Eugene Cho

the abortion conversation

Every presidential election, abortion becomes a tense issue and I suspect that will never change.  Let me first say I respect those whose commitment to the unborn extends beyond the election rhetoric.  I have a friend whose life long calling and job is to fight for the unborn.  Unlike her, I confess that while I am Pro-Life and against abortion, I am more talk than walk, more preach than do, more blog than [can't find a good word here].  But I still struggle with it.  While I was genuine in my quote in Sojourners that

“I don’t want to be defined by one or two issues”

I still care much about those one or two issues.  While I can’t honestly  come to agree that abortion is the greatest moral issue of our day as some are proned to say, I know that God cares immensely for the unborn and thus, we must care as well.  God also cares for the born and thus my “womb to tomb” ethic of pro-life.

Couple people [I know of] left our church because they disagreed with my view on abortion and I suspect that it may be possible that couple more may leave after they read this.  Like most Christians I know, I am against abortion.  However, I just do not believe we can legislate it.  Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement – if it were to be turned illegal. Furthermore, I think we are fooling ourselves if we think abortion rates will be reduced significantly if Roe v. Wade was overturned.  I can certainly be wrong. Rather than legislating it, I wonder how abortions can be reduced by speaking and appealing to the Heart and Soul of a person and to make all necessary provisions if a person decides to have that baby In short, can we maintain choice but do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?  This is where most of us fall short.

I want to share with my readers three posts that I’ve read in recent weeks that speak on the topic of life, abortion, and pro-life.  This is going to be a long post because I am simply re-posting these three entries from three different people with three different views:  Melissa [from Quest Church], Randy Alcorn [Eternal Perspectives] and Frank Schaeffer [author, speaker, and son of Francis Schaeffer]. I’ve chosen to post all their entries rather than only links in hopes that it would encourage you to read all three without clicking anything.  Anyone that reads the entire post gets a prize.

Here’s Melissa with the quote that I won’t soon forget: “I have yet to find a political party that cares about all dead babies, rather than just the dead babies in their partisan count. Until I do, I’m stuck reading the voters’ pamphlet, looking online, and trying to chose the least death-filled candidate I can find.”  Here are her thoughts:

I recently had a conversation with someone who told me he votes party-line republican because democrats don’t care about “moral issues” like dead babies. He equates being pro-life with being republican, and sees abortion as the only “pro-life” issue.

It made me mad. It made me so mad, I wanted to start throwing dead babies at him. I decided to go on the internet and find some dead babies to throw.

In 2005, the US infant mortality was 6.86 deaths per 1,000 births. The rate for non-Hispanic black mothers was 13.63. The rate for white mothers was 5.73. That’s pretty bad for an industrialized nation. It also shows some nasty nasty racial differences.

In the 2008 UNICEF “State of the Children” report, the United States ranked 151st out of 189 in under-five mortality rankings. For the richest nation in the world, that’s awful! You might even say it’s immoral.

Ways to prevent infant mortality: (btw – all of these solutions cost $$$)

  • provide prenatal and childhood healthcare through government programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP (democrats win)
  • promote healthy choices for pregnant women and mothers (public awareness campaigns, reducing mother-child HIV transmission, etc)
  • reduce teen pregnancies (birth control, sex ed, fund public education) (democrats win)
  • promote research to reduce infant mortality (more education funding… dems, obviously).

To clumsily sum-up: live-born babies in the US are dying because they don’t have access to healthcare and their mothers are poor and under-educated. They are also dying because our country still suffers from racism. There are dead babies in every politician’s closet.

Now we have republicans throwing unborn dead babies at the democrats, and democrats throwing live-born dead babies at republicans.

Do we credit republicans with “standing against abortion”, even though the stand costs only words (as opposed to spending real money) and doesn’t prevent babies from dying? Talk is cheap, and I hold no hope for Roe vs. Wade being reversed in my lifetime. It’s a battle of “the principle of the thing” at this point, rather than fighting for babies we can actually save. How many points for effect-less principles? (And how many points deducted for pointless wars?)

Do we credit democrats with the fewer, and un-tally-able live-born babies who stay alive due to socially-conscious policies? At least those babies are here. What about the babies who weren’t conceived, due to increased access to birth control? Do those babies outweigh the 1,287,000 babies who won’t even be born this year?

Can’t we agree that ALL dead babies are bad?  Don’t be silly, Melissa. That wouldn’t leave any dead babies to throw at political opponents. We prefer to squabble over which dead babies are worst.

Yes, I care about dead babies. I care about the unborn dead babies, and the still-born dead babies, and the live-born dead babies. I have yet to find a political party that cares about all dead babies, rather than just the dead babies in their partisan count. Until I do, I’m stuck reading the voters’ pamphlet, looking online, and trying to chose the least death-filled candidate I can find.

Neither of our political parties have a monopoly on morality. I can tell because there are too many dead babies lying around. [original post]

Randy Alcorn – author, blogger, and teacher – on Not Cool: Obama’s Pro-Abortion Stance, and Christians Enabling him.

A year and a half ago, when I first heard about Barack Obama, I got excited. I really wanted to support him. An evangelical Christian told me Obama was prolife. I didn’t care that Obama was a Democrat. I wanted a pro-life, pro-environment, pro-racial equality president who took seriously our need to care for the poor and defend the needy.

Granted, I also wanted someone who wasn’t a New Age anti-industry activist with a “Meat is Murder” bumper sticker. I wanted someone who is committed to national defense, but knows when not to go on offense. I wanted someone who doesn’t hear every Douglas fir screaming when it’s cut down.

But, frankly, I relished the opportunity to show I wasn’t a lockstep Republican. I was, and still am, tired of the Pat Robertson sort of Republicanism that supported proabortion-Republican-who-publicly-cheated-on-his-wife Rudy Giuliani because he’s the only guy who could beat Hillary. (This was a non-prophetic endorsement on too many levels to count.)

That Barack Obama is an African-American was a real plus to me, and not for superficial reasons. I believed it could help further the vision of Martin Luther King in my favorite speech of the modern era, in which he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I get tears in my eyes just hearing that speech in my head.

I knew from the first time I heard him speak that Obama was cool. And if the candidate I supported, for reasons of substance, also happened to be cool, that would be a nice plus. I coach high school tennis, and I like it when the kids like me. And hey, my generation invented the word cool! (Of course it also invented the word groovy, but….).

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.

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. 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.

When I discovered Obama was an all-out defender of legalized child-killing, I was disappointed beyond words. And I knew that in the next election, I was not going to get to be cool.

Well, here we are, and I have been asked what I think about the evangelical brothers and sisters who support Obama despite his uncompromising pro-choice stance. I have specifically been asked about Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, because Don prayed at the Democratic Convention and has been widely quoted as a supporter of Obama.

On a previous blog I wrote about Obama and McCain, Leanne left in her comment a link to an interview with Don Miller, concerning his support for Barack Obama. (I’m glad she did.) I recommend that you hear directly from Don, who is prolife. Perhaps you should read that interview now so you really hear what he’s saying.

I have hesitated to say anything publicly, but there’s so much conversation that has been generated by Don’s endorsement of Obama, I think I need to. By the way, as soon as I post this, I’m going to send a link to this blog to Don to tell him if he wants to respond I’ll publish anything he has to say in a follow-up blog. (This is the same morning I posted this blog, and I just got an email response from Don; I’ve just deleted a few things that he thought were unfair, though my overall thoughts remain the same.)

First, Don is a friend of mine, and a good brother. He is sharp, kind-hearted, interesting and genuinely funny. He is also sincere. I enjoy hanging out with him, though I don’t get to as much as I’d like, four times I think in the last couple of years. By the way, I was one of the pastors at (and am still part of) the church in the suburbs he went to, which he says in Blue Like Jazz was like “going to church at The GAP.” I got a good laugh out of that and many other things he said.

A while ago, Don and I had coffee (something we’re one on) and talked about things mostly that we agreed about, and some on which we disagreed. You can disagree and still be friends and brothers and Christ-followers, you know.

Don and I agreed that day at Starbucks that many Republican Christians have been used by the Republican Party. We agree that there are other important issues besides abortion and homosexual marriage. (Again, I repeat, Don is not proabortion, he is prolife; he says he has stated his disagreement with Obama on this issue, and I believe him.) Among those common concerns we have are racial justice and concern for the poor, and stewarding the environment. Of course, not all with the same concerns agree on which programs and policies are, in the long run, most helpful in furthering these righteous causes.

Don and I agreed that day that Christians should be first and foremost followers of Jesus, not political parties.

I went on record long ago as being unwilling to vote for a Republican nominee if he was not willing to stand up for the right to life of innocent children. (Don tells me that he too doesn’t always vote with his party.) The prolife statement in the Republican platform is probably the most God-honoring thing it says, and if there’s a Republican politician who doesn’t hold to it, as Senator Bob Packwood didn’t here in Oregon, there is no way I’ll ever vote for him. Packwood never got my vote even though some Christian Republicans told me I should support him because he was conservative, at least until he was exposed for his sexual conduct. (Click here to compare what the Republican and Democratic Party platforms have to say about abortion.)

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. And he’s chosen a running mate who not only professes to be prolife but lived it out by valuing a precious Down Syndrome child that 80% of people would have aborted. McCain and Palin are far from perfect. But I believe they would honestly stick up for the most oppressed and violated people group in this nation, unborn children.

Of course, these days it’s especially not cool to support a Republican, even if he would defend innocent children, because Republicans are part of the party of George Bush, someone who is hated by cool people. (Nobody mentions that the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln, that opposed slavery; they were hated for that too.)

I am deeply concerned about the one, two or possibly three Supreme Court justices to be appointed in the next presidential term. 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.

So, does God care about who his children vote for? In many cases, with not much difference between them, I doubt it. But here’s what he says about the needy and afflicted who have no one to help them and are on the brink of death:

“For God will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.” (Psalm 72:12-14)

The blood of weak and needy unborn children is precious in God’s sight. Please don’t tell me abortion isn’t the only issue. Of course it isn’t. Treatment of the Jews wasn’t the only issue in 1940 Germany. Buying, selling and owning black people wasn’t the only issue in the United States of 1850. Nonetheless, both were the dominant moral issues of their day. Make no mistake about it. In our own day if we support a candidate who defends abortion, who is dedicated to that cause, we are supporting the killing of children. Yes, even if he’s the coolest candidate to come along in decades.

We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ for our decisions, and a vote is a decision in which we assume responsibility for the known beliefs and moral positions of the candidate.

This is not speculation, it is not a spin, it is demonstrable fact: Barack Obama IS committed to continuing the legalized killing of unborn children in this country.

Some Christians claim otherwise. But in his July 17, 2007 speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Obama said,

“We know that a woman’s right to make a decision about how many children she wants to have and when— without government interference—is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have in this country. . . . I have worked on this issue for decades now. I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught constitutional law. . . So, you know where I stand. . . The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.That’s the first thing that I’d do.”

If you don’t know about the Freedom of Choice Act, it was written by the most radical proabortion activists because they saw informed consent and parental consent laws being passed at the state level. They wanted something powerful that would dismantle anything that could serve to reduce abortions through requiring that people be told the truth before an abortion or before their sixteen year old, who can’t be given an aspirin without their permission, can have an abortion.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. Obama standing in front of them and promising he’s 100% on their side is the equivalent of a presidential candidate 160 years ago addressing an assembly of the owners of the slave ships, and saying, “If you elect me, the first thing I will do is sign an act that will insure slaves won’t be freed, and that nullifies any and all voter-approved state legislation that restricts slavery.” (And sadly, yes, even hearing this, some Christians would have campaigned for and voted for him.)

