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October 09, 2008

Comments

AC

Mega-dittos. I couldn't think of a more accurate appraisal both of our country's economic condition and of the candidates' economic credentials.

You know, this SHOULD be a period of tremendous political excitement and energy--we're making economic history right now. You'd figure these sorts of circumstances would be stimulating a truly unique and engaging debate in American politics. Don't you just wish...

My reaction to the debates was "BO-RING." I was waiting for some serious substance--anything that might indicate either of the candidates understood even a shred of good economics. Nothing.

Makes you appreciate how vastly superior God is at "managing" creation. We can't even handle a world economy. God's got the universe running on time. Just out of curiosity, what, if anything, does God have to say about how to run an economy?

Alex Marshall

So this might get me written off as the young liberal...

I'm a little uncomfortable saying that abortion is the defining issue that decides how I vote for several reasons. But first let me say I am definitely pro-life. I think abortion is disgusting and despicable, so don't think I'm advocating abortion at all by what I say here. The broadest reason this makes me uncomfortable is that I don't think the purpose of a secular government (it would be different if our government had an official religious affiliation, though that has its own worries) is to take a defining stand on moral issues. It seems like a secular government has instead the purpose of promoting the interest of its people more generally- setting good economic policy and foreign policy, for instance. Now, certainly, part of the governments job is to protect people's rights, and if we take the unborn to have those rights (I think they probably do), then certainly abortion should be a concern. I'm not saying the government should be completely uninvolved in this issue, but I guess I'm arguing for there being more issues to focus on than just this one.

I also think that Christians can consider other issues in deciding how they are going to vote. But lets for the sake of argument say that Christians should decide how they are going to vote based solely on which party takes the most "Biblical" stance. I think we can make a very good case for saying that things like "caring for the poor and afflicted" or even environmentalism are part of what the Bible expects from humanity. In terms of caring for the poor, the Old Testament seems to make it very clear that God takes this extremely seriously (Israel's failure to do this is almost always connected with the reasons for their exile in addition with their idolatry). So even looking from a Biblical perspective, there are more issues to consider than just abortion, and there is now a question of how to balance these issues and decide which ones are most important. Couple that with taking into account more secular issues like economic and foreign policy and I find it very hard to say that abortion alone should or will decide how I vote...

WFR

Alex,

No offense, but your argument is not only flimsy, but middle-of-the-road lukewarm. Governments have made many decisions based on moral values (and rightly so). Oh, and, let's see, I think that there was like this huge post-war criminal world court that like dealt with the mass murder of a few million Jews. Let's see... I wonder... will God hold Hitler accountable (other nations did) for his crime? Let's see, I wonder... will God hold this nation accountable (not to mention some citizens who knew better and looked the other way) for the mass murder of millions of innocent unborn lives? Our nation's law didn't get it right on the abortion issue, but I think I'll vote with God on that one. I don't think I want a half-baked decision regarding mass murder hanging over my head when I'm standing on the ultimate accountability block.

Alex Marshall

I think you may have misinterpreted the point of my argument, though I definitely did not do a good job of making it very clear (so my bad). Again, to reiterate, I am pro-life. I would be happy to see abortion made illegal.

However, the point I was trying to make is that I don't think that single issue is what should define how we vote. One of the reasons I gave for that is that it seems apparent that God holds other things to be very, very important in scripture, so a vote for a pro-life candidate is not necessarily the only thing that makes you "vote with God." So I think perhaps we should be considering some of those other things that God is just as passionate about...

My point about governments not taking a defining stand on moral issues is what I was not so clear on- Obviously, the government has to take a stand on some moral issues (i.e., murder). Under the guiding principles that our system of government is built on the purpose of the government is to protect its citizens and certain rights of theirs and to promote their prosperity. So, the protection of citizens is the moral side of that. Certainly, I think we can make a case that part of that involves making abortion illegal. Not disputing that. However, I think its a little narrow-sighted to say that is the only issue we should be concerned about. The government's purpose goes well beyond that particular issue to include things like protecting citizens who are already born (and so we have no dispute about their rights), establishing a foreign policy that promotes the interests of its people, promoting economic growth (or at the moment, trying to achieve economic stability), among other things.

So basically, my argument is that there a lot of other issues that are important both to God and to the purpose of our government. So making abortion the defining issue seems to me to be a bit too narrow of a view. Especially since, in my estimation, neither candidate is going to accomplish much in the way of changing the way things stand on this issue, for better or for worse.

AC

Hey Alex,

Your analytical approach would work just fine if it weren't for one flaw: cost analysis is a poor approach to this particular issue.

