Friday, February 1, 2013

Are you 'pro-life and pro-gun'?


Over the years, as a political reporter (when I wasn’t a religion reporter), I've heard more than a few candidates use this phrase to identify themselves ideologically: "I'm pro-life and pro-gun."

It has become shorthand for: “I’m against abortion and I’m against gun control.”

I get that. Still, the pairing of “pro-life” and “pro-gun” in the same sentence always made my head spin a little.

Even in religious circles, the term “pro-life” has been commandeered by anti-abortion activists to refer mostly to the right of fetuses to be born. This pro-life movement has the support of conservatives from various denominations. But it has long appeared strongest in the Roman Catholic Church, whose hierarchy – from the Vatican to the bishops – has clearly identified abortion as the church’s main social issue.

So it was newsworthy last week when a group of liberal Catholics – theologians, priests, nuns and ex-ambassadors to the Vatican – released a letter calling on those who consider themselves “pro-life” to expand the meaning of that term after the slaughter of children and their teachers in Newtown, Conn.

These victims of gun violence also had a right to life, said the group, arguing that “the defense of human dignity extends beyond protecting life in the womb.”

The letter was especially meant for conservative Catholics in Congress. That includes House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but also GOP Reps. Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land, S.C.; Patrick McHenry of Cherryville; Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk; Walter Jones of Farmville; and Renee Ellmers of Dunn.

From the letter: “Pro-life citizens and elected officials have a responsibility to show greater moral leadership and political courage when it comes to confronting threats to the sanctity of life posed by easy access to military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines.”

Ellmers, a member of Congress’ Pro-Life Caucus, recently released her own statement, accusing President Barack Obama of “exploiting (Newtown) for political gain” with his plans to restrict some high-powered weapons.

This “pro-life” debate is old.

In 1983, Cardinal (and S.C. native) Joseph Bernardin of Chicago famously said in a speech that Catholic social teaching favored “a seamless garment of life” – his metaphor, taken from the Gospels, for upholding the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb.

His call for consistency meant opposing not just abortion and euthanasia, but also nuclear weapons, the death penalty, most wars, and policies – including draconian budget cuts – that destroyed the poor’s quality of life.

Today, the Vatican and the U.S. bishops agree with Bernardin on many of those issues – at least on paper. They’re also on record as favoring “sensible regulation” of handguns and other firearms.

But most of the church’s activism still focuses on abortion. Take this month’s Marches for Life in Washington and Charlotte.

Some years ago, various Catholic bishops – including Bishop Peter Jugis of the Charlotte Diocese – issued orders to deny Communion to Catholic elected officials with “pro-choice” voting records.

Will they ever extend that ban to Catholic politicians who are “pro-life and pro-gun”?

What do you think “pro-life” means?

-- Tim Funk 


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've always thought anti-death-penalty but pro-choice was an oxymoron myself, yet many choose to believe this way.

Clay said...

God Bless President Obama!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Tim,
Your obvious lefty partisanship makes my head spin.

kantstanzya said...

Another false choice from the gun control left. The simplistic inference that guns are the culprit.

You can indeed be pro life and pro gun. Maybe if one good, sane person had had a gun in Sandy Hook many lives would have been saved? Ask the survivors of Warsaw, or the Holocaust, etc. if a few more guns might not have saved some lives.

Guns are not the problem...improper use of them for the wrong reasons is. Abortion is not the problem...improper use of it for the wrong reasons is.

Anonymous said...

The world would be making incredible progress if we could ever cut the number of abortions each year to equal the number of deaths by firearms each year. How many millions would be saved?

Skippy said...

It is real easy to set the straw man argument considering the acumen of todays electorate.

Seamus S said...

I think pro-life means banning "access to military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines"

Geez. My head is spinning as well from the enormity of the non sequitur presented here.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who supports the killing of babies in the womb - especially those who support partial-birth abortion and leaving a child born as a result of a failed abortion to die, as the President did, are in no position to oppose guns on a moral level.

Richard said...

I am in favor of limited gun control but I could see the argument of "access to guns is to protect my family's life so in effect it is pro-life"

Anonymous said...

