The Democrat primary season has finally wound up, and Senator Barack Obama has secured enough delegates to clinch the Democrat nomination for President. When the polls closed last night in South Dakota and Montana, the cable news networks made the announcement. Almost instantly, the talking heads began reflecting on the historic candidacy of Senator Obamaâ€”the first African American to be nominated by a major party for president of the United States.
We all know the history of this country. And we all know why Obama’s candidacy is momentous. Slavery and racism were America’s original sins, and it took a civil war in the 19th century and a civil rights movement in the 20th to address them. What was inconceivable even a generation ago is now a reality. A black American has a better than average chance to win the Presidency of the United States. Everyone can be thankful that the prejudices that would have prevented such a possibility only forty years ago seem to be receding.
I would argue, however, that evaluating a candidate’s qualifications for office should not be based on the color of his skin. Race has nothing to do with assessing the worth of a candidacy. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wise words apply in this particular case. Men should “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
There are many issues that Christians should be concerned about as they consider who they will vote for in November. For my part, I have a whole range of items that rank high on my priority list: the war, the economy, tax policy, the definition of marriageâ€¦ and the list goes on. But one issue transcends all of them for me, and it prevents me from getting excited about what would otherwise be a very historic candidacy. That issue is abortion.
In the United States, it is legal for a baby to be killed at any point during a pregnancy. As a culture and as a matter of law, many Americans have simply decided that unborn babies should not have an inalienable right to life. That is, they have decided that unborn babies should be excluded from the ranks of the wider human community for whom the right to life is a given.
The irony of Senator Obama is that the injustice that his candidacy overcomes (the slavery and racism that excluded black people from the human community) is exactly what undermines his moral credibility as a candidate (his pro-choice opinion that excludes the unborn from the human community). What is particularly troubling is Obama’s more than casual commitment to this point of view. He is doctrinaire when it comes to defending abortion rights and has said “On this fundamental issue, I will not yield.”
I wish I could be happy about this historic candidacy, but I am not. My reason has nothing to do with race, but everything to do with defending the rights of the unborn… red, yellow, black, and white. They are all precious in God’s sight. I wish they were in Obama’s as well.