Tuesday, September 09, 2008

so i'm wondering.

with all this talk about being "pro-life", what do you think it means?

during this electoral season i have had some really healthy conversations about what it means to be "pro life" & am wondering what your thoughts are.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, I will get to the pro life comment, however, I just want to say congrats on the job
"Mrs. Director"!!! I know you will do an awesome job and will be an awesome addition to any agency.

As for my idea of what does it mean to be Pro Life. I think there is a difference between pro life and anti abortion. No matter who you are everyone is for life and obviously not everyone is for abortion. I feel that all of humanity needs to be more tolerant and loving to begin getting others to see our point of view.....
I would write more, but I have to go teach right now....really!!!

Love,
Rene

cory said...

as i understand it, "pro-life" means you're for reducing legal abortions. it [apparently] has little or no bearing on how you feel about war, the death penalty, unjust economic practices or a whole host of other issues. it seems to me that the "life" many pro-life people are concerned about begins at conception and ends just after birth.

what do you say?

Jake and Jess said...

i say:

rene - you are totally my favorite for so many reasons. one of them is that you are checking our blog when you're suppose to be influencing young minds.

cory - we like you.

i'll give my comments & thoughts later when more have commented. don't want to sway the conversation my way. what's the science in that!

sarah chia said...

Hey, Jake!

What a touchy post I found on my first visit. Aren't I the lucky one?

I think that pro-life means that you see human life as sacred. That gets manifest in various ways at various times depending on circumstances.

Sometimes the pro-life thing to do is protest a war. Other times, the pro-life thing to do is realize that a war ends up saving more lives than allowing the dictator to stay in power would.

My experience with pro-lifers is that most of them are VERY concerned with life after birth. They believe in caring for others and giving grace. They know that there are difficulties with moral and emotional questions, and that doing the right thing is often hard and unpopular. And often viewed as intolerant.

I think Cory hit on a stereotype that's been perpetuated by trendy supporters of Planned Parenthood. But it's not really accurate to real life.

(Sorry, but you asked! Good to see you online, btw.)

jennnnn said...

i agree with Sarah. pro-life means from conception to the grave, no euthanasia, no purposeful murder, no warrantless death.

cory said...

i think Sarah and Jen are definitely correct on what a consistent pro-life stance would be, and i know some folks who believe and behave that way. it should be conception to the grave.

maybe it's just selection bias, but the majority of people i know who are "pro-life" are also pro-war (as in: Afghanistan and Iraq were fun, let's get Iran!), pro-capital punishment, pro-small government at the cost of many human services programs and pro-cheap stuff irrespective of the human cost.

i'm not good at estimating population trends or percentages of groups which feel a certain way. but i don't think the cartoon this post is centered around is an apparition, but rather pretty accurately depicts a large swath of the "pro-life" crowd.

i just know too many people who are "pro-life" and pro-neglect/killing at the same time to think that being "pro-life" always, or even most of the time, means someone is actually for life. i wish it did.

Indian Lake Papa said...

I once sat across the table from a contract killer doing my social worker thing - I was his case worker. He thought nothing of killing someone - he thought destroying someones character was just as bad as murder. some truth there. Its not abortion, its murder - its taking human life - and that starts at conception. I see no gray area - its murder. Taking a human life before it leaves the womb is not pro-choice, its pro-murder.

Jake and Jess said...

wow - great verbalization of views!

so, i'm reading/skimming through this book that i've had on my shelf for years. "Completely Pro-Life" by Ronald Sider. It's simply a book approaching the inconsistency that is often found regarding what it means to be pro-life and defend the human-life wherever it is threatened. it's made me think quite a bit about the choices i make and how they support/destroy life, wherever it is threatened.

the reason i believe this conversation has come up so much recently is most obliviously due to the current presidential election. it's a difficult one this time around. well, truthfully - not so difficult for me, but i have heard most difficult for others who make statements such as, "I would really like to vote for Obama but i can't vote pro-choice."

which then has lead me to think this thought: isn't that what Christ/God has offered us, a choice? Isn't God pro-choice? We were not given the gift of life with Christ at life. We were given a choice and asked to make the decision to follow Christ. We also (on a side note) life in a country that offers us the ability to make this choice as well. We are not forced through legislation and law to follow Christ/Mohammad/Baha'ullah. We have the choice to follow, live and be whomever and whatever we (those I believe created through & with God) choose.

So with that - it just scares me that sometimes we (a population within the Christian community) forget that God gives us a choice. isn't our responsibility to give, and not force, that opportunity of choice onto others?

I have other thoughts but this is far too long as it is right now. i'll respond as you comment.

in addition, i really like cory's last comments. what does everyone think?

- Jess

p.s. the views expressed in this comment are mine & mine alone - jake is still thinking.

Indian Lake Papa said...

My blog - 'Choices R Mine' - is an emphasis on the freedom to choose. We can choose - hopefully we make choices God approves of.

I remember my mother use to pray about which way to go to town. There were several different routes she could take to get to the same location - all basically the same distance. you may say, 'who cares?' she was concerned that one of those routes was possibly a divine appointment with God that she needed to keep - maybe someone needed help - many times it made a big difference. My prayer is that as I make my choices, He approves.

wornoutwoman a.k.a. Kimberly McKay said...

I think pro-life is supporting human life at all levels and forms. I think it means not to take 'a life' born or pre-birth casually as if it holds no value.

I think we all have value born or not. But it's not a black and white issue...there are two sides to every story.

Do we want young girls in the alley dying from illegal abortions? No. But can we stand for loose women using abortion as a form of birth control? No.

So where do we meet in the middle?

Jake and Jess said...

Right on, Cory.

