Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sanctity of Life

If you are Southern Baptist, you are probably aware that yesterday was designated "Sanctity of Life Sunday."

The SBC Website gives the following position statement regarding "Sanctity of Life:"

Procreation is a gift from God, a precious trust reserved for marriage. At the moment of conception, a new being enters the universe, a human being, a being created in God's image. This human being deserves our protection, whatever the circumstances of conception.

That is not an excerpt. That is the statement in its entirety.

I have no disagreement with the above statement, and the presentation at our church was outstanding. But every year at this time, I find myself wishing that there was a little more to it. Well, a lot more to it.

Sometimes I think we talk about abortion as if it is the only "sanctity of life" issue there is. We are encouraged to vote for candidates who uphold the sanctity of life, read: candidates who won't support abortion. That's fine, but I kinda think there are other issues that might qualify.

If sanctity means "sacredness" then we need to look at all the issues where human lives are not being treated as sacred. Genocide. I wonder how many times we'd be encouraged to support a candidate who has a strong policy for resolving the conflict in Sudan? And if life really is sacred, why aren't we encouraged to vote for candidates who have viable plans for reducing poverty or the occurance of HIV/AIDS infection? What about child labor? Who has a plan for addressing that?

And forget about voting. Are we being encouraged, from the pulpit, to make changes in our personal habits that would support such changes?

I'm not saying there are no Southern Baptists or SB churches that are addressing these things. I just mean to say that I think we should hear from the pulpit about the importance of other issues and our responsibilities in addressing them. And stop pretending abortion is the only "sanctity of life" issue.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for saying this in such a clear and understandable way. I completely agree.

Mon Jan 23, 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

While my views on abortion are different than yours, I do respect your opinion. I might not, however, if you only stood to protect that one part of it. Thank you, I wish more people could see the whole picture.

Love ya lots,

Mon Jan 23, 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous mom a said...

For a very long time, I have maintained that many fewer abortions would be attempted if young people were able to experience real love and affection in ways that are other than sexually physical. As long as our society continues to model intimacy as being possible only in sexual exchange, we'll be struggling with the abortion issue.
And enriching life for everyone so that the spiritual and emotional "orgasms" that should a part of life are possible would really be respectful of the sacredness of life. In short, one cannot rant and rave about abortion if there are no supports of parents who have to struggle against great odds just to secure housing and food. Nor can we ignore the importance of education and safe play spaces and living environments if we want people to remain hopeful of reachiing something better. Finally, a warm greeting instead of averted eyes when we approach someone we don't know is a simple but powerful affirmation of the "life" ot that person. And charity is not just for when Christmas carols are playing. Okay; I'm done preaching.
Okay; I'm done preaching.

Tue Jan 24, 02:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Cup-a-Joe said...

Fascinating topic...
During the Terry Schiavo debacle it has become clear that from a secular liberalism perspective humanity has been defined not by the gift of life given from God, but it is defined in terms of human autonomy. The more you can exercise your liberty and autonomy the more human you are; conversely the less you can exercise your liberty and autonomy the less human you are.

If any life is sacred, then all life is sacred. Did Pope John Paul II beg to be euthanized and removed from his debilitation and pain? Instead, he lived on until it was God's timing to take the breath of life from him. The irony of his death happening in the same month with the Terry Schiavo only served to underscore the difference in approach between secular liberalism traditions and our Judeo-Christian understanding of life.

The arguments against abortion thus far have served to undermine efforts to prevent assisted suicide. The liberal language of choice, as in "the baby has no choice in the process," has been turned upside-down when it concerns the elderly. Clearly the elderly have a choice in the process, so by this logic they should be allowed to commit suicide if they so choose. After all, this is only the last act of exercising their liberty and autonomy before they are robbed of that liberty and autonomy by age and disease... so says the liberal tradition. Ironically, millions of dollars are spent each year in efforts to prevent teen suicide; perhaps the elderly are no longer economically useful and so they should be quietly disposed of, while teenagers consume and produce so they should be spared of the awful fate of suicide.

When you view life as the breath of God given to us as a precious gift, you begin to think differently about allowing people to kill themselves. We were not responsible for creating this life, nor should we be responsible for ending it. We are born in dependency; unable even to feed ourselves, unable to protect ourselves, needing food, clothing, shelter, warmth and love from our parents. We live and grow totally dependent on each other and the continuing grace of God to feed us, clothe us, and grant us the very breath we breathe. Autonomy is only the illusion that God allows us so that we can have free will to choose to obey and follow Him. It is those who have chosen not to acknowledge Him and give Him praise and thanks for His care that now try to convince us that a life limited is not worthy of life. In contrast, as followers of Christ, we must admit our own dependence and most of all give praise and thanks to Him whose very Ruach Kodesh (Holy Spirit, or Holy Breath, same word) has made us alive first as natural men and women and also alive in Christ Jesus.

Tue Jan 24, 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger yomama said...


you forgot to mention how so many 'pro-life' people subscribe to pro gun legislation.


Tue Jan 24, 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

A professor I respect recently wrote, "I don't want abortion to be illegal. I want it to be unthinkable." Totally with you on the myopia on the sanctity of life issue. What about capital punishment--how does that come into play?

Thu Mar 15, 01:44:00 PM  

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