into situations in which they might lack basic health care, food, housing, educational opportunities. Our pro-life attitude should not mean we prevent people from having abortions but then turn our backs against them when they need help in raising these children. Pro-life should never be reduced to supporting pro-life candidates but should include supporting pro-life policies and agencies who work with families in need. We can financially support such groups and personally volunteer to help them. One such Orthodox group we can support is Zoe for Life.
There is a saying from the desert fathers:
The old man also said unto him, ” If works do not correspond to prayer he who prays labours in vain.” (adapted from The Paradise or Garden of the Holy Fathers Volume 2, Kindle Loc. 3218-19)
We are not just to pray pro-life, we are to minister to families in need, we are to work for and with these families as part of our liturgy and prayer.
What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)