Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Sacredness of Life

Several days—perhaps a week or so—ago, I posted a little mini-rant on Twitter regarding the Sacredness of Life. I hadn’t slept at all the night before (took my night meds too late and second wind hit before they made me drowsy), and that was the topic my mind chose to focus on throughout the remainder of the day. I decided that day after my little mini-rant, I’d write a more in-depth post regarding the Sacredness of Life here on my blog. This is that post.

Tweet #1:

I think it’s less a case of “all life is sacred” than it is “my life is more sacred than yours because you do [this disagreeable thing].”

I think this goes for pretty much anybody who loudly and vehemently proclaims life is Sacred. From US politicians advocating the war in the Middle East to those who destroyed the Twin Towers in New York, to those who tried to murder Malala Yousafzai, right down to opponents of gay marriage and feminism and birth control.

They view their lives as being more beneficial, more entitled, or in some way more important than anyone else’s life. This is why the US still struggles with racism and will, even after all 50 states are forced to permit gay marriage, continue to struggle with gay rights. This is why women in the middle east will still continue to live under sometimes oppressive regimes—whether nationally, regionally, or in the home—and why we still have sexism all over the world in general. Those who wish to promote these regimes feel, perhaps not even consciously, that their lives are somehow better and more important than the lives of those they oppose.

Tweet #2

And it doesn’t really matter what the disagreeable thing is, it’s that it’s disagreeable to the sacred-lifer’s personal worldview.

If a person do something the majority or those in power deem disagreeable in some ways, that majority or those powerful ones will feel it their bound duty to act against it in whatever way they can get away with.

So you’re male and want to support the HeforShe campaign. There are men out there who will protest this, call you a sissy, pussy-whipped—whatever—to insult your genuine feelings that we need gender equality in the world. You are doing something these misogynists wouldn’t dream of doing because their lives are more sacred than any woman’s life.

Women who protest our cultural inclination to blame the rape victim may and do receive everything from insults to death threats from men who feel their rights are fundamentally more important than women’s right to say no. This is wrong. This is “the sacredness of my life is more important than yours because I find you disagreeable.”

It’s entitlement.

Tweet #3

Especially when someone bases their personal worldview solely or deeply or strongly upon a religion.

When someone brings their religions “faith” into this equation, things become even more stratified.

I have met some religious people who are extremely openminded, kind, and loving toward their fellow human beings—unequivocally. They’ve not differentiated or sorted people. They take people as individuals and judge them based upon overall behavior, and do their best not to blanket-judge groups for the disrespectful behavior of a few from that group.

I have met some religious people who are not so openminded, but who are kind and loving enough to change their minds when they learn something new about someone or a social group of people.

And I have met some religious people who use their faith as a basis, reason, or excuse to exclude, suppress, or kill people they don’t like. It’s as if their religious “faith” blinds them to reason. I’m speaking from experience here. Before I learned to accept myself, I converted to Catholicism, and I was, to put it bluntly, a hypocritical zealot. I claimed to believe in Jesus’s injunction to love my neighbors when in fact I prejudged people—whole social groups I disagreed with for whatever reason—based on my personal interpretation of what was right and wrong, basing those interpretations upon what I only thought Catholicism was teaching me. I based my opinions on “faith,” when if I’d been truly faithful, I wouldn’t have felt so threatened in my beliefs I needed to disregard and suppress everything else God was teaching me.

That’s why I write it “faith” for people who base their personal worldview on a religion. If they truly had faith, they’d be kind, and loving, and openminded. The best faithful people are.

Tweet #4

And I think, if you use your religious faith to excuse yourself for going out and killing people, you aren’t very religious at all.

If someone has true faith, they don’t need to exclude, suppress, or kill people who do things they disagree with. They don’t need to defend their faith. They live their faith and treat people with respect. People who have true faith are unafraid of being proven wrong.

Most of the politically oriented people in the US I’ve heard, often quite vehemently, promote the sacredness of life in some manner don’t support their claims adequately. They want to ban abortion and deny women birth control, but cut the social programs which would help support the women and children affected by these measures. They’re not willing to put into place a comprehensive national health care plan which would enable everyone who needs medical care for whatever reason to get it whenever they need it for however long the care needs to be provided. They’re quick to declare war, but slow to work for peace, either that of their own country with others or between two other countries.

And many (though not all) of these people base their arguments on whatever religion they happen to follow.

Tweet #5

Because, imho, if your life is sacred to any degree, the life of that person doing disagreeable things is equally so.

That’s it. If someone believes life is sacred, that means everyone’s lives are sacred, not just their own. If a qualifier is necessary, they’re declaring their lives are somehow more important or sacred than another’s.

1 Comment

  1. The problem I always run into personally in my thinking is in the Catholic notion of the just war, which does say that in some circumstances it’s okay to take others’ lives. Aquinas’s formulation requires that it be for a good and just purpose rather than self-gain (one of the three requirements). And it’s easy for me to, for example, look at the U.S. involvement in World War II and say “That was a just cause.”

    But then I look at the current Middle East, and the line is not so clear cut. I think if our leaders hadn’t messed around with the leadership and backing different factions for the gain of our people, there wouldn’t be as much trouble now as there is. And trying to repair the damage we’ve done and help people — those are good purposes, but are they realistic outcomes, or will we just make things worse?

    On the home front, I’m 100% in agreement with you. It’s world politics that I think are messy.

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