Pro-gun means you support the ability to protect your own life. By contrasting the 'life' part of pro-life with pro-gun you are implying that people who support gun rights don't respect life. This is both ignorant and insulting. Do you really think gun rights advocates like violence? Do you think the 200 million gun owners in this country like tragedies? I would argue that they overwhelmingly do not just like everyone else. The comparison in this article makes this absurd assumption.

I'm not even going to take a stance here on abortion. (my policy is that I have my own beliefs, you do whatever you want and I may or may not agree based on the individual circumstances.)

Anonymous said...

Obama is Anti-gun and Pro-choice.....so, killing innocent, unborn babies is Ok? But, not being able to protect one's life with a fire arm isn't? Good grief....my head is, also, spinning!

Anonymous said...

I understand the desire for more gun control and the the need to restrict criminals' and mentally ill's access to guns.

But I have a big problem with the comparison to abortion. Let's remember, it's already illegal to kill schoolchildren. It's not illegal to kill unborn babies.
Therefore, this group has missed the mark with its argument.

What happened in Newtown was illegal on multiple levels. Rights, guaranteed by law, were infringed upon.
When an unborn child dies, it's because our society has not protected, by law, that person's life.

Big difference. And more gun laws doesn't change the fact that it's already illegal to take a gun, obtained in any manner, and kill innocent kids.
Just like more gun laws won't at all change the fact that it's perfectly legal for a mother to abort her unborn child. That child has no rights if the mother doesn't want it to.

Anonymous said...

This is a argument that most don't know where to stand. However, you can have it both ways if you really see it on a higher level.

If you don't agree with abortion, don't have one. Try to discourage your friends & family from having one. At a clinic where abortions are done, have pamphlets with adoption agencies names and people that want to adopt babies there. You can blame Obama all you want to, but it was legal under Bush 1, Bush 2, Clinton, Reagan, and Carter. Most did nothing but put limits on it. It should be also noted that it is thought that it reduced crime as those unwanted children never grew up in impoverished homes and turned to crime.

On gun control, I start off with saying a American citizen in good standing should be able to own a gun. However, no one needs a full loaded assault rifle that has a round of over 30 bullets in it. So punish people for having that kind of stuff and then have the NRA teach gun safety and be the leader in gun ownership.

Anonymous said...

Given that between 15-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, it’s safe to say that God is the most prolific abortionist ever. He doesn’t even use a gun, either.

Anonymous said...

Are you pro US Constitution or pro anti-US Constitution?

Why do sorry mooching useless loafing lying sleezy homo liberals from hell want to take away any 2nd Amendment Rights from law abiding citizens protecting their assets and family or more importantly tyranny from the Fed Govt since the Founders never mentioned hunting for food or sport?

Cant it both ways. Liberal homo pedophile sleeze maggots commit all violent crime and all serial killings not law abiding non-lib scum.

Take the weapons from the liberal criminal and outlaw all those parasites from 2nd Amendment rights if you really want to solve the problem.
The jails are filled with liberal rodents who are the real problem.

Does Obama own firearms? If so it should be illegal and he should get rid of them so he can set an example for his beloved lib germ diseased element of society.

Anonymous said...

I always find it odd that the people who identify as pro-life are also pro-death-penalty.

Anonymous said...

Pro-life doesn't mean pro-life at all, of course. It means, anti-women and especially anti-sex except for pro-creation as approved and monitored by religious wackos.

Guns were designed and invented to kill people, and thus of course is not "pro-life", either.

The pro-life/anti-gun-control people really mean pro-killing and pro-domination and subjugation of women.

Or,

Anti-life/Anti-women.

Anonymous said...

What a shame that we can't have a "reasonable" conversation about these loaded terms and phrases. I am "pro gun" but only in the sense that I believe in the second amendment guarantee for a citizen's right to own a gun. I am also "pro gun control" in that I believe that legislation banning high capacity magazines, background checks for EVERY gun purchase, and a limit on assault style guns make sense and in no way conflict with a citizen's right to own a gun. Sad thing is that I believe a majority of citizens share my beliefs and yet this "reasonable" middle ground is being drowned out by the ridiculous shouts of governemnt wanting to take someone's guns away. No they don't. Plain and simple.

Steve Solbakken said...

What makes my head spin is the logic that screams "The children! We MUST protect the children!!!!" and then uses taxpayer money to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion services. In the 40 years since Roe v Wade over 50 MILLION American children have lost the most basic right of all - the right to be born and live a life like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

"I always find it odd that the people who identify as pro-life are also pro-death-penalty."

