In my years as a seminary professor of ethics (Knox Theological Seminary, 2000–2008), I saw few things more sinister and devious than the seemingly innocuous statement, “a biblically shaped commitment to the sanctity of human life compels us to a consistent ethic of life that affirms the sanctity of human life from beginning to end.”
That’s not because life isn’t sacred from beginning to end, but because those who use it do so consistently to hide serious ethical confusion.
Recently a group calling itself “Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden,” spearheaded by long-time leaders of the evangelical Left Ronald Sider and Richard Mouw, released a statement that begins, “As pro-life evangelicals, we disagree with Vice President Biden and the Democratic platform on the issue of abortion. But we believe a Biblically shaped commitment to the sanctity of human life compels us to a consistent ethic of life that affirms the sanctity of life from beginning to end.”
It continues, “Poverty kills millions every year. So does lack of healthcare and smoking. Racism kills. Unless we quickly make major changes, devastating climate change will kill tens of millions. Poverty, lack of accessible health care services, smoking, racism and climate change are all pro-life issues.”
What many people won’t recognize is that this statement twists the meaning of “pro-life.”
As I demonstrated in my booklet “How Does the Creation Care Movement Threaten the Pro-Life Movement?,” this use of the term “pro-life” runs directly contrary to standard dictionary definitions, all which define “pro-life” as opposition to abortion — not opposition to hunger, not opposition to poverty, not opposition to practices that lead to poor health — opposition to abortion.
Merriam-Webster defines it tersely: “opposed to abortion.” Collins defines it in two slightly different ways: in American usage, “opposing the legal right to obtain an abortion”; in British usage, “(of an organization, pressure group, etc) supporting the right to life of the unborn; against abortion, experiments on embryos, etc.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, E. Calvin Beisner