And more importantly, how did a conversation on the holistic nature of the term "pro-life" once again dissolve into a discussion on abortion?

If the term "pro-life" is to ever be taken seriously again, then a true meaning must be attached to it. One where we emphasize the intrinsic value of all life. We recognize people's value as more than political pawns, targets for potential religious conversion, and labor.

If you call yourself "pro-life", are you actively pursuing adoption or foster care? That is what we would tell the pregnant teenager to do with their child, put it up for adoption.

Are all of your clothes made in just working environments? What is the difference between a fetus and a 9-year-old? The 9-year-old can be kept out of school to sew your pants and shirts for $0.25 per day. Is that "pro-life"?

Are you working towards ending food shortages? Today, while you were eating too much, 25,000 children under 5 years old died from hunger related complications. That simply means that they did not have enough food to support their life. And that is only children under 5, and hunger related problems. That does not include water-borne illnesses, landmines, unjust war, economic sanctions, and lack of health care coverage, older children, or adults.

Where is this discussion?

I would like to see that discussion take place among "pro-lifers", but I have yet to see it.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Pro - life ? I think foster care or other children mentoring opportunities are pro-life choices. We started that life style in 1968 - 40 years ago - and are still active in children's lives - financially and personally. Pro-Life tends to be a noun vs. a verb.

Jake and Jess said...

Papa-

I think you are correct. Far too many of the things we say we "are" (eg. I am pro-life), is something we say that we ascribe to, but do nothing about.

Maybe we need fewer nouns and more verbs.

P.S. The comment above was from Jake this time, not Jess.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Thanks Jake - mama and I had our first 6 teenage boys, foster children when we were 25. We have some stories! Our very first foster boy we still have contact with, he is a Christian and is over 50! i am too old to have a "son" 50! lol

Lauren said...

First - Jake it was great to talk with you on Sunday and I hope you are feeling better Jess!

I agree with Cory and Jess's comments fully and love to hear the passion in Indian Lake Papa's posts as he speaks about the "pro-life" and loving actions that he has taken in his life.

My first thought is that the literal phase "pro-life" can barely be heard under the subtext of "anti-abortion". So my first thought is that if you are "pro-life" that you should be "pro-adoption", and not as a last resort if you can not have children, but has an important option that every married couple should consider if they are "anti-abortion" and thinking about starting a family.

Beyond the typical context, I think that the true meaning of the phrase should be "valuing life as God values life". The bible never speaks about abortion (although I am sure it has happened for centuries and I am sure God has an opinion on the topic) but he does say:

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

God says so many challenging things about money, pride, selflessness, humility, grace, peace and love, that we have plenty to think about and talk about. There are so many changes that I think God desires for our lives that he may want us to focus on instead of focusing on a sin that we may have not committed in our own personal life and therefore crusading against this "unpopular sin" instead of the sins that lie deep in our own hearts.

Jake and Jess said...

right now i think i'm too incoherent to write but wanted to express my thanks to everyone for sharing their views and participating in this discussion. hearing form others always helps us grow and you are a part of that. thank you.

Rachel said...

I'm wondering when you're gonna talk about your new job. Dangit.

cory said...

Can this be pro-life?

keith said...

Hi there,

If you take "pro-life" out of the realm of abortion and protection of the unborn, it really should be another discussion i.e. just war, death penalty.

There are diiferent elements to each of these separate issues.

One cannot place the issue of abortion into the same realm as as issuing the death penatly to convicted murderer. Why? Because there are blurred line involved. Same with war, I think the holocaust could be tossed into the pro-life category (due to the targeting of innocent people), but what if a nation defends itself...anyways there are too many blurred lines to paint with a broad brush and include these two things in the pro-life discussion. If you did this then a nation could legitimately argue that though an unjust war, the nation was prolife, because it uses highly accurate technology.

Anything pro-life affiliated must include a fight for protections for the following.

1. Speaking for those who are human (hence a beating heart at the least).
2. Speaking for those who can't speak for themselves.
3. Speaking for the innocent.

Unborn babies, children, handicapped/mentally ill people all fit in this category. Odd that abortion is now being utilized to dispose of many in these categories. Is that pro-life, getting rid of them before birth so they are not a burden on society?

Also, not sure what pro-lifers you have been hanging around, but the ones I know are highly involved with adoption, mission work, foster care. It's the government (the one that legalized abortion) and the abortion providers that make it so damn hard to do the above efficiently and cost effectively. I think the real issue is, when is this nation going to make it easier to get into foster care & adopt than get the child aborted. Adoption will never out perform abortion so long as the barriers are so high.

Rob said...

As someone who really wants to like Obama, and has re-evaluated where he stands politically (as I know Jake has), and is really tied of feeling like the republican party has used his faith to get votes but really hasn't done much with those votes, I just can't pull myself to vote for a man that says that the very first thing he will do when he gets into office is sign the freedom of choice act (before helping the poor, protecting the environment, addressing the economy and national defense, etc).

If your not familiar with the freedom of choice act, it basically removes the requirements of parental notification and informed consent and bans on partial birth abortions.

I am not the typical pro-lifer that I have seen stereotyped here on this blog entry. The abortion issue is one that hits very close to my family. It was a teenage pregnancy that God used to lead my wife to Christ. My wife volunteers as a councilor at a pregnancy center every week in which she helps council young women with crisis pregnancies. Her organization, which is 100% funded by Christians, provides free ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, formula, diapers, budget counseling, accountability, amongst many other things to help young women make the right choice to keep their babies. They also help lead women who choose to put their babies up for adoption through the process of finding an adoption agency.

Abortion isn't really a cool issue to talk about among younger Christians anymore, but it is an important issue to God and we need to be careful which side we align ourselves with. Many innocent, helpless lives are at stake.