Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Turning 'Tea' into change | Main | The art of the apologetic non-apology »

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What is a pro-life policy?

China's totalitarian, anti-life abortion policies continue, understandably, to upset Christians in the West. Meanwhile, America's destructive, anti-life Middle Eastern policy continues, understandably, to upset Christians in the Middle East. What proves less understandable is the disconnect certain American Christians eagerly draw between the value of a life in embryo and the value of a life once it reaches its mother's arms.

Abortion For the record, the life of a fetus is not more sacred than the life of a human being. Christians who value the lives of fetuses should also value the lives of the people they become. You cannot be pro-life and pro-war without ultimately eviscerating the word "life" for the sake of political preferences. Christians who are "pro-life" must be for human life in all cases; humility should characterize their spiritual and intellectual position before God.

All life is God's sacred creation and all humans are lovingly crafted in His image. What does this mean exactly? This means that, apart from you and the members of your congregation, Christ also loves Muslims, Greeks, skateboarders, Rastafarians, Victoria's Secret shoppers, vegans, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Richard Simmons, neo-Nazis, rapists, criminals, meth addicts, thieves, Jon Stewart, Oprah, Barbara Walters, harlots, rascists, ignoramuses, prom queens, young single mothers on welfare because they have chosen NOT to have an abortion, yoga instructors, and even old people who drive at 50 mph in the fast lane.

There is no place in the New Testament, the covenant secured between Christ and his followers, which calls upon Christians to kill other human beings. To the contrary, Christians are called upon to love God's enemies as much as they love his followers. Rather than seek revenge, the New Testament encourages us to give love and forgiveness unconditionally to those most in need. Rather than screaming "Whore of Babylon" at young girls entering abortion clinics, we should open our arms to them and show them a love which is greater than the worst sin on this earth. Rather than spit at returning soldiers, we should comfort them and urge our government adopt a more sensible, less trigger-and-death-happy foreign policy. Rather than kill horrible criminals, we should do our best to bring Christ's love to those whose sins are heaviest.

Abortion, like almost every other form of conscious killing, is a sorrowful event. In China, it is mandated. In the US, it is a legal option. In most Muslim countries, it is illegal. While Dr. Albert Mohler mourns the effects of China's policy on Chinese females, he is merely toeing the all-too-familiar conservative Christian line-- "aw shucks, those evil communists are killing again". Of course, Dr. Mohler, like any sensible, publicity-seeking American Christian, knows that criticizing the taking of life by communist regimes is a political winner. No one except a Chinese communist would find an excuse for such horrible policies.

But Dr. Mohler isn't really concerned about valuing human life-- he is mostly concerned about the loss of human life when it is someone else's fault. He prefers judgement to humility. There is no point in being concerned about the loss of human life as a result of his own country's militarist policies (i.e. "collateral damage") because "that's just the way things are" and "wars happened in the Bible too" plus "Christians are supposed to follow their leaders" not to mention that "Muslims hate Christ" and of course "God doesn't expect us to be perfect".

All of this is just another way of saying that Christianity, contrary to Jesus words', is not a radical and life-affirming faith. Instead, it is just another lifestyle trend. There are no sacred traditions, only pragmatic reinterpretations. For Christians who embrace the Christian trend movement, it is not my place to interfere in their styles and tastes. My only request bears on their moral integrity, as opposed to their denominational preference. It's very simple, really. If you oppose abortion but have no qualms about government-sponsored, publicly-funded killing sprees, stop corrupting the language by calling yourself "pro-life". The correct moniker is "anti-abortion". Alas, you cannot be pro-life and pro-war.

And you cannot purport to respect life while showing such dehumanizing photos of innocent dead babies for the sake of your political message. These babies are deceased human beings, not toys or propaganda ploys. For shame. Anyone can explain why rape is wrong without showing you the naked, bleeding body of a rape victim.

Since I can't leave you with the photos chosen by anti-abortion activists seared in your mind, I'll try to leave you with something more life-giving, like the Bible. Christians who rely on the Bible to justify their support for war often cite Matthew 10:34-36, in which Christ uses the "spiritual warfare" metaphor by saying that he "brings not peace but a sword". Anyone who reads this literally will have to explain why Jesus does not carry swords or give out swords or encourage the making of swords anywhere else in the Bible. If He meant it literally, it stands to reason that He would have a literal sword. Since He used this statement as a metaphor suggesting that His word would destroy life and society as it had previously been known, the absence of swords and weapons from Jesus' ministry makes more sense in context. In actuality, the New Testament never urges one human to kill another. Though there are references to the terrible things that God will do to human beings should they ignore His word, Christ never asks one human to do this work for God.

