Say what you like about President Donald J. Trump –and there is a lot to say — but to his credit, he made history Jan. 24 by becoming the first sitting president ever to address the crowd gathered on the National Mall for the March for Life in person.
Let’s be clear-eyed about this. There was a definite political upside for the president’s appearance. The nation is in the midst of an election year; President Trump is in the midst of an impeachment trial. In order to stare down these difficulties with appropriate Trumpian aplomb, he must shore up continued support from the faith-based, pro-life contingent that was integral to his election in 2016.
But we would be remiss if we didn’t set politics, personalities and preferences aside in favor of a categorical declaration that President Trump’s speech offered a welcome boost for those in the pro-life trenches. To hear the president of the United States declare on national TV, without compromise or condition, that the life of every child is sacred was a gift for many beleaguered pro-lifers who have dedicated their lives to proclaiming — within a generally hostile culture — that essential truth.
“We’re here for a very simple reason: To defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential,” President Trump said. “All of us here today understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together we must protect, cherish and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life.
“When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation,” he continued. “When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love each child brings from a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul. One life changes the world.”
President Trump went on to thank women for their leadership in the pro-life movement — for doing everything from providing mothers in need with housing, medical care, education and jobs to hosting baby showers. “You just make it your life’s mission to help spread God’s grace.”
And he singled out mothers as “heroes.”
“Your strength, devotion and drive is what powers our nation, and because of you, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history,” he said. “We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve, the dreams they will imagine, the masterpieces they will create, the discoveries they will make. But we know this: Every life brings love into this world, every child brings joy to a family, every person is worth protecting, and above all, we know that every human soul is divine and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God.”
These are stirring words, indeed — striking in their complete and utter truth, and in the simple fact they were spoken by an American president.
And yet we would also be remiss if we simply applauded President Trump for his appearance and address at the pro-life event and left it at that. For we agree: Every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Every human being has dignity and worth. Every human being is sacred. This includes every human being, regardless of race or origin of birth. It includes every human being regardless of political affiliation. It includes every human being regardless of migration status. It includes every human being regardless of economic status. It includes every human being regardless of appearance. It includes every human being who might share an opposing view. And above all — yes — it includes every human being growing in his or her mother’s womb.
If each human person is, rightly, to be acknowledged as a sacred gift from God, then this principle must hold true across the board. It is our fervent hope that President Trump’s passionate and correct declaration that every human life, born and unborn, is made in the image of God be reflected in all policies and priorities of his presidency.
Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board: Gretchen R. Crowe, Scott P. Richert, Scott Warden, York Young