Reflections Upon Mother’s Day in a Culture of Death
by Dennis Jamison 5/12/2020
In 2020, Mother’s Day may have a bit more meaning in a broader perspective across the United States and across the world during the global pandemic that has claimed over three quarter of a million lives throughout the world. Mothers are the ones that bring new life into the world, and traditionally the widespread loss of life such as in unnecessary wars (or disease epidemics) make motherhood seem meaningless.
Ironically, the seeds for Mother’s Day were planted during just such a time. In the time of the American Civil War, it is likely that thousands upon thousands of mothers in the U.S. questioned their value as over 620,000 boys and men died as a result of the Civil War. During this war, and afterwards, those who were left to pick up the pieces had to deal with the physical loss of sons and fathers, as well as those who were considered what we refer to today as the “collateral damage” — deaths of those who were caught in the crossfire, or in the ravages of war. Such loss of life also creates a deep emotional loss of those loved ones who met such a tragic end. Ending the practice of slavery in all Southern states came at an incredibly great cost; the price of taking responsibility to do the right thing was quite high.
Another irony that many people may not know is that the mother who was the inspiration behind Mother’s Day, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, lost eight of her eleven children before they reached the age of seven. They died of diseases like diphtheria, measles, and typhoid fever in a day when medicine remained primitive. Ann Reeves Jarvis and her brother, Dr. Reeves, tried to help local communities reduce the frequency of deadly childhood diseases. Dr. Reeves, was known for his work to limit the spread of typhoid fever in West Virginia.
Mother Jarvis was one of those real active women who organized a number of “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” in her local area of Taylor County, West Virginia. She made sincere efforts to combat the severe unsanitary circumstances and poor health conditions that contributed to a high mortality rate among children in the Appalachian areas. Dr. Reeves was able to provide valuable health advice to the members of the mothers’ clubs“ organized by his sister. The clubs helped to educate mothers about improving sanitary conditions to cut down the incidence of disease and infant mortality. They also raised money to purchase medicine for poorer families.
These social action brigades also taught young mothers the importance of boiling water and demonstrated how to prevent food from spoiling. They helped teach mothers other antiseptic practices as well. TAdditionally, they helped to provide nursing care for the sick, and arranged proper medical attention for those who were suffering from tuberculosis. When the Civil War started in 1861, Ann Jarvis’ Mothers’ Friendship Clubs had to adapt. They had to alter their efforts to meet the changing and conflicting realities of the war. Mother Jarvis insisted the clubs declare their neutrality, so that they could provide aid to either the Confederate or the Union soldiers.
The war had started to rip apart the nation in this time. .Within such a dangerous environment, Mother Jarvis gathered four of these clubs together to make a bond of friendship. She requested that they pledge to one another that their friendship and goodwill would not become victims of the war. She asked the clubs: “To make a sworn-to agreement between members that friendship and good will should obtain in the clubs for the duration and aftermath of the war. That all efforts to divide the churches and lodges should not only be frowned upon but prevented.” It was vital that the clubs remained neutral. It enabled them to provide nursing assistance to soldiers from both sides during the divisive and destructive conflict.
Through the leadership of Mother Jarvis, the clubs provided food and clothing and helped each side. The women nursed the wounded soldiers from both the Union and Confederate forces. In the midst of war, they also helped directly when various diseases would break out in the ranks of either military unit. It is estimated that these women’s groups saved many lives. Just after the horrible Civil War, many more women began to form women’s groups for the purpose of healing the emotional wounds left open within a devastated nation.
By 1868, Mother Jarvis had conceived of a family day picnic that she called “Mother’s Friendship Day.” The purpose was to honor all mothers, with a deeper goal of reuniting politically divided families. Ann Jarvis and her community based social action brigades eventually became known as “Mothers’ Friendship Clubs.” Her mother’s clubs proved quite instrumental in nurturing a fragile peace between formerly divided friends and neighbors. One goal was to create a lasting memorial regarding the value of mothers.
Mother Jarvis was truly an exceptional woman who did more than simply survive the death and destruction of the Civil War in West Virginia. Under such extreme conditions, on May 1, 1864, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis and her husband, Granville, gave birth to a daughter. They named her Anna Jarvis. Through her mother’s love and a genuine unselfish attitude, hard work, and sacrifice, Ann Jarvis provided great inspiration to Anna. It proved a lasting inspiration, not just for Anna, but for billions of people. This is because when Anna grew up she became the founder of Mother’s Day in America.
Today in 2020, Mother’s Day may provide more of a challenge to capture the deeper meaning and value that should be attributed to mothers and motherhood in general. Although the U.S. and all nations are struggling to deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic, there is an even more deadly pandemic that exists in the world. That is the pandemic of abortion. While Mother Jarvis fought so hard to save the lives of babies and children, her example holds no meaning for those who believe in killing their own babies. Mother Jarvis lived in a time when disease claimed many lives. Mother Jarvis lived in a time in which war claimed many lives. She would not be able to fathom mothers killing babies.
