A couple of weekends ago a rather impressive number of men gathered to witness for life, for babies and the women who carry them. And that is a beautiful thing. This year’s Men’s March Against Abortion in Washington, D.C. was a first so we can hope that the word will spread and more men will make the trip to our nation’s capital to join in the march next year.
Many in our American culture tends to think in terms of women only when they consider the abortion issue. It’s a “personal choice” of the woman because she carries the baby (or clump of cells, depending on one’s outlook) so it is solely her decision whether to carry or extinguish the life within.
But men have a large role in the conception, birth, and subsequent care for this child outside the womb. If only we would just allow them to take up that role, indeed, if only we would expect them to take a part in the life of the woman carrying the child they created together and in that child’s nurturing and upbringing to adulthood.
When women have babies, deliver these tiny, unique, made-in-the-image-of-God, people, there is an expectation that the mothers will care for them. But fathers have an obligation and a right to help raise and care for those children, as well. It’s up to our society to encourage this way of thinking and to actually educate or raise awareness that it’s right and just for the fathers to be involved in all aspects of a baby’s life, beginning with conception but going well beyond that moment.
In the Old Testament, God instructs Moses to pass on the holy tradition of Passover after the Lord institutes the meal that commemorate His people’s deliverance from bondage. And how does that wise and obedient Moses do this? By teaching the story and all its ramifications for the Chosen People to the children!
Yes, Moses tells the adults who experienced the actual deliverance, all the plagues and all the wonders of God’s involvement in freeing the people, who prepare and eat this Passover supper, to make sure their children are involved and learn all about it so they will spend their whole lives not only doing the thing, but knowing why and passing it on to those who come after them. And still we find those who observe the Jewish faith, thousands of years later, celebrating the Passover meal and continuing to teach it to their children. That’s tradition and it only survives when we involve our children, the next generation, and tell them why we are doing things!
I bring up Moses’ Passover “plan” here, to suggest the reason why we have so many people walking around, especially men, who don’t know they are supposed to be good fathers, let alone what a good father is, or why it matters that they are part of their children’s lives, or why they have to cherish and protect the woman who is the mother of their children. Our western culture has really obfuscated the role of men in the family by ridiculing or criticizing the God given gifts that men possess. It’s old-fashioned, it’s sexist, it’s unnecessary for a man to be an important part of a woman’s life or a child’s life, many declare. And that is perhaps the biggest tragedy of our modern age.
The Men’s March Against Abortion could be called ‘The Men’s March: Taking Back Our Jobs in the Family.’ But that’s just my humble suggestion. This fight for the lives of our children has to include the women who carry them – their well-being and their desire for the father of their children to be involved in both their lives, mom and baby, no matter what.
It’s an idealized view, perhaps. But if we don’t have an ideal to aspire to, then we have confusion and resentment. If we don’t have a ‘why’ for the man’s involvement in the life of a child and the woman who is that child’s mother, we have our present prevailing attitude that it’s all up to the women who are in unplanned pregnancies and the men are no longer a factor. It is not surprise, then, that many women see abortion as their only choice…
Yes, that is a tragedy for humanity, because if the children who go on living don’t know their fathers or know the love and strength that can enhance their lives, we are ignoring the family as God intended it. And when we sweep away so many children’s lives as if they are nothing, women and men also suffer. Our society becomes more callous, less compassionate, weaker and more selfish.
So, kudos to the Men’s March Against Abortion for their first attempt and may God bless these men and all who will learn of it and join in next time. And may raising awareness of the crucial role men also play in the life of a child result in changed hearts in men and women so that babies who are conceived are brought to birth and loved and nurtured by both their moms and their dads. Amen.