Musical tastes being subject to significant and frequent changes (not only between generations or decades but even on an annual basis), the following list may be of great interest to some, little-to-no-help to others, and perhaps a mild irritation to others. To those of you whose musical sensibilities I offend wit my selections, I offer my regrets and condolences.
Two characteristics of the list below will be immediately apparent:
The first is that, with the notable exceptions of John Newton’s Amazing Grace and Schubert’s Ave Maria, none of the songs below could accurately be placed under the label of “Worship Songs” or “Christian Music.”
As Christians, we should remember that the defense of human life is not, strictly speaking, only a “Christian issue,” but rather a struggle that ought to stir the hearts of all men and women, regardless of their theological dispositions. (That said, we should not be too shy to point out that no institution, past or present, has been able to articulate the arguments in defense of life as effectively as the Church). If nothing else, the presence of “non-religious” songs here ought to vindicate those of us who believe that the Church’s defenses of life are simply reflections of a universal truth that naturally resonates with the human heart.
Second, the listed songs break down into two general categories: Songs that directly reference the culture of death (abortion, contraception, etc.), and those that are only indirectly related. For the songs falling into the latter category, and consequently require some explanation for their place on this list, I will provide a brief (but hopefully satisfactory) justification.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1) “Unborn Child,” by Seals and Crofts
To start us off, here’s a song that I’m betting you’ve never heard. Largely forgotten, it makes an impassioned plea in defense of the titular baby:
Oh no momma, just let it be. You’ll never regret it, just wait and see.
Think of all the great ones who gave everything
That we might have life here, so please bear the pain
2) “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” by The Beach Boys
Here’s one that, on the surface, bears no relation to the concerns of those marching in DC this week. However, we need to remember that abortion is not, as they say, a standalone issue, but rather is tied up with a whole culture’s view on fundamental social issues. Among these, rather prominently, is the issue of marriage. With that in mind, this song’s celebration of a young man’s desire to marry the girl of his dreams, rather than viewing her as an opportunity for cheap gratification, stands firmly against the perverse relationship designs promoted by the modern culture of death.
Maybe if we think and wish and hope
And pray it might come true
Run, run, run
Baby, then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married
We could be, we could be married and happy
And then we’d be happy
3) “Stay Together For The Kids,” by Blink 182
Speaking of the culture of death, this song illustrates perfectly the awful consequences of marital dysfunction, especially its effect on the children of such troubled relationships. While our modern culture has worked diligently to redefine marriage as something meant to provide emotional satisfaction to two (for now) consenting adults for an unspecified period, Christians know – and the Church reminds us – that marriage is a divine formula that makes no sense if the needs of children are not subject to consideration.
I see them everyday
We get along so why can’t they?
If this is what he wants
And it’s what she wants
Then why’s there so much pain?
4) “Memories Are Made Of This,” by Dean Martin
Similar to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” this song captures the joy of marriage and romance in a culture of life:
Then add the wedding bells
One house where lovers dwell
Three little kids for the flavor
Stir carefully through the days
See how the flavor stays
These are the dreams you will savor
5) “Brick,” by Ben Folds Five
There’s little room for interpretation in this song, as the lyrics make clear by illustrating the emotional devastation that is wrought in the wake of abortion:
They call her name at 7:30, I pace around the parking lot
Then I walk down to buy her flowers, and sell some gifts that I got
Can’t you see? It’s not me you’re dying for
Now she’s feeling more alone, than she ever has before
Driving back to her apartment
For the moment we’re alone
She’s alone and I’m alone
Now I know it
6) “Two Sisters,” by The Kinks
The Kinks never bring up abortion here, but the song’s subject – a mother’s phase of jealousy for her sister’s blissful “single life” – is arguably closely related to the life issue. Ask yourself this: Are not the same voices who praise the single life in the media almost uniformly the same voices who promote “choice” whenever the topic of abortion is raised?
