My Closing Argument for Life on Election Eve

Tomorrow America will go to the polls and elect the next President of the United States. In advance of this vote, I have used my blog space to make the case that the transcendent issue of this election is abortion, and I want to make this case one more time.

The current law of our land excludes from the human community a whole class of human beings—the unborn. Right now under the regime of Roe v. Wade, it is legal in our country to kill unborn human beings at any stage of development from 0-9 months gestation. In other words, our nation’s laws do not recognize an intrinsic right to life for the unborn. In some cases, animals have more protection under the law than unborn people do.

The Roe v. Wade decision has presided over the deaths of nearly 50 million innocent human babies since 1973, and it stands as the singular legal obstacle to passing laws restricting abortion in our country. The only way for the unborn to be protected in law is for Roe to be overturned. It will take a 5 person majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. Absent such a majority, it will continue to be legal for the babies to be killed.

Right now, there is a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court in favor of Roe. The next President of the United States will appoint Justices that will either bolster the current majority in favor of Roe or will make a new majority against Roe. In effect, tomorrow’s election is a referendum on the legality of abortion.

Neither of the Presidential candidates is perfect, but they are nevertheless very different on the issue of abortion. On the one hand, Barack Obama has pledged his unqualified support for Roe v. Wade. His unswerving commitment to Roe even led him once to oppose a law that would have protected survivors of botched abortions. On the other hand, John McCain has said that Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned.

With nearly 50 million babies already dead, is it not clear that in America abortion-on-demand is the greatest human rights crisis of our time? The only reason that people do not feel the weight of this horror is that abortion is largely out of their view. The cries of aborted babies do not escape their mother’s womb, and citizens don’t hear the screams that would otherwise provoke the repugnance of any decent person.

Proverbs 24:11-12 talks about the responsibility that we all share to protect innocent human life.

’11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?’

How does this text inform Christians about how they should vote tomorrow? I would argue that it informs your conscience in at least four ways, each of which I would urge you to consider prayerfully.

First, you are commanded to “rescue” innocent human life from being unjustly snuffed out. This command issues from the same God who said “thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not bear false witness,” and it has the same authority over our consciences. How do we “rescue” the unborn? In America today, we cannot reduce the protection of the unborn to a matter of electoral politics. Supporting adoption alternatives and crisis pregnancy centers, for instance, are a part of rescuing the innocents being led to slaughter. That being said, while we certainly should not reduce our defense of the unborn to electoral politics, we dare not exclude electoral politics from our concern. Thus you should use your democratic privileges to press for the defense of the unborn. If we were in China or Saudi Arabia, you wouldn’t have a say in the matter. But in America you do. Why wouldn’t you vote to protect life?

Second, at the last judgment you will not be able to claim ignorance about your duty to defend innocent human life. Remember, nearly 50 million innocent human lives have been snuffed out legally since 1973. This is a well-documented fact, and you must not act as if you are unaware of it. If somehow you were unaware of it before reading this essay, you now know better. You are accountable for this knowledge, and your vote should reflect it.

Third, the Lord “weighs your heart” and will hold you accountable for the way you think about the unborn. Are you more concerned about your economic interests than you are about protecting the unborn? Are you more interested in not being associated with the religious right than you are in protecting the unborn? Are you more dedicated to your partisan loyalties than you are to protecting the unborn? The Lord knows the answer to these questions. Do you?

Fourth, do not be deceived. God will hold you accountable for how you vote. The Proverb says that God will “repay” each person according to what he has done. There are many “works” that we will have to give an answer for at the last judgment, and our voting will be one of them. Do you think a vote against protecting the unborn will be mitigated at the judgment by any of the following arguments?

“Abortion is only one issue among many.”
“Single-issue voting is small-minded.”
“The pro-abortion candidate agrees with me on other important issues.”

Beware of such arguments. God has said over and over that He is ardently interested in protecting the innocent (e.g., Deut 10:18; 14:29; Psalm 146:9; Is 1:17, 23; Zech 7:10; Mal 3:5; James 1:27). At the last judgment, protecting innocent human life will be seen for the transcendent value that it is. Will your vote reflect that?

The world is broken, and at the end of the day we do not put our hope in our government to fix it (Psalm 20:7). Our hope is in a sovereign and just God who will one day make all things new (Rev 21:5). But our hope in God’s perfect justice in the future should never be used as an excuse to be indifferent about injustice in the present. My hope and prayer is that more people will be convinced of that truth as they go to the polls tomorrow. And that is my hope and prayer for you. Don’t use your vote to exclude a whole class of persons from the human community. Choose life.

69 Responses to My Closing Argument for Life on Election Eve

  1. Christopher Lake November 3, 2008 at 6:51 am #

    Thank you, Denny. I already “voted early” (an option that we have this year in New Mexico), and I voted for the man who has acted, in the past, and will act, in the future, to legally protect unborn, living human persons. That man is John McCain. Barack Obama has neither acted, in the past, nor will he act in the future (at least from *all* past evidence) to legally protect unborn, living human persons.

    Rather, Obama has been *militant* in his support for the continuing legality of abortion. He has even been supportive of the *expanding* of “abortion rights” into a lack of basic, immediate care for babies who survive attempted abortions. Very few liberals agreed with his radical stance here (Hillary Clinton voted against it).

    Barack Obama has been successful, to a certain extent, in pitching himself to the American people as a moderate, but his “pitch” is not true. I cannot support a man who not only supports the continuing legality of abortion but is *radical* in his support of it.

  2. Timm November 3, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    Thanks for this, Denny. It is a well written piece with a clear and persuasive argument. I agree with you that abortion is the single greatest human rights issue of of our time. I’ve been ridiculed over the past month or two for repeatedly comparing it to the slavery of 150 years ago, but the fact of the matter is, it’s worse. The victims in this crime literally have no voice to speak out against it. They have no power to rise up against their oppressors. The only hope they have is in a possible negligent doctor to botch the abortion and B.O. has even tried to take that hope away.

    I have yet to figure out how a professing Christian can simply turn his back on this issue in favor of “caring for the poor” or “taxing the evil corporations.” The fact is, there is no greater injustice in the world today than the taking of a literally innocent life.

    The past few weeks have brought out the pessimist in me and as a result, I fear your well laid out argument will do nothing to persuade those who are committed to voting for him. However, It is my hope and prayer that at least one undecided voter might read this and see Mr. Obama at face value.

    Thanks.

  3. Don November 3, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    I agree with Denny’s analysis.

    I would not compare the Dems to the Nazis, I think that is not helpful. Obviously, there are lots of people, including many professing believers, who WILL vote Dem. They simply see things differently. I think they are wrong in this area and they think I am.

    The truth is NO political party represents believers and this is a GOOD thing, I would not want some denomination in charge of the USA.

