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Peace & Life Connections #27 - September 17, 2010


Criticisms of the Consistent Life Ethic

        In September’s edition of the monthly DVD of LifeTalk News, sent out by Life Dynamics, Mark Crutcher holds forth on a theme he’s sounded many times: “Something I’ve caught a lot of flack on over the years is my claim that the ‘seamless garment’ idea was a scam that was designed to give cover to pro-abortion (primarily Catholic) politicians. . . . You go to the local Catholic priest, who’s supposed to be speaking out against abortion, and you say, let’s do something about this abortion holocaust. And he says, ‘Well, yes, but we have to have the whole seamless garment . . .  so you guys in the pro-life movement need to be speaking out against death penalty, and all the other life issues, or else you’re being inconsistent. But when you go to them about those other issues, none of them ever say, ‘Oh, but you’ve got to be speaking out against abortion.’ . . . the consistent ethic of life may not have been created to provide cover for these people, although I’m not convinced that’s not the case. Let’s give them their due, and so OK, your intentions were high, and were sound. But the fact is, in the real world, that’s how it’s being used.”

        Then, while agreeing with him, Troy Newman said “. . . social justice begins in the womb, and that’s what I’d like to throw back at these liberal lefties.”

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 Short Comment on Criticism

         If the consistent life ethic were not there to “provide cover,” would those defending abortion be all uncovered? The mind that defends indefensible violence customarily grabs good ideas and twists them. Generally, only in cartoons do people admit to being villains. If a good idea should be contested because abortion defenders misuse it to their own ends, they would also make us dispense with freedom, human equality, compassion, and the very word “pro-life” itself.

        Troy Newman’s remark shows how powerful the argument for consistency is. He challenges advocates of social justice to be consistent by applying it to everybody, including unborn children – so he’s actually using the consistent life ethic while criticizing it! Yet the wording of “throw back” to “liberal lefties” shows he’s an outsider to the peace movement. Those of us inside the peace movement can naturally make the same assertion far more effectively.

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Delving Deeper – Maafa 21

Maafa         Later in the same edition of LifeTalk News, panelists discussed their video -- Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America. This is by far the best video documentation on the connection of racism and abortion, covering the U.S. history of eugenics, large corporations, bigoted politicians, and how vicious they can be. We encourage you to take a look at it to see how you might be able to use it in your work.

          Panelists noted that many of those influenced by abortion defenders are now thinking in terms of abortion’s use in racial attacks, and this “gives them permission” to be pro-life. It shares this feature with pro-life feminism – and, of course, with the consistent life ethic.

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 Quotation of the WeekAlveda King

Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Gospel of Life and niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Endorsing the book, Consistently Opposing Killing: From Abortion to Assisted Suicide, the Death Penalty, and War, which will be out in paperback shortly:

        “The authors consistently and rationally support the position of opposition to murder in a society where wrong may seem right, to the detriment of life, liberty and justice.”

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