By Paul Stark, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official national holiday on Oct. 3, 1863. In the midst of the horror of the Civil War, precipitated largely by the great evil of slavery, Lincoln (quite amazingly) wrote:
“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. …
“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union.”
Despite the continuing scourge of abortion and occasional setbacks to our cause, pro-life advocates have every reason to be thankful on this Thanksgiving. We should be grateful for many lives saved, hearts and minds changed, and pregnant women in need helped. We should “commend to His tender care” unborn children and all those affected by the tragedy of abortion, and “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it … to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union.”
And we should give thanks for the breathtaking privilege of working for the great cause of justice of our time. We stand for human rights and equality and against the unjust killing of more than one million innocent human beings in our nation every year. It is an honor.