Within ten weeks of pregnancy, a fetus has the beginnings of a spinal cord, the first few heartbeats, and begins to develop eye lids. A human being at age five may be exploited in a sweat shop. A human being in Iraq may be seen as fit to be tortured or killed under the banner of just-war. An elderly human being may be overlooked and not be considered for care, and a human being seen as guilty may have their life taken away by the means of the death penalty. Pro-life is often associated with movements to discontinue abortion, should this term not be extended to those beyond the womb?
The pro-life movement in Iowa is a passionate and powerful force, and for noble reason, for each life from conception on is formed with God’s deliberate and intricate artistry. However, the life that emerges after birth is seemingly overlooked. Beyond pregnancy, those in other stages of life have been ignored in the Iowa Christian community. A look in most closets reveals the evidence of one area in desperate need of attention: child labor. Most clothing tags say made anywhere but the U.S.A. Even apparel in Christian stores bare foreign origination. The cost of an item is measured by bargain rather than the cost to the laborer. Imagine an outfit for a child fitting the one exploited for it.
The trend among Christian evangelicals is to oppose abortion and support the troops, and statistically see torture as justifiable. According to The Pew Forum, around 62 percent of evangelicals consider torture appropriate in some cases*. Somehow the life of an adult enemy combatant is not seen as sacred as an unborn child. No one is an exception to receiving the dignity of an image-bearer. When torture and attack is accepted for enemies, Jesus’ teachings are betrayed.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” the verse highlighted in Psalm 139 is the primary anthem of the pro-life movement. Paul’s words in Romans, “never avenge yourselves,” and “if your enemy is hungry feed him,” however, are forgotten in the context of “pro-life.” Not to mention the countless admonitions of Christ, himself, to love the enemy, and combat violence with love and creativity instead ammunition. War and the products of war are a far cry from pro-life.
While some are being assailed against, others are being quietly forgotten. Whether from loneliness, or negligence, or poor quality of care, the outlook for the elderly is bleak. Assisted suicide, or euthanasia is considered an act of mercy. This act of desecration of the image-bearer has little to no voices to rally against it. The fervor for sanctity of life at its beginnings, must continue to burn even for those at the end.
In a court of law a judge has the power to sentence someone to death. The death sentence is considered justice, for a life was taken by the condemned. Does God alone not have the right to kill or make alive? According to popular consensus among evangelicals, the answer is, “No.” Supporters of the death penalty are in the majority, according to The Pew Forum surveys*. A judge is applauded when a murderer is handed a death sentence, and hope for redemption is forgotten. A truth also forgotten is that all are punishable by death, yet Jesus, in mercy offers life. Offer life to those deemed undeserving of it.
In conclusion, the quest to uphold the sanctity of life must not only continue, but must also grow beyond the limited definition of pertaining to abortion and unborn children; the boundaries of the term “pro-life” need massive expansion. The first step in this direction is to become more aware of the definition of pro-life, in favor of life. To combat child labor, shop at places like American Apparel where everything is made in the United States, take up sewing to guarantee the origin of all the contents of the closet, or shop at a local Goodwill where at the very least the majority of the profit does not go to the manufacturer while supporting the needs of the disadvantaged community. For ways to promote non-violence, attend a peace vigil. (One is held every Thursday on Grand from 11:00am to 1:00pm by the Civic Center) Explore and pray about different ways to be pro-life more comprehensively in the Des Moines area.
*Links to The Pew Forum Surveys: Death Sentence Survey: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2453/3730924983_97479f9d09_m.jpg
Torture Survey: http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=156