The sanctity of life and the defense of the abused

By Persis - Posted at Tried With Fire:

(In light of the #MeToo hashtag and October being domestic violence awareness month, this is an update of a post from 2 years ago with a few edits and additions.)

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

If you asked me to define the sanctity of life, here it is:

Since all human beings are made in the image of God, all human beings should receive dignity, respect, and the right to life. This applies to the born and unborn. This applies to male and female. This applies to all people regardless of their race or ethnicity. The sanctity of life is not based on the ability to function independently or even the value with which a person contributes to society at large. The sanctity of life is an issue of personhood because identity is individual and never subsumed by another person regardless of the relationship.

I think this definition covers what most evangelical Christians believe especially when it comes to defending the rights of the unborn. The gruesome videos exposing the horrific practices of Planned Parenthood only emphasize the fact that babies in the womb are not blobs of tissue but human beings with distinct organ systems. Thus the slogan, My body, my choice, breaks down because there are two bodies and two people we are talking about - the mother and the child. Even though the unborn baby is totally dependent upon his mother, this dependence does not cause his personhood to be lost or absorbed into his mother's. He is his own person.

So let's fast forward a few years to toddlerhood. This child is still solely dependent upon his parents for his basic needs. He is learning very rudimentary life skills. He cannot contribute to society. His parents bear legal responsibility for him until he is an adult which is years down the road. He is also under his parents' authority in a biblical sense. Does the sanctity of life apply to a toddler? Is this toddler a person? I can't imagine anyone thinking otherwise.

I am going to advance the clock and be specific about gender in this case - a married woman. In the eyes of civil law, she has the full rights of any citizen. She is a functioning member of society. In a gender conservative household, there is an element of submission to her husband per Eph. 5:24. However its extent runs quite a gamut as the non-egalitarian side of the fence is not uniform in practice. Nonetheless, does the sanctity of life apply to this woman? Is she a person in the most basic sense of the word as are the toddler and unborn infant? As in the previous two cases, I can't imagine anyone thinking otherwise.


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