I have considered myself Pro-Life for years. Only now am I truly able to understand what that should actually mean. Some people reading this are like "Yeah buddy!" and some are more like "Hey now" and both are most likely not fully understanding where I am going with this. So, hang in there.
First and foremost, when I say Pro-Life, people think of being against abortion. As always, I believe the better point is not to be "against" something, but to be "for" something else. I consider myself in all ways a proponent of life.
I could rattle off all kinds of arguments for why life in the womb should be protected and scientific facts about fetuses and how early they are like "real", outside the womb human beings. I could even rattle off the classic Psalms verse about "being knitted together in your mother's womb." Here is basically how I see it. God made sex for multiple reasons, but one of those most certainly is procreation. It is sacred, and the life that is made is sacred. More than cells that simply end up as dead skin, what God is able to make with two cells from a man and woman according to His design is sacred. Life, no matter how feeble or frail, is sacred to God, and should be protected and cared about.
Now, fact of the matter is, a good number of Christians agree with this sentiment. They are in essence, pro-life, but do not see themselves as capable of telling other people, women in particular, what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. I understand this, I truly do. I do not consider myself able to legally force my morals onto other people. However, I feel as though this is one area I must disagree with.
Of all the "moral" things that I would want to see our nation hold to, it's the protection and value of life. We have been able to witness what happens in places where life is no longer valued. Genocide is of the worst evils in this world, and it is the result of people no longer valuing life. Nearly 50,000,000 children have been killed via this legal means. That is the greatest genocide of all time.
Some do not see it this way, and in fact would claim that it would be better for some babies to go and be with Jesus, rather than enter into whatever social situation they may be in. I know there are Christians who have this opinion. However, let me make this application. If the baby is born, and the mother killed it then, would that be ok? Surely it could be argued that it could be better for some toddler to be with Jesus early rather than grow up in a social context that would very likely lend itself to all kinds of abuse, drug addiction, and countless other factors that come with lower income contexts in which abortions seem the most justified. However, once the baby is alive and outside the womb, very few people would be happy with a family who decided to abort that child. Sometimes in life, we externalize things. Imagine spit (saliva) - it fills our mouths, digests our food, and we swallow it on the daily. However, spit into a cup and it becomes a different story. Most people would gag at the thought of drinking a cup full of their own spit. It sounds gross just typing it. However, it's the same thing. With babies, I feel like we tend to do the opposite. We protect it from harm once it is outside the womb and are disgusted when people bring harm to babies, but do not blink when an abortion takes place.
Some Christians also always cite cases of rape or incest as a situation that they feel abortion should be allowed. One sin does not justify another though. Furthermore, in all abortion cases, rape and incest account for (if my memory serves me right, I could be wrong) less than 1% of cases. These things are tragedies, but God shows up in tragedy and makes something good out of it. The world is a fallen place where other people's free will often impedes on others, but that does not make killing an innocent child justified in my eyes.
Now here is the thing, if you are going to claim that you are "pro-life", that should include more than you might think it should. If you have been nodding your head up to this point...this next bit may be tough. Being pro-life means taking care of the mothers that are so tempted to have them. Some mothers truly cannot imagine how they will take care of a child. It is up to those who are pro-life to help them. Being pro-life also means helping the poor and not looking down on those who accept things like food stamps. One cannot simply wave a "moral flag" in another's face without offering to help them out of the situation they find themselves in.
Another interesting fact. Abortion is almost as prevalent in the church as the rest of the world. Why? For some reason, we have made girls feel more shame over getting pregnant than killing their unborn. We say that church is a place where we accept people, but then when people do open up to the church, they are treated as if they were a leper. Also, my previous statements do NOT mean that I think we need to shame those who have abortions. These are not malicious people, but confused and scared individuals. These mothers are not murderers in the way that the word connotes. They are human beings who deserve to be loved. So, for those who claim to be pro-life, show that you are, don't just say that you are or just vote like you are. I honestly care so little for politics it is uncanny, but I know that being pro-life is an action, not a vote.
This in fact has very little to do with politics. I'd far rather live the example than cast the vote. Plus, there is a side to being pro-life that I have not discussed yet. Remember back when that one abortionist was caught doing hundreds of illegal abortions and was convicted for his crimes? You think that would be a victory for the pro-life movement, but from those I am close to that are very involved in the movement, things like that actually divide the movement like no other. Why is this? Because half the people are screaming "give him the death penalty!" That's the thing, I truly do not wish to associate with political party, for neither hold life dear the way I wish to. One side is far more apt to support abortion while the other side tends to be more pro-war and pro-death penalty.
Just as those mothers who choose abortion in desperation deserve to be shown the love of Christ, so do murderers and thieves.
Let me tell you the story of Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer was a notorious serial killer who liked to eat his victims. After being convicted, Dahmer was given a life sentence instead of the death penalty, much to the dismay of many who wished for him to get the death penalty. While serving his sentence though, Dahmer came to faith. Some may be skeptical of the legitimacy of this conversion, but if David could wind up a man after God's own heart and a guy like Paul could become the greatest missionary in the history of humankind (not to mention the fact that I have been saved, despite my shortcomings), then I shall not pass judgment.
Now, according to Romans 13, the government does have the "right" to bear the sword. However, the chapter before tells Christians they should have nothing to do with that. So, while I shall not be so bold as to say it is wrong, it should not be something Christians desire, for it does create the "eye for an eye" mentality. Also, if a soul like Dahmer can be changed by the power of Christ, then perhaps we should scream for life, not death. But, when we send someone to prison, remember that it is at the core of Christ's teaching to visit those in prison, for how would Dahmer have changed if no one visited him and shared Christ's love with him? Not to mention, I heard once that it actually costs tax payers more to kill a person than to keep them alive. Must be true. Read it on the internet or something.
I've already written about it and perhaps will take another post to expand my thinking even more, but when it comes to matters of war and killing in the name of something good, Christians just tend to be FAR too supportive of such things. We should be the group that is SCREAMING for peace, even if some do believe that some war and killing are necessary or justified. LIFE should be on our lips in every way. That should be our default. To use a quote offered to me recently, "death is the consequence of sin (according to Genesis), and we as Christians should not be about the business of causing it, no matter what the circumstances."
Also, remember this. We as the church are a countercultural force. These things I say here may never come into fruition. We may never live in a place where there is no death penalty, no abortion. Fact is, whether those types of things get put into law or not, they will continue. However, just because something won't work, doesn't mean that a Christian is then under no obligation to do them. We will never rid ourselves completely of sin, but should we go on sinning so that grace may abound? Heck no (a more literal translation of the Greek there in Romans). We strive to be pure, even though we never will. So, we also speak for life, despite how effective we are. Effectiveness does not equate to faithfulness.
This is not about political side, after all, neither major political party truly values life in the way that I feel a Christian should. This is about cherishing life in a consistent way. Perhaps it is this kind of consistent ethic that we can truly unite behind as a church and be a light in a dark, sinister world full of death.
Perhaps it is in our cherishing of life from conception to the grave that we can show the life that Christ offers, and how much he cares for every individual life in this world.
A lot. I have read a good deal of things on this subject that have rattled around in my head and spilled onto my keyboard, so if you have a question about any particular part, it very well may have some extra insight or reading behind it. Ask and I'll be happy to try and remember specifics.