I have a friend who is from Africa. She sees a lot of things in this country from a different perspective that makes me think, and sometimes makes me uncomfortable. We were recently in a discussion in a group at church about how we define who has moral status and how that impacts our moral decisions about human embryos and fetuses. After the discussion she said she had noted that many Christians in America were quite passionate about the value of the life of those who were unborn, but didn’t seem to care as much about those who were born. She said we stand up for the value of the lives of the unborn whom we will never know and who do not put any demands on us, but seem to neglect the value of the lives of those around us who are in need because valuing their lives would put demands on us.
I think my friend is right. If we really believe that all human beings have full moral status we need to help people see the moral problems with abortion, destructive research on embryos, and the making and discarding of excess embryos in IVF, but we need to do much more. We need to affirm the moral worth of those who have been born. We need to care for widows, orphans, the poor, and those who are oppressed. We can see God’s heart for them in the prophets and in Jesus. There are many Christians who reach out to those in need and love them in tangible ways that express their understanding of their value as human beings. More of us need to do that. I need to do that more.