Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Choose? Life

At the March for Life in Olympia last month, I signed a petition to allow for the creation of a "Choose Life" license plate for automobiles, the extra proceeds from which would go to support crisis pregnancy centers and health care for pregnant women in our state. I support both crisis pregnancy centers and health care for pregnant women (especially when funded voluntarily), so it was only natural for me to add my name to the list. It was only later when I started to rethink this idea.

Choosing between life and death is an imperative decision. In Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses said to the children of Israel: I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. This statement only refers to spiritual life, humanity's relationship with God. The life that one is called to choose is one of obedience to God's plan - the laws of the Old Testament and the grace of the New Testament. One of my most constant prayers is that those still walking the razor's edge between spiritual fulfillment and spiritual bankruptcy will choose life, for in Him was life and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:4-5).

This, of course, is not the choice that the license plate supporters are thinking of. These kind and well-intentioned people are stating "choose life" to women who might otherwise abort their children. Their hope is that, by seeing this plate on the back of someone's car, a pregnant woman might have a call to conscience, and the funds provided by the sale of the plates will help give the woman options to continue her pregnancy. I really, really like this idea, and I will certainly buy one of these plates if they make it past the pro-abortion legislature in this state. I'm just a little uneasy about the terminology. It seems as though we are conceding an important point to the other side. The point being that allowing a life that has already begun to continue growing is a legitimate "choice" for the woman in whom the life happens to reside. This almost feeds into the big lie of the pro-aborts - that one can be "pro-life" and "pro-choice." When we ask a woman to "choose life," we are subliminally telling her that she does have some kind of choice about whether another human being lives or dies.

What if, in the pre-Civil War era, abolitionists had made little buttons that said, "Choose Liberty!" and had sold them and used the proceeds to fund the Underground Railroad and schools for African-American children? Certainly choosing freedom is better than choosing slavery. But, is this a legitimate statement, or does it simply validate slave-holders' idea that slavery was a debatable choice? That slavery was never a legitimate concept, had no place in a free society, and abolitionists were not circumspect in laying those ideas out without compromise are the foundations upon which slavery was abolished in this country. When we talk about rights that are self-evident (life, liberty and property - thanks Locke!), there should be no wiggle-room for saying that someone has any sort of "choice" to initiate force to remove those rights from another.

Pro-lifers are today's abolitionists, fighting the greatest battle for an oppressed group since the horrific days of slavery. We must also be without compromise, not ceding one inch to the death-mongers, whether semantically, ethically, or philosophically. We needn't worry too much - we're on the right side - but we must be ever-vigilant. The pro-aborts like nothing better than to twist our ideas and statements into their own warped anti-life agenda. I hope things like the "Choose Life" license plate help save babies' lives, because that's really what it's all about, but I would prefer if we took the idea of "choice" out of this good intention. Maybe "Protect Life" would be a better slogan or "Respect Life" or some similar idea. I personally would like my favorite mottos on some license plates:

Abortion: Destroys Humans, Destroys Our Humanity
Your right to abort ends where your baby's DNA code begins.
The Non-Initiation of Force Begins in the Womb (stolen in part from Feminists For Life)
Abortion is not a right, it is a grievous wrong.
Without Life, There Are No Choices.

Peace to you, and may God forgive our country.

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