Consistent Life Ethic

If there is something I’ve tried to work on over the years, it would be a philosophy of a “whole life ethic.” It turns out there is a framework for that called “Consistent Life Ethic.” It is truly my life goal to say, “No one is more ‘pro-life’ than me outside of the pope.”

I am not there. Mass shooters challenge my theology on the capital punishment side of the equation. Consistent kindness to “the least of these” wrecks my effort from time to time as well.

Also, I’ve searched for another phrase outside of “pro-life” because it is a political hand grenade. Conservative Christians I know only have abortion on their minds when they say they vote “pro-life” and I’m tired of that narrow view. We need a consistent ethic womb to tomb… or at least I do. I am not just “pro-birth.” There is a lot of work to do when someone gets into this world.

This review on a book by Charles Carmosy helps lay out my goals. The book looks like it’s worth the time to read.

An authentically “pro-life” witness involves more than opposing abortion.

While there are certain points of Catholic teaching I will bristle against, I have highly admired the consistent life ethic they not only teach but live out. They will consistently tick off the “left” because they oppose abortion, but then they will consistently tick off the “right” because they insist on attention to the poor and they oppose capital punishment.

In a day when “pro-life” is only meant to be a buzz word meaning to vote Republican… and the Democrats keep pushing platform agendas that a consistent life ethic finds challenging as well… it is a reminder that as believers we simply should not tie our living and beliefs to any one political party. There are serious deficits on both sides and these are two parties completely unwilling to listen to ordinary people at this stage in the game.

My heart and my goal is to work on a consistent life ethic and join in some action when it aligns with that part of the consistent life ethic. It means no political party gets my vote. It means that when policy or legislation or action comes up that calls out to join in a consistent life ethic, I will be there.

In this political climate, those are hard actions to take, and there is severe displeasure from the political extremes. This is the way I need to live out the consistent life ethic, however. I watch solid Catholic believers do this all the time and it’s time I join this way of life.

And a way of life is what I am looking at. It is something beyond political parties and votes. It is not an easy ethic to work out in my own life, I have found. But I have found it far more fulfilling that what political parties are trying to shove at us these days.

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