Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

10 Things You Can’t Do and Still Call Yourself “Pro-Life”

pro-life

Being “pro-life” had always been something that was central to my identity. I learned early on, that in order to be a good Christian, one was expected to be “pro” or “in favor of” life- which made complete sense, and still does.

As Jesus followers, we follow the one who can lead us to eternal life and life abundant, and therefore should hold a worldview that is intensely in favor of life. Great. I’m all on board.

What I grew to find increasingly problematic however, was the dishonesty of the term; a term which at face value should indicate an ethos which is always radically in favor of life, really was simply a term to indicate I was against abortion. It didn’t legitimately represent a holistic life ethos which always sided in favor of life.

It still doesn’t. When someone says “pro-life” our thoughts immediately go to the age-old abortion debate (something I’m not interested in hashing out on this blog), when instead it should cause us to think of an all-encompassing value system which shows a primacy for the value and dignity of life in all respects, and at all stages.

A beautiful term, which I would be proud to wear if understood accurately, has been reduced to a single issue. As the cultural definition of the term has taken root, it has become a less-than-honest term that further separates society in an us-vs-them mentality.

Those who oppose abortion are deemed “pro-life”, and those who may not oppose abortion in all circumstances are not pro-life.

How dishonest.

Those who oppose abortion and advocate to see it become illegal in all forms are not necessary pro-life; as is often the case, they are simply pro-birth. Likewise, those who do not oppose abortion in all circumstances are not necessary any less pro-life than the former.

Instead of the tiresome polarization this term often brings, I would love to see a new understanding of the term give birth. One that no longer gives false impressions about holistic life value systems… one that is far more accurate in how it is used. I have decided to begin using the term in a legitimate way- a way that represents a total and complete value, not just for the unborn, but for the post-born as well.

Recently, Mark Sandlin wrote two fantastic posts which you’ve probably read- “10 Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus” and “10 Political Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus.” (If you haven’t, go read them- they’re good.) With his blessing, I’m going to borrow the format in a quest to illustrate what the term “pro-life” should legitimately express. So, if you’ve always considered yourself pro-life, allow me to show you the 10 things you can’t do while legitimately professing to be on the side of life.

10 Things You Can’t Do and Still Call Yourself Pro-Life

10. You cannot support unrestricted, elective abortions, after the age of viability.

While I don’t want this to be a post about abortion, I would fail in my argument that the term pro-life need be holistic and represent all life, if I didn’t list abortion. While I don’t favor the complete abolition of abortion in all circumstances, I think it’s an easy call to oppose elective abortions which occur after the age of viability.

In my other life as a photographer I volunteered for a fantastic organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. My role as a volunteer photographer, was to travel to the local medical centers and to take portraits for families who had lost a child. Usually, the children I took portraits of were pre-born, and died in the womb. It was one of the most difficult jobs I have ever done, as I attempted in some small way to help grieving families by giving them a tangible memory of their child. During those portrait sessions, I had some rare opportunities to see life up close. While we have all seen artistic renderings of what an unborn child looks like, I have had the rare opportunity to be someone who has actually held them in my own two hands. From 18 weeks gestation (twin boys), to babies who were due to be born any day, I have seen life close up. And, all I can say for me, is that I know this is life, that it is precious, and that this must be an element of a pro-life ethos.

While there will always be debate on this issue, and I’m not fishing for any here, for children who are able to survive outside of the womb independently, it should be an easy call to be opposed to elective abortions in these cases, and to side on the side of life.

9. You cannot oppose a livable, minimum wage.

 After adjustments for inflation, the minimum wage today is $2 less an hour than it was in 1968. [1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/10-minimum-wage_n_3474024.html] However, a study by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United revealed that by simply raising the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $10.00 an hour, it would lift 58% of the working poor out of poverty. [2. ibid] There are millions of Americans stuck in an inescapable life of poverty- not because of laziness, but because their hard work at lagging minimum wages are insufficient for basic needs, such as housing. According to the Low Income Housing Coalition, the best case scenario for minimum wage workers can be found in Arkansas and West Virginia where one would only need to work 63 hours a week at minimum wage in order to rent a two bedroom apartment at fair market value. Live in New York? You’re looking at working 136 hours a week in order to pay just for housing. My home state of Maine? That’s 81 hours a week. [3. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/05/30/opinion/5302012wage/5302012wage-jumbo.jpg]

It’s impossible to say that we are legitimately in favor of “life” when millions among us are unable to afford basic housing regardless of how hard they work.