Now, “first thing” means first thing, right? So before helping the poor and protecting the environment and addressing the economy and national defense, what is President Obama going do? He’s going to assure that abortion stays legal and that the numbers are NOT reduced, by signing an act that will devastate decades of work at the state level by the prolife movement. Requirements of parental notification and informed consent and bans on partial birth abortions? History, if Obama has his way.

When Obama made this promise, he was either lying or telling the truth. If he was lying, he has a serious character problem. If we can’t trust him to do this, why trust him to follow through on any other promise, including those for which evangelicals are supporting him?

Ironically, however, if Obama was not lying, then he has a far worse character problem. Why? Because he is committing himself to oppose the rights of unborn children to live. I would rather he be a liar than that he be the defender of the killing of weak and vulnerable children, the orphans and fatherless.

I think he is sincere and likable, but on this matter, a matter of enormous significance, it is no exaggeration to say he is standing in defiance of the Creator. (A Creator whose blessing we should not dare ask if we defend the legalized killing of the children He creates.)

It is certainly a bad thing to promise something good, then not carry out your promise, as some Republican politicians have done in the prolife arena. (But though I don’t always agree with him, George Bush—dare I even bring up his name?—did appoint two Supreme Court judges who have shown a respect for prolife issues.)

But it is even worse to promise something bad, something that is in fact evil—the furthering of the shedding of innocent blood—and then keep your promise.

We may want to show the world that we Christians are cool enough to support the coolest political candidate who’s come along in decades. I really wanted to. But I just can’t get past child-killing. That’s a price for coolness that’s just too high.

Frank Schaeffer’s post on Huffington Post:

Dear Republican and Pro-Life Friends,
Thanks for the spittle-flecked emails as well as for the polite queries. Yes, I am aware Obama is pro-choice. Yes, I’m still pro-life. I also believe that with Obama in the White House that there will be less abortions in America than with the Republicans in power.

As you know I was a lifelong Republican until I reregistered as an Independent in 2006, after I just couldn’t take the Rove brigade’s dirty tricks, lies and slime any longer. When I worked to get John McCain nominated in 2000 I went on many conservative and religious radio shows to plead his cause. I started edging away from the party after seeing the filth the Bush crew got away with.

I know rather a lot about the politics of the “life issues.” And I know you know that is true because you are calling me a traitor for supporting Senator Obama because of my leadership in the early stages of the pro-life movement.

You also know that without my late Evangelical leader father Francis Schaeffer’s and my work (teamed up with C. Everett Koop) there would have been no Evangelical/Republican pro-life movement as it emerged in the mid 1970s. And on a personal note, having gotten my girlfriend pregnant when we were teens, I also know a little about the heartache that goes along with a very unplanned pregnancy. Fortunately we received the sort of support that made keeping our daughter Jessica possible. It could have gone another way.

That said…I know (as you pro-lifers do if you’re honest) that the Republicans have milked the abortion issue, as have the Evangelical and Roman Catholic leadership, for every dime it’s worth for fundraising, votes, power and empire-building, without changing much if anything. As I said, I also am fully aware that Senator Obama is pro-choice. I think his pro-choice views are out of character with his otherwise generous and enlightened world view.

The pro-life cause poisoned many of us who were part of it. Me included. It led to self-righteous hubris that extended to a general attitude of hate toward the “other.” For instance power hungry strivers such as James Dobson and Pat Robertson took the passion generated by the pro-life cause and fueled their wholly illegitimate war against gay Americans with it, not to mention their multi million dollar empires. Our cause became all about power over other people, money and the muscle to win elections, not about the good of unborn babies and women.

I describe this corruption in my book, CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back. I explore what happened to us as we were lured by politics and money. So lots of folks who are in the Evangelical/Republican/Roman Catholic establishment and who are still earning a good living through the culture wars hate my book (and me) for spilling the beans.

Just for the record: my annual income was a lot bigger and more secure within the Evangelical fold than without. The big bucks in America are all about selling God, as Rick Warren, James Dobson or Joel Osteen can tell you, not earned blogging for lefty sites such as Huffington Post or writing novels as I do now.

That said… First, a nod to reality: even if Roe were reversed (it won’t be no matter who is president) the abortion pill and the acceptance of at least some types of legal abortion by most Americans guarantees there will be access to abortion. Besides, on a state-by-state basis abortion would remain legal in most states no matter what the court does. And as we have seen the Republicans haven’t really changed anything in thirty years.

So what do we who find abortion abhorrent do if we want to deal in reality rather than fantasies and slogans of winner-take-all propaganda? The reality is that we need to foster a climate in which we can reduce the number of abortions and also keep the moral — rather than legal — debate alive.

We can’t do this by concentrating on politics, or silver bullets such as trying for that one magic court appointment. It’s the “holistic” approach that is really what’s important if our goal is to reduce the number of abortions rather than just “win” political games.

The effort to reduce abortions will be more possible in the Obama era than in a continuation of the hardhearted Bush presidency with McCain. This is all about tone and moral leadership, not law.

At heart of the abortion reality is this: we are a consumerist society with a heart of stone when it comes to the poor, who account for four times the national average of people having abortions, mostly because of economic needs that Republicans don’t lift a finger to address. And we still denigrate women and female sexuality.

Meanwhile we face global catastrophe if we keep on the path we are on that the Republicans have put us on. And Obama promises real change on the environment, education, the economy, the military and foreign affairs, all of which need to change, not as a luxury or choice or option, but as a matter of national survival.

I guess that having had my Marine son John go to war for George W. Bush concentrated my mind on the seriousness of this election. McCain won’t do more than provide another four-to-eight years of Bush. Our planet and country can’t endure that. And our military is disintegrating under the Bush doctrine, which is: “You all go shopping while we ask a few Americans to go to war again and again and again and again…”

For all you sanctimonious Evangelicals out there, also note: when it comes to squeaky clean family values, Senator Obama — not Senator McCain — should be your role model. The Republican right wants us to draw back in horror from Obama because he is pro-choice, but this is the same group working to get a philanderer who abandoned his wife because she had a disfiguring accident, elected.

It isn’t just a matter of voting for Obama. Americans who want there to be a country left in which to argue our issues must vote against McCain. As his support for the Bush lies about Iraq shows McCain is hung up on his own version of post-Vietnam traumatic stress disorder. This is a man who would take our civilian culture down in flames and sacrifice it to his sense of death-or-glory military “honor.” How do you “win” a wrong war? McCain will make the world more dangerous. You think Bush was a cowboy? Just try McCain.

I say this as the proud father of United States Marine. I say this as someone who believes that we should be in Afghanistan where my son served, fought and risked his life for us all. I also say this as someone who believes that when it comes to pro-life issues in the most comprehensive sense, that President Bush, Dick Cheney and the neoconservative/Republican establishment have needlessly killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and over 4000 American servicemen and women.

I use the words “needlessly killed” advisedly. When you send men and women into an unnecessary and unprovoked war-of-choice for spurious reasons that then turn into outright lies, you’ve murdered them. And George W. Bush has sanctioned torture, contravened the Geneva conventions, and has lied to the American people about all of it.

Bush has destabilized the world. The latest evidence of this is the fact that Russia attacked Georgia. In the climate of Bush’s aggression, where is our moral standing to criticize Russia? McCain offers no alternative. These too are life issues.

There’s no point arguing about abortion, capital punishment, women’s rights, gender equality or any other issue — no matter how important — while the ship of state is being torpedoed by the Commander-in-Chief. We can’t afford more of this. Our honorable military can’t endure more of this. Our economy can’t endure more of this. Our Earth will not survive more of this. Bush and his look alike shill McCain have to go.

When it comes to the issue of abortion there is another side besides legality/illegality: the nature of our country.

What kind of care do we provide to mothers and children? What is our educational system like? Is healthcare available to all? Do our preschool programs and everything from paternal and maternal leave to the economic well-being of our country come first? Or do we argue about abortion rights while we live lives of such supreme selfish decadence that the nature of our country means that no matter what we do with the laws about abortion life will not be valued?

The Republican leadership is not pro-life. They are simply against abortion for reasons of political expediency. They are also for torture and military aggression. And they chose a literal executioner for president; a former governor who has more blood on his hands than any other modern American governor; Mr. Texas-sized, Capital Punishment-with-no-mercy-no-pardons hang em’ high himself.

The Republicans have contributed to climate change by coddling oil companies and car companies and ducking the hard environmental and energy policy questions for thirty years. They have literally sold our country to the highest polluting bidders from the Saudis to the Chinese. Therefore the Republicans have literally risked the ability of our planet to sustain all human life born and unborn. So much for human life values.

Who will help us to become a nation that values life — abortion rhetoric aside? Obama.

The contrast could not have been more clear than on August 16 in the interview between pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church and Obama and McCain. Obama gave real and thoughtful answers, often trying to explore a moral question deeply. McCain offered nothing more than canned applause lines and anecdotes from his tired simplistic stump speech.

McCain fed pre-programed red meat to the Evangelical faithful who were packing the auditorium, but not much more. He parroted all the “right” lines about abortion, the same empty phrases Bush, parrots, Bush’s father parroted and Reagan and Ford parroted.

“When does life begin?” asked Warren. “At conception!” shot back McCain.

The Evangelical crowd goes wild! See?! That’s our guy!

And where do the tired canned pro-life “correct answers” get us? Nowhere.

I will be voting for the presidential candidate who seems most authentically exercised about our devastating problems and who is ready to not only address them but to provide the inspiring leadership that will move my fellow citizens and I to do something about our terminal situation. I’ll be voting for the man that has also inspired the world more than any national leader in my lifetime.

There are worse things than America being liked and therefore safer. Would you rather have non-Americans waving our flag or burning it?

In the best of all worlds we would be living in a country in which no one had an abortion. We would be living in a country in which there was never capital punishment. We would be living in a country that would have addressed the legacy of our racist past and racist present so that we would not have a disproportionate number of black men and women locked in our prisons. We would be living in a country where people calling themselves Christians would not hate gay people. We would be living in a country that never went to war except as last resort for self defense. We would be living in a country where education and opportunity was every American’s birthright. But we are not.

The question is: Who can best help us to the realization of the real American Dream?

The Republicans only offer consumerism as a debased sort of “freedom.” This is the freedom of “me” and “I.” This is the freedom of pigs rooting at a trough.

As a born-again Christ-centered believer Obama offers a spiritual vision of life founded on the Sermon On the Mount. It is the freedom of “we.” It is the same view of freedom that my Marine son learned in boot camp: that the person standing next to you is more important than you are. That concept of freedom is more in keeping with valuing all human life. It will create a climate more friendly to mothers and children.

As I listen to Senator Obama speak, as I see the selfless altruistic energy he has generated in a whole new generation of young people, as I think about the ethical, caring culture he would like to foster with healthcare for all, a revamped and reenergized educational system that includes the arts, history, poetry and all those things that make life worthwhile, as I think about the wars my son’s brothers-in-arms are still mired and dying in because of the hubris of the Republicans, as I think about the crying need to restore our standing in the world, as I think about the scandalous way in which the Republicans have manipulated people, including the most sincere Evangelicals, Orthodox and Roman Catholics, to get their votes, while not actually doing anything about the issues they care most about, yes, I am ready to for a change.

In Obama’s America arguments for compassion for the unborn and all the other “least of these” will resonate regardless of Obama’s stance on the legality of abortion. Roe is not the point. Our hearts are the point. The unborn like everyone else will do better in a country that puts people, the earth, and our future ahead of greed, oil company profits and jingoistic rule by fear.

