Religion & Philosophy

Using pro-life to sell nuclear disarmament

What can pro-life advocates have to do with nuclear-weapons advocates. Read this comment by “The Tiny Twig” to a post on nuclear weapons at evangelical site A Deeper Story: Tales of Christ and Culture.

I think that this is another “pro-life” issue that Christians need to get behind if we’re going to be the lead voices in the anti-abortion world. It’s two-faced double speak if we don’t.

She’s responding to a dialogue between site administrator Nish and Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, founder of Two Futures Project, a groundbreaking evangelical disarmament group. The Tiny Twigg’s idea is basically the “seamless garment” or “consistent life ethic” that former Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin made famous in a speech that linked abortion and nuclear war. (Not that he was the first to do so.) The archbishop said:

I am convinced that the pro-life position of the church must be developed in terms of a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life.

Also woven into his seamless garment are capital punishment, euthanasia, genetics, and modern warfare are also threads of his seamless garment.

Question for Scholars & Rogues readers: Does this association sully and in some way ultimately subvert the cause of disarmament? Or is hitching pro-life to disarmament’s wagon (or vice versa) a good idea and a small price to pay for helping to rid the world of nuclear weapons?

In other words, just how choosy can disarmament be about its bedfellows?

Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.

3 replies »

  1. I’m all for adding more warm bodies to the cause of disarmament, but only insofar as it doesn’t detract from the actual message. I’m reminded of one of the nominal reasons kicked around for our administration not showing overt support for popular uprisings in Iran. While the support could theoretically be good for the people in Iran, it could also give the Iranian regime an excuse to cry foul, dig in their heels, and even redouble their efforts at resistance. If that would be the likely effect on disarmament talks should the *ahem* “pro-life” movement add their weight to the argument, we’d perhaps be better served if many “pro-life” individuals added their support to disarmament individually without adding any kind of “pro-life” rhetoric to their support.

    Should that be the case, I might even become hopeful that such individual disarmament advocates within the “pro-life” movement might serve as something of a fifth column amid their own ranks. While I don’t agree even a little with the “pro-life” movement on their bizarre single-issue stance against abortion, I agree with the bishop’s statemement that, “the pro-life position of the church must be developed in terms of a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life.” By extension, this logic should carry into the “pro-life” movement as a whole. Regardless of the effect on those who hold to anti-abortion logic (or the lack thereof) on the grounds of so-called personhood, such an extension of ethics to encompass life would, I hope, generate even more individual support for disarmament, as well as for other life-affirming policy positions across a wide variety of fields.

  2. I’m not really sure what your objection is. Do you think that all abortion opponents either are or should be for nuclear weapons?

    You seem to be under the impression that all people who are pro-life are like the Republican politicians and other right-wing spokespeople. In fact, there has been a “consistent life ethic” movement for almost thirty years, that seeks to address all threats to human life. For you to consider those people somehow tainted because they disagree with you on abortion is profoundly disrespectful.