Santorum: The Pro-life Candidate

Not long ago, I wrote about Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s re-election bid and his debate with his Democrat challenger Bob Casey on “Meet the Press.” This campaign has been an interesting one to watch if for no other reason than that both candidates are ostensibly pro-life. But the “Meet the Press” debate revealed that Bob Casey is not a principled pro-lifer, as it became clear that Casey does not support the right to life from conception to natural death.

An editorial in The National Review this morning gives other reasons why Casey’s pro-life credentials are not anywhere near those of Rick Santorum:

Santorum has been willing not just to vote for life, but to sponsor legislation, to speak out, and otherwise to put himself on the line. Casey has said that he will not make the fight against abortion a priority. He thus undercuts the principled, as opposed to crassly political, character of his position, and makes it hard for serious pro-lifers to vote for him. The unfortunate truth is that Casey is not the pro-life stalwart that his father was. We hope that pro-life Pennsylvanians will vote accordingly.

I could not agree more with this assessment. Go read the rest of “A Friend in Need.” Unfortunately, it may be too late for Senator Santorum. It is likely that he will lose his seat this November, and pro-lifers will lose a valuable ally in the Senate.

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P.S. For another good essay on the raw deal that Santorum is getting, read Russell Moore’s “Why Isn’t Rick Santorum on the Cover of Sojourners Magazine?

11 Responses to Santorum: The Pro-life Candidate

  1. Paul October 31, 2006 at 12:59 pm #

    Denny,

    why SHOULD anyone make a political stand against abortion at this point? When the single most conservative Supreme Court that we’ve seen in decades refuses to hear the case, the only other option might be to go the Alito route and slowly erode abortion rights, not outright ban them.

    But, for only the 1,483 time here, I will mention AGAIN the only realistic option for reducing the abortion rate in the United States: EDUCATION.

    While I wish that abstinence based sex-ed worked, it doesn’t. So, the next step has to be to give kids all of the information that they need in order to understand fully what they are getting into. Let’s take a look at what they really need to know:

    1) the fact that birth control can stop pregnancies, and that condoms can help stop the spread of HIV and other STD’s.

    2) the fact that sex is an emotional act, first and foremost, and that delving into physical relationships prior to marriage can be destructive, not only physically (STD’s), not only financially (raising a child before one is able to do so responsibly), but also psychologically.

    3) kids also need to know the risks that go along with abortions (leaving women barren, severe emotional trauma).

    Sex Education needs to be graphic to a point where it gets the point across. The pussyfooting version of sex ed that today’s kids get isn’t enough to let them know that what they’re getting into when they start having sex in high school or even younger.

    That’s the way it is in Europe, where abortion rates are far lower than they are here in America. There’s also a far lower number of teenage and out of wedlock pregnancies there, too.

    If we truly want to have a “culture of life,” it needs to go far beyond banning a procedure. It needs to be educationally based, in order to give kids the tools necessary to stop the need for abortions in the first place.

    Until we see that, I will have to continue to agree with Bill Maher’s assessment that the Republicans are NOT pro-life, they are pro-BIRTH. As we strip away education, as we strip away welfare benefits and as we continue to ignore the poor and disenfranchised in this country (the people most likely to get pregnant early and have abortions in the first place), we prove time and time again that we have no interest in helping these kids once they’re born. We only want to see more kids be born.

    A true pro-life position would start with adopting one or more of these kids who weren’t wanted in the first place. How many kids has Santorum adopted?

    Once again, I highly suggest reading Kuo’s book before pointing fingers over issues with a religious component.

  2. bj October 31, 2006 at 3:37 pm #

    While I don’t agree with all your statements, Paul, I do want to say thanks for including your comment on adoption. When Christians start adopting as a first choice, rather than as a back-up plan, then we can see believers truly committed to family.

  3. The Hoodlum October 31, 2006 at 10:54 pm #

    Paul,

    You brashly claim teaching abstinence doesn’t work. Would you please show me data from a case study where abstinence is rigorously and actively taught by Christians and the majority of the participants ended up with an early, out-of-wedlock pregnancy? The abstinence programs used so far are the equivalent of having a blind man teach Driver’s Ed.

