I love the Lord of the Rings. I’m one of those people who not only has read the books multiple times, but who has read the Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin, and got ridiculously excited at the recent Tolkien exhibition at the Bodleian Library.
Far from being just escapism, the Lord of the Rings has much to tell us about the power of stories, the fight of good against evil, and how the deeds of ordinary people can have profound consequences. This being so, as well as using Middle Earth as a way to get away from the pressures of working in the pro-life movement, I also find great inspiration there. While as far as I know, JRR Tolkien never directly addressed the issue of abortion (after all, he died only a few years after the Abortion Act was introduced) it’s a pretty safe bet that he would have been pro-life, and his work clearly shows his belief in the value of human life.
So, here are five moments from the Lord of the Rings (yes, I know all these quotes aren’t quite the same in the books!) that could almost be made to inspire pro-lifers.
1) Even the smallest person…
This quote is often used in pro-life memes, and it is indeed a powerful reminder that even the tiniest baby in the womb will grow up to change the world. Even if one never does great or famous things in a worldly sense, we all impact the people around us in ways that are impossible to predict – our parents, our siblings, the friends we will make, the person we marry, the children we have. The life or death of every tiny baby will change the world forever.
However, this quote also applies more directly to pro-lifers. Frodo was a small, insignificant person in a world of great men and monsters, but it was his actions that brought down a great evil. Even the least among us can make a difference in the fight to end abortion.
2) All you have to decide…
There’s so much in this little scene. When we see how much the Culture of Death has taken over our society, it’s natural to wish that we lived in happier times. But, as was the case for Frodo, that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us.
3) It is not this day!
However, sometimes we need a little more encouragement than “there are forces other than evil at work in this world”, and this speech from the Return of the King would inspire anyone. I remember watching this after one of the many setbacks we suffered this year and then shouting round the SPUC office “there may come a day when SPUC fails, BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!”. So next time you’re feeling discouraged, hold your ground! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, stand!
4) A new day will come
Samwise Gamgee is a wonderful example of how ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and his speech here is so good that I’m going to use it for two points. When we feel like we’re facing an impossible battle, against much stronger enemies, these words are so inspiring: “Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.” We know that we have the truth on our side. If history tells us anything, it’s that evil regimes eventually come crashing down, and abortion is no different. One day the darkness that feeds the culture of death will pass, and the light of the truth that all human life is precious and worthy of protection will shine out the clearer.
5) There’s some good in the world
What are we in the pro-life movement holding on to? We are holding on to the dignity of every human person, from the smallest baby, to the oldest most disabled adult. We are holding onto the joy of mothers and families who have welcomed babies despite great hardships. We’re holding on to the fact that hope and healing can be found after abortion. We are holding on to the hope that one day the truth and beauty of the pro-life message will be believed and upheld by all, and that all people will work together to find compassionate help to those in crisis pregnancies. There’s some good in the world, and it’s worth fighting for.