Friday, January 16, 2009

pro life versus PRO LIFE

On the weekend of Sanctity of Life Sunday, it's interesting to note the shift taking place in the way that young Christians are defining pro-life. I have seen it happening for a few years now and it seems to be gaining momentum with the recent election. These young people are expanding the definition beyond abortion. Two articles that I read this week speak to this shift.

The first is called 'Life' Movement Evolves by Tom Krattenmaker of USA Today. He writes-

Christians have taken up a fight for global good, targeting human trafficking
and the sex trade industry that tortures souls around the world. Consider this a
new face of the "pro-life" movement.

And the other one is Redefining ProLife from Skye Jethani, managing editor of Leadership. He writes,

Christians have always been pro-life. During the Roman Empire when
infanticide was rampant, it was Christians who retrieved abandoned babies from
outside the city walls to raise them as their own. But it was also the church
that gave unprecedented dignity to slaves, women, and social outcasts. Some have
even hypothesized that it was Christianity's appeal to the disenfranchised
masses that fueled its rapid expansion.

But since Roe vs. Wade, the way "pro-life" has been defined by many
evangelicals has been very narrow. It has simply meant anti-abortion. But now
that seems to be changing. Growing numbers of Christians are embracing a wider
ethic of life. Jim Wallis has called for a Christian agenda that is pro-life
"from the womb to the tomb." That means valuing people after they are born, and
not just before. It means pursuing social justice, equality, education, health
care, and human rights. It means fighting poverty and advocating for those
without a voice.

Will this redefinition take root? If so, what will this do for the "Pro-Life" movement? Will it bring more people in and strenghten the message or water it down so that it loses its focus and passion?

Whatever happens, it does seem that this conversation is a healthy one to have. Poverty and injustice are issues that all people of faith must address whether or not they are included on the pro-life agenda. By drawing added attention to these needs, the conversation might be as good as the end result.