Consistent Ethic of Life

I just read through “Principles and Policies for Christian Voters” which is essentially a voting guide put out by Sojourners. My O’Pa (grandfather) was a fan of Sojourners and I have been familiar with the group since high school when he began sending me articles from their magazines. He even signed me up for Christian Ethics Today, a small magazine similar to Sojourners, in which, his poetry was occasionally published. Whenever I get my issue of CET in the mail, I think of my O’Pa. He was known for his somewhat lively Christmas letters which usually gave his opinion on some “hot topic”. He passed away last summer and many times I have found myself wishing he was still here so I could ask him a question about something. He was incredibly wise.

So, I read through this voting guide and thought it made a lot of valid points. I could talk about a lot of them (and maybe I will in another post) but I will just touch on one because it is so close to my heart. Here is what Sojourners has to say under the section titled “Consistent Ethic of Life.” I have added emphasis on certain words because I am going to discuss them.

All life is a sacred gift from God, and public policies should reflect a consistent ethic of life.

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you.” (Isaiah 42:5-6)

“The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)

1. Dramatically reduce abortion. Our society should support common ground policies that dramatically reduce the abortion rate by preventing unwanted pregnancies, providing meaningful alternatives and necessary supports for women and children, and reforming adoption laws.

2. End capital punishment. Our nations’ use of the death penalty should end. We should not take life to punish wrongful death. There is no evidence that it deters murder. It is easy to make fatal mistakes, as DNA testing has shown. The death penalty is biased against the poor, who cannot afford adequate legal representation, and is racially disproportionate.

3. Stop genocide. In Darfur and other countries, around the world, persecution and mass killing continues. Selective intervention by multilateral peace-keeping forces under the United Nations that can protect and save lives should be supported and strengthened.

Does anyone else notice the difference in language between #1 and points #2 & #3? Do you really think God is hoping we just “reduce” abortion? If we are only seeking to reduce abortion, please tell me when it is acceptable?

I found this section of the guide very frustrating. Although titled “Consistent Ethic of Life” Sojourners is blatantly inconsistent.

Abortion needs to end; it needs to stop. It deserves the same strong language they used for capital punishment and genocide. In fact, abortion is “racially disproportionate”. In this country, an African-American child is nearly as likely to be aborted as he/she is to be born. Abortion is “persecution and mass killing.” Abortion takes the life of a child and since 1973 it has taken the life of more than 45 million children in the United States alone.

Christians definitely need to be more consistent in their pro-life message. We need to create more aid and assistance for women facing unplanned pregnancy. We need to show more compassion and acceptance for women in these situations. We need to step up and be the ones adopting children. As people against the taking of a life, we must do all that we can to support those who choose life. As Christians, we must be consistent in our ethic of life but saying we need to just “reduce” abortions is not consistent. In fact, what it is, is Sojourners bending to the political party that they lean towards. They are being cowards. They know if they take a strong stance on abortion people may vote for the “other party.” If Christians want their votes to be taken seriously, then they cannot bend on Christian values. They need to stand firm so that elected politicians (who are supposed to represent the people) bend to us.

If you are sensing my anger, then you are getting the correct feeling from this post. Maybe this is my “lively Christmas letter.” But I hope in my seventies I am still as bothered by injustice as my O’Pa was and that I am still writing blogs like this. This is not my post against Sojourners; I agreed with many things in the voting guide. This is me begging them to not sell their souls to a political party. There are too many Christian organizations who have already done this on the other end of the political spectrum. It is of no use to have one on the left end as well.

Please see the following sites for more information:
Feminists for Life
Protecting Black Life

3 thoughts on “Consistent Ethic of Life

  1. Krysta,This post reminds of a discussion that took place in a class that I sat in on at Fuller. It was taught by professor who was of the Anabaptist tradition (Mennonite). They are known for their peacemaking principles and preaching what they call the “whole gospel” (not just about saving souls). This tradition obviously has had some issues with the current administration and the professor mentioned that he was grateful for the work Jim Wallis and Sojourners had done the past 5-10 years. But he also said that recently he felt that they (especially Jim Wallis) were losing come credibility because they were becoming this new “Religious Left”. My opinion is that Sojourners is trying so hard to counter-act the religious right movement that sometimes they overstep their own principles in doing this. Your post about the language involving abortion is a prime example. You are spot on in calling them out for their obvious catering to the Democratic party – this is the same group that took out an ad in the New York Times that said “God is not a Republican or Democrat”. Like you, I like a lot of things they are doing but Sojourners needs to stay objective if they want to provide a prophetic voice for Christians and politics. The only explanation that I can think of for their use of language involving abortion is that they are trying to be practical (since Roe v. Wade is unlikely to be overturned soon) but that argument is quite weak. Good post – and good links (I really like the feminists one – please share that with Dan) 🙂See you soon,Dave

  2. Dave, I think you make a good point. What Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and a number of others seem to have done is to copy the way the religious right operates, but use it for liberal Democrats rather than conservative Republicans.Instead, they should have learned the pitfalls of Christians tying themselves to an establishment political party. Sojourners should return to its prophetic Christian roots. But I’m afraid it has gotten caught up in the false glory of recognition by the establishment.The difference in expression about abortion is noteworthy. Even more noteworthy is that they say absolutely nothing in the Voter’s Guide about the sin of devoting over half of the discretionary budget to current and future mass murder (war), or about wars other than Iraq. It doesn’t seem to be coincidence that talking about these things would offend leaders of the Democratic Party, who take exactly the same position as leaders of the Republican Party on them.Let’s stand for a true consistent ethic of life. To your list of groups on this, I would add < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Consistent Life<>.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *