Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are you really pro-life?

The Shane Claibourne book I was reading has a lot of info about his perspective (backed up by scripture) about social issues.  Since we're being bombarded with politics lately, I thought I'd touch on this hot topic. I really liked his discussion on pro-life issues.  When we really get down to it... life doesn't just begin at conception and end at birth.  How can "passionate pro-lifers" be for wars that kill innocent children, or buy products that are mass produced overseas in sweatshops where children may be working night and day in unsafe conditions and be paid next to nothing?  This seems like a contradiction to me... so many times we stand for something when it's convenient for us, but fail to see the bigger issue.  I especially liked his comment that "if we are going to discourage abortion, we had better be ready to adopt some babies and care for some mothers".  What are your thoughts on these issues?   


dean said...

it's a matter of awareness, and believe it or not, the easier thing (to at least be aware of, anyway) is the "widows and orphans." one need look no further than one's own church congregation to find hurting or struggling families to reach out to, but of course it needs to go much further than within the church walls. it is incumbent upon Christ-followers to seek out and reach out to those in the community and beyond who have no advocate or protector. they're right among us and are easy to find.

as for our consumerism and how it affects those being victimized by unscrupulous employers and marketers, that requires a whole lot of research and a level of awareness that i'm not certain many people have the resources or the knowledge to go about obtaining. there are organizations in some industries (such as coffee growing and diamond mining) that identify for the consumer which products and brands are produced under humane conditions, but by and large, as consumers, we're left in the dark in most cases. but wherever possible, we should make every effort we can to be good stewards and responsible consumers. at one time, for a long time, i boycotted goods manufactured in china. i could not, in good conscience, support with my dollars the government-sponsored persecution of Christians (and other oppressed groups) in that country. but as i was researching this several years ago, i came to realize that one of the most effective ways that Christians have had of reaching the people with the gospel was through sending folks to work in the factories that would be able to witness to the chinese workers. as i'm sure you're aware, there was nothing convenient about choosing not to buy anything made in china. in fact, there were many items we simply did without because of that choice. it is, however, a situation i reassess from time to time, and i don't rule out the possibility of returning to my personal boycott (i never advocate mass-boycoting, a la AFA... i think it's a choice that each individual has to make for themselves based on stewardship, conscience and belief).

i'm not familiar with claibourne's book, but i know that Jesus had plenty to say about people of His day that took advantage of the less fortunate among them. the line about life beginning at conception and ending at birth struck me, because it's been used in the political arena for years against people who identify themselves as pro-life. the reason is usually because many pro-lifers (myself included) are against making the government the sugar-daddy for the masses. it is not the job of government to raise families or create jobs or take care of widows and orphans. the job of coming alongside families and helping them... THAT job belongs to the Church, and the Church long ago abdicated its responsibility to the government. without having read the book, i'm assuming that this is the point that claibourne is trying to make, that the chuch is failing miserably in fulfilling it's mandate to care for people. but the highly politicized cry of "they believe life begins at conception and ends at birth" comes from folks with a largely socialist agenda.

i do not believe there has ever been a war fought by this country that was fought with the purpose of killing innocent children. were some wars managed poorly along the way? certainly iraq has been, and vietnam was, too. but we have always (though sometimes reluctantly) gotten involved in war to defeat tyranny and oppression, and yes, at times, to defend our own country. by and large, these days our strategy is to inflict as little collateral damage as possible, and we have the technology to do so. an even cursory look at the wars israel conducted in the old testament shows that God commanded the israelite army to spare nothing and no one... every man, woman, child and animal was to be destroyed. i'm pretty sure that God is not giving that directive to presidents and generals anymore, but i surely don't believe that the purpose or the motivation for war (at least from our perspective as a country) is to obliterate entire populations.

my bottom line: the Church needs to step back up and reclaim what is rightfully hers: the responsibility to take care of the oppressed and the weak.

great topic, amanda!

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. james 1:27

Mandy said...

How weird that we posted such similar topics on the same day!

You have already read my take on this, but to sum it up, I agree. People call themselves "prolife" and stand in picket lines screaming at scared women that are having abortions. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, their movement stops their. They do not adopt the babies they go to bat for in anonymous crowds, they do not offer support to teen or unsupported mothers. They simply judge, criticize, and scold.

Amazing that so many wonder why so many choose abortion.

Anonymous said...

"When we really get down to it... life doesn't just begin at conception and end at birth." Wait,is that right?Life ENDS at birth???