Jan. 22 is National Sanctity of Human Life Day in America, as designated by President Donald Trump in one of his final acts before leaving office this week. While that may not mean much to some, it resonates deeply with others.
There are many individuals and organizations that advocate for the needs of human beings, from children to senior citizens. However, there remains an urgent need for more Americans to advocate for our most vulnerable population, the preborn—especially on Jan. 22, the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which effectively legalized abortion nationwide.
America remains one of just a handful of countries that permits elective abortions throughout pregnancy. Consider:
—1 out of every 5 preborn American babies is aborted.
—About 2,500 abortions are performed each day in the U.S.
—60,000,000 American children have been aborted since 1973.
As tragic as those numbers are, abortion’s impact on black Americans is even more alarming.
Consider also the following comparisons of abortion vis-a-vis the black population:
—More than 20,000,000 black babies have been aborted since 1973.
—According to the U.S. census, there were 18,871,831 blacks living in America in 1960.
That means that since 1973, more black babies have been killed by surgical abortion than the entire U.S. black population of 1960.
But it’s not enough just to know and mourn abortion’s death toll. We must also answer the call to do something about it.
As part of the Douglass Leadership Institute’s Strengthening the Family initiative, we’ve launched our new Jeremiah 1:5 Project. It derives directly from the Bible verse Jeremiah 1:5, which says:
I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.
In that verse, there are three life-affirming principles:
1) The purview of God (God saw and knew Jeremiah, even in the womb.)
2) Personhood even in the womb (Preborn lives matter to God.)
3) God assigns purpose in the womb. (We are each created to do something special.)
The goals of the Jeremiah 1:5 Project are to increase awareness of abortion and its impact on the black community and to decrease the support for abortion in the black community.
Building on the Douglass Leadership Institute’s success with its strategic partner, the Church of God in Christ, which recently passed a historic resolution affirming the sanctity of life, the institute has secured the signatures of more than 500 black pastors choosing to boldly, unapologetically, and compassionately stand up and speak up for life.
They are doing so in the spirit of Proverbs 24:11 (NIV): “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.”
The project’s focus is primarily—though not exclusively—geared toward black pastors in response to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s desire to control the birth rate of black Americans.
In 1939, Sanger wrote in a historic and infamous letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble (of the Procter & Gamble fortune):
We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal.
We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.
Conversely, the Douglass Leadership Institute believes the black pastors who have joined its project will be key to ending abortion’s toll on the black community.
But while the primary audience is black pastors, many pastors of other races and ethnicities have also chosen to join this pivotal project. Each of these clergymen and clergywomen have courageously committed to affirm the dignity and value of all human life, regardless of gestational age.
They have also committed to pray, preach, and teach the sanctity of human life from the pulpit, and to invite their pastoral peers to do likewise.
Life is a gift, and it is precious. It must be protected, and the Douglass Leadership Institute’s Jeremiah 1:5 Project is positioned to do just that.
A new administration has entered the White House and may not be committed to protect our vulnerable preborn citizens. For that reason, it is critically important that those who value life in all of its phases and stages remain vigilant.
We must continue to diligently stand up, speak up, and most of all, never give up in the battle, because lives depend on it, born and preborn alike.
Article By Arnold Culbreath is the director of ministry engagement at the Maryland-based Douglass Leadership Institute.