Will Pro-lifers Vote for Obama?

In today’s Washington Post, Michael Gerson analyzes some of the findings from the Pew Research poll that I referenced earlier this week. He argues that there is not any evidence that evangelicals have diminished their opposition to abortion. Moreover, the statistics show that younger evangelicals are more committed to the pro-life cause than their elders.

He also discusses the prospect of evangelical pro-lifers crossing over to vote for the pro-choice Obama. He writes:

‘An evangelical vote for Obama requires a large mental adjustment: “I like his views on poverty or torture or climate change, even though he cannot bring himself to oppose the most brutal form of abortion.” This may work for some, particularly more loosely affiliated evangelicals. But for most pro-life people, the protection of innocent life is not one issue among many, it is the most basic, foundational commitment of a just society. And John McCain has his own appeal to these voters — remaining pro-life while opposing torture, addressing climate change and championing human rights in places such as Burma and Sudan. So far, McCain’s support among evangelicals is holding up — a recent poll shows McCain with a three to one advantage over Obama.

‘In today’s environment of discontent and reassessment, a Democratic presidential candidate might achieve a historic political breakthrough with religious voters. Obama has great advantages in this attempt — except on the issue that matters most.’


  • Paul

    I wonder if the religious right sees themselves as bigger than they really are.

    Let’s face facts, a lot of people voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 because the other guy was stuffy, boring, elitist or just not like us.

    In other words, really LAME reasons that have little or nothing to do with governing the country.

    Now, we’re no longer in a situation where we’ve been in a war for a year and change and we’ve got a so-so economy.

    Now we’re in a situation where we’ve been in a mismanaged war for FIVE years and change, and we’ve got an economy that is in the toilet, and now the candidate that makes a big deal about his faith is the democrat. Face it, someone who is largely seen as a fringe character (Dobson) is not going to make nearly as much headway as the people on the religious right are thinking.

    Face it, there are plenty of moderates, right wingers and those on the religious left that just see Roe v. Wade at this point as an inevibility. Any reasonably informed student of politics can bring up any number of reasons why we’re stuck with abortion on demand, and why no Republican, save for someone like Huckabee, would dare to put the pieces in place to ensure a constitutional amendment to ban abortion (the only way in which you will see a 50 state and US territory complete ban).

    For them, this is a vote about the economy, the environment and use of the military. The ones that actually and honestly think that this election is about abortion rights or the lack thereof have their heads in the clouds.

    I’ll still assume that McCain walks away in a landslide come November.

    But you think it’s because the average American is an upstanding patriot who believes in the sanctity of life.

    In all reality, it’s because this is a depraived and ugly country that wouldn’t want a black man representing them to the rest of the world unless he can play the trumpet and sing What A Wonderful World.

    Not that I’m voting for Obama, but there’s a big difference between the crowd that wants to defeat Obama on the issues, and the scumbags that keep on screaming his middle name to punish him for his father’s sins.

  • Ken

    Louis Armstrong for President?

    I disagree, Paul. While acknowledging that there are some who will not vote for Senator Obama purely on the basis of race, I honestly do not think race by itself is sufficiently determinative to keep a non-Caucasian out of the presidency. Obama has many negatives–too liberal, too inexperienced nationally, too many distateful connections–that another man or woman might lack and be a far more palatable candidate to Americans as a whole.

    I don’t know what Michael Jordan’s politics are, but he’s a widely admired figure who, if he chose to do so, could easily attain high office. IMO.

  • Ellen

    I was asked whether or not I’d vote for a black person for president.

    Shoot, there are not even that many white people I’d vote for.

    There are just a lot of other people that I’d vote against.

  • Paul


    you can disagree with me all you want. American people are for the most part (and I include myself in this, mind you) stupid, vile and largely uneducated creatures…and need I remind you that what, 2 or 3 weeks ago, Denny posted John Piper’s reasons why he likes Fundamentalists. One of the reasons listed is that they disdain intellectualism.

    Yes, we are a country of very, very, very dumb people.

    Dumb people tend to be racists.

    Obama will not lose on the issues (though he very well could). He will lose because 14% of the country being black doesn’t make up for 40-50% of the country being some of the most embarrassing specimens of humanity to be found anywhere on the globe.

  • Faimon

    I often agree with the viewpoint that you present in the comment threads on this blog. However, this statement “Dumb people tend to be racists” is offensive.

    Racism is not an intellectual issue. More education for racists is not the answer. Racism is a moral issue, and highly educated people are just as susceptible to it as people without extensive education. I have observed people at most points of the intellectual/educational spectrum, and one can find racism (or perhaps a better word would be prejudice) at all levels.

    The statement sounds elitist, which is intellectualist – the same as racist, just with different criteria.

  • Darius

    Faimon nailed on the head, Paul. You are completely off base and elitist. Guess who caused the Rwandan genocides? The intellectuals. Guess who caused the Holocaust? The educated elites. Try again, please.

