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Friday, September 25, 2015


Over at his website Russell Moore asks, "Is Pro-Life Winning?" and urges cautious optimism. Sure, we haven't seen such furor over the topic prior to the release of these 10 (so far) Planned Parenthood videos and, sure, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year and ban most abortions after 20 weeks. That all sounds good. But ...

It's not all rosy, you know. The Senate blocked the bill on their end and we can't find 60 senators willing to defend the lives of the most vulnerable. Beyond that, banning killing babies after 20 weeks isn't much different than banning killing adults before the age of 45. I mean, "Hey! What about the rest of us??!!" Yes, what about all those other children without protection?

Worse, the question was "Is pro-life winning?" I'm pretty sure that most people -- even those opposed to abortion -- don't know what "pro-life" means. Consider the outcry with that dentist who killed a lion in Zimbabwe. Loud voices called for his execution. Same with the death of Yongki, the Sumatran elephant, killed by poachers in his pen for his ivory. The public sentiment swings toward, "They need to catch these poachers, treat them the same way." "Death to all poachers!" is the common cry.

You see, pro-life does not mean pro-all-life. That would just be stupid. Consider. Take the avid vegan, the guy who wouldn't hurt a fly and wouldn't consume any animal products because he cannot abide harming animals. Yet he's perfectly willing to (in fact, absolutely must) kill plants for his own sustenance. Plants are "life". It is not all "life" in view. Even the conscientious fellow who isn't willing to mistreat children or pets but enjoys a hamburger now and then is agreeing that it is not all "life" in view. "Pro-life" has a specific life in view -- human life. That is, there is a hierarchy in view here, with those made in the image of God at the top of the list of life we wish to protect.

I don't think a lot of people who are pro-life really get that. They often stumble, for instance, when faced with the counter, "Oh, yeah, then why do you favor the death penalty?" Well, it's because we are made in the image of God and because the lives of others who are made in the image of God require defending from those willing to take the lives of those made in His image that it makes sense. But many don't get it. Many want to defend the unborn, sure, but they also want to defend the baby seals and the rights of monkeys to their selfies. (Seriously, people, how can an outrageously "animal rights"-oriented organization like PETA be so concerned for the welfare of animals -- they once took President Obama to task for killing a fly -- with no concern for the welfare of humans?)

There is a disconnect here. It begins with "In the beginning, God ..." God made people in His image. This endows them -- us -- with special value from God. That special value from God is what makes it evil to kill babies. But as long as we're going to debate whether it's okay to kill babies prior to 20 weeks or in the cases of rape or incest or the like, we are not getting it. And "pro-life" isn't winning. Without God at the beginning, life loses its value. It's arbitrary. And removing value from human life is not a good place to start.

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