Why choose this hill?

By Justina Van Manen

I think we all get tired of hearing about what a broken world we live in. There’s times when we shut off the radio and pop in a CD, so that instead of listening to talk of war and bombings and shootings and starvation, we can sing along to What a Wonderful World. Sometimes, if we sing loud enough, we can drown out the questions flooding our minds.

I think we all get tired of being asked for money. When you work hard all day you want to go home, have supper with your family, and go out for ice-cream, not listen to people talk about starving children in Africa, badly injured orphans in Iraq, homeless people huddled on the street corners of your nearest city, or the children next door, whose minds are being twisted by pornography coming to them in all kinds of ways. There is so much brokenness—unlimited brokenness, really—and there’s always a very limited amount of money. How can we choose? How do we know where we can make the biggest difference? How do we know we’re making a difference at all?

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I ask those questions of myself all the time, which is a little ironic. After all, I’ve started to do more fundraising presentations for CCBR recently, explaining the importance of supporting the work to end the killing in Canada. And I believe every word that I say. It is important. It is urgent. But I too have asked, why this? There are so very many important problems out there. There are so many children who need food and medical care, there is so much pain, death, and destruction. Why fight against abortion? Why give hard-earned funds towards this cause?

The first answer is an easy one: if you fight everything, you fight nothing. You need to pick something and give it your all, because if you try to change everything, you’ll be stretched so thin you won’t be making any difference at all, and what’s more, you’ll eventually snap. But I think there’s more to it than that. After all, when I ask people to support CCBR prayerfully and financially, I’m not asking them to forget about the other issues they care about. I’m not asking them to drop their Malawian sponsor child or to stop supporting Strength to Fight. But I am asking them to open their eyes, open their hearts, and yes, open their wallets one more time. I know that we’re all tired of it. I know that we just want to be left alone. Honestly, I know the feeling, but let’s be honest. Does anyone truly enjoy asking for money? Is anyone really so clueless that they don’t realize the countless demands on our time and money, most of them really legitimate causes?

Well, I guess I can’t speak for other fundraisers, but I can speak for myself. I realize that there is countless demands on people’s money. I know that people get sick of being told that they need to give, that it’s their duty to give, that they’re heartless if they don’t give. I know. But I’ve also chosen this hill to die on because I believe that it’s so much more than just a hill. It’s not just about abortion—if 300 dead babies every day can be referred to as just. I see it as tapping the first in a row of dominos. After all, if we can’t kill babies, often known as ‘the consequences of sex’, we’ll need to be a lot more careful about how we conduct ourselves. And since contraception—even if it doesn’t have abortifacient capabilities—is never 100% fool proof, it won’t really fix the problem either. And if babies are human beings with inherent dignity, then maybe ways that we make babies outside of natural reproduction puts us in danger of treating them as commodities. Which means that if children, as the most vulnerable members of our society, are deserving of the highest standards of protection, then it could very well be that the best way of ensuring their safety is in a home with a loving mother and father—what child ever really wants anything different? And if that’s the case, marriage is obviously something valuable as a means to protect children and the family unit as a whole. If marriage as an institution is so important, then perhaps we need to look at what is often most damaging to it, things like pornography. And pornography is damaging for many reasons, one of which is that it dehumanizes and commodifies women. That’s a problem, of course, that takes us back to our original point: human beings have inherent dignity and worth, human rights that need to be protected. Why? Why do they have human rights? If there are human rights, there must be One who gives those rights, One whom the United States constitution recognizes as “Our Creator.” 

It isn’t just about abortion. It isn’t just another cause to gain support for, to help a few people, to care for the widows and the orphans, though that in itself would make it worthy. It’s a movement,  a movement to remind Canada of why we’re here in the first place, to remind us all of our founding principles, to awaken our dying consciences, to remove wrong from the throne. We ask for support because every day, on the streets, we see that change is possible. Change is possible, because, as the lines of James Russell Lowell’s poem made famous by Martin Luther King Jr. declares: 

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—

Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown

Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.