How To Tell If You Are Pro-Life

According to Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B., here’s how:

I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.

There is much to debate in that opinion but I want to respond to the accusation that I am a hypocrite who is pro-birth, but not pro-life, based on where I vote to allocate my taxes.

Sister Joan, I am pro-birth and I am pro-life. A Christian who is an active member of his or her church is vibrantly pro-life. Here is what I mean.

Our church only functions when its members do. It is not a business or a government-funded entity. It only does its work if the people are working, hard. I support my church with my body, my money, my prayers, my time, my affection, my passion, alongside my brothers and sisters at Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church. Church members work according to their gifts and passions, from the missionary on the field to the sweeper and light-bulb changer. Because we do, our church is able to support the following varied PRO-LIFE-AND-FAR-PAST-BIRTH ministries:

  1.  The Foundry – a PRO-LIFE ministry that restores hope and dignity to men and women who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and learning to work and rejoin society. Church members volunteer in many ways in this ministry, our highlight being the annual Christmas dinner in which members of several area churches work together to serve an elegant meal to those in the program.
  2. The Link of Cullman County – a ministry providing GED and academic recovery aid, job-seeking and job-keeping training, parenting training for single parents along with supplies, supervision for visitations, craft-making and small business training, financial planning instruction, and many other vital PRO-LIFE skills which result in more fed, clothed, healthy, educated children.
  3. First Source For Women – a PRO-LIFE ministry providing resources for women and babies.
  4. Operation Christmas Child – a PRO-LIFE ministry that sends gifts of necessities and toys to children all over the world. We are a collection point for this ministry and have been for years. Everyone helps with this ministry!
  5. La Ceiba Honduras – a clinic in a poverty-stricken area which we have partnered with long-term, sending summer teams of church members of all ages down to support the full-time staff and help provide medical care and education to the surrounding people. It is PRO-LIFE, abundant life, in every way.
  6. International Adoption – When a family in our church adopts a child, it is all hands on deck, providing PRO-LIFE help with every imaginable need from tutoring, to meals, to car-pool, to medical care. We currently have two families out of the country meeting their new children. One family just returned with four sons. Four. The adoption agency was bemused several times in the process saying, ‘We don’t know the protocol for this; we’ve never done it before.’ Several families are still waiting to go.
    One accusation frequently flung at pro-lifers is “How many children have you adopted?” Because I am pro-life and I love my church family, LOTS!
  7. Committee for Church Cooperation – a ministry that helps local people with power bills and grocery needs. PRO-LIFE!

I could go on, but you get the point: None of these ministries would happen without church members doing them, personally, with their own hands.  Not writing a tax check to the government and calling it helping the poor, but sweating and looking at real people. And this is just one, one, one, little church. There are thousands doing the same thing we are.

So, Sister Joan, I disagree. My morality is not deeply lacking because I choose to meet the needs of this world by vibrantly supporting my church so it can do its PRO-LIFE work in big ways. I am pro-birth and pro-life and one of the deepest joys in my life is serving my church so it can serve PRO-LIFE – all of life! – needs of the world.

And that has nothing to do with my taxes.


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