Obama Fails To Transcend Abortion Debate

barack-mainI watched President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame with some interest this afternoon (see video and transcript below). I was curious (along with everyone else in the country) about how he would address the protests surrounding his appearance at a Roman Catholic (and ostensibly pro-life) university. The buzz leading-up to the speech was that the President would address the issue head-on while attempting to transcend the old “culture war” debates about abortion.

The only thing transcendent about the speech, however, was the rhetoric. The President can turn a phrase with the best of them. But at the end of the day, he did not transcend the debate (or the “culture war” for that matter). He held fast to the the radical pro-abortion position that he has always held while calling for people on opposite sides of the issue to be nice to each other.

What concerns me most about this whole event was the sheer pathos of it. President Obama is a gifted communicator, and his persona alone may compel the casual observer to think that the pro-abortion position is as reasonable and respectable as its most articulate defender appears to be.

In the battle for the hearts and minds of a nation, this is what makes President Obama so dangerous. The Roe vs. Wade status quo, which the President heartily supports, has presided over the legal killing of nearly 50 million human beings since 1973. This reality is neither reasonable or respectable, and the President (and the administration of Notre Dame) sadly obscured that fact today.

Transcript

30 Responses to Obama Fails To Transcend Abortion Debate

  1. Matthew Staton May 17, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    Well said, Denny.

  2. Matt Privett May 17, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    Amen, Dr. Burk.

  3. CT May 17, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    Let’s be honest: it’s difficult to reason with religious pro-life activists–even if you’re a gifted communicator like Obama.

    With most evangelicals, for example, there would be much less to argue about if they were more reasonable. Here’s an evangelical argument showing that it is silly to oppose abortion on behalf of unborn babies.

    (1) Unborn babies do not deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment.

    (2) God does not condemn people for what they do not deserve.

    (3) Hell is worse than bodily dismemberment.

    (4) Therefore, God does not condemn unborn babies to hell.

    (5) Hundreds of millions of unborn babies have been aborted.

    (6) Had they not been aborted, some of these would have survived to adulthood.

    (7) It is unreasonable to believe that all of these survivors would have come to faith in Christ.

    (8) Adults who never come to faith in Christ are condemned to hell.

    (9) Therefore, abortion has saved some from hell.

    (10) Correspondingly, we can conclude that abortion saves the unborn baby from the risk of hell.

    (11) Hell involves eternal suffering and separation from God.

    (12) There is nothing in the earthly life for which it is worth risking eternal separation from God.

    (13) Therefore, abortion is in the unborn baby’s interest.

    (14) Therefore, it is silly to oppose abortion on behalf of the unborn.

  4. Denny Burk May 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    CT,

    There is something that trumps all of your syllogisms.

    Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.”

    Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.”

    Leviticus 24:17 “If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.”

    Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'”

    Matthew 19:18 “And Jesus said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER.'”

    Romans 13:9 “For this, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'”

    James 2:11 “For He who said, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,’ also said, ‘DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”

  5. Scott K May 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Denny,

    I didn’t find CT’s posting very persuasive, but I didn’t find yours to be persuasive either. All of the verses you quote do nothing to establish the humanity of the unborn. Even though I am pro-life, I can at least see the benefit of Obama’s message: that we should avoid caricaturess and instead engage in rational dialogue.

    While I agree that the pro-choice position, which does not attribute humanity to the unborn, is a misguided and despicable position, it is a position that is nevertheless fully rational and reasonable. I think if we fail to admit that the other side actually have reasons for their belief, then we will inevitably fail to develop BETTER reasons for our side when it comes to public debate. And we will simply offer knee-jerk responses that don’t really trump anything.

    Scott K

  6. Denny Burk May 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    Scott,

    CT was attempting to make an “evangelical argument.” On that premise, it’s entirely appropriate to cite scripture.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  7. Chris Thompson May 18, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    Denny Burk,

    With all due respect, you’ve missed the point. The conclusion says nothing about opposing abortion on behalf of piety, or on behalf of following God’s commands. The conclusion states rather that it is silly to oppose abortion on behalf of the unborn. This is because abortion is very much in the interests of an unborn baby.

    There are many things you should oppose because they go against the word of God. You should oppose any practices that involve lusting (in your heart) after anyone who is not your spouse. We think of abortion along these lines. Put abortion in the category of sins that are relatively “victimless” … Just note that, with abortion, the sin committed is actually in the best interests of its most direct victim.

  8. Chris Thompson May 18, 2009 at 1:41 am #

    Perhaps the argument wasn’t clear, as I presented it. I’ve therefore cleaned up some errors and added an additional, intermediary premise.

    (1) Unborn babies do not deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment.

    (2) God does not condemn people to worse than they deserve.

    (3) Hell is worse than bodily dismemberment.

    (4) Therefore, God does not condemn unborn babies to hell.