I will be voting for Senator Obama and am fighting for his election because I am pro-life.

And if you’ve read this far: What do you think?

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103 Responses

  1. d says:

    PE – haven’t visited your blog in a while, and i just finished ranting with my friends about how i hate, and am so sick of, politics. but i couldn’t help but read this entire post. really challenges me to actually “do” instead of stick to my one-liners. i have no idea where to go from here…how can i help reduce the number of unborn/stillborn/liveborn dead babies and support families in need?

  2. CpG says:

    Schaeffer is right. The Republican’s prolife stance on abortion seems to always come down to the “silver bullet”, and that is the overturning of Roe v. Wade which, ultimately, is highly unlikely in any administration and won’t really decrease the number of abortions anyway. The key is, and always has been, education, social services, and solving the poverty problem. I trust Obama to recognize that (as Clinton did before) and make the right choices which will eventually lead to decreasing the overall number of abortions in this country. Hopefully, at the end of eight years, it will be a satisfying thing to point out to all those who doubted it would happen.

  3. Eddie says:

    Wow, Eugene. A record for length of post.

    This is always really tough because I think you nailed it on the head with the question you posed: “Can we maintain choice and do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?”

  4. Sue says:

    I was watching the Maher Show on HBO and heard a funny and not so funny line from a woman defending Pro-Choice.

    I’m probably botching up her words but she said something like this: “If men were the ones that had to have the babies…we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Abortions would be like sacraments.”

    It was brutal but also kinda hit a cord. Anyone else?

  5. J. P. says:

    I’m anti-abortion and pro-choice.

    I do not profess to understand how preserving the right of all who hold different values to choose differently (e.g., abortion, gay marriage, etc.) hinders me from choosing what I believe to be right. And “pro-life” is a patent misnomer when it accompanies a pro-execution stance.

    What will signify the good news in each particular situation is not, in my understanding or experience, a foregone conclusion–it must be worked out.

  6. phyllisophy says:

    i have to agree more with mr. scaheffer than the other two. the question you posed: “Can we maintain choice and do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?” i think we have to answer yes! simply repealing legislation is not going to be the solution to reduce the number of abortions or to preserve the morality of the united states. i think when we legalize the situation, we end up distancing people from the emotion, the pain, the confusion, the sadness, and the difficult choice some women make. when you take the important stuff away and just look at it as a piece of law, the compassion is lost and so is the perspective needed to really tackle the problem at the root.

    have you ever been inside an abortion clinic? i have. they have notebooks filled with stories and comments from mothers-to-be (sometimes fathers-to-be & other possible support people) who are so sad and not wanting to make this decision, but feel like they have no other way to deal with this. just thinking about those notebooks i read, i am teary eyed. the tremendous toll that it takes – it is unimaginable. before the woman has even walked in to the clinic, she has to face all the protesters with pictures of dead babies and the like that condemn them all the more. after it’s all over, she walks out to face that again and the reality of the decision that she will never be able to shake nor really share to anyone without fear of facing judgment, condemnation, or looks of horror.

    the thing that i really dislike is when the “evangelical” talks about abortion and forgets about the people who are affected by it and why these women feel that this is their only option or choice. we tend to distance ourselves because it won’t affect us or it will never happen to us… but i think if you look around carefully and deeply enough, you will see that it does happen to us. how many evangelicals are out there who have had an abortion, but just can’t talk about it or are hiding it, especially because it is one of “those” issues?

    i value life – a lot. i value both the unborn child and his/her mother. both their lives matter and are important. i value real solutions to problems not just legislation. if we truly value the lives of the unborn, then we have to start by taking care of those who are already born – providing education, support, and the church to step up and take away the stigma to offer love, forgiveness, and to help meet the needs of God’s children – all of them.

  7. [...] Cho over at Beauty and Depravity offered a great post presenting three views on the current [...]

  8. Bob says:

    Frank Schaeffer is over the top with his rhetoric. I’ll vote for the Republican because of Obama’a strident pro-choice. He was one of two senators that was for partial-birth abortion. “Thou shalt not murder” is hard to sweep away with pleas to help the poor.

  9. Matt K says:

    I’ve got to pick at some of these sentiments a little bit. I’m a politically progressive Christian, but also very pro-life/anti-abortion. I’ve been a “Sojourners” kind of Christian for a long time, but in recent years have found this “against abortion personally/leave it legal/address the root causes” line to be a real collapse of our prophetic witness to this culture– and its almost as flawed morally as it is logically. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but this is something I’m very passionate about. And before I go further, I’ll also say this; I’m voting Obama, but I am deeply troubled by his pro-abortion stance.

    For one: abortion is as big of a social justice issue as any. Over a million babies are aborted in the US every year, tens of millions across the globe. It kills more than AIDS and war together. Its an issue of Biblical justice because God is on the side of the defenseless: the poor, the widow, the orphan, the alien. All of us who suffer from sin were defenseless from its curse, but Jesus came to our defense. Justice is defense for the defenseless– and nobody is more vulnerable than the unborn. Abortion is as big a justice issue as any. It needs to be at the front of our justice efforts (not necessarily trumping other things like poverty, environment, war; but not secondary to it).

    Next, this idea that we will not legislate restrictions on abortions doesn’t square with our other civic involvement as it relates to Biblical Justice. Are you against the death penalty? Would you say that the state-sponsered capital punishment should remain legal but we should address the “root causes” to reduce the number of capital punishments? We believe poverty is a justice issue, but we ask our government to create laws to protect the poor. Why don’t we just say, “the church should do its part to reduce poverty without political/government effort”? Its a double standard to lobby the government for more food stamps, student loans, and welfare but urge “a non legislative approach” when it comes to millions of terminated children. Progressive Christians loose their moral prophetic voice by embracing the rhetoric of one party without challenging its moral blindness on a striking issue of biblical justice.

    If you really want to be revolutionary for biblical justice; try being consistently pro-life. You’ll end up with a lot of enemies on both the left and the right, but you’ll have sided with the friends of Jesus: children, widows, criminals, the sick, the disabled, the poor, the unborn.

  10. I’ve yet to find a party or candidate with a consistent pro-life ethic. While I strongly disagree with Obama’s ideological position on abortion, I think that his practical approach to improving healthcare and economic conditions will actually cut back on the number of abortions that happen in this country every year.

    I voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 with some unrealistic expectations about how Republicans would handle the abortion issue. It seems to me that if the Republican Party was serious about passing laws that would make abortion illegal, they would provide voters with some specifics about how this would work out practically. How would these laws be enforced? What sort of penalties would doctors and mothers face if they broke them? Which government agency would be responsible for oversight—the FBI? Would gynecologists be required to report pregnancies to the government?

    The logistics are, in fact, pretty daunting.

    I’m beginning to suspect that Republicans are taking advantage of pro-lifers in an effort to build a reliable base of one-issue voters, and that they have no intention of actually making abortion illegal.

    Some shameless promotion: I blogged about this recently and got some interesting responses from readers at http://www.rachelheldevans.com/article-1224185918.

  11. Dan says:

    I think one of the biggest problems with those anti-abortion-pro-Obama folks is that we have yet to make our voices heard outside of Relevant and Sojourners message boards. Republicans have long depended on the right-to-life folks, and taken them somewhat for granted, but they haven’t really changed their tune on that issue (anti-abortion, anti-federal govt funding health care/education related legislature). In the debate, Obama’s response to the Roe v. Wade question (he really tries to use that as an example of solid constitutional law – has he read the case? the constitution?) was lacking, but no one really called him out for it. If we truly are going to support Obama, we also need to speak out against what we see as his shortcommings (as those who vote for McCain should do as well), and we need to do so loudly. If we do not, I fear we will become just another taken for granted portion of the electorate. Either way, I plan on throwing up next Tuesday, because frankly, I am not excited about either candidate.
    Bob Casey 2012?

  12. Amber says:

    Thank you for this post, Eugene, and particularly Schaeffer’s post.

  13. David says:

    I find myself wanting to lean with Melissa’s stance on the Pro-Life stance. It seems to allow me to duck accusations from all sides – I can claim to be Pro-Life and yet still not oppose the ongoing tragedy that is abortion-as-birth control.

    I have to ask myself whether I’m truly sincere, though. Am I softening the issue when I turn a blind eye to murder? Am I simply turning a blind eye to murder in order to allow me to fit in with the cool crowd? Do I truly believe that by focusing on the good that can be done by choosing somebody who can address a wide range of problems, the one morally reprehensible stance can be justified? Am I selling out an issue simply because I don’t think that anything can be done about it?

    It’s a hard choice…one that requires much honest soul-searching. In the end, I have to trust that God can work through my flawed reasoning and accomplish his will in spite of the imperfect choices that we have and my best-intentioned response to them.

  14. Eugene,
    Thanks for the post and for your caring heart. I do have one comment. We outlaw something because the state has an interest in enforcing justice. We outlaw, say, child molestation because it is unacceptable. Outlawing it and enforcing the law will never stop it. It will reduce it, but man and woman have evil in their hearts and evil will continue. You outlaw something because you are saying it is evil and unacceptable. You hold your torch to the darkness when you try to enforce it. I think the movie “No Country for Old Men” handles this concept very well. Evil is always with us. We side with God when we fight it. Abortion is evil and unacceptable and outlawing it is one way we fight it. We also fight it in the other ways, by changing society and supporting families and etc. But we lost something when we accepted it by making it legal.

  15. I lied. I have more to say.
    There were hospitals that were doing abortions, late term abortions, and the baby survived. The hospitals would take that baby and leave them in a storeroom to die alone. They fired nurses who would try to give the babies some comfort, not even save them, just let them die in someone’s arms instead of dying alone. The Congressional bill to stop this was called the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. All of what I’m saying is in the Congressional record. Obama voted against the state version of the bill. This is not some hypotehtical concept here. This is barbarism. And Obama is on the most radical pro-abortion side of things. He may say he wants to reduce abortion. How brave of him. But when you look at his voting record, he is the most extreme pro-abortion presidential candidtate we’ve ever had.

  16. Ahhh… I have to stop. Just one more thing.
    As for enforcement, it’s a silly issue. When grandma dies of old age, there’s no police inquiry. When grandma is beaten to death in her home and dismembered, there’s significant inquiry. Enforcement would, of necessity, go after the doctors who trade in abortion. Again, enforcement would not be perfect and certainly would not stop abortions, but we make lots of things illegal under those circumstances. Prostitution, child abuse, human trafficking, drug sales, murder, all come to mind.

  17. gar says:

    Thanks for the Frank Schaeffer piece, Pastor Eugene. It really resonated with me, and he laid out the same reasons that many young Christian voters like myself support an Obama presidency versus a McCain presidency – that being a so-called “pro-life” supporter encompasses so much more than just Roe v. Wade.

  18. Steve Rose says:

    EC, you stated we might be fooling ourselves to think the number of abortions would be reduced significantly if R v. W were overturned…in the 2 years prior to R v. W, over a million babies were aborted illegally in 1971 and 72 combined according to physiciansforlife.org (480K in 71 and 587K in 72)…I suspect you are correct. We were quickly on our way to becoming a culture of death, legal or illegal.

  19. daniel says:

    Thanks for the post, and thanks for your thoughtfulness, Eugene.

    Brian McLaren also posted recently about why he is voting for Obama, in light of abortion/life issues.

