Prayers & Sermons
We're Pro-Choice Because Of Our Faith
delivered by Reverend Carlton W. Veazey, President and CEO of the Religious
Coalition for Reproductive Choice, at the March for Women's Lives
in Washington, D.C., Sunday, April 25, 2004 (Photo taken by Steve
Ko, of The Pacific Times.)
On behalf of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and its forty denominations and religious organizations, I am here today to tell America that the Religious Right does not speak for all religious people in this country. Most religious people in America are pro-choice because of their faith.
I come from the Deep South and remember the years before Roe v. Wade, when women had no option but back-alley abortions. Countless women suffered and even died from gross infections and massive hemorrhaging. Some still bear scars from those horrible days. We must never go back to those days. We will never go back. We will never go back.
Victor Hugo once said that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. The time has come for America to wake up and support women's rights. The time has come for young people to take the leadership of this fight. So many have sacrificed so much to defend a woman's right to choose. The time has come for the religious people of this country to not only defend the constitutional right of women to choose but also to defend the religious freedom of all Americans. The time has come to stand up to the Religious Right and to say clearly that their goal is to create a theocracy in this country. The time has come to proclaim with all our moral power that women's rights are also civil rights and human rights.
Today is an historic day in many ways, but I am delighted that for the first time in history, the NAACP has joined with us in defending women's rights and their right to choose.
For those who are standing on the sidelines because they feel this issue does not affect them, remember that what affects some of us directly affects all of us indirectly. For those who feel they need not speak to this issue, remember the words of the theologian Martin Niemoller about his silence in Nazi Germany. First, he said, they came for the Communists--I was not a Communist so I did not speak up. Then they came for the Jews--I was not a Jew so I did not speak up. Then they came for the Catholics-I was a Protestant so I did not speak up. Then, Neimoller said, they came for me. By that time there was no one left to speak for me. So I ask you, speak while there is time. Speak while you can still be heard.
As we carry on this fight, let us not become weary. In the words of James Weldon Johnson's Black National Anthem, "God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on our way, Thou who has through Thy might led us into the light, Keep us forever on this path we pray." Brothers and sisters, let us march on until victory is won. God bless you.