I have a dream that one day this country will rise up and choose the life our forefathers envisioned; that finally we will become a nation where all human life is recognized as created equal, endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit happiness.
I have a dream that the value of a human life will never be calculated by their parent’s bank account; that no one will ever be told they cannot afford the love that grows within them.
I have an American dream where we live out our belief in the ability of all people to rise above their circumstances and embrace the abundant life they desire and deserve; that no one would dare be so bold as to speculate that it would be better someone else was never born.
I have a dream that we will not dispose of life deemed “defective” or unwanted; that all human life will be celebrated and protected as a priceless gift of unlimited potential; that we will embrace the reality that to hold a baby is to possess a future filled with unpredictable possibility, a life worth dying for.
I have a dream that we will never measure another’s value based on what they can do for us, choosing instead to look at the most vulnerable among us as opportunities to find within ourselves an unconditional love and dignity we are compelled to share.
I have a dream where children will not pay for their parents’ mistakes with their own lives.
I have a dream that one day mothers everywhere will welcome the life that grows inside of them even if it wasn’t part of their plans; that we will finally experience the freedom found in relinquishing the unrelenting desire to control absolutely every aspect of our existence.
I have a dream that nurses will hold women’s hands and tell them that they are stronger than they realize, that there are lots of people, strangers even, who believe in them and are willing to help; nurses who will usher the afraid and overwhelmed into a place of peace beyond understanding, where they will be showered with a love big enough to give birth to a beauty beyond their imagination.
I have a dream that doctors will first, do no harm, that they will look women in the eyes and tell them the truth: that they contain within themselves everything their baby needs not just to survive, but to thrive.
I have a dream that we will never have to choose between loving the mother and loving the child.
I have a dream that the universal church will support every woman brave enough to choose life in all its messiness; that we will welcome every child as our very own, sharing generously and sacrificially the gifts we have been given.
I have a dream that women wounded by abortion will know that they are more than the choices they have made, that every part of them is always loved and cherished, that it is never too late to choose life and that in doing so they bring honor to the children they have lost; I have a dream that these mothers will be swept away by the swift current of mercy and brought to the distant shore of a new life that is theirs for the choosing.
I have a dream that one day we will acknowledge our worth as independent of the circumstances of our conception; that no one will be denied the right to exist based on whether their parents are married or love one another; that we will all come to understand the incomprehensible truth that that every single one of us was conceived from the beginning of time in the mind of an all-powerful and loving Father, who in his infinite wisdom provided for us the paradox of perfect mother who also happened to be a pregnant, unwed teen who said yes to life and all of the glory and misery that comes with it, a poor young girl who in cooperating with God’s plan brought us the greatest gift the world has ever known: a big brother who would die to protect us from any and all harm, opening wide his arms and pouring out every ounce of his life in a river of suffering thereby bridging the gap once and for all between the human and the divine.
Let life be celebrated from the cold hard examining table to the comfortable glider rocking chair.
Let life be celebrated from the pink plus sign to the to carved granite headstone.
Let life be celebrated in homes, hospitals and hospices, in churches, schools and voting booths, from small town halls to courts supreme.
Let life be celebrated from mistakes to miracles.
Let life be celebrated from devastating disappointments to dreams come true.
Let life be celebrated from the depths of despair to the peaks of perfection.
Let us accept and unwrap the mysterious gifts delivered from a distant land; let us stand firmly on something larger than ourselves with a faith forged of steel will; let us believe in something better than what our mortal eyes can see; let us lift high the light of an audacious hope of a future brighter than where we are. Let Lady Liberty LIVE, stepping into the sea of suffering that surrounds her as she carries the tired, the poor, the wretched refuse safely into the promised land.
And when this happens, when the truth we carve in concrete becomes living flesh, when we step out of the mold of our own design to acknowledge a designer more intelligent than ourselves, when we trade copper, wrought iron and steel for hearts of flesh that feel, then we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white, rich and poor, Gentile and Jew, Protestant and Catholic, atheist and feminist, gay and straight, planned and unplanned, born and unborn, have the opportunity to live out the true meaning of what we profess:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Of thee I sing.