8.  You cannot advocate, support, or passively tolerate economic policies which oppress the poor, minorities, or any other marginalized group.

 I’m not going to get into which policies I personally feel do or do not oppress the poor because I don’t want my overall message to get sidetracked by political assumptions; the fact remains that we cannot claim to be in favor of life while simultaneously oppressing the poor. All throughout scripture, we are warned about this and in fact, in Amos 5, Isaiah 1, and other prophets, God makes it quite clear that our religious activity is offensive to him if we are failing to defend the poor and needy. Job wanted it on the record that he had never oppressed a poor person. Jesus warned that the judgement of the nations would be a judgement based upon how they treated the poor and vulnerable. And when the disciples sent Paul out? Their last words were “remember the poor” (Gal  2:9-10)

Being in favor of life, must mean being in favor of the poor and oppressed.

 7. You cannot oppose gender equality

Being in favor of life, means we equally value the life of both genders. In 2013, we should seriously be ashamed that women still earn approximately 73% of what men earn for the same work, and that places like Texas just declined to become the 43rd state to pass a law against gender based wage discrimination. But, it gets more tough than that: as scripture teaches, there is no longer “male or female, slave nor free”, and as a result, we need to demand an end to gender based discrimination in our churches as well.

Sometimes when I need to get my blood pressure up, I listen to Youtube videos of “Pastor” Steven Anderson- he’s the same pastor who threw an Obama supporter out of the church mid-service, yelling “murderer” but yet also has sermons on why women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, why women should only wear dresses, and why he carries his wife around the house each day (to show her that he’s in charge).

If we really value life, we need to actively oppose gender based discrimination everywhere we find it, even if that’s a little too close to home for our comfort.

6. You cannot hold anti-immigrant sentiments or support oppressive immigration policies

As people of the way, we must remember that the immigrant population is one that is mentioned over and over again in scripture. We are commanded to be hospitable to them, be generous with them, and to treat them no differently than those who are native born.

To live in one of the richest countries in the world, and to live in a nation which consumes copious amounts of the worlds resources, it doesn’t show a value to life when one wants to continue consuming but simultaneously build fences to keep our poorer neighbors out. The worldview of “this is mine, leave it alone” is incompatible with a pro-life ethos. It reminds me of a story Jesus told one time about a rich man who lived in a gated community but ignored a poor man on the other side of the gate… lets just say, things didn’t work out so great for the rich man.

5. You cannot oppose healthcare for all

I’m not necessarily an apologist for Obamacare, but one cannot say they are legitimately pro-life while opposing equal access to healthcare– especially by the poor. To say “you are required to carry your baby to term” in one breath and then say “but want vaccines so that your baby doesn’t get sick and die? Sorry, you’re out of luck there” is the opposite of being pro-life. Arguments like this reduce the movement to simply being pro-birth, and nothing more.

I recall an occasion during one of the many, many, many republican debates during the last primary season. Ron Paul was asked if someone who was ill, but didn’t purchase healthcare, should simply be allowed to die. Members of the crowd quickly shouted out “yeah!”, and Paul’s response, left me unconvinced that he fundamentally disagreed with the statement.

Ensuring people have the medical care they need to live, is part of being in favor of life.

4. You cannot use dehumanizing language

Throughout history, the use of dehumanizing language was a precursor to oppression. Once we begin referring to other human beings with language that underemphasis or obscures their humanity, we have committed the sin of blasphemy by ignoring the imago dei in that person. If we use dehumanizing language for long enough, we’ll start seeing those individuals as less than ourselves- which make it much easier to begin oppressing them, even in subtle ways.

Racial epithets, the “R” word, and even the term “illegal” (which in addition to being derogatory, is a totally dishonest term), dehumanize an individual and make them less than ourselves. This is inconsistent with a pro-life worldview, and inconsistent with the God of scripture.

In Philippians 2:3, Paul tells us that with humility, we need to “consider others more important than ourselves.”

