Ideas matter. Words matter even more. What is the difference between being “prolife” and “pro-entire life”? Sadly, Christians today are suggesting that being “pro-entire life” is a more wholistic, correct and perhaps a more enlightened understanding of the biblical teaching of “You shall not kill.” Ex. 20:13.

The scriptural truth is that we are commanded to defend all human life from conception to natural death, and thus, Christians never approve of a human person to be killed premeditatively through abortion, euthanasia, or assisted suicide. Additionally, we have the inherent moral obligation to not “murder” or ignore people by our careless indifference for other needs related to human life: food, clothing, shelter, justice, and rule of law.

But the first and the most important human right is the right to life. What good is liberty, food, shelter, clothing, and happiness if you don’t have a life to live? Thomas Jefferson’s word order in the Declaration of Independence matters: “…LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” Without life there is no need for liberty, happiness, or food, clothing, shelter, climate justice, or immigration policy.

It’s a matter of priority. You see, you cannot simply lump in the innocent unborn into the big pile of social justice issues and claim that all are somehow equal. Though an endangered spotted hoot owl is important, it does not—and must not—trump the life of a human person made in the image and likeness of God.

An illustration to make the point: Three people come to the ER at the exact same time. Three are in need. One has a broken arm, one is experiencing shortness of breath, and one is bleeding out from a severed femoral artery and is almost code blue. Whom do you treat? All three are persons. All three made in the Image of God. Egalitarians could say, you must treat all three at the exact same time in the exact same way. A critical race advocate could say you need to care for the person of color first based on their race. Accountants might say you treat the person who looks like they can pay the ER bill first.

So, what happens? Triage. The person who is about to experience immediate death is saved first. First, always, and forever, because a human life is on the line and death is at stake. What the “pro-entire life” idea desires is to gloss over the hard facts that more than 60 million image bearers of God have been murdered in our nation since 1973 for reasons mostly of comfort and convenience. In the 4 minutes that it took you to read this article, 6 unborn children have been killed.

Humans are persons, and persons are image bearers of God, and we are commanded to care for the entire person, as the Bible clearly tells us, but the crux of the issue is prolife first, not pro-entire life. Stop killing humans legally in utero first, as we continue to abolish hunger, poverty, trafficking, homelessness. Life, then liberty.