    Let me remove your ignorance on 1 erroneous fact…birth control does NOT work. 2 of my 4 children were born while my wife and I were using birth control. So, teaching elementary school kids how to put on a condom, or making birth control pills available to little girs, etc. isn’t going to help in my experience. The day public schools start teaching that trash to my kids will be the last day they attend.

    I’m convinced that the only realistic solution is to make the parents responsible for the consequences of their child’s irresponsibility. Take abortion out of the available options and force the parents of these kids actually do their job and PARENT. If parents are more involved on the front end, the kids are less likely to end up in this situation. And even if they still ended up with unplanned pregnancy, the kids would have the parental support to handle a baby.

    But let’s face it, if we are going to start teaching children to be adults with sex ed…at what age can we start sending them to fight in wars?

    Shifting the responsibility from the parents to the school system is a LOSER in my opinion. Since when is it the role of the federal government to teach my kids about pre-marital sex? This only compounds the problem with parents letting kids raise themselves.

    Not to mention…where’s the separation of church and state argument liberals like to abuse? Isn’t that a violation of MY civil liberties…to have the government endorse pre-marital sex to my children by providing education on how to do it “safely” (what an oxymoron)? If it’s a violation for a teacher to wear a cross on a necklace, then how is it suddenly ok for a teacher to tell little Johnny how to put on a condom?

    If anyone needs education, it’s the parents in America. They need training on how to be a REAL parent to their children. They need training on the right way to be involved in the lives of their children AND they need to be held accountable to do it.

    As far as ignoring the poor and “disenfranchised”…the ones that seem to have the most pregnancies…how about getting some of the Democratic leaders to focus on a fix to the welfare program that continually encourages their behavior?

    And I honestly prefer to be in a nation that is responsibly pro-BIRTH. After all, God commanded married couples to be FRUITFUL and multiply. Bill Maher can always move to China if he prefers their method to control the population. Or maybe John Kerry should just tell our school kids to “get a good education or you’ll end up stuck in Iraq with 6 kids before your 19th birthday”.

  4. Paul November 1, 2006 at 12:57 pm #

    Hoodlum,

    It’s kind of funny. For as much anger as you have in your response directed towards democrats and liberals, we actually agree on a few points here. Let’s hit those first:

    1) I absolutely agree that parents need to take a stronger role in the education of their children. I absolutely detest this culture that we’re in that dictates that we put our kids in 15 different activities every year, that tells us that it’s okay to let our kids sit in front of computers all day playing on MySpace or IM’ing all over creation. People wonder why kids are turning out worse and worse and fatter and fatter and listening to Rush instead of having good taste need look no further than the mirror to find out where they went wrong. And this extends itself to sex education as well. So, we agree on that point.

    2) I half agree on your point about the poor and disenfranchised. You word it in such a way as to not even be Christian about it, but we’ll get back to that in a second. I absolutely agree that the government needs to put together a comprehensive and responsible welfare reform package that goes well beyond the republican sponsored bill from back in the 90’s. We need to realize that job training and incentives to go to school need to be first and foremost on the agenda. We need to realize that nurture is far more important than nature, and that in order to succeed, people need to see what success looks like. And success never looks like public housing projects like what we see in Chicago, New York or L.A. And finally, in order to force success (as much as possible) onto future generations of welfare recipients, we need to directly tie school performance of children to welfare payments to parents. You want this money? Earn it by being a good and INVOLVED parent. Now, back to my original point: you word this in such a way as to be absolutely disgusting: why do only the democrats have to work on this? Where are the Republicans saying, “you know what, sometimes it IS okay to spend money on smart programs”? Where are James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, Bill Bennett or Ann Coulter on this issue? They all claim to be Christians, and they all quote the Bible, but they all conveniently skip the passages about helping the poor, and what you do to the least of these you also do to Me, to get directly to “God hates Homosexuals” and “Abortion is the only issue you should vote on.” Good job, Hoodlum.

    Now, onto the stuff that we disagree about, and/or the stuff I feel the need to criticize you about:

    1) It’s not the fault of anyone but you and your wife if you didn’t use birth control properly. The pill isn’t a suppository, a condom isn’t supposed to be worn on your head, and crossing your fingers and hoping doesn’t count as birth control. My wife and I have been using birth control, and golly gee! No babies (yet)! It’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s that The Hoodlum doesn’t read directions. And that’s not anyone’s fault but yours.

