by Pastor Michael Salemink
Abortion poses a grave and obvious threat to the sanctity of every human life. However, it does not represent the only one.
Technologies that destroy embryos—such as stem cell harvesting, nuclear transfer cloning, vaccine manufacturing, and in vitro fertilization—also endanger vulnerable neighbors. Practices like physician-assisted suicide, domestic violence, and human trafficking do, too. But certain personal attitudes—racism or inhumane disregard for the needs of refugees and migrants, for example—can also contradict a person’s worth. Some societal conditions—lack of adequate nutrition, medicine, hygiene, or housing, to name a few—may amount to life issues as well. And several matters that appear otherwise tangential—homosexuality, promiscuity, Christian citizenship, civil discourse—become crucial because they connect closely to some of the previous ones.
Gospel-motivated voices For Life cannot address every injustice at once. Our ministry at LFL has limited resources, so we maximize our efficiency by prioritizing.
What makes something a “life issue” that we devote attention and energy to engaging?
We’ve developed a working definition (and a visual depiction) to help clarify what we believe our God-given vocation and mission is (and is not):
Narrowly, life issues are (1) those visible circumstances which cause immediate or intentional death for our human neighbors. Yet LFL recognizes that these very visible life issues are often the consequence of a confluence of other spiritual, physical, social, and emotional issues that have created a crisis in the lives of God’s children. Therefore, life issues also include (2) any failure to meet the needs of a neighbor such that if those needs are left unmet, death will result; (3) actions or policies that detract from God’s design for life; and (4) any attitude or perspective that undermines the value of a person’s life. While we generally apply our time, energy, travel, conversations, personnel, and publications according to the order above, we also acknowledge that cultural relevance, audience size, and immediacy may affect the importance of a life issue.
In this way, we can focus the life issues as lenses in which to notice and interact with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the needs of the neighbor right in front of us. We hope and pray it aids you to do the same!