My denomination, the Charismatic Episcopal Church, is pro-life. We are unashamedly and unapologetically a denomination that believes in the sacredness of life. To us, the pro-life issue is not a political issue but a biblical and moral issue. That strongly held belief permeates all of our churches throughout the world. If that position is unpopular and counter-cultural, then so be it. With over 60,000,000 abortions worldwide each and every year, we believe we cannot stand idly by and keep silent.
We are also compassionate toward the victims of abortion which includes men, women, and medical personnel who have participated in abortion. We understand the economic, family, and societal pressures that make abortion an attractive path for some. We also believe that there is forgiveness and restitution for those who repent of their participation.
Last week, in Orlando, Fla., people gathered from hundreds of miles away to attend the 2013 Southeast Archdiocesan Convocation. On Friday morning, a number of teenagers, also committed to the sanctity of life, staged a “die-in” near an Orlando abortion mill.
The demonstration was peaceful, non-violent, non-confrontive, and highly symbolic. The teens placed red tape over their mouths to symbolize that millions of unborn children cannot speak for themselves. The die-in also consisted of the teens lying on the sidewalk in a fetal position and being covered with a red blanket.
The fetal position, of course, represented the children in the womb; the red blankets symbolized the shedding of innocent blood.
The event was capped off by a “Liturgy of the Pre-born,” in essence, a funeral service for the children who died that day in the “clinic.”
Not everyone, of course, was happy about the event. A number of passersby taunted and even cursed the kids. No one, apparently, wanted to engage the teens in thoughtful debate. There were, however, a number of people who verbally attacked the youth.
One man drove by in an SUV, saw what was happening and rolled down the window, screamed obscenities, and offered a middle finger. Not content, the man circled the block, came back to where the teens were demonstrating, and, once again, rolled down the window, blasted the air with profanities, and extended the middle finger. Only this time, while his eyes were on the kids, he ran smack into the car in front of him.
The reaction of the kids? They only hoped he wasn’t hurt.
Some of the kids at the convocation were participants in a pro-life action for the first time. One lady, the mother of a 16-year-old young man, shared with me that her son “was moved to tears.” It’s not easy to be committed to life in a pro-death culture — especially for young people who have been indoctrinated for years by schools and the media.
In the 19th century, a segment of the population took an unpopular stand. While the practice was legal, a number of people and certain denominations believed that slavery was not a political issue but a biblical and moral issue. They were often reviled, mocked, and the target of obscenities. They were on the wrong side of the culture but on the right side of history.
The young people in Orlando last week are heroes, in my estimation. The issue, biblically and morally, is not a person’s right to choose. It is a child’s right to live.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org). He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]