Last week, Life Support Ministry celebrated Sanctity of Human Life week on campus—celebrating the value of all human life and seeking to raise awareness about the tragedies related to abortion in the U.S. Monday happened to be a day our nation celebrated the work and leadership of Rev. Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. and on Friday Donald Trump was inaugurated as President.
Neither Martin Luther King Day nor the Inauguration have a direct link to Life Support’s celebration of Sanctity of Human Life Week, but the people, Dr. King and Mr. Trump, have a great deal of relevance to the idea the week celebrates: human life and its intrinsic, sacred worth.
Often, when we talk about King, we secularize his title. We forget that he was first and foremost a Baptist pastor, and that people followed him because of his faithful preaching. Largely due to his leadership of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, African-American’s have been able to gain significant, and basic human rights.
These human rights, King believed, ought to be guaranteed to African-American people not because of any political agenda or party platform but, because God Almighty has created all people and all human life is sacred. We often reduce King’s role to leadership of a political movement, which is why our country celebrates his life. We cannot forget that a fundamental belief in the sanctity of human life was a driving force in his ministry.
King certainly would have considered himself “pro-life,” except since the 70’s the term “pro-life” has come to refer exclusively to one’s position on abortion. Being “pro-life” has become wrapped up in the mess of American party-politics, and has drifted significantly from the commitment to upholding the sanctity of human life.
Today, to claim to be pro-life is an obligation to vote for the Republican. By voting Republican, there is then an obligation to oppose everything associated with the Democratic Party. I do not think I need to explain in too much more detail has this leads to divisiveness and animosity.
Unfortunately, being “pro-life” as a political stance no longer has as much to do with upholding the sanctity of human life, as it does opposing abortion. Shifting the focus from protecting life to making abortion illegal has made being “pro-life” anything but “pro-life”. Republican politicians can monopolize the “pro-life” vote by opposing abortion while turning a blind eye to the plight of the immigrant, the poor, the sick, and the forgotten.
For Christians, being “pro-life” is more than that. Being “pro-life” means you need to care about life during and after the nine months spent in the womb. This commitment has to be removed from any and all loyalty to political parties. It must march in the streets, as many all over the country did this weekend; but it must also do so peacefully.
To the Democratic Party, I am saying that our concern for women’s health cannot ignore the sacred value of the lives of the unborn. To the Republican Party, I am challenging you to demand your senators and representatives in Congress to show concern for life at all stages: women, immigrants, criminals, and any other human being to whom God still gives breath.
Remembering King’s credentials as a pastor, Christians can offer President Trump healthy critique of his respect, or lack thereof, for the sanctity of human life. This means ALL human life: from conception out of love to natural death resting in peace.
— Evan Sherar