Why is it odd? Pro-life protects innocents. Pro-death-penalty punishes the guilty. The opposite is the real oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

"The pro-life/anti-gun-control people really mean pro-killing and pro-domination and subjugation of women."
I am a woman and I would never get an abortion because I have respect for life. Just becasue I respect the life of unborn babies and would not get an abortion does not mean that I am subjugating women. I happen to own a gun and whether or not a support "gun control", I have never killed anyone with or without a gun and would never do so unless it was to defend my life or the lives of my family or other innocent people in danger.

Anonymous said...

These comments prove that Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same.
"You're a wacko!"
"No, YOU'RE a wacko!"
"We support these rights but not those evil rights."
"Live your life like I think you should!"

The delusion would be entertaining if it wasn't so sad and tragic for us all.

Anonymous said...


"have the NRA teach gun safety and be the leader in gun ownership."
The NRA is already the leader in gun safety courses in the nation."

-> It is sad that people feel so strongly about banning various guns and features of guns who really don't understand the mechanics of guns and vilify the NRA without even taking the time to do basic research abou thtem

Anonymous said...

If just one person in the adminstrative office at Sandy Hook school (where the nut killed his first victims) had a gun, all those lives could have been saved. That's what I call pr-life.

Anonymous said...

I think the anti-abortion phrase should actually be "pro-birth" rather than "pro-life" since there appears to be no concern for the welfare of the babies after they are born. To me, "pro-life" would include making provisions for health care, education, day care for the mother who needs to work or go to school, free pre-natal care to insure that the baby is born healthy, all of the things that you would want for a baby of your own. We do not have the right to force any woman to have a baby she doesn't want, and if we choose to do so we had damned well better be ready to take care of it as though it was our own or God will condemn us more than he does the mother. I guarantee it. To do otherwise is to be blatantly hypocritical and Jesus makes no banes about what God thinks of hypocrites.

I say this... if we take care of all the living babies and children in this country as we should, the abortion issue would go away. Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

I am black man raised in the deep South. I am proudly pro-gun and definitely pro-life.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, Tim!How does someone with such a shallow mind jump so far when making assumptions that
"pro-gun" equals "anti-life". They have nothing to do with one another. I pray that you are never forced to make a life or death decision while defending your family from a violent attack.

Anonymous said...


I am pro life and pro gun.
I am also pro car, pro knife, pro glass, pro sharp objects, pro electricity, pro flammable substances.
I would never use any of those things to kill a fetus, or anyone else unless it is self defense i.e. that person(s) was attempting to kill me or my family

Anonymous said...

"I've always thought anti-death-penalty but pro-choice was an oxymoron myself, yet many choose to believe this way."

As if it isn't already stupid enough to compare guns and abortion now you are comparing the death pnealty to guns.

Anonymous said...

"I always find it odd that the people who identify as pro-life are also pro-death-penalty."

I find it odd that you think All people who are prolife are pro death penalty. Not sure what that has to do with being pro-gun and pro life though. Either you own a gun or you don't. Doesn't mean you kill people even though you would never get an abortion

Anonymous said...

Any country that considers itself Christian yet believes the solution to any problem is everyone walking around armed has more problems than it is admitting.

Anonymous said...

"I think the anti-abortion phrase should actually be "pro-birth" rather than "pro-life" since there appears to be no concern for the welfare of the babies after they are born.""

So a baby that is born who's parent(s) are on welfare is not alive??? I guess life doesn't begin until a fetus graduates from college... It is uncelar if you are "pro gun"

"We do not have the right to force any woman to have a baby she doesn't want"

yeah that doesnt mean you can't be pro life. I would never and have never had an abortion becasue I am pro life regradless of the law or anyone else's right to get an abortion. It is uncelar if you are "pro gun"?

Anonymous said...

"Any country that considers itself Christian yet believes the solution to any problem is everyone walking around armed has more problems than it is admitting."

--> What country considers itself Christian? Regardless, I can't imagine it being unchristian to own a gun. Unless you are doing something unethical with it. I don't know what would be "unchristian" about it. Are knives, swords, arrows, spears, fire, metal, glass, electricity, and water evil as well?

Anonymous said...

What a silly ill informed post.