Sarah English: Supporting Measure 1 Was Hard, But Right


If you ever feel complacent or “blah” in your relationship with God; if you ever need a reminder that following Jesus is supposed to cost you something; if you need proof the Bible contains astounding insight about a battle between two spiritual kingdoms, get involved with the pro-life movement.

My name is Sarah, I’m 25, and somehow this summer I got suckered into helping with the measure 1 campaign by some sweet Catholic ladies. Despite the outcome, campaigning for it was the coolest thing ever; it had the words of the New Testament leaping off the page for me.

Downtown Fargo has been the center of my world since 2010, and I’ve collected many friends over the years. Interestingly, I’ve been able to maintain those relationships even as I’ve undergone massive life changes after deciding to follow God with my whole life in September 2012.

I became everyone’s incomprehensible yet ever-cheerful Jesus-freak friend. My secular friends didn’t really mind; my Christianity was non-threatening and easily dismissed as a delusion I had chosen for myself.

That all changed when I became publically pro-life.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”It’s not that I wasn’t pro-life before–I probably was, maybe even before I was Christian. I had just never had an opportunity to be public about it.”[/mks_pullquote]

It’s not that I wasn’t pro-life before–I probably was, maybe even before I was Christian. I had just never had an opportunity to be public about it. I didn’t attend a church that promoted this kind of work throughout the year, and I had never experienced a political election while having a solid Christian identity.

When finally confronted with an opportunity to support a pro-life measure, it seemed like the logical thing to do. Measure 1 would have established that abortion is not a “fundamental right” in North Dakota. That seemed quite reasonable to me. The more I learned, the more I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to help the campaign.

But whoa, what I experienced. Many of my downtowner friends campaigned for the other side; some of them even took to my Facebook to use cutting words to shame me out of supporting measure 1. It was an intense identity crisis–would I rather be a popular peacemaker downtown, or would I rather be honest about my allegiance to the truth?

As naive as it sounds, I had heretofore totally missed the memo about abortion being a woman’s “right.” My own sexual sin had been inherently sterile, so I had never been driven to rationalize abortion. I understood that abortion was legal, but I never conceived that people would actually assert it as a fundamental human right. This, I soon learned, is exactly what my friends believe.

Robert R. Reilly once quipped, “Nobody has a right to do what is wrong. You cannot claim a natural right to commit an unnatural act.”

Obsessed with ethics as I am, I set my face like flint and supported measure 1 until the bloody end. In those 3.5 months, I never understood the anxiety of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane more, and I never understood his compassion for sinners less.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

“Yes,” I thought, “That’s me!”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”


“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

“Probably, definitely me.”

I had never clung to the Beatitudes more. I even coined a few of my own:

“Blessed are the unfriended, for they shall have friends in heaven.”

“Blessed are the unfollowed, for they are truly following Jesus.”

Pretty lame beatitudes, but they helped me keep perspective. I had to keep reminding myself that waning social media interaction was not real persecution.

This is all to say that not until I actively opposed the evil the World wishes to do, did I truly experience a lot of what Jesus was talking about. It brought me closer to his heart. I felt like I understood him more yet comprehended his love and grace less and less; I felt more willing to sacrifice my “life” at the hands of my friends out of love for my friends. Supporting measure 1 was sincerely sanctifying.

This life is our only opportunity in history to be brave, to be like Jesus when it’s not easy. I hope this encourages you toward that end. And if you can learn, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to remain charitable toward those who oppose you in the midst of something like pro-life work, you will be truly blessed.