Human dignity is the basis for human sanctity. The sanctity and dignity of human life is not earned, it is inherent. Yet in our culture, the human dignity of a preborn child is under constant assault before an infant even has the ability to advocate for him or herself. The duration that a defenseless, preborn, viable baby spends in his mother’s womb may be the most dangerous phase that many individuals will go through in their lifetime. This has been shown to be especially true for African American children and children with disabilities. In a society that demands equality, where are the equal rights for a preborn child? In a political climate that clamors for respect, where is the dignity for a human in its earliest stages of development?
Human dignity is a central principle upon which all other social principles depend, but is itself not dependent upon time or circumstances. Without a proper understanding of human dignity, our society fails to embrace a proper view of justice, and individuals fall all too easily into the trap of equating worth with status, income, or material possessions.
Human sanctity is the basis for human identity because every person is created in the image of God. Every person has the right to be treated with the dignity and respect due to them as an image-bearer of their Creator. But if we do not have a proper view of the dignity each human is created, with we face an identity crisis. Our identity becomes dependent upon how others view us. As Live Action News reported previously, “the United States is one of only four nations in the world where it is legal to kill your child throughout all nine months of pregnancy.” The idea that a preborn child is somehow less valuable or more dispensable can only be attributed to a misplaced identity and human rights construct.
This is a slippery slope mindset, and leads people to think that the absence of an identity that aligns with popular opinion, conventional ideas of prosperity, or normalcy, detracts from the value of a person – when in reality, quality of life has nothing to do with human dignity, sanctity or identity.
No life is a burden. Every life is a gift. Every life has value. These principles are as true for a preborn infant who is helpless to survive outside of its mother’s womb as they are for an elderly parent or relative who might be devoid of the ability to care for him or herself. Every individual is unique, invaluable, and irreplaceable. This principle must be applied across the entire spectrum of humanity – from conception to natural death – or the breakdown of society will begin to occur.
It’s time our society recognizes that values like equality, respect, and justice rest on the foundational principles of the sanctity and dignity of all human life. It’s time to adopt the conviction that all life has value – starting with the preborn – and respond accordingly. Contemplate the positive impact respect for all life would make on everyday experiences and the natural outgrowth it would have on relationships and society.
Consider in contrast, that if we refuse to acknowledge the fundamental truth of the sanctity of life, we fail to approach all other aspects of life properly.