    There was also Nicholas Cafardi – “I’m Catholic, staunchly anti-abortion, and support Obama

  20. Matt K says:

    I don’t think overturning Roe v. Wade is a silver bullet to end abortion. But putting legal restrictions on elective abortion and late term abortion is part of a plethora of things we need to do advocate for the unborn. I don’t disagree that a major portion of that involves making our world more hospitable to children and families with healthcare access and economic justice– but we also need to acknowledge that a large number of abortions are committed simply out of selfishness (in our culture where out-of-wedlock pregnancy is no longer stigmatized, all the prolife movement is asking that the mother give the child mere months so that adoptive parents can welcome it into a loving home home).

    This means that churches, families, and communities need to support young mothers and poor families. It means that we need to increase healthcare access for poor parents and for children. It means we need to preach a theology of life in our pulpits. But it also means putting reasonable legal limits on abortion-as-birth control. Perhaps illegal abortion will go up, but with today’s access to non-abortificant birth control, it will not be like pre-RoevWade levels. And if the church truly commits to caring for the unborn in dynamic ways beyond legal terms, illegal abortions will decrease even further.

    We cannot be beholden to a secular-political platform. The prophetic voice of justice must be aligned first and foremost with the God of Christ revealed in scripture.

  21. irene says:

    @sue: totally. i’ve heard that sort-of-joke (about if men were the ones to have babies, then abortions would be like sacraments) before.

    eugene, thanks for posting, i read all of it. like most people who have chosen a “side,” i am unchanged in my opinion. what resonates is what resonates. i’ve chosen my side because of well argued explanations such as the ones posted here.

  22. NT says:

    Great post. And I really enjoy your blog in general.

    But I think the analysis is incomplete. It isn’t just about Roe v. Wade. Consider the fact that the Hyde Amendment is probably going to be repealed and the impact that will have on abortion rates:

    http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/assets/files/Abortion-Access-to-Abortion-Women-Government-Discriminatory-Restrictions.pdf

    Or the Freedom Of Choice Act that is coming and the potential restrictions on exercise of conscience for health care providers.

  23. elderj says:

    I read the post. When I was in my teen years, I was a pro-choice Democrat and also a solidly evangelical Christian. Later I became mildly pro-life, because I realized the inconsistency, but it didn’t change my voting patterns. I always voted for the Democrats even though I opposed them on abortion issues, and on gay rights issues.

    I’ve come to a point where I believe that Christians are called to be pro-life, from conception through natural death, which means that there is much I find fault with in the Democratic Party platform that edges us further and further away from what is good and right. I find myself disturbed by some of the assumptions made that people who have voted Republican are being “used” as if they were ignorant or unaware. The fact is that there are somethings too important to compromise. The fundamental human rights enshrined in our Declaration of Independence are among these: right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For government to sanction and taxes to pay for the deprivation of life without just cause is just as unconscionable as government sanction and taxpayer support of apartheid; indeed it is worse.

    I know people disagree on this issue, and no one comes to their conclusion lightly. I do wonder however, what is the line which we will not cross as Christians? What is the thing which we absolutely will not support even if all the other things a candidate offers are what we want? If we will support abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage…. so on… what won’t we support?

  24. monica says:

    Pastor eugene… I so appreciate your thoughts on this matter. I was raised to think of abortion as a black and white issue, no ifs ands or buts about it, it was murder….

    However, I am now an adult grappling through these issues on my own now. I am a Labor and Delivery nurse and I happen to work at a facility that performs late term abortions. I have had to but all bias aside and care for these patients. I have never been so moved. I stand next to women in these most heart breaking moments. They have been forced to make the decision to terminate their pregnancy because their precious little baby is
    “incompatible with life” or mom’s life is in danger. How does one make this decision. I cannot imagine being put in the situation to make that choice and I also cannot imagine taking that choice away from them. That is not to say that there have been times I do not agree with the choice they are making. My job, however, is to love and take care of these women regardless. I have cried with women over and over again as they go through this experience and this issue is no longer black and white to me. It is so grey. As a believer coming from an ultra conservative background I have found it very difficult to share my feelings on the issue. I so appreciate you post on this. My goal, ultimately is to be loving and compassionate and I struggle more to be compassionate to those who see the issue as murder and only murder.

  25. Kacie says:

    I am pro-life, but I don’t think this issue is the governments business whatsoever. I don’t want the government stepping into something that is controversial even within the christian church (if the gov. outlawed all abortions from conception forward, they would have to ban the pill and the patch).

    The early church existed in an atmosphere that did not value life. We have little record of political actions on their part until Constantine converted. What we DO know is that they fed the poor, cared for widows and orphans, and rescued babies abandoned to infanticide.

    If we’re truly pro-life, what political parties do or say becomes almost a moot point, because if a law banning abortion is passed, illegal abortions will remain, and we will still be called to fight for life. If abortion remains a legal and common practice in our country, our mandate is still the same – defend the life of the unborn. There’s a million much more effective ways to do this then by fighting over which candidate is more likely to legislate our particular view.

  26. B says:

    Obama says he is not pro-abortion but he said that the first thing he’d do is sign the Freedom of Choice Act which would abolish all restrictions and limitations on abortions at the Federal and State Level. If FOCA gets signed into law, Roe v. Wade will not matter! Having an abortion anywhere at anytime without any restriction will be perfectly legal.

    I find Obama to be compelling and inspiring, but I cannot support a presidential candidate who is going to sign this piece of legislation.

    Also, we need to be praying for revival, because if God brings revival to this nation, it won’t matter what laws are passed. Abortion may become perfectly legal but no one will be having them because God will be writing his laws on the hearts of people!

  27. Therese says:

    Eugene, I appreciate you hosting such a thought and well-mannered conversation. You have good readers. :)

    We must always be sensitive to the nuances of every subject. There are many layers as you said in your post. Monica shares about the true and genuine emotional impact. I believe and agree with her wholeheartedly.

    But underlying the grey areas, abortion is wrong. It is sin and to be more frank, it is murder. It is the killing of life at its worst and we must do all that we can to ensure that it is stopped.

  28. tm says:

    As one who is still examining the candidates, I will say this: while I have been open minded in hearing both sides of the coin on this issue of abortion, I found it saddening that my respect for Shaeffer dropped a few notches after reading his entry. I found his rhetoric over the top and extreme. His tone of disgust…well, disgusted me. To place the blame over the ills of our country squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans his wrong. To resort to name calling and the use of some unverified facts just proved to me that he is one of the many many Christians that have disgusted me over these past few weeks.
    I am not against airing frustration or even calling out what one believes to be wrong. But when we say that God is neither Republican or Democrat yet then continue on in our hateful rhetoric over either side I have to wonder if He would even want to identify with us? How can we be about the Kingdom if we can’t even have discussions that are free of mud slinging? What kind of example are we to the rest of the world? What God are they seeing?
    McCain or Obama will be held accountable for how they led this country (I am NOT uneducated as to the faults of both) but we too will be held responsible as to how we responded, engaged and followed.
    The man I vote for may not win, but how ever it plays out, what kind of citizen will I be? Will my children see me spew venom over the elected President, the leader of their country–the one that God in his will and mercy allowed to be there? OR will they hear my concerns, yet see me prayerfully and wisely follow? Just as Christ did…

  29. Pam Christensen says:

    PE,
    Thank you for the posts. I really appreciate being able to engage in a multi-sided (for lack of a better word) debate and analysis. No matter how we vote, the (respectful) conversation makes us all better voters.

    Thank you for hosting it in one place.

  30. Tracy says:

    I still can’t understand how pro-life (just one of the many biblical precepts) has become one of the top executives in determining a president’s moral stand vs something like integrity, lying, adultery, stealing, or pride. The pro-life issue will always be mysterious to me…

  31. B says:

    Another thing to consider in all of this is the role of the government and the role of the Church. We live in the most powerful country in the world and we expect government to solve a lot of our social justice problems. Is this because the Church didn’t show up?

    So while I agree we need to reduce abortions and provide aid for all children and pregnant mothers, government isn’t the only solution. This is an area where the Church can and must do something! The Church can provide aid for prenatal and childhood healthcare. The Church can help in the adoption process. The Church can and should address the social justice issues of our world.

    However, the Church cannot change the law. That power goes to the government leaders that we elect.

  32. Matt K says:

    This is the rub when we talk about abortion, the church, and social justice. I think this sentiment that many progressive Christians have expressed, “I’m against abortion but I don’t think Government should interfere in personal choices”, is only logical if you embrace a libertarian vision of all social justice issues:

    Should the government work for economic justice? Or should that just be a choice Christians make about what they do with their money?

    Should the government do something about genocide in Darfur? Why do we want them to intervene in a genocide there but do nothing to stop the targeted extermination of special needs children here in the US?

    If you truly embrace a libertarian vision (maybe even call it anabaptist in a church/politics discussion), then I guess I can’t argue with the idea that government needs to stay out of the abortion issue. But if you write your congressperson to intervene in any issues of social justice, why can’t we do it when it comes to the unborn?

  33. delia says:

    Thank you for this! I really wish you were leading a church in here in California. However, our family will make it up to Seattle some day….

  34. Deborah S says:

    At least Obama is honest about where he stands on the issue. No he may not work to overturn Roe vs Wade but at least he wants to do other things that can make a difference. Overturning Roe vs Wade would not stop abortions anyways, just send it underground. The only thing that I have seen Republicans do is talk about over turning Roe vs Wade and tout abstinence only sex education. That kind of action is only asking for trouble and will not help lower the number of abortions.

  35. B says:

    To clarify my point regarding the role of government and the Church, we should consider what the Church is able to do regarding abortion and what can only be done through the elected leaders that we vote for.

    Some pro-lifers who support Obama justify his stance on abortion by arguing that Democratic social policies could actually reduce abortions (and provide even greater aid for all children).

    However, government (whether “democrat” or “republican”) isn’t the only solution for social needs. The Church can and should help with prenatal and childhood healthcare and the adoption process. The Church can and should do something about all the social issues related to abortion, but the Church can only stop abortion legally if she chooses to elect leaders who will do so.

  36. I’m sure all you folks mean well. But none of you has lost your life in the struggle for equal treatment under the law. Since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., did lose his life, I’m going to grant him more street creds than I’m granting you. Sorry. That’s just the way it goes.

    So, then, what did Dr. King say about the idea of surrendering the constant press for changes in legal decisions, the constant press for legislation, the constant press for regulation.

    No dummy, he understood that morality can be an ineffective subject of legislation. That is, it doesn’t transform hearts simply to impose laws. But he also understood that underneath it all, when nothing else would constrain the darkened heart, the fear of criminal prosecution and civil litigation could do good work.

    So here’s what he said, and when you read his words you will know why he would reject your arguments for Obama:

    “In our nation today a mighty struggle is taking place. It is a struggle to conquer the reign of an evil monster called segregation and its inseparable twin called discrimination–a monster that has wandered through this land for well-nigh one hundred years, stripping millions of Negro people of their sense of dignity and robbing them of their birthright of freedom.”

    “Let us never succumb to the temptation of believing that legislation and judicial decrees play only minor roles in solving this problem. Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. The law cannot make an employer love an employee, but it can prevent him from refusing to hire me because of the color of the skin. The habits, if not the hearts, of people have been and are being altered every day by legislative acts, judicial decisions, and executive orders. Let us not be misled by those who argue that segregation cannot be ended by the force of law.”

  37. elderj says:

    Deborah — overturning Roe v Wade would not send abortion underground, nor would it stop abortions. It would return it to the states which would then have to deal with it. This brings up one important point which is that state and local governments are closer to the action on most social issues and are places where individuals can have the most impact on their government and in their world. When everything becomes federalized, it decreases our influence but also lets us off the hook from having to actually deal with things.