So, you can probably guess where I'm going with this already, but here's an example, and then the punchline:

The example:

WWII Germany. The German people (and to a certain extent the world community, at least initially) embraced a bad guy because he was going to restore the German economy and redeem the German people from international disgrace. Frankly, those aren't bad goals in and of themselves. And, if it hadn't lost WWII, Germany would likely have enjoyed the fruition of all Hitler's promises--an elevated standard of living, economic restoration, and a return to international prominence.

Yet, those definite improvements had a cost. If you wanted in on the Third Reich, you had to buy in to the Fuhrer's plan. Plenty of Germans knew that their Jewish neighbors were disappearing. Yet, because Hitler brought them prosperity, they turned a blind eye to the plight of their neighbors. In essence, the German people bought their comfort with dead Jews.

The Punchline:

A vote for a pro-abortion candidate is about equivalent to the choice described above. Unless your choice is between an anti-abortion but pro-genocide candidate and a pro-choice one, a vote for the latter is the same as complicity with murder.

And, I'm happy to concede the virtue of your analytical framework (looking at all the issues) when you can show me what number of good policies are a fair trade for a few million body-bags.

What's the price tag on the lives of millions of unborn children?universal healthcare? a better foreign policy? restored economic prosperity?

How would asking that question make me any different from the Germans who let their neighbors get carried off in the night so they could have more money, live in bigger houses, and drive faster cars?

WFR

Alex,
You can be assured that I did not miss the point of your argument.

Alex Marshall

AC,

I definitely appreciate your argument, but I'm not sure they are completely parallel. At least, last I heard, no pro-Choice politician in this country has ever advocated mandatory abortions for anyone in any circumstance. We aren't rounding people up and forcing them to murder their children. Now, granted, I still think abortion is a horrible, evil thing. But voting for a pro-choice candidate is not advocating murder by any means. You may be able to argue that it is allowing a form of murder to go unpunished. I think that is also a horrible thing. But, as I've been studying this lately on philosophical level, there are many arguments that seem to justify some abortions- if the mother is in danger of losing her life, for instance. So I'm not sure its as cut and dry of an issue as we would like it to be. Also, I've been really encouraged to hear Obama's intentions to work on reducing the number of abortions as much as possible. Please note, I am not supporting Obama necessarily (haven't decided how I'm voting yet), just trying to give supporting reasons for why abortion may not need to be the deciding issue in how we vote.

Austin

hey Alex,

I thought I'd weigh in on this one. Oh, and, to preface: I'm not trying to change your vote, per se. As far as I'm concerned, your intellectual argument is more important.

Sure, no pro-choice candidates haven't been "forcing" people to have abortions. But that doesn't change that they WANT women to have them. Though not exactly equivalent, both postures are equally insupportable.

Consider: Hillary Clinton addressed Code Pink in 2007 and said, "We should make every abortion legal, safe, and RARE." She was booed. NARAL, NOW, and other organizations blasted her for intimating that abortions should be anything other than on-demand.

Now, I know the counter-argument is: "well, that's just a political organization, not a candidate." But, when the candidate derives their political support from a militant organization like NARAL or NOW, you can be assured their incentives lie with their special interest constituents'. In short: pro-choice candidates WANT women to have abortions because that's what their support organizations demand.

Therefore, it is a non-sequitur to claim "I don't women to have abortions" and, in the same breath say, "I would elect a candidate who DOES want them to have abortions." That is an apt characterization of what you are saying, and it doesn't make sense.

Also, you mention "many" reasons why an abortion should take place, citing this one: to preserve the life of the mother. First, the proportion of abortions performed in this country for that reason is infinitesimally small. Second, "the health and safety of the mother" is often the legal loop-hole that politicians use to justify abortion-on-demand, including partial-birth procedures.

I'd also add that AC and WFR aptly characterize your position as trading babies' lives for a package of social and political benefits. Frankly, I would have thought that the spiritual implications which militate against such a decision would have been obvious to you. How can you endorse someone who is an ADVOCATE for murder, no matter the remunerative benefit?

As far as Mr. Obama's position on abortion, don't be mislead: he is radically against any restriction on any woman's access to an abortion.

He twice voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act--once in the Senate, and once before when its equivalent was before the Illinois State Legislature. That bill essentially says that when an infant survives a failed abortion, it should receive the same federally subsidized medical care as any other under-privileged infant. Mr. Obama voted against that measure both times.

When asked whether an infant who survived a salene-still-born abortion procedure should be allowed to live (this is after it has left the womb) he said "No. That would be a violation of the woman's original choice." He is in favor of letting entirely-out-of-the-womb infants die.