If Mother Jarvis or her daughter, Anna Jarvis, were alive today, they could not recognize this nation. Our culture has become a culture that has allowed the government of “We the People” to authorize and sanction the murder of unborn babies. It is one thing for a disease to claim the lives of innocent human beings. It is one thing for the ravages of war to eliminate millions of human beings. But America today is wallowing in a culture of death. It is a culture that accepts, even promotes mothers ending the existence of the life within their wombs. And the government condones it.
In light of such inhumanity toward innocent life, many Ameircans are dismissive. Many accept and promote the culture of death in the name of “freedom of choice.” Ironically, many young people flock to super hero-oriented movies today. Yet, they will passively accept the cowardice of murdering one’s own children. How heroic! It is reflective of the epitome of hypocrisy. The real women today are the ones who have the courage to be a mother! The real super heroes today are the ones who have the courage to become a mother! And, the other real super heroes are the men who defend those who choose to become mothers! They are the real super heroes!
In 2020, Mother’s Day is tainted by the blood of millions of unborn babies. The overly tragic devaluation of mothers and motherhood itself is a condemnation of Mother’s Day.. Such tragedy expresses a great deal about how contemporary society in America has devalued the birth of human life. The culture is obliterating the value of life itself through tolerance and embrace of the “freedom of choice.” It means the freedom of choice to have sexual freedom — without accountability. The unborn baby is the innocent victim in such a cycle of immorality. Sexual promiscuity or “freedom” (AKA – sexual immorality) often leads to unwanted pregnancies. Unwanted pregnancies are an “inconvenience.”
This COVID-19 Pandemic has inconvenienced millions of people throughout the world. It has killed over three quarters of a million people. Millions of people have lost their jobs. And, permanent emotional scars and collateral damage are taking a huge toll. The stark reality of the U.S. reaction to the COVID-19 Pandemic vs. the U.S. tolerance of the millions of lives that are ended due to abortion speaks volumes about our culture. This says a great deal about how the more “moral” among us have allowed the immoral in our midst to construct a culture of death. This is a time of awakening and reckoning.
Recently, a number of Christian churches made the national news because they were so determined to worship in spite of lockdown orders. What if that energy were applied in churches that would adamantly organize to support the right to life of unborn babies? What if such energy were applied within the churches in relation to truly doing God’s Will? If the Christian community were to fully organize to adamantly support the value of the right to life of unborn babies, we would see a genuine revolution in this nation!
It is true that not all churches remain silent in the face of this abortion pandemic. But, it is also true that many churches remain silent in the midst of such momentous atrocities. This is comparable to those who called themselves Christians in Germany during the time of the Holocaust. Hypocrites!
If the churches are so determined to proclaim that they follow Christ, what is the true standard of morality? The true standard of morality is the one expressed by teachings of genuine religions. So, where are the genuine religions that provide a higher standard of sexual morality for America’s young people? Where are the genuine religions providing a higher standard for the true value of life itself? Those who claim to follow the Christ are supposed to be bound by their love for God and their love for their fellow humans. Are church leaders confused by the simple words of Jesus?
Moses did not condone the culture of death under the Egyptian Pharaoh; would Jesus? Do people of faith believe that Almighty God would condone a culture of death? Well, some religions may, but the question is addressed to people of faith! If Mother’s Day represents a day to honor and respect women who have become mothers, what of the rest of the year? Are all the other days of the year for honoring those who did not truly become mothers because they aborted the life in their womb? How politically correct! Mothers receive one day a year for respect and love. The rest of the year, the culture of death reigns over the Earth worse than the pandemic, and few people raise any fuss.
What is true is that COVID-19 has claimed over three quarters of a million lives. Yet, from the beginning of 2020, there were over 15 million babies that have been aborted up until this publication! Has there been a pandemic declared? Was there any overall lockdown due to the contagion of immorality? Does anyone care about the infection rate of Planned Parenthood promulgating the propaganda that killing one’s baby is okay? Is there any concern over the “inconvenience” to the living being inside the potential mother’s womb? And day in and day out the steady drumbeat of abortion cliincs across America stifle the heartbearts of the babies yet to be born. Do we really value mothers?
Does the Christian church really value motherhood? Does the Christian church really value morality? While many houses of worship are silent in this culture that condones the murder of our future generations, where are the people of faith? Where is the true guidance within the communities of faith? Does morality matter, or are we an immoral nation in the 21st century? How long will the leadership of the church remain silent in order to “preserve” the congregation? How long will people of faith, or the more “moral” among us, allow the immoral in our midst to construct a culture of death.
Indeed, this is a time of awakening and reckoning.
In the future on Mother’s Day there should be acclamations and proclamations which decree the value of mothers! There should be acclamations and proclamations which decree the value of life itself! In the future on Mother’s Day there should be marches by thousands and thousands of Christians who want to affirm the value of mothers and to demonstrate their affirmation of life. Imagine if church leaders would take this plea seriously.
Imagine if the churches were again on fire as in the time of the Civil Rights Movement! Imagine if the ministers were honest enough to truly display that sense of seriousness that Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the “fierce urgency of now.” Many ministers have been speaking out for decades, but almost like voices crying out in the wilderness. This is a time of awakening! If leaders do not take the responsibility to promote life, then people of faith need to take the responsibility to lead.