A couple of weeks ago a former high school classmate posted the above picture. I believe that there are some very good points that need to be addressed because I believe that the assertions made in this picture are not only exaggerations, but in some cases out right misrepresentations of those of us who oppose the unjustified killing of unborn human beings, in other words, murder.
Before I address the content of the picture I want to explain why I am pro-life. First and foremost, the Bible teaches that human life has value, not because it is human life, but because humans are the only part of the creation that are made in the image of God. What does the phrase "the image of God" mean? It means that humans have inherent value independent of their utility or function (Genesis 1:27-28; 5:1-3; 9:6). For this reason alone I can stand and oppose the unjustified killing of unborn human beings. This reason, however, is not the only reason why I am opposed to the unjustified murder of unborn human beings. I have four other reasons that are non-Biblical, and I will quickly enumerate below. One word of definition. When I say non-Biblical I mean arguments that do not have their origin in the Bible.
I am borrowing from the arguments of Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason for these points. I believe that these four arguments are some of the strongest non-Biblical arguments against the unjustified killing of unborn human beings in the public square. This argument is called the SLED Test. SLED being an acronym for Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependency.
In regards to Size, an unborn human being is smaller than a child, who is smaller than a teenager, who is smaller than an adult. Size has no bearing on the value of a human life, which is why persons born with genetic defects that affect their size are guaranteed the same rights as a person without those defects. If size is irrelevant in the world outside the womb, then what makes size relevant in the womb residing in the same outside world?
Often those in favor of the unjustified killing of unborn human beings cite the Level of development of the unborn human being as a justification for killing the unborn human being. The problem with this view is that it makes ability to do things the determiner of value. When a child is born, she is unable to do many of the things a fully mature human can do, but that lack of development does not make her worth something less than a fully mature human, does it? To take this view to its most logical conclusion, the consistent supporter of the unjustified killing of unborn human beings, should also be in favor of killing people with disabilities!
Third, supporters of the unjustified killing of unborn human beings, often claim that by virtue of the baby's location. Often these people will point out that the baby can't even breathe air, as if that means something. The problem is that the baby is "breathing" the amniotic fluid she is surrounded by! Now my question to our opponents is whether or not their lack of ability to live in the environment of an unborn human being should be taken into account.
Lastly, the Level of dependency of the unborn human being is often cited as a reason to justify the killing of an unborn human being. The problem is that there is no human child, who after taking a trip out of the uterus and into the "real" world, that is not utterly dependent on its mother or some other form of caregiver. Dependency is not a legitimate reason to justify killing an unborn human being. It is, in fact, the greatest reason against the unjustified killing of unborn human beings, i.e., murder!
With this background laid out, I now want to look at the arguments from the above picture.
Do I need to be against war to be "pro-life"? Before I answer this, I want to look at the presupposition that under girds this statement. That presupposition is that ALL war is immoral. I agree that all war is horrible and should be resorted to only as a last resort. Not all war, however, is immoral. There are some wars that are moral. These are wars what is called "just wars." I will not go into the criteria for what constitutes a just war here, but should the reader care to pursue this further I link to the Wikipedia entry on "Just War Theory" for you to examine. If there is a war that meets the criteria for a "just war", then I, and other Christians, have no issue supporting the war effort.
Do I need to be against hunger and poverty to truly be pro-life? Jesus said that those who follow Him will always have the poor with us (Matthew 26:11). Much of hunger and poverty has as its origin the fallen nature of man. The underlying presupposition of the statement, however, must be examined. The implicit statement being made is that those who are pro-life are not doing anything to curb and/or eliminate hunger and poverty. This statement is also a swipe at Christians, who are by and large against the unjustified murder of unborn human beings, as not doing enough to end poverty and hunger. Is this the case? Absolutely not. Historically, the Christian church has been at the forefront of working to curb and/or end poverty and hunger in the world. Sadly, this statement is just a disparagement of those that wish to protect the most vulnerable of society from unjustified killing.
Do I need to be against homelessness to be pro-life? Honestly, I do not see how this follows. Homelessness is by and large caused by alcohol or drug addiction. This will always be a problem as long as drug abuse is in society. There is a very small portion of homelessness caused by other reasons, but they are not as large a problem as alcoholism and drug addiction. Until we deal with those issues as a society then homelessness will still abound. Interestingly, a Christian founded Alcoholics Anonymous, and based it on Christian principles. The 12-steps has been employed by other organizations to deal with other sorts of addiction. Further, there are Christian groups that do work in the "skid row" areas of large cities to help those that are homeless.
Do I need to be against the planet's degradation to be pro-life? Yes, I do. I was raised in a rural mountain community, and I was able to see the beauty of God's creation daily. I now live in Los Angeles, and while there is no inherent beauty in a large mega-city, I have seen sunrises and sunsets that have taken my breathe away. I do not want to live in a polluted world any more than the next person. The question is how do we best slow or stop this planet's degradation without negatively impacting human life? It is at this point that we have divergent opinions. That said, my view of this planet is not as the only place that I will live, because when I die that's it, therefore I will do everything in my power to preserve it. Rather, my view of the environment is that of a manager. Humans were given the authority to care, cultivate, and use this planet for its vast resources (Genesis 1:28-31).
Do I need to be against capital punishment to be pro-life? Again we must make a clear distinction. Abortion is the unjustified taking of an innocent human life. Capital punishment is the justified taking of a human who has been found guilty of heinous crime(s) through sober deliberation by a jury of his peers, and implemented by the State as a warning to those who would wish to do the same. A person who is against the unjustified killing of an innocent human being, but is for the justified killing of a guilty human being is not inconsistent in his stance. He is perfectly consistent because the key is the moral innocence or guilt of the person being killed.
Do I need to be for human rights in order to be pro-life? Well, that depends on what your view of what human rights are. For me, I look at The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States as what constitutes rights. Why? Because these are the founding documents of the nation in which I live. These documents establish that there are certain inalienable rights, chief among these rights are "Life, Liberty and the pursuit Happiness." Abortion destroys all three of these rights for an innocent unborn human being! I ask this of the person that is in favor of killing innocent unborn human life: where is your commitment to their rights? Aren't you being a bigger hypocrite, than what you are accusing me of being?
Do I need to be in favor of education and jobs in order to be pro-life? To this I say absolutely. Without jobs people cannot tend to their needs. Without education society becomes illiterate and dependent on government to provide for them. That said, education is a privilege and not a right. Having a job is a privilege and not a right. There is nothing in the United States Constitution that enumerates a right to education or a job. What you are guaranteed is the opportunity, and in the cases in which those opportunities were impeded, then the Constitution has been amended to end that discrimination.
I have written about the presuppositions that are behind these arguments, and they can all be summed up by the last line on the poster. Namely, that those who believe that life has value and should be protected are spending too much time and placing too much emphasis on protecting innocent unborn human beings. All of these points have value, and must be discussed. Yet, if the unjustified killing of innocent human beings is continued who would be left for use to instruct with these ideas?
The ultimate goal of this poster is to silence those that believe abortion is murder. Yet, will the silence of those who wish to protect the most vulnerable in society salve the consciences of those that partake in the unjustified killing of innocent human beings through active or passive means? I think we know what the answer to that question is, don't we?