3. You cannot support unrestricted gun rights

 This one should be the most obvious, but it’s not. Individuals with a pro-life worldview need to take a more reasonable approach to this issue than those who typically control the narrative. If one holds a foundational belief that we need to radically side on the side of life, then we ought be willing to sacrifice some of our rights in order to be true to that guiding principle. The Christian life bids us to set aside our own personal rights and interest in the name of others, and we can start here on the issue of gun control.

It’s an impossible argument to call oneself pro-life, but to also argue that any citizen ought have access to military grade assault weapons, which are objects designed to take life away. There is no other purpose for guns, beyond killing things. To resist reasonable, middle-ground measures such as background checks, registrations, and mandatory safety training does not indicate that one is holistically on the side of life. In society, we recognize that cars are great tools, but can also harm people. As such, we require a license to operate one, registration of all cars, insurance on cars in case someone is injured, and accountability measures for people who don’t play by the rules. To completely abandon that logic with guns, is beyond fathomable- especially if one claims to be in favor of life.

People who are legitimately in favor of life, need to be far more reasonable with compromise on the whole gun discussion.

2. You cannot support the death penalty

Being pro, or in favor of life, means that we are in favor of all life. That includes those who are on death row. If we are Jesus centered in our approach and development of this worldview, we see that Jesus himself in John chapter 8, stood in the way of an imminent execution. And, while perhaps the law had the right to demand death for certain criminals, as far as Jesus was concerned there isn’t anyone alive who is worthy of acting as the hangman.

Culturally, we know that capital punishment is expensive, ineffective, and inconsistently practiced across racial lines– which alone make it an unjust practice even without solid theological reasons for opposing it. Worldwide, 93% of all executions are carried out by China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United States. Hardly the international pro-life community, no?

Our culture in the US has become so captivated by retributive justice, we have completely lost sight of the task of restorative justice, which God has called us to as ministers of reconciliation. If we value life, we must strive to see lives restored instead of lives destroyed.

1. You cannot support, advocate for, or participate in war

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 2.44.33 PM

I served in the Armed Forces for almost 10 years, and they were some of the best years of my life because of the people I served alongside of. However, today as a Jesus follower and an Anabaptist, I now realize how inconsistent advocating, supporting, or participating in war is for someone claiming to have a pro-life worldview.

I remember one time in particular, during Operation Allied Force. We had the opportunity to write messages (image of me, above) on bombs before they were dropped– and we did. I’m ashamed to admit, we had a lot of fun doing it. To this day, I have no idea who those bombs killed or how I could have been so lighthearted about participating in death. I’m so very sorry for participating in that, especially with an easy spirit.

War is incompatible with a way of life that radically sides with life, and stands in the way of death. Those of us who truly wish to live out a pro-life ethos, must be busy pounding our swords into plowshares, and must refuse to make or train for war as we await the restoration of all things.

 

If you see yourself as pro-life, great- because I see myself that way too.

However, if you’ve worn that label simply because you want to abolish abortion- please, let me challenge you to expand what it means to truly be pro-life, instead of simply being pro-birth.

Let’s redefine the term pro-life to honestly encompass a holistic worldview which sides on the side of life.

______________

 

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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  • Thank you for a thoughtful pro-life “seamless garment of life” argument that you post here. TODAY is the day of the pro-life march here in DC, under the Trump and Pence administration. I grieve at the LACK of thought they will put into the future of abortion (I do believe in the legality of the medical procedure) AND I hope and pray that everyone on this blog can represent the new conversation of an issue that is age-old. Even Catholic theology (I am not Catholic) has loads of nuanced reflections on the topic of birth. (see Father Joe Naengle in the DC Assissi Community). Today I grieve for the MOTHER who faces this choice in Texas and Indiana. If it becomes illegal in this country to offer this medical procedure, will there be more abortions? There were over 100,000 self induced abortions in Texas in 2016. Planned Parenthood logs 650,000 abortions legally done. Do we criminalize the mom in the face of the growing number of self induced abortions? Will we have a restoration of TANF or AFDC to make a child a viable economic option? (Democrat Bill Clinton destroyed 20 years ago) Will we at least give the mother child care, education, and a job? In the face of those unlikely events, will private organizations and churches or even public localities step up to support new moms in the same way? Who is REALLY pro-life?

  • Christian pro-lifers, especially Catholics, aren’t “pro-life”. They’re pro-birth and pro-judging.

