Alan Sears

Amid the busy nature of our 21st century society—with all the distractions that technology, advertising, and work often bring—it’s easy to lose sight of what’s foundational. This is true even for those who are watching our societal decay and fighting to retrieve solid footing for life over death in the rough-and-tumble battle over abortion in this country.

What I notice so many times, even in my own mind, is how the battle could benefit greatly from an injection of hope—hope not only for those who want life to conquer death, but hope for the mother who learns her preborn child is handicapped in some manner.

How great a change would come if only we could see again the image of God on His creatures and acknowledge that the dreams of the children are so often greater than the physical or even mental limitations they face?

Our starting point is God. He created mankind in His image. And upon so doing, He pronounced His creation good. His image is not seen chiefly in the way men walk or climb or do any number of other physical things, but in the way that men express themselves: in the way they know and seek to be known.

A child does not need hands, arms, or legs to know and seek to be known. These things come to mind when one looks at a photograph of Joanne O’Riordan, a teenager from Ireland born without arms or legs, yet is determined not only to live but to help others live as well.

She recently spoke to delegates at the United Nations, where she urged nations to think less about aborting children in her condition and more about seeking technologies to help them: technologies such as a robot that would pick up “the objects I drop such as a pen, knife, fork, and/or my phone.”

Added Joanne: “I want to live an independent life just like you.”

And then there’s 7-year-old Annie Clark, whose story recently caught my attention. Although she was born without hands, her spirit remains so great and her drive so strong that she won a National Penmanship Award last month.

Think about it—little Annie has learned to clasp the ends of her arms around a pencil or a pen to write…and write well.

When I think about Joanne or little Annie, I think about hope. I think about the outworking of the image of God in their lives and beings, and how it is especially manifest in the manner in which they express themselves.

Joanne and Annie are thriving. And their smiles remind us that the battle for life over death is not only worth fighting but worth winning.


Alan Sears

Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.