i’m pro-life. and I’m voting for obama.Chris Ridgeway | 25 Oct 2008 | 06:36
I’ve never posted on abortion, once I’m finished here, I still won’t have. The issue itself is remarkably painful and deserves compassionate, biblical, and thoughtful care.
This post is about Christian political reasoning.
As much as some pro-life voters want to say it’s not, nuance matters on the issue of legal abortion as well as US political office. I think for me to say this is not to cave or be weak, it is to think carefully. I say it again: all-or-nothing arguments are not accurate when it comes to these issues.
Recently, I was forwarded a blog post by a Christian friend who is voting on the abortion issue. The post he cited is by Randy Alcorn, and it began helpfully concerning Alcorn’s interest in Obama as a pro-racial-equality, pro-environment candidate. And the end of the day Mr. Alcorn says he will not vote for Obama because of the abortion issue. While I definitely respect his position, I can’t agree with all his rhetoric. Here’s some comments:
Then the sad day came. I checked out Obama’s actual position on abortion and I was demoralized. I found that in every single vote related to the issue he’s favored abortion, its legality and even the killing of children who survive abortion.
Obama is definitely “pro-choice.” This is the Democratic party platform and he’s supported it. I can’t agree with him (or the party) on this issue.
But some facts should be clarified here. The most atrocious: that Barack Obama would allow a baby just born of a failed abortion to die (actually, Randy is stronger and says “kill”). If this is true, Obama is a monster!
Over-strong claims should be questioned from either side, and this one is awfully untrue. It defies common sense that it’s repeated.
Obama did vote “present” (not “no”) on the Born Alive Infants Protection act in the Illinois Senate. It’s also true that he was the only senator to speak against the bill on the floor. Opponents want to frame this to make him look almost evil, or without a conscience. But better put: he was the only senator to take the time to explain his vote. And if you read his explanation on the floor, his concerns aren’t anti-life. They are that he was pretty sure the way the current bill was worded, it would be ruled unconstitutional by the 7th Circuit Court.
We forget that Obama was a constitutional law professor. He has some useful opinions on these things.
In one of many later interviews on the section, Obama further explains that the law was redundant. The current Illinois State law, and explicitly federal law finally signed into law in 2002 already require doctors to give life-saving treatment to babies born viable of botched abortions. Not to mention the hippocratic oath of the Illinois Medical Association. The statue was more a political move than a real piece of legislation.
I’ll stop my argument and agree that I think Obama could have voted better here. But baby-killing kind of insinuations are powerful images that stick even when they’re more the result of bright paint than underlying substance. In short: it’s unfair to demonize this too much.
But Obama is savvy. He wants to attract young voters, including young evangelical Christians who are sort-of-prolife. He knows to say that he favors reducing or limiting abortions.
Can we point out that this is loaded language? By that to mean, the real argument of the sentences lies “under” the actual statement. “He knows to say” implies strong that Barack Obama is lying.
If this is the charge (and this is rather serious), this one must be supported instead of insinuated.
Which is like limiting rather than criminalizing murder and rape and kidnapping and slavery. A candidate could say “I’m personally opposed to rape,” while he has a 100% voting record favoring the legality of rape. And he could say he favors limiting or reducing the number of rapes. But if he actually supports the legality of the hideous crime of rape, discerning people would see through his rhetoric of rape-reduction.
This argument is a logical fallacy. Abortion cannot be = to rape, kidnapping, slavery, etc, because there is no wide-spread controversy on any of these issues. Therefore they must be approached differently. I believe abortion is morally wrong (as with rape of course), but over 50% of the country doesn’t.
Please read me carefully. I’m not saying actual morality is really determined by majority opinion. God only determines (and reveals) the beautiful and awful in his Creation. What I’m saying that it’s a fatally flawed analogy for democratically elected politicians in a pluralistic society.
John McCain wasn’t my first choice for president. But at least McCain’s a hero, he suffered for his country and fellow soldiers. And at least he thinks innocent children shouldn’t be slaughtered, and has consistently voted that way.
The hero language just doesn’t relate. :-7 I agree McCain’s a Vietnam hero. I also am not sure it relates to being a Christian and voting for Obama when it comes to abortion.
McCain has voted consistently pro-life in the Sentate.
Too bad Presidents don’t vote on legislation.
In fact, the President has little or no direct control on abortion in the United States. About the only thing they can directly control whether abortions on military bases overseas are federally funded. More on this in a second.
I am deeply concerned about the one, two or possibly three Supreme Court justices to be appointed in the next presidential term
The best link here would to any site showing George W. Bush as the presidential candidate in the 2000 election that was pro-life, would probably have to pick several judges, and if elected, would overturn Roe v Wade (like a debate transcript).
Let me say more directly: we’ve had a pro-life President for eight years. Has appointed two supreme court justices, one of them (wait for it…) … the Chief Justice! But has the legality of abortion changed?
My implication is this: the President of the United States doesn’t have the power to end abortion in America. My conclusion is this: this is not what the thinking Christian votes on as a primary issue (an issue? Yes. The issue? Contradicts both logical sense and real life experience). (Maybe this Doonsbury says it better than I am…)
Again, I’m not saying abortion is not a serious moral issue. I’m suggesting that a political vote for federal executive isn’t the key way to affect it.
If you listen to the candidates, it’s obvious that McCain/Palin would make a concerted effort to choose justices likely to reverse Roe v. Wade and it is equally obvious that Obama/Biden would choose justices most likely to uphold Roe v. Wade.
Here’s where it gets real hard to keep a straight face. McCain in 2000 ran in the presidential race on a platform where he would not seek to overturn Roe v Wade. (example: Guardian article 15 Feb 2000) It’s why National Right to Life was running radio ads against him. Do we forget quickly? Mr. Alcorn worries that the younger evangelicals might be vulnerable to smooth talk, but I’m not sure if he’s the one being a little hoodwinked. This is Donald Miller’s concern. I agree with him.
Again, I don’t need to disagree with Mr. Alcorn on the moral issue of abortion… just questioning his clarity on the politics of it.
ps – Don doesn’t think Obama is the Messiah. Neither do I. Check out him poking fun of his campaign e-mails.
I’m already long, so I won’t go further into the ways that Obama has pledged to work towards the reduction of the number of abortions, or even his thoughts on variety of other essential life-issues that I believe Christians should care about like poverty and war.
My final disagreement isn’t on the topic of abortion. It’s the insinuation that those who vote for Obama are trying to be “cool” or be in the majority crowd. Maybe that’s the case for some. For me, I’m voting for Obama because of his fundamentally intelligent approach to a wide variety of complicated issues both at home and abroad. Especially abroad, because the President’s role has the most direct impact over military and diplomatic issues off our shores. And I follow church planter Alan Hirsch when he mentions that the world opinion is quite toward Obama, and this really does mean something.
Well, I reach the end of one of my longest posts hoping I’ve been gracious, thoughtful, accurate, and loving. We’ll see (I’m hope my friends will point out where I haven’t). But this is honest to my thoughts right now. I’m a Christian, I believe abortion is part of the moral despair of our society, yet I believe I can consistently vote for Barack Obama.Google Author trackback