You can call me a pro-lifer, as long as you understand that being pro-life is much more than being against abortion.
I agree with “Choose Life,” as long as you understand that it is much more than an anti-abortion slogan.
I have a deep respect for all human life, from the womb to the tomb. I want to love, help, and care for all human beings, of any age, ethnicity, situation, background, and faith. It is a deeply held conviction that human life is special, unique, and almost sacred. This deep respect and love for human beings is based upon the Bible teaching that all human beings are made in the image of God.
Therefore, my love for humanity and individuals is not limited to the unborn, to American citizens, to whites, to English speakers, or to Christians. I try to live in such a way that my love and respect for human beings is not limited by any factor or situation. It’s a human thing based on a God thing.
Therefore, let me point out some specifics of what I mean when I say I am “pro-life” and what I believe it should mean to every Christian:
I believe that life begins at conception and that it should be valued from that moment. I will let others argue the definitions and the legalities; but I do believe that from the moment of conception, there are two lives at stake—the mom and the baby. It’s not just a women’s right issue. There is another human life and that life also has value. So when I speak against abortion, I am not speaking against a women’s right to choose what to do with her own body. I am standing up for the rights of another human being.
But I believe that pro-lifers need to do much more than just speak against abortion. We need to work hard with mothers and fathers to give them the health, the nutrition, and the skills they need to be good parents. That is why our Pregnancy Center spends the bulk of its time and resources on counseling women, teaching parenting skills, and providing clothing, diapers, and other necessary items to families. We do share our pro-life opinions, but we focus our energy on helping anyone who shows up regardless of their situation, opinion, or decision.
I believe that pro-lifers need to take a strong stand for children—especially hurting children. We should work hard to stop child abuse. We should work hard to provide adoptive families and foster parents. We should work hard to strengthen families and to teach strong marriage and parenting relationships. We should work hard to support quality public and private schools staffed with quality (and decently paid) teachers and staffers. We should work hard to make sure that the children in these schools are safe and protected from danger. And we should pay whatever taxes are necessary to support our schools.
I believe that pro-lifers need to work hard (as Jesus did) to help those who are underprivileged, poor, homeless, sick, and disabled. That’s why our church offers free medical care, free brown-bag lunches, and a free homeless shelter. We do it because we value human life for those in our congregation and those who are not; for those who agree with us and those who do not. We call on other churches to do the same. It is a great thing to worship and love God, but real worship and real love for God will show itself by loving those whom God has created.
I believe that pro-lifers need to treat all people with respect. When we evangelize—and we do—we will do so without putting down others who disagree with us. We believe strongly in God, in Jesus, and in the Bible, but we will still treat those who disagree with us respectfully, regardless of their faith, their skin-color, their language, their nationality, or their morality.
I believe that pro-lifers need to work hard for those in America and beyond our borders. We are called to care for hurting people wherever they may be and regardless of their citizenship. We believe what our Declaration of Independence so eloquently states, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The rights come from God and so they are not limited to those who hold American citizenship or who live underneath the freedoms granted to us by our constitution. This includes aliens within our borders, refugees who are fleeing tyranny and war, and citizens of other countries faced with hunger, homelessness, and hardships. That’s why our church builds homes and sends food to Dominica. That’s why we partner with and support Disaster Relief Teams. That’s why we partner with an organization that helps refugees. We wish we could do more, but our love for God demands that we at least do something
It is because I am pro-life and I want to treat all people fairly that I support the right of Dreamers to have permanent status and even citizenship in our country. They were brought to our country by a family member when they were young; it was not their decision. To deport them now that they are adults goes against my understanding of fairness and justice for all. There are, I know, other immigration policies and border security issues that need to be debated and decided, but my pro-life understanding demands that I treat all people fairly and respectfully.
It is because I am pro-life that I believe people should have some control over their death. If someone wants to die at home rather than in a hospital, I support that right. If someone decides that treatment is no longer necessary or desirable, they have the right to make that decision. I don’t condone active euthanasia (life is too sacred to take it unnecessarily), but since death is a natural part of life, I don’t feel the need to prolong life just because we can.
I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. I believe in God and I believe that human life has been created in the image of God. Therefore, all human life is to be protected, respected, and loved. And if my faith in God is real, it will lead me to love and respect people.
About Pastor Jack
Pastor Jack Marslender is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Avondale. He is married (Dawn) and is the father of Tina, Rebecca, Kimberly, Melinda, Angela, Maria, Kenneth, Kevin, and Lorissa. He is also the grandfather of Wyatt, Emilie, Everett, Olivia, Dylan, Charlotte, and Aiden.