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The Consistent Life Ethic

is the belief that all human beings, by virtue of their humanity, deserve to live free from all aggressive violence, from the moment of conception to natural death.

Image by Maria Oswalt

The Consistent Life Ethic serves as the basis for our work in human rights advocacy.  Adherents to this ethos maintain that human beings have intrinsic value: value that is not connected to external factors and characteristics such as mental and physical capacity, period of development, level of dependence, or behavior, but rather, is derived from their status and inherent condition as human beings.  As a result, the Consistent Life Ethic erases all of the arbitrary distinctions drawn by popular political parties and ideological platforms.  Its principal contention is simple: in order to qualify for human rights, you must simply be human.


The very concept of human rights rests upon the immutable foundation of our shared humanity. This humanity is evident in the unique, unrepeatable, inimitable, and irreplaceable nature of each and every human life. No human being can be replicated; each and every human life exhibits an individuality that renders its replacement impossible. Consequently, each and every human life is distinctly and inestimably valuable.


Because all human beings are fundamentally and equally entitled to human rights, any act of aggressive violence against a human being is ultimately a form of discrimination that violates those human rights, and thus erodes human dignity and equality. In light of this fact, those who adopt the Consistent Life Ethic oppose all acts of aggressive violence against all human beings.


Acts of aggressive violence include abortion, capital punishment, embryo destruction, euthanasia, police brutality, torture, and war-making. Because we espouse the Consistent Life Ethic, we advocate for the end of all of these inhumane and dehumanizing practices. We demand nonviolence towards all human beings, in all times, and in all places.


Dedication to the Consistent Life Ethic requires active, engaged, and sustained efforts to eliminate all manifestations of aggressive violence in both local and global communities, systems, and structures. Building a culture of peace and life is an endeavor that entails the recognition of human rights and the protection of inherent human dignity. It necessitates a major disruption of the political paradigm that dehumanizes with callous regularity.


This goal is radically inclusive and unifying: nonpartisan and nonsectarian. It welcomes people of varied and diverse backgrounds, ideologies, and creeds. It is not unique to any one religion or philosophy. Buddhists, Hindus, Confucianists, Judaists, and Christians are among those who embrace the Consistent Life Ethic; atheists, humanists, feminists, personalists, champions of the non-aggression principle, and countless others are committed to the principle of nonviolence. Successfully constructing a culture that observes nonviolence towards all human beings means bringing everyone on board: building bridges, tearing down barriers, and collectively instilling the values of life, peace, and justice in our societies. Together.