    (5) Hundreds of millions of unborn babies have been aborted.

    (6) Had they not been aborted, some of these would have survived to adulthood.

    (7) It is unreasonable to believe that all of these survivors would have come to faith in Christ.

    (8) Adults who do not come to faith in Christ are condemned to hell.

    (9) Therefore, if some had not been aborted, they’d have gone to hell.

    (10) Therefore, abortion has saved some from hell.

    (11) We can correspondingly conclude that abortion saves an unborn baby from the risk of hell.

    (12) Hell involves eternal suffering and separation from God.

    (13) There is nothing in the earthly life for which it is worth risking eternal separation from God.

    (14) Therefore, abortion is in the unborn baby’s interest.

    (15) Therefore, it is silly to oppose abortion on behalf of the unborn baby.

  9. Carol Jean May 18, 2009 at 1:42 am #

    Tucker Carlson, who has apparently left the Titanic that is MSNBC, said tonight on FOX that the pro-life position is that abortion is no less than the murder of unborn children. Therefore, Obama is responsible for the actual murder of unborn babies. And Obama’s comments at the graduation amounted to merely telling pro-life advocates to “calm down” and “be nice” when they believe murder is being committed.

  10. Darius T May 18, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    “Just note that, with abortion, the sin committed is actually in the best interests of its most direct victim.”

    Wow, that is twisted.

  11. Darius T May 18, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    The error in your logic, Christopher, is that you assume that all unborn babies are undeserving of hell. We don’t know that… what we do know is that all humans are born sinful and NOT good. So it is only by the grace of God that they don’t all perish. Perhaps God saves all babies and children up to a certain age, but Scriptures don’t tell us that. So it would be rather foolish to assume that they will all go to heaven and just kill them. By your logic, we should kill all children under a certain age. Are you serious, or are you just being monstrous to prove a point?

  12. volfan007 May 18, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    Darius,

    It is twisted, and it’s eeerily similar to the type of thinking that the Nazi’s believed under Hitler.

    David

  13. Brian Krieger May 18, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Yikes, Chris. I think Darius illustrates the fallacy well (that you sum up with your #11: We can correspondingly conclude that abortion saves an unborn baby from the risk of hell., as if we have some bearing on salvation of others…role, yes, possibly, bearing, no.). And I agree, are you simply speaking in hyperbole or is that really your stance?

    I suppose, though, those who want to provide some salve to their wounds of sin do so with whatever means they can. Just reminds me that you don’t throw a frog in a boiling pot. Or something like that.

  14. Carol Jean May 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

    Brian Krieger said, “I suppose, though, those who want to provide some salve to their wounds of sin do so with whatever means they can. Just reminds me that you don’t throw a frog in a boiling pot. Or something like that.”

    I also had a social worker once tell me she thought abortion was sometimes better for babies who would be born into abusive homes. A CHRISTIAN social worker! Salve indeed. There seemed to be no thought given to the role of God’s sovereignty or grace. Only the immediate and what is seen.

  15. Joyie Francisco May 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    What is amazing is that in the state of Texas, as well as other states, if a pregnant woman is murdered, killed in an accident, or dies at the hands of another person, that person is held on two accounts of destroying life. Now, call me crazy, but a complete stranger can take a child’s life and it’s murder, but the mother can take the child’s life and she is exercising her constitutional right? I think our laws protect unbon life when trying to be politically correct. No one wants to call a pregnant woman a murderer. It doesn’t win elections.

  16. Joyie Francisco May 18, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    Correction: protect *unborn life

  17. Chris Thompson May 18, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    Darius say, “The error in your logic…is that you assume that all unborn babies are undeserving of hell.”

    This means that Darius must suspect that unborn babies do deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment.

    David’s comment is appropriate as a response to Darius: “It is twisted, and it’s eerily similar to the type of thinking that the Nazi’s believed under Hitler.”

    (But did the Nazi’s even believe that the Jewish children deserved extermination and the cruelty of their death camps?)

  18. D.J. Williams May 19, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Chris,

    Your logic is quite backwards, man. All people deserve the wrath of God (which yes, is far worse than bodily dismemberment), and yet God has commanded us not to murder each other. God is the one who will judge, and we are not to take his authority into our hands. So, our standing as under the condemnation of God has nothing whatsoever to do with our value as human beings in society.

  19. Chris Thompson May 19, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    D.J. Williams, I take it you would agree with the following statement:

    Unborn babies don’t deserve to be aborted–they deserve far worse!

  20. Darius T May 19, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    “This means that Darius must suspect that unborn babies do deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment.”

    As in hell? Very possibly, since we humans are born evil and fallen. We don’t enter this world good and then turn bad. I’m just saying that while God may choose to save all babies and children to a certain age, it’s not for us (as DJ said) to judge something like that since it is not clear in Scripture. I’d rather be safe than sorry in such an important issue.

