It’s frequently said we live in a fragmented culture, but are we ready to admit we have fragmented ethics even within many of our churches?
Consider these life sized contradictions
- The anti-abortion crusader who attacks medical centres kills abortionists in the name of defending life.
- Or somewhat less extreme, anti-abortion voters who justify infant “collateral damage” in the furtherance of foreign policy as an unfortunate necessity.
- The Christian social justice activist who opposes war but rejects any opposition to abortion as mindless fundamentalism and patriarchal misogyny.
- The polarised responses and ethical gymnastics amongst Christians over torture, euthanasia and capital punishment.
Contradiction is pervasive
Can any of these positions be said to be consistently pro-life? Have any of us not slipped into these contradictions at one time? Our churches are ethically fragmented. We talk past each other, but fail to acknowledge that people on both sides love women, babies and the elderly. We line up along political lines as if political ideology, not holy scripture, is our primary guide for decisions in life. Is this integrity, or a fallout of the fall?
Beyond Political Partisanship
In matters of morality I find beginning with Christ is the best place for Christians to start. In earlier versions of Christendom some Christians dared to advocate a separation of church and state, a separation of Christ and Caesar. If we are to move beyond the present impasse I feel we also need to affirm a separation of church and party. We cannot rediscover unity while ever identity politics is linked to different lords.
Somehow we have to find a position that is:
- Pro-unborn life
- Pro-infant life (whatever country they hail from)
- Pro-women life
- Pro-elderly life
- Pro-broken life
We should be for the vulnerable in other words, whatever the person’s point of vulnerability. This is what it means to be consistently pro-life, which I believe is the general thrust of the gospels. It’s to be pro-every life, even that of enemies. And this is not achievable without as being pro-reconciliation, which also means pro-forgiveness and pro-repentance.