By Judie Brown
Millennials are those members of the population who were born between 1981 and 1997. They represent a significant portion of our population and range in age from 21 to 36. Generation Z follows behind them.
Many of these young people who identify as pro-life misunderstand the meaning of the term. We see an example of this in a recent story in the magazine Marie Claire. This story featured young people who fashion themselves as pro-life feminists; however, these young women make it clear that they do not oppose contraception, they support some abortion in certain cases, and they advocate for sex education. In addition, one of the couples interviewed stated that they are aware of the Secular Pro-Life organization and have attended its conferences, pointing out that—as atheists—their view is that “there may not be that many differences between the secular and religious pro-life movements after all—Life Matters Journal's ‘consistent life ethic’ stance is, for example, an ideal that was first coined by a Catholic cardinal.”
And that may well be where the disconnect begins between the younger elements of pro-life leadership and the reality of what we veterans are actually battling against on a daily basis. Regardless of what Cardinal Joseph Bernardin said regarding his seamless garment rhetoric, the fact is that fighting for the innocent does not, should not, and cannot equate with other matters. To suggest such a thing is fundamentally a secular argument and not a real pro-life argument.
Secularism “is the belief that life can be best lived without reference to a god or gods or other supernatural concepts. It represents complete freedom from religion, or no religion at all, and consequently religious influence is minimized in the public sphere.”
In other words, to be a genuine secular pro-life person would be to set sail in the muddy waters of relativism where there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, and no God. Sailing on that sort of free-wheeling ethic will not result in anything meaningful. And the reason is clear. Secularism is rooted in relativism, which, according to Pope Benedict XVI “does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate standard consists solely of one's own ego and desires.”
Among those who have discussed this problem as it relates to millennials is a researcher who studied the attitudes of millennials. Robert Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, found that their tolerance and empathy for others—regardless of the situation—makes them “reluctant to make blanket black-and-white moral pronouncements about issues they see as complex.”
This analysis makes the most sense when we try to discern what we can do to help our fellow pro-life laborers, the millennials, and others with different perspectives understand why we need consistency rather than relativism and secularism.
Perhaps millennials and the Generation Z’ers realize that they grew up during a time when they themselves could well have fallen under the abortionist’s knife. If this has shaped their view, it should help us understand how to teach and to communicate in a way that resonates with them. Watching from afar and observing the culture as we know it helps us understand why these young people don’t buy into the pro-life standards we hold dear. After all, standing for the 100 percent pro-life principles carries with it a demand to be consistent, to be all in, and to place the fight for innocent life above all else—no matter the political or cultural cost.
At American Life League we welcome the challenge to use our teaching and communication skills to help the younger generations improve their rhetoric, understand fundamental truths, and ultimately embrace a worldview that respects the natural law. The teachings of the gospel and the virtues that set human beings apart from all of creation are the foundation of a pro-life work that can and does make a difference.
Millennials and Generation Z need to see what we see, understand why truth does matter, and then join us in building a culture of life. We can do this!
Learn the facts and then teach them by visiting American Life League’s website.
Learn how to teach these truths to your children and encourage their teachers to do likewise. American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program offers the way.
Make sure to have Celebrate Life Magazine in your home. It also makes a wonderful gift for your doctor and your educator, not to mention your pastor, your school library, and more.
Start learning about Planned Parenthood and how to stop its bad influences in schools, on campuses, and among the poor.
Please pray for America.