It’s no exaggeration that the eyes of the world were on Washington, D.C., this week as Barack Obama took the oath of office as America’s 44th president on Tuesday. Even the most jaded observer could not fail to see the hopes placed on one man to lead this nation, and to an extent the world, during a time of economic peril, war and anxiety.

Two days after the inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people replaced the revelers in the Washington. This group came neither to laud nor protest a man, but to challenge an ideal.##M[read more]##

The United States Supreme Court on Jan. 22, 1973, proffered an ideal that says in the name of freedom, some lives become expendable; once enshrined in law, the ideal is irreversible and protestors “on the fringe” will eventually dwindle in number and fade into irrelevance.

Thirty-six years to this day after Roe v. Wade, the court’s decision that legalized abortion and permitted the right to choose the deaths of 48 million living human fetuses, the protestors have not gone away. Americans participating in the March for Life in Washington number in the hundreds of thousands each of those years, though the march remains underreported by most media.

Catholics, Evangelical Christians, people of other faith traditions, young adults, teenagers, the elderly and family members of every age witnessed by their presence again today that abortion on demand may yet be reversed, and that the right to human life from conception to natural death may yet be protected in law.

This conviction transcends politics. Yet the political process is the means by which this nation can live up to its most basic ideals. Politics made it possible to elect an African-American man president, something deemed almost unthinkable by previous generations. Politics is the arena in which Americans convinced of the sanctity of human life must demand action in defense of life from leaders, be they members of Congress, judges or especially president.

The good will generated by President Obama among the majority of Americans can be a new opportunity to bridge partisan and ideological spanides. Though it remains to be seen, the recent rise of a political culture more attuned to the president’s message of hope and change may present pro-lifers a new hearing. Fervent, continuous calls to defend life must be done with civility and respect.

Without sacrificing principles, pro-lifers must speak and act in Christ-like ways that show the righteousness of the cause of life that is vital to Americans and all humanity.

In this week of new possibilities for true progress in America, people of faith should be praying for President Obama. With expectations as lofty as the stakes, he is going to need all the prayers he can get.