  4. Mike Bird November 3, 2008 at 10:48 am #

    Denny,
    Sadly, the people who need to read this message probably won’t. And even if they did read it, well, see Lk. 16.31!

  5. Darius November 3, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    “I would not compare the Dems to the Nazis, I think that is not helpful. Obviously, there are lots of people, including many professing believers, who WILL vote Dem. They simply see things differently. I think they are wrong in this area and they think I am.”

    I believe the quote said “knowledgable Christians.” In other words, a Christian can ignorantly vote for an anti-life candidate. But if you know and have seen all the evidence that indicates that Obama will push for the destruction of life and vote for him anyway, woe to you.

  6. Nathan November 3, 2008 at 11:19 am #

    The argumentation for excusing the Democratic party and Barack Obama in particular concerning the issue of abortion is laden with the poor excuses of alternative measures.

    ‘“The only way for the unborn to be protected in law is for Roe to be overturned.” This is simply not true.’

    Minor changes have come during the last 35 years, but only a reversal of this heinous legislation will allow states and citizens a voice on the issue.

    “Will we have to give an answer for why we did not adopt? Are we as Christians REQUIRED to adopt? Why would we NOT adopt? Are we more concerned about our middle-class comfort than adopting an unwanted child? Sins of omission are worthy of judgment.”

    This argument alone is ridiculous. While I agree that adopting is something that is a blessing for those who do and for those who assist others in doing, there is no way that anyone can show that the lack of adoptive parents have led to the killing of 50 million babies.

    The truth is that all of us as Christians justify our sin more than we should. Yet the truth remains; over 1,000,000 murdered babies every year. For many of you that read this post you have never lived in an America without this rampant slaughter.

    Lets stop the slaughter and then argue over the best methodologies for cleaning up the extraneous issues that remain.

  7. Paul November 3, 2008 at 11:37 am #

    “This argument alone is ridiculous. While I agree that adopting is something that is a blessing for those who do and for those who assist others in doing, there is no way that anyone can show that the lack of adoptive parents have led to the killing of 50 million babies.”

    Is it ridiculous though? Let’s think this through…

    1) we’ve already agreed that more abortions happen in the poverty stricken urban areas of our country.

    2) I’ve asked this question, knowing that at least two people here (Denny and Darius) both work at Crisis Pregnancy Centers: why aren’t there more of these in Harlem, Bronzeville and Compton?

    3) Knowing points 1 & 2, how many potential parents either don’t want to “make someone else’s mistake go away” (said right here on this board at some point) or simply don’t want to adopt a kid that won’t look like them?

    Change those three, knowing that lots of adoption agencies will pay for the healthcare and expenses of a mother while she’s pregnant, and you might just bring down that abortion rate by more than a few points.

  8. Nathan November 3, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    Paul,

    Nobody is disputing the fact that more adoptions lead to less abortions. What I ask for was legitimate evidence that would suggest that the over 1,000,000 babies murdered each year would be drastically reduced.

    Federally funded and protected free access to abortion is a root cause that cannot be ignored.

    You also have not provided any measurable discourse that young ladies will go to term on their pregnancies as long as abortion is easy to come by.

    As long as there is the availability of hiding one’s sin many more people will take that option.

  9. Darius November 3, 2008 at 11:54 am #

    “how many potential parents either … simply don’t want to adopt a kid that won’t look like them?”

    I don’t know about your church, but mine is full of adopted kids. I find this argument weak since Christians have done an outstanding job of adopting children from other races. Of course, we can do more. But let’s not forget that much has already been done in this arena, or that we can do BOTH at the same time (adopt and fight abortion on the legal end).

  10. John November 3, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    Typical fear-mongering Denny-post.

    Denny, I voted for Obama, am I going to hell? In any case, the state I’m in is assuredly going to McCain anyways, so thanks to the electoral college I guess my slate is clean. The rhetoric of right-wing evangelicals about this drives me insane. Just which kingdom are you for anyways?

  11. Darius November 3, 2008 at 1:19 pm #

    “Denny, I voted for Obama, am I going to hell?”

    No (at least, not because of that), but you probably will face some judgment which you could have avoided.

  12. John November 3, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    Lol, you’re funny Darius. You don’t think the electoral college wiped my slate clean? My vote won’t mean a thing brother, so it doesn’t matter. I guess no judgment for me!

  13. Christopher Lake November 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    John,

    Why would you ask such a sarcastic question? Obviously, a vote does not make or break one’s salvation– unless one believes in salvation by works. If one is a Christian though, one *should* be deeply concerned about the *continuing legality* of a practice which murders unborn babies, created in the image of God, within their mothers’ wombs. It’s not a matter of a Christian’s vote disqualifying him/herself from the Kingdom of God– it’s a matter of a Christian’s vote being *consistent* with the twin facts that unborn babies are *created by God, in His image,” and that therefore, they are worthy of all protection, *including* in the legal sphere.

    Barack Obama has done *nothing,* politically, to oppose the legality of abortion. He has even voted to *expand* it with his refusal to vote for basic, immediate care for babies who survived botched abortions. John, would you vote for a candidate who had done *nothing* to legally oppose rape, and who had actually spoken out in favor of the “choice” to rape?

    How is voting for a pro-“abortion rights” candidate any different than the above scenario about rape, other than the sad fact that the murder of unborn children is already legal in the U.S.? The sin of rape terribly, deeply violates living women and is therefore illegal in the U.S. Abortion *kills living, unborn babies* and is, horribly, currently legal in the U.S. This fact displays incredible hypocrisy in our legal system.

    John, if you believe that rape is an atrocity though, and you would not vote for a “pro-choice-to-rape” candidate, why have you chosen to vote for a militantly “pro-choice-to-KILL-unborn-babies” candidate? Does the legality of a practice influence how you think about that practice’s morality? It really should not, from a Christian standpoint.

  14. Darius November 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    So you believe that because someone else’s actions negate your own bad choice, your action wasn’t bad after all? I hope you don’t apply that logic to the rest of your life.

  15. Darius November 3, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    In other words, John, you won’t mind if I try (hypothetically, for those who can’t recognize an analogy) to burn your house down since I know that the fire station is right next door.

  16. Timm November 3, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    Not that you asked me, but I’m personally not willing to define a vote for Obama as a sin. I would be willing to say it’s treding very dangerous water.

    That being said, John McCain is not 100% pro life either. It is certainly a tough issue for any Christian to wrestle with. I still maintain that abortion is the single most important human rights issue of the day and it weighs heavily on my heart. I will not pull the lever tomorow with a great deal of certainty, but I will pull it with the faith and hope that God will deal with the issue in a just manner.