For more on Christianity and the pro-life movement:

Cross-posted at totalitarianism today.

Posted by Alina on April 18, 2009 in Religion | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What is a pro-life policy?:


Yes, you can be pro-life and both support military action and the death penalty. Abortion is the taking of an innocent life. The death penalty is the taking of a criminal's life (not an innocent).

When Christ was on the cross, there were two criminals being crucified with him. The one criminal called for Jesus to save them if he was the son of God. The second said that Jesus was undeserving of this punishment while the two criminals had earned it. Jesus told the second criminal that he would be in heaven that day. Jesus never said that executing these criminals was wrong. He simply said the kingdom of heaven was open to the one who repented for what he did.

Finally, war is sometimes a necessity. It was World War 2 that led to the downfall of the murderous regimes of Nazi Germany and Tojo's Japan. The fight in Korea saved 46 million Koreans from living under communism. The sad fact is that war is sometimes the only answer. If I take your argument to the extreme then it was wrong to support killing those 3 Somali pirates because that was anti-life. So, I guess that to be really pro-life means that we should just sit by and let terrorists decapitate people.

My bad!

Posted by: David | 2009-04-18 8:17:48 PM

David, I approve your point and add that according to St. Augustine's Just War Theory there are occasions when it is right to go to war. I can support the pro-life stance and at the same time go to war against those who would harm me and a way of life I consider good enough to want to maintain and to pass on to my progeny.

Posted by: DML | 2009-04-18 9:27:09 PM

I love this post. Thanks, Alina.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-18 9:36:15 PM

I'm a fetal rights activist and pro-life.

I oppose capital punishment, and I support the Just War theory.

I think that you're conflating a whole bunch of issues.

When western governments go to war, they do not seek to kill innocent life. They are trying to defend a country or overthrow perpetrators of human rights abuses.

That doesn't, of itself, make war okay.

But it's not the same issue as killing an innocent unborn child. Or killing a man guilty of murder.

In the case of capital punishment and war, there are circumstances that make killing a permissible option.

In the case of killing unborn children, there are no circumstances that make it okay.

That is the difference between those issues. Treating them as equivalent is to glibly overlook the debates for cheap rhetorical points.

I would also add that the abortion issue is not just about the right to life-- although it is about that. It's about fighting for the government to recognize the equality of a group of human beings.

It's not just a case of being pro-life, but also anti-discrimination.

Posted by: SUZANNE | 2009-04-19 1:45:48 AM

"Rather than screaming "Whore of Babylon" at young girls entering abortion clinics..."

For some reason this makes me giggle uncontrollably. This thread should be good, I look forward to Mike Brock and Terrence Watson sharing their views on religion and abortion and women's issues with Alina, lolololololololololololololol.

Posted by: No Commies | 2009-04-19 2:19:34 AM

Of course you can be pro-life and pro-war/pro-death penalty. To maintain otherwise is ignorant. Sometimes war is justified. In 1941 and 2001, foreign powers attacked the U.S., not the other way round. And are you saying that Russia should have just folded its hands and let Hitler's armies burn and loot and plunder all the way to the Pacific?

An unborn child, however, has never done anything wrong. It has not even taken its first breath. And the only reason it exists at all is because of someone else's actions. At no time in any part of the equation did it have any choices, ever. To force it to pay for someone else's mistake cannot be justified morally, ethically, or logically.

The great majority of Middle Easterners who have died since the U.S. military action began were not killed by Americans, but by their own countrymen. America is not responsible for that. If two groups of foreigners hate each other and have for centuries, how can the blame be laid at America's feet?

The problem with the modern "progressive" notion of the value of life is that it makes no allowances for deservedness. To the emotional liberal, all life is equally precious, including that of domestic serial killers and foreign terrorists (but not, interestingly, unborn children, corporate fat cats, people who drive SUVs, Republicans in general, and George W. Bush in particular). Exactly whose values are the distorted ones here?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-19 9:02:10 AM

Shane, I am speaking from a Biblical Christian perspective. Where does Christ tell us that we are to exercise this judgment of "deservedness" over human life? You're in God's territory.

