Pastor’s Blog: Lord, Have Mercy!

It was a typical January day in northeast Texas. The morning was in the 30s and required a coat. By noon, the weather was warm enough to remove the outer garment. The big news that morning was the death of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Texan and former President of the United States. A typed note was on the door of the Literature and Languages building at East Texas State University in Commerce, the alma mater of LBJ’s mentor Sam Rayburn. Out of respect for the late president, classes were cancelled.

The next morning, Brenda, one of my English 102 professors, met me at the door. “What did you think about the news?” I responded: “About President Johnson’s death?” She answered: “No, about Roe versus Wade.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. I hadn’t been following that in the news. She explained to me that Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in all fifty states. She asked again what I thought about it. I said I didn’t know. She wondered if I was bothered by it. It didn’t register. That’s how it began.

When you are from a small town in northeast Texas and attending college only thirty miles from home, you go home a lot to wash clothes and get a home cooked meal. You continue to date high school girls you dated the previous year. You are privy to all the gossip on which a small town thrives. For many of the college students, the plan is to stay in the home town for the rest of your days and to inherit one of the jobs that are in limited supply.  A few go a greater distance in order to go to law school, dental school, pharmacy school, or med school so they can inherit a tiny number of jobs. To this day, kids I grew up with are still there in the home town. They are grandparents and thinking about retirement. I might have gone to law school, married, raised kids in my home town, and be in their number today.

Small town gossip thrives on the sins of others. Who is sleeping with whom outside of marriage? Who is gay and who are they sleeping with? Who is dealing drugs or using them? Who is a drunk or a crook or a philanderer? Who’s marrying, who’s divorcing, and who’s pregnant and are they happy about it? Before Roe v. Wade and before “the pill,” people married young. Often they “had” to get married. A few young women went away to give up a baby for adoption. A few teenage girls became unwed mothers. But “the pill” and Roe v. Wade made it possible not to marry, not to give birth, and not to think about sexual ethics. So, it became a matter of fact report in my home town about who got an abortion in Dallas.

Some old schoolmates of mine are celebrating fifty years of marriage. Others are getting very close. Their children have given them grandchildren. But the first children to be aborted after Roe v. Wade would be forty-seven today. They never went to school. They never paid taxes. They never took jobs, married, or had children of their own. At last count, about sixty-two million Americans aren’t here because of Roe v. Wade. One-third of that group are African Americans. Planned Parenthood, whose money-making business is abortion, continues to receive $500 million of your tax dollars. Despite all the rhetoric about women’s health, the largest abortion provider gets half a billion tax dollars every year!

As the media and mass hysteria about the next Supreme Court justice goes full blown, all the focus will be on women’s rights and women’s health. The obvious won’t be front and center. It is fundamentally evil to kill babies in the womb. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and the Kims didn’t kill that many. We easily talk about them as monsters. By our choices, by our indifference, and by our tax dollars, the murder of the unborn continues unabated in the United States of America. So, that’s what I think today. Someday, the Lord God will ask me Brenda’s question. What do you think about Roe v. Wade? What did you do?

St Matthew's Pastor Sam Zumwalt


The Rev. Dr. Samuel Zumwalt has worked in churches for 44 years and in May 2020 celebrated the 39th anniversary of his ordination to the holy ministry. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Trinity ( In 2004, Pr. Zumwalt moved with his family to Wilmington from Texas, where he served for 23 years as pastor of small, midsize, and large congregations.