RESPECT LIFE! Faith-based claims that we are “pro-life” cannot be made at the same time we demean or condemn other human beings, i.e. God’s creatures. At the root of “respect life” movements there must be respect for all God’s creation. Love does not condemn or exclude. We cannot make scapegoats from those who oppose our values and beliefs. Rather, followers of Christ lovingly, persistently and firmly defend what God’s justice demands, and then we allow God to be just.
God’s justice is always oriented, first, toward the poor and vulnerable. In the Bible they are represented by the widow, the orphan, and the alien stranger (foreigner). Today, we see the poor and vulnerable in the unborn, the immigrant, the homeless, the working poor, the disabled, and the elderly. Moreover, children, single parents, those experiencing a crisis pregnancy, refugees, the addicted, the mentally ill, etc. are particularly vulnerable and require life-respecting love.
Those who have been marginalized because the majority does not “understand” them also deserve our Christ-centered ministry. Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) persons are God’s children. Those who consider themselves in the group of LGBTQ persons do not get our condemnation first and later, maybe, our sympathy. No! God’s creatures, our brothers and sisters, deserve love and justice.
If we fail to consider the vulnerability of each of God’s children, then we will likely fail to protect them. Whether the vulnerable one is an unborn child, or a pregnant teenager who was manipulated into sexual relations by a selfish boy-man, they deserve our protection. Our goal must be God’s justice.
If we remain unmoved by the plight of immigrants who are escaping poverty or violent oppression in their homelands, then we have belittled our faith. If we look into the faces of immigrants brought here as children and have no sense of compassion, then we have missed the point of Jesus’ ministry.
I am not saying what policy must be, but consider this: he who came to bring Good News to the poor has made it possible, indeed demands, that WE bring Good News to the poor. Good News is demonstrated through food for the hungry, freedom for the oppressed, solidarity with the forgotten, and protection of the vulnerable, etc. If we only seek “to protect our way of life,” ultimately we fail to respect life.
Yes, let us respect life – every life, in every way! O Merciful God, look upon us with love and patience!
Peace, Fr. Andy