Is there truly a pro-life position out there? Many "pro-lifers" are against abortion, but support the death penalty. Many liberals support abortion rights and perhaps even some sort of legalized assisted suicide (such as the Oregon statute upheld today by the Supreme Court), while opposing the immorality and injustice of capital punishment.
The Roman Catholic church has a very good but not entirely consistent policy. Rome stands against abortion and assisted suicide, and in most cases is anti-war and anti-death penalty (though it isn’t completely opposed to capital punishment – according to Rome, there are cases when the state can execute a prisoner even though that prisoner’s movements, conversations, actions, bathroom habits, sleep patterns, eating schedule and whole life is completely and entirely under the control of the state. Somehow, despite all that control, there can still be a rationale for execution, according to Rome).
But let’s move beyond the hot-button topics of abortion, capital punishment and assisted suicide. What about other decisions – economic, political, and otherwise – that have an impact on life? Our government gives China Most Favored Nation trading status. We buy cheap goods made in China, goods that are manufactured in plants fueled by China’s burgeoning coal industry. China’s coal industry kills about 20,000 miners per year, not to mention its environmental impact. All of a sudden, that made-in-China radio seems to have a much greater (human) cost than the mere $19.99 expenditure.
OK, let’s get a different perspective. Let’s look at Luther’s Small Catechism:
The Fifth Commandment: You shall not murder.
What does this mean?
Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all of life’s needs.
Don’t kill. That’s "easy," especially if you have the "right" position on the moral hot-button issues of the day. But what about Luther’s explanation? What about helping and supporting others in all of life’s needs? Crap. Think of those Chinese laborers who manufactured your cheap stereo. Think of your neighbor. Think of the victims of the Afghan earthquake. Think of the poor waiting at the bus stop in the cold rain as you drive by in your heated Honda. If the 5th Commandment is about helping and supporting others in all of life’s needs, well, that’s alot harder than simply voting for pro-life Republicans. Alot.
I want to be pro-life, I really do. But being consistently pro-life is so damn hard, so impossible. I wish the term "pro-life" would just die, but it probably won’t. In the meantime, despite my best of intentions, I will continue to be a pro-life failure.
Lord, have mercy on me.