  38. Chauncey says:

    hey Eugene. I agree completely. I doubt that other people do and I just read your part. But I figure that you get lots of guff from people on this blog. Know that I appreciate you. I went to Quest for a bit, but I decided to go to a Mennonite church instead. Thanks for all the great sermons and the blog.

  39. eugenecho says:

    @d [first poster] – welcome back. to answer your queston, i have more questions than answers. if anything, i’ve been feeling more appreciate of ALL that seek mercy, justice, and compassion. eg: my admiration for this friend whose calling is advocacy for the unborn grows every time i speak with her. rather than pitting ourselves against others, i wonder if our energy is wellspent growing DEEP in action on whatever speaks most to us – and realizing that we work in partnership with others. As a christian, that we serve a Higher Calling.

    @no on in particular:
    obama likely will be the next president. while i like him on many levels, i really do struggle over the abortion issue. if he is elected [or anyone else], i don’t see it as lost cause. people need to remain faithful in pushing him to hear the concerns of those who fight for the unborn. here are some quotes for rumination:

    [An abortion protester at a campaign event] handed me a pamphlet. “Mr. Obama, I know you’re a Christian, with a family of your own. So how can you support murdering babies?”
    I told him I understood his position but had to disagree with it. I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place.

    “I will pray for you,” the protester said. “I pray that you have a change of heart.” Neither my mind nor my heart changed that day, nor did they in the days to come. But that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own-that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that had been extended to me.

    Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.197-8 Oct 1, 2006

    on partial birth abortion:

    On an issue like partial birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. All I’ve said is we should have a provision to protect the health of the mother, and many of the bills that came before me didn’t have that.
    Part of the reason they didn’t have it was purposeful, because those who are opposed to abortion have a moral calling to try to oppose what they think is immoral. Oftentimes what they were trying to do was to polarize the debate and make it more difficult for people, so that they could try to bring an end to abortions overall.

    As president, my goal is to bring people together, to listen to them, and I don’t think that’s any Republican out there who I’ve worked with who would say that I don’t listen to them, I don’t respect their ideas, I don’t understand their perspective. And my goal is to get us out of this polarizing debate where we’re always trying to score cheap political points and actually get things done.

    Source: Fox News Sunday: 2008 presidential race interview Apr 27, 2008

    And so, if Obama is elected, I hope he is true to his word that he will deeply LISTEN.

  40. Lori says:

    I think like Randy Alcorn. Obama’s manner is sincere and respectful and very polished. He’s a gentleman and adresses the issues rather than sling mud. However, his vote on abortion issues is deplorable. What he says and what he votes do not match up. I think he is just another slick politician tickling conservative and liberal ears alike. I am not a big fan of McCain either. He doesn’t seem like presidential material to me and I don’t trust him much either (Lincoln is the only president I truly admire and support, although Regan comes in 2nd in my book.) However, McCain’s voting record on abortion speaks volumes. He puts his money where his mouth is at least on this issue.

    If Obama would vote to destroy babies who survived abortion, what in the world makes anyone think he is trustworthy to try to reduce pregnancies and reduce abortions.

    I agree that the Republicans use and abuse the abortion issue to get elected and then do nothing. It is so very sad and infuriating the way politics work. I had a pastor who once said “you cannot legislate godliness.” I think that’s true. Godliness can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ. We Evangelicals, the “religious right” so to speak, should be on our knees individually and corporately praying for the hearts of our countrymen and political leaders.

    God bless America? For how much longer.

  41. steve says:

    I have been doing a lot of thinking on this lately, nd having read through this blog post, I would like to share a few thoughts:

    Schaeffer stated that the Republican party hasn’t changed anything for the pro-life agenda in the last 30 years. Under Clinton, we got Partial Birth Abortions and abortions went up to 4000 per day in the U.S. Under Bush Partial Birth Abortion was banned through legislation and a number of other measures were implemented that reduced U.S. abortions to 3000 per day. That’s a lot, but not enough. Two Supreme Court justices were appointed and they have defended life. Obama himself in the second presidential debate said that Roe v Wade is likely at stake in this election. Schaeffer and other cannot deny it then. Obama wants to legislate against “choice restrictive” laws and in that same talk with Planned Parenthood cracked a joke with men asking them to celebrate planned parent hood for what they have achieved for them…. meaning killing the children they would otherwise be responsible for? That is a cold, selfish thing to joke about, Obama. What the heck?

    Just as importantly, Eugene, we legislate morality all of the time in this country. Before we had the Constitution we had things like the Bill of Rights which absolutely legislated a Biblical view of morality. Should we imagine going back in time and bringing into correction a Republican preacher by the name of Martin Luther King III? He was quoting the Bible and the Bill of Rights all of the time, calling for the nation to take action on behalf of the rights of the few. Should we say, “Martin, you are going about this all wrong. Changing the laws won’t stop racism or change anything. Sure we will make this activity enforceably illegal, but it won’t stop it, so we shouldn’t even try. We ought to just love our neighbors and our enemies as the Bible says and stop trying to legislate this Biblical morality. We are just infringing on the rights of others, aren’t we? In fact, the way to stop it, is to promote a safer kind of managed lynching. We could really bring down the number of lynched black people that way. I know you aren’t really happy about that, but if we just pass a law, then we will still have to deal with the issue on a state by state basis, and man that sounds tough, so maybe we shouldn’t bother.” This is crazy talk, I know, but just take a moment and put these arguments through the filter of real history (not ethereal historically revisionist views of Schaeffer.)

    We also ought to know what has been going on this year with regard to Abortion. The Supreme Court asked to review the psychological affect / damage that abortion does to the living victims of the procedure, the would-be mothers. And the facts have been devastating. In addition to that they invited a number of women to come before the court and share their personal stories, which must have been nearly impossible for them. In South Dakota, a law was passed that required doctors to give instructions about the psychological side-affect of abortion as well as what goes on medically for the baby. As a result South Dakota was the first State in the U.S since 1973 to not perform a single abortion for an entire day. Obama was the only Federal Senator (from Illinois or anywhere else) that raised money to fight the creation of that legislation. Stuff is happening, on the state and Federal level, and it is helping the situation. With the possibility of appointing two more Supreme Court Justices under the next president, Obama was right! This election will change the issue of Abortion… either for good or not.

    Finally, I think it is absolutely important to truly examine the campaigns of both Obama and McCain with regard to the environment, health care, war crimes, education, etc. Everyone knows that these are important issues and it is completely inaccurate of folks like Schaeffer to paint a picture that says “If you want to care about Abortion and not care about other issues of social justice then vote for McCain OR if you care about all of the other Social Justice issues you need to vote for Obama.” In classic manipulative form, he is creating and “OR” scenario where there should really be an “AND”. The real debate isn’t an issue IF Dems or Reps not wanting to deal with these issues but HOW they will address these important concerns and opportunities. You don’t have to vote for Obama to find an advocate for Social Justice, you just have to vote for him if you want to support the most Congressionally liberal approach to Social Justice issues. If you would rather consider a way to care about Social Justice but not feel somehow morally compromised as a Christian at the same time, STOP, and go to http://www.johnmccain.com and review his platform on these issues. If you agree with his goals, then vote for him.

    For the record, people, compare the environmental platforms of McCain versus Obama. McCain has a slew of programs that don’t cost the government (or us) a lot but that foster growth and responsibility, limiting our dependence on oil through competitive alternatives. Then go through Obama on the environment. Something like 90% of his plan has everything to do with taxation on wealth and use. Then rather than lowering dependence on oil he will subsidize the mainstreet American so they can afford to buy more oil. This is like claiming to want to fight drugs, then taxing drug pushers (because he knows that drugs are profitable) and then lowering the cost of those drugs by giving consumers money to buy more drugs cheaper. Pay attention to the details when you read that stuff. Is that really being a good steward of the environment, or just an exploitation of our dependence on that same oil to create another Obama Federal fundraiser?

  42. Ryan Peugh says:

    Pastor Cho has the role of the government and the role of the church backwards! The role of government is to make morally just laws and carry the sword… The role of the church is to help people to love God, love people and FIGHT the FIGHT of FAITH, right up to the Gates of Hell (including the holocaust of abortion…)
    Why does Pastor Cho want to suspend the fight of faith and turn one of the roles of the church (loving people) over to the government? (The government committed to maximize death.) Why does he evaluate moral judgments on the basis of fiscal convenience and not on the Bible?
    If abortion is wrong, then it remains wrong, no matter the cost…

  43. Sally K says:

    This is awesome!! Thank you so much for posting these truly thoughtful essays, Eugene. I have been so sick of talking and reading about this for so long, and it is intensifying this week. A friend from away, who i hadn’t spoken with in a few months, called me tonight to discuss exactly theses questions!! i shall email her your blog, or lnk to it if I can figure out how.

    I live about as far from your church as a person can in the lower 48, in northern Maine, but if I were in Seattle, I would love to go to your church!

  44. olymatt says:

    I keep hearing that Obama’s policies will lead to fewer abortions but no specifics have ever been given as to how he intends to do this. I have checked his site, read interviews, seen videos, the debates- no specifics are given. Some columnists and bloggers site studies that show that increased funding to social programs to help pregnant women help reduce this number and infer that this is what he means. This makes sense, however is this enough? According to statistics, in 2002 in the state of New York for every 1,000 live births there were 654 abortions, which is 39% (http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/adopt_factbook.html page 30) of all potential births. Is the real reason for pregnancy terminations economic crisis or economic inconvenience? If it’s the latter, social programs will not be very effective. I will take any reductions but I can’t consider this morally acceptable.

    I agree that the Republican party has used the issue as means of getting votes and are not doing enough. I am not convinced that McCain would do a whole lot. But the fact is Obama has opposed legislation limiting partial birth abortions (where’s his compromise here?) and is in favor of including abortion coverage in Medicaid, thus encouraging those with economic troubles to go with this solution.

    Vote for Obama for other social reasons if you must, but don’t buy this “he is going to reduce abortions” argument which doesn’t hold up, in my opinion. Check the stats in four years; I hope I am wrong.

  45. RR says:

    This should be required reading for every thoughtful Christian struggling to decide . . . and even those who may be fully resolved. I have never been a one issue voter, and try to remain open to both sides, and plan to vote for Obama.

    Even if Roe v. Wade was overturned, the hearts of the people will be unchanged, and the practice will continue. Like the drum beat of conservatives from my grandmother’s generation, prohibition did not keep people sober. At all. But my grandmother continued to vote for the Prohibition Party candidates for president until the 1970s (yes, they still had national candidates then!)

    It is not the law against murder that keeps me from murdering.

  46. Tom says:

    Wonderful and important thread. You’re a good host, Eugene. Hard to imagine a discussion like this happening anywhere else but on a blog that gives people the room to speak up.

    A too cavalier attitude toward abortion is the great moral weakness of current American progressive politics. I find it hard to swallow, even as someone who doesn’t think too highly of current American conservative politics.

    Having said that, as an evangelical (or a neo-evangelical :^), I’m just not sure abortion in many situations is the equivalent of murder.

    How is it that abortion has become the singular moral issue for so many current American evangelicals? I’m fairly familiar with church history, and abortion–though pretty common throughout the centuries–has never carried the ethical weight it does now among so many Christians.

    How did a person’s attitude toward abortion become so important that almost all other moral and ethical issues pale by comparison? What didn’t our Christian ancestors understand? How has the situation changed? Are there secular and political reasons why so many current American evangelicals think the belief that abortion is murder is the ‘on/off’ switch for acceptable morality and even a litmus test for an ‘acceptable’ faith in God?

    Certainly, Christians believed that slavery was perfectly acceptable until very recently, so changes over time in how Christians think about moral issues can be a very good thing.

