The world is moved by music. There is, perhaps, no more compelling construction than a melody to elevate and embolden a cause. Anti-slavery abolitionists understood its power and its ability to sustain them when defeat loomed all around
The “Song of the Abolitionist”, written by the leader of the American Anti-Slavery Society, William Lloyd Garrison, served as a source of encouragement. Abolitionists were the targets of intense political persecution and verbal and physical violence. Garrison, himself, was brutally attacked for his anti-slavery beliefs, nearly lynched in Boston by a pro-slavery mob. Several stanzas in his song could be a rallying cry for today’s Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion movement:
“I am an Abolitionist! Then urge me not to pause,
For joyfully do I enlist In Freedom’s sacred cause;
A nobler strife the world ne’er saw, Th’enslaved to disenthral;
I am a soldier for the war, Whatever may befall.
I am an Abolitionist! No threats shall awe my soul;
No perils cause me to desist, No bribes my acts control;
A freeman will I live and die, In sunshine and in shade,
And raise my voice for liberty, Of nought on earth afraid.”
Prolife advocates are direct descendants of slavery abolitionists. Both the slavery abolitionist and the prolife activist share the same struggle for human dignity and justice, rooted in the reality that we are created beings with intrinsic worth that can never be defined by man, woman or governmental institution. Abortion is just as evil an institution as slavery—both industries are inhumane practices of profit-driven human bondage and destruction.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “The society’s antislavery activities frequently met with violent public opposition, with mobs invading meetings, attacking speakers, and burning presses.” Today they don’t need to burn presses; the mainstream press torches any semblance of objectivity in the abortion debate, deliberately demonizing the pro-life movement with the most incendiary words. And the attacks are relentless (see latest attack on Abby Johnson at the University of Washington), especially in allegedly educational environments, as was seen in my bizarre experience at Georgia State University.
Pro-abortion activists, like their pro-slavery predecessors, use the same desperate silencing tactics. This “OUTRAGE” poster, from 1837, could be used on any college campus today as activists refuse to allow constitutionally protected free. Many are compelled by sheer emotion and ignorance in attempts to quash historical, scientific and statistical prolife education. So much for higher learning.
The attacks against civil rights leaders in the 60s weren’t just verbal, but explicitly violent; yet, the Civil Rights Movement had its theme immortalized in song. We still hear it today. “We Shall Overcome”, a heart’s cry about the deep evil of eugenics-based Jim Crow Laws, was filled with the insuppressible certainty that this injustice would be conquered.
Over the years, prolife songs have trickled out of the music industry, mostly from Christian artists. Many prolife advocates get excited about musicians’ willingness to address this present-day human rights issue.
From the famous to the obscure, prolife messaging can be heard from artists like Lauryn Hill (“Zion”), Common (“Retrospect on Life”), Whitney Houston (“Miracle”), Steven Curtis Chapman (“All I Really Want”), J.Cole (“Lost Ones”), Flipsyde (“Happy Birthday”), Nick Cannon (“Can I Live”) , Christcentric (“Fight for the Children”), Natalie Grant (“Held”), as well as one of my favorites, Barlow Girl (“Tears Fall”). Tragically, too often in mainstream hip-hop and R&B, there are continually conflicting messages of morality that tend to negate any positive stance on the Life issue. (Jay-Z’s latest, Blue Ivy, is considered prolife by some, yet the entirety of his work is anti-life, anti-woman, pro-violence, and at times, inarguably, racist. Tragically, too, his wife, R&B superstar Beyoncé, allows Planned Parenthood fundraisers to be held at her House of Deréon.)
I’m moved every time I hear the song, singing the chorus with a grieved yet expectant heart. The chorus captures the essence of the issue: “Beautiful life inside, living, moving, breathing…So let Hope arise…God knew what He was doing when He gave beautiful, beautiful life…”
Imagine the chorus of millions across the globe, fearlessly declaring a potent refrain that unified this movement of justice. That anthem has yet to be written, but just like the compilation songbook Anti-Slavery Melodies, prolife songs are helping to break through the rhetoric, awaken souls to abortion’s destruction, encourage people to act with nonviolent urgency and even bring healing to those scarred by “choice”.
We are today’s abolitionists compelled by love, justice and mercy. I cannot wait for the day when our song will be one of true retrospect, rejoicing because human worth and dignity have been restored through abortion’s abolition.
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