TITLE: Created Equal
By marcella franseen
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Either all humans, no matter race, creed, or religion, are fully persons inherently endowed with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or no human is. During American Slavery, African Americans were stripped of their rights based on the belief that, because of the color of their skin, they were somehow less than a full person. Some slaveholders actually convinced themselves that African Americans had no souls, were too dumb to be educated and, therefore, destined for a life of servitude to their master. The Law gave slaveholders all power over their slaves. They could punish them by any means they wished, work them as long and as hard as wished, break up a family and sell off its members, even take slaves into sexual relations. The African American had no voice to defend himself and no legal leg to stand on for justice. In the culture of that time, the African American was less than a person, therefore, his life had no real value- except the value placed on the work he could perform for his master.
In today’s culture we too face a civil rights crisis. There is another group of people who have been deemed less than human, stripped of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and are abused and killed every day. This group of people is the innocent pre-born. Is a human less than a full person because that human exists in the mother’s womb? At conception all of the genetic material that a person will ever have in every stage of their development (zygote, fetus, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, teenager, adult, senior, etc.) is present. At about 31 days after the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period the pre-born’s heart is beating, by about 40 days there is measurable brain waves, at about 45 days there are identifiable arms and legs. At six weeks all major organs are formed and by 12 weeks no new anatomical developments occur, the baby just continues to grow.
What about the rights of the mother? Shouldn’t she have reproductive rights over her body? What about her future, education, relationships, and finances? Isn’t her life, at least the life she wants, being threatened? These are the same questions and arguments raised by the slaveholders so many years ago. With the end of slavery would come the end of the slaveholder’s way of life as he knew it. Without slaves to work his fields, clean his home, and care for his children, who would do it? His life of ease would be over, as the slaveholder would now be the one responsible for this manual labor. What of his wealth, or the wealth he one day hoped to have? To take away a slaveholder’s slaves was to take away his livelihood. A slaveholder felt his very life, liberty, and ability to pursue happiness was dependent on the institution of slavery. To take away slavery was to take away the slaveholder’s rights, and wasn’t a slaveholder more entitled to those rights than the African American? Is a mother more entitled to her rights than her unborn baby? Our culture says “yes” and under that mantel we have given our children over to be burned to death in utero with saline, to be ripped apart limb by limb, to have the womb-the baby’s environment meant to nurture and protect-chemically changed to cut off all life support, to have full-term babies partially delivered into hands of death only to feel the cold sharp pain of scissors plunged into the base of their skulls and their brains sucked out.
In the Dred Scott case of the 1800s the law declared that all men are not created equal, and in the Roe versus Wade case of the 1900s we once again hear that sentiment echoed. Underlying slavery and abortion is the premise that all men are not created equal and the culture of the day gets to decide whose rights are more important. There are many sides on the issue of abortion, just as there were many sides on the issue of slavery, but the truth is, there is only one question, “Are all men created equal?” and if not, are any of our rights really protected?
Praise God for the men and women who risked their own life, liberty, and happiness during those dark days of American slavery to be the voice of the voiceless, like Rev. John Rankin, who gave help and shelter to thousands of slaves crossing the Ohio River on their way to freedom. Praise God for the men and women who continue to rise up to this calling today, offering help and real hope to the men and women facing a crisis pregnancy.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once had a dream. I lift my voice with his, as well as every other voice that has every cried out for justice, freedom and the end of oppression, to declare that I, too, have a dream!
I have a dream, that one day the culture of death and oppression in this nation will die, and a new culture of life will be born.
I have a dream, that one day doctors will have the character and moral courage to value life over the dollar.
I have a dream, that one day the lies of abortion will be un-masked so that men and women will see the truth-abortion destroys them, as well as the life they conceived.
I have a dream, that one day the Church will finally take up her role as the hands and feet of Jesus to those suffering from past abortions.
I have a dream, that one day this nation will begin to practice what it preaches: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
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