    They let 24,000 people die every day from starvation. That isn’t “pro-life”. Catholics alone could literally cure hunger for 10 cents per Catholic per day, but they don’t. Include all Christians, and it becomes 5 cents per Christian per day.

    That is not a typo.

    For comparison, there are only 1,500 abortions a day in the US, so there are 16 live people who die of starvation for each one US abortion.

    For proof, Google

    how many people die of hunger every day
    how much would it cost to cure hunger

    $30 Billion divided by 1 billion Catholics is less than 10 cents/day. Include all Christians, and it becomes 5 cents per Christian per day.

  • Well said! I agree. I will say that even among me and my pro-choice friends I have never heard anyone advocate for abortion after viability.

    • I have… cause “bodily autonomy” – which is a lame excuse to kill a human being, before or after viability

  • Don’t even know how I found my way to this page, but I can’t tell you how incredibly refreshing it is to read this. I’m not a follower of your religious beliefs and think the best way to address abortion is to prevent pregnancy in the first place through education and universal access to birth control …but you have articulated every problem I have with that “pro-life” moniker. One cannot claim any kind of moral high ground on the sanctity of life and not actively oppose war, poverty, guns, the death penalty. And it’s worth remembering that “life” on this planet is more than just human. Thank you for your insightful commentary.

  • Reading the list there is something that is hinted at but not said and that is if someone is truly going to be Pro Life they need to promote life, and not promote policies where any normal sane person would choose death over life. Such as having access to pain control, it is truly sad that we live in a country that would prefer that people be in so much pain that death looks to be a better option than life because there are people that are more worried that people will get high, than the suffering caused by not being able to access pain relief.

    I can see why those people have died from opiate overdoses, it is far easier and less messy way to go and also less painful than many of the other ways that a person can end their life in hell. Living life in chronic pain is hell, and all of the hells that are listed in Dante’s Inferno are mild to what it is like to live with chronic pain. Sisyphus pushing the bolder to the top of a mountain is a good analogy of what people in chronic pain go though in their everyday life. After all that is what we go though just to get going each day.

  • This logic back 150 years would have allowed slavery and meant no civil war. Right or wrong (Wrong… no way I am for slavery but example shows how lacking the basis for the column is) at the time it was determined that a black slave was not a person (later partial person in some situations) and had no rights. If this slave was not a person it was personal property. If you really believe your logic is sound then you MUST (your word) allow another to choose to have a slave. You don’t have to have one but you have no right to tell the owner of this property what they can and can’t do with it. It was not against the law to have slaves at the time. I am pretty sure you think, as I do that slavery was immoral and those who could help and protect the innocent slave should do everything in their power to get the slave recognized as a person and given all the rights of others.. regardless of color or any other situation.

    You talk about exceptions when you think abortion is OK. So who decides? The woman? It is her body. Why should some doctor tell her what she can and can’t do with her body? What day does it become killing a baby? Who determines what is harmful to the mother’s health? What conditions must exist to give the woman the choice of abortion due to health?

    You also talk about dehumanizing… and pull a quote out of context from the Bible to I guess prove your point? If you would have read the context of Paul’s writing you would have seen this preceding and defining that statement…

    Life Worthy of the Gospel

    27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without
    being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to
    them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by
    God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

    Imitating Christ’s Humility2 Therefore
    if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any
    comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

    Yet you dehumanize the life of the unborn, and destroy its ability to actually enjoy the freedom your list highlights. That makes no sense. Why wait if it is a life. it is at its most vulnerable. God says he knows us before the womb. Does God know a clump of cells and doesn’t care about it until it can breath on its own? what about those later in life who can’t survive without assistance? OK to kill them too?

    Here is the hardest truth about your position… If it is not a Life, why be personally opposed to abortion?

    Moral decision one should make for themselves? OK, what it 3 women want to marry the same man at the same time? Law enforced one partner… Forcing child support with threat of jail? What if the non-payer believes it is morally wrong to pay it? Law forces him to pay it. Or the man who got the woman pregnant… no rights to keep his child even though he thinks abortion is immoral… law says he is not the dad unless the woman decides to not abort. We make moral judgements all the time… child porn, drugs, fraud… etc.. so that argument is inconsistent at best.

