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 conception to natural death.
Popularized in the 1980s by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the Consistent Life Ethic is the ethos behind our human rights work.
In a nutshell, it asserts that our value as human beings is intrinsic — rather than being affected by extrinsic factors such as ability, level of development, dependence, guilt, or anything else. It strips away the arbitrary distinctions put forth by various sides of the political spectrum and simply says: to be deserving of human rights, it is enough that you are human.
Consequently, as adherents to the Consistent Life Ethic, we oppose all acts of aggressive violence against humans. (Note: "aggressive" is used in this instance to mean violence perpetrated by an aggressor. While some CLE adherents are pacifists, the ethic leaves room for reasonable self-defense). Any act of aggressive violence functions as a form of lethal discrimination and undermines equality.
That means no abortion, no unjust war, no death penalty, no euthanasia, no torture, no abuse, no embryonic stem cell research, no assisted suicide, no police brutality, no human trafficking.
Nonviolence towards all.
Human rights are built upon the solid, unchangeable foundation of our shared humanity. Our commitment to nonviolence requires that we be active, engaged, and dedicated to bringing an end to all forms of violence in our communities both local and international.
To build a culture of peace and life, we must build a world that upholds the
inherent dignity of each and every human being. It means upending political paradigms, refusing to participate in the dehumanizing culture war, and being radically inclusive. After all, we need everyone on board if we hope to eliminate even one form of aggressive violence. This non-partisan, non-sectarian approach to human rights allows us to connect with people of all backgrounds, to build bridges, and to walk side-by-side for life, peace, and justice.