  • Ellen

    Obama will not lose on the issues (though he very well could). He will lose because 14% of the country being black doesn’t make up for 40-50% of the country being some of the most embarrassing specimens of humanity to be found anywhere on the globe.

    The number of republicans that would like Rice to run as VP would appear to say that (on the issues) they would vote for not only a black person, but a black woman. Up to this year that would have been a double strike against her.

    I won’t be voting for Obama for the same reason I wouldn’t vote for Clinton, didn’t vote for the other Clinton, or Gore, or Kerry.

    And I am hardly one of the intellectual elite.

  • Darius

    As one of the survivors of the Rwandan genocide said, “Genocide [or hatred] is not really a matter of poverty or lack of education, and I will tell you why. I am a teacher, so I think that education is necessary to enlighten us about the world. But education does not make someone better; it makes that person more efficient. Anyone who wishes to foment evil will find an advantage in knowing about man’s obsessions, learning about his nature, studying sociology. The educated man – if his heart is flawed, if he seethes with hatred – will do more harm.”

  • David Hamilton


    A) You never agree with anything Denny ever posts. Why do you come to his blog?

    B) Do you have your own blog? If not, then you might want to consider starting one, instead of using Denny’s comments section as one.


  • Darius

    In Paul’s defense, he does agree with most of the more theological posts on here.

    Plus, why can’t someone visit a blog or website with which he agrees little? I used to read Daily Kos (radical left), and have frequented other lefty blogs on occasion. I applaud him for not running away as some others have in recent weeks on this blog when faced with an argument they apparently couldn’t respond to.

    I do agree with David on his second point… Paul, you should get yourself a blog, since you obviously have the time to write. 😉

  • Paul

    Faimon, Darius and to a lesser extent Denny,

    Okay, you’re right. There are intelligent racists. And Darius is particularly right that Hitler’s crew and the people who got the ball rolling on the Rwandan genocide were also intellectuals. And I’ll admit, there are some of the heads of the skinhead groups that I wouldn’t want to take on in a debate.

    However, let’s face facts, none of these groups would have gained any traction if it wasn’t for the most ignorant among them blindly following those leaders. If you don’t think that those people exist in America, I’d suggest taking off the rose colored glasses and looking around. If you want to say that there are intellectual racists out there, fine, but I think we can all agree that the split is somewhere in the realm of 10% smart racists/90% trailer trash racists.

    Ellen in #4: your dancing around the question posed to you certainly leaves me asking a lot of questions.

    David in #12: if you don’t like what I write, don’t read it.

    Darius in #13: thanks for steppin’ up for me, mang.

  • David Hamilton


    I actually skipped your comment when I first saw it, because I figured it had nothing to do with what Denny posted. But, before I commented about your interactions, I thought it would be the “right” thing to do to read it.

    I come to Denny’s blog for what Denny writes, not for your comments. And I read the comments because Denny blogs about things that are interesting to me, and because I want to read what other people have to say about his posts.

    Far too often, however, I am disappointed by the comments. Rarely do the comments have anything to do with whatever Denny posts about.

    I’d love to go into how your first comment here had nothing to do with what Denny posted, but that would entail using Denny’s comment section as my own personal blog (which I am already slightly guilty of with this ramble), so I will resist.

    Great post, Denny! And this pro-lifer won’t be voting for Obama!

  • Ferg

    David, I think you are slightly off the mark. If you don’t like what Paul says, disregard it, or call him on it. Don’t tell him not to comment. He has a much right to comment as you do. Denny does not have written that only those who agree with him shall respond. Sometimes it seems like that’s what people want around here as people who disagree are shot down and called cancerous. Disagreement sometimes is the best way to learn. I’ve learnt a lot from coming to this blog even if I disagree with a lot of what is written by people who comment.
    And Denny is on the ball enough to delete comments that are off the mark, he’s done it to me before and I have learned to respect that. You’re not the moderator so leave that to him.

  • Paul


    If you think what I wrote in my first post had nothing to do with Gerson’s article, I’d highly suggest classes in critical and analytical thinking. Unless of course, the only comments that are “on point” are those coming from yes men.

    Sorry, dude. That ain’t me. Not on this. I’ll stand by what I said before: Gerson thinks that evangelicals can’t/won’t vote for Obama and therefore that might have some sort of effect on the election. I countered that I think that the evangelical right thinks that they’re a bigger voting bloc than they actually are, and then gave examples.

    So, I will stand by my comment in #14 as well: if you don’t like what I have to say, don’t read it.