    A baker must bake a cake for a same sex marriage that they believe is immoral…. you have no issue with that. It doesn’t make a difference if you think same sex marriage is moral or not…. Government has stepped in to protect the moral judgement a group not of same sex attracted individuals who want to marry, but a group who is not impacted but thinks it is for the good of society their moral view is protected. That is fine but then you can’t say “They should be able to choose…. ” how is a clump of cells in a woman any different than cells in a bowl? Your logic says they aren’t… Those with nothing in the oven still insist the cake be made for them….hmmm

    • Things to keep in mind people in this world today, here in our own country live a worse life than many slaves of the past. Do not forget that slaves were given heathcare, a place to live and have children, food to eat. We live in sad times when the county heathcare is better than what many of us working people can afford with a college degree and decades of experience and skills. I’m not talking poverty wages either, as at even 4 times the poverty income a person can’t afford good heathcare.

      How is it that life could be better when I know for a fact that based on my own experience that our level of care is going down enough that I have seen that if I were born today that I would have died before I would have reached the age of 5 if I had Kaiser and many other providers that exist today. Also I have seen that Mexico despite all the problems there has better care for workers than many in the USA can possibly get for the same money. Also Mexico does have heathcare for workers that just does not exist in this country. I’m saying that as a white guy that has lived in the USA for over 5 decades. The Pharmacists there are more skilled in Mexico than many of the doctors that I have seen here in the USA. They know the dosages, what to use to treat and for how long. More than doctors here that have to go look it up.

      Also many doctors here do not follow CDC guidelines when it comes to treatment of infections such as cultures, but do use the CDC guidelines to deny care to people when it is to their advantage to do so.

  • This is a really bad type of argument (using an unrealistic and improbable hypothetical) , please do not continue to use it.

  • To be sure, he never once mentioned a political side or leaning. The first time conservative was mentioned was your bringing it up and engaging the stereotypes. 😉

  • This is a horrible list–your first entry for abortion after “the age of viability”

    If you support abortion before “the age of viability”, I have some disheartening news for you: you are not pro-life (at least in regards to abortion)

    Your intro causes you to lose all credibility BEFORE I even got to your list…

  • Seems like you’re trying to create a debate around semantics. Turns out, we need a label of some sort to describe “people who do not support abortion” so that we don’t have to say “people who do not support abortion” every time we’re referring to “people who do not support abortion”. The reason that we need labels (or nouns in general) is to allow us to discuss things efficiently (hopefully reading “people who do not support abortion” 4 times is as frustrating as writing it was). It seems like what you’re doing is taking a term that is by-and-large accepted to mean a certain thing, assigning a new meaning to it and then getting angry at people who don’t use it in the same way you do. Respectfully, most of the “Christian” articles I read these days have some similar ploy of overloading vocab so they can claim some extra knowledge of the new thing they’ve defined. If you want to say, “I don’t support war”, don’t say that “animal-lover”, “business-owner”, or “pro-life” all mean that you can’t support war. Those are understood terms in their own right, and you shouldn’t just re-define them for the sake of an article.

  • In other words you can’t be an a US citizen that supports the Constitution. I think you need to find a new country to live in.

  • So basically you believe that “Pro-life” = “Quality of life”, where as I believe that “Pro-life” = “don’t kill”. I would suggest backing your opinions up with some scripture, otherwise it’s just another political opinion.

      • Without scripture, it’s just another socio/political opinion. I’m not saying that most of your points a bad…quality of life is important. I have been dirt poor…no electricity poor, homeless poor. However, I still believe that your way of defining pro-life is skewed.

  • 10) The child is a growing human being as far back as the zygote. We do not speciate into a new organism upon birth. Someone being “helpless to live on his own” is not an ethical reason to commit murder.

    9) Minimum wage is NOT meant to be a living wage. Minimum paying jobs are excellent for students, first time workers, or someone reentering the work force with a new skill set, etc.

    Raising the minimum wage costs jobs. For every “poor person lifted out of poverty”, how many are fired or cannot work at all? Plus, one only needs to be making about $25,000 a year and have a roof over their head to be in the top 5% in the world as far as standard of living/wealth goes. Furthermore, the benefit is only temporary as the market adjusts. Most of the odd jobs I have had in my life would not have been offered had the amount they needed to pay me been higher.

