No Life, No Justice

Note: This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.

Followers of Jesus are being asked by politicos, pundits, and even some pastors, to abandon abortion as a decisive and vital issue in this year’s election. Instead, we are being urged to cast our votes based on other justice issues such as poverty, protecting the environment, and bringing the troops home from Iraq. There are three problems with this line of thinking.

First, the sanctity and dignity of life (which abortion destroys both physically and conceptually) is the cornerstone upon which all justice is built. All human rights are predicated first upon the right to life.

Thomas Jefferson understood this clearly when he wrote, and I quote, “The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

For the believer, the value of each human life, no matter how young or old, derives from the belief that all humans are created by God and stamped with His image.

The second problem with abandoning the right to life issue for the sake of others is the nature of the disagreement between candidates on these other issues. All candidates agree that poverty should be ended and the environment protected-the debate surrounds the strategies to be used. Likewise, even the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq want to bring our active combat troops home-the argument is about how, under what circumstances, and when.

But abortion is different. On this issue, many candidates are diametrically opposed. There is no common ground. Their records are clear, and the contrasts are sharp.

The third reason we cannot lose focus on protecting the unborn is that so much work remains to be done. Despite a positive shift in public opinion on protecting unborn children, despite the addition of Supreme Court justices who seem to believe in the right to life, despite the passage of the Partial Birth Abortion Act and many parental notification and consent laws, the fact remains that abortion on demand is still the law of the land. And the death toll continues to rise every single day.

Since the passage of Roe vs. Wade in 1973, more than 48 million unborn children have perished-and only 7 percent of the women who had those abortions cited medical concerns, rape, or incest as their reasons. And those who promote abortions-they are flexing their muscle as never before. In Fiscal Year 2006-2007, Planned Parenthood took in over $1 billion in donations. They provide 20 percent of all abortions in the U.S., and took in $336 million in government funds-that is your taxes!

Believers must press candidates on the right to life this year. The so-called single-issue, pro-life voters are not single issue at all. Why? Because the dignity and sanctity of human life is a thread that connects virtually all humanitarian causes. They recognize that unless our country protects the most vulnerable of human life, all other issues touching upon human dignity are in peril-whether it is human trafficking, mental health, AIDS, poverty, victims’ rights, prisoners’ rights, or health care, just to name a few.

Indeed, if the life of the most innocent and defenseless among us — the unborn child — is not worth protecting, I ask you, my friend, whose is?

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  • Grace Harman

    The point is that if you can objectify the child in the womb, you will also soon objectify the old, the handicapped, those of certain races or ethnicities, those of certain religions, or all religions, or especially the poor. We’ve seen these things already done in Germany, Russia, Holland, Rowanda, Bosnia, China, etc. (With the case of “assisted suicide” you don’t even need to have a problem, you just have to believe you have one. No one is safe – and our “Judges” push this.)
    Why does the Democratic Party force this on us with candidates who deny that life is given by God? Why do people who are Christians allow this to go on? Abortion is always a grave evil. Anyone who supports or condones it is corrupt. The party itself has lost its soul. Half of our nation can’t see this?

  • dennisofraleigh

    The governing ethic in America today is not “life” as worthy of protection for its own sake, but secular “rights.” Specifically, rights that guarantee individual moral autonomy apart from any metaphysical or natural “law.” We now have “the right to die” as opposed to the inalienable “right to life.” We have a sanctified “right to privacy” which the courts have interpreted as a woman’s “right” to “do with her body” whatever she chooses (i.e. obtain an abortion, no questions asked). We have an evolving “right” of same-sex unions.
    I have little doubt that in another decade (like passive euthanasia today) we’ll see homosexual unions enjoy the same status and “rights” of traditional marriage. We’re already seeing this among America’s major corporations and (soon) mainline liberal denominations.
    Yes, the Church will continue to speak out. The Church spoke out loudly and clearly in the 1930’s against Fascism. Who was listening then? It took a devastating world war to end that threat to civilization in Europe.
    I’m currently doing a Bible study on the book of Lamentations. I tire of hearing about how God is helplessly wringing His hands in Heaven watching us humans make a total mess of his creation, that he’s waiting for *us* to right all the wrongs and prevail against the bad guys. I see two scenarios: America wakes up, repents and enjoys God’s favor, or America continues on it’s frenzied “Sex and the City” moral plunge, and ends up like Jerusalem after the Babylonians took care of Judah’s moral and spiritual problems. Sorry for this bit of pessimism, but as I see it that is the prospect we’re faced with.
    May God have mercy on us all.
    Pray for the conversion of America.