While there are “secular” and pagan arguments against abortion, by and large most who view abortion as an evil do so on the basis of their faith in God. We believe in the sanctity of human life because of the truth that, “In the Image of God, they were created, male and female.” (Gen 1:28) As a Christian, I do believe that the breathe of God breathed into the Image of God provides the theological basis for the voice of God declaring, “thou shalt not kill!”
However, I believe the implications of the Sanctity of Human Life reach far further than ending abortion (and not murdering, of course).
As more theologians are recognizing, “image of God” had very little to do with human capacities (intellectual, linguistic, emotional, relational) and had much more to do with their role as God’s vice regents and priests (in Genesis’ ancient context). Just as in modern Thailand, images of the king serve as constant reminders of the king’s “benevolent” rule, so too, the image of God is a pervasive reminder of God’s own kind and just administration of creation. Humans are God’s representatives on earth, and if in proper relation with their Creator, will be enthusiastic ambassadors of His love and grace.
Just as any attempt to deface a royal effigy is rightly considered an affront to the king, so too any attack on a human being is indeed an rejection of the loving rule of God. Our Lord taught us that if anyone calls a brother or sister a fool, he is guilty. And 1 John 3:15 equates hate and murder. Consider this, everyone, everyone, bears the Image of God and is a reminder of Gods authority. Everyone has been put on this earth as a gift of unrepeatable abilities and perspectives that God deemed necessary to the flourishing of humanity. To ever think the thought, “God I wish that person was not here,” is to curse the face of God. (Now, it is an entirely different thought to think, “God, I wish my interaction with that person could have been a time of restoration and redemption instead of pain, frustration, and irritation”).
If God has given each human life with an unrepeatable vocation and purpose, that should have broad ramifications for every conceivable human interaction.
Foreign policy No person is collateral damage. Even if a war can be deemed justifiable, to be just, preservation of life should be the highest aim. Drone attacks and bombings (Hiroshima, Nagasaki) which do not regard human life are a direct attack on God (good luck with that). Indefinitely detaining “terrorists” in secret prisons without trial refuses to acknowledge the sacred purpose each of those mean and women could serve (and delegitimates any government’s authority to administer justice).
Immigration: While I believe immigration laws should be respected and enforced, if the status of a person as Image of God does not drive the conversation, those laws will not be Good.
Labor: A person’s worth must never be measured according to their economic contribution. When people are helplessly stuck (legally or not) in jobs that will never allow them to flourish or rest, they have been deemed subhuman.
Police Brutality: God bless the police! They have taken great personal risk in order to serve and protect our communities. But when tragedy strikes, I am terribly afraid that there are those who believe their “right” to protect themselves supersedes their oath to protect their neighbor. I ask you, who would have died if Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Rodney King, Akai Gurley, Kajieme Powell, Rumain Brisbon, or Bernard Bailey had been allowed another ten seconds to clarify the situation? Each of these men bore the image of God and therefore were unrepeatable gifts of God to this world. (With the possible debated exception of Michael Brown who was in a violent confrontation with the man who killed him moments before he attempted to flee the area) No one would have died if these men were given ten more seconds. These are damnable tragedies.
Mental Health: As has been well documented, our society prefers to abort the disabled before they see the light of day. Such an approach rejects the gift of these people out of hand. But even for those who enjoy the gift of life, our communities still prefer to segregated those differently gifted rather than embrace and nourish and integrate them into the broader community. We still distain and avoid those who make us uncomfortable, rejecting the grace that God offers through these embodiments of the divine presence.
Gerontology: As pressure grows to broaden the use of methods to simplify and expedite death, we must recognize the sinister reality that this is a push to make friends with the Enemy, Death. Death is viewed as the welcomed conclusion to our discomfort. But few moments have been as disturbingly sacred as when I had to assist my grandfather when he emptied his bowels. The final year we spent with him was often inconvenient, uncomfortable, and unpleasant (more for those living with him than me on my visits), but he deserved to be treated with dignity and received as a gift from God until his utterly unnatural final breath.
To be pro-life, to claim to believe in the sanctity of human life, is to affirm the sacredness of every human life. And any diminution of a human’s worth is a curse against God. God will punish the evil men who buy votes with promises to regulate abortion, but refuse to regard the sanctity of human life on any other level with their fiscal, foreign, or health policy.