I like the new signs along Highway 18 inviting people to cherish life – even when it’s growing in the womb. They are an appropriate challenge to a culture that is slow to “treat all life with awe and respect, especially when it is most vulnerable – whether growing in the womb, touched by disability or disease, or drawing a last breath.” I believe God’s people are called to “protest and resist all that harms, abuses, or diminishes the gift of life.” (Quotes are from the Christian Reformed Church’s contemporary testimony “Our World Belongs to God.”)
Believing this leads to understanding how being pro-life is more than merely being anti-abortion. So I wonder if the pro-life signs along the highway could sometimes speak to other issues too?
I’m alarmed by the termination rate of pregnancies when the baby receives a positive diagnosis for Down syndrome. Even Christians might say things like, “Thank God that he heard our prayer and our baby doesn’t have Down syndrome.” This betrays a belief that a certain kind of person is better than another, lowering the value of a baby with Down syndrome or other disability. Maybe in the future, the sign along the highway can affirm the value of people with Down syndrome with a slogan like, “Real friends don’t count chromosomes.”
I lament how people in our society are treated differently solely because of the color of their skin. An immigrant committing a crime might lead people to declare everyone of that nationality should be kicked out of the country; however, statistics show that in the United States, White people commit far more crimes than other ethnicities, yet no one calls for all White people to be deported when a White person commits a crime. A Black acquaintance of mine with no criminal record reports having been stopped by the police far more often than I ever have. Our society devalues people based on ethnicity which I do not think is a pro-life mentality. Maybe in the future, the sign along the highway can affirm the sanctity of life of all ethnicities with a slogan like, “Red, brown, yellow, black, and white – all are precious in God’s sight.”
I think that caring for creation is also a way to be pro-life. If we value life, we want life to flourish. Flourishing gets difficult, though, where there is pollution and other consequences from poor stewardship in the world. People who have trouble breathing are forced to move away from cities filled with smog. Exposure to chemicals increases the chances of a cancer diagnosis that may cut life short prematurely. People who are poor are often the first to be devastated by climate change, whether it’s floods destroying their low-income homes or drought wiping out their already subsistence crops. Maybe in the future, the sign along the highway can affirm the need to better care of the planet to improve the quality and length of people’s lives with a slogan like, “Caring for creation reflects love for the Creator.”
I wrote this for the Rock Valley Bee, noting that I desire to value the life and flourishing of everyone from the womb to the tomb as a way to demonstrate God’s love.