Marching For The Dignity Of All Human Life
While doing some cleaning recently, my wife found three ticket stubs dated from 1982. The tickets were from two Chicago Cubs baseball games I saw with my family at Wrigley Field. What really grabbed my attention was the face value: $6.75. You could put a Grant in your wallet, take a family of four to see an MLB game, get everyone a soda and a hotdog, and come home with change – and that was in Chicago.
For some reason, these tickets were a sort of touchstone for me, a physical reminder of the way things used to be. In 1982, the Commodore 64 was just introduced; Adobe was founded in February; Johnny Carson was still on TV; Regan was in the Whitehouse; and the first human received an artificial heart. Lots happened in 1982.
As I look back, I think it was impossible to imagine the world in 2019. The cheapest ticket at Wrigley costs almost $30; the phone you may (or could) be reading this on eclipses the Commodore 64 in capability; Adobe is one of the most valuable tech companies in the world; Carson and Regan have both been gone for more than 10 years; and my Cubbies finally won a World Series. Those are all anecdotal curiosities, but one fact is sobering.
In 1982, few could imagine that Roe v. Wade would still stand given what we know about the conception and gestation of a human person. This terrible law sees no contradiction between the facts that a person who murdered a pregnant woman on her way to an abortion appointment could be charged with both murder and feticide; whereas the woman herself would have done nothing illegal had she kept the appointment unimpeded. Even the current head of Planned Parenthood slipped recently in a speech, rightly referring to unborn persons as “babies.” Sadly, 1.5 billion (yes, billion) children have been killed since the day I saw that game in 1982; that’s enough to fill Wrigley to capacity 36,015 times (or 222 regular seasons, which takes us to the year 2,241 A.D.).
As I write this, nearly 200 pilgrims from across the Diocese of Evansville are preparing to join hundreds of thousands of others in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life. In addition to standing up for the innocent, voiceless babies who will be brutalized by unimaginably bad law, our pilgrims spend time at monuments and shrines that speak to the dignity of the human person (including the Vietnam Veterans Wall that was dedicated in 1982). Our sweatshirts bear a logo that reads, “C2ND: We are Pro-Life from Conception to Natural Death.” We travel as a reminder that we are called to be the change we wish to see in the world (as Ghandhi said), advocating for all those who are dehumanized by the larger culture.
Whether the millions of people killed through unjust war, the thousands executed by the death penalty, the untold numbers of people overlooked and marginalized on the streets of our country, those trafficked or sold into slavery, those who are murdered by “assisted suicide,” or any number of other offenses to the dignity of the human person, we march for all people; and we stand as witness that anything that cheapens one life cheapens all life. From conception to natural death, we are pro-life.
Much has changed since 1982. I have no idea how long of a life I will enjoy, but I wonder what kind of a world 2055 Steve will see. Will society look back at 2019 as a glaring call to change, or will I read this article through the eyes of an old man and cry, realizing how much worse things have gotten? I don’t know; but I do know that as you read this, I am marching with 200 young people from across the diocese (and hundreds of thousands of others from across the U.S.) in an attempt to make the future more humane and compassionate. Like that ticket from 1982, I hope 1.5 billion doesn’t keep pace with the inflation of time.
Please, God, may it be so.