f The Wittenberg Door: Abortion and the Next Presidential Election

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Abortion and the Next Presidential Election

In a New York Times opinion piece, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family writes of a recent meeting of 50 Christian “leaders.” Dr. Dobson describes the outcome:

After two hours of deliberation, we voted on a resolution that can be summarized as follows: If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand. The result was almost unanimous.

In other words, if Rudy Giuliani, or someone like him, gets the Republican nomination, Dr. Dobson and his fellow icons of modern Evangelicalism will march their flocks to the third-party Promised Land.

The Candidates

Assuming Hilary Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is no doubt that she’ll fight not only to ease any restriction on abortion but also to make abortion more common. Malinda the Enforcer at Stand to Reason’s blog quotes Hillary-biographer Paul Kengor:

If you’re a pro-lifer, and if no issue is more important to you than the right of an unborn child to have life, then nothing could be more calamitous than a President Hillary Clinton. I don’t know of any politician who is more uncompromising and extreme on abortion rights than Hillary Clinton. I know this well and don’t state it with anger or hyperbole. Her extremism on abortion rights was the single most shocking, inexplicable find in my research on her faith and politics. I couldn’t understand it. No question. It is truly extraordinary. Nothing, no political issue, impassions her like abortion rights. For Mrs. Clinton, abortion-rights is sacred ground.

Like Dr. Dobson, I’m troubled by the mayor’s position on abortion (you can read my critique of it in the post, Moral Confusion—Giuliani vs. Lincoln). Although Mr. Giuliani claims to be personally opposed to abortion, he thinks that ultimately it’s a state’s issue and thus should not be settled by the federal government. Because of this, Giuliani pledges to not expand abortion rights, but, instead, to do everything he can to decrease the number of abortions. He says that he’ll do so by enforcing the current ban on Federally funded abortions, requiring parental notifications, and encouraging adoptions (such as he did in New York).

The President’s Impact

What significant impact does a president have on the abortion issue? The appointment of Supreme Court justices. For this reason, the judicial philosophy of the next president is very important. In this regard we find a great divide between Giuliani and Clinton. Clinton believes that the Constitution is a “living, breathing” document that must be interpreted based upon the times in which we live, a sort of wax nose philosophy. It was judges with this philosophy that gave us Roe vs. Wade, and it is this type of judge that she’ll nominate in order to protect abortion.

Giuliani is of a different mind. He holds to the philosophy of original intent—what did the founders have in mind when they drafted the Constitution? Because of this, Giuliani has pledged to appoint “strict constructionists,” such as Scalia and Thomas. It is justices of this sort who will most likely overturn Roe vs. Wade.

The Question

The goal of the pro-life movement is to end abortion because we want to save as many innocent lives as possible. I’m sure this includes Dr. Dobson and his followers. My fear is, however, that they’ve lost site of this goal. They seem more interested in punishing the Republican Party than actually saving children’s lives. If Evangelicals vote for a third party, or simply stay home, they’ll guarantee a Clinton presidency. The result will be the loss of ground gained, such as the ban on partial-birth abortion, and the death of many more children. Reason being, Clinton has pledged to overturn the ban, and she’s promised to appoint pro-abortion justices who will secure abortion rights for the foreseeable future—and she’ll have Evangelicals to thank for it.

The other question has to do with the morality of voting for someone who is not, strictly speaking, pro-life. For this question I ask you to consider an excellent article by Stand to Reason president, Greg Koukl, titled, Statements vs. Impacts.

Since there is no middle ground on abortion—“choice” always means a dead child—then it’s critically important we make decisions at the polls that go beyond token moral gestures (something that looks right, but has no impact). We must make choices that have the greatest chance of actually saving children.

The question we’re faced with is this: If we were forced to choose between looking virtuous but having no further effect, or appearing ignoble but accomplishing some good, which path should we take? When we must choose one or the other, are we obliged by God to make a moral statement or to have a moral impact?

Jesus condemned Jews who abused the practice of Corban (Mark 7:11), a pledge to God that appeared righteousness, but helped no one. Admittedly, the motives of pro-lifers voting “consistently pro-life” are different from those who used the practice of Corban as a religious cloak for avarice, but the result is the same: moral statements with no moral impact.

You can read the rest here.

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Blogger Shane Vander Hart said...

Yeah, this is why if Guiliani gets the GOP nomination (which I'm not convinced that he will), I will vote for him. I think a vote for a third party candidate is a vote for Hillary Clinton which would be worse.

There are other issues to consider as well.

This is tough - which is why I would encourage all believers to get out and vote for the best candidate for the GOP nomination. Why should we have to settle for holding our nose when we go to the polls?

7:53 PM  
Blogger The Wittenberg Door said...

I think you're right, Shane; although, I'm not thrilled with any of the candidates. Still, they're a far cry better than Hilary Clinton.

5:49 PM  

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