  17. Allie November 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    Mr. Burk (and others),

    In this post, you write, “Are you more concerned about your economic interests than you are about protecting the unborn? Are you more interested in not being associated with the religious right than you are in protecting the unborn? Are you more dedicated to your partisan loyalties than you are to protecting the unborn?” I sincerely hope that you do not truly believe that these are the reasons why Christians would vote differently than you.

    I believe that this is more complicated than a black-and-white decision on voting for the man who says he will support overturning Roe v Wade. I believe that compassion for the poor is one of the most important tenets of Christianity. I believe in having compassion on those who are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 6:36). I believe not just in stopping the war in Iraq, but in voting for a candidate who will use war only as a last resort.

    I am pro-life. But I believe that there are ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions in addition to overturning Roe v. Wade. I believe that I can do more as a pro-life Christian to help potential mothers with problems carry their pregnancies to term. I believe that I can do more to try to convince pro-choice people of the concerns of those who are pro-life.

    I also believe that I am a citizen of another kingdom. I believe that my role here is to tell people about Jesus Christ, to pray for them, and to encourage them in whatever ways are possible to come to know the Lord. And I believe that if you know Him, then you are my brothers and sisters in Christ. That is based on His grace, not on how you vote this year.

    Mine, and other believers’ reasons for potentially voting differently than you this year, are not the selfish, holier-than-thou examples you gave in your post. We have thought this through, and we have concluded that Sen. Obama is the best America can do at this point in time.

    When the Republicans nominate someone who is pro-life, anti-war, opposed to the death penalty, against embryonic stem cell research, and for the poor, I will vote for him or her.

  18. Darius November 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    Disputatio, don’t keep asking the same question over and over after it’s been answered. It’s annoying, to say the least.

  19. Darius November 3, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    “I sincerely hope that you do not truly believe that these are the reasons why Christians would vote differently than you.”

    Allie, those are indeed reasons why many Christians are voting for Obama.

  20. Darius November 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    “When the Republicans nominate someone who is pro-life, anti-war, opposed to the death penalty, against embryonic stem cell research, and for the poor, I will vote for him or her.”

    But when the Democrats nominate someone who is anti-life, pro-death penalty, for embryonic stem cell research, and against helping the poor in substantive ways, you don’t mind voting for him???

  21. Darius November 3, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    Another dishonest comment, disputatio. Did I say anything about deleting or censoring your comments? I just told you to stop asking the same question like it hasn’t already been answered. That said, since you apparently struggle to read before commenting, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and respond to your question(s).

    “Are you willing to say that John’s vote for Obama was sin?”

    See Denny’s post above and my comment #14. It’s pretty clear that we both view it as a sin (but not a loss of citizenship within the Kingdom).

    “If yes, why?”

    Umm, I believe you’ve been reading Denny’s blog for quite some time, so you should know the answer to this one already. It is a sin to vote for Obama for any Christian who KNOWINGLY ignores all evidence that Obama will be a radically pro-abortion president who will overturn most or all of the pro-life legislation which Bush has enacted. Especially when the evidence also indicates that McCain will likely be a relatively pro-life president. Sure, that may end up not being the case, but it is not for us to know the future, but to only base our actions on the present and past.

    “and what is the sin?”

    Asked and answered: voting for a pro-abortion candidate who will increase the amount of babies murdered in this country compared to the other candidate.

    “and does it deserve church discipline?”

    This is difficult to discuss, since voting is secret. But let’s compare it to something else done usually in secret: lying. If a lie is found out, depending on the significance of the lie, the person could be talked to quietly by a pastor or elder, or more publicly if it’s a public lie. If that person is unrepentant, then the church body (or elder board) should decide how to handle it. Same applies to a vote if it becomes full knowledge of those in the church or if the person is flaunting that vote. However, it should be kept in mind that a vote is relatively insignificant in the full spectrum of sin, and probably equates to a small lie or what not. However, as Acts indicates, even a small lie can have dire consequences and is taken seriously by God (Ananias?).

    “If no, why not? and why do you then pass judgment on a disputable matter?”

    You assumed that I would say that church discipline is not necessary. It is, but again, with an issue like voting which is done in secret and usually kept secret, church discipline usually doesn’t come up. How is the matter disputable, disputatio?

  22. Scott November 3, 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Comments such as “if you vote for Obama you will face judgment,” are about as naive as it gets. That smacks of a ridiculous fundamentalism that misplaces its kingdom priorities. Do you truly believe the republican party as it now stands is the guardian of truth & integrity? Do you really think they are not simply playing the issue to get your misonformed & guillible vote? Really? Excuse the rehtoric, but to assume that I am judged on a vote for McCain in a political system that has become dangerously corrupted is insidiously heretical.

    This is simply a scare tactic that I would least expect among men & women in positions of leadership in the American church. Allie’s comment is appropriate & fair. I think Denny’s post is wonderfully composed & makes otherwise brilliant assertions. However, to equate eschatological reckonings with the vote on Tuesday is absolutely silly!

  23. Darius November 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm #

    Comments like “Do you truly believe the republican party as it now stands is the guardian of truth & integrity?” are about as dishonest as they get.

    Did anyone ever say that, Scott?

    podman, it’s about being pragmatic. Yes, McCain isn’t perfect. He’s far from it. But the damage he will do to the unborn (at least, based on his record) is way less than Obama. Now, some, like disputatio, will tell you that pragmatism is wrong in politics. But I kinda doubt he would say the same thing in other circumstances (see my gun analogy in the last post thread).

  24. Christopher Lake November 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    Disputatio,

    It is hardly “passing judgment” on other Christians for me to say that voting for a radically pro-choice candidate is simply *inconsistent* with one’s profession that human beings (born and unborn) are created in the image of God.

    Again, I did not say that such a vote would disqualify a Christian from the Kingdom of God. We are saved by our faith (active trust) in Christ and His righteousness on our behalf, not by our works.

    However, if one professes to be a Christian, and as such, believes that all human life is created by God in his image, how can one justify voting for a candidate who is *militant* about preserving the legal choice to *kill* living beings made in God’s image?

    This is a matter of being consistent, at a *most basic* level (the level of preserving unborn life), with one’s profession of faith and with its implications. Whether voting for Obama is a sin or not may be compared to whether dressing in a revealing way, as a Christian, is a sin or not. If a Christian is young in his/her faith and spiritually immature, dressing in a revealing way may not be a sin, because that Christian may not know better. If the Christian is informed about his/her faith and its implications though, dressing in a revealing way *is* a sin.

    The principles are similar with a Christian voting for a radically “pro-choice” (choice to murder unborn babies or not!) candidate. If one is young in the Christian faith and very spiritually immature, it may not be a sin to vote for Obama, because one may not know better. If one is well-informed (meaning, both head and heart) in one’s Christian faith and its implications (including that of protecting unborn life)– how could voting for Obama *not* be a sin, when he has *openly vowed* to preserve the continuing legal status of the atrocity of abortion?

