On Sunday, January 20th, over 300 pro-life activists from northwestern New Mexico gathered in Farmington for the annual Four Corners March for Life. The following speech is transcribed in full from the opening address to the marchers given by Fr. Joshua Mayer, pastor of St. Rose of Lima parish in Blanco, NM and St. Mary parish in Bloomfield, NM.
“Today, on January 20, 2019, we’re just a few days away from the 46th anniversary of the U.S Supreme Court Ruling in the case of Rose vs. Wade. That ruling determined for our country that the murder of unborn children is a constitutionally protected right. Since then, it’s been nearly 61 million innocent babies, pre-born human beings, who have been killed lawfully – and recorded – in our country, the United States of America, under the full protection of the law.
The unborn are not afforded the same rights as the rest of the citizens of our country. Our famous foundational rights, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are only for some.
Just for some.
I’d like to speak today, in the grace and love of Jesus Christ, some truths that are very critical for us to think [about]. So, if we’re honest with ourselves, those inalienable rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which are truly human rights that every single human being is created with, which are necessary for the flourishing of each and every person – these rights, which we are so proud to have always abided by and promoted, they have an asterisk at the end of them. “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.
For some. For some.
These rights are unalienable. For some.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. *For some.
In our country, we have always deprived some of our brothers and sisters of these rights, while at the same time, priding ourselves on holding them to be God-given, and unalienable, which means that by their nature they cannot be taken away.
Our brothers and sisters who were taken as slaves from Africa, whose blood and labor were foundational for our country – they were not afforded these rights. Women, in many cases, were not afforded these rights. In our own area, where we live, so close to so many Native American reservations, we can see – daily, if our eyes and our hearts are open – the effect of depriving some of our human family of these rights. Of viewing some of our fellow children of God, somehow, as less than human. Underserving of the rights that we proclaim “belong to every single human person”.
Solely on the basis of their existence.
The point is this: so often, in relation to the scourge, the atrocity of abortion in our country, we ask ourselves, how has it come to this? How can we – Americans, of all people – go so low as to murder, on average, over a million children, legally, every year, in the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Now, we’re euthanizing our elderly and doing our best to deprive the disabled of their right to existence.
How could it come to this?
We have always been the best.
The truth is – this is a hard truth to face, but it’s true – we have never lived up to the promise of our founding documents. Legalized infanticide is a new and deeply disturbing low for us. But it’s not without precedent. How could we stoop to this? How can we – a once believing and God-fearing nation – how could we come to this? How could we become a nation of child murderers, complicit in this previous sin, if we’re not actually directly involved?
Let’s be very clear: as members of the pro-life movement, the argument for abortion is no longer anywhere, as far as I can tell, than an unborn baby is not a human person. That an unborn baby is simply a clump of cells that should be labelled a “fetus”. Proponents of legal and free abortion on demand do not even attempt to promote that line of thinking. Every single one of us knows that an unborn child is a human being.
We just don’t value human life. Not every human life. And that’s not new.
It’s a result of the Fall. It’s a result of our broken and sinful hearts. And to some extent, every single one of us does this. Our country, our world, has never been innocent. Hearts that are not healed and converted to Christ will continue to commit atrocities. Small and large.
This is why we need a Savior. This is why we need Jesus to save us – “Jesus, save us! Father, save your children!”
How could we come to this? We have always has our evils, we have always been a country like every other, of fallen men and women, striving to live up to the remarkable ideals of our Founding Fathers. But how can we sink so low? How can we become a nation that embraces such a clear and dehumanizing evil to such a great extent, that defends it, that even prides ourselves upon it?
It’s more obvious than ever that our country is split over abortion. The March for Life in Washington D.C. marches for the dignity of the human person one day, and the Women’s March the next day marches for free and unfettered access to abortion.
And our political parties are choosing sides, they’re placing their bets, on whose side is going to prevail.
This is the big divide. How did we get here?
While we are remembering the sorry date of January 22nd, 1973 as the day the evil of abortion was legalized on our home soil, let’s remember a couple of other important dates in our country’s recent history.
August 6th and August 9th, 1945.
Those are the days when they dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, which were engineered here in New Mexico. We dropped them on two Japanese cities, in an effort to put an end to the atrocity of the Second World War. And we more or less accomplished our goal. We also killed 200,000 people, most of whom were civilians, a great many of whom were Christians. It’s worth noting that Nagasaki is the center of Christianity in Japan, where hidden Christians – Catholics – had passed on their faith, often under the threat of persecution and death, for hundreds of years. Those are the people that lived in Nagasaki.
