What Does It Really Mean To Be Pro-Life?

One of the best quotes I have heard in a while came from Mother Teresa: “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.” I think this gets at the heart of what it means to be pro-life. Pro-life doesn’t just mean abortion; pro-life begins with the desire to preserve life. And, if the desire to end life begins with those who are closest to us, at what point will it stop.

I think that there is a misconception, or maybe an incomplete understanding, of what it means to be pro-life. When people tell me they’re anti-abortion, I think how wonderful that is. But, where does this person stand on violence? Poverty? The death penalty? If being pro-life stems from the urge to take another life, how can we say that it is okay to take away this life but it’s not okay to take away that life? How can we justify war in the Middle East but say people killing each other in our neighborhoods is okay? And, if we value human life so much, why are we not concerned with homelessness or people starving? Does life lose its sacredness after we leave the womb?

Abortion is rooted in the issue of violence. And, as Greg Boyd has said, “Abortion is predicated on the pervasive, fallen, anti-Christian assumption that violence solves things.” The issue of violence around the world stems from what Mother Teresa said, a destroyer of peace. If Christians are under the assumption that violence is okay elsewhere, how can we declare ourselves to be a people of peace, following the prince of peace? If we don’t value life everywhere, we don’t value life anywhere, we can’t call ourselves pro-life.

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2 thoughts on “What Does It Really Mean To Be Pro-Life?

  1. Teresa Rice says:

    I’m sure you believe that people have the right to defend themselves – self defense. If you think that persons have a right to defend themselves it is logical to believe that nations have a right to defend themselves also. In addition, if we see injustice and horrors occurring in the world it isn’t right for us to just sit by and let these horrors continue. Sometimes war is a necessity in order for peace to occur. War is not an intrinsic evil. The death penalty is not an intrinsic evil. In abortion an innocent human life is being murdered. It is likely that justice is being served when a criminal who has committed heinous crimes is administered the death penalty.

    Genesis 9: 5-6 “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; and at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth a man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

    There is a big difference between murdering an innocent human being and a person who has committed heinous crimes, and is handed down a death penalty sentence for having committed those crimes. This is justice. This is not murder.

    Yes, a person can believe in the death penalty and be anti-abortion and be pro-life at the same time.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Teresa,
      I don’t believe in defending one’s self. I am a pacifist. I take this from Jesus, who before he was crucified said he could send a legion of angels, but his kingdom was not of this world. That meant that while he could call upon physical violence, he wouldn’t because that’s how caesar did his business, not him. We see this ethic reciprocated upon the governments in Romans12 & 13. The ethic that Christians are called to live by is Romans 12:17 “17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. ”

      If we call someone’s acts evil, and repeat them back to them, how is that not evil? If this person is my enemy, how am I supposed to treat my enemy? By turning the other cheek, by walking the extra mile, and let God take care of the wrath of this world. A quote from Stanley Hauerwas on the ethics of Just War-

      “What would an American foreign policy determined by just war principles look like? What would a just war Petagon look like? What kind of virtues would the people of America have to have to sustain a just war foreign policy and Petagon? What kind of training do those in the military have to undergo in order to be willing to take casualties rather than conduct the war unjustly? How would those with the patience necessary to ensure that a war be a last resort be elected to office? Those are the questions that advocates of just war must address before they accuse pacifists of being “unrealistic.”

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