You know how when people are not really putting their all into something, we say that they're doing it halfway or, and I'll edit this for those sensitive to profanity, half-butting it? Like if a basketball player is not really putting an effort in on defense, his or her coach might scream, "Come on Shefshesky! Stop half-butting it out there!"
I was thinking about this concept in terms of the pro-life movement. As many people have observed, it seems like when many people talk about being pro-life what they mostly mean is they are anti-abortion. This of course makes the term pro-life a bit of a misnomer. Life covers...well, it covers life.
The average person on this planet has a life expectancy of 71 years. That is 852 months. Throw in the nine months that a person is in the womb and that bumps that number up to 861. Nine months is 1.045% of life. So if one says that they are pro-life, but mainly mean that in the context of abortion then they are nearly 49 percentage points away from doing pro-life halfway. They're hundredth-butting things.
This isn't to say that the people who declare themselves to be pro-life don't care about the other 98.955% of life, but the movement itself is lacking in its scope if it wants proudly wave the pro-life banner. It's like a Save the Rainforest campaign that when you get right down to it is only concerned with rescuing howler monkeys.
To be truly pro-life means that we must have a more consistent and robust ethic of human life. The scope of this is large and, being restricted to a specific cultural context (white middle class male living in the Southern United States), I could not come close to touching on all the facets that should make up a pro-life worldview. Yet there are tons of things that come to my finite mind that should be in our conversations about one being for life.
When people talk about being pro-life, I hope they talk about poverty, education, and healthcare. I hope they wrestle with capital punishment, war, and guns. I hope they consider what we do to the environment and the effect it has on people, especially the most vulnerable. I hope when people say that black lives matter, immigrants matter, gay lives matter, or anyone else that people who claim to be pro-life will humbly listen rather than retort "All lives matter." I hope it will care for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. I hope we'll be concerned when terrorists take any life and not just the ones that look most like us. I hope people will wade through the gray areas that surround these complicated issues from abortion to racism to war and beyond with grace.
(I could probably write a blog or five on every sentence in that paragraph and almost did. It got preachy. This thing is likely preachy enough as it is already.)
I hope that people who are really and truly for life will be people of action. I hope that for myself. I hope that love of neighbor will be the starting point for every single conversation when we consider the issue of life.
I understand that we are not going to come to the same place on all of these issues. There are going to be disagreements. That's fine. Yet we can still dialogue with one another. We still can work with each other in a multitude of places. The idea that we're all warring on opposing sides is just a scheme to give death about as much reign as it can. We can't let that happen. We need every person we can to look out for one another. Life means too much; all of it.