Why the life-affirming value shared by SOHLS and MLK Day matters

Why the life-affirming value shared by SOHLS and MLK Day matters (Yan Krukau/Pexels)

This year, I’ve been pondering how close in proximity that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday falls with Martin Luther King Day on the calendar.

The two share some principles in common worth noting.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed a dream he had for the people of this nation—a dream that discrimination against Black people would end.

A dream for white people and people of color to live in harmony. For every person be valued equally and treated as such.

Dr. Alveda King, niece to Martin Luther King, Jr., wants Americans to keep his dream alive. 

She quotes him as saying, “…’our people’ cannot win if we are willing to sacrifice [our] children for immediate comfort and safety.”

While abortion is promoted as a woman’s choice and health issue, she insists, “We must ask, where is the choice for the baby?”

She wonders aloud, “How can the dream survive if we prematurely end the lives of children?”

How, indeed.

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Chilling similarities exist between racism and aborting preborn children.

With racial prejudice, a certain people group is discriminated against. They are seen as less than. As a problem. As people to avoid, or even to eliminate.

We know from recent history such attitudes toward those “other than” our own people group begin with dehumanization and can ultimately lead to genocide.

Look no further than the Holocaust.

Our nation has tragically become one which is prejudiced against the unborn. 

Preborn children are a people group our society views as not actually human yet. As an inconvenience. A problem which can be eliminated.

Talk about discrimination!

Just as people of color have struggled to receive the same justice and opportunities as whites, a similar struggle exists for the unborn.

It’s absolutely wrong for us to look at someone of another race and think unkindly of them simply because of their skin color or eye shape or strange-to-us language.

It’s just as wrong to view preborn human beings as having less value than grade-school children or teens or adults.

Unborn persons’ small size, temporary location, and level of development do not determine their worth.

If anything, their vulnerability should cause us to rise to their defense.

I’m thankful people of color have had the astounding courage to raise their voices on behalf of freedom and equality. To march peacefully and face danger together.

Such bravery continues to bring about much-needed change.

But the unborn have no voice to raise in the public square. They have no ability to march or peacefully protest. They cannot write moving speeches on their own behalf.

Their safety and well-being lie entirely in the hands of others.

In our hands.

As we ponder another annual reminder that human lives are sacred because we are created in God’s image, let’s consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46. 

The scene is the Son of Man coming in all His glory, with His angels, to sit on His throne. 

The nations are gathered before Him. He separates one from another the way a shepherd separates sheep from goats. 

The sheep, placed to His right, will be blessed and will inherit His kingdom. 


 “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matt. 25: 35-40).’

Chillingly, the King then turns to the “goats” on His left and explains why they will be cursed and sent to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

“Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me (Matt. 25:45).’”

Alongside the truth that God values every person uniquely is the truth that He is especially concerned with the most vulnerable.

Tweet This: Alongside the truth that God values every person uniquely is the truth that He is especially concerned with the most vulnerable.

In this passage, it’s the sick. Those who lack basic necessities. People locked away, isolated from society.

Scripture consistently demonstrates God’s concern for widows and orphans as well. For foreigners and displaced persons.

Here’s how this principle applies to our mission:

Who is more “least” than the invisible ones in danger? Who is more vulnerable, more deserving of protection than the preborn?

Who is more intently on God’s Father heart than the innocent ones He is tenderly knitting together before they see the light of day (Psalm 139:13-16)?

It is our great honor and weighty responsibility to speak up on behalf of those without a voice. We, too, must hold a dream in our hearts.

The dream of a nation and a world where people yet to be born are respected and protected. 

Because when we cherish the “least of these,” we cherish the Lord Jesus Himself.

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