The following is an excerpt from a sermon given by the Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition on Sunday, January 20, 2002, to young people gathered for the annual March for Life in Washington, DC
Forty years ago, our nation faced a great moral crisis. An entire class of people were denied basic human rights because of the color of their skin. African-Americans were denied access to the ballot, refused admission to universities, forbidden entrance to public places such as restaurants, amusement parks and transportation.
Churches were burned and bombed. Children died. Crosses were burned on front lawns and entire communities lived in fear and oppression. The reason these people were treated in such a malicious fashion was that their skin color was black.
In the midst of this terrible violence and hatred, a generation of young people, the majority of them the same age as most of you, rose up with great passion, courage and faith to confront, challenge and crush the evil known as segregation and racial bigotry. Their actions changed the course of history.
They were led by a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King. It is his holiday we celebrate tomorrow.
Today, America faces an even greater moral crisis. Once again, an entire class of people is being denied their basic human rights. In fact, they are being denied the most basic of human rights: the right to life. Forty years ago, African-Americans faced this kind of brutality and discrimination. Today it is innocent children who are in their mother's wombs.
Since 1973, more than 43 million innocent children have been brutally killed through abortion — subjected to the most horrible kind of violence and discrimination, having their skulls crushed, their bodies burned. With no respect to their humanity, they are tossed in garbage dumpsters, flushed down toilets and garbage disposals.
All this is being done in the name of choice. What should our response be today to the horror of abortion? I believe God is calling us to look back to the words and actions of Martin Luther King and those heroic young civil rights activists to provide inspiration and guidance for us today, for there is a direct link toward fighting for equal rights for African-Americans and fighting for the equal rights of children in their mothers' wombs.
Dr. King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." He understood that the bigotry and hatred directed toward African-Americans impacted our entire culture. Like a stone dropped in a pond sends ripples across the water, so racism ripples out and touches every part of the American landscape.
It was not enough for us to say, "Well, I didn't live in the South" or "I would never discriminate." Racism diminished all of us.
What is true with segregation and racism is true with abortion. The rights and freedoms we enjoy as Americans cannot be guaranteed as long as we allow thousands of children to be killed every day. It is of little consequence for you to say, "I will never have an abortion" or "I don't believe in abortion." The ripple effect of 43 million children killed through abortion impacts all of us.
Dr. King said, "All too many of those who live in affluent America ignore those who exist in poor America. In doing so, the affluent Americans will eventually have to face themselves with the question that [Nazi Adolf] Eichmann chose to ignore: How responsible am I for the well-being of my fellow man? To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it."
To ignore the evil of abortion and how it is corrupting America simply means we are an accomplice in the deaths of these innocents. It is not enough to say we are pro-life or that we oppose abortion. We must lay down our lives for the cause of Christ and the gospel of life.