    About church discipline on this issue, I don’t have anything to add to Darius’s excellent response.

  25. brian November 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    I believe that we place too much hope in what a politician can or can not do for us. Nevertheless, whomever God has decided to be the next president will be the next president no matter how much people argue on blogs. Instead of tearing other people apart with words why not try to use your words in prayer to God and ask him to help us see his plan in this and to intercede for our country and its next leader.

  26. Denny Burk November 3, 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    Hello, all.

    I’m deleting anonymous comments. No more anonymous comments please. “TUAD” and “disputatio” do not count as names.

    You need a name and a valid e-mail address to post comments. I won’t give your e-mail address out to anyone; it’s just there for identification purposes.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  27. Darius November 3, 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    “I believe that we place too much hope in what a politician can or can not do for us.”

    Amen to this. All I’m trying to do is make sure people are good stewards of that which they are given by God… in this case, a vote in a Democratic society. I don’t think most Christians would say that just because God decides the day and hour at which we die, we are absolved from being good stewards of our bodies. Likewise, while God indeed raises up kings and presidents as He sees fit, we’re still accountable to Him for our choices in that arena.

  28. Denny Burk November 3, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    P.S. I’m also going to ask that those going by their first name only would include their last name from now on.

    I think the level of conversation might be better if people will own their comments.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  29. Christopher Lake November 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    Correction to my previous comment: In comparing a young, spiritually immature Christian dressing revealingly to that same Christian voting for Obama, I should have written that these actions may not be *conscious* sins for that young believer. They are sins, but they may not be *conscious, knowing* ones. This factor reduces culpability before God.

  30. Christopher Lake November 3, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    Disputatio,

    The sin of voting for a militantly pro-choice candidate, who has said that he would not want his daughters to bear the “punishment” of an unwanted child, is the sin of being *complicit* in the continued legal status of a particular form of *murder.* If one knows that a certain legal form of murder *is,* in fact, murder, but yet, one chooses, with one’s vote, to preserve the continued legal status of that form of murder, is that not a sin?

  31. Christopher Lake November 3, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    John,

    War is a horrible, tragic reality of life in a fallen world, in which people do not respect each other’s most basic basic right to life– such as with Saddam Hussein and his unspeakable treatment of the Iraqi people, as their ruler for many years. War is *not* morally equivalent to abortion though, because in abortion, the person being attacked has *no way* to fight back or even flee, as he/she is unborn!

  32. Denny Burk November 3, 2008 at 3:54 pm #

    Once again, per my comments in #26 and #28, no anonymous comments. All commenters need to use first and last names and a valid e-mail address.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  33. Don Johnson November 3, 2008 at 4:50 pm #

    Per your request, this is my full name.

  34. Brian Krieger November 3, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Allie:

    The issue that I would voice is that you never get to care for the poor. Sen. Obama’s record is not one of passivity (which, at worst, McCain would be). His is one of aggressively expanding and denying rights to those whom we hold very dear. They are never cared for and are denied a right to even exist. Given the details of FOCA (a central plank in Obama’s platform), the little that has been accomplished will be utterly nullified as well.

    So you say that When the Republicans nominate someone who is pro-life, anti-war, opposed to the death penalty, against embryonic stem cell research, and for the poor, I will vote for him or her.

    Abortion: Obama is Pro-Abortion (and make no mistake, it’s not choice, it’s not choice, it’s federal funding to have abortions among other expansions, see FOCA and his desire to eliminate funding for crisis pregnancy centers)
    Death Penalty: Both candidates are pro-Death penalty
    Stem Cell research: Obama is pro stem cell research (in fact, he even wants to begin creating new embryos for the sole purpose of destruction. McCain (despite thoughts otherwise) does not oppose stem cell research using embryos slated for destruction. I find that to be at odds with my belief that we should allow embryonic stem cell research.
    For the poor: Obama, I’ll say, is pro-poverty (that is, that he envisions an ability to eradicate it). However, there have been several studies shown that aggressive government distribution programs don’t work. So I would not tend to say that any of his policies will do anything but expend a sense of entitlement (but that is an entirely different discussion). I suppose a question I would ask is what policy do you oppose of McCain’s? Or, rather, what policy of Obama’s is radically superior to McCain’s?
    Anti-war: Both are for the removal of troops from Iraq. McCain outright states that political stability must come prior to a reduction of troops. Obama says the same thing, only first says we must reduce troops then follows with we must ensure political stability (but also appears to favor increased troops in Afghanistan while saying troop reduction). As with so many other issues, Obama has stated opposition, changed his position (to where at one point he said that he and Bush were on the same page) and now back to opposition. I still think McCain

    I can understand the feeling of wanting to change the “old guard” so to speak. I think that is the tide that Obama has ridden thus far. And I don’t think that anyone will convince you to vote otherwise. I also think that there are plenty of folks digging in their heels to vote for Obama based on fuzzy notions of “care for the poor” or “environment”. The crux, though, is that on life in the womb, the candidates are polar opposite. On nearly all other issues, they are not opposite, but view different ways achieving the same goal (policy). And while you don’t agree that it’s a moral versus policy comparison, you are showing a predefined priority. Or, rather, that pro-life just sits amongst the other issues you regard.

    You are correct, we are of another kingdom. Regardless of who is elected, we should continue to support/expand crisis pregnancy centers (did you remember that Obama is for cutting off federal funding?), woman-to-woman resources and on and on. We should work tirelessly in our communities. We have an opportunity to demonstrate that we value life above all other things. Instead, though, we are relegating it to just another factor in my giant equation. And it is disheartening.

    If you’re interested, do a quick search on abortion. Or visit (most have links to other sites and furthers the discussion):

    http://www.dennyburk.com/?p=2682
    or 2688 (especially concerning your “kingdom” reference)
    or 2647 (I think this answers your comment from the next one….)
    or 2645 (I think you commented on this one, answered above)
    or 2633

    And on and on. Plus, if you have a minute, take a look at the boundless.org site as well (especially Cool Compassion).

  35. Brian Krieger November 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Allie:

    I have a comment above. It was far more long-winded than I intended. Not surprised if it gets ejected. But I also came across an interesting link from Justin Taylor that you might find at least interesting:

    Historian condemnation

  36. Mike Bird November 3, 2008 at 8:21 pm #

    Denny,

    I’ve re-read your post and have a few more thoughts:

    1. I’m as pro-life as the next guy and I would love to see Roe vs. Wade over turned in the USA. Sadly, in both the UK and Australia no party champions the cause to end abortion on demand at all, so consider yourself blessed in that sense that you have a remnant of political and cultural warriors willing to fight this fight in the proper arena: democracy.

