Friday, April 18, 2014

Pro-life and Liberal

Today, I came across an article entitled "Why I'm a pro-life liberal." (HT: Trevin Wax).

I have a couple immediate reflections: first, while I do not consider myself politically liberal, left, or progressive, I have known a number of conservative evangelicals who fit this description politically. In fact, it is probably only in America that we equate conservative evangelical theology with conservative (Republican) politics.

Second, I find a pro-life position commendable for anyone who holds it. We may not agree on everything but we should certainly celebrate this area of agreement.

I found this statement to be very interesting:

The pro-life leftist position maintains that human life is so significant, so inherently valuable, so irreplaceable that it should be the central subject of political concern. This view requires, therefore, that since we care enough about the outcome of pregnancy to insist against abortion, then we must continue to care about the outcome when abortion is no longer a legal option. To me, this requires a culture agreeing to put its money where its mouth is — that is, to provide robust support programs that render feasible the entire process of childbearing and childbirth, from pregnancy to child care to the total span of family life. Programs that immediately come to mind include universal health care, which would obviate the incredible expenses of pregnancy, often costing in the thousands of dollars out of pocket; government-supported parental leave and policies protecting the employment of mothers; and a no-strings-attached child allowance.

First, there is a lot in here that a pro-life conservative (political) right position would find agreeable. For example, I know plenty of conservative pro-life people who want to see mothers and children cared for well after they are born. 

It is a huge straw-man to think (if indeed this is what is behind the words) that pro-life "right" positions only care about the child in the womb. In fact, I know at our local pregnancy center there are efforts to care for mother and child after birth--including classes, aid but especially classes to help new fathers. 

If we are talking about government social programs, well we may disagree on effectiveness and means but a lot of conservatives value having some kind of safety net. I would just guess a few more are favorable to it at a state level then a federal level--in fact I've seen some nice argument for letting the federalism built into the country (i.e. states trying different means) do the work. 

I would saw this: Christians should agree taking care of orphans and widows is extremely important. One of the challenges in today's culture is broken families. Men who father children but do not step up as fathers. Children who are similar to orphans because of growing up in single parent homes without stability. Regardless of how you see the role of politics in alleviating the struggles (you never really 'solve' the problems), we should agree on certain fundamental Christian duties and concerns of compassion.

First, this will be radical. We live in a world were we are often sold this either/or. Either you are "right" or you are "left". Then you are in very defined stereotype categories.

Second, this gives us far more common ground. Are disagreement then is more about means and effectiveness not really about ends. This should give us far more charity. We can often acknowledge while the Bible is very clear about the ends, it is often left to areas of general revelation and common grace to sort out the means.

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