Martin Luther King. Mother Teresa. John Paul II. The life’s work of each of these unlikely champions was essentially to witness to the human-rights violations of their times. They did not speak from the government halls of power. They did not control personal fortunes. They did not command military forces. Yet the nonviolent witness of these ordinary people carried enough influence to inspire people around the world to question, to argue, to rally, to act. Their common method of social change was witness — the irresistible power of speaking the truth in love.
Their witness was by word and by deed. Instead of turning a blind eye to injustice and the degradation of the human person in its many forms, they did what they could, and challenged us to do the same. Rather than inciting violence, they let their love for broken humanity show forth without apology. By shining the light on the darkness in our souls and in our world, they were witnesses to man’s inhumanity to man. By becoming a living testimony to the injustices that they personally perceived, they made a profound difference.
And that is why pro-life citizens are winning in the human-rights movement against the crimes of abortion, human cloning, destructive human-embryo experiments, and euthanasia. We are winning because we have never forgotten that failing to witness is the only way we’d lose.
We are winning because the millions in this movement have continued to steadfastly witness in the courts, in the legislatures, in the media, in schools and universities, in the arena of electoral politics, and in communities of faith. Some witness around the kitchen table, or in the car driving with their children. Some witness when they hold the hand of a friend, look her in the eyes, and say, “I am here for you and your baby.”
There are witnesses who dedicate their lives to peaceful and prayerful protest in front of the abortion facilities that exploit the lives of women and destroy their children. And there are witnesses in pregnancy-resource centers who counsel to and provide practical resources for women in unexpected pregnancies.
There are witnesses who advocate with maximum determination in the courtrooms and legislatures, and there are witnesses who organize fellow students to stand for the counter-cultural position that human life is not a cheap commodity.
There are witnesses who respect their vocation to heal by refusing to participate in life-destructive medical practices, and there are witnesses who give psychological and spiritual counsel those who have fallen prey to the lie of abortion.