Being Pro-Life means not Celebrating the Taking of Lives no matter the Circumstances

Leviticus 19:16 – “You shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor” (NRSV)

I am reading through the book of Leviticus this season.  When people read through the Bible, they often skip this technical and seemingly repetitive book.  It is chapter after chapter of laws, technical notes, instructions on sacrifice, and rules for ancient practices of hygiene and healthcare.  But I don’t know why we skip it: It’s a wonderful book because it shows us God’s attributes and love for us just as much as any other book in the Bible. 

For one, it shows us that God cares about the details of our life.  God wants the best for us, and what comes off as technical rules are really specific points of care and concern for health, well-being, and righteous living.  The entire book has love in mind: This is how we love God and how we are to love our neighbors because we are God’s people!  No life is left without God’s hedge of protection, from immigrants and convicts, to animals and the fields of the earth (read, for instance, Lev. 19).

Second, it shows just how much God values life.  For as long as I have followed Christ, I have been staunchly pro-life.  But why am I pro-life?  Because God is pro-life.  God makes boundaries that establish justice, reparations, and ways of reconciliation for every circumstance in which death occurs.  There are rules even for people who accidentally take the life of another, knowing that a person who takes another person’s life no matter the circumstance will suffer trauma and guilt. 

God provides avenues of repentance and of reparations so that justice, not tribal retaliation, determines the ethical fabric of God’s pro-life movement.  Even rejoicing over the taking of a life—even at the hands of what society might deem a hero—is not to be celebrated or rewarded because each life is made in God’s image.  Life and all of life’s details are precious, and the taking of a life has life-long consequences that affect both the oppressed and the oppressors.

Post-COVID Trauma and Violence: How will the Church Respond?

Reports are emerging that 2021 is proving to be one of the deadliest years in history, noting a 66% rise in gun sales and record-breaking statistics regarding gun violence. As we seek ways to “return to normalcy” post COVID-19, how should we respond to trauma and the consequences of isolation, anger, and political/cultural turmoil.

Here are two articles to consider:

2020 Was the Deadliest Gun Violence Year in Decades. So far, 2021 is Worse“, by TheBault, Fox, and Ba Tran. Washington Post.

“In January and February of 2021, people bought more guns than they did during either month of any previous year in which such purchases were recorded. In January alone, about 2.5 million guns were sold, the third-highest one-month total, behind only June and July of 2020…A large body of research shows gun availability increases the relative risk of fatal shootings, and Buggs co-wrote a study last year that found an association between firearm purchases that spring and a statistically significant increase in firearm violence.”

We Need to Remember the Scars of Our Trauma in a Post-Pandemic World“, by Laura Ellis, Baptist News Global.

“The immense loss and inability to mourn is palpable, and we know that these remnants of anxiety and grief do not merely disappear once the world reopens its doors. Rather, as we enter into this new time of partial liberation, we carry with us these wounds that have not been given the luxury to properly heal. Some of them are still gaping open, while others are uncomfortably glazed with thick layers of scar tissue.

“As we enter into this new time of partial liberation, we carry with us these wounds that have not been given the luxury to properly heal.”

In this time, I am reminded of Jesus’ resurrected body, which still bore the scars of crucifixion. We can learn something from the fact that Jesus did not return in his pre-crucified body. His body could not be the same one he had before the event of crucifixion. Rather, it showed evidence of the ordeal because his scars could not be erased.”

How can the Church serve as a place of healing and restoration?