I don't believe the Christian life was meant to be easy, sensible, and lifestyle-friendly. I think the Bible mitigates against such approaches.

I understand how disturbing a pro-life policy appears when taken to its logical extreme, but I can't water it down just because we need justifications for particular wars.

Posted by: alina | 2009-04-19 9:23:36 AM

Christ doesn't tell us a lot of things. That doesn't mean he doesn't offer principles that help us solve moral questions.

St. Paul tells us that the State has the right to use force to execute evildoers. That would both logically include b individuals (criminals) and outside forces (invaders).

So the basis for those position is there in the New Testament.

Since I'm Catholic, I don't hold to a purely "Bible alone" perspective.

Posted by: SUZANNE | 2009-04-19 11:14:39 AM

Alina, unless you are Dr. Mohler you cannot assume that he only cares about abortion when it is someone else's fault. Neither you nor I know this.

As for being pro-war other than Islamists driven by their extreme ideology, I have never met anyone pro-war. When it comes down to a choice between self-defence and surrender, those who choose defence of their country are not pro-war. I notice how the Left tries to paint such people as pro-war and it does not wash.

All the references to various "peace" groups and movements also send up a red flag, since sadly most of the groups going by that name are radical leftist groups misusing the word peace, just as human rights are no longer about human rights. Again I have yet to meet anyone not in favour of peace, but it takes more than one partner in a conflict to have peace. You cannot simply declare peace for peace to happen. WW II should have taught us that at least.

Not being Christian I shall refrain from debating the religious aspect of the issue, but again one does not have to be a Christian or religious of any kind to understand that an unborn child is human life; not simple a malignant growth, nor is it the same as a cold-blooded serial murderer on death row.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-04-19 11:51:20 AM

36 Then said he(Jesus)said unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no SWORD, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Probably so the Apostle could beat the sword into a ploughshare in between preachings of the Gospel, eh Alina?

Or, and here's a thought, it was for self-defence.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-04-19 2:48:55 PM

No woman should be forced by law to bear the child of a rapist.

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-19 3:07:50 PM

I agree completely, JC. Abortion, like the decision to fight a war, is a decision that should be left to individuals to make on their own.

Posted by: alina | 2009-04-19 5:05:12 PM

"like the decision to fight a war, is a decision that should be left to individuals to make on their own."

Suicide is a decision that should be left to individuals, war is done by groups of people and modern wars are come-as-you-are affairs and if you're not inclined toward suicide then you better be dressed and organized for war before it comes and you need a government intelligence service to tell you when the start date is.

Me, I'm not inclined toward suicide, I say let the aggressors die in large numbers.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-04-19 5:22:26 PM

Wow, that was deep...no self defense and no dead fetuses or was that dead fetuses and war? Shit, I don't know how nutbars like yourself want to have it. |What would you do with a pregnancy that resulted from a war atrocity? Oh yes, abort it. I get it - abortion and war go together.

Posted by: PeterS | 2009-04-19 5:24:16 PM

As a note to history, Napoleon Bonaparte was the man who started huge armies with citizen soldiers.

Until Napoleon's time armies were small, only thousands or tens of thousands, and made up entirely of professional soldiers or mercenaries. Then Napoleon raised citizen armies of 500,000 and swept across the world. He would have got farther but didn't have a proper navy.

We have to be prepared for countries like the PRC raising multi-million man armies and sweeping everything before them as Napoleon did.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-04-19 5:29:42 PM

Shane, I am speaking from a Biblical Christian perspective. Where does Christ tell us that we are to exercise this judgment of "deservedness" over human life? You're in God's territory.

So we should completely ignore the Old Testament, then? Throw it away? By the way, can you quote me, chapter and verse, where Jesus says the death penalty is wrong?

I don't believe the Christian life was meant to be easy, sensible, and lifestyle-friendly. I think the Bible mitigates against such approaches.

I did not ask you what you believed.

I understand how disturbing a pro-life policy appears when taken to its logical extreme, but I can't water it down just because we need justifications for particular wars.

Pesky justifications like self-preservation in the face of aggression, eh? Alina, when a Hitler-type comes along, pacifists like you are the first to go to the gas chambers. If you value human life so much, defend your own. If you won't, why should someone else?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-19 6:51:58 PM

No woman should be forced by law to bear the child of a rapist. - No child should be forced by law to surrender his life so that a woman won't have to look at him and think, "Eww."

