Wednesday, March 07, 2012

That Term Does Not Mean What You Think It Does (pt.1)

First in a series on abortion and Evangelicals

In this time of national confusion, I'd like to clarify something. The term "pro-life" - like the term "Christian" - has been co-opted and carried away by the violent.

To be pro-life originally meant to be actively pursuing for the protection and good of all of human life. When we hear that term today, it is used to self-describe those who are merely against abortion - usually in almost all cases. Often they are against euthanasia, but not necessarily. And usually against all forms of that as well.

Most of those that proudly carry the label "pro-life", however, are pro-expansionism. The Evangelical Christian Neo-Con mouthpiece WORLD Magazine, for example, was cheer-leading the War Upon Iraq (I'd be surprised if they weren't currently pushing for war at Iran as well) before and throughout the attack. So was honorary Evangelical Rick Santorum. And the vast majority of staunchly Contemporary Pro-Life Evangelical churches, including the one I was heavily active in at the time. With few regrets towards that war or, really, any other war enacted upon by the United States. They are all "Just Wars" because the United States is a "Just Nation."


Although they are often active in impoverished communities throughout the world through such charitable agencies as Compassion, Int'l and Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse, they rarely ever accept a call for global justice (as Compassion tries to nudge them towards) as that would mean giving up their relative comforts.

So, while millions die yearly from preventive causes, these Contemporary Pro-Lifers actually advocate against broader justice concerns that would save those lives.


They also overwhelmingly defend the death penalty. This is another area where the original pro-life constituents fundamentally, overwhelmingly disagreed. They understood that pursuit of vindictive punishments lead to trials not pursuant to justice but to guilt and appeasement of the lust for blood. They know that not only are there many innocent people on death row, but that the capital punishment does nothing but perpetuate the cycle of lethal violence. The current crop of "pro-life" individuals and institutions has cheered on the multiple dozens of executions that Texas Gov Rick Perry oversaw.


The currently co-opted pro-life movement tends to be also be pro-guns rights. They advocate for looser gun control laws. Guns, by the way, not used for survival or even gaming. Guns used to kill or maim another human being. One "pro-life" commenter at a pastor friend of mine's Facebook page said that it's practically a moral obligation to shoot off the head of someone who breaks into his house. I'd hate to see the gun rack he's put under his bed, or think about the very real danger he's putting his family in. Which is much more real than the dangers of a night-time raid on his house by a bandit. Does it matter, though, as long as he labels himself...


It seems that, to the majority of those that label themselves pro-life, it is okay for the US government to be involved in taking lives, but not in sustaining them.

This is the bastardized current version of Pro-life.

I can't even say it's Orwellian. Newspeak would corrupt a term by implying the its intended end results - so the department overseeing war would be the Dept of Peace, and the department overseeing brainwashing would be the Dept of Love.  If that method were used here, the contemporary pro-life movement would be described as pro-death.

And that would sadly but actually be a more accurate descriptor.

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