April 4, 2008, is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember that day as a young boy, though I didn’t yet appreciate the significance of it, nor the way it would connect with my own life.
All of us on the Priests for Life pastoral team are privileged to work closely with his niece, Alveda, and to know his sister-in-law, Naomi King (Alveda’s mom).
This anniversary of Dr. King’s death should provoke some self-reflection on the part of all of us. For what, exactly, did he give his life?
It was for the same principle by which we give our lives in the pro-life cause: the equal dignity of every human being.
That’s a cause worth living for and dying for. That’s the heart of the pro-life movement, just as it is the heart of the civil rights movement.
This anniversary prompts a few questions:
1. Are we treating the unborn as real people, and each abortion as a real murder?
Each baby aborted is just as real and has just as much value as each person who was ever lynched or who ever suffered the evils of segregation. Let’s respond accordingly.
2. Are we ready to sacrifice whatever it takes to protect these children?
Dr. King always called civil rights activists to stop counting the cost, and to focus on others rather than themselves. We too have to eliminate the “cost-counting” from the task of defending the unborn.
I thank you for what you do for the cause of life. As our nation reaches this special anniversary, I pray you will be inspired to give everything for the rights of the children in the womb!
Fr. Frank Pavone