Happily, however, the woman in question ultimately chooses the happiness of family over the cheaper pleasures enjoyed by her sister:
Percilla saw her little children
And then decided she was better off
Than the wayward lass that her sister had been
No longer jealous of her sister
7) “Abortion,” by Kid Rock
Another one with some pretty heartbreaking lyrics, and with zero wiggle-room for interpretation:
Living in the shadows of a man I’ve never seen
Dreamin’ like a lonely child
I know your brothers and your sister
And your mother too
Man, I wish you could see them too
Oh, Lord, oh, Lord
Man, I wish that you could see them too
Man, I wish that you could see them too
8) “Little Flower,” by Danielle Rose
From the official YouTube video’s description:
The song ‘Little Flower’ radiates God’s love for people often considered to be unwanted, disposable, or of little value. In China, this mindset has led to a social crisis in the form of the One-Child Policy. Danielle Rose, Rob Kaczmark of Spirit Juice Studios, and a team of talented people traveled to China, where they were privileged to create this music video with China Little Flower orphanage in order to help build a culture of life. Please support the work of China Little Flower (www.chinalittleflower.org), whose mission is to protect, respect, love & serve the lives of abandoned, handicapped, & special needs children entrusted to their care.
The lyrics even reference the words of Mother Teresa:
How can you say there are too many children?
That is like saying there are too many flowers
In the garden, in the garden of God.
9) “The Icicle Melts,” by The Cranberries
At first, this entry seems like a sure candidate for the “directly related to abortion” category, but a second reading opens it up a bit to interpretation. If the songwriter has made a statement in regard to this, I’m not aware of it. What should be apparent, though, is that even if the song isn’t in fact about abortion, it is still easily applicable to that conversation:
How could you hurt a child
Now does this make you satisfied
I don’t know what’s
happening to people today
When a child, he was taken away
There’s a place for the baby that died
There’s a time for the mother who cried
And she will hold him in
her arms sometime
Cause nine months is too long
(By the way, this is the same group that came out with a rather haunting song called Ode To My Family).
10) “Degeneration,” by Mes Aieux
Technically about life in Quebec (and originally sung in French), the disastrous unraveling of the family described in this song could have referenced any country in the West today.
Some of the lyrics, as translated in the video linked above:
Your great-great-grandmother, she had fourteen children
Your great-grandmother had almost as many
And your grandmother had three it was enough
And your mother didn’t want any; you were an accident
As for you, my girl, you change partner all the time
When you do something stupid, you get out of it with an abortion
But there are mornings, you wake up crying
When you dream at night of a big table surrounded by kids
11) “Do You Hear The People Sing,” from Les Miserables
If you’re a Catholic, a political enthusiast, and/or a fan of musicals, this entry is a no-brainer. What I wouldn’t give to hear this song belted out by marchers on the National Mall!
Do you hear the people sing!
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
By the way, it sounds terrific in French (You’re welcome!)
12) “Right Here Right Now,” by Jesus Jones
Along the same lines as “Do You Hear The People Sing,” this one concerns a political subject – in this case, the fall of the Berlin Wall and, by extension, the collapse of global communism. While the lyrics are tragically mistaken in equating this political shift with the world waking up from “history” (what we might properly call the struggle between the forces of good and evil down the ages), it nevertheless serves as an important lesson for the Pro-Life movement: History isn’t over. The war can still be won. March on.
Right here, right now, there is no other place I wanna be
Right here, right now, watching the world wake up
13) “Amazing Grace,” by John Newton
Originally a hymn by John Newton (1725-1807), and sung beautifully by Andrea Bocelli in the video linked above, this is perhaps the only song on this list that all free citizens of the Anglosphere are morally obligated to know by heart. Considering the song’s relationship to the abolition movement, it isn’t difficult to imagine it as the pro-life movement’s official anthem. (As you should already know these lyrics, I’ll refrain from reposting them here, thank you very much!)
14) “Ave Maria,” by Franz Schubert
Ok, you say, this one is obvious. But do read on, because the case can be made that this song – this prayer – is more important to our victory in the defense of human life than any other strategy we may engage in.
When the Turks threatened to overtake Europe (as they had a nasty habit of doing over the centuries), Pope Pius V not only sought to promote a military response to this dire threat to Christendom, but also beseeched Christians to pray the Rosary for victory. Fortunately for civilization as we know it, the Christian forces were victorious and Europe was saved. While we ought not to belittle the importance of European weaponry and tactics, we Christians who engage in political struggles ought to remember the role of the Blessed Virgin in securing our past victories.
Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!