Blogs4Life Online Symposium

[Note: In preparation of the upcoming Blogs for Life Convention, FRC Blog and Pro-Life Blogs is hosting an online symposium. I encourage all pro-life bloggers who are able to participate and to attend the conference, either in person or through the live webcast. More information on the event can be found at the Blogs for Life website.]
Those of us who reject the culture of death hail from a variety of backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life. We often approach the pro-life issues from different perspectives rooted in our beliefs and priorities. Although united in defense of life, we often have differences of opinions that can affect how we communicate our message and pursue our objectives.
For the next few weeks we’ll be hosting an online symposium to explore these issues. The online symposium will culminate in a capstone seminar at the upcoming Blogs for Life Conference. The three symposium topics are:

Defining our Movement: Redefining “Pro-Life” for the 21st Century
Over the past thirty years the term “pro-life” has often been almost completely associated with the issue of abortion. How can we use weblog technology to argue for a more robust definition that includes opposition in such areas as euthanasia, assisted suicide, and embryo destructive research? Also, where do we draw the between essential, nonnegotiable elements (e.g., opposition to abortion) and matters on which disagreements and differences of opinion should be respected allowed (for example, IVF or capital punishment)?
Defining our Approach: Choosing between Absolutism and Incrementalism
Should we approach pro-life issues on an incremental basis, gradually achieving our goals by compromise and exceptions? Or, should we settle for nothing less than full legal recognition of the sanctity for life? What are the merits for these positions? What are the drawbacks?
Defining our Future: Making Life, Taking Life, Faking Life
The pro-life cause can be divided into three broad areas of concern: Making Life (genetic engineering, embryonic stem cell research, cloning); Taking Life (abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia); and Faking Life (transhumanism, eugenics). What areas are we making the most progress? What areas will be of most concern over the next decade? How can bloggers have an impact in defending human dignity in these areas?

To include your post in the symposium, send us the following information:

  • Name
  • Name and URL of blog or website
  • Title and URL of post
  • Brief summary

Links to the symposium entries will be posted on Blogs for Life. The questions, concerns, and issues raised in these entries will be discussed during capstone panel session. All entries should be sent to jpc@frc.org.

Being a Person:
Why Personhood is Not Enough

A person is not always a human being, but is a human being always a person?
Examples abound of non-human persons: Christians believe that the Godhead consists of “three Persons of one substance.” U.S. judges have ruled that corporations are “artificial persons.” The Spanish Parliament ruled that great apes are “legal persons.” And fans of Star Trek argue that androids like Data and aliens like Spock are all (fictional) persons.
Clearly, being a member of the human race is not necessary to be considered a person. But should all human beings be considered persons? Historically, the answer has been a resounding “no.” Slaves, women, infants, Jews, and foreigners are all groups that have at one time or another been denied either legal or moral standing as “persons.”
While they were typically considered to be human they were not afforded the rights that are imbued by personhood. The judgment of later generations, however, has without exception concluded that denying personhood to these members of the human family is a great moral evil. I have no doubt that future generations will judge our culture just as harshly.
Yet while recognition of personhood is necessary for a human to be granted certain positive rights, I contend that it is not required for a basic negative right — the right not to be deprived of life without due process of the law. In other words, people don’t have a right to kill you simply because they don?t want to concede that you are a person.
Rights–whether positive (those that impose an obligation on others) or negative (those that oblige others to refrain from certain activities)–should be assigned based on the ability to respond as moral beings. For example, a Belgian Sheepdog has no moral accountability and thus no moral obligations to me as a person. If he eats my hamster I can’t fault him for not respecting my right to private property. But since I am morally accountable I have an obligation not to cruelly torture and kill the dog for eating my pet rodent.
Likewise, human beings at the earliest stages of development have not developed the moral accountability to be assigned positive rights. For this reason some people, such as philosopher Daniel Dennett, believe that a class of human beings exists that are not yet persons. Let’s call this class of homo sapiens “non-person human beings.”

Continue reading Being a Person:
Why Personhood is Not Enough

Burden Bearing:

How should Christians respond to the medical needs of the community? What paradigms are believers adopting for the delivery of healthcare? Throughout the history of the church, Christians have been actively involved in the provision and funding of healthcare. But for the past fifty years, these questions have been treated as if they were political issues reserved for the state rather than matters to be handled by the church.
Some members of the evangelical community, though, are beginning to reassert this Biblically-mandated role and are the subject of a recent Washington Post article on ‘

Burden Bearing:

How should Christians respond to the medical needs of the community? What paradigms are believers adopting for the delivery of healthcare? Throughout the history of the church, Christians have been actively involved in the provision and funding of healthcare. But for the past fifty years, these questions have been treated as if they were political issues reserved for the state rather than matters to be handled by the church.
Some members of the evangelical community, though, are beginning to reassert this Biblically-mandated role and are the subject of a recent Washington Post article on ‘

All Animals Are Equal:
(Part II)

From a Christian perspective, the creation of human-primate chimeras raises a number of bioethical concerns. The most direct, of course, is the possibility of creating human-like awareness in primates that leads to unnecessary suffering. While under some circumstances experimentation on animals can be ethically justified, doing so in a way that would unduly increase their pain and discomfort would be a violation of our duties as stewards of God ‘

All Animals Are Equal:
(Part I)

As a species, we homo sapiens are remarkably self-centered and ungrateful. Our monkey ancestors spent millennia mutating and surviving in order that we might reach the top of the food chain. Yet having reached the pinnacle of the evolutionary ladder how do we show our appreciation? By snubbing our primate forebears and treating them as if they were mere animals.
Take, for example, the reaction to cutting-edge experiments in which scientists inject human brain cells into monkey fetuses in order to study the effects. The critics of such procedures argue that if these fetuses are allowed to develop into self-aware subjects that science will be thrown into an ‘