I've read his model exam answers from when he taught Constitutional Law. His readings of Roe v. Wade and, more relevantly, the Casey opinion are as radical as can possibly be. His reading of the "Undue Burden" test is so broad that he would find unconstitutional any provision regulating a woman's access to an abortion which even approached being merely inconvenient.

As the above examples show, Obama is a dramatically more adamant advocate of abortion than almost any political figure I can think of. Think about the shift in thinking on that subject he represents.

To illustrate the progression Mr. Obama embodies, I'd like to frame an analogy that reflects my study of criminal law and incorporates the things I've described about him above.

In criminal law there is a concept called "Reckless Homicide." Reckless homicide is when someone knows that something they're doing runs the risk of killing someone and, ignoring the risk, does it anyway. For example, a man who puts one bullet in a gun, and plays Russian Roulette with a 12-year-old boy subjectively appreciates and ignores the risk that this behavior could very well kill the boy.

On the other hand, 2nd Degree Murder is a "knowing killing of another." In this example, the man puts six bullets in the gun and plays roulette. He doesn't necessarily 'intend' to kill the boy, but it's a fact he'll be dead.

For the sake of argument, I'm going to concede the left's point that "we don't know when life begins."

The old argument was: "I dunno when life begins. The baby might be alive, but might not. So, it's probably ok to have an abortion." This is essentially an admission of, and then disregard of, a significant RISK that the fetus was, in fact, a live human being. This is entirely analogous to Reckless Homicide.

2nd Degree Murder, on the other hand, is the appropriate analogue to Mr. Obama's viewpoint. While inside the womb it may perhaps be unclear whether a child is a human being, but (unless you're drawing from your theological background, in which case you know it is) once it's outside, all doubt is removed. By saying that he would rather kill an ostensibly live baby than check a mother's "original choice," Mr. Obama has moved beyond supporting a reckless killing to supporting a knowing one. This is not a man who will try and reduce abortions. Frankly, his position if not already so, surely approaches a preference for out and out infanticide.

Alex Marshall

Austin,

Responding on two levels:

On a more philosophical level, I'm not sure that wanting abortions to be available "on-demand" is the same as wanting people to have abortions, though some particularly militant groups might think that way. Even if they do, part of our political process (for better or for worse I'm not really sure) is that politicians have to play for support from both extreme and moderate factions. So getting support from an extreme faction may not imply a position that necessarily is in line with it (not commenting on any candidates specific position). This is not in any way to defend abortion, just arguing that there is a difference between allowing "on-demand" abortion and actually wanting people to get them.

As far as the issue of "health and safety of the mother" being used as a loophole to justify almost all abortions, you are definitely correct, and McCain did a great job pointing that out in the last debate. I really wish there were a good way of eliminating that loophole, but I don't see one at the moment and I have moral qualms about denying the option of an abortion in cases where the mother really is in some sort of danger. So not sure where that leaves us practically...

On a more specific level, regarding Obama's position- I didn't know about his stance on letting infants who survived abortions die. How recent was that? I agree with you that I am certainly very uncomfortable with what I hear about Obama's record on abortion and past statements. I've heard him offer explanations for some of the votes that he's taken, though I'm not sure how much better they make me feel. If this were the only issue, I would definitely not consider supporting Obama (as it it is, I'm not sure how I'm voting or if I'm voting- depends on if my absentee ballot ever shows up).

However, there are other issues that seem very significant- namely, the combination of this economic crisis, our stretched military, and certain situations abroad make me worried that we may be on the verge of some very significant changes in the balance of power. This is why I go back and forth between the two- on the one hand, the significance of this makes we think someone with more experience might be desirable. On the other hand, the guy with experience seems ready to pursue the same strategy that may be the cause of the impending worries... So I don't know... any thoughts on those issues?

Austin

hey Alex,

I'm not sure of the exact chronology of when Mr. Obama made those statements and cast his votes. But, how recently or not he made the statements probably doesn't matter because he's been so consistent.

I still think it's fair to characterize a pro-choice candidate as wanting women to get abortions. Here are three alternate arguments for why. (I promise they're quick, and I thought they were pretty good)

1) Why make on-demand abortion available if you don't want it to happen? I mean, you definitely can't deny that it would happen less frequently if abortions were limited, for example, ONLY to situations where the health and safety of the mother are threatened.

2) Since an on-demand abortion is the least necessary kind to protect the health and safety of the mother, it's all the more clear that politicians try to make it so because they prefer killing a baby to inconveniencing a woman. Desires abide in preferences.

3) You gotta' admit--politicians aren't casual observers--they're either ADVOCATES for the abortion lobby or OPPONENTS. A politician can't be an advocate FOR something AND against it. Therefore, a pro-choice candidate is FOR abortion. f you're FOR the war, do you oppose it? If you're FOR change, are you against it?

