I was visiting with a friend and his wife recently and he was railing against Obama in a comical manner. Now, he’s a Christian and really conservative. He’s one of those who’s starting to joke about stocking canned goods and moving to a compound in Montana next week. I’m cool with that because just in case things do go really really bad I’ll have a destination.

I brought up the stem cell decree by Obama and he looks over at his wife. He saw me notice and then he drops this on me: “I mean, I’m pro-life and all but I’m not really against stem cell research.”


I told him that he was then only pro-some-life and cool with the killing of some others.

“That’s ridiculous,” he exclaimed and told me about all the cures that could eventually come about through stem cells.

I talked to him for a brief while about the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. He didn’t know there was a difference.

But then his wife insisted that embryonic stem cell research wasn’t as bad as abortion. “You’ve got to admit that, right?” she said.

“Why,” I asked.

She paused and thought for a moment. “Well…because…they’re not babies. They’re in a petri dish in a lab somewhere.”

“So instead of finding fault with the fact that laboratories have humans in dishes,” I said, “you choose to say that because the humans are in the lab it’s OK to kill them.”

“But they’re going to just die anyway,” my friend interrupted.

“So are you. That doesn’t give me an excuse to throw you in a dish and start using you for parts, does it?”

“That’s ridiculous,” she said.

“Yes, it is,” I said. “Look. I know what you’re saying. It’s because they don’t look human. They don’t look like us but the reason of ‘they don’t look like us’ has been a reason given for mass murder and oppression throughout the centuries.”

His wife then stood up and ended the conversation, saying that it wasn’t appropriate talk for the occasion. As I left an hour later with good cheer I hoped I gave them something to think about.

On the ride home I started thinking that pro-lifers have focused extensively on what the baby looks like in the womb. We point out the baby’s fingers. We show them hiccuping. Our reason for their safety has lied in their similarity to us. And it’s a great argument that I think changes hearts but I think what’s happened is we have a new class of pro-lifer that’s a little like vegetarians that don’t mind eating non-cute creatures like fish.

Life should be protected because it is life. Humans should be protected because they’re human. Once we make exceptions, it just matters who’s drawing the line.