Beauty from Ashes

“To all who mourn in Israel, [The LORD] will give beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair…” Isaiah 61:3

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we recognize that each life has inherent dignity and matchless value, and we reaffirm our steadfast determination to defend the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.

America was founded on the belief that all men are created equal and have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and our country remains committed to upholding that founding principle. Since taking office, I have signed legislation to help protect life at all stages, and my Administration will continue to encourage adoption, fund abstinence education and crisis pregnancy programs, and support faith-based groups. Today, as our society searches for new ways to ease human suffering, we must pursue the possibilities of science in a manner that respects the sacred gift of life and upholds our moral values.

Our Nation has made progress in its efforts to protect human life, and we will strive to change hearts and minds with compassion and decency. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day and throughout the year, we help strengthen the culture of life in America and work for the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 20, 2008, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.


Amen, George.

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. 2008 marks the 35th anniversary (dare I say, “birthday”?) of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. It’s estimated more than 50,000 million babies have been aborted in this country alone since 1972.

At church this morning, Life was the topic. We could have dwelt on abortion statistics (which are moving), focused on the tragedy of losing an innocent life (which it is), denounced Planned Parenthood as murderers (they are), bemoaned the trauma it can cause women (I’ve interviewed some personally) or highlighted the fact that even though we hate the sin, we should love the sinner (I can’t stress that last part enough). We could have, but we didn’t.

Instead, the pastor made a wise choice and used the service to celebrate Life. A good portion of the service was dedicated to a video interview of a church member who, pregnant at 17, decided against abortion and gave her child up for adoption. The now-26-year-old woman some urged her to terminate joined her in the video. They discussed the joy in both their lives, joy that stemmed from one woman making the right decision in a difficult situation. As the pastor said in his introduction, it was “two-tissue morning.” But he also said this: “God gives beauty out of ashes.”

Truly, this woman’s biological daughter was beauty out of ashes. Literally, this chick was hot. But back to the point.

I’ve known probably a dozen or so adopted children in my life and whether or not they came “from ashes,” I can testify that they are full of God’s beauty. My best friend’s biological mother gave her up for adoption, despite a society that pressured her to abort. It is very selfish of me to say it, but my life would simply not be near as rich nor fun if that woman I don’t even know had made the easy choice. And yet, the spice her daughter brings to my life is nothing compared to the joy her life brings the Lord.

In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that. However, here are two more Stories of Life: This is an article I wrote that was picked up by Baptist Press (in my circle, that’s a great honor), not to mention the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission. It’s about an abortion clinic in Springfield, MO. The second story, below, is from the most recent issue of World Magazine. In my review of Juno on A Rough Cut, I briefly noted that both Juno and Allison of Knocked Up, for one reason or another, chose Life over death. This article takes it a few steps further. You’ll have to click on each page to open up the larger file. It’s a good article and is worth your time.


One response to “Beauty from Ashes

  1. This is a really good post.

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