As far as the issues you mention in your third paragraph. Assuming either that a vote for a pro-choice candidate is not equivalent to supporting abortion, or assuming I were willing to trade infants' lives for better policies, there still isn't any guarantee that Barack Obama promises any better policies than John McCain. What few differences there are between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain don't inspire me with anything but greater dread.

First, John McCain may not properly aprpeciate the ways in which the global balance of power is realigning, but neither does Barack Obama. AND, he favors a style of foreign diplomacy that is hopelessly weak and naive. Anybody remember Chamberlain's famous exercise of diplomacy with Hitler? Yeah...I don't think talking to Ahmadinejad is gonna' turn out any different. Barack Obama's promise of "peace in our time" (to cinch the irony) is just as mind-bogglingly stupid.

Second, John McCain may not know much about how to correct our economic, monetary, or fiscal policy problems, but neither does Mr. Obama. AND, he would saddle the American Economy with the economic-death-march-accelerant of higher taxes.

Barack Obama's tax policy is a train wreck in itself. His "tax cut" for the "middle class" is really a hidden subsidy. And, he'd still be raising income taxes on small business starting at the 150k bracket. (Corporations, LLC's, etc. are subject to the income tax; they're like legal people) Thus a company that employs as few as 10 people will get whacked with a tax hike. Small businesses in the 150k range would be taxed at near 35%, while those prosperous businesses making 250k would, when distilled credits are factored in, bear an effective tax rate of nearly 40%. Every economist in the country will tell you that those taxes will mean employers will cut, not create, jobs. How does that stimulate growth? Answer: it doesn't. It just creates more economic stagnation.

Plus, Mr. Obama is going to be just as likely to perpetuate the cycle of mal-investment and inflation that has preceded his campaign for 30 some odd years--if not more so based upon the Democratic tendency to engage in reckless deficit spending, expanding entitlements, escalation of the trade deficit, and disregard for budget shortfalls.

This is to say nothing of his raising the cap on capital gains, which, since nearly 85% of the U.S. working population is invested in the market either directly or via their retirement fund, would effectively raise taxes on all of them regardless of economic status.

So, en sum, I'd say while John McCain's policies are often deficient, Mr. Obama's plans would compound those deficiencies with new, more serious ones if elected.

This, of course, ignores that Mr. Obama's abortion policy is dramatically worse than John McCain's. It also ignores the damage Mr. Obama could do with Nancy Pelosi by his side to lead an ultra-liberal, super-majority insurgency in Congress. Anybody actually think a guy with less than 127 actual days spent in the Senate is going to be anything other than a puppet for the DNC leadership? I doubt it.

Randy

I realize this post, which contains the article below, is pretty long, but it seems to elaborate well on why abortion, as Jim stated, is the defining issue.
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This blog, written by Randy Alcorn, pastor, author and founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries, is one of those pieces that is vibrating through the country right now and is something everyone should take the time to read.

One of my favorite lines is when Randy says, "I don't think someone is a good candidate just because he is prolife. But he cannot be a good candidate unless he is prolife."


"Yesterday I received this question in an e-mail from Faith, a godly young woman I respect very much: 'As a Christian, should we vote for who we think should lead our country solely based on their stance on abortion? I have been thinking about this question and I am having a hard time putting my thoughts into words.'

The Bible is emphatically clear on when human life begins. On exactly the same issue, science is equally clear.

Here's some Scripture to orient us, because without it we are always confused. Please don't skim over it. Forget the words of men, forget the media coverage of the presidential race. Just think about these words of Almighty God:

If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech. I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him (Leviticus 20:1-5)
Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed. (Deuteronomy 19:10)
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. (Ezekiel 35:6)

Every Christian should take these teachings seriously. Is the unborn an innocent human being? If you claim to be prolife in the historical meaning of the word, then your answer is yes. Is abortion the shedding of innocent blood, the taking of human life created in the image of God? If you say you are prolife, your answer must be yes. (Please do not redefine the meaning of the word prolife and say "I'm prolife" if you're really not.)

So, is the candidate's stand on the issue of shedding innocent blood important enough to disqualify him as a candidate? Yes. While a single issue can't qualify a candidate, it can disqualify him. In my opinion, this issue clearly disqualifies Barack Obama, just as it disqualified Republican Rudy Giuliani.

I don't think someone is a good candidate just because he is prolife. But he cannot be a good candidate unless he is prolife. Personally, if he is committed to legalized child-killing, as a matter of conscience I must vote against him.

Now, when someone says, "But still, abortion isn't the only issue," I agree. I care very much about the poor and racial equality. That's why if John McCain was committed to legalizing the killing of the poor and the killing of ethnic minorities, I would not vote for him either.