    2) You’re soooooo anxious to talk about how schools would be “endorsing” pre-marital sex that you forget to look at reality. No responsible teacher would ever dare do that. However, teaching abstinence first, and steps x,y and z if necessary might very well be the best route to go. Look up stats on any country in Western Europe and then tell me that their take on it doesn’t work. Their teenage pregnancy rate is nowhere near ours. Their abortion rate is far lower than ours. Their children born out of wedlock rate is far lower than ours. And their divorce rate is lower than ours. (and funny statistic: those same statistics also hold true in a Blue State vs. Red State comparison. Hmm…)

    2a) You want sex ed taught by Christians? Send your kids to private school. That’s what I plan on doing. And I don’t know what state you live in, but here in Blue State Illinois, we get huge tax breaks if we send our kids to private schools. That said, for the rest of America, where things must be taught in a secular manner, we have to think in terms of what is the best way to teach this stuff to the average American? And while you’ll be quick to say that the average kid’s family claims to be Christian, I’ll be ready to counter that while 80% of people claim to be Christians, less than 30% go to church regularly, and only 30% of that are involved in church beyond Sunday service. So, that rather large number of students that will likely engage in pre-marital sex need to hear something more substantive than, “don’t have sex.” And while I wish that said substantive message came from parents, both you and I know it won’t.

    Finally, I am sad to see how blase you are about the pro-BIRTH comment. God DID say be fruitful and multiply, but nowhere in The Bible does it say that both parent and society should be irresponsible about it. A CHRISTIAN society that does not call out for its bretheren to adopt while also calling for an outright ban on abortion is being quite irresponsible. A CHRISTIAN society that does not give these children who they fight so hard for a chance at a productive and happy life is being quite irresponsible. If you choose to be that irresponsible, then I can only pray that you are in the minority of people who call themselves Christians but choose not to act like it.

  5. The Hoodlum November 1, 2006 at 10:40 pm #

    Personal attacks…classy. Now I see why Denny ignores 100% of your posts. Count me in Denny.

  6. rachel November 2, 2006 at 12:03 am #

    what are you talking about? it seems, paul, that you have also misread the directions and indications on the two popular birth controls you mentioned…pill users are reported to become pregnant .5% of the time in the first year of use when used PERFECTLY and female condoms boast 5 % while man condoms help 3% of pregnancies for the same controlled group…anyone who knows where babies come from can tell you the only sure way not to get pregnant is NOT to have sex…that said, i don’t really care to engage in some crazy debate about some non issue…if i recall the original concern was about voting for candidates who are pro-life…if you believe the word of God and have faith that He is true, surely you must conclude that abortion is wicked…not more sinful than any other sin, but just as wicked as any other violation of His word…Christians do have responsibility to educate, help and serve others, not just people in the church… the entire world is a mission field…as a former teacher i saw children who were neglected and abused and we think that giving them as much information as possible about sex and birth control is going to help them make informed descisions…even the kids from the best most loving homes are still just that-KIDS…what 11 year old has the ability to decern the consequences of such things as premarital sex…it is insane to think that we can develop some plan of action that will work better than the one God has set forth…FLEE IMMORALITY…there is no better way than God’s way…He created us…he knows what is best for us…we can’t just pragmatically approach the issue because people are hypocrits…of course Christians aren’t perfect…we still live in a sinful world with fallen bodies and all we can do is set the standard at perfection because holiness is what God requires…if we want a “culture of life” we have to know the One who is the author of life and preach Him first,” banning a procedure” -in this case murder- is in fact the only way to uphold the standard for life that God has put forth

  7. sb November 2, 2006 at 11:20 am #

    Paul,

    I think you crossed the line in your post.

  8. Paul November 2, 2006 at 1:20 pm #

    Allow me to work backwards here:

    1) sb: where?

    2) Rachel: 99.5% and 97% effectiveness rates? If I were still a gambling man, I would put a second mortgage on the house to bet on odds like that.

    I agree that the best way to not get pregnant is to not have sex. That’s a no-brainer.

