The Value of Every Life

Opinion by Joyce Ostrander

People should be able to make choices free from the moral restraints of the religious views of others. That’s what liberals and even libertarians have long argued because, after all,“you can’t legislate morality.” However, every law is just that – a moral decision. The question is “whose morals?”

Our country’s guiding documents are replete with moral principles – statements about what is important, what is “valued.” Based on moral principles, American colonists declared they had a right to found a new nation. They included “the right to life”and the principle that rights are endowed to us by “Our Creator.”

So, what happened when our nation’s foundational moral principals were ignored in public policy decisions? In the name of liberation, we claimed we should not be subject to the moral restraints of someone else’s religion, and established the “right to end life” calling it“reproductive choice” and“assisted suicide.”

Proponents would say these are private decisions that should be made between a patient and their physician. But are they only private decisions? Is there no public consequence to these decisions?

There’s the obvious consequence, in the case of abortion, to unborn children.

There is also a second, less obvious, consequence. Since the law is a teacher, the second consequence is what abortion and assisted suicide teach us about the value of life in our culture.

The value of life has become situational, not intrinsic. Now, your life is only valuable if you are wanted or if you still choose to live. Therefore, the value of every life has become negotiable or subjective – arbitrary, not inherent.

There is no other way to interpret parents mourning the loss of a miscarriage in one treatment room while parents arrange the “termination” of their unborn child in another or doctor administering drugs to prolong or improve the life of one patient then, in the next room, intentionally ending the life of another with the same condition.

The meaning of life has also been impacted by the intentional resistance we see to the Judeo-Christian ethic in the public square. “Separation of church and state” has become the antidote to any policy suggestion offered by people of faith. Denying the relevance of religious ethic for our policy decisions is not only historically and legally baseless, it also instructs society’s view of life.

A faith paradigm provides meaning and purpose for the struggles, the accomplishments, the joys and the sacrifices of life. Even without knowing why “bad things happen to good people” people of faith know there is an ultimate design and purpose to their life. In essence, the acknowledgement of “Our Creator” gives life meaning and purpose.

If “Our Creator” is no longer welcome in the public square, if faith is only a private matter and irrelevant to public policy, the very foundation that gives meaning and purpose to life is eliminated. Therefore, life has no intrinsic meaning and purpose. That too is now arbitrary.

When the Soviet Union dissolved, Russian leaders asked American Christians to teach the Bible in their public schools. They were desperate for meaning and hope because life had so little value in the Soviet Union once the Government eliminated faith from the public dialogue.

Since our law now teaches that “life has no inherent value” and “life has no meaning or purpose,” is it any wonder that many of our younger people are unmotivated, aimless,hopeless or depressed? That we see an uptick in drug abuse, suicide, violence and disdain for one another?

Decisions individuals about life make are not simply private. They are decisions that impact the entire society. They prove or disprove, confirm or deny the value and meaning of all life and of every life in America.

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