Favorite

Pro-real-life 

During the summer of 2005 I taught a religion and politics seminar at our regional camp for Jewish youth. In my class were nine teen-agers from across the South. On the blackboard behind me, I drew a straight line — marking an "x" as the beginning of life on the left of the line and an "x" marking the end of life on the right, and I labeled the entire line "Pro-Life." I then asked the teenagers, "What do you think it means to be 'pro-life'?" The answers I received were expected: on the left "x" went the phrases "beginning of life" and "abortion" and at the right "x" went the name of Terri Schiavo, whose controversial end-of-life saga had made its impact felt on these kids.

As we looked at that line, with nothing written between the two "x's," I asked them, "Is there nothing more in this 'Pro-Life' existence of ours that should go on this line?" Try as they might, they could not think of anything else, until I said, "Hello! We're talking about being pro-LIFE, in favor of life! What about our actual lives?"

One of the kids then popped up and said, "You mean like camp?" YES! And school, and family, and the environment ... and all of a sudden they caught on and added such elements as clean water, health benefits, jobs, sports ... YES, YES!!

Being pro-life is about being for improving the time we are living — from birth to death. In Judaism we call this "Tikun Olam," repairing the world.

During the past few months, Arkansas has seen proposals coming out of our legislature that define life at 20 weeks and also with a fetal heartbeat at 12 weeks. And with the passage of these two bills, we have heard the statement, often clothed in Biblical and religious terms: "Now Arkansas is number 1 in Life." Well, the last time I checked both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, the former had about 258 references to "life" and the latter around 162. In at least 99 percent of the cases, "life" in Scriptures refers to human beings, people who are living, breathing, trying to understand G-d, and trying to do the right and moral thing; yes, even looking for "eternal life" during their lives on earth.

So let's analyze for a moment what we are saying when we say, "Now Arkansas is number 1 in life." What we are really saying is that we are number one in conferring status upon fetuses, zygotes, embryos and heartbeats. When it comes to issues where the real life of our state and citizens are concerned, that is another matter indeed — these being issues that these same proud legislators have carefully avoided.

In areas where the real quality of life is measured: teen pregnancy, minimum wage, obesity, smoking mortality, per-capita income, prescription drug abuse and poverty (to name just a few), issues I would call pro-real-life issues, we rank at or near the bottom. If members of our General Assembly were honest, they would either call themselves "pro-fetus," or they would harness their "life" concerns to issues that really matter in and to the life of our state and our citizens.

These elected officials are telling us that "Life begins at conception, and ends at birth." I would hope that after the two abortion bills are declared unconstitutional, they can get back to the real business of life.

Rabbi Eugene Levy retired in 2011 after serving Congregation B'nai Israel in Little Rock for 24 years. He's a co-founder of the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance. Max Brantley is on vacation.

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Why a change of leadership at the LRSD now?

    Johnny Key's abrupt, unilateral decision to not renew Baker Kurrus' contract as superintendent strikes us as shortsighted, misguided and detrimental to the education of our children and the health of our community.
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • No relief for renters

    If you are hoping to see new laws that improve rights for people who rent homes or apartments in Arkansas, you will find disappointing two bills proposed so far this legislative session — SB 25, by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning), and HB 1166, by Rep. Laurie Rushing (R-Hot Springs). Even if both bills become statute, Arkansas would still have the worst landlord tenant laws in the country.
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Let them eat cake

    An unproductive and harmful bill attempting to curb obesity passed easily out of committee last week at the state legislature. House Bill 1035 attempts to address this serious public health issue by preventing poor families who rely on SNAP (the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps) from purchasing certain items such as candy and sodas.
    • Jan 26, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • Well, aren't we the compassionate one - "own family members" can mean small children -…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Of course you don't care. If you cared, you might want to find a solution…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Enough! I don't care if it is the dog or the human factor. The end…

    • on March 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation