Resource page: Human dignity
What does it mean to be pro-life? It’s more than a political designation. We live in a society that is increasingly and unashamedly selective about which human lives have dignity and value. The Christian worldview is diametrically contrary to this spreading culture of death. The Bible provides the strongest argument for human dignity possible: God creates each person in His own image (Gen. 1:27).
Our posture on pro-life issues is rooted in this truth, then: God is the author and sustainer of life (Acts 17:26). Any attempt to degrade or dehumanize another person is then assaulting that which God endowed with dignity, known and knitted from the womb (Psalm 139:16, Ephesians 1:4, Rev. 13:8, Job 31:15, Psalm 22:10, Psalm 139:13-16, Galatians 1:15. Romans 9:20-21) So there is no physical weakness, disability, difference, family history or even age that places any limits whatsoever on the value, given by God to that life.
As Christians, we are called to stand for the dignity and value of any and every human life and that extends the conversation to assisted suicide, refugees, racism and so much more. The all-encompassing, sacrificial love of Christ on the cross proves the value of every life and that love is meant to flow through every believer to every parched and weary soul.
Today, abortion is the leading cause of death in America. There are 210 induced abortions per every 1000 live births. The future of abortion is chemical. Abortive pills are now more accessible than ever and allowed later in pregnancy. But abortion is abortion regardless if it is done through a procedure at a clinic or administered by medication. As the administration of abortion becomes less involved and more sterile, it will only be more and more removed from what this really is: ending a life. Believers need to continue proclaiming the dignity and personhood of unborn children, but we need to extend our pro-life mission beyond encouraging women to carry to term, to also walking alongside them with support for their next steps in the care of that life be it adoption, single parenthood, special needs, etc.
Relevant shows & posts:
Abby Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood clinic director. Now, she travels across the globe advocating for the unborn and founded And Then There Were None, a nonprofit organization that helps to help abortion clinic workers leave the abortion industry. Her story teaches us so much about caring for pregnant mothers in crisis:
As adopted children ourselves (Ephesians 1:4-5), the Church has a beautiful opportunity to develop a culture where adoption and foster parenting is encouraged and supported, where members who are not called or able to adopt or foster walk alongside during the process and transition, celebrating the arrival of adopted children, and welcoming the adopted and fostered children into our lives and communities. Every life is by design and Psalm 82:3 calls us to “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.”
>Kelly Rosati, Vice President of Community Outreach at Focus on the Family, reminds us, “We don’t just need family for when we’re kids, we need family for our whole lives. This is an urgent call that the church has to welcome home the modern day orphans. You cannot even have a passing glance at scripture without understanding the incredible priority that God places on orphans and the special place that they hold in his heart… God has such a passion for these kids and I think as people who love him, we’re to have a passion for them as well.”
Refugees upon arriving in our country, often from brutal conditions in their home country, are tasked with building an entirely new life from scratch. The process of immigration to transition to self-sufficiency is long and fraught with challenges, not the least of which is figuring everything out in a foreign language.
>Alan Cross helps us see how our pro-life view needs to extend to refugees,
“If we don’t recognize the people who are brought to us in need- if we don’t love them sacrificially the way Christ has loved us, something has gone wrong in our own understanding of our salvation because God has delivered us.”
Scripture is not ambiguous on this issue: God’s love extends equally to all people no matter the race or nationality. And one day, we will see the Kingdom of God is made up of people of every color, tribe and nation (Gen. 1:26-27, Acts 17:26, Acts 10:34-35, Gal. 3:28, Rev. 7:9-10).Racism, at its very root, is a sin problem attacking other bearers of imago Dei (God’s image).
>Thabiti Anyabile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, shared:
“What we are dealing with is older than this nation: it goes back to the garden. Racism is a product of the fall of man into sin. So the remedy must be spiritual: it is the gospel of Jesus. Not in an escapist way, but in a deep appropriation of all the truths of the gospel. We are made in His image and His likeness– each person has inherent dignity.”
“Racism is a sub-human kind of sin. It reduces us from what we are made to be.”
The issues surrounding homelessness are legion and we’re not going to solve all those issues overnight. But one thing is certain, if we avert our eyes in hopes of insulating ourselves from the pain, we are treating our homeless neighbors as less than precious image bearers of God.
God’s Word has a lot to say about helping the poor and a pro-life mindset will not fail to uphold the dignity and worth of the financially destitute (Isaiah 58:7, Leviticus 25:35-36, James 2:16, Proverbs 19:17).
Special Needs/Chronic Pain/Mental Illness/Elder Care
One in six Americans are dealing with what we would call chronic health conditions. Ten million people a year experience at least an episode of serious mental illness. One in five people in the United States, so that’s 20 percent of the American population are living with some type of physical disability and so if you add all that together, you get something in the neighborhood of 82 million Americans who are suffering from a physical or mental disability or a chronic illness.
A life is not any less a candidate for the transforming love, discipleship, and fellowship of the gospel of Jesus Christ because of its unique challenges (John 9:3, Exodus 4:11, Psalm 139:14-16). And a life is not any less valuable either.
>Joni Eareckson Tada shared with us:
“I think the church is finally getting the hint that we’re not to be enamored with the big and the bright and the beautiful. No. God delights in showcasing His power through the weak, so that includes people with disabilities. When you have people with disabilities in your congregation. Oh my goodness. You’ve got God’s best audio visual aid of His marvelous power through our limitations.”
>Chaplain Bill Goodrich of God Cares Ministry is dedicated to bringing awareness and connecting the Church to nursing home residents.
According to the CDC, 1.4 million individuals live in nursing homes in the United States. The people living in nursing homes often have great physical, financial and spiritual needs but are “out of sight, out of mind” and are overlooked by many, even by followers of Christ.
>Interview with Kay Warren: Removing the stigma mental illness: