Inconsistent Pro-life Evangelicals

Randy Alcorn has been a heroic pro-life advocate for many years. His part in the fight has cost him greatly. Nevertheless, he soldiers on. Mark Driscoll has recorded a series of conversations with Alcorn about the issue, and it would be well worth your time to watch all of them. The most recent installment focuses on inconsistent pro-life evangelicals—that is, those who call themselves pro-life but then don’t vote their stated conviction.

Here are links to all three parts.

Part 1 – Why Does Bestselling Author Randy Alcorn Make Minimum Wage?

Part 2 – How God Uses Evil for Good

Part 3 – Are Young Pro-Life Evangelicals Inconsistent?


  • John Holmberg

    No matter who you vote for, there will be stands the candidate takes that are not “pro-life” (as long as we view life as more than babies). Things like war, environmental issues, and health care come to mind. So, by that logic we’re all a little inconsistent. You voting for McCain was just as inconsistent as me voting for Obama. In other words, the inconsistency argument doesn’t hold much water for me.

  • Joe Blackmon

    If you are a Christian, your first responsibility is to vote for anti-abortion candidates in elections where they have the power to do something about it. Now, if there is another issue that you’re concerned about (i.e. you are anti the war in Iraq) and a candidate is pro-abortion but anti war in Iraq, and the other candidate is anti-abortion and pro-war in Iraq, you are supposed to vote for the anti abortion candidate in spite of your position regarding the war in Iraq. There is no issue that trumps abortion.

    The funny thing is those christians who shill for the political left are also, with only one group as an exception, theologically left wing as well (i.e. moderate Baptists). However, real Christians vote consistantly in keeping with biblical principals.

  • Scott

    Do you guys realize how much you’re being played by the politicians who want your vote? Nothing was done under Bush that furthered the pro-life cause. Now you can do revisionist history if you’d like, but the truth is that politicians want your vote. They could care less for the morality of your “cause.” The system is broken.

    So keep telling everyone else what demarcates true Christianity. Meanwhile, thinking believers will struggle with tough choices (in prayer & through Scripture). This board, with it’s stunningly myopic black-white perspective will continue to labor under all sorts of false delusions.

  • Nate

    Many of the younger evangelicals are inconsistent on abortion, but perhaps more telling is that the statistics point to an even more inconsistency on homosexuality. I think a portion (not sure how much) can be attributed to many of the younger evangelicals not yet having grown old enough to have children in middle-school and high school and realize the impacts there inconsistency will have on their children. It is amazingly heartbreaking to look back on life and realize that some of my generations choices have so profoundly affected the mindset of my children and their generation.

  • Joe Blackmon

    Nate, the more I think about all of it, you know what I think the root cause is? A lack of the recognition of authority of the word of God by people who profess Christ. They want to visions, leadings, or other subjective means of getting the truth because if they have to deal with the written word on the printed page they have two choices–(a) obey it or (b) disobey it. If truth is relative and dependent on what someone thinks God is telling them (“Well, God told me that voting for someone who would care for the environment is more important than voting for someone who will select/confirm anti-abortion judges”) then they can justify blatent disregard of the word of God.

    Of course, that was the first thing Satan did in tempting Eve, wasn’t it? Try to discredit the word of God and get her to depend on her own perceptions/feelings?

  • RD

    I think abortion is horrible. I also think it has become nothing other than a political litmus test. Since Roe v Wade was ruled on in 1973 we’ve had 5 Republican (anti-abortion) presidents and 3 Democrat (pro-abortion) presidents in office. Yet we still have the same tired promises coming round every election cycle (“You MUST vote to stand with us who will do something to overturn Roe v Wade and end legalized abortion!!”). It never happens. The issue has become a fund-raising cause (both for those who oppose abortion and those who support it). I think legalized abortion is here to stay. It just is. I hate that, but it’s a political reality. And, if it’s not going away, we need to refocus our effort as Christians on working to drastically lower the number of abortions that are performed each year.

  • Ryan K.

    RD, Abortion is far from being nothing other than a political litmus test. There are REAL human beings that are being murdered. I am not sure how this is just a political measuring stick when it involves the killing of innocent babies.

    Can the issue of abortion be made political by those who only pay lip service to it? Yes absolutely. But that is the inconsistency that Alcorn is highlighting. To claim that people are made in the image of God and that all of us have dignity, value and worth, and yet then vote for someone who is approving of the killing of humans is just spectacularly inconsistent.

    History will look back at our time and find the issue of abortion to be our pox. They will shudder to think how so many could remain silent in the face of such an amazing human and civil rights atrocity.

  • RD


    I completely agree with you in your assessment of the horrors of abortion. My point is that regardless of who we elect, nothing changes. Abortion has remained legal since 1973. We’ve had 5 pro-life presidents versus 3 pro-abortion presidents, yet not one of the pro-lifers made a heartfelt REAL run at overturning Roe v Wade. They all talked and shouted and asked for our vote and our financial support so that they COULD do something to overturn legalized abortion. We had Mr. Gingrich leading us in a “Contract with America” back in the early 90s, yet nothing was pushed to change the reality that abortions continued to be legally performed year after year. It makes no difference whether Republicans or Democrats control the Congress or the White House. Of course, the rhetoric soars at election time. Mailings go out and millions of dollars are raised for campaigns based on the notion that the contributions are going to be used to stand in the gap and fight for the rights of the unborn. The unborn continue to die. That’s why I think it’s become a political issue. As long as abortion is legal there is a cause to rally the troops against.

  • Charlton Connett


    In part I think you are correct, but at the same time I think part of the problem is that the only way that those who want to overturn the national legality of abortion could manage it would be to have a super majority of the Senate, while controlling the presidency. The super majority is necessary because the only way to overturn a decision by the SCOTUS would be to get a constitutional amendment passed.

    Other than that the only option would be to pass a law limiting the scope of the federal judiciary, saying that they could no longer rule on cases involving abortion. Then you would need to get that law signed into power by a sitting President. After that you have to hope that state courts would no longer accept the “health” exception as it has been broadly defined. Basically that’s a lot of things you have to have go right in order to overturn Roe V. Wade outside of getting it done in the court system.

    On the other hand, by keeping a pro-life President and a pro-life Senate in authority, even with only small majorities, then eventually you may be able to get enough pro-life judges on the SCOTUS to actually reverse Roe V. Wade in the court system. That assumes, of course, that the opposition party does not filibuster a perfectly qualified supreme court nominee because they do not like their stance on issues like abortion. But then, when has any political party done something that atrocious? This method requires a lot of time, and a consistent voting populace in favor of pro-life politicians.

    While I can see your point that it appears to just be grand-standing these days I think that is just a reflection of the incredibly slow process that is required to change a ruling of the magnitude of Roe V. Wade. Hopefully, if we actually get the necessary majorities in congress and the right sitting President, we can overturn this murderous act of “justice.” Until such time I think we still have to do what you have suggested, and try and minimize the number of abortions. May God have mercy on us for failing to protect the innocent.

  • RD

    Thanks, Charlton, for the response, and for sharing the info on just what it would take to overturn Roe v Wade. I have to ask, Why is it that we’ve NEVER heard a politician give us the reality of what it’s going to take to get this done? Instead, we hear from them how we need to vote for them so they can stand up for the rights of the unborn. Standing up for the rights of the unborn is much more complicated and involved than simply declaring yourself against abortion and then trying to appoint conservative judges. But, if one listens to the political rhetoric (and talk-radio commentary) that is what is most important. Sometimes, though, I think we might actually do more to stem the tide of rising abortion rates if we were to vote for candidates who actually do more to fight against the reasons that abortions happen (poverty, lack of education, no mentors, lack of real job opportunities, etc) even if those candidates ARE pro-choice. We feel good about our moral fortitude if we simply vote for someone who ideologically is against abortion, but are we really DOING anything to lower the number of abortions if we are only addressing the ideology?

  • Nate

    Even if you had a super-majority in the Senate you could not change abortion without SCOTUS, unless you pass an amendment to the Constitution which would take 3/4 of the states to ratify it. The best bet would be for SCOTUS to declare Roe v Wade no longer the law of the land and to place the issue back with the States and then the people could vote within the states. However, now that Judge Walker (Prop 8) has set the precedent for being an usurping judge, it might be difficult for any state to even amend their Constitutions or even pass simple resolutions. Justice Kennedy is our Caesar. He will decide Prop 8.

  • Scott


    Is there a point to calling something “drivel?”

    You’ve got to be one of those Teampyro guys. You use their logos and talk just like they do.

  • Charlton Connett


    In theory you could get abortion back to the states if you had a super majority. You could pass a law that says that federal courts cannot hear cases involving abortion. Congress, under the Constitution has the right to determine what cases the federal judiciary may hear. However, you would still have the established legal precedent that “health” (as in protecting the “health of the mother”) can mean basically whatever you want it to mean to allow for an abortion. Thus, you would have to rely upon state courts to overturn that precedent.

    Even then I wonder if SCOTUS wouldn’t try and say that the law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the right of the court to protect the rights of citizens. Stranger arguments have been made.

    You’re right that a constitutional amendment would be the easiest (read: fastest and surest) way, but there are, theoretically, other methods that could be done. In addition, a constitutional amendment would have to be carefully written as we live in the land of nitpickers who would try and find any potential loopholes to say the amendment does not mean what it most clearly says.


    Why do politicians not really explain the complexity of issues? How many people would really be willing to sit and listen to them? How many news sites would actually carry the full report of what they said?

