The High Cost of Defending the High Ground

The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest single battle in the Civil War. Over 160,000 Union and Confederate troops struggled for three days between July 1-3, 1863. Gettysburg would prove to be the turning point in the war, and the turning point at Gettysburg was the failed Confederate charge to take the high ground – East Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill- away from the Union forces. The failed Confederate assault to take the high ground, cost nearly 65% of the troops, sent Lee’s army in retreat across the Mason Dixon Line.

Some have debated whether the loss of so many American lives- both Union and Confederate- during the Civil War was worth the price. Those who understood the cancer of slavery said yes. Every black slave that finally tasted freedom would say yes.

Consider another war and another battle to control the high ground on June 6, 1944. The Allied invasion on the beaches of Normandy resulted in severe casualties, especially at Omaha Beach where brave American soldiers, and many filled with fear, left the protection of their landing craft and leaped into the Atlantic surf seeking safety on the beach and discovering German landmines, barbed wire and the relentless staccato of Nazi machine guns reigning down from the higher ground.

Was D-Day worth the cost of thousands of lives? Those prisoners still alive in Hitler’s death camps would respond, “yes!” What would life be like today if Hitler’s demonic vision to rid the world of people deemed to be an inferior race?

Today, another war, another struggle over the moral high ground is being fought. Or, at least it was. Seems to me, we have relinquished the high moral ground in the debate over abortion when we celebrate a state law restricting abortion after 21 weeks gestation. Certainly 21 weeks is preferred to abortion up to the minute of a natural birth.

But, is this any different than the failed compromises preceding the Civil War? Did the Missouri Compromise make slavery less immoral south of the Mason-Dixon line? The Kansas-Nebraska Act permitted each new state that joined the Union to decide whether to legalize or to forbid slavery. Sounds like the abortion debate today.

When I began posting here on, I never intended to treat the issue of abortion in four consecutive posts. However, the stakes are so high with so many innocent lives at risk, I soon realized I couldn’t say all that I wanted in one post. So, consider the following as an addendum to the previous posts about the struggle over abortion. I believe abortion on demand is the greatest evil- a moral epidemic- in our culture today.

The rapid increase of deaths caused by an overdose of fentanyl or other opioid drugs has caused some people to consider it an epidemic. Pictures of homeless people, sprawled on the sidewalks of our cities, injecting drugs into their arms appear on tv newscasts.

One of my initial responses to these images was to ask myself, “Why are they doing this? Why are they risking death for another high? What is the pain that is causing them to self-medicate?”

There’s enough blame to go around. It is easy to point fingers at the drug cartels that smuggle illicit drugs across our porous southern border. Liberal politicians- both state and national- that refuse to enforce the Law also bare responsibility for the opioid epidemic. Even I, who watch the pictures of people lying on the sidewalk or staggering down the street bear some responsibility. Have I prayed for them? Have I ever risked trying to speak to them- to even ask their name? Of course not! It’s too dangerous? After all they’re miles away from Troutdale. It’s not my problem.

Yes, the opiod epidemic is taking the lives of too many people. But the differences between the abortion epidemic and that of opiod deaths are stark. Every person that inhales or injects or swallows drugs has chosen to do it. Perhaps it was just curiosity the first time. Or, perhaps it is an attempt to escape reality by burying the inner pain caused by life’s harsh experiences. However, no matter the reason, it was a choice that each victim of a drug overdose has made. A risk they chose to take.

In contrast, the epidemic that I am thinking of is never the choice of the victims. Far more deaths in our country result from abortion than from drug overdoses.

Every life is a terrible thing to waste. Every death should be grieved whether occuring in a lean-to tent on the streets of Portland or in an abortion clinic.

Sadly, without legal protection and a fresh spirit of compassion, infanticide will continue in our self-centered, pleasure-seeking culture. Today, we seem to be in a race to make abortion legal at any time and for any reason. However, man-made laws can never make something that is inherently evil morally good.

I realize that I may be “preaching to the choir.” People who already believe that legalizing abortion is wrong. Perhaps, these blog posts may be just a “voice in the wilderness.” But, if you also feel compassion for the most vulnerable among us, I invite you to also pray for and to cry out for justice for unborn.

Oh, how I long for that day when pain and death will no longer make headlines. When justice and compassion will flow like a river and innocent blood will be vindicated.

That wonderful day will be the fulfillment of the promise I stand upon, that someday the “seed of the woman” will deal a death blow to the great serpent- the enemy of everything that is good. Meanwhile, I am sustained with anticipation and will continue to offer my voice on behalf of the victims of this great epidemic.