    2. Could your same arguments 1-4 about protecting the innocent, ignorance is no excuse, the necessity of action, and God’s impartial judgment apply to opposing an unjust war in Iraq that has caused the deaths of tens of thousands. Are we morally obligated to do the same on that front, if not, why not? Do these arguments only apply to abortion?

    3. If God will hold us to account for voting for a pro-abortion candidate will he not also hold us accountable for voting for a pro-war candidate? In which case, you are really in a catch-22. You might say, I’ll take the lesser of two evils (which one is lesser is still a trickier subject), but that only excludes the third option: don’t vote for either candidate because both will lead to further evil and carnage in this world.

    4. What I think you have to establish is that ending abortion is worth the expense of promoting or permitting continued death, civil war, and violence in Iraq rather than abstaining from a vote of either candidate. Does the end justify the means?

    5. In another words, if the choice is (a) Baby killers, (b) war mongers, or (c) none of the above – can we choose in good Christian conscience(c)?

    6. Since God hates abortion and unjust wars how do we avoid invoking the wrath of God upon ourselves by casting our ballot?

    Note, these are genuine questions, I’m not trying to catch you out mate!

  37. Denny Burk November 4, 2008 at 1:03 am #

    Dear Mike (#36),

    Thanks for taking time to comment. I grateful for your thoughtful questions, and I don’t mind at all. Starting with your number 2.

    2. I think there are a number of reasons not to make a moral equivalence between the atrocity of abortion-on-demand and the Iraq War.

    a. Whether or not the Iraq War is just is a matter of prudential judgment and abortion is not. I am not the only Christian who thinks the Iraq War was justified on Just War criteria (though there may be some argument about just post bellum). You can read what I’ve written on this here. But even if you end up disagreeing, I still think we have to regard this as a matter of prudential judgment. But we cannot treat abortion in this way.

    b. Even if everyone agreed that the Iraq War were unjust, the sheer number of innocents who have lost their lives to abortion far outnumbers those who have died in the Iraq War. In both cases, the loss of innocent human life is tragic. But 50 million dead as a result of abortion gives this issue a greater priority in my view.

    c. The United States criminalizes the intentional targeting of innocent civilians, but it does not criminalize the killing of innocent unborn babies. It’s a war-crime to target non-combatants. This fact will be little consolation to those who think the war to be unjust. Nevertheless, we need to make a distinction between the intentional taking of human life (abortion) and the unintentional (non-combatants who tragically die in war). I think the Bible makes a distinction between intended and unintended killing of innocent human life. I’ve written a little about that distinction here.

    3. Unless one is a pacifist, then we have to agree that God will “bring to account” those who wage unjust wars. We wouldn’t say that about those who wage Just wars. If God treated Just wars as sinful, then they wouldn’t be just, would they?

    4, 5, and 6. Once again, the U.S. doesn’t target innocent non-combatants as a matter of government policy in war. In abortion, the innocents are targeted. So you have to make a moral distinction between the killing in a just war and the killing in the womb.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  38. Don Johnson November 4, 2008 at 1:40 am #

    FWIIW, the methods of area bombing used by the UK in WWII were/are considered by some to be targeting civilians, and the same with US fire bombing of some German and Japanese cities, as well as the A-bomb. Things get messy in war as morality often erodes as each side is tempted to increase the horror and seek revenge.

  39. John Holmberg November 4, 2008 at 2:34 am #

    Denny,

    Would you say the same things about the Iraq war if it were a democratic president who got us into it?

    Also, illegal or not, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen (on purpose) and we’re not responsible. Just because something is law doesn’t mean squat if it’s not being obeyed, nor does it mean squat if it’s not serving it’s purpose. The faulty logic astounds me. I suppose if you want to keep your conscience clean though…

    If you vote for McCain and he instigates a nuclear holocaust where 3 billion people die, will you be partly to blame? And by the way, you’re certainly in the minority about your Iraq just-war views, even among those closest to you theologically. To just generalize and say there are others who believe like you is near-sighted. Your views are extreme and you do some major gymnastics (exegetical and moral) to get there (it’s actually quite sad).

    Mike also alluded to McCain being pro-war. War-happy is another way I’d put it. But you never addressed McCain, you just talk about law. You also never answered if a good Christian could in good conscience answer (c)none of the above if the choice is between a “baby-killer” and a war monger. Why do you sidestep some of his main questions? I really question your motives sometimes and your zeal for partisan politics Denny. I’ve never, not once, ever seen you mention anything negative about the Republican party. All Christians agree that not one party encapsulates Christianity and Christian values, and both have their shortcomings, yet you’re sold out. What gives with that? I hate to tell you, but you saying a Christian can in good conscience not vote or saying one or two bad things about the Republicans is not going to change anybody’s mind, sorry. I think you’re in the wrong business anyways. Maybe you can teach political science at southern anyways since it seems they are so political and partisan these days (thanks Mohler). There’s something called the kingdom of God we’re supposed to be proclaiming, and that doesn’t involve condemning and slandering others you disagree with, nor does it have a shred to do with kingdom-of-world politics. Oh, and it doesn’t involve withholding rights from a despised people group (homosexuals), who are equivalent to the prostitutes and tax collectors of our day. They would be attracted to Jesus; are they attracted to you guys? Check box “no” on that one.

  40. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 10:07 am #

    Wow, add the last name to the person and they get even more vitriolic in their comments. Seems to have backfired, Denny. 🙂 I, for one, know that Denny is very much in the majority among conservative evangelicals when it comes to Iraq’s Just War credentials. But it doesn’t really matter who’s in the majority or who is in the minority, what is true and right is what matters.

    John, if you honestly want to know why Denny ignores your questions, it’s because you twist everything he says, ignore that which doesn’t suit your partisan rants, and generally lob mud at him.

  41. Brian Krieger November 4, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    Dr. Mohler has a great prayer on his blog. I think, especially given the news about Obama’s grandmother, that #6 really rang true:

    Sixth, we should pray that God will protect these candidates and their families. They have been through an arduous ordeal and now face the deadline of the vote. They are physically exhausted and now face the judgment of the people. They are public figures, but they are also flesh and blood human beings, who are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters. Their families have withstood much. We should pray for their marriages and their children. May God protect them.

  42. John Holmberg November 4, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    Amen Brian, I wish I saw more remarks like this from Christians instead of slander and demonization for the candidate they’re not voting for. Thanks bro.

  43. Nathan Mayfield November 4, 2008 at 11:11 am #

    “Would you say the same things about the Iraq war if it were a democratic president who got us into it?”

    First, both parties are responsible for this war. Go back and look at the vote that started it. Second, both parties were slack in their ability to deal with terrorists going all the way back to Carter. Need we mention that Bush’s father started a war and wouldn’t finish it. Need we mention Clinton having the ability to capture Bin Laden and refusing to do it. Mistakes have been made by both parties for an extended time.

