Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Friday, February 17, 2012

Who’s Really Hurting the Pro-Life Cause?

Last week, the Clothesline Report posted an article about an evangelical Christian minister testifying before Congress in support of the EPA’s mercury emissions standards.  Rev. Mitch Hescox told the legislators:  “I’m an evangelical, and I’m concerned about life.  I believe we should stand up and protect our unborn – the ‘least of these.’  I’m here because it’s a life issue.”

Rev. Hescox was opposed by an oil-backed congressman from Illinois, who characterized Hescox’s testimony as “masquerading” and “usurping” the pro-life banner. Even the backing of the National Association of Evangelicals and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops didn’t carry much weight with Hescox’s critics.

We observed that the exchange highlighted a fundamental divide in religious understandings of the sanctity of life: Stopping abortions alone; or protecting human life in all its stages from all forms of threat.

We thought we were the only ones watching. But it turns out that lots of people were tuned in. And as best as we can tell, they don’t like what they’re seeing.  Here’s a sampling of comments to a related article from the online publication, The Hill:
  • “Evangelical Christians aren’t truly pro-life.”
  • “They’re pro-life as long as you’re a fetus.  When you’re born, you become fodder.”
  • “God hates clean air.”
  • “This is all about money and power.  To pretend that opposing EPA's life-affirming and life-protecting rules is to support the poor is a ruse.”
  • “The term ‘pro-life’ is hi-jacked by those who have a narrow view of the God-given sanctity of life.”
  • “Killing by spoon, gun or smoke stack is no different.”
  • “Once again, supposedly ‘pro-life’ and ‘Christian’ organizations are slamming an evangelical environmental group...”
  • “Apparently ‘pro-life’ can only mean one thing, and that's not protection from deadly pollution.”
The comments go on and on. I’d have to say that this is not a high-water mark for the “city on a hill.” The sight of American Christians lining up – in the name of the sanctity of life –  to oppose fellow Christians who support clean air standards surely gives great comfort to those who care little about the kingdom of God, and about the sanctity of all lives He created.

And so, still smarting from the public finger-wagging at people identified with my faith, I thought I’d refer you to an article written by a Baptist minister:  The Far-Right Fringe Embarrasses the Pro-Life Movement – Again. Rev. Charles Redfern asks the question that forms the title to this post. And he doesn’t pull his punches, so you’re forewarned.  But if you’d like to see one Christian pastor's defense of Rev. Hescox’s stand, take a look here.

Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

J. Elwood

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