John 19:23

To be consistently pro-life is difficult, to say the least. Although the worst offenders in terms of numbers of souls put to death may appear to be pro-abortion liberals, so-called pro-death penalty conservatives might seem to also commit the sin of hypocr1sy.

The political labels, in fact, don’t help; they hinder our understanding. A more consistent approach may be found with Jesus. John 19:23 may not seem to apply to the question of being pro-life, but it does. Since it concerns the garment worn by the incarnation of life its very self:

John 19:23: When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom…

Jesus, like His garment, was seamless in His protection of life. He knew, as we should but often forget, that our very lives are gifts from God. They are not ours to take. From conception, through birth, through our lives, and until our natural deaths, our lives are sacred.

In other words, life and its protection are, or ought to be, seamless. At no stage in our lives should we, as human persons, be considered as unpersons, as excess flesh to be disposed of for the convenience of others.

This means, among other things, that we protect the unborn, that we nurture the young, that we cherish and protect the frail, sick, and elderly. It also must mean that we acknowledge that of God in even the most heinous of sinners. That we resist the all-too-human temptation to put to death even killers. Even the worst terrorists.

Does this mean that we allow terrorists and criminals to roam free? No. Of course not. To be consistently pro-life also means protecting the innocent from these evil men and women. With deadly force, if that is necessary to save the life of an innocent. But, once the terrorist or criminal is rendered harmless, and locked away where they can no longer hurt innocents, it is wrong to put them down as though they were stray dogs.

Even Osama bin Laden has a soul, and God will judge him. Harshly, I suspect; old Osama isn’t likely to get his 72 virgins, or whatever his idolatrous view of paradise may be. But that is up to God. Not us.

In the meantime, we can only try to do as our savior has instructed us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). I don’t know about you, but this is hard for me. Necessary, but Lord, I fail. But I will keep trying.

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