Former NFL football player Benjamin Watson has been using his retirement to address an issue that’s close to his heart: abortion. As a father of seven children, he’s passionate about life and knows that children really are a gift from God.

In an interview with The Daily Citizen, Watson shared his perspective on America’s declining population, the impact of abortion and the most important role of his life: fatherhood.

“We talk so much about a culture of life and what that means,” Watson explained.

Part of this is understanding how abortion has negatively impacted the country, especially when it comes to America’s declining birth rate.

“A study came out talking about how there were about 3.6 million births in America in one year, and how births have been declining over all the last several decades,” Watson explained. “It’s important as believers that we are having children. Children is a way you pass on the faith capital and the cultural capital onto the next generation.”

Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV) says, “Behold, children area a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

“When it comes to abortion, there were about 860,000 abortions in the most recent year, and that number represents about 25% of those 3.6 million babies born,” Watson explained. “So, if you think about how many preborn children whose lives are terminated, and you think about the reduction in live births happening in the United States, we are already at a place of not being replaceable. But when you add in the atrocity of abortion it really is a dire situation.”

As a father of seven, Watson knows that having children can be difficult and challenging at times, but the joy that it brings is incredible.

“Being a father is a responsibility that I take very seriously,” he said. “Part of being a father is being intentional with your children. You don’t have to be perfect dad. You just have to have? humility, and you’ve got to rely on the grace of God to help you and trust Him that He’s going to provide.

“I love being a father. When you see in your children’s faces, when you see them run down when daddy comes home. When you’re cheering them on at an event, and when you see them develop Christ-like character, it brings me great joy.”

But that’s unfortunately not what everyone experiences when it comes to their fathers. From absent fathers, abusive ones to those who are apathetic to their children despite spending time around them, earthly fatherhood remains imperfect.

“If you look back at the beginning of time, Satan came to disrupt the family. That was his first move,” Watson said. “And we know that because Adam was standing right there and didn’t act as a protector or cover for his wife, Eve.

“From that point on, we all inherent some of the fear of Adam, some of the inadequacy of Adam, and some of the complacency and passivity of Adam. Not just our American culture, but culture in general manhood is cast as be aloof, uninterested or uneducated.”

This is often reflected in sitcoms and other entertainment platforms, where seemingly the dad is the last person to know anything and is often played as the buffoon at times.

“The roles and the call of manhood has really been cast aside as a burden,” he explained. “So, manhood is important as believers because we know that men ought to be priests, the prophet, the protector, the provider of their homes. That’s our biblical mandate.

“Can we fulfill that in our own power? No, we can’t. We cannot fulfill that outside the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, but that means that we need to still call each other to that high calling, even though we fall short. We don’t change the goal because we can’t accomplish it, we keep it in place and encourage others to pursuit it.”

When it comes to his pro-life perspective, Watson in many ways has his parents to thank. Growing up as one of six children, he saw his parents not only provide for him and his siblings, but for others as well.

“For me growing up, I saw my parents care for people, care for pregnant numbers, care for their children, care for people who were poor or destitute,” Watson shared. “They treated people, no matter where they were from or what their lot in life was, with a certain amount of respect. For me, I saw this as simply another justice issue. The Bible talks a lot about justice, Micah 6:8.

“Part of justice for the preborn is providing for the mom, caring for her, caring for the father, and connecting them with whatever resources we can provide to make having a child an attractive possibility. You got to serve people. You have to love people, and that really attracted me to the pro-life cause.”