Sanctity of Life ~ A Lesson from Archie Bunker’s Chair

Remember Archie Bunker’s chair? Those of us who recall the award-winning TV series, All in the Family, and its iconic lead character are immediately aware that a piece of rather plain furniture had its own starring role in the sitcom that ran from 1971 through 1979. The chair was Archie’s personal, private, no-one-else-allowed place to sit, and his lack of tolerance for anyone else sitting in it was obvious. His physical and emotional reactions whenever anyone else had the audacity to violate that special space added a unique dimension to the brand of comedy that left an enduring imprint on thechair.1 nation. The chair was much more than a stage prop, and its role was such an indelible part of the culture during those years that it remains on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

A Sanctified Chair?
Those of us who watched All in the Family may not have thought of Archie’s chair as “sanctified,” but that’s precisely what it was. It was in that sense that the chair represented the central concept that formed the basis for the series. The producers wanted to assail various ideas and practices that were considered off-limits and to use comedy as a means of stripping away their restricted status and publicly violating them. They didn’t actually use the word “sanctified,” but they showed week after week what it meant. Perhaps it’s not coincidental that our Supreme Court ruled on the case of Roe vs. Wade and made abortion legal as Archie’s chair was becoming a national symbol of a sanctified space not to be violated.

We may have laughed as the program’s characters made fun of familiar institutions and crossed lines chair.2that formerly had been forbidden, but the sanctification issue that arose during its tenure, and that remains before us today, is no laughing matter. It’s mind-numbing and heartbreaking to realize that since 1973, we have slaughtered over 62 million babies and continue to kill them at a rate of over 3,500 each day.

A Vitally Important Day ~
Since 1984, the third Sunday in January has been designated as “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” and is preceded annually by the national “March for Life” in Washington, DC.  Typically, it’s marked by a variety of special meetings and gatherings across America designed to raise awareness of the plague that abortion represents. We applaud every courageous servant of God who stands this week on behalf of the most oppressed group in our country and who offers encouragement to all the heroic men and women who devote their lives to saving innocent, unborn babies from the homicidal clutches of abortionists.

But if we separate abortion from the attitudes and behaviors that always precede it, then we are doing little more than putting a band-aid on an underlying malignancy. The decision to show up at the abortion “clinic” is certainly a “choice”, but it is not the first one. Life doesn’t just spring up in a woman’s body from casual contact. It isn’t like catching a cold. You don’t get it because you grabbed a shopping cart and didn’t use one of those little antiseptic wipe things to clean it off first – and you don’t get it by shaking or holding hands.

God’s More Expansive View ~
As vital and significant as the issue is today, God’s concept of the “sanctity of life” is not relegated to life in the womb alone. He made it plain that the sanctity of life in the womb is simply anotherchair.3 acknowledgment of the sanctity of life altogether. His view is much more extensive than we tend to acknowledge, and to the degree that we continue to ignore or disregard the implications of God’s view, we contribute to the plague. The lives we live outside the womb are gifts of God and thus, are sanctified as well. If we did more to honor Him and preserve the sanctity of our behavior outside the womb, it would be a major step toward protecting the life God grants inside the womb.

God’s approach to sanctification and what it means isn’t just a political or philosophical statement. He’s the author and ultimate owner of every form of life. To Him, it isn’t just a physical phenomenon; it is first of all spiritual. When the life in question involves those created in His image, the implications of how we handle it are profound. God’s view on the sanctity of life issue is clear:

Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.  (I Thessalonians 4:1-5, NKJV)

Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:21-14, NKJV)

A Sanctified Design ~
God sees all of us in the context of relationships, and He designed a social structure wherein life would be transmitted in the context of loving, committed relationships in order to preserve social stability and to offer the most positive potential for the new lives He would introduce into the world. When we ignore that and promote sexual involvement as little more than another form of transient personal entertainment, it isn’t a laughing matter. It represents an affront to God Himself and a mockery of something He sanctified that is far more significant than anything Norman Lear and the writers of All in the Family ever did with Archie Bunker’s chair.

… And speaking of Archie and his chair, what do you suppose God’s reaction is when He sees the special territory reserved for Him invaded and abused by those who have no respect for what it means to Him?


“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below.  Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .

    • “To the degree that we continue to ignore or disregard the implications of God’s view of the sanctity of life, we contribute to the plague of abortion. The lives we live outside the womb are gifts of God and thus, are sanctified as well.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
    • “If we did more to honor Him and preserve the sanctity of our behavior outside the womb, it would be a major step toward protecting the life God grants inside the womb.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
    • “God is the author and ultimate owner of every form of life. To Him, it isn’t just a physical phenomenon; it is first of all spiritual. When that life involves those created in His image, the implications of how we handle it are profound.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet) 
    • “God designed a social structure wherein life would be transmitted in context of loving, committed relationships in order to preserve social stability and to offer the most positive potential for the new lives He would introduce into the world.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)

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© 2022 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S.  All rights reserved.

