Tuesday, April 05, 2005
In the wake of the Terri Schiavo case, we've been hearing a lot about the so-called "culture of life." Christian conservatives use the term to refer to God's wish that we preserve all human lives, especially those more vulnerable than our own. In practice, however, it applies to a surprisingly stingy range of concerns: abortion, euthanasia, and stem cell research.
Conservatives have been very effective in past years in coming up with emotionally-laden phrases that are at best disingenuous and at worst outright lies. Witness "weapons of mass destruction," "partial birth abortion," "ownership society," and "freedom on the march." But their newest buzzphrase is perhaps the most galling.
The problem with the "culture of life" argument is that, like any of these phrases, its vagueness allows you to define it however you want. Is it any coincidence that its application happens to gel with the core issues of those who created it? Rather than dismiss the argument, however, progressives should hold culture-of-lifers to their word.
At minimum, a true "culture of life" would support the following ten positions:
1. Withdraw the Troops
2. Stop the Death Penalty
3. Pass Effective Gun Control Laws
4. Fund Social Services
5. Create Universal Health Care for Children
6. Research Alternative Energy
7. Investigate Prisoner Abuses
8. Support AIDS Clinics Abroad
9. Implement a Fair Guestworker Program
10. Join the International Criminal Court
Together, these issues account for the needless deaths of tens of thousands of people a day. A culture that valued their lives is one we could all celebrate.