Kathryn Jean Lopez" />

A culture caught up in the ingesting of darkness

People walk up Constitution Avenue headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court while participating in the 47th annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 24, 2020. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

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I had an intense March for Life experience, as I typically do. People from all sorts of stages of my life seem to converge on Washington, D.C., for a very limited period of time. So there are reunions and talks and interviews and some serious prayer. There’s this mix of intense hope and reencountering grave evil and the poison it has injected into the American bloodstream.

This year, I was very aware of the fact that the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in America, is only a few years older than I am, and it’s about to approach the 50-year mark. This monstrosity cannot outlive me. We have to have this attitude with a new intensity, whatever our age.

The presence of the president at the opening rally, and even the presence of Baby Yoda signs and a recording of Kanye West playing a time or two, suggested something a little more mainstream, a little more alive in the culture. Maybe we are finally the “cool kids,” as one bright young observer suggested on Twitter.

The fact of the matter is the people who are doubling down on extremism are becoming more and more blatant in their insistence on death, in a culture that has way too much unnecessary death. But, of course, suicide would become more frequent when we have been living with law and pressures and acceptance of not protecting the vulnerable, not overwhelming people with love so that they can make the decisions that would do honor to the gift that is human life. The reality of new Supreme Court justices suggests this could be winnable. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but think about the pain so many experience before an abortion.

At the March rally, President Donald Trump said some beautiful things about unselfish love and being made in the image and likeness of God. I found myself praying that he knows that is true, that he experiences it himself and could come to be changed by his presence at the March for Life.

Whatever you think about him, he has been known to say some terrible things about people when they aren’t on his side. I’m so glad he said what he said at the rally. At the same time, I prayed that everyone who was applauding was also praying for him, for humility and wisdom, and for the people in misery because of abortion.

Two days after the March, I was praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy outside Planned Parenthood at Margaret Sanger Place in New York City, and I saw on a construction barricade someone had written “Die Trump.” See the poison? It’s inside and outside.

I had an instant flashback to being on an Amtrak train going back to New York after a pro-abortion women’s march on the Mall during the George W. Bush presidency. I seemed to be the only one on the train who wasn’t wedded to their cause. Women talked about how they wished Barbara Bush had aborted her son, so he could have never become president.

I remember thinking at the time, even as I was hearing it with my own ears: Do people really think this way? Do people really say such things? Do people really have the hate that dehumanizes in their hearts? Of course, we sure see a whole lot more of it these days, don’t we?

It seems all the more acceptable to watch other people’s lives with intense judgment and such vile thoughts that infect every aspect of our lives. It’s all over the culture right now, the ingesting of darkness. Don’t let the heart go there. More and more, we simply have to make prayer our lifeblood instead of watching events of the world as if they are the latest binge-watch on Netflix. On this abortion front especially, we simply must be committed to loving and praying more. Those who don’t see clearly will only do so if we do.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and editor-at-large of National Review.

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