We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
This must be the foundation upon which we decide what the proper role of government is. This includes the pro-life debate. We have the right to life. Now, before we can decide when life begins and when it ends, we must first decide what it is.
Section 355 of our Catholic Catechism tells us, “Man occupies a unique place in creation: he is “in the image of God”; in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; he is created “male and female”; God established him in his friendship.”
Section 357: “Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons.”
If the purpose of government is in fact promoting life, there comes a point when religion and government can and must cross. The separation of church and state is not a new idea. Moses had his Aaron. King Saul lost his job because he mixed religion and state. I Samuel 13:9
In most regards, church, and state do not mix. Life is not one of these regards.
Torah tells us, “Whoever sheds the blood of Adam, in man his blood will be shed. In the Shalom of God he made Adam. Genesis 9:3-6 Man is made in the Shalomצַלְמֵ/image of God. He is also made in the likeness/דְמוּתֵ “Damoth” feminine plural of Dam/blood of God.” “God said, ‘The voice of my blood/דְמ of your brother cries to Me from the ground. Genesis 1:26 argues, “We make man in the shalom/image and in our blood/ likeness.”
God tells Cain, “Dami/my blood, of your brother calls to me from the ground.” This is very personal for God. When others suffer, the image of God suffers in them. Any attack upon any individual, no matter how well intended is ultimately an attack, upon the likeness of God. As we treat our neighbor, we treat God. Life is life lived in the image of God.
Deuteronomy 12:23 states, “Do not eat the blood; blood is life, you will not eat the anima with the flesh.” What is it that makes blood so different? Blood is the only organ of the body constantly in motion. It is also the only organ in contact with each and every other cell of the body. Blood is present when there are two cells, nourishing them both. I became human when I had blood, two cells.
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day; I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; Choose life, to live!” This is one of the 613 Mitzvahs. “Choose life!” is a Mitzvah. What would it mean for choosing life to be a Mitzvah/a rule?
All life is life in potentiality. Exodus 20:23 tells us how the temple was not to be built with steps. We are either going up the steps or down the steps. There is no staying in one place. In relation to our neighbor, we must promote his life, life lived in the image of God. That means promoting life lived to its fullest. There is no room for austerity. Paul Simon had a song, Mother and Child Reunion, a song about chicken and eggs for breakfast.
It can just as easily refer to the great so-called pro-life debate. Mother and child will reunite, in life with a happy and healthy mother with a job paying a living wage for herself or for her spouse, or in death on that breakfast plate. We cannot talk about pro-life for the child if we do not talk about pro-life; life lived in the image and likeness of God for the mother, as worker, and for her spouse.
Our constitution demands that we promote life for all people. It also demands that we promote liberty for all people. Liberty to choose which taskmaster/employer/landlord will bully us is no liberty at all. It requires we allow others to pursue happiness. The pursuit of happiness is vain if it does not have a reasonable chance of success. God made us all in his image and likeness. How we treat each other is the way we treat God. That is the definition of life. Now we can discuss when it begins and when it ends.