I had a strong case of Catholic envy on Sunday, because my church’s commemoration of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday was pathetic. A flier was in the bulletin telling how to pray for the local pregnancy resource center, and during announcements the flier was mentioned. That was all. Sometimes we have baby dedications on that day, which is both a great idea and also somehow misses the point. Catholics have marches and special prayers and I’d think no one leaves church that Sunday wondering if all human life is sacred or not.
I left wondering what kind of Christian think drunks aren’t created in the image of God. The pastor said he would never promote a designated driver program because he cares more about the state of the person’s eternal soul. I think he meant, designated driver programs promote sin, or at the very least condone sin. I thought, “what kind of a Christian leaves drunks to drive home, potentially killing themselves or others?” I don’t want to condone sin, but I don’t want innocent people to die, either. I don’t want to encourage the binge drinking society at the local university, but I don’t want those lost, confused, angry, and hurt young people to die or kill someone else.
And then I thought, isn’t the pregnancy resource center the same thing? How is it any different to provide help for unwed mothers than it is to provide help for drunken college students? Both services clean up bad choices after the fact, but for some reason it’s better to save an unborn baby than a person who chooses to drink?
We don’t get to choose whose lives we think are sacred. We don’t even get to choose what happens to the people we help, whether it’s the unwed mother who comes back to the center for the second, third, or fourth time, or the college student who calls the designated driver for the second, third, or fourth time.
Because it’s not so simple as saying, “I don’t want to condone sin.” It’s figuring out if you are in such a place, at such a time, to show Christ’s love to the unloved and the unlovely. And you’ll find them all over the place, in pregnancy resource centers, in designated driver vehicles, and in church pews on a Sunday morning. It’s realizing the sacred breath of God in the unwed mother, the drunk, and the pastor who says things you disagree with. It’s hard. There’s no easy, nice answer. But if we’re going to say unborn babies are worth saving and risk condoning the mother’s actions to help them, we have to say the same about drunks.