One of my struggles is with the contradictions I see in the way lots of groups and people who believe life is precious actually treat other people and their lives. I think contradictions may be human nature; seems like everybody has some. I accept that but some contradictions are so glaring to me that I have trouble getting by them. It seems to me that if life is precious and if by that we mean that lives deserve to be treated with loving care, then doesn’t that mean that everyone’s life is precious — even the lives of those whose beliefs and/or lifestyle are different from our own?
Between pro-lifers, left-leaning social democrats, many varieties of religious groups, anti-death penalty groups or …, there are lots of folks who do what they do because they believe some version of “life is precious” (or humans deserve rights or dignity or equality, etc.). But there always seems to be an unspoken caveat — life is precious as long as the life in question agrees with me; life is precious as long as it does what I want it to.
If life is precious, why isn’t it precious outside the womb? If life is precious why isn’t the troubled young mother-to-be on her way to an abortion clinic precious? If life is precious why is it okay to make ugly remarks to a Republican or to wish death on CIA agents? The beginning of the end of a long ago relationship came the day my death penalty fighting boyfriend started chortling with glee because an alleged CIA agent had been killed in the Middle East. I wanted to know why, if killing another person is always wrong, was it not wrong to kill the agent? My boyfriend was furious that I dared to challenge his “carefully thought out” views. I was unnerved at the mind that thought those two things could be held in the same space.
What if we all actually treated every other life as precious? I don’t think that means you have to like every belief or overlook every opinion with which you disagree, but I do think you can disagree with someone without forgetting that he or she is a divine child of God. Is life precious or is it not? If it is, then treat all life that way. That’s what I say — easier said than done.