    As for Denny’s comment that it is illegal to target civilians. In the general sense of infantry battles, Denny is correct. The reality of war is that civilian targets (specifically bombing targets) have been used by the U.S. in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. So Denny you are somewhat skewed in your thinking to say that this practice is illegal. The Atomic Bombs were dropped on Japan with the full understanding that civilians would be killed in big numbers.

    Having said that, the number of lives that the dropping of the Atomic bombs saved far outweighed the losses that they caused. War is never just in that sense.

    John, you won’t agree with this logic, but Denny has consistently posted in the last few weeks regarding the issue of abortion. The Democratic party does not allow pro-life stances. Read their platform. I am positive that if the Republicans had similar doctrine Denny would be all over them, as would I and many others on this blog.

    “Oh, and it doesn’t involve withholding rights from a despised people group (homosexuals), who are equivalent to the prostitutes and tax collectors of our day. They would be attracted to Jesus; are they attracted to you guys? Check box “no” on that one.”

    First, Jesus never offered anyone any “rights.” He offered salvation from sinful behavior. And yes, the tax collectors and the prostitutes were attracted to Him. But Jesus always condemned their behavior and told them to go and sin no more.

    I personally have never seen Denny blog attacking homosexuals individually. Speaking about sin does not imply attacks on an individual. Jesus ferociously attacked the Pharisees, yet offered forgiveness to them and some repented and accepted; Nicodemus and Joseph. The tax collectors repented, gave back the money they stole (Zacheeus) and followed Jesus. Jesus confronted the woman at the well with her sin and yet still offered forgiveness.

    Witholding rights? What rights do we have before God? It sounds like you need to read your own post. Christian’s don’t offer rights, they offer the gospel.

    John: You have no clue as to who Denny witnesses to, so beware of checking boxes.

  44. Michael Metts November 4, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    50,000,000 is a lot of zeros.

    I for one am greatly thankful for my newborn baby and her often crying, because it says she’s alive. I wonder how many mothers and fathers have longed to hold their babies but now cannot.

    How could anyone harden their heart so much as to obfuscate this major issue by talking about Iraq, and even attack those who have the honorable decency, like Dr Burk, to stand up and speak out against this holocaust against the most innocent human beings alive?

    Live From Criswell last night talked about this issue.

    God bless Dr Burk for having the tenacity to stand firm on this issue. If it is any consolation to you Dr Burk, both my wife and I have voted for the best hope of the unborn.

  45. D.J. Williams November 4, 2008 at 11:39 am #

    John said…
    “Amen Brian, I wish I saw more remarks like this from Christians instead of slander and demonization for the candidate they’re not voting for. Thanks bro.”

    I agree with your sentiment, but I’m wondering how you apply it to your post #39, in which you refer to McCain as “war-happy” and a “war-monger.” You take a verbal swipe at Southern (ever been there?) and Mohler for being about partisan politics rather than the kingdom of God.
    You say “There’s something called the kingdom of God we’re supposed to be proclaiming, and that doesn’t involve condemning and slandering others you disagree with”, right before you say, “They would be attracted to Jesus; are they attracted to you guys? Check box “no” on that one.” Be on your guard – conservatives don’t own the market on slander and demonization.

  46. Don Johnson November 4, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    FWIIW, I voted pro-life and against abortion as best I could in this election.

  47. Paul November 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    Really, what it comes down to is this:

    if the Republican party was REALLY as concerned about pro-life issues as you’d like to think they are, y’all would nominate pro-life populists who are guaranteed to ingratiate themselves with more than 50% of the country.

    Because there’s no way that I can in good conscience vote for the guy who is pro-life if I think that he’s anti-everything else that I stand for. I’d much rather “throw away my vote” than vote for either of the two major party choices offered to me.

  48. Derek Hostetter November 4, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    some people simply cannot bring themselves to vote for someone that is pro-choice, and there is nothing wrong with that. generally, however, i would say christians have a tendency to vote not because their conscience doesnt allow them to vote for a pro-choice candidate, but because they are told to care only about the abortion issue and to vote for whoever is pro-life. because of this mentality people often will not even give a democratic candidate a chance. but, in my view, i can vote for either party line (or any other third option) becuase no political party is truly and completely “pro-life.” the republican party members are often some of the biggest supporters of big tobacco, and smoking kills millions of people each year. i think that mccain’s plan for iraq is less pro-life than obama’s (i do not think that the war on iraq is a just one, and i am also a pacifist). democratic candidates have a history of caring more for the environment than republicans, which does, ultimately, affect the quality of human life. republicans tend to care more about people from conception to birth and i think democrats often seem to care more about a persons well-being from birth to death. mccain has also supported stem-cell research, which could hardly be considered pro-life by any means. but, i am not saying all of this to convince you to vote democrat or anything like that. i simply wish to show that the issues are always more complex than the umbrella labels we give them like “pro-life.” i believe that i can still live with a pro-life testimony if i vote for a pro-choice candidate. sadly, i do not think abortion is going to go away, so now the most important thing to do is to work on preventing unwanted pregnancies, and work to encourage mothers to give birth by offering them assistance, and to make adoption a more apealing option for people. and even though obama is pro-choice, i do not think that he believes abortion is the best option for women. here is a quote from what he said regarding abortion in the third presidential debate: “We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby. Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that’s where we can find some common ground, because nobody’s pro-abortion. I think it’s always a tragic situation. We should try to reduce these circumstances.” While he is still a pro-choice advocate, this quote directly speaks to the false dichotomy we often create that either a person is pro-life or they are pro-death. to be honest, sometimes i doubt that pro-life politicians are even sincere in their stance on abortion. it is easy to stand against something that you dont think you can really change (especially if it will get you free votes). so, as important as the issue of abortion is and as pro-life as i am, i still feel as though i am free to vote for a democratic candidate. but, like i said earlier, the key is that each person truly search their conscience to see if they can do the same. some people may simply not be able to. and for those people, i would say, it is still important to establish whether a candidate is worth supporting based on other issues. if a person cannot vote democratic with a good conscience, they must not then assume the only thing left to do is support mccain. perhaps that person simply comes to the conclusion that they cannot even vote in good conscience. that’s the stance of my brother, and i respect him for it. or a person can decide to vote for a third option, like ron paul. that’s the stance of my dad, and i also respect him for it. no matter what, i do not think it is wise to vote based on a single issue.

    that being said, i have no problem with someone voting mccain if they think he is the better candidate based on most of the issues. that would be the position of my grandfather. for him, mccain is not just the better option because he is pro-life, but becuase of his economic policies, his stance on iraq, and his health care reform. and it would be wrong of me to try to fight with my grandfather over his ignorance of the issues or his one-issue voting. he is well informed and is voting mccain. i respect that.

