30 November, 2009

Chapter four deals with the issues referred to as pro-life. There are seven issues addressed in the chapter: abortion, cloning, stem cell research, child/elder abuse, euthanasia, sex trafficking, and capital punishment. Jackson and Perkins do not give a biblical definition for each individual issue addressed in the chapter due to the nature of the issues. All of the issues are dealing with caring for those who cannot defend themselves.
Abortion is the premeditated murder of an unborn child. This is the original “value of life” issue in the United States; as a result of the Supreme Court decision Row vs. Wade. The authors give credit to the efforts of the church after the decision. Examples of these efforts are “The nationwide network of crisis pregnancy clinics and homes for unwed mothers” .
Cloning was first proved to be possible when “Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996.” Although cloning is possible and considered a scientific miracle, it is not proper for humans to duplicate God’s creations. Although “The United Nations has gone on record against human cloning” ; the United States does not have a ban on human cloning. Another scientific advancement due to cloning is stem cell research.
The debate surrounding stem cell research concerns the remaining embryos from couples who are attempting in vitro fertilization treatment. This process creates multiple embryos which are not needed. “The question lies with what to do with the four hundred thousand “excesses” embryos that lie in wait within laboratories”. Some of these are used in couples who are infertile. The argument for using these embryos for research is that one day they may be used for treating medical conditions. But, “In the ten years…there have yet to be any successful treatments of any medical condition.” Adult stem cells have been taken from bone marrow, “at present, over seventy different types of medical conditions have been treated with adult stem cells.” Christians should encourage the adult stem cell research because it does not result in killing human embryos.
Jackson and Perkins divided the pediatric abuse and neglect and geriatric abuse. In reality, medical professionals are trained the same way for both cases. The church’s reaction should be the same yet we are outraged when it is pediatrics but not the geriatrics. This is a major problem because “four children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect.” The authors make a great point when it comes to the modern culture and raising children; when they say “Parents draw back and do not have as strong a bond with their children as in past generations.” This then impacts those parents when they want to be cared for later in life but their children take advantage of them. Those parents become another burden for the adult child to bear. With the added stress the adult children sometimes take their stress out on the parent. Due to the physical conditions of a majority of geriatrics their medical bills are too much to bear. This results in the withholding of medical treatment, creating abuse. These people who have retired are a strain on their children, so they become “unproductive and unwanted” creating the concept of euthanasia.
Euthanasia is “the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering… by lethal injection or suspension of extraordinary medical treatment.” This practice is not addressed in any federal law in the United States, it has been an issue left up to the states to decide. Although there has been a precedent set in the Terri Schiavo case in Florida. The human race now has the chance to not only make all of the decisions in life but to also choose when they die. “There is concern that euthanasia may increasingly become used involuntarily for the elderly and disabled.” I would believe that the author’s parallel of euthanasia and the Nazi party’s genocide are not very similar.
Sex trafficking is a major problem in the world today “The FBI estimates that well over 100,000 children and young women are trafficked in America today.” This also shows it is a very real problem in the United States; more so than people realize. Within the United States many children are enslaved in the sex trade without a response from the church or government. “Many good pieces of legislation are passed into law, only to be left unenforced.”
Capital punishment is used as a punishment when two eye witnesses testify to a murder crime. The authors point out “The Old Testament gives specific guidelines for the use of capital punishment.” These guidelines are the same as we have today, two eye witnesses. Many people say that capital punishment is killing a person and therefore immoral. The authors do not seem to pick a side on the issue they just briefly present the issue.
The entire chapter can be summed up in one sentence “all innocent human life is deserving of our collective protection.” Chapters three and four can be summed up by saying, “With each concession we make in the value of innocent human life, we erode the foundation upon which all life stands.” This chapter was just bringing together the many issues regarding to the value of life. Many of these issues do not have a flipside for which the authors could list; the few that do exist were not mentioned. For example Jackson and Perkins did not address the issue of the abortions due to medical emergencies.

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