Does the Consistent Life Ethic Water Down Life Issues?

Posted on August 29, 2015 By

Some say the consistent life ethic (CLE) waters down a particular life issue. The harsher critics state, or at least imply, that this is deliberate. This kind of criticism is not new, but this year I’ve been seeing it more than I usually do.

Stop bumper stivkerWhile some may be insincere about their support of the CLE, we believe a genuine commitment to the CLE strengthens work on each issue. Our Purpose Statement states “We serve the anti-violence community by connecting issues, building bridges, and strengthening the case against each kind of socially-approved killing by consistently opposing them all.” And this synergy among issues works.

People who aren’t convinced on one of the issues often tell us that they respect our position because we are consistent. They are more willing to listen to why the unborn should be protected because we also oppose the death penalty and war, or listen to our arguments against war because we also favor protection of the unborn. They may be much less willing to listen to those not committed to other life issues.

Infinity symbolSome people mistakenly believe that we oppose focus on a single issue. In fact, we believe there is a need for some individuals and groups to focus on a particular issue. Some of our member groups focus on one issue, or perhaps on two. They join Consistent Life because they see their work in the broader CLE context. We don’t want to water down the work of any of these groups. We are an inclusive network that encourages and promotes the anti-violence activities of all our group and individual members, working together, each in their own way, to make a difference.

Bill Samuel has served as President of Consistent Life since 2005.


abortionconnecting issuesconsistent life ethicdeath penaltywar and peace

  1. Rachel MacNair says:

    Another reason why the consistent life ethic strengthens the case against abortion specifically is the way the issue is framed: abortion as an issue of violence. There have been other issue clusters abortion’s been put into making it a sexual, family, religious, partisan, or ideological issue. But violence is the category where abortion belongs to make an effective case against it.

    • carol Crossed says:

      I should think most groups, because of limitations related to time and volunteers and money cannot do all the issues. But bravo to those who try. Perhaps the biggest thing is not to oppose other peace or life groups work in their particular area. “If you are not against me, you are for me.”

  2. Benedict says:

    Thats curious, recently Bill Samuel at the Consistent Life Facebook page was supporting the election of pro-abortion Democratic congressmen for the bizarre idea of creating a Truth Commission like in South Africa for crimes against black people. So, he does waters down the abortion issue for sure.

    • Bill Samuel says:

      Well I didn’t recall posting anything like that so I went to the Facebook page and tried to find what could have sparked this comment. The particular comment was not in direct response to the post, but to a comment on the post about Trump appointees, and pointed out that particular nominees did not require Senate confirmation and others seemed likely to be confirmed given the makeup of the Senate. I did not advocate that people vote for any particular party or candidates in my comments.

      Consistent Life supporters have a wide range of how they approach elections given the general dearth of consistent life ethic candidates. But personally I have advocated for some time against voting for Democrats or Republicans, and did not personally vote for anyone of either of those parties in the last election.

      This bizarre interpretation of my comment is ironic in that I am repeatedly attacked in other Facebook threads for opposing the Democrat Party.

      • Jerry C. Stanaway says:

        I take stands on issues, but never vote. This is a position often supported by Mennonites like myself. This position was also taken by Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement, Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and many nonviolent abolitionists from the U.S. during the 19th century.

      • Thomas says:

        Not voting you are taking a stance of neutrality that indicates indifference to the promotion of a real culture of life. I invite you to support the American Solidarity Party, if you really want to be politically involved.

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