    I just don’t see a lot of attention paid to abortion in the bible or in Christian history.

    Why the big change?

  47. Dawn says:

    Great post. Great conversation. I echo what Tom shared above that it’s rare to have such a respectful conversation. I don’t have much more to add but to simply thank you for hosting this conversation.

  48. chad m says:

    this is the issue that is driving me crazy…i have received emails from people urging me to read articles that talk about Obama as a “baby killer”. i have to admit, when it comes to “drinking the kool-aid”, as i hear people on the right saying these days, evangelicals are guilty. i was one of the guilty in 2000 and 2004. i feel great shame and have repented several times for my involvement in electing an administration that has done its part in killing innocent people in a senseless war.

    i have tried to have civil conversations with people about abortion, but most evangelicals who have had too much of Rove’s kool-aid aren’t interested in the conversation. has McCain actually said he’ll try and pass federal law banning abortions? no. he said it would be up to the states. so does that mean red states would be pro-life and blue-states pro-choice? weird. how’s that going to work? how’s that going to unify the country or put the country first?

    i’m picking the cool guy, not the kool-aid guy…

  49. [...] It’s been a busy week on this blog with two fairly intense posts dealing with abortion and the election.  I want to thank folks for engaging in such a thoughtful and respectful [...]

  50. Tyler M says:

    Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine had an interesting view on this. He wants us to create a new moral logic around values. Off The Map’s Podcast just put a promo up, check it out.

    http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=286366987

  51. I would like to vote for Barack Obama, and I understand the arguments of those who are both pro-life and pro-Obama (for instance, Brian McLaren, whose post was linked to in an earlier comment on this thread).

    However, I haven’t yet heard someone who is pro-life and pro-Obama discuss the Freedom of Choice Act that Senator Obama is committed to signing into law. Until this is discussed, I am afraid that maybe we are talking past each other.

    As I understand it, this legislation would nullify the progress that has been made at both the state and federal levels by the pro-life movement: parental notification, informed consent, partial-birth abortion bans, things of that nature. This seems like a step backward, not forward, in reducing abortions and valuing life.

    I would like to vote for Senator Obama, but his support of this legislation is still weighing on my conscience. So I would like to hear from someone who is pro-life and pro-Obama, what do you think of the Freedom of Choice Act, and how have you wrestled with this issue?

  52. Steve says:

    I just wrote up a new blog post that addresses the idea that Dems (or Reps) for that matter are the only party advocating for Social Justice. I also addresses the more common reasons for Christian giving up and not being willing to advocate for the Social Justice issue of abortion.

    http://enginpost.blogspot.com/2008/10/vote-for-social-action-both-campaigns.html

  53. randplaty says:

    This discussion needs to be focused on the role of government in our lives. Is the role of government to do anything it can to make our lives better? Or is the role of government to protect certain rights and have it be limited to that.

    If it’s the former, then the government should pump money into reducing poverty and sex education, reducing abortions and making our lives better. If it’s the latter, then the role of government is to outlaw abortion and its the people’s role to reduce the causes of abortion.

    It seems to me that the forefathers, writers of the declaration of independence and the constitution clearly intended the latter. It seems to me that today, Christians are abdicating their personal responsibility and the responsibility of the church to care for the poor, hungry, oppressed, orphans and widows. They want the government to do it all.

  54. chad m says:

    randplaty…i can agree that in hoping a Democratic administration will deal with poverty and social justice issues, it sounds like the church is hoping the government will take over the church’s role in this area. however, even when it comes to the issue of abortion, how many of the hard core pro-lifers are taking in pregnant teens, fighting for equal access to education for the poor, and realizing that abstinence only education doesn’t prevent kids from having sex? i have to ask that question of myself as well. am i hoping my vote every four years is going to change things, or am i really doing anything to advocate for the marginalized? am i hoping a pro-life vote will end abortion, or am i willing to walk alongside pregnant, struggling young mothers and the youth in my community?

    is it the church’s role or government’s role to deal with these issues? it has to be a both/and. as a citizen of America, one who has to pay taxes, i’m morally responsible for how those dollars are spent. i don’t want them spent on bombs. i want them spent on education, health care, fighting poverty, etc. equally, i don’t want them spent on abortion.

    one question: we know guns are also the cause of death and violence, so why aren’t pro-life Christians fighting for gun control?

  55. randplaty says:

    @chad m

    excellent observation. We aren’t. We, the pro-life church, is definitely not doing enough to prevent and reduce abortions. So let’s talk about that rather than extolling obama because he wants to reduce abortions. I think it’s got to begin with meeting and getting to know women who are considering abortions or have gotten abortions and to get to know what their lives are like and get to know them as people. How can we as a church do that?

    Is it the church’s role or government’s role to deal with these issues? Again, excellent question. This is the central issue that we should be discussing. It can be both if the people want it to be both. But should we as a people want it to be both? I believe that it should not be both. It should be the church’s responsibility. The constitution outlined a very limited federal government because they were afraid of the power of any central government. They wanted a government that would ensure some very basic rights but not solve every major social problem. I continue to agree with the founding fathers. Do you disagree with them? Why do you believe it is the role of government to deal with these social issues?

  56. chad m says:

    why do i believe it is the role of the gov’t to deal with these social issues?

    plain and simple…my tax dollars go to the gov’t. i want them to use them wisely and morally. i don’t want my tax dollars going toward bombs and guns…furthermore, if the gov’t is “by the people, for the people,” it should probably take care of the people. we should hope our govt is truly FOR the people; all people.

    the issue of health care concerns me greatly. isn’t it an ethical and moral issue that people make billions of dollars offering basic health needs while some people cannot afford nor access these basic health needs? shouldn’t we hope the gov’t would regulate that? if we could return to the smallness of our original 13 colonies, then we might hope the church could tackle health care as it once did, but until that day i believe we have to ask our gov’t to help. that is, if it is really going to be FOR all the people…

  57. Percival says:

    I liked what Randy Alcorn had to say and the way he said it respectfully but strongly.

    I didn’t really understand Melissa’s point nor her outrage.

    I didn’t like Schaeffer’s tone, nor do I appreciate his constant tirade against conservatives. Schaeffer is not in any sense neutral in the cultural wars. He characterizes conservatives as Nazi’s and the like. He demonizes the opposition with the best of the demonizers.

    I think that the truth is not found in reacting against nationalists and dobsonites who dominate the religious right, nor is it found in splitting the difference and being in the middle of the road as a moderate. Rather, we need to be radical and prophetic. We need to be as foreigners and aliens in the land. We need to speak truth to power, and bring our power to the powerless. We need our lives to look more like the wandering despised Galilean instead of … , well, instead of what we look like now. And we don’t need to repeat our mistakes by becoming allies with the Democrats. If you think the Republicans are bad at using and exploiting their evangelical constituency, just take a look at how the Democrats have used African-Americans! Don’t we ever learn?

    All Christians should understand the limits that government has. It is powerless to change people’s hearts. It is no substitute for family or community.

    After the election, I hope Christians would support an elected President Obama or, God forbid, president Biden. But will they listen to outside voices? Are the Democrats at all open to hearing from Christians now? They have actively purged their ranks of anyone who is even moderately pro-life. Do they have ears to hear on other issues? Frankly, I doubt it.

  58. Tracy says:

    May God forbid the government taking over the “church’s” role. That would be a nightmare. However, the “church” can influence government role in such issues. BUT COME yall lets be real here: the “church” is too divided for such talks. Gosh, some of us Christians “the church” can barely agree on worship styles in music let alone the role of “the church” vs the government.

  59. randplaty says:

    @chad m

    Yes if your tax dollars are going to the government anyway, they better take care of some things for you. But maybe the government could tax you minimally and the government could perform minimal services. That way you have the freedom to take care of the poor with your own money.

    What do you think of that?

  60. Brian says:

    somewhat related…Eug, what are your thoughts on prop i1000?

  61. chad m says:

    if i can decide where my tax dollars go [i.e. none of them go to making bombs], then i can go with your scenario. the idea of “minimal taxation” sounds great, but once roads get bad, schools get bad, crime increases, etc, etc, people start complaining for some reason! great conversation!

  62. Melissa says:

    @Percival

    My point (and “outrage”?) could be summarized thus:
    I am tired of hearing the “pro-life” debate framed only in terms of abortion. We have many, many live-born babies who are dying every day, due to social problems (racism, inadequate healthcare, inadequate education…). If we care about dead babies, we should care about all of them. The infant mortality rate in the USA is dismal compared to other industrialized nations. The same politicians/political parties who claim to be “fighting for life” do nothing to keep the babies we already have alive. They do not fund programs which would keep babies alive once they are born. You can tell priorities by where people put their money, and when you are not funding social programs which keep infants and children alive, you are not “pro-life”.

    This to me seems to be a great hypocrisy. I find both of our major political parties at fault, and refuse to buy-in to the notion that one of our parties is “right”, and the other is “wrong”. I believe it is my responsibility to vote for candidates who will do the most to promote life, and I believe these candidates are found on both sides of the political divide.

  63. This is such a hard one for me, as well. I am praying after reading and thinking as much as possible. And I’ll go where I have God’s peace, or at least peace. I won’t go, and let me underscore that by repeating it: I won’t go out of downright fear or a sense of condemnation and dread hanging over me. I won’t vote out of that. And I’ll be trying to practice Proverbs 3:5-6. And I will gladly accept the fact that good Christians will think and vote differently on this one. And that God will use that, as salt and light are to be spread everywhere.

  64. [...] can’t become so disillusioned that we quit caring, as Eugene Cho reminds us, [Even though] I don’t want to be defined by one or two issues, I still care much about [...]

  65. [...] force others to be Christian or think like a Christian.   Many would use this same argument for abortion.  Many would argue that we should vote no in order to ensure the separation of church and [...]

  66. Leah says:

    Hey – where’s my prize? Just kidding.

    Thank you for providing articulate and diverse points of view (that I might add, are ALL Christian).

  67. [...] The number of verses in Scripture speaking to the Conversation of Abortion or Homosexuality [Gay Marriage] can be counted on your hands.  The number of Scripture speaking to [...]

  68. eugenecho says:

    @brian: at this point, i am choosing to vote against Initiative 1000.

  69. Pooba~ says:

    I spent a couple hours working of a house project and now have to get showered and ready to meet the public at work, so this will be short. I had talk radio echoing in the dining room and, Holy Mackerel,…another tape has fallen out of the sky, at this late date in the campaign.

    It appears that Barack Obama was interviewed back in January and made some very strange remarks about energy companies and the coal industry.

    One of the links I went to http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NmRiZDY5ZWU1Njc0MjhlODZjMjc5YWM5ODJmY2IyZDM= quotes the way the interview was reported in the news at the time in contrast to what Obama really said.

    Phew. That’s our Main Stream Media for you. The distressing thing is not just the thinking that Obama’s comment reflects, but the fact that this should have been discussed during the debates.

    This is Joe the Plumber x 10. Not just some guy who aspires to make $250k a year, but a couple whole industries. Concerning a possible Obama win I got a couple feelings. On one hand I think an Obama Administration is going to be a 3-ring circus and we’ll all either want to avert our eyes, or get some popcorn and watch the show.

    Just think for a second of some of the gaffes that Joe Biden has coughed up in the last two months and imagine listening to that guy for four years. But on the other hand I take a more serious view. And this view is not pretty.

    We could be about to vote into office a disaster of historical proportions; right up there with Caesar entering Rome with his army. Rome never recovered and it became a textbook case of what a free country should not tolerate.

    Okay, enough for now: get out and vote tomorrow. See you on the other side.