    If we wish to promote life, we need to promote systems that allow for decent social mobility and foster growth in the job market. My parents were very poor when I was born, but over time (like most americans) they were able to upgrade living standard, house size, etc. Preventing people from even getting onto the social ladder (by a high minimum wage or failed policies like Obamacare that cost jobs) is the opposite of this. A wide variety of jobs available at different payment schemes/skill sets is ideal.

    I’m disabled and get about $7000 a year, and I would consider my standard of living very high. (I have shelter, ample food, a computer, money for toiletries, etc). I even have a little extra for hobbies and entertainment. That money comes from tax-payers, something I am very conscious of and try to repay with civic volunteer work where I can.

    Jesus asks us to -personally- give to needs, not to be out there promoting social policy that actually harms the poor in the long term.

    8) I have rarely met a pro-life person who was out fostering programs that harm the poor. In fact, most I have met advocate for social changes that allow charity and aid to be given more freely. Conversely, most of my personal hardships (healthcare, otherwise) have come from democratic governors or obamacare. As for minorities, the republican party was founded in large part to end slavery, and has continued to fight for the freedom and equal rights of minorities despite opposition from the democratic party, so it is not surprising that more pro-life people are republican than democrat. Do not swallow the lie that “having the same stuff” makes one equal, or start parceling stuff out based on color of skin vs. character. Where there is rampant inequality (such as there often being inferior schools in minority areas) it usually has a foundation in bad social policy, such as using funds from property taxes for schools or civic needs. {Which just feeds inequality, as richer areas will be able to have nicer things, and the poor can’t just move into those areas easily – plus when the many can vote themselves free stuff from the few, then that also leads to unsustainable bad policy}.

    7) I don’t know personally of any pro-life people who promote gender inequality – though certainly there are high-profile figures who do not represent the body at large who try to get ratings or sell books off incorrect views (a problem that has been happening since the early church). Many pro-lifers (the Christian ones, anyway) hold to a Christ & the church centered view that men and women have different roles to reflect Christ, or that wives respect their husbands as the head of the family just as the church submits to Christ and Christ was obedient to God.. (And no one is claiming that Christ is not equal to God!) – sure. Marraige is meant to be a partnership of equals working together as God designed them to reflect the higher spiritual reality of Christ and the church. There is no room in that for tyrannical dictatorship or abuse. Wage discrimination is not because of gender, but what goes along with gender (different fields of work, time off so less work history in the same field). It stands to reason that a mother that spent much of her work life raising kids, despite her skills, will be paid less than a man who has been consistently in the job force and has amassed a work history. While there may be a fix for this socially, it can’t be found with people mixing up correlation with causation.

    6) Most Pro-lifers ARE pro-immigration, however they are pro legal immigration and for expanding the legal avenues. “Give me your poor, your huddles masses, yearning to breathe free”. Pro-lifers are also usually for political asylum and offering temporary refuge. They are not for illegal immigration, as every illegal immigrant is a legal immigrant that can’t come in, and you are correct in saying this is a misnomer as they haven’t even agreed to be bound by our laws. Furthermore, why is it that legal immigrants are caught up in red tape for years while others can secretly enter and wait for amnesty? Legal immigration leads to a nation of citizens, allowing immigration by virtue of their unallowed presence leads to a country of dependents who have already realized that the law is worthless.

    The children of illegal immigrants, who had no choice, should be reached out to in aid and sympathy, but they should be put on paths of legal citizenship. You are also correct that we should be out there helping our neighbors and making sure their needs are met – whether they are citizens or not. We do not have to do this by supporting unjust laws, however.

    5) As a poor person harmed by Obamacare, I can say “yes, we can”. Healthcare is not a social right. Rather, we -personally- need to be out there aiding the poor and sick and needy. Governments that attempt to give healthcare to all end up with poor service that actually leads to the death of the most vulnerable citizens. Furthermore, being pro-life does not mean pro-eternal-physical life. Many pro-lifers are pro-eternal life in Jesus, but that does not mean we should care about living forever *on earth*. In fact, an unhealthy interest in preserving one’s youth or living as long as possible via artificial means can be a huge stumbling block to finding eternal life in Jesus. I do personally think that government can be part of healthcare, but its best in an emergency capacity (staving off outbreaks, passing out cures, etc). No good comes from government taking from the general welfare to start overseeing the specific welfare of individuals.

