I wrote this post on Nov 3, 2008 — and I’m sorry that it still feels timely. Am floating it back to the top on this Jan 22, the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I’ll also link to this essay, and the back story on why I wrote it. A “Right to Life” worship service ushered me out of the denomination that raised me.
I don’t usually discuss politics here, but today, the day before Election Day, I’m going to give myself a little leeway.
I’ve been running into folks who are deciding tomorrow’s vote on the basis of one issue: abortion, which they have named “being pro-life.” Since some of these people are otherwise quite smart, I am really mystified by the way they use language to frame this issue. I hate seeing good words like “life” reduced to a shadow of their meaning.
What would it mean for a president to be pro-life?
Well, let’s start with considering the job description of the President of the United States.
S/he is our main connection to every other country on the planet. (Yes, that is worth pausing over.) S/he is our commander in chief. S/he appoints the Cabinet, which in turn has a strong hand in all kinds of regulatory issues. S/he will change the tax structure of our nation. S/he has “the power of the pulpit” to help America respond in times of crisis (“go shop” vs. “conserve energy”). S/he will most likely appoint Supreme Court justices who will make decisions about all kinds of matters. S/he will fix, or not fix, our broken health care system. S/he will create, or not create, an environment that encourages energy exploration.
Now, remind me why one fraction of one point in the above list is the only one that people label as pro-life? Being pro-life is about caring for all human Life on this planet, and the planet itself! Being pro-life means making taxes more equitable so lower class folks have more chances. Being pro-life means fixing our health care system. Being pro-life means trying to reduce how many people we kill because they happen to be in the way in other countries. Being pro-life means not polluting the planet God gave us.
Being pro-life means choosing hope over fear. Really. It’s not just rhetoric.
By all means, choose life. But please don’t reduce “life” to one small slice of the huge, pressing agenda that will confront our next president.