    Do I agree with God, and his word? Yes, absolutely. That said, if you ever want to see a Democratic sweep in about 85% of the legislative districts in the country, do an outright ban on abortion. That’s the reality of the situation. There’s more than one way to be pro-life, and that is something that is forgotten SO VERY OFTEN.

    And because of that, education, prevention, and sneakier and slower implentation of legislation are all very important subjects that have to be looked at. That said, they all need to be parts of the discussion, no matter how uncomfortable those aspects of the discussion may be.

    The talk of giving such information to pre-pubescent kids has been mentioned twice now, and I agree that such a thing would be grossly irresponsible. However, those same discussions had with a 16 year old who might become sexually active even after hearing the abstinence spiel would be much better off with more information than less.

    After all, think about the message that we’re sending in public schools at the moment: “sex before marriage is an evil thing, but it becomes something wonderful as soon as you’re married.” No wonder our kids are confused today.

    I agree that the entire world is our mission field, and if we can get as many people as possible to heed our message in these trying times, then I say that such a thing is wonderful. We should be doing our best to win souls. However, being that the public school systems of this country will not be the place where we can teach Christianity, we must do our best to limit the number of abortions through other means, including education. If I am wrong here, I would like to know why and how.

    Finally, Hoodlum, while I may have thrown a few jabs in my reply to you, did you not do likewise in the first place? And how should I respond in a situation where I think that your response may very well be, at its core, un-Christian? Please let me know how you would like me to respond, and I will comply. Not responding is not an option, so please give me other ideas.

    Thanks,

    Paul

  9. rachel November 4, 2006 at 12:06 pm #

    since as he mentioned, hoodlum will no longer respond to your comments, i felt compelled to tell you that i think you may be a bit off. from what i can tell, what you call anger toward liberals and democrats is actually wrath and disappointment over the sin that this world tolerates and promotes. i agree that your personal attacks were over the line (and we all know you know which comments those are). God exacts holiness and we must therefore demand the same. Will we ever acheive perfection? not on this earth. But that reality is what shows us the amazing mercy and grace extended to us that we can have fellowship with the creator and king of this entire creation. How precious it is that He has given us life in our physical birth and then given us a new life for our dead souls! how can we who believe Him to be true feel that we may have some plan for man that is better than His. I too tire of casting pearls before a world that does not listen but if one who claims to know this Savior of mine i want to help them know as much as He has shown to me. the only real way to know Him is through His word and i pray that is where you spend much time. From what i can tell, you see this website as only a blog about “theology, politics, and culture” but I know that denny -and any other believer- would say these things don’t exsist in a vacuum. For me to live is Christ and there is no decision, opinion or political view that is not determined for us by the word of God.

  10. debbie wimmers November 7, 2006 at 1:01 pm #

    A lot of the problem is that parents don’t teach about modesty and the consequenses of sex outside of marriage. Pastors should address this iisue more.

  11. Paul November 7, 2006 at 1:03 pm #

    Rachel,

    I really take umbrage with one thing that you say here:

    “From what i can tell, you see this website as only a blog about “theology, politics, and culture” but I know that denny -and any other believer- would say these things don’t exsist in a vacuum. For me to live is Christ and there is no decision, opinion or political view that is not determined for us by the word of God.”

    You say this as if I don’t believe that it’s all interconnected. That’s where you’re wrong. We agree that abortion is wrong. However, our thoughts on how to go about reducing the amount of abortions had in America differs (we will never get rid of abortion 100%, even with a ban. To think otherwise is COMPLETELY foolish).

    I think in terms of what can be done to ensure that not only does the number of abortions goes down, but also the number of out of wedlock and teenage pregnancies as well. You think in terms of the banning of one procedure being a panacea.

    You see, you misjudge me. You think that just because someone is a liberal, that they must be a liberal Christian. I am not that at all. Instead, I am all about conservative theology, and I believe that the best way to push forward that theology in the voting booth is with a liberal agenda that cares for the poor, the elderly, the disenfranchised and looks at things pragmatically, not dogmatically.

    We do live in a fallen world, and we have to live with the consequences of that fallen world everyday. And if we try to force our views on that fallen world without thinking pragmatically, then we as Christians will accomplish far less.

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