  21. volfan007 May 19, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    The Nazi comment was made for people who believe that some people arent worth living…as in abortion. The Nazi’s thought that some people were more valued and worth living(Aryian race) and others were not worth living(Jews, amongst others). The whole abortion is ok mindset is very Nazi-esque. I mean, we condemn Hitler for the Holocaust, when we’re doing more than he ever did.

    David

  22. Joyie Francisco May 21, 2009 at 12:12 am #

    The Nazi idea originally started with Marxism and Darwinism. This is very interesting because Planned Parenthood started out as a way to “rid” the world of minorities and those deemed “unfit” and is doing its job. Here are 3 helpful articles that go into detail about it: http://abort73.com/index.php?/abortion/abortion_and_race
    http://www.abort73.com/?/abortion/abortion_and_race/planned_parenthoods_racist_roots/
    http://www.abort73.com/?/abortion/abortion_and_race/a_legacy_of_eugenics/
    Besides the obvious murder case about abortion, the danger is that this opens the pathway to the government imposing reproductive regulations on citizens. Once deemed just an embryo, unborn life is dispensible. What if a mother chooses to risk her life to save her baby’s? But a doctor’s hands are tied by law to first look after the health of the woman because she is the patient, not the unborn child? It seems like a radical statement, but Brian hit it on the head with the analogy of the frog and the boiling pot of water.

  23. Chris Thompson May 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Joyie, you are in danger of misleading yourself and others with some shabby thinking. An organization, like a family, may have a bad or off-colored history. This doesn’t mean that its current policy or behavior is bad or off-colored.

    Moreover, even if an embryo is denied the full rights to life, this doesn’t entail the permission to treat them in any way we like. Perhaps you should be pushing for more fine-grained legislation.

    Finally, do you agree with D.J. Williams, Darius T., and volfan007 that an unborn baby deserves far worse than the bodily dismemberment it receives in abortion? If you don’t, you might consider their sort of Nazi-esque thinking as a more fitting object of criticism.

  24. Zachary Jones May 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    I don’t believe Obama is “pro-abortion.” He may very well be anti-abortion. What he IS in favor of is freedom of choice (hence the FOCA or Freedom of Choice Act). The culture war he is trying to end involves people’s close-mindedness in regards to the fact that a person can be anti-abortion but still be pro-choice. Choice and Abortion are two separate entities which Americans attempt to amalgamate.

  25. Chris Carter May 22, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Zachary, the difference is purely academic for pro-lifers. That’s like the difference between pro-choice and pro-theft, pro-trespassing, or (obviously) pro-homicide. “I don’t think they should do it, but I don’t think we should stop them either.”

    That’s an anarchist argument in the other cases, so the only part pro-lifers care to discuss is whether abortion is murder.

  26. Darius T May 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Zachary (and other intellectually dishonest commenters),

    Would you apply your same views to slavery? In other words, one could be pro-choice for the option to own slaves in public policy while being against slavery personally. I’m amazed that anyone can not see that as idiotic.

  27. Darius T May 22, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    Christopher, you have yet to engage us on the total depravity issue. You just keep slinging ad hominem attacks like “nazi” around, which isn’t particularly intellectually compelling. 5 year olds argue that way. Let’s grow up and discuss the issues like adults.

    So, with that in mind, it seems that you believe that people are born good and only turn bad later in life. Where do you find this in Scripture?

  28. Brian Krieger May 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Chris,

    I suppose all I can say is wow. I believe in holding the judgment for God alone. You are attempting to usurp that (though you will fail at it).

    I believe that your statement is a logical fallacy. I believe those precious humans have a right to live. My desire is that they would live a life devoted to Christ and kneel with me on judgment day to hear Him say well done good and faithful servant. The fact that someone may choose to be disobedient and deny Christ does not have any bearing on what I desire (nor even the desires of God, but that’s a much bigger subject). It’s a foolish equivocation and conclusion that you make.

  29. Brian Krieger May 22, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    Zachary, Chris T and Chris Carter (I enjoyed watching you play for the Vikings….I’m sure you’ve NEVER heard that one before):

    I think the difference in our views boils down to viewing these precious ones as humans. I am unwilling to call these humans 2/3rd’s human or anything less than just what they are. I would say that is a fundamental difference for us. One which makes me very narrow minded, I suppose. I think we have the tendency to find great comfort in not having to think about them as lives (and that is me being guilty as much as anyone). They are silent, so we don’t have to listen to any “real” arguments. It’s easier to view those lives as commodities that either enrich or lessen our quality of life, not as people that have any life at all. It’s easier to think of a ball of tissue than a potential life (that, to use CT’s argument, could turn out to bring someone to Christ….again, a bigger discussion). The more we stew in the juices of that darkened view, the deeper that sin goes.

    BTW, comment 29 was supposed to be addressed to Chris Thompson.

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