Of all of the issues that fall before us this year, “Life” has the most significance to me. All of the other issues pale in comparison, and my innermost desire is to do everything I can to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy life as it is meant to be enjoyed.
My motivation comes primarily from God. Although I inherently avoid using these pages to push my faith onto others, at times like this I believe it is important that I make it clear that my faith, a gift from Jesus Christ, is the drive behind everything that I believe about what is right. Life is a gift from God, and should be cherished by all of us, especially the life given to use as humans. Life was the first of the “unalienable rights” listed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Life is the price paid by those that have secured our liberties over the centuries in war, protecting our communities as police and firefighters, and protecting our borders. Watching life grow and develop is the ultimate reward given to those who choose to raise a family, whether by giving birth, adopting or providing foster care. Life is the fullness of experience that grants us individuals with brief windows of wisdom, and the desire to share it with those who are entering into the experience. And for those of us who follow Christ, life is an eternal and unmeasurable joy with our God that begins in this world.
Unfortunately, life is treated with contempt in just about every corner of the Earth in some form or another. Many wars are waged every day across our planet. Devastating genocide has been repeated time and again across the decades of the 20th and 21st centuries despite the concerted desire of the nations to end such atrocities. People starve and die of diseases every day who could be healed with the medical technology we enjoy here in the US, and some of those deaths occur on our own soil. And people die each day who are individually targeted and killed by governments, criminal organizations, and individuals full of hate. We tend to take life for granted here in the United States.
All of the different forms of killing humans listed above deprive people of life. We should mourn over all of them. The vast majority of these people are innocent humans who should have the right to live a normal life. Some deaths will come when they choose violence in the first place… taking a life in self-defense is a painful yet necessary resistance to evil. Taking lives while defending the lives of others is another. This does not justify the unlawful murders that have been wrought against abortionists, but it does justify civil disobedience, in my opinion, by interfering with the murder of defenseless unborn children. And there are certainly concerns with our system of executions that should be reformed in some ways to ensure that innocent lives are not taken in our prisons.
Here’s what I consider an appropriate agenda to promote Life as an American priority (these are not all intended to be government driven, but many are):
- Set an example for the entire world in categorically proclaiming the value of human life and dignity, and the rights of men and women.
- Provide other countries with investments, leadership, ideas, and mentors to help them develop into prosperous centers of economic growth so that they can have their national dream that drives their people and attracts others to their lands
- Hold countries accountable who insist on corrupting human rights by withholding trade, and if possible participating in any international coalition efforts to end genocide in the world.
- Reinforce the dignity of the members of our armed forces who protect us every day. Ensure they are protected from international charges when performing their duties. Ensure that the forces themselves are above reproach in the treatment of their own. Provide them with the physical and mental care they need while deployed and when returning home.
- Uphold and protect the basic human rights of everyone living in the United States. This includes (and many of these require some type of reform):
- our justice system
- death row inmates
- those identified as sexual predators
- apparent illegal aliens, who should be treated with respect throughout any incarceration, deportation, or naturalization process that may ensue
- accommodating non-traditional family situations in health, emergency, contracts, parental rights, companion rights, and powers of attorney
- those who are different from the norm in any way
- Uphold and protect life from the time of conception to the time of natural death. This includes:
- the elimination of on-demand abortions, no exceptions
- access to basic health services (checkups, disease treatment and management, general health management education)
- general security of public transportation, border control, military defense, police services, fire and emergency medical services
- access to later and end-of-life services such as assisted living, hospice, and energy assistance
- access to protection from a life attached meaninglessly to a machine, as an end-of-life choice
The most important question you can ask yourself in voting for any office from President to Dog Catcher, is how well do the candidates grasp our right to life? You may look at the list above and reach a different conclusion than I, but we should agree with the fundamental principle that life is something to be embraced and cherished, and not treated with contempt. You may have thought that eliminating abortion was the only real purpose of today’s piece, but it is significant, and I will close with some thoughts for Conservatives about how we view abortion.
There is a deep divide between those that promote “Choice”, or abortion-on-demand, and those that would go to the ends of the earth to protect the life of even one unborn child. This is a philosophical difference that will never go away. That doesn’t change how incredibly wrong it is to take an innocent life, no matter how recently conceived. Unfortunately, there exists a real chasm, often unrecognized, between those who can truly be called “Pro-life” and those who are simply “Anti-abortion”. Those who are in the latter category are interested in reducing, significantly, the number of abortions in America, but who still think that some circumstances, namely rape and incest, justify the murder of an innocent child. We have become too accustomed to this idea, and often see it as a “close enough” position to support.
If you embrace the belief that life begins at conception and all life is precious, do not allow yourself to be coerced into calling those who promote exceptions to allow abortion “Pro-Life”. It has been disappointing to me as I’ve watched a number of people cave on this question this year. I’m not asserting that you cannot vote for such a candidate for public office, and frankly we should consider which candidates are closer to our ideals; just do not blind yourself into believing that exceptions are part of the standard for one to be Pro-Life; it is not. Speak truth. Life is life no matter how that life was conceived.
Please don’t waste your right to vote. It is yours to throw away, and yours to wield mightily!Image © iQoncept – Fotolia.com