Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What Does It Really Mean To Be Pro-Life?

I'll admit I'm pretty fed-up with abortion being the single issue that most Christians tag onto to call themselves "pro-life." And just so you know what to expect, I'm about to argue that there's a huge different between being pro-life and pro-baby (or pro-fetus, or whatever nomenclature you prefer to use for your views).

My criteria for what I'm going to argue:

1. I believe life begins at conception. I believe that everything we need to become the person we will be is inside us at that point. Religiously speaking, that means I have a soul at that point. Scientifically speaking, it means genetically I can't grow up to become a chicken or a tree. It means that I'll develop a certain eye color, hair color, height, skin color, genetic predispositions, etc.

2. I believe each individual is created in the image of God and is to be treated with value and dignity -- even when and especially when they don't act like they deserve it. Putting dirt on the color blue doesn't make it less blue. It merely covers up the dignity that is intrinsically there beneath the dirt.

3. I believe physical life ends only when our brain is dead and we cease to be more than a body carrying on activities based on machinery.

4. I believe life continues beyond the point of physical death and that the soul endures.

What I'm about to say that will probably make some readers angry:

1. If you support a national or individual embracing of a campaign of violence against our political enemies (through war, murder, terrorism, etc.) then you are not pro-life. You are pro-baby and anti-enemy. In other word, if you're pro-violence in any way, you're not pro-life. You're pro-whomever you're fighting for.

2. If you EASILY choose the life of an unborn child over the life of a mother, you are not pro-life. You are pro-baby. If you are truly pro-life, the well-being and health of the mother will have the same weight and importance to you. That's not to say that you can't seek alternative options to ensure the health of the mother, but her life will not be something you value less than that of her unborn child.

3. If you support a system of capital punishment that kills a convicted felon without offering the opportunity to rehabilitate, then you are not pro-life, you are pro-baby and anti-bad guy. If you suport a system that legally destroys the lives of convicted felons in a prison system that merely institutionally reinforces the cycle of violence and locks them away without seeking to bring out their basic human dignity and look for the image of God within them and rehabilitate, then you are not pro-life. You are pro-baby and not pro-duration of the life cycle.

4. If you embrace (at worst) hatred or (at best) disdain for those who by their own actions or your own perceptions you see as your enemies, and seek to either harm them through either action (political, personal, etc.) or inaction (leave 'em be and let 'em get what's coming), you are not pro-life. You are pro-baby. You are very much anti-dignity of life except for those you choose to like.

5. If you protest the funeral or anyone to draw attention to your "pro-life" cause, at the expense of the dignity of another individual's last opportunity to give his or her family and friends the value of a dignified goodbye, you are not pro-life. You are an asshole who is more concerned with politics and pet issues than you are human beings. When anything comes before love for all other human beings, you are NOT pro-life.

6. If you are truly pro-life, you are concerned with the welfare, safety, health, and mortality rates of people all over the globe due to political climates that enslave, destroy, debilitate, etc.; poverty, economic woes; etc. If you can turn a deaf ear because it isn't happening in your country, then you're not pro-life. You're not pro-baby. You're just pro-American-baby. 

7. If you are truly pro-life, you value life, period. In my case, that's from conception to long after death. You value the human being's dignity throughout that span, and you look for the image of God created within him or her, regardless of how his or her actions may have placed him at odds with your view of moral rights and wrongs.

8. If you are truly pro-life, you love humanity and the human experience.

9. If you are truly pro-life, you love fetuses, you love newborns, you love children, you love teenagers, you love young adults, you love regular adults, you love old adults.

10. If you are truly pro-life, you love those who agree with you and those who don't, you love your friends and your family AND your enemies.

11. If you are truly pro-life, you seek to affirm that all individuals are capable of being redeemed and/or rehabilitated (even while acknowledging that those two aren't always necessarily the same thing.

12. If you are truly pro-life, you love good people and bad people, law-abiding and law-breaking, saviors and destroyers.

13. If you are truly pro-life, you understand conceptually that society may require death in certain situations because of politics or warfare or even public safety, but you can never willingly embrace the enjoyment of another person's death, love for killing or wanting to have people be no longer living, or feel vindicated that some enemy is dead and no longer a problem to you.

14. If you are truly pro-life, then, in the words of John Donne, every man's death diminishes you, and you regret and feel them deeply.


A caveat: I'm not saying it's not okay to be pro-baby. Be pro-baby. I'm sure as a political issue, those looking to turn over Rowe v. Wade welcome all the pro-baby folks they can find. But don't call yourself pro-life as if life only equates to conception. If you want to be pro-life, embrace a love of life and lives for the full human lifespan. Being pro-life is not a mere political tag. It's not a sign posted outside a voting booth. It's an all-encompassing way of seeing humanity through the eyes of the God who created it, or at least it's a way of trying to see humanity that way, as best we can in our own failing whoring, imperfect, more often than not unloving way. 


  1. Although being a non-Christian I disagree with the theology I agree with you on the principle aspects. Thank you for a very well written, and thought out post.

    1. Thanks for commenting and for dropping by. My hope for this blog is to be the kind of place where Christians or non-Christians can seek to understand each other a little better with willing, calm, rational hearts and minds.

  2. #2 didn't make sense to me. I would think if you EASILY choose the life of the baby over the life of the mother, you are pro-baby but not pro-life.

    1. Yep. Need to fix that. Got myself turned around on that one. *grins*