  70. Becky says:

    I think it is healthy for Christians to be having this conversation. I get tired of the single minded answers without looking into the issue deeper. Pres. Bush was one of the staunchest Pro-Life Presidents in the past 30 years and yet teenage pregnancy and abortion numbers have risen to all time highs. WHY? We are not going after the root of the issue.

    If you think making abortions illegal will stop abortions well, I must encourage you to read statistics on Latin America. Abortions do not stop, they go underground. In the US, the disparity between infant mortality of white women vs. women of color is disgusting. From a Public Health perspective these numbers are very discouraging. It points to another ROOT problem here. Why isn’t anyone talking about prevention? How do we prevent abortion? How do we decrease our infant mortality rate? Through programs funded by the “big bad government” and through activism on the part of evangelicals. It is laughable to me that many right wing supporters espouse the need to decrease government and funding to these “enabling” programs, and yet do not see how PREVENTION is the primary method of solving these problems.

    What does prevention look like? It looks like comprehensive sex ed. courses in Jr. high and High School, ones that include Abstinence, Comprehensive and STI education. For young people who have sex, the access (without ridicule or shame) to birth control. Parental involvement. Parents may need some classes as well. Statistics show that the more accurate sources of sex ed. a child receives the more likely they are to engage in safe sex and wait to have sex. More outreach on the part of our churches pertaining to purity and what that looks like day to day for teens, college age students and adults alike. Pregnancy counseling and education.

    The other laughable note to me on the abortion issue is lets assume all 1.2 million aborted babies were actually born in the U.S. Who is going to care for them? Christians? Unlikely. We have an overflow of children in a failing foster care system as is. As Christians you see a push for these Pregnancy counseling centers, which is great but then what? The baby is born and who is caring for it? Who is caring for this mother who is likely a teen and who now has a baby? Not us. Not the Christians. Are we offering services to the 750,000 teen pregnancies that occur ANNUALLY in our country? What about the single mom who has 4 kids at home and works 2 part time jobs? Are we welcoming these folks into our congregations? Truthfully, are we?

    If we aren’t caring for the BORN children in distress or marginalized in our society what makes you think we will care for an additional 1.2 million? Notably not all abortions are by people who are in distress or financially unable to care for them, but the majority are. You say you care about the unborn, but are you caring for the born?

    So where does that leave us? Are we to support all types anytime abortion? No! We are to write our state senators and local reps and ask for stricter regulations. We are to COMMIT ourselves to the children who ARE here in the US. Those who are marginalized, who are suffering, who are disadvantaged. We are to LOVE one another. We are to volunteer with young people. We are to reach across ethnic/racial barriers and advocate for those whose voices aren’t being heard. We are to work to prevent unwanted pregnancies. We are to be a part of seeing that number of 1.2 million decrease dramatically by grass roots efforts. WE are to be the change we want to see in our country (to use a little Ghandi). We need to stop condemning, stop judging and DO something that actually WORKS.

  71. [...] that I simply can’t take it! This above all others, irks me beyond comprehension. Please read this to get a better understanding of where I’m coming [...]

  72. [...] 4, 2008 at 12:44 am · Filed under Uncategorized This article is comprised of three separate articles each by a different pro-life author, and they’re [...]

  73. Joy Cross says:

    WOW..what great posts! don’t you LOVE being an American! i’m so dang proud of my country right now..i’m just riddled with it!
    i’m always been pro-life. grew up in that thought process and then did some volunteer work for the crisis pregnancy center as a late teen, which further solidified my thought processes.
    i now am a proud worker in the health care industry. with about 6 years of study behind my back.
    and it’s so obvious..plan and simple…the pro-life/republican/conservative whatever you want to call it..is NOT saving LIVES! i am PRO-LIFE in any and ALL forms. and the ONLY way to feesable realistically accomplish that in OUR current health care system is with the democratic reform process. we need education. we need funding. take my money..tax me more.. the bottom line is…SAVE LIVES. i for one will never complain if my taxes go up and our infant mortality rate goes down consecutively.
    we live in an amazing country that actually has the resources. it’s about time we use them.

  74. [...] I can’t believe that as a Christian pastor, you have those views on abortion. [...]

  75. [...] issue — as followers of Christ, we have to deal seriously with this. I agree with many of Eugene Cho’s insights into the abortion conversation, particularly his call for Christ-followers to embody a consistent ethic of life from “womb [...]

  76. rockstarkp says:

    “and yet teenage pregnancy and abortion numbers have risen to all time highs. WHY?”
    Really? Says who? Abortions rising under Bush? Not true. How that false claim came to be – and lives on.

    Eugene said:
    “However, I just do not believe we can legislate it. Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement – if it were to be turned illegal.”

    Instead of “abortion”, replace it with any other crime; like murder, rape, slavery, theft. How does it read then? Is cost any reason not to criminalize an act where another person is harmed? Obviously, we still have murders and other crimes even though it’s illegal, but that doesn’t mean we should allow it.

  77. [...] faith and abortion – the sequel I really need to do a better job in following up on sequels to posts.  This is the 2nd installment of Faith and Abortion.  You can read Part I and the intense dialogue. [...]

  78. [...] is the sequel to the original The Abortion Conversation which I posted on my blog before the recent presidential election which sparked some good and [...]

  79. Liadan says:

    I’ve had an abortion, a miscarriage, a live birth. Believe me, a live birth resulting in a happy healthy child is far better. The child I have raised is now 24, soon to be 25 and will recieve a Master’s degree in Linguistics this month. I almost aborted her too.

    I was desperate during her gestation. My husband and I were fighting. When he left me before, I became homeless for months. I was afraid of becoming homeless again and couldn’t imagine doing that to an infant. I was also afraid of being punished by God for my previous abortion. I feared a mentally retarded or autistic child. That was the one handicap I knew I couldn’t handle. I had been an assistant counselor for disabled children. I helped all kinds of children with all kinds of handicaps. I’ve seen what happens to marriages with handicapped children. The vast majority fail, leaving the woman to raise the child alone. I also know that the vast majority of men do not pay child support. I worked on child support reform for years. So there I was.

    I was married, I planned this child. I didn’t plan the circumstances that followed getting pregnant. I nearly aborted my dear daughter. I would not have missed her. I didn’t miss my aborted child. I didn’t know how women got pregnant when I did last time. I even asked the doctor how it happened. He stared at me incredulous. Actually, he never asked me if I wanted an abortion, he told me I needed it. He was right. I was very ill and hositalized for that illness. That was how I discovered my pregnancy. I was young, had no education, no job, no husband. I couldn’t take care of myself, yet alone a child. I still think I did the right thing, yet I determined never to be in that position again.

    Pregnant with my second child under different, yet threatening circumstances, I was guilt ridden and fearful. I just knew God would punish me when I so desperately wanted tis child. I prayed for help. God gave me a great social worker who made sure I had food stamps, WIC, and medical care. Both I and my baby would have died without this aid. I had a difficult delivery, forty-four hours-dry birth-back labor-pitosis- and no pain killers at all. I made another prayer. I asked God to tell me if my previous abortion was wrong. I asked Him to give me a healthy child and tied it to the abortion issue.

    I deliveredmy child, but not one with mental handicaps. In fact, she turned out to be hugely gifted. She has genius IQ, is beautufl and richly talented in the arts. More importantly, she is spiritually gifted. She has never told me a lie, never gave me a problem as a teen or younger. She is very concerned with social justice and has devoted her life to helping others. God blessed my child and didn’t punish me for the abortion. Make of it what you will.

    With out those government programs, we would both be dead. And it wasn’t just the programs during my pregnancy, but after. I would have killed my child without the visiting nurse to help me.

    Those programs that saved my child and myself, mostly no longer exist. So many were killed by politics. I can only wonder how many women and children have died without them.

    I learned many lessons. An planned child is difficult to raise, an unplanned child is even more difficult, almost impossible. Without proper resources, its hellish. We need the womb to tomb care. Its Christian. Supporting antiabortion laws won’t stop abortions. I know many people prepared to continue abortions underground. I know many ways to abort a child myself, all dangerous but doable. To me, stopping abortion, and not caring for the child after its birth is murder too! Many Christians are murderers, in my opinion. They support laws that would make a woman a mere incubator. They support the repeal of government programs that would make the difference between a woman choosing an abortion or choosing to have the child.

    We need to attack the ’cause’ of abortion: poverty and lack of education of all kinds. If Christians want to end abortion they need to support sex education programs, contraceptives, child care programs, universal health care, etc. They would save the lives of not only the fetus, but the child. That is what God wants, in my opinion.

    I don’t think abortion is a sin. I believe God told me that himself. But it is wrong. Its wrong to create the circumstances where a woman feels its her only choice.

    I look to the Bible for support…the very words for “Soul” and “Breath” are the same. A human becomes a real human when it gets a soul. Before that, its a collection of cells. All that is good about humans, comes from the soul…curiosity, intelligence, speech, honor, virtue, compassion etc. First breath is when I define Life.

    If you want me to be anti-abortion, Pro-Lifers must become truly pro-life. Support the programs that support life. That’s Christian to me.

    And government aid didn’t make a ‘welfare mother’ of me. I have only one child, I own a business that supports many, and I give liberally to charities and do volunteer work myself. I’ve paid that support back many times over.

    Liadan

  80. Tiger Doll says:

    Liadan,

    You are absolutely right that raising planned babies is hard and unplanned babies even harder. That’s why traditional marriage is so important, for it makes raising babies much more stable and economically possible for everyone involved. (In fact, marriage is the contract that ensures it and gives women and their children legal recourse against desertion and the money-and-support troubles that come from it.)

    Next, for those who cannot keep their babies, we simply place the babies in loving homes through the aid of adoption agencies. There is never any need for a single woman to end her baby’s life given the beautiful option of adoption.

    Great work on raising your 24 year old. So glad you didn’t abort her. And she is, too!

    At this point, we don’t need any more money. We simply need to educate women to take their unwanted children to adoption agencies. They do the rest! Really, it’s amazing, and no one has to die. The care provided by adoption families is wonderful.

    You said that “many Christians are murderers,” and yes abortion is murder. But we must be forgiving of those who do that act out of ignorance and educate them so they will be empowered next time (if in fact there even is a “next time”).

    Sure, a handful of abortions will continue once abortion clinics are shut down, but that’s nothing compared to the more than one million babies slaughtered in the abortion stores.

    Abortion is a sin, because it is murder, and “we shall not murder.” But it is forgivable, and with the wonderful adoption services we have, there is no reason for a woman to ever again to commit this homicide. But we do need sex education to help teach women about the aid of adoption services and the security of marriage contracts.

    Lastly, pro-lifers have produced most of the adoption services and crisis-pregnancy centers in America. SO, we’re “truly pro-life” already. You just didn’t know your options at the time, and so we do need to educate, educate, educate.

  81. 3mily says:

    don’t have time for the thread. just want to say, can we legislate a national understanding on this point?:

    “Like most Christians I know, I am against abortion. However, I just do not believe we can legislate it. Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement – if it were to be turned illegal. Furthermore, I think we are fooling ourselves if we think abortion rates will be reduced significantly if Roe v. Wade was overturned. I can certainly be wrong. Rather than legislating it, I wonder how abortions can be reduced by speaking and appealing to the Heart and Soul of a person and to make all necessary provisions if a person decides to have that baby.”

  82. 3mily says:

    by the way, reading backwards, Liadan, thanks for sharing that with us.