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-19 6:53:11 PM

Abortion, like the decision to fight a war, is a decision that should be left to individuals to make on their own. - Then you're a hypocrite, because you claim to hold that all life is sacred. And the Catholic Church, numerous Protestant churches, and Islam all tell us the fetus is alive. So does science, for that matter.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-19 6:54:18 PM

Speller, that is not correct. In fact, you have it backwards. The professional standing army is, in fact, a 19th-century invention. Prior to that armies consisted of a officers (usually aristocrats or knights), and peasant conscripts. As Henry V told his army before the Battle of Agincourt, the enemy would take the knights alive if possible (to hold for ransom), but the common men had better fight for their lives.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-19 6:57:20 PM

P.S. I know the ancient Romans had a standing army, but that's really going back too far to fit into our example.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-19 6:57:54 PM

Not so, Shane, about large civilian armies prior to the French Revolution and Napoleon in particular.


Historically, the "Levée en masse" heralded the age of the people's war and displaced prior restricted forms of warfare as the cabinet wars (1715 - 1792) when armies of professional soldiers fought without general participation of the population.

"The French Revolution marked the beginning of the age of modern warfare, characterized by the culmination of a fundamental shift from dynastic warfare between kings to mass participation of the populace in national warfare. Although the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 is commonly cited as the point of origin for the sovereign state, the French Revolution marks its true consolidation, with the formal abolition of the Holy Roman Empire as the result of Napoleon’s conquests in 1806.[...] The key element in the firm establishment of the modern secular state within the West, and a watershed in the evolution of modern war, was the state’s connection with the mass mobilized army. And at the heart of that new army was the levée en masse.

...by September 1794, the French Republic had 1,169,000 men under arms, out of a total population of about 25 million.3 For comparison, the current population of France is approximately 61 million, with about 134,000 on active duty. The percentage of population mobilized during the wars of the French Revolution was unprecedented in Europe, in itself a revolutionary achievement.

FROM: Parameters, US ARMY War College

The French tended to win when they had superiority in numbers. They enabled Napoleon to take greater risks, engage more often in battle, spread his troops over wider territory, and embark on more daring political ends.6 His opponents soon learned to counter his mass, with the result being a dramatic increase in the average number of men engaged in European battles, from a height of 60,000 to 80,000 on the field in the mid-17th century, to a total of 250,000 (Wagram, 1809; Borodino, 1812) or even 460,000 (Leipzig, 1813) by the early 19th century.7 The resulting mobilization of the people in the service of the state, indeed now actually embodying the state, was a watershed. It foreshadowed the nationalized warfare of the industrialized era that followed, culminating in the First and Second World Wars.

An another:
>"The combination of the conscripted levee en masse that emerged from the need of the French to defend their 1789 revolution and the rise of popular nationalism in the 19 19th century drove mercenaries to the fringes of warfare. “Professional soldiers” no longer were hired guns but men who spent their lives studying and – if called upon to do so – waging war in service to one nation-state and often to a single ruler. The professional, private “soldiers of fortune” were reduced to little more than bodyguards for third-world rulers or guards for corporate executives and installations in volatile emerging states."

just Google
>Mecenaries + levée en masse

Posted by: Speller | 2009-04-19 9:47:21 PM

I didn't say that a full-time, standing army existed in Napoleon's day, Speller. It developed during the 19th century. Prior to that armies consisted of the nobility, men-at-arms, mercenaries, and where the situation dictated, peasant conscripts. This is also essentially what happened under Napoleon.

Note that mass conscriptions were still common until World War II; the Red Army, for instance, at one time numbered 25 million men, the largest army in all history. Today most militaries are full-time standing armies composed entirely of volunteers, and wars are more limited in scope. Modern firearms, artillery, air power, and hyper-accurate munitions have greatly reduced the dependence on raw manpower.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-19 10:28:44 PM

Where are Terrence Watson and Mike Brock? I thought they hated religion and anti-abortionoists, this is their chance to confront a religious person, one that is against abortion too!

Come on guys, show us what awesome anti-religion activists and strong defenders of women's right to abortion you are and share your thoughts! Let that hate flow!

Posted by: No Commies | 2009-04-20 3:52:00 AM

See the innocent victims, dismembered, carved to pieces and slaughtered by abortion at:
http://www.AbortionNo.org then ask yourself how can anyone justify this atrocity or even write articles in favour of it.

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2009-04-20 9:30:08 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.