The march for life
Two marches took place in Washington, D.C. recently for two very different causes. The first was the fortyfifth “March for Life” on January 19, 2018, a pro-life event held every year since 1974 in protest against the infamous pro-abortion Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973.
Last year, on January 27, 2017, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence became the first sitting American V.P. to address the pro-life crowd:
I’m deeply humbled to stand before you today. I’m deeply humbled to be the first vice president of the United States to ever have the privilege to attend this historic day…. President Trump actually asked me to be here with you today. He asked me to thank you for your support, for your stand for life, and for your compassion for the women and children of America…. Life is winning in America for many reasons.
Life is winning through the steady advance of science that illuminates when life begins, more and more, every day. Life is winning through the generosity of millions of adoptive families to open their hearts and homes to children in need. Life is winning through the compassion of caregivers and volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations who minister to women in towns across this country. And life is winning through the quiet counsels between mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, between friends across kitchen tables, and over coffee at college campuses. The truth is being told. Compassion is overcoming convenience. And hope is defeating despair. In a word, life is winning in America because of all of you.
So I urge you to press on. But as it is written, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation. When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness. I believe that we will continue to win the hearts and minds of the rising generation if our hearts first break for young mothers and their unborn children, and if we each of us do all we can to meet them where they are, with generosity, not judgment.1
Around the same time, President Donald Trump chided the press for their mediocre media coverage of this important annual, pro-life event:
ABC’s David Muir asked Trump if he “could hear the voices from the women’s march here in Washington?”2 “I couldn’t hear them, but the crowds were large,” Trump responded. “You’re gonna have a large crowd on Friday, too, which is mostly pro-life people…. Some people say it’s gonna be larger…. And they say the press doesn’t cover them.” Muir quickly said he didn’t want to compare crowd sizes. “What they do say is that the press doesn’t cover them,” said Trump. Friday’s March for Life is the 44th annual gathering demanding human rights for the pre-born. It is the largest annual American civil rights demonstration.3
If garnering support from the vice president is a boost for the March for Life movement in the USA, even more significant was President Trump’s historic speech to the pro-life crowd delivered directly from the White House Rose Garden:
The March for Life is a movement born out of love. You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation, and you love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God. We know that life is the greatest miracle of all. We see it in the eyes of every new mother who cradles that wonderful, innocent, and glorious newborn child in her loving arms. I want to thank every person here today and all across our country who works with such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure that parents have the care and support they need to choose life. Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full, God-given potential—because of you. You’re living witnesses of this year’s March for Life theme. And that theme is: Love saves lives.4
Despite the historic occasion—President Trump is the first sitting U.S. president to address the March for Life directly by video from the White House—the media again largely ignored the event:
2 minutes, six seconds. That’s how much time the networks spent on more than 100,000 marchers this Friday. That’s how much time the networks gave an event where President Trump spoke. That’s how much time the networks offered a rally remembering 60 million unborn who perished through abortion.5
Time will tell whether President Trump’s support for the March for Life will result in any major pro-life legislative victories. He has indicated a willingness to sign pro-life legislation, but Congress has not passed anything yet. But the current president’s attitude toward abortion is in stark contrast to his predecessor, former President Barak Obama, who vigorously supported Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in America. He concluded his 2013 speech to Planned Parenthood’s National Conference with these words:
As long as we’ve got to fight for a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a President who’s going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way. Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America.6
“Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” ().
The women’s march
The second march is the “Women’s March,” a protest movement largely formed in response to President Donald Trump’s election (his inauguration took place on January 20, 2017; the first “Women’s March” took place on January 21, 2017, while this year it occurred on January 20, 2018), which was viewed by many as a major setback for women’s rights. (Some women are worried that they might lose their right to abortion!) The women marched also as an expression of their personal repugnance for the president, whose history with women has been controversial.
The “Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles” of the Women’s March reveals a radical, leftist agenda, which is the antithesis of the “March for Life.” The organizers call their movement one of “resistance and self-determination.” Some of their principles are as follows:
We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice. We must create a society in which all women—including Black women, Indigenous women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women—are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.
We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education. We understand that we can only have reproductive justice when reproductive health care is accessible to all people regardless of income, location or education.
We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans, two-spirit or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. This includes access to nonjudgmental, comprehensive healthcare with no exceptions or limitations; access to name and gender changes on identity documents; full anti-discrimination protections; access to education, employment, housing and benefits; and an end to police and state violence.
We believe that all workers—including domestic and farm workers—must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage, and that unions and other labor associations are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all. Undocumented and migrant workers must be included in our labor protections, and we stand in full solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement. We recognize that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights.7
Radical feminism, abortion on demand (and paid for by the taxpayer), transgender rights for men who think they are women, prostitution, and rebellion against the employer in the form of union membership—this is what women march for in modern America, in a nation where women have full equality in every area of life. “She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house. Now she is without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner” ().
The readers of the SB will not find it difficult to guess which of these two marches got the most positive media attention!
Free offer article in the Puritan Reformed Journal
In a recent issue of the Puritan Reformed Journal, the journal of the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, David B. McWilliams, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church of Lakeland, FL, seeks to defend the “free offer” or “well-meant offer” of the gospel against some unnamed critics.8
Frustrating about his article, however, is the failure (apart from one footnote on Herman Hoeksema) to interact with the critics of the offer. Surely, in 2018, if one wants to defend the offer, one should attempt to refute the writings of the Protestant Reformed Churches and their sisters, who, whether one agrees with them or not, have written much on the subject!
McWilliams does not prove the “free offer.” Instead, he proves that all men everywhere are commanded to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, which is not the gospel offer, but the gospel call, something with which the Protestant Reformed Churches and their sisters agree. What we oppose is the idea that in the preaching God expresses a sincere, even passionate, desire to save all the hearers, including the reprobate. However, by not referencing the Protestant Reformed Churches, the leading ecclesiastical opponents of “free offer” theology, McWilliams fails properly to define the terms of the debate (offer, invitation, promise, etc.), and he fails properly to present the position that he claims to refute.
Given that the “All Around Us” rubric is not the place for lengthy articles, I make the readers of the SB aware of the article. I intend to provide a detailed response to McWilliams’ article in the April 2018 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal (D.V.). Readers should know that subscriptions to this Journal are free of charge. If you are interested in receiving the PRT Journal, contact the seminary’s secretary at: email@example.com.
2 The “Women’s March” is the second march I will discuss in this article—see below.
5 https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/culture/katie-yoder/2018/01/19/cbs-ignores-abc-nbc-give-under-3-minutes-march-life and https://www.lifesitenews.com/news.
6 https://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/president-obama-planned-parenthood-transcript-video-090683. Of course, by “choices about her own health,” President Obama meant abortion, which is also a choice about a baby’s health, and his/her life or death.
7 https://static1.squarespace.com/static (my italics). A “trans woman” is actually a man.
8 David B. McWilliams, “The Free Offer of the Gospel,” Puritan Reformed Journal, 10:1 (2018), 57-90.