But suppose you have two candidates, one who has promised to defend and further the legalized killing of one group of people (any group: women, minorities, disabled, unborn, poor.) You disagree with the other candidate in areas that in their own right might be important, but do not involve the merciless slaughter of millions of people. Furthermore, the second candidate—whom you consider boring and disagreeable—believes that same group of people has the right to live, and he says he will defend their rights, and appoint judges who will defend it. Now, which candidate should you vote for?

If neither candidate were committed to the legalized killing of people, any people, then I would say, by all means weigh and measure those other important issues and make your choice. But can you seriously argue that these other issues trump the killing of millions of innocent children, not just now, but in the decades to come under a proabortion Supreme Court that could have been a prolife Supreme Court?

Don't you believe that though there were other issues in Nazi Germany besides the killing of Jews, Gypsies and the disabled, that all those other issues were trumped by that one? If Lincoln's platform involved ending slavery yet you agreed with Douglas (who wanted slavery to remain legal) in lots of other areas, would you feel right voting for Douglas, knowing you were voting for slavery?

So I say OF COURSE THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES. I don't minimize them. All I can say is the differences between the candidates on those issues don't stack up, even cumulatively, to the legalized killing of human beings. It's a matter of relative importance, not just a number of issues. A man who is a good husband in most respects, but who beats his wife, is not a good husband. That issue outweighs all the others.

In a previous blog comment, someone said they wouldn't vote for McCain due to his failures in his first marriage. I too am troubled by John McCain's treatment of his first wife. He has said it was a failure on his part, but whether he has repented, I don't know. This is one of several things I don't like about John McCain. But his past failure in marriage is not comparable to Obama taking a present stand for the legalized killing of children.

I am not excited about John McCain in every area. But when I compare him to Barack Obama in the overriding issue of our day, the right of preborn children to live, there is a stark and radical difference. In America right now, the rights of Jews to live and slaves to be free are not on the table. The right of unborn children to live is on the table. The killing of the unborn is the holocaust of our day. Where do you want to have stood on this issue? Where do you want the man you vote for to have stood on it? If your grandchildren ask you one day whether you voted for or against the right of children to live, what will you say?

Yesterday someone else left a comment saying, Hurry and compose a blog to the under 30's Christians who are planning to vote for a 3rd party candidate in hopes of "sending a message" to the RNC! FOCA could very well be the last nail in the coffin.

I sympathize with wanting to send a message to the Republican Party. I have done this both in state elections and once on the presidential level. One year I wrote in a third party candidate Alan Keyes, an African American who has boldly stood up for unborn children. There is a time to do this.

But is this the time, when failing to vote for McCain could ultimately remove hundreds of laws limiting abortion at the statewide level—informed consent and parental consent and late term abortion measures. As a physician commenting on my last blog said, prolife physicians and nurses and hospitals could find themselves with a federal mandate to perform abortions, and lose their licenses if they refuse. The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama promised Planned Parenthood he will sign if elected president (my previous blog has this on video), could ultimately do all this and more. It may also make life very difficult for Pregnancy Resource Centers.

Would John McCain be a great president? I don't know. Maybe he wouldn't even be a good president. There are so many claims by both candidates that their words seem like wind to me. I don't feel like I know a lot. But I do know for certain that one candidate defends the right of the unborn to live, and the other is utterly committed to be sure that it remains legal to kill them. And on THAT issue I know what God says is right and wrong.

Yes, I realize Obama is cool. As I said two blogs ago, I really wanted to vote for him, so I could be cool too. John McCain is not so cool. And he's a Republican at a time where being a Republican definitely isn't cool. The question isn't whether I'd rather have dinner or play golf with Obama or McCain. (I'd choose Obama.) The question isn't whether I'd like the Republican Party to change. (I would.) I'm not voting for the Republican Party. In one sense I'm not voting mainly for John McCain. I am voting for McCain because it's my only way in this election to vote for the right of unborn children to live rather than die.

Now, if you think that's an overstatement, that the difference between the candidates isn't that great, or they will not influence the future of abortion in this country, I challenge you to look at Obama's dogged commitment to the legalized killing of unborn children, backed up by his 100% proabortion voting record. And look at McCain's repeatedly stated commitment, also demonstrated by his voting record, to oppose the legalized killing of children. If you think your presidential vote is not for or against unborn children, you don't understand the significance of the Freedom of Choice Act or the significance of the balance of power of the Supreme Court with the Obama judges who are certain to be pro-legal-abortion and the McCain judges who are virtually certain to be anti-legal-abortion.