    so, i do not want you to think that i am telling you to vote for obama. i am just letting you know that it is okay to be a christian and to vote for obama. probably the majority of christians you know are voting mccain, but obama is still an acceptable option. i have just been recommending that people spend some serious time in prayer over who to vote for. again, voting isnt the biggest issue in the world, so dont tear yourself up over anything, just dont forget to take it to the LORD. if anything is worth thinking about, it is certainly worth praying about.

    also, i do not think that a person should be held accountable for the actions of the official they elect to office. i think such an idea is very strange. especially given the idea that many have presented of voting for the lesser of two evils. if one is held accountable for who they vote for, the best option would seem to be not voting at all. that way we are only responsible for our own actions. but most of you dont seem to be happy with the option of not voting. i think it is much better for a person to not vote than to vote in bad conscience (even if it is the “lesser” of two evils).

    anyway, hopefully this was written and understood with the fullest respect for all of those commenting on this issue. it is crucial that we be able to embrace one another as fellow believers rather than sling mud or seek to promote our own intellectual prowess and pride in these matters. feel free to respond to my comment, but i plea with you to keep it respectful. for this reason i hesitate to even post. i am a person with feelings. i love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and i am seeking to honor him in all that i do. just as the sixth point of mohler’s prayer indicates that the candidates are real people, those that support each candidate are also real people. so, please treat even those of a different persuasion than yourself with respect.

    sorry i wrote a book.

    godspeed.

    derek

  49. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    “… smoking kills millions of people each year.”

    Actually, disease and poor choices kill millions of people each year. Smoking is like any other thing that people use in their bodies: in moderation, it’s fine, but when abused… and I say this as someone who has never tried a single cigarette or cigar or pipe.

    “I think that mccain’s plan for iraq is less pro-life than obama’s…”

    How do you arrive at this conclusion? Obama would abandon the innocent Iraqis to civil war or genocide or terrorists while McCain wants to make sure we leave the country in good shape and the people safe. Personally, it’s pretty obvious which plan is pro-life (at least, innocent life), and it ain’t Obama’s. Remember, Iraqis deserve life just as much as Americans do. Let’s not selfishly leave them to die like we did in Vietnam.

    “republicans tend to care more about people from conception to birth and i think democrats often seem to care more about a persons well-being from birth to death.”

    Again, I’m not sure how you’ve come to this view. Republicans tend to support crisis pregnancy centers way more than Democrats/liberals. Such centers support life through birth and into early childhood, whereas liberals tend to support destroying life until at least birth and any life that is deemed useless (like the elderly or handicapped). Furthermore, liberals are against the death penalty, which is one of the most anti-life positions known to man. Not much could be more anti-life than to allow murderers to continue to perpetrate their evil acts on this earth. This is against God’s justice and those who are against the death penalty will be held accountable on Judgment Day. The number of murderers set free to kill again by liberals is innumerable and reprehensible.

  50. mike templin November 4, 2008 at 5:46 pm #

    Amen to darius in post #20!

  51. Paul November 4, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Darius,

    as a former smoker, I just want you to know that this…

    “in moderation, it’s fine, but when abused… and I say this as someone who has never tried a single cigarette or cigar or pipe.”

    Ranks in my top 10 stupidest things ever written. Sometimes, if you don’t have first hand experience, your best bet is to not say anything. There’s a reason why us ex-smokers are obnoxious in our attempts to get others to quit: we know that addiction to heroin isn’t as hard to break as addiction to cigarettes (or chewing tobacco).

    Then there’s this:

    “Furthermore, liberals are against the death penalty, which is one of the most anti-life positions known to man. Not much could be more anti-life than to allow murderers to continue to perpetrate their evil acts on this earth.”

    No one is clammoring for murderers to be set free from prison to perpetuate their evil acts. And, after all, if Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, is there still a time to kill before God calls them to judgement? I (and many others) would say no.

  52. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm #

    “Ranks in my top 10 stupidest things ever written. Sometimes, if you don’t have first hand experience, your best bet is to not say anything. There’s a reason why us ex-smokers are obnoxious in our attempts to get others to quit: we know that addiction to heroin isn’t as hard to break as addiction to cigarettes (or chewing tobacco).”

    Paul, you never cease, do ya? I have heard plenty of smokers (generally talking about cigars more than cigarettes, to be fair) who acknowledge that when done in moderation, smoking is relatively harmless. I’ve even heard respected doctors say this. So just because you and others let yourselves get addicted to them doesn’t mean others have the same lack of self-control. I despise both cigarettes and cigars, but I am not about to take away a person’s right to enjoy them, not like liberals want to just because some weak science about secondhand smoke makes a tenuous link to cancer.

    “No one is clammoring for murderers to be set free from prison to perpetuate their evil acts. And, after all, if Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, is there still a time to kill before God calls them to judgement? I (and many others) would say no.”

    Oh really? This is precisely what has happened under liberals and “compassionate conservatives” on numerous occasions (and a main reason that I would never vote for the Huckster). I would link to all the evidence of this, but I’m sure you’d come up with some excuse. Most secular liberals don’t believe people should have to pay for their crimes, at least not properly. Criminals (or people) aren’t evil, they’re sick, and so they aren’t responsible for their actions. That is a liberal line of thought (now, your reasoning as a Christian liberal may be different).

    As a Christian, where do you see that Jesus nullified capital punishment, at least in the secular world? He didn’t nullify punishment for theft, why would He have nullify punishment for murder????

  53. Paul November 4, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    “As a Christian, where do you see that Jesus nullified capital punishment, at least in the secular world?”

    Certainly the woman about to get stoned by the Pharisees comes to mind.

    re: your defense of your comments about smoking…

    I’m not claiming that cigarettes should be banned. However, someone without firsthand knowledge of the nastiness that tobacco addiction is really has no place talking about whether or not it can be used in moderation.

    Yes, cigar and pipe smoking are different beasts, but I think you’d find that most cigar and pipe smokers would consider themselves in a separate camp from their cigarette smoking brethren, because the very purpose behind them is completely different.

  54. Don Johnson November 4, 2008 at 6:25 pm #

    To stone the adulterous woman by herself would have been a violation of Torah, a sin. Jesus, of course, knew this.

  55. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 6:27 pm #

    “Certainly the woman about to get stoned by the Pharisees comes to mind.”

    That’s a distortion of that text to apply that to government’s use of capital punishment.

    Yes, I agree that cigarette smokers have to be extra careful and that their vice is more dangerous. I don’t understand how anyone can like those things, but it’s not my job to make their decisions.

    Primarily, my mention of smoking was not to get this particular debate started, but just to point out to Derek H that blaming cancer deaths on Big Tobacco (and, in turn, on Republicans) is a bridge too far. Blame where the blame should be placed: on people who couldn’t control themselves and wasted their lives on cigarettes, on a society that turned a blind eye, and on Hollywood who promoted their abuse until it was too late.

