arguments


Is an Embryo More Important than a Woman?

by Rachel MacNair   As I wade through the avalanche of post-Dobbs media coverage, I note the familiar pattern of being totally oblivious to what the objection to induced abortion is: that it kills a human being. While there exist arguments that what’s killed isn’t a human being, and other arguments that such killing is…


Must We Resign Ourselves to Violence?

by Julia Smucker Once while taking a graduate-level test in cultural anthropology, I had a revelation of sorts. In the class, we’d been discussing what’s revealed when different cultural values come into tension. The test essay question went something like, “What would the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws say about American cultural values, and how…


In Defense of Detachment: The Different Approaches to Protecting Lives

by John Whitehead A commitment to the consistent life ethic is a commitment to protect people’s lives against violence or other threats. This essential commitment is present among all varieties of consistent life advocates and their different approaches to the ethic. Sometimes, though, consistent life advocacy can involve a more personal, concrete, and emotional type…


No Combat Experience, No Opinion: Parallels in Pro-bombing and Pro-choice Rhetoric

by John Whitehead Paul Fussell, a literary critic and World War II veteran, wrote an essay in the 1980s with the arresting title “Thank God for the Atom Bomb.” A passionate defense of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fussell’s essay is still sometimes invoked today by bombing supporters. However, Fussell’s argument is…


Instead of Division, Schools of Thought

by Rachel MacNair Several kinds of arguments show up in most large, long-lasting nonviolent social movements. Activists often express distress about these divisions, thinking more unity would mean more success. I’d like to make the case that instead of thinking of “unity” – an unworkable concept when dealing with large groups of people with strong…


Elections 2020: Three Consistent-Life Approaches

by Rachel MacNair The Consistent Life Network takes no stand on specific candidates. This is my own personal take on how people who support the consistent life ethic view the U.S. presidential election of November 3, 2020. Three Categories Category 1: Trump is Out of the Question; Biden is Bearable People in this category are…


Why the Interfaith Approach is Important

by Rachel MacNair This February in 2020 I went on a trip to Israel and Palestine with a group called In the Steps of Our Ancestors: an Interfaith Peace Pilgrimage. In addition to seeing the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Baha’i, we spoke with several groups promoting peace in different ways. (I went…


Is Abortion Different from Other Violence?

by Julia Smucker Four Ways of Isolating One Issue Any advocate of the consistent life ethic (CLE) can expect to encounter people who share their pro-nonviolence position on certain issues but depart from it on others. And among those working on various peace and life issues, including those of us who adhere to the CLE,…


What Does It Mean to Be Inconsistent?

by Julia Smucker   CLN President John Whitehead recently put a question to fellow consistent-lifers: does it necessarily make sense to call people “inconsistent” for not fully adhering to the consistent life ethic (CLE)? After all, the reasons people give for approving of some forms of killing and disapproving of others often follow their own…


Activists, Beware: Burnout is a Very Real Danger

by Rachel MacNair Part 2 of 2 posts responding to Ward Ricker’s essay, “Prolife – Not.” Here’s Part 1.   Ward Ricker’s main point is: haven’t pro-lifers been ineffective because we’ve sent mixed messages? Mainly, we’re proclaiming an abortion to be the murder of an innocent child, and yet our behavior shows we’re not taking…