    But, I agree our politicians have to be the most inarticulate individuals in the populace. What we need are politicians who can clearly and effectively articulate pro-life values and explain how those values benefit everyone in America. (You may not like everything he did, but Reagan was a great communicator. Obama has had great personal charm, though I think most of what he says is sophistry without meaning or content.) Good luck finding someone like that. I’ve teased my wife on occasion that I should enter politics just because I think I could express myself better and make a better argument in favor my position than 90% of these guys, and they are the ones who have professional writers working for them! (Fortunately, God has granted me with a inordinate amount of humility when it comes to my own prowess.)

    Ultimately though, this is why we remember, our hope is not in politicians or government, economics or business. No one but Christ can save us. We need to do all we can to be active and educated, we have responsibility for our actions, but, because I believe in a sovereign God, I believe he will glorify himself through this too.

  • Nate

    Charlton, You would have to give me a precedent because Roe v Wade is already established Constitutional Law. Therefore, States can only limit abortion (like partial birth) they cannot ban it altogether, without an Amendment to the Constitution. And that would not be the easiest, in my opinion. As I said, I think the easiest would be that SCOTUS overturns Roe v Wade, thus giving the states the authority to control it themselves.

  • RC

    Although Congress does have the power to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts, Congress cannot remove an entire legal right from judicial review (albeit one I find detestible). The Supreme Court has said as much. Congressional authority over judicial jurisdiction simply does not work that way. There are two ways to overturn Roe v. Wade: constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion or a conservative majority in the Court determine that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided; in which case the issue reverts to the states and THEN Congress can simply pass a law outlawing abortion.

  • Charlton Connett


    You’re right, getting SCOTUS to reverse would be easiest. Apologies that I missed that you said that.

    As to precedent, there is no explicit precedent. Congress and the President have never acted in the way I am describing. That does not mean they theoretically cannot, just means they have not. If a state judiciary were to simply ignore federal precedent, and the federal courts had been forbid from interference in the case, then the plaintiffs would have no other authority to which to appeal. Thus a state could nullify a federal decision if the federal court were removed from the appeals process. (Assuming the state would posit their right to ignore precedent, or simply did not address it at all– which would be sloppy at best.)

    It would require a rather gutsy move, and it would require a strong move toward federalism and state’s rights, but it is not impossible.

    The last time a tactic of this nature was tried was during the nullification crises of the 1830’s, in which South Carolina declared the U.S. tariff of the time to be null within the state. As in all great intellectual disputes the matter was resolved through the use of force when Andrew Jackson ordered the military into action to enforce the tariff. South Carolina backed down by repealing the nullification ordinance, but did not declare its rights of nullification to be void (even saying they reserved the right of nullification, they just weren’t going to push the issue). However, with a sympathetic congress or president it would be possible for a state to make a maneuver of this type and succeed.

    For another example, and one a little closer to what you are referring you can look at the horrible history of how the U.S. treated Native Americans. When SCOTUS ruled that Georgia could not impose its laws on the Cherokees, Andrew Jackson (odd how a lot of this happened in his presidency) is famously quoted as saying, “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!” The point being that because the U.S. president has authority over the enforcement of laws (whereas SCOTUS has authority over meaning, legality, etc.). He would not enforce the decision made by SCOTUS as he felt it violated Georgia’s rights (or just hated Indians). Thus it could be argued, based on historical precedent, that a president is not required to enforce a decision made by SCOTUS if a state chooses to ignore that decision.

  • Nate

    Forgot about Jackson. I cannot even imagine the havoc it would create if something like that happened today… Would be interesting!

  • Charlton Connett

    I agree, Nate, it would cause some definite chaos, and it would require a very careful movement on both the state and federal levels. If the state pushed too far it would basically threaten to undermine nearly all of the federal statutes in force today. While I am, admittedly, a favor of much smaller government intervention I would hate to see the social chaos that would be created by acting recklessly in this area.

    I often wonder how the federal government would react to a situation of this nature though. As an example: What if Arizona decided to say, “Yes, the federal courts struck down this part of the law. However, we do not recognize the federal courts having the authority to do so, so we are going to ignore them and enforce the law anyway”? How would the federal government react? How would the people react? According to the writings of Jefferson and Madison the state could very well do this, as both of them noted that any law or decision handed down by the federal government that contradicted the constitution is inherently illegal and thus not binding.

    Would that position be one that Christians could accept? Would we be more consistent with our pro-life positions if we pushed our local governments to try a move like this if we cannot get anti-abortion statues at the highest level of government?

  • RD


    Joe was making a comment on the blog link I posted back up at comment #7. He thinks the blog post I suggested he read was “drivel”. He wasn’t commenting on the ongoing discussion concerning overturning Roe v Wade.

    I probably shouldn’t have dropped that link into this discussion, but it was near the beginning of the discussion and Joe had made a statement about biblical authority which prompted me to post the link for his (and everyones) consideration.

    Sorry if it caused confusion!

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