    4) I agree everyone should watch their language, and never view others as less than human. I would disagree that this a rampant problem with pro-lifers, though one can unfortunately find people from all views slinging around name-calling.

    3) Read the book of Esther. God is fully supportive of groups defending themselves, even if it takes life. Furthermore, our nation obtained freedom precisely because the common man was armed, and part of maintaining that freedom is to make sure the common man stays armed and ready. If a military is allowed a vastly greater force of arms than the people, then it is no longer “We the People” who rule. The constitution does not allow infringement upon the right to bear arms (that is anything that makes owning a weapon out of reach or impractical for the normal person due to unnecessary expense or cumbersome guidelines, etc) – something that has already occurred with unrealistic feeds or ammo restriction, etc.

    2) The retributive justice of capital punishment helps us understand our need for a savior. While I do think the system needs reformed in many places, having capital punishment is actually necessary from a Christian worldview. This is because God is both loving and just.

    While it might be easy to say “Christ forgave, so we should never condemn a criminal to death” – this misses an understanding of what forgiveness is. Christ’s forgiveness is a pardon granted because our crime merited the death penalty. Christ had to die so that God could grant us this pardon! A pro-life view understands that for man to receive eternal life, someone had to die to take our place.

    Would you take the penalty in a condemned man’s place? That is what Christ did so we would not have to die. The sentence of a judge stands, hence why all men are condemned to death and hell unless they accept the free pardon of God by claiming Christ’s blood.

    We cannot, however, upend the judicial system and make it so there is no need for pardons because sin no longer merits death. That is the equivalent of the errant philosophy that because God is loving He won’t send anyone to hell (rather than the correct view that He wants all men to live, so came Himself to give them a way of pardon and freedom should they take it).

    Society also has its judicial system for the punishment of wrongdoing, which is pro-life for society.

    1) Are you saying God is not pro-life? This is a radical misunderstanding of God. While God wants everyone to come to life, in the same way pro-life supporters are against murder and seek for others to live, there are cases where war must happen. Consider how the 11 tribes of Israel came together to wipe out the tribe of Benjamin. This was not anti-life, rather the tribe of Benjamin was lost in death as it was. Once the tribe was cleaned out it went on to become an important tribe (Paul was a Benjamite). While we no longer can inquire of a priest to ask if a war is just, we have Christ as our High priest. The founders of America debated back and forth on whether war was justified, but eventually determined it was, as there are times for all men when they must rise to fight injustice.

    I would fully agree that countries enter wars all the time that they need not, and that there is no need for pro-life people to support these, excepting that they should still be supportive of the troops who are laying their lives down for the country. It is not the troops in the end who bear responsibility, but the leaders of a nation.

    War is very different than murder or genocide or the unjust slaughter of the innocent, and in these hard cases a person must examine the character of God and His words to determine what something falls under. {A good red-flag is always when a ‘war’ is against a group of civilians, not an opposing army, such as the jews tortured and killed in the holocaust, or christians being burned to death, etc}

  • Why don’t you have to take an absolutist position against abortion? I don’t support war or the death penalty under any circumstances-if I suddenly made exceptions for abortion in extreme circumstances, how is that being consistent?

  • This author has a rather absurd understanding of rights. 3, 5, possibly 8 (depending upon your definition of “oppress”, and 9 demonstrate this. On guns, for example, the author seems to imply that some people’s rights are violated simply because other people are merely made more capable of killing them. I’m sorry, but if there has not been an actual right violated, then no right has been violated (and you do not have a right to “feel safe”, or to feel anything, for that matter). To say that some people should be prohibited from owning guns because they might commit crimes is to punish them for things they haven’t done.

    Next, saying that people have a right to healthcare is problematic because healthcare does not exist unless it is produced by human labor. To say that it is a right, then, implies that people (at least certain people) are morally obligated to practice healthcare, and that choosing a different line of work is immoral. If a person has to take some positive action to create that which you claim is a right, then it isn’t a right.

    Minimum wage is problematic because of an economic term called marginal product of labor. In general, workers are paid their marginal product – that is, the amount of value the employer figures that the worker adds to the revenue. If the minimum wage is higher than the worker’s marginal product (as it is for many people who are currently unemployed) then the worker will be laid off.

