“Pro-lifers” for Obama

The editorial in the latest issue of Touchstone magazine is spot on in its appraisal of “pro-lifers” who supported Obama for President:

‘The role of “pro-lifers” in the Obama campaign was not to persuade the candidate to moderate his stand on abortion (there is no evidence that they even tried to do so) but to persuade pro-lifers to forget about the issue.’

The rest of this essay is a must-read.

“Morality Ploys: Big Bailouts & Culture War Maneuvers You Can Expect” – by James Hitchcock (Touchstone)

29 Responses to “Pro-lifers” for Obama

  1. Russ Ware December 15, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    Words and context matter.

    I wish we could more thoughtful, more careful, and less partisan in our discussion of this issue.

    For instance…

    To say that ‘The role of “pro-lifers” in the Obama campaign was… to persuade pro-lifers to forget about the issue.’ could be most plainly read that people who were not really pro-life at all masqueraded as such in an attempt to convince true pro-lifers to forget about the pro-life cause altogether.

    It seems to me like the folks who were adamantly against Obama and used the abortion issue as the primary rallying cry would have not voted for Obama even if he had shown a more pro-life stance. That’s fine, of course. I’m just suggesting that maybe this election wasn’t all about the life issue for either side. Christ followers on both sides of this election really were voting, generally speaking, on a broader set of issues. I don’t wish to overgeneralize. I have no doubt that some, like my wife, would have voted for Obama if it were not for the life issue, but I’ll bet Denny and Dobson wouldn’t have!

    Again, that’s OK.

    The problem is not with the way the Denny’s and Dobsons voted, or their motivations. The problem is the ongoing attempt to frame the election around this one issue and the continual brow beating of those who truly DO CARE about this issue, but were honest about the fact that there is a bigger picture.

    As a pro-lifer, who does think this is an important issue, I simply did not believe that a McCain presidency would have meant the end of abortion in this country, or have yielded significant movement in that direction. The overwhelming sentiment of the people of our nation is no longer in agreement with a truly consistent pro-life ethic regarding abortion. The resounding defeats of state propositions regarding such proves that beyond a doubt.

    My point is that the life issue is the right battle, but the presidential election is the wrong battlefield.

    And, frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told that I don’t care about the life issue because of the way I voted.

    I do think that a strong argument can be made that abortion is one of, if not the most important moral issue in our nation. That does not make it the most important issue to the election.

    Finally, I am so tired of the mischaracterization of Obama’s comment regarding the passage of FOCA. I certainly do not want to see FOCA passed, and I disagree with Obama’s position on such. But, it is disappointing that so many of my fellow opponents of FOCA have latched on to this mantra that Obama has said it’s the very first thing, above all others, he would do as president. This is clearly a demonizing statement, suggesting that Obama is so aggressive and passionate in his abortion advocacy that it would be his first priority as president. But I am not aware that he has ever has suggested such a thing. The “first thing I would do as president” comment is taken out of context. I’ve watched that speech numerous times, and he is clearly answering a specific question about what he would do as president regarding THAT issue and his answer follows from that context. The first thing he would do as president about that would be…

    My greatest fear is that the popularization of this myth may in some ways make it a reality. It works that way sometimes. By now Obama may actually be convinced that it is the first thing he is going to do, we’ve told him that so many times.

    Those who would wish to see folks like me vote differently next time around will not win our hearts with these types of tactics. Frankly, it drives me further from the camp.

    It’s kind of like when I was heavily into my research of the Catholic Church and I was trying to listen to voices on both sides. I had to stop listing to James White because not only did he oppress my spirit with his attitudes and tactics, but he actually made we want to be Catholic, or at the very least, a kind of Christian as far removed from his kind as I could be. But I repeat myself. 😉

    In both cases, you guys are preaching to the choir.

  2. Jeremiah Mattingly December 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    I think he’s spot one, Denny. Thanks for sharing.

    Russ, so if Obama is taken out of context slightly (signing FOCA is not the first priority in the presidency, just his first priority related to the abortion issue) is that really any less concerning? The significance of your distinction there is lost on me.

  3. Darius T December 15, 2008 at 1:13 pm #

    Russ, I personally know friends who believe that Obama is a pro-life president who will lower the amount of abortions because he has a “plan” to do so on his website and that all of the evidence that he is pro-abortion are made-up lies. Frankly, those friends are idiots and fools and the ones of whom this article speaks.