My conversations with fellow Christians who are prolife but are voting for Obama have common themes these days. They always emphasize "Obama is prochoice, not proabortion." To which I respond, "actually he is pro-legalized-abortion." This is emphatically true, based on his own words and 100% consistent voting record. It shouldn't be considered a matter for debate. What politician in the country is more strongly committed to legalized abortion than Obama is? Every radical proabortion group knows this, and everyone of them have been working tirelessly to get him elected.

Believing what I do that the unborn are human beings in the fullest sense, to be pro-legalized-abortion is exactly equivalent to being pro-legalized-killing-of-three-year-olds. Or pro-legalized-killing-of-teenagers. Or pro-legalized-killing-of-women. Or pro-legalized-killing-of-Jews.

What would you think if a politician said "I'm not pro-rape, I'm simply prochoice about rape. And though I would not choose to rape a woman, I believe that every man should be free to rape a woman if that is his personal choice." And what would you do if that politician promised the rape lobby that if he is elected president, the "first thing I would do" is to sign legislation that would invalidate all the state laws that restrict rape in any way?

Well, I think I would say that man is pro-rape, wouldn't you? But technically, no, he is simply prochoice about rape. Well, okay. Be prochoice about whether someone should eat Mexican food or Chinese food, or cheer for the Phillies or the Rays. But don't be prochoice about whether men rape women or kill children. Because that is to be pro-rape and pro-killing.

Now, no doubt Obama supporters will think this is an outrageous analogy. And those who don't believe unborn children are really human beings would understandably feel that way. (Though, both scientifically and biblically, they are absolutely wrong.) But what about all the people who keep insisting they are prolife, that they really DO believe the unborn children are precious human beings created in God's image? If that's what you really believe, then you must accept the analogy as valid. (On what basis is it invalid unless it's because the unborn aren't really human and therefore don't have human rights?)

Is rape, despicable as it is, really worse than overpowering and tearing apart an innocent child in his mother's womb? If you are REALLY prolife, not just if you say the words "I am prolife, but there are many other issues," but I mean if you REALLY believe these are children, then the analogy to rape, kidnapping, or killing teenagers or women or Jews or African Americans is perfectly legitimate. How could it not be? Don't skim over this—seriously, I want to hear your answer.

So, feel free to go against the clear evidence about who the unborn really are. Then just admit that you are not prolife. Sure, it's irrational, but at least it's a good explanation of why you would support the strongest pro-legal-abortion candidate for the presidency in the history of our nation.

But PLEASE don't just mindlessly say "I'm pro-life" then contradict that statement by saying you are supporting a candidate for president who is utterly committed to not only maintain legalized abortion through policy and appointment of judges, but who also HAS PROMISED (through the Freedom of Choice Act) to try to reverse all pro-life state legislation passed by vote of U. S. citizens in the last thirty years.

I've heard other prolife people say "I don't like either candidate, so I'm not voting at all." Well, ask yourself who you're willing to punish by not voting. If it's political parties who will pay, fine, I really don't care about them. Sure, it would be better not to vote than to vote against God's children's right to live. But if instead of abstaining you have a chance to vote for God's children's right to live, why would you not do that? (Don't vote for the man, vote for generations of children who will have a chance to live if he's elected, even if he's just a mediocre president in other areas.)

If you sense I'm taking this a little personally, I confess that I am. Twenty-eight years ago we opened our home to a pregnant teenager and helped her place her child for adoption. Soon thereafter I served on the board of the first Crisis Pregnancy Center in the Pacific Northwest. I have talked with many women devastated by their abortions. Nanci and I have given our time and money to the prolife cause. For over two years Nanci stood almost every week outside an abortion clinic offering alternatives to abortion. It wasn't fun, but she was faithful, and I respect her deeply for it.

I've been sued by abortion clinics for peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience. As a result of those lawsuits and court decisions and their intentions to garnish my wages, I had to resign as a pastor and spent a few days in jail and over thirty days in a courtroom (I preferred the time in jail). I was on the losing end of the largest judgment ever brought against a group of peaceful nonviolent protesters. And, yes, I've researched abortion exhaustively, and written books about it, including ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments and Why Pro-Life? (If you want details to help you understand the various aspects of the prolife case, we've placed the entire Why Pro-Life? book online in pdf. You want to print out portions to think through, or try to persuade someone? Go for it.)

I have seen what abortion does. I've seen the severed limbs of children. I once held in my hands part of an unborn child that had been put in an abortion clinic dumpster. It hurt deep in my gut. I've seen abortion up close. It is not a theoretical or philosophical issue. It is a bloody crime against humanity and against the Creator. Please feel free to disagree with me in a thousand areas, many of which I don't know that much about and about which I admit I may be totally wrong. But consider that maybe, just maybe, in this particular case, when it comes to unborn children and their being killed in abortion, as a result of what I've seen the last thirty years, maybe I understand some things some people may not yet understand.