When we committed this atrocity to improve the quality of life in our world, those are our brothers and sisters that we killed. We decided that those lives were worth sacrificing in order for the rest of us to have peace.
How often do we question that decision of our nation, to drop those bombs? To kill our brothers and sisters in order to achieve a good end? Peace is a good end. The argument that those bombs are not war crimes, not crimes against humanity – that’s the same argument that morally justifies the killing of our unborn children. When you choose that some people should die for the sake of others.
Our coldness of heart is not new.
When we as citizens of this county – who love our country – have much to repent for.
I’m not alone in drawing a connection between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the embrace of abortion in our culture. Servant of God Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen also identified the line between the atom bombs and our country’s embrace of abortion and a culture of death. This is what he said, in an address to young people:
“Once the philosophy is proclaimed that the ego is supreme, that there are no limits, then abortion follows. I wonder when we ever got into this position of denying limits? I wonder why our young people are so concerned with their identity. 30 and 40 years ago nobody had the problem of identity – why not? Because we recognized boundaries, limits. How do you know the limits, for example, of the identity of the state of Illinois? By its boundary lines. How do you know the identity of a basketball court? By its foul lines. How do we know our own identity? By limits, by boundaries, by Law, by Order. We lost all of these at 8:15 in the morning on August the 6th, 1945 when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. That bomb blotted out boundaries of life and death, civilian and the military, and trust among nations. And so abortion, from that day on, was defended on the grounds that one may do whatever he pleases.”
So let’s admit the truth. Although it’s hard, the truth will set us free. We, as American citizens, as beneficiaries of the best and worst things that we have done, [come] to today.
We have a lot to be grateful for. We have a lot to fight for. We have a lot to repent for.
Every era of ours in our country has its particular sins – its very particular denial of the rights of our brothers and sisters, which the majority of the citizens in our country are blind to, and even defend in their time, whether it’s slavery, or the treatment of the Indigenous peoples of our land, or the atom bomb, or abortion, and euthanasia, and assisted suicide, which are occurring in the ever-present Culture of Death. That’s a culture which slithered in to our world in the Garden of Eden.
Every era has its genocide. Every era needs people who are clear-sighted, and can stand up for what’s right, stand up for women and innocents, for life, no matter what the cost is.
Today, you are here to stand up for life. In standing up today, for the right of each and every single person, from conception to old age, and natural death, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
These are not just our country’s ideals. These are what God gives us.
We are joining our voices and prayers to all of our neighbors’ across this nation who are willing to stand up, to be heard, and to stick their neck out and say “Enough! Enough of this atrocity!”
We have been on this path, as a race, even as a nation, for too long. Enough murder. Enough death. Life!
We can’t change the world from the outside. We cannot change ourselves from the outside. Each and every single one of us needs change inside here – we have areas of our hearts that have been corrupted by the culture of death. It’s our inheritance from our first parents.
The grace of Jesus Christ frees us from that in baptism, but it still comes and grabs hold of us. We all have areas of our hearts that need conversion. We can’t do it alone, we can’t convert even our own hearts alone. We need the grace of Jesus Christ, and that comes at the price of the Cross. To convert us – you and I – to convert our entire nation to life. Only the life and blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient.
So Jesus, we beg of You, forgive us! Forgive us. And convert us. Save us – save your children. Cleanse our hearts in the blood and water that poured out from Your side.
And you, my brothers and sisters, courage! Courage. Continue to fight for goodness, and peace, and justice, and life. Courage! Continue to stand up for the unborn, the elderly and the disabled, the forgotten. And courage – courage to repent.
As Christians, we know that our true Enemy is not of this world. It’s not our brothers and sisters on the other side of the political – even religious – lines. That’s not our enemy.
We fight with the weapon of sacrificial love. That’s the weapon that Jesus embraced when He embraced His cross and died for us – for us! – as we were mocking Him, and tormenting Him, and we eventually killed Him. The weapons that we have as followers of a crucified King are not swords, or atom bombs, or sharp words, or judgments that arise in our hearts. These are the things that make us murderers. We have only the crucified love of Jesus Christ to share.”