  4. Russ Ware December 15, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    Jeremiah…

    The significance is that ‘we’ are making a statement regarding Obama’s intentions that is not true. That is not good for our cause. And we should not be OK with it.

    I’m not defending Obama’s position, I’m criticizing our rhetoric.

    Darius…

    Wouldn’t it be great if, to our great surprise, the ‘idiots and fools’ are actually right?

  5. Don Johnson December 15, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    When we vote for a US prez, we are voting for whomever we think will be able to do the best job in that office. Many factors or only one may go into that decision, it is up to the voter how to decide.

    I do not think voting for Obama meant that one could not be pro-life, but it would mean that they were not a single issue voter.

  6. Darius T December 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm #

    Russ, that would be great. It would have also been great if Stalin was really for the people like he claimed, but the evidence to the contrary was overwhelming. However, this didn’t keep Chomsky from being an “idiot and fool” by denying all of that evidence.

  7. Paul December 15, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    Since Russ said everything that I was going to say anyway, I’ll just quote him and add a “+1” at the bottom…

    “As a pro-lifer, who does think this is an important issue, I simply did not believe that a McCain presidency would have meant the end of abortion in this country, or have yielded significant movement in that direction. The overwhelming sentiment of the people of our nation is no longer in agreement with a truly consistent pro-life ethic regarding abortion. The resounding defeats of state propositions regarding such proves that beyond a doubt.

    My point is that the life issue is the right battle, but the presidential election is the wrong battlefield.

    And, frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told that I don’t care about the life issue because of the way I voted.”

    +1

  8. Darius T December 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    Except, Paul, you were sane enough to not vote for Obama.

  9. Paul December 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    There is that. Instead, Nader got three votes in Illinois. Glad to know I did my part.

  10. Alando Franklin December 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm #

    I’m curious if anyone has taken Dr. Al Mohler exhortation to heart.

    “America has chosen a President. President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead. This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President. There is no time to lose.”

    Dr. Mohler is correct, “the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much” simply rehashing, repeating, rehearsing the same old storyline about Obama will not change anything! No matter how much we talk about it….

  11. Brian Krieger December 16, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    “I do think that a strong argument can be made that abortion is one of, if not the most important moral issue in our nation. That does not make it the most important issue to the election. (Russ)

    I think you codify the argument. We minimize abortion below slavery, but (as many have said) we would never vote for a candidate supporting it. The same can be said about any number of other issues. We should fight for life on all battlegrounds, and this was one of the biggest.

    FOCA has been mentioned many times by the president elect. That said, I agree that the speech was simply a typical political overspeak. And yes, abortion would not have likely been eliminated with McCain. But the continued (and expansion of) on-access abortion is seen as more than just another issue by the president elect (as he has stated RvW would influence SC nominations and he fully supports FOCA in more than a passing manner, apparently).

    And to go with Alando’s statement, yes we should pray as Mohler stated. I hope (pray) that Michelle Obama’s family stance is real. I think that goes many miles for some of the atrocities of our new American families (divorce, dead-beat dads, etc.). Our prayers should be for Obama to have been courting votes with his FOCA comment. They should be for the protection of our president against the idiots who see him as an affront (as a black man). For his decisions to be Kingdom-centered rather than man-centered. But the fact is that the election demonstrated how sidelined the unborn are. And I don’t think it right to join in and ignore it. Hence why it is still discussed.

  12. Alando Franklin December 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm #

    Brian, I understand and agree with you, however my point is that “discussion”(which is much easier to do) will not change anything over the next 4 years. I don’t see the biblical warrant for Christians to sit around and continually discuss the sinful ways of sinners, but rather the precedent in Scripture seems to be prayer and getting out and preaching the Gospel that sinners may repent and come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord!

  13. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Amen, Alando.

    The unborn are sidelined in American because of the hearts of the people of this nation. No election is going to change that.