Perhaps that's why last night I wasn't thinking about victory celebrations and balloons and confetti, and who will be wearing what, and how cool or uncool the candidates are, and how the winner will look on Inauguration Day. I was on my knees weeping for the unborn children, and for the fact that many Christians are going to vote against them. And others are going to abstain from voting for them. If every prolife Christian voter would vote for unborn children instead of against them, we would elect a prolife president who would not sign FOCA, who would appoint prolife judges instead of proabortion judges, and who would not reverse decades of gains made by the prolife movement. But right now this looks very unlikely.

And though I know it will outrage people for me to say this (and I take no pleasure in that), I believe that the blood of children will be on our hands. Yes, I think that God is already judging this nation for the blood of these children that cries out to Him from the ground (Genesis 4:10). And I believe there will be far worse judgment to come. He has always brought His wrath upon nations that kill their children. Why should He treat us differently? "Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you" (Ezekiel 35:6).

I don't think that anyone has the right to vote for a candidate who is committed to legalized abortion unless you are willing to watch the video below showing you exactly what abortion does. If you are not viewing the video to see what happens as the result of an abortion, then I hope it's because you know the truth. But if you refuse to watch this because it is too horrific to look at a dismembered child, then don't you think abortion is too horrific to be legal? And too horrific to be supported by your candidate? And too horrific for you to vote for by voting for him?

Randy

BTW, I didn't write anything below the dotted line on the previous post. It's just something that is circulating on the internet by someone else.

Jim Fleming

Thanks, Randy, for the article. For those of you who want to read it at its original site, here's the link: http://randyalcorn.blogspot.com/2008/10/im-not-voting-for-man-im-voting-for.html

Alex Marshall

So you weren't kidding when you said that was a long article... My response will not be nearly as long, I promise.

I think that I agree with a lot of what Alcorn says. However, there is one statement that he makes on multiple occasions that I don't agree with- that biblically and scientifically the evidence is "emphatically clear" that the unborn are people. Before I get written off, let me say that I believe that they are people. But I also believe we need to be responsible in our arguments, especially on things this important and controversial, and his sweeping claim is not a responsible argument. There are several problems with the claim:

1) There are very few passages that talk about the unborn, and most of them are poetic. What that means is its very hard to draw a "universal" or theological statement from them about the nature of the unborn because they are full of very figurative and vague language.

2) The overwhelming majority of scientists will not call the unborn before a certain point "persons." We need to define terms a little bit here- there is no doubt from the moment of conception that the embryo (not sure if that's the right scientific term) is alive and that it has human DNA. But the question in the abortion issue is whether this living thing is a "person" in a moral sense, which can be defined in many different ways. But basically, it is a question of whether the unborn is essentially the same as a person who has been born, or maybe (in Christian terms), do the unborn have souls? Most scientists will probably say that there is no doubt the unborn is a person in a "late-term" situation, but before that there are significant differences that make the question more philosophical than scientific.

3) When the debate moves into a philosophical perspective, there is a lot of difference of opinion, and there are, in my mind, very good arguments for three possible stating points for saying we are dealing with a "person." The three that I feel are potential staring points (but certainly there are many philosophers who think there are very good arguments for other views) all occur well before the mother would know she was pregnant and could get an abortion, by the way. So I don't think, wherever you fall on those, that you can justify abortion in any case other than a real, imminent danger to the mother.

All this just to say that the evidence is not nearly as overwhelmingly in Mr. Alcorn's favor as he would like, though I ultimately agree with him that abortion is a horrible practice.

Austin,

Hate to be technical, but I am a philosophy major... so I'm going to be kinda technical. In response to your argument that advocating on-demand abortions is the same as "wanting them to happen": Maybe... I think we could definitely say this means they want them to be available to those who want them. Certainly, that seems to imply that they will happen. But I'm not completely convinced that means the politician wants them to happen (this is general, not talking about Obama specifically). Especially since we're discussing politicians- I'm pretty sure they have no qualms about contradicting themselves. Look at the 2004 Democratic Candidate, for instance...

One other consideration that has occurred to me is that, practically speaking, McCain is not going to change the abortion situation at all (provided he is committed to trying, I'm not convinced that he is as pro-life as he wants to be seen to be). What I mean by this is that McCain is almost certainly not going to have the backing of his own party in Congress. So if he ever gets the chance to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court, the Senate will almost certainly not allow a staunchly pro-life justice to be picked. So I'm not sure that a vote for McCain is any better, in a practical sense, on this issue. That may be a really bad argument... but its worth thinking about, at least.

