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Pro-lifers and pro-Earthers, what's dividing us?
Pro-life, by Liza Field

Date published: 11/18/2012

I would say that those who are callous about babies and callous about life ought to be brought to bear the callousness of their indifference.

--Newt Gingrich

It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology.

--Rick Santorum, on environmental stewardship


--What's it been like as a pro-lifer during this year's big-money campaign? It's been an experience of split personality, I would say as a pro-life conservationist.

Most conservationists I know tend to be pro-life. Nobody who has loved life on this planet wants to keep it from the unborn. Who would deny the next generation a chance to hear the chimes of spring peepers at nightfall, or the haunting calls of owls? A chance to fish in a river, climb mountains, or walk a seashore beside the majestic, life-teeming ocean?

Nobody sane would take this rare gift away from the unborn. But the corporate buy-up of our political system seems to give voters no other choice. One camp would protect life in the womb, but politically opposes the protection of planetary life. The other side allows prenatal life to be aborted, but has defended the surrounding human life-support system--air, water, biodiversity, climate.

How to choose "life" then, politically, without aborting one's brain?

The Rev. Mitch Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network notes that "One in six of our children are being born with harmful levels of mercury in their bloodstream." Factor in the climate change already depleting life among the world's poor, he reasons, and pro-lifers clearly should support reductions of coal-burning pollutants.

That's the position taken by more than 300 evangelical leaders who've signed on to the Evangelical Climate Initiative. Created in 2005, the document supports climate action for the sake of all life, born and unborn.

It was not new theology. The Old Testament sings with Nature's voices, Noah's call to save every species, the sacredness of "living waters." Whole chapters of "Promised Land"-use regulations forbid tree-cutting, soil depletion, and animal abuse--requirements that make the EPA's look feeble.

The New Testament, meanwhile, is all about "life more abundant," pointed out Francis Shaeffer, the famed father of today's evangelical movement. In his 1970s book, "Pollution and the Death of Man," Shaeffer warned that God's call "in the area of nature is that we should exhibit a substantial healing here and now."

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