    Meanwhile, Obama represents the best opportunity for real change in government thinking we’ve seen in a while. For Christians, some of that change will go against what we believe and know to be for the good of this (or any) nation. On such issues, like gay marriage, abortion rights, etc… we need to be unwavering in our stance for Godly principles. We need to be winsome in our arguments and unceasing in our prayers. And, we need to be active in every way we can in our fight for the cause of the unborn. Voting a certain way is always easier than really getting involved. Finally, and I think we really all agree in some measure with this, we need to stop pointing fingers at each other as Christians because of how we voted, and start figuring our how to join our voices together against the real enemy.

    Other areas of change will resonate with kingdom values, even if that is not recognized immediately but many in the ‘religious right.’ Those we must applaud, and really mean it.

  14. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    “Finally, and I think we really all agree in some measure with this, we need to stop pointing fingers at each other as Christians because of how we voted, and start figuring our how to join our voices together against the real enemy.”

    Some “Christians” are the enemy or represent the enemy. Just because someone calls themselves “Christian” doesn’t make it so.

  15. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    Tony Campolo=enemy
    Jim Wallis=enemy
    Barry Lynn=enemy

  16. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

    *sigh*

  17. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 8:28 pm #

    Russ, so would you deny the frequent injunction in the New Testament to throw out false teachers? Are we not called to discern and judge those who profess to be Christians?

  18. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    You know, I just have to circle back on this. Dang it.

    If we take your two posts together, it’s pretty clear that you are saying that these three men are not Christians, which is an astounding statement for you to make.

    Secondly, what I meant by enemy is the spirit that is behind the perverted sense of morality and justice in our culture. Our enemy is Satan. Not Tony Campolo.

    Denny, any chance of putting a moratorium on the pervasive trend on your blog of putting quotes around words to indicate “so-called?”

    Probably not. 😉

  19. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    Russ, so would you deny the frequent injunction in the New Testament to throw out false teachers? – Darius

    Absolutely not.

    Who makes that determination? Who has the authority? Where is the visible Church that they are to be thrown out of?

  20. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    For instance, as far as false teachers go, if it were up to little ol’ me…

    I might like to do something about John MacArthur, James White, or Al Mohler. 😉

    See my point?

  21. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    “I might like to do something about John MacArthur, James White, or Al Mohler.”

    And you would be wrong.

  22. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    “Our enemy is Satan. Not Tony Campolo.”

    True, and that is a good clarification to make, but he is a false teacher. Just read his chapter on abortion in “Letters to a Young Evangelical.” He openly and bitterly mocks anyone who believes abortion is a major evil. It’s quite sad that anyone still thinks of him as relevant to Christianity.

  23. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 9:05 pm #

    “And you would be wrong.”

    🙂

  24. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 9:05 pm #

    “Who makes that determination? Who has the authority?”

    The Bible grants that authority to the body of Christ. So we in the American church must strongly pronounce that Wallis and Campolo are false teachers.

  25. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    Russ, I will give you this… it is eye-opening to me to see so many Christians almost completely taken in by postmodernism.

  26. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    “So we in the American church must strongly pronounce that Wallis and Campolo are false teachers.”

    How’s that workin’ for ya’?

    The Bible grants the authority??? How about Christ grants the authority?

    BTW… in case the point of my smiley in the last post was missed…

    Together, you and I have made my point.

    Much of postmodernism is just modernism run it’s full course, just as much of the emergent church is protestantism run its full course.

    It’s actually pretty fascinating.

  27. Darius T December 18, 2008 at 10:17 pm #

    Umm, Christ and the Bible are the same thing. After all, He is the Word.

  28. Russ Ware December 18, 2008 at 10:40 pm #

    Yes, Christ is the logos, the living Word. Yes, the Bible is God’s inspired written revelation. Thus, it is also the word of God.

    Nevertheless, to say that “Christ and the Bible are the same thing” is bizarre. I don’t mean to be rude, but this is a problematic statement on any number of levels. Too much for this thread.

    As for me and my house, we are packing up tonight in the midst of a ferocious wind/snow storm up in the mountains of Colorado. Headed to TX in the morning to visit relatives for Christmas.

    Thanks for the lively discussion. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, and the peace of Christ to you and yours, Darius!

  29. Darius T December 19, 2008 at 12:04 am #

    Have a good Christmas! Same to you!

    I wasn’t trying to say that Christ and the Bible are literally the same thing, but that the truth each speaks and the authority each grants are tied to each other. So when you said that the Bible didn’t grant authority but Christ, it sounded like you were setting one over against the other.

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