A “sanctity of life” commission established by the Mission Synod of the Lutheran Church has released a statement offering a fresh approach to life issues and continuing the church’s high profile pro-life testimony.
Entitled That They Might Have Life, (John 10:10), the statement will be used by church workers and the Lutheran laity to promote an increased awareness of life issues. Some regard synod of the Lutheran church as having the strongest pro-life position of any denomination in North America.
Although directed to an American audience, the statement contains a number of principles important to the worldwide right to life movement. The statement criticizes the distorted definition of freedom in modern society by which self-determination has come to mean the ability to choose life or death for others. This new freedom finds its most blatant expression in the practice of abortion.
“Abortion has…resulted in coarsened society desensitized to death and disloyal to life,” the statement reads. “America has crossed over the line of a civilized society approving routine violence against weak and teaching its children through activities and attitudes that this is a proper way to treat the inconvenient. It can only be guessed and feared how the next generation will treat its aged parents, it’s handicapped and it’s sick.”
Continuum of Life
The statement also reasserts the notion of the continuum of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
It calls on church leaders to address the needs of women in crisis pregnancies, the role of men whose responsibilities are often overlooked, and for the poor, who are frequently told that abortion is necessary as a means of avoiding the economic costs of indigent children.
In discussing the new field of bioethics, the Lutheran synod argues against the practice of aborting genetically defective unborn children. “Every child destroyed in the womb for a mental or physical handicap sends the sorry message to every handicapped individual in our society that they are worthless and even burdensome,” the statement says.
In addition to upholding the traditional defenses of life, the statement holds a message for the Christian laity to persuade legislators and opinion leaders to the pro-life view. It calls for diligent, civilized debate as well as leadership by example.
“Respect for life is not just an intellectual belief. It is a personal commitment which recognizes that other people will not be convinced of moral seriousness regarding these issues until that seriousness is evidenced in actions.”
The Lutheran statement upholds a three-part program persuasion providing pro-life alternatives and legal activism as-a necessary elements in securing protection for the unborn and the vulnerable. The synod addresses a commonly held rationalization among politicians that they cannot impose their morality on life a diverse population.
In concluding what is a cogent argument in defense of all human life the authors cite the pro-life movement’s long-standing rejection of violence as a means of securing its goals. It argues against the emergence of the winner-take-all attitude in society, in which the weak and inconvenient are threatened or overlooked.