Pro-life music

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, January 18th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. The 46th Annual March for Life is a bit later today in Washington, D.C. Thousands of people from around the country will rally at noon eastern time and then, about 1 o’clock begin a march to the Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol.

EICHER: Speakers include Abby Johnson, who is a former Planned Parenthood clinic director; also Martin Luther King Jr. niece Alveda King; author, speaker, podcaster Ben Shapiro, and many others.

March organizers are expecting 100,000 attendees.

REICHARD: The pro-life movement takes many forms other than just rallies and protests. Music plays a powerful part in reinforcing life-affirming messages. Christian artists like Matthew West, John Elefante, and rapper Trip Lee all have released songs that support and promote pro-life commitments and causes.

EICHER: And a few minutes ago, you heard a pro-life song by a mainstream act, Seals & Crofts. You know, Diamond Girl, Summer Breeze, those singable hits.

REICHARD: Oh, I loved those songs.

EICHER: Yeah, well, if you ever wondered why Seals & Crofts didn’t do much beyond that, here’s the reason why: this is the song that music journalists agree destroyed the band’s career. Here’s how it begins.

MUSIC: Oh little baby, / you’ll never cry, / nor will you hear / a sweet lullaby.

Seals & Crofts in the late 1960s converted to the Baha’i religion, which teaches that man is good, but abortion is not. Their record label warned them not to do the song and in the end, the music executives proved right about the fallout. Radio stations wouldn’t play the song, protesters showed up at their concerts.

REICHARD: But other mainstream artists have put their careers at risk and recorded songs that catch our culture by surprise.

Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: In 2005, rapper Jinho “The Piper” Ferreira and his band Flipsyde released “Happy Birthday:”

MUSIC: [Happy Birthday intro]

The video features Ferreira at a chain link fence watching kids as they play in an urban playground. He mourns a child he lost to abortion:

LYRIC: I paid for the murder before they determined the sex,
Choosing our life over your life meant your death.
And you never got a chance to even open your eyes,
Sometimes I wonder as a fetus if you fought for your life.

Ferreira doesn’t sugarcoat his actions in the song. He confesses to being sexually active outside of marriage and drinking too much. But now that he has another son on the way, he says he won’t make the same mistake.

LYRIC: And from the Heavens to the womb to the Heavens again.
From the ending to the ending, never got to begin.
Maybe one day we can meet face to face,
In a place without time and space. Happy birthday.

“Happy Birthday” spent 24 weeks on the International R&B Top 100 chart. 

Perhaps for some, Ferreira doesn’t go far enough as he says he’ll never tell a woman what to do with her body. But his soul searching lyric is a heart-wrenching reminder that a woman’s decision affects deeply those who don’t have a say.

LYRIC: What I thought was a dream
Make a wish
Was as real as it seemed
I made a mistake

Next, a 2009 song from a completely different genre.

MUSIC: [Timshel intro]

“Timshel” is a Mumford and Sons song inspired by Steinbeck’s novel: East of Eden. Even though the recording is 10 years old, it continues to stir online debate on fan forums about its message.

LYRIC: Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind…

“Timshel” is Hebrew for “you may” — a choice, like Cain’s choice in Genesis 4 as he ponders killing Abel. In Mumford’s song, a woman stands near the water contemplating a similar choice…  

LYRIC: And you are the mother
The mother of your baby child
The one to whom you gave life

Arguments abound as to whether the song is encouraging the woman to keep her baby, or merely offering assurances of support for her if she decides to kill it. Both pro-abortion and pro-life advocates claim the song supports their cause.

Mumford has been tight-lipped on the debate, but regardless of intent, the song has provided pro-lifers an opportunity to argue against Cain’s decision and offer hope and life to those facing an unplanned pregnancy.

We end today’s program with the last chorus of Mumford and Sons’ “Timshel” from a live performance for AOL Music.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

LYRIC: But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand.
But I will tell the night
And whisper, “Lose your sight”
But I can’t move the mountains for you

(Photo/Creative Commons)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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