  83. Elly says:

    Liaden

    Reading your post makes me ill…having an autistic or mentally retarded child is not the worst thing in the world. There are plenty of people who have nuero typical children whos marriages end…the stats on divorce in this country is high period! I agree with alot of the points you made and have the same stance…but i totally disagree aand am appauled by that statement. Not only do people in this country have an issue with wanting to take care of its mothers and children it also has an issue and has extreme prejudice against its handicapped and mentally ill…is that how Jesus would be? And bravo for you having a daughter with a high IQ and being able to succeed academically in life….Hey I got one for you “Blessed are the Meek”

  84. Liadan says:

    I have no problems with the mentally handicapped. I worked with them for years and was part of a ground-breaking research program that has improved the quality of life for most autistic children.

    I just know *my* limitations and could not live with them for 24 hours a day as my own child. There is a lot to be said for being able to leave at night and go to my own peaceful home. I was also very young at this time. I had also developed a neurotic fear that my child to be would be handicapped to punish me for the abortion. I told the truth of who I am and what I felt. I’m not proud of my inability to raise a mentally or motionally handicapped child. I applaud those who can. I find I can easily deal with physically handicapped children and worked with many. But no woman *asks* for a mentally or physically handicapped child to be born to her. Statistics show marriages with handicapped children end at a far igher rate than those with normal or no children. Its huge. Don’t minimize these problems. And I only brought it up at all because of its relationship to my message from God

    Also, when I called many christians ‘murderers”, I wasn’t saying they aborted children and hence were murderers. I mean they are accomplices after the fact when they endorse or don’t endorse those programs that save lives of children AFTER they are born. It was “Christians ‘ who destroyed those government programs that helped me keep my child.

    I knew my options. Abortion (newly legalized by months at the time), adoption, or raising the child myself. (Anti-choice people hadn’t yet developed any programs at the time.) I later learned of contraceptives from Planned Parenthood.

    Adoption doesn’t save all children. Many are abused in adoptive or foster homes. Many are not adopted at all. Most foster children are abandoned at 18 and go live on the streets. I am in awe of mothers who give their children up for adoption. I would be terrified all the time unless I knew the adoptive parents would truly love and care for my child. I couldn’t live with that fear. Adoption is not as simple as Tiger Child makes out.

    So, yes, I am a deeply flawed person. But I was honest here, and if you want to end abortion, you need to deal with all the fears and problems women have about pregnancy and birth and motherhood.

    Liadan

  85. Elly says:

    I agree with you regarding what would happen if all the children that were aborted were’nt. What would happen with all these unwanted children. I myself went to school with a boy who was given up by his mother when he was a baby and when he was in 6th grade was beaten to death by his foster father. I think about him to this day 20 some yrs later. So yes our system is flawed and yes I am appalled as well by “Christians” who speak of everything is not ours and that it belongs to God yet bitch about their taxes being raised. Yes I am appalled by people who think all women on welfare are lazy and don’t want to help them..they need to be ashamed. i also find appalling that most women who have or have had abortions claim to be Christians and are white woman. I’m sorry but I don’t believe in direct messages from God… arrogance in my opinion. I think unless society changes which it wont i would suggest mandatory sterilizations or spermicide in beer. Maybe woman who have had an abortion and their sexual partner might want to consider these options.

  86. Tiger Doll says:

    Liadan,

    You are calling Christians “murderers” for not backing certain welfare programs? But you *don’t* call people “murderers” for actually taking the life of their babies? Where’s the logic in that?

    Christians, by the way, have developed the most robust adoption and crisis pregnancy network in the country. So, accusing Christians is way misplaced. You should take some credit for your decisions instead of blaming everyone else. Adoption is a beautiful choice. Raising the child is a beautiful choice.

    To argue as you do that adoption isn’t great since *some* adopted kids might be neglected or abused is absurd. Biological kids are sometimes neglected or abused—but we don’t say they would be better off aborted. Sheesh.

    You also argue that you would rather abort since you would not feel safe giving a child up for adoption. That’s just not right thinking. I know many adopted kids, and have some in my family. And they’ve had great families. And even if they hadn’t, it makes no sense to argue that they would be better off aborted.

    If you want to end smoking at large, you ban it. If you want to end slavery at large, you ban it. If you want to end abortion at large, you ban it. C’mon. We democrats understand the power of government and laws here.

  87. Elly says:

    Tiger you make some great points and I agree with you. It does bother me that it seems like the people who have aborted seem to have a great excuse for it. I have never been put in the situation where I had to think about it. And I do take into consideration the fact that behind every situation there is a story. But what bothers me is that 1st the women that I know that have had abortions or women that have them in general do so becuase it is not convenient for them at the time..but rather than take that extra step to make sure they are never faced with that situation again they go ahead and get pregnant again and either have the child because at the time it just “makes sense” or it s more convenient for them. In other words I am going to use my “God Given” narcisistic right to procreate when I feel like it. Ugh

    I dont agree that banning is the answer….I think if that were to happen we would have many more social issues to contend with…like more babies being left to die in dumpsters for example and yes I do believe and have no doubt in my mind that would happen..or even consider the fact that many women would try everything they could to self abort the baby on their own..drink,take drugs etc. then we would have the issue of women in the courts for murder..etc I mean we could go on. The best option I do agree is adoption but it does need to be made easier and less expensive. I do know someone who went thru an awful time trying to adopt before they got their two girls..when you give a pregnant mother money to take care of herself etc. she can pretty much keep all that and decide to keep the baby and there aint a thing that the adoptive couple can do about it…this happend to my friend and her husband more than once.

    Liaden you logic and excuses are terrible…I know that there are alot of people who are not willing to step up and take care of those in need…but there also needs to be some responsibility taken by others as well. I dont agree with your arguement regarding divorce and handicapped children…that is a new occurence not something that went on over 30 yrs ago..why do I say that because I am very familiar with the stats on marriages that end in divorce whos children are autistic is 80% but Autism was not well known 30 yrs ago nor was it the epidemic it is today..the stats back then were way lower than what they are now…1 in 150 and rising….that still seems to me like something you shouldnt have even considered and am appaled again by your lack of consideration for others who might have a wonderful loving handicapped child. Of course no mother wishes or prays for a handicapped child…but you should have been more thinking wow I am lucky to even have the opportunity to be pregnant again. I believe the reason for a failure in any marriage is selfishness…yes a handicapped child is a huge strain…but people work thru it..esp if we all claim to be Christians

  88. Elly says:

    I think this question should be thrown out there. Lets say gov. says abortion is going to be made illegal in every state tomorrow. However to pay for all the children that will be born and unwanted and to pay for welfare for young mothers who cant afford to raise on their own we will have to with no doubt raise taxes. How many of us would be complaining about that. How about we want every household in America to consider taking in and either fostering or adopting. How many would be willing to do that. What about the fact that there are many in the world who are without food…we will have to come up with ways to feed all these people in the world..because there just isnt enought of the worlds recources..so again in order to do this we are all gona have to give up something…whether it be financial etc. Its easy to say lets just get rid of something..but not think of the reprucutions.
    I also get annoyed with the fact that most Christians are for the war and against abortion. Children die in war its a fact. Why are we only prolife to the birth canal? Pro life should be all life period.

  89. Liadan says:

    Tiger Doll-

    I told you how my abortion occured and how I averted a second abortion. You’d rather argue with me and be ‘right’ instead of supporting the actual way to stop abortions. You’d rather be right than save lives. You can argue whether abortion is right or wrong, but that doesn’t stop abortions. Anti-choice people do nothing to help babies after they are born.. They are just as culpable as those you call ‘baby killers’.

    God doesn’t condemn me for my abortion and told me so in unmistakable ways. I don’t believe abortion is a sin or a crime. Those are your religious beliefs, not mine. I am a commited Christian. I will work to stop abortions, but not by forcing women to be incubators.

    If you continue to live in a fantasy world, abortions won’t cease. They will just go underground and more women will die. There are many ways to abort a fetus besides a legal safe abortion. Bring on the poisons and coat hangars!! Anti-choice laws merely punish the poor for having sex, it doesn’t stop abortion. It never has. The rich will be able to have abortions in other countries or with private doctors. The poor will take poisons such as peppermint oil (easily available) or go back to hangars or use butchers. How will you save those mothers and babies? Or do you care?

    And let me get one thing straight…I didn’t abort a child because I thought it would be mentally handicapped. I had an abortion because I was young, didn’t know how women get pregnant, and was terribly ill. If abortion wasn’t legal when I got pregnant, I and my baby would be dead now.

    I gave birth to and made plans to keep the child I thought would be handicapped. I described my irrational fear that God would punish me for my previous abortion by giving me a child that would be handicapped with my greatest fear. God didn’t do that. He gave me not just a normal child, but a genius child. That was His message to me. I don’t believe abortion is a sin, and God showed me its not. I gave no excuses nor justifications.

    And Elly, you are wrong about divorce in marriages with special needs children of all types. They far outweigh divorces with normal children. i devoted most of my life to work with handicapped children. I’ve seen all this first hand as well as seen the literature and stats. That is a fact. Yes many people work through the strain, but most don’t.

    I tried to offer a true life story of my experiences with abortion and birth. I tried to show that out lawing abortion doesn’t stop abortion, it just stops safe abortions. I tried to offer solutions how abortion can be significantly lowered or even stopped. If y’all want to judge me and be ‘right’, go for it. But it won’t stop one abortion and I thought that’s what we are trying to do.

    Liadan

  90. Elly says:

    Liandan
    I agree with and also made the same point you did regarding making it illegal….IT would still happen…just not safely or legally.
    Ugh though to you thinking that your abortion was not a sin..it was.. but because of the blood of Jesus you are forgiven yes.
    we all do things that we need forgivness for. But Ugh also to your statement regarding divorce rates..reread what I wrote “80% for families with children with Autism” I have also worked with special needs kids and know the stats. And noone accused you of aborting a handicapped child..you were ignorant to some things…egads
    And also I do agree with you that more help needs to be given to help those in need period. BUT those in NEED should be the single mothers,the handicapped,the elderly,the widowed,the wounded soldiers etc. But also keep in mind that we still live in a country where even the poorest are richer than poor in other countries and becasue of the Church and churches and Christian organizations there are alot of places that do help..but us as INDIVIDUALS need to do our part as well.

  91. [...] By dritta My pastor, Eugene Cho, quoted me (and others) in a post he wrote about “the abortion conversation”. For all y’all who wanted to comment on my dead baby post, head over there and chime [...]

  92. Elly says:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/17/seclusion.rooms/index.html

    this is what I am talking about when people say oh lets just get rid of abortion..we cant even take care of the living that are walking and breathing right now. What do you think causes things like this to happen…its lack of tax dollars and resources..its horrible how the handicapped are treated

  93. [...] Cho shares a similar perspective (part 1, part 2): Like most Christians I know, I am against abortion.  However, I just do not believe we [...]

  94. [...] Cho shares a similar perspective (part 1, part 2): Like most Christians I know, I am against abortion.  However, I just do not believe we [...]

  95. [...] I’ve shared in posts before – here and here – I believe emphatically that abortion is wrong and as Christians, we should [...]

  96. [...] quasi-Christian, borderline heretic, and religious legalist; the other person on the fence on that hot theological issue; the other liberal or conservatives; that feminist or ultimate fighting [...]

  97. [...] it’s worth, I’ve written about it before and I’d encourage you to check it out: The Abortion Conversation and The Sequel: Abortion [...]

  98. [...] what it’s worth, I’ve written about abortion before: The Abortion Conversation and The Sequel: Abortion [...]

  99. […] pastors like Eugene Cho (who btw, is located in the Pacific Northwest, not South) who writes about the “womb to tomb” Consistent Ethic of Life and who also lives it out with projects such as the One Days’ Wages […]

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