  56. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    “To stone the adulterous woman by herself would have been a violation of Torah, a sin. Jesus, of course, knew this.”

    Jesus was getting at the fact that people were hypocritically wanting to kill this woman while not being willing to kill the sin in their own lives. He was NOT saying that punishment, even capital punishment, no longer applied.

  57. Paul November 4, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    “That’s a distortion of that text to apply that to government’s use of capital punishment.”

    Is it, if Israel was indeed a theocracy? You’ll have to provide more proof than a one-liner to convince me.

  58. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 6:34 pm #

    Jesus was getting at exactly what Bishop Joseph Hall was affirming when he penned a meditation entitled “Upon the Sight of a Harlot Carted” in the 17th century.

    “With what noise, and tumult, and zeal of solemn justice, is this sin punished! The streets are not more full of beholders, than clamours. Every one strives to express his detestation of the fact, by some token of revenge: one casts mire, another water, another rotten eggs, upon the miserable offender. Neither, indeed, is she worthy of less: but, in the mean time, no man looks home to himself. It is no uncharity to say, that too many insult in this just punishment, who have deserved more. . . . Public sins have more shame; private may have more guilt. If the world cannot charge me of those, it is enough, that I can charge my soul of worse. Let others rejoice, in these public executions: let me pity the sins of others, and be humbled under the sense of my own.”

  59. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    Paul, you HAVE to consider the context. The Pharisees were using this as a trap. It was against Roman Law for the Jews to execute anyone, but it was against Hebrew Law to allow an adulterer to live (though note that they didn’t bring the man). As usual, Jesus turned their trap on its head by pointing to each person’s own heart.

    In the rest of the New Testament, punishment from government is affirmed and upheld. Evil is not supposed to be tolerated by the authorities.

  60. Paul November 4, 2008 at 6:49 pm #

    Darius,

    fair enough. Explanations are always much more welcomed than “witty” one liners.

    “Evil is not supposed to be tolerated by the authorities.”

    That can be accomplished in numerous ways. We just don’t have to be inconsistent in our attitudes about the value of life.

  61. Don Johnson November 4, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    Darius,

    It was not against Torah for the woman to live. The Torah specifies 2 circumstances, in one both were to be killed and in the other just the man; in neither was just the woman to be stoned. The accusers were violating Torah (sinning) by bring her by herself for judgment.

  62. Derek Hostetter November 4, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    thank you for your response darius and your attempt to engage in conversation.

    however, in the future please address the point of my comment rather than a few statements. while you may not have ripped my words out of context, to treat parts of an argument as the whole while not addressing the main point is also intellectually irresponsible. i did not expand on the statements you address above because they were not the point of the post.

    for clarification, however, i did state that it is the support of big tobacco that bothers me and that is not pro-life. this includes the marketing of cigarettes to young people, the shipment of tobacco products overseas to impoverished countries as a part of federal aid, and efforts to keep people in bondage to their unhealthy addictions so as to make a profit. surely you can agree that such objectives are wrong and are not in line with a truly pro-life stance. and to do so, i am not asking you to say that the democrats are right. i am asking you to rise to an ethic that surpasses even that of the republican or democratic party.

    also, with regard to the war in iraq, i have already stated that i think the war is unjust and that i am a pacifist. so, it serves no purpose to remind me that people in iraq deserve life too. to make such a statement is to imply that i do not already think such a thing and is, again, intellectually irresponsible and unfair. i oppose the war in iraq largely for this very reason.

    finally, the third statement you address is actually one of the weakest statements in my first post, but, again, it could hardly be considered a serious part of the overall point. i admit that the statement is an overgeneralization, but, again, it was not my main argument so i was not seeking to expound on it or rely on it. it is interesting though, that you decided to use this statement to get out your view on the death penalty (which, again, seems to have little bearing on the point of my post). but, i will address your statement nonetheless. i must confess that according to *your* view (i am not really sure that you speak on behalf of God here) i will face judgment for my opposition to the death penalty. and i suppose while i face that judgment, you will also face judgment for the lives of the innocent that have been taken as a result of mistaken death penalty sentences which is equally “innumerable and reprehensible.”

    all that being said, this will be my last post because i do not see the conversation being a truly understanding one. i do not feel that any ground is being gained. this is in part because i do not see an acknowledgement of something other than a conservative/liberal breakdown of life in general. i was not here to try to change your mind or tell you how to think, but i was here to engage in your thoughts and better understand them. however, it seems as though you are here simply to refute my line of thinking rather than to seek understanding. i want to encourage you to feel free to comment on my post because i will read it. but i wanted to let you know that i will not be responding from this point forward. thank you for the time you have put in to reading and writing on my statements. keep seeking to glorify Christ in all you do, and i will do the same. thank you.

    godspeed.

    derek

  63. Darius Teichroew November 4, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    That was my point, Don. It WAS against Hebrew Law for her to live, except that they weren’t following Hebrew Law because they didn’t bring the man. But I don’t think that would have changed Jesus’ response much if they had brought the guy too. He wanted them to realize that being quick to punish others while not repenting of your own sin is hypocrisy at its worst.

  64. Don Johnson November 4, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    Darius,

    The accusers broke Torah by bringing her alone, that is why Jesus asked them who was without sin, as they all sinned in bringing her alone. The older figured it out first.

    It was supposed to be a no-win situation for Jesus, if he said stone her then he broke Roman law and if he said do not, then he (supposedly) broke Jewish law, but the point is that was NOT Jewish law, they had interpreted it wrong.

  65. John Holmberg November 4, 2008 at 7:55 pm #

    You guys are arguing about a verse that’s assuredly not in the original text. If you go to the following site:

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2007/08/my-favorite-passage-that%E2%80%99s-not-in-the-bible/

    You will see one of the country’s finest text critics and Greek scholars defending that there’s no way it is original. Also, this is a view even help by most conservative scholars (I’m pretty sure you could probably include Denny in that list). I actually don’t have much of a problem with capital punishment, and think God uses it to bring justice to certain situations. It’s the Christian wishing people got capital punishment that is the problem. We shouldn’t wish harm on anybody, but we must forgiven them and trust that vengeance is God’s.

  66. Don Johnson November 4, 2008 at 8:00 pm #

    Yes, I agree it is not in the earliest manuscripts, but it “smells” authentic. My take is it was verbal by John and later inserted by his disciples.

  67. Darius November 4, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    It definitely smells authentic. The way Jesus handles them is only something He would do.

  68. Gardner Barnes November 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm #

    I guess 63,000,000 Americans disagreed with you and elected a man who supports a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.

  69. Darius Teichroew November 6, 2008 at 10:12 am #

    Yep, and against the right to life of the baby. Americans are barbarians.

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