About Ron Gallagher, Ed.S

Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Humorist, Satirist, Blogger ... "Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World" For Ron's full bio, go to GallaghersPen.com/about/
This entry was posted in Devotional, Faith and Politics, Faith, Family, and Culture, Humor Turned to Insight, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sanctity of Life ~ A Lesson from Archie Bunker’s Chair

  1. So well said, Ron. Still in the hospital with pneumonia. Prayers are much appreciated! Blessings!

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    • Oh my, Martha–I’m so sorry that you’re battling pneumonia, but glad you’re where you need to be. Given your current situation, I’m even more blessed than usual to see your gracious note. Diane and I will join you and those who love you in praying that God’s healing grace will be focused on you, and that you will soon be back home and on your way back to normal. I’m confident that God will use this current trial in a way that ultimately blesses you and that benefits His Kingdom. Again, God bless you for taking the time to let us know what’s going on with you and for sharing the encouragement that always attends your responses.

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  2. JD Wininger says:

    Your post broke my heart this morning my friend, but I suppose that’s exactly why God led you to write it. It needed breaking. As I read your convicting words, I began to look at how much has changed since becoming an “adult.” In my adult life, I’ve watched abortion become a legal act under the claim of “it’s a woman’s choice to terminate a non-living blob of tissue.” A pain-feeling, breathing, thinking, blinking little person is not tissue, it is God’s greatest creation, man. I’ve watched God’s word be removed from the courthouse wall, prayer removed from school, and words subverted to take on perverted and evil things they were never meant to imply or infer. All these things, and much more, happened on my watch. I sat idly by and watched them happen because I was more distracted by career, investment portfolio, and what the “Jones’ were getting next” that I was on standing up and protecting the moral fiber of our nation and world. Oh, the claims of evolving mankind make a good excuse, but it is another example of the subversion of our world. The word is not “evolve” but “devolve.” For decades, many have been so distracted that we’ve allowed the world and our nation to devolve into what can best be described in biblical terms as Sodom and Gomorrah. We’ve bristled at new laws and standards, but we’ve gone right on seeking our own pleasures in life, voting for whomever promised to do the most for “me” instead of doing what was best for our country. Sometimes we all need to step outside our lives and look at the legacy we’re leaving behind. Is the legacy of my generation one of self-absorbed indifference? We speak of how these issues (sanctity of life, marriage, homosexuality) and how they’re wrong, yet we keep doing little beyond wringing our hands and believing the lie that “we can’t change anything.” It’s when we believe this lie that we accept that we are powerless. While I as an individual Christian-American may be powerless to change this country and this world, the God I serve is NOT! Perhaps it’s time that those of us who don’t wish to accept what this world is serving up band together and effect change. It starts with confession, repentance, and prayer for strength and wisdom. It grows in one person’s heart, then another, and others, until we become a united voice for what God tells us is right. It won’t take long to become such a strong force for change that no one can stand against the surging tide. The key my wise friend, is that it begins with one. I wonder, who will be that one today who decides to put aside their “go along to get along” value system and #StandUpForChrist? God’s blessings for once again sharing a clarion call for God’s people to repent and become what He created us to be. Let us live sanctified lives. God’s blessings old friend.

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    • As it always is with you, Brother, your honest, insightful, convicting, and encouraging response leaves me struggling because I can’t say “Amen!!!!” loud enough or often enough. I have shared the kinds of thoughts you so clearly pointed out more times than I can count. Every time I pray for the Church of Jesus Christ to be cleansed, revived, and freshly empowered, I’m convicted and compelled to confess that we are in this quagmire of evil because of me, and people like me. I’ve been too caught up in chasing my own goals. trying to stay financially afloat, managing the mechanics of the “church program,” and wrestling with the ecclesiastical bureaucrats, to notice that satan was sabotaging the very foundations underneath us and poisoning the well from which our children were drinking. When I look back, I’m literally astounded, and ashamed, of how much I didn’t notice, and how I allowed the most evil kinds of things to bloom and prosper around me without doing anything other than to occasionally wag my head about the hedonistic direction our country was heading. You are always an encouragement to Diane and me, J.D., and you’ve made our Saturday morning brighter in spite of the dark clouds hovering around us. We’re praying that God will hear our cries of repentance and that He will use old guys like us in these critical days. Like all of your fans, we were a bit disappointed to see you have to back off from your weekly PJNet.TV appearances, but certainly understand. We’re trusting the Spirit of God to continue to guide you and to be sovereign over everything you do and over all there is in you that Jesus died to redeem. But just so you know, don’t be thinking that not showing up on Thursday evenings is going to get you off the hook for a visit from us later on. We’re still hoping for a lunch or dinner with you guys one of these days, and a guided tour of the Cross-Dubya–and, of course, introductions to the four-legged personalities that help make it the wellspring of spiritual inspiration that it is. God bless you, my friend, and may His healing and sustaining grace be unmistakeable in the days and months ahead.

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