And as troubled as I am by the extremity of a lot of Obama's views on abortion, I don't know that he will be as extreme as a president. Keep in mind that the president doesn't write the laws, Congress does. And while Congress may be, at times, intolerably dumb, they are usually decently moderate in the laws the write because they represent such a wide variety of viewpoints.

So I guess I can agree that abortion is immoral, that I wish it were illegal, and that Obama's policies are a bit troubling. But I'm still not convinced (especially when the issue seems deadlocked and likely to remain so no matter who wins the election) that it should be the deciding issue when there are some other extremely important issues before us.

As far as some of those other issues go:

I don't think Obama's foreign policy is quite as naive as it seems. He's not talking about negotiating with the dictatorial ruler of the most industrialized nation in the world who is raving about wanting to take over every nation on earth and exterminate entire races of inferior people. He's talking about negotiating with rulers of relatively weak nations who happen to have significant influence in a very unstable region of the world and getting them to help us fix a nation we are essentially responsible for making unstable. Yes, many of them are anti-Israel. But so is most of Iraq. In terms of dealing with other leaders, even Bush has the policy of negotiating until it is clear negotiations are going nowhere. That is essentially the same policy McCain is advocating. Obama may be a bit more generous in how he handles that, but honestly, a little bit of generosity from this country may go a long way to repair our standing in the world right now.

A lot of economic research shows that despite the common logic, raising taxes doesn't have nearly as strong an effect on the economy as would be expected. What has a far greater effect is if people stop spending their money. Also, trickle-down-economics, which works in theory, takes a long time to work, especially when businesses are worried that people aren't going to be spending their money. So Obama's middle-class tax cuts may be the needed immediate solution for the economic crisis in that they keep people spending money, keeping businesses alive and expanding even if their taxes go up. I definitely agree, though, that in the longer term other things have to take place as well. His tax code can't sustain economic growth forever.

I realize this is sounding like I'm arguing for Obama. Don't take it that way. I'm mainly trying to say that Obama is not as horrible a prospect as he seems to be perceived as in a lot of Christian circles. I'm trying to be a little optimistic, in other words, because I'm pretty sure he is going to win and I think there are things to commend him for. I don't think Christians have to completely despair should Obama be the next president, in other words.

Alex Marshall

So this discussion is branching out into a dozen different issues and its becoming kinda confusing, gonna try and simplify it and clarify a little:

Essentially, the chief point that I am arguing for is that abortion, while an evil practice, is not the only issue to be concerned with in choosing who to vote for. I'm going to come at this a little bit differently with some illustrations:

The policy on abortion in this country is a "negative" policy, meaning abortions are not "mandatory" things that people are required to get, but they have been made available to people. I would say abortion is an evil practice, and allowing it is immoral.

But lets look at some other issues:

Right now there are horrible atrocities being committed in the Sudan. Our policy is to take no action, essentially allowing a genocide to take place (as we did in Rwanda and for a long time as we did with Hitler). The situation is very parallel in that our policy is not to mandate a genocide but to allow it to happen. Granted, not our country. But we undoubtedly have the ability to put an end to it. So is it immoral for us to allow the genocide to continue?

Our economic policies have allowed reckless practices to persist that have resulted in a major economic crisis. This doesn't just affect us, and as a direct result of reckless economic decisions in this country by private corporations, we are witnessing the complete collapse of economies in many third world nations where people are already struggling to survive. Is it immoral to allow practices to continue in our country that might result in the impoverishment and possibly the death of millions around the world?

I don't want to go so far as to say that the war we are in now is unjust (though many would), but lets say that we were sending forces into an unjust war. Would it not also then be immoral to put their lives on the line?

In all of these instances I would argue that a "negative" policy that allows a practice to continue is resulting in evil outcomes, and in each of those cases it is peoples lives that are being lost (not just money or something material of that nature). So to me it seems near-sighted to say that abortion is the only issue that matters. I certainly think abortion is evil and immoral and should be illegal. But lets say we have a candidate who promises to make abortion illegal (regardless of the fact that it probably won't happen), but is going to continue the same course of action on all these other issues. Is that candidate more moral than one who will reverse all the other positions but allow abortion to continue?

I guess part of what motivates me is the knowledge that the United States is such an influential country globally. That is why our economic policies are wrecking other countries right now. So it seems far too narrow minded and selfish to say "we should only worry about what happens in our country" or something similar. We can't just think about ourselves in this country, what we do has a massive impact globally. We need to keep that in mind, and in doing so we are not just considering the "political" implications of what we do abroad, but also the major moral ramifications.

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