  • Well, I see that I am late to the party. I commend you for your willingness to advance some original thinking on this issue, but I can’t say that I much agree with you.

    A disclaimer so that you know where I am coming from: I am an evangelical Christian and a libertarian. Christians believe that life is sacred;libertarians believe that no one has the right to initiate force against another person (I would have thought that this might align you, as an Anabaptist, with my perspective a bit, but I would have been wrong). Abortion has always been a tough case for libertarians, because if one believes that personhood begins at conception, then abortion is an initiation of force against the unborn child, and therefore could be legitimately outlawed; but if personhood begins at some other point, then preventing an abortion before that point would be an initiation of force against the mother.

    As one who opposes the use of military force in war, surely you can understand the libertarian concern about the initiation of force by agents of the government against people who are not using force or fraud against anyone? When we pass a law, whether that law says “you can’t have an abortion” or “you can’t rob banks” or “you have to offer a ‘living wage’ to your employess”, you are not simply wishing a good thing into existence; you are ultimately authorizing people with guns to arrest those who do not follow that dictate, and to use violence against them if they do not cooperate.

    So, let’s take your living wage recommendation as an example. When you require a living wage, you are not actually waving a magic wand and rewriting the laws of economics. Rather, what you are doing is coming between two people who are willing to agree that one will work for the other, and threatening one or both of them with violence if they make that agreement. Who am I to decide for someone else whether not working at all is better than working for less than x dollars an hour? Who am I to threaten them with violence if they disagree with my assessment?

    Who am I to threaten someone with violence if they choose to own a weapon that I don’t think they should have? Isn’t it the height of hypocrisy to use force–probably implemented with the very same weapon I forbid them to have–to take that weapon away from them?

    There are many Biblical calls to give generously to those in need and to care for the poor and the widows. I do not see any calls in scripture to give someone else’s money generously, whether for welfare, health care or any other otherwise perfectly good cause.

    I largely agree with you on war and the death penalty, though I would also recognize that each can be appropriate in specific contexts. Of late, I have had little reason to trust our government’s decisions in either of these areas.

    Finally, as a matter of rhetorical politeness, it is generally accepted that it is appropriate to refer to someone on one side of a debate by the term they prefer to be called. That’s why I don’t like terms like “anti-choice” or “pro-death”. It’s also why I don’t tell people in the pro-choice camp that they can’t use that term any more until they recognize that people should be able to choose whether or not to use any drug they like, sell their bodies in prostitution, and choose whether or not to pay their taxes.

  • Strange… everything on this list seems to be thematically tied to the preservation and respect of life. The numbers closest to being tangential appear to be encouraging us to help the “oppressed, poor, and the needy.” I wonder where a pro-lifer might find that crazy notion!

  • Thank you, Cynthia. And very well written–you have a talent! I’m using the “your face is not glowing” line. Forgive me if I fail to list you in the bib.

  • i cannot believe i have actually come upon a blog that i AGREE with! i have been reading dozens of your posts, and am so thankful that you are so eloquently saying all the things i have thought, felt and believed but could not express as well.
    i agree with all 10 points here, and have for years. i have made quite a few fundies outraged by even mentioning them.
    i SO appreciate your blog entry that comes after this one. i am a vegan because i believe, as a child of God, i have been called to be a good steward of the earth and His creatures, and to support factory farming is not doing so. i get many eye-rolls and pats on the head for having such a “silly” stance.
    you may not have guessed, but i am also a “former fundie” and so is my husband. we haven’t quite recovered yet. i still harbor some anger towards the fundamentalists who hurt me and those in the public eye who continually tick me off, but Father is helping me, more and more, to forgive and to not let myself get too worked up over things i cannot change (insert Serenity Prayer here.)
    i have a blog that i have used, from time-to-time, to lash-out/rant at the some of the frustratingly crazy mindsets of fundamentalists, and yet, “despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage.” So, i will probably be posting more of YOUR blog entries on my fb now, since you say everything way better than me, and you seem to be able to handle the comments from your readers quite well. i blocked all comments on mine.
    it’s so nice to have found you, and am looking forward to your book! Christmas presents for fundie family members? i think so!

  • Books from BLC:

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