Ken Connor

"The righteous care for the needs of their animals…" Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)

Here at the Center for a Just Society we spill a lot of ink discussing issues that touch upon questions of human dignity and the sanctity of life. The guiding principle underlying our position on abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, elder abuse, and other bioethical controversies is that the willful abuse or destruction of human life is an affront to God. This convictions flows from the belief that God created this world and everything in it, and that He blessed man especially by creating him in His image and giving him dominion over the earth.

Adherents of this worldview will never accept the arguments advanced by the "pro-choice" side in these debates. We reject the notion that the jurisprudentially dubious "right to privacy" established in Griswold v. Connecticut sanctions the murder of unborn children in the womb. We repudiate the assertion that the value of human life is determined by its perceived "quality."

It's common to hear pro-lifers lamenting the irony that their ideological opponents care more about saving the whales and the rainforests than they do about protecting the lives of the unborn. I myself have made this observation on multiple occasions. I sometimes wonder, however, if issues such as environmental stewardship and animal welfare don't get short shrift merely due to their reputation as issues of the Left. If pro-life conservatives believe what I've outlined above – that this earth and everything in it was created by God and is precious to Him – it seems logical that we would take an interest in the welfare and dignity of all of Creation, not just human beings. To do so does not detract from human exceptionalism; on the contrary, it affirms it. God bestowed us with the profound responsibility of stewardship, and when we betray this responsibility we are sinning against God and disgracing ourselves.

For too many self-described conservatives, this is a subject hardly worth discussing. As Rod Dreher recently admitted in a post discussing the issue of conservatism and animal welfare, "I thought that animal welfare was a squishy liberal cause." Matthew Scully convinced him that he was wrong.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.