I am pro-life. That is why I wear a mask during this Covid-19 pandemic. The Bible teaches that life is God’s first gift to us. He calls us to accept it, to protect it, to nurture it. That understanding guided my teaching, preaching and writing about life for nearly five decades. It caused me to be involved in efforts to pass state and federal legislation protecting and nurturing life.
When Jesus said He came that we “might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), I believe it. That is why I worked to end hunger, to increase access to health care and to safeguard the elderly. That is why I championed public schools, served as a volunteer in correction and worked for Pre-K education as well as prison reform.
Yes, I concentrated on spiritual life, sharing “there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved” than Jesus (Acts 4:12). The Bible calls Christians to be concerned about spiritual life as well as every part of physical life.
Being pro-life has always been more than being pro-birth.
That understanding makes some reactions to the current pandemic confusing. Early on, a few political voices seemed to advocate older people risking their lives in order to restart the economy and keep it going. It was as if these voices believed lives of older people had less value than the lives of others.
Some do believe that. In fact, it seems that belief is moving from theoretical discussions in journals and books and making its way into social policy discussions. Basically, the argument is that older people (or disabled people) should not be allowed to consume precious resources so more can be available for younger, healthier ones. Economic wellbeing tops life, they conclude.
That is not a pro-life position. Life is a gift from God. It is not to be worshipped as an idol. But that does not devalue God’s first gift to the point that society can sacrifice life on the altar of economic wellbeing. The life of each person, young or old, is precious in God’s sight. For the believer, life is more important than the economy, not the other way around.
The economic argument brings another worry. What will those of us who believe life of the unborn is precious in God’s sight say to the young woman who contemplates ending her pregnancy because she cannot afford to have the baby? If society values economics more than life, if society is willing to sacrifice the health, even the lives, of some for economic wellbeing of others, can the young woman make a similar decision? Is she not free to choose economic stability over life?
Mask wearing produces a similar conundrum. People from many walks of life protest mandates to wear facial coverings even though authorities say masks slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. You see them in pictures of crowded beaches, pool parties and bars. You even see them in churches where they ignore masks and social distancing guidelines.
Frequently you hear their voices loudly touting their personal freedom, their right to control what they wear and what happens to their bodies. Sadly you sometimes see videos where people obsessed with their personal rights violently attack people who ask them to obey store policies or government mandates about wearing masks.
Evidently some people believe the pandemic is a hoax, some kind of political ploy. I don’t. Two of my family members contracted the virus. Thankfully, both recovered. Many who were infected with Covid-19 were not as fortunate. The U.S. death toll from this new virus is more than 180,000 and climbing. Worldwide the number is north of 825,000. No matter where it came from or whatever its supposed purpose, this pandemic is real.
If our reaction is about personal rights and freedom, how does that evidence a concern to protect life and nurture it? How does it demonstrate value for life, one’s own life and the lives of those whose paths we cross?
Treating health and life recklessly, carelessly, evidences a “me and mine” attitude valued above God’s gift of life to us and others.
And, again, what does one with such values say to the individual contemplating an abortion? Can the woman not argue the abortion decision is hers? It is her body and her decision. Can she not repeat the same arguments said emphatically in declaring one’s right not to wear a mask during this pandemic? If she does, she will only be reflecting the “me and mine” attitude so strongly voiced by those who refuse to wear masks during today’s health crisis.
Should Christian believers not be consistent in their support and actions for life whether it is for the unborn or those whose wellbeing we impact through daily contact?
Consistent? Some people dismiss that as the product of small minds. I prefer to think of it as faithfulness to God’s word — to accept, defend and nurture His first gift of life. So because I believe in pro-life I hope to continue working for life abundantly for the unborn all the way through old age. And because I believe in pro-life I will continue wearing my face mask during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Will you join me in accepting, defending and nurturing God’s gift of life?