Yes, hello, it is me! A Rehumanize International Summer Intern, conservative edition. For those of you who do not know me on a personal level, my name is Emily Snyder and much of my identity is wrapped up in conservative politics. The values instilled in me by a conservative-Catholic household transferred into big picture political thought. You can find a “don’t tread on me” elephant on my laptop. My celebrity crushes on Ronald Reagan and Paul Ryan know no bounds. The Fourth of July is my third favorite holiday, right behind Christmas and Easter. It is kind of odd being the token conservative at a pro-life organization, but here I am.
I understand how this can be confusing. After all, Rehumanize International is dedicated to the Consistent Life Ethic: a true progressive attitude towards life and peace. The CLE transcends political boundaries, opposing not only abortion but also capital punishment, euthanasia, torture, unjust war, and embryonic stem cell research. This philosophy is consistent yet seemingly problematic for those who identify as strongly conservative or strongly liberal. After all, current politics sharply cuts life issues into two neat halves. Pro-life, anti-euthanasia, and anti-embryonic stem cell research positions are on one side of the coin. While anti-capital punishment, anti-torture, and just-war positions exist on the other.
Recognizing this polarizing factor, you might ask—how is it possible for a Rehumanize International intern to be conservative and support the CLE? Well, it is actually quite easy.
Simply put, life is not political. No human being should be an argument for the left or the right.
It took me a while to realize this. For years, I approached every human-centered issue from an angle that I believed would please the conservative shadow sitting next to me. I was terrified to lose grip on my political identity, so I never explored the injustices surrounding capital punishment, torture, or unjust war.
With more exposure to the CLE in college, this idea of consistency grew in the back of my mind. Soon enough, the idea had grown roots and branches that nourished and assured the human dignity of every single person regardless of their circumstance. My heart and my mind was truly transformed by the Consistent Life Ethic.
Conservatives might be wary of the CLE because they think their affirmation of such principles requires them to abandon a myriad of others. Quite the contrary. I believe the CLE has only strengthened my respect and interest in conservative thought. Basic research on the Republican Party reveals its roots in the anti-slavery movement. Its very founding, in part, revolved around upholding the rights and dignity of all human beings regardless of their color or circumstance. If we take this history to heart, it is evident that conservative philosophy has always been grounded in protecting human’s intrinsic rights.
So, why not expand this to all classes of human beings today? Conservatives often use the phrase “from conception until natural death.” The CLE expands on this principle, affirming the right to life of every individual regardless of who they are in society. It assures that criminals and the innocent and forgotten civilians under the shadow of heavy weaponry are also protected until their natural deaths. In this way, adopting the CLE as a conservative only strengthens your dedication to life.
I want to treat this as a “calling in.” Take it from a girl who nearly exclusively watches Fox News, the Consistent Life Ethic is the answer to any pro-life cognitive dissonance you may be facing along your political journey as a conservative. You do not have to throw your leanings out the window. But use your heart—not your politics—to save a life. To save all lives-- the unborn, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the inmate, the civilian.
Because human life is worth more than an elephant or a donkey sticker on a laptop.