This has been a year unlike any I’ve ever witnessed. As we approach the Thanksgiving (and Christmas!!) season, I find myself reflecting on the past 12 months.
It’s been a busy year.
Our country has watched as police violence committed against minorities has become a daily (important and politically divisive) discussion.
We’ve watched as the Supreme Court recognized equal marriage for everyone, heterosexual and same-sex alike. We then watched as a county clerk defied that ruling.
We watched millions flee a war-torn Syria, and watched as countries wrestled with what it means to be a good neighbor. We also watched some coldly close their borders to those in need.
We watched in horror as multiple mass shootings were committed against our children.
I think if we were honest, it would feel like our world is struggling with the value of a human life.
Our world is falling apart around us.
In the midst of all this heartbreak and chaos we find ourselves, as Christians, deeply divided as to what we believe must be done.
More-so, we struggle to agree on what it means to be pro-life in the middle of this newly forming international landscape. The world is changing, and it scares us. This isn’t the world we grew up in. This isn’t the country we knew.
We are desperate to get back to the way things were. To achieve this, we’re told to resist.
In our resistance we become culture warriors. Fighting for “life.” Turning our gospel into a sword.
Prompted by our particular church leader or political personality, we create and carry signs, marching in front of our local Planned Parenthood. We write letters to our congress representative asking our government to rescind funding.
Often, though, in the midst of this culture war, I find myself wondering…is this all that it means to be pro-life?
I mean, our politicians tell us it is. Many of our christian leaders tell us it is.
However, I can’t shake the feeling that we’re taking the easy way out.
I can’t shake the feeling we’re speaking less for the gospel and more for a political party.
When our politics become the primary method of informing our faith, our claims of “pro-life” become a political platform rather than a Christ-imitating life dedicated to Christ-imitating love and service of others.
A politically defined faith will protest an abortion clinic all while ignoring the suffering of “the least of these” who happen to have a different skin color or speak a different language.
A politically defined faith will see life in an American womb as more valuable than life in an Afghani hospital or the life of a 13-year-old minority who is a casualty of a broken justice system.
What it means to be pro-life
Is abortion an issue of life? Absolutely. Should we fight for the lives of the unborn? Without question.
However, if we’re going to claim the mantle pro-life, it must extent outside the platform of the Republican and Democrat parties. Life doesn’t cease to matter after birth.
To be pro-life is weighty and it’s inconvenient.
If we’re going to claim to be pro-life, then we must fight and speak for our African-American brothers and sisters who are being crushed under the weight of a racially unjust system.
If we’re going to claim to be pro-life, we must fight for the rights of the immigrants (legal and illegal) among us.
If we’re going to claim to be pro-life, then we must refuse to see our LGBTQ friends, family members and neighbors as “the other”, and instead commit ourselves to listening to them and defend them against the careless and hurtful words of those in our churches…even if we disagree with them theologically.
If we’re going to claim to be pro-life, we must advocate for those on food stamps and medicare, striving to empathize with their struggle, and refusing to dismiss them simply as “leeches on the system.”
If we’re going to claim to be pro-life, we must fight for those who struggle with depression and suicidal tendencies, recognizing the ways in which our churches have pushed hurting people away.
If we’re going to claim to be pro-life, then we must speak for the lives lost in the American bombing of the “Doctors without Borders” hospital in Afghanistan.
If we’re going to claim to be pro-life, then we must elevate others above ourselves; seeking the good of those who look, talk and believe differently than we do.
Being pro-life, in the Kingdom of God sense is counterintuitive, and certainly not politically savvy, but it matters.
And should the Church commit to it, this beautiful, counter-cultural way will change our world, one life at a time.