  • Darius

    Paul, I just think that you overestimate the number of people who are so racist that they wouldn’t vote for a black man even if his politics aligned with their own. I would probably set it at about 5% nationwide (maybe 15% in some rural Southern areas or mostly Hispanic neighborhoods), and honestly, I’m sure you don’t actually believe half of the country falls into that category. Let’s think about it… the Dems just picked him as their candidate, which right there means about 25% of the population had no qualms with voting for him so far. Furthermore, a significant amount of Americans have already voted for a black person for some office in their life, so why would that change when it came to a presidential election? I don’t believe that there is almost anyone who won’t vote for Obama because he’s part black. I do believe that plenty of people won’t vote for him because he went to a church with black bigots, he espouses a radical left-wing agenda, and is vehemently anti-life. This whole issue is the same one that came up with Hillary… liberals claimed that she couldn’t win because of all the sexist people out there who would never vote for a woman. In fact, in my rural hometown newspaper, a woman wrote a handful of letters to the editor talking about all the “chauvinistic men” who wouldn’t let Hillary win. She got denounced by a flurry of letters written by mostly women talking about how it had nothing to do with her being a woman why they wouldn’t vote for her.

  • Paul


    I honestly hope you’re right. And as I’ve said before, if Obama loses on the issues, that’s fine. I might not agree with the fact that this country swings awfully far right, especially in contrast with the rest of the western world. But I can deal with that.

    Here’s where I take issue with your post:

    1) Obama got 17 million votes nationwide. That’s not 25% of the population, that’s a little more than 5% of the population. Now take a look at states like Kentucky or W. Virginia, where he got absolutely trampled. And if you don’t think race plays an issue in Kentucky or W. Virginia, I might suggest a trip down there to talk to the local folk.

    2) Even in YOUR post, you mention that he went to church with black bigots. This is off for two reasons:

    a) you don’t know the people that he went to church with, you know the out of context comments of a pastor on three occasions, and in at least one of those occasions, he was spot on, and I know plenty of conservatives that begrudgingly agree with me on that point.

    b) your mentioning of “black bigots” in and of itself implies a sense of ethnocentrism at best. Do you really need to call names, especially when you don’t know any of these people in the slightest?

    3) racism doesn’t have to equal “I hate black people/minorities” to be effective. I can’t tell you how many white folks around here keep thinking that we’re going to get a national version of Harold Washington, who will seemingly ignore America’s whites and cater strictly to the black population, without even realizing what a ridiculous statement that is.

    4) We knew from the outset of Obama’s campaign that he went to a Christian church and had gone for a long time. Calling him a muslim, worrying about how his parents sent him to a muslim school when he was 10, and referring to the guy as B. Hussein Obama is slimy politics, and everyone that buys into it might not be a racist, but is clearly an ethnocentrist.

    Like I said, if he gets beat on the issues, then fine. And certainly, I have no doubt in my mind that folks like Denny and you will not vote for him because of his stances on a myriad of issues.

    But, I don’t think he’s going to get beat on the issues. I think he’s going to be beaten by hicks with access to church signs asking if Obama and Osama are brothers. I think he’s going to be beaten by people worrying that he’s different than them. I think he’s going to get beaten because of what his pastor says instead of what he says.

    He’s going to be beat before many people even look at his platform, because of that huge contingent of ignorant Americans that hear some idiot on Fox News talk about terrorist fist bumps.

    And if that’s the case, then I will have lost all faith in this country.

  • Darius

    Ok, 25% of the voting public.

    I do believe you need to get out of Chicago a bit more, Paul; you have an incredibly low opinion of the rest of the country (at least those not in the urban areas).

    “your mentioning of “black bigots” in and of itself implies a sense of ethnocentrism at best. Do you really need to call names, especially when you don’t know any of these people in the slightest?”

    How is this any different than your constant harping on white trash Americans? At least I heard the black bigots applaud racist comments.

  • Paul


    that harping on the white trash comes from getting out of Chicago quite a bit. I have all of the respect in the world for rural folks who work far harder than I do, and strive to be the best people that they can be.

    However, I have no respect for the rural equivalent of the trailer trash. And I’ve seen more than my fair share in my travels. And they all disgust me. At least the ghetto rats have SOME excuses.

    where did Wright say anything racist? ignorant in places? Absolutely. I heard him not once say anything derogatory about any other race or ethnicity simply because they ARE that ethnicity.

  • Paul

    in #24…

    really Matt?

    Let’s look at the first page of a google search (you know, a “quick search” and see what comes up…)

    In order we get…

    Wikipedia (okay, that’s supposed to be neutral)

    The TUCC website (as one would expect)

    Then, two you tube posting, one featuring him on Fox News, where he’s bound to get fair treatment (terrorist fist bump anyone?), and one LABELED Jeremiah Wright hate, that packs four quotes into 90 secs.

    Then we get a fluff piece from ABC news, and frankly, I will still contend, if Falwell and Robertson were right about 9/11, and Hagee was right about Katrina (and I’ve yet to see Denny’s blog post about how they were wrong), then Wright, by association, must be right about 9/11 and his “God Damn America” comment as well.

    Ignoring one and jumping all over the other is hypocritical at best and downright racist at worst.

    Then, we see an even handed piece explaining the 9/11 sermon from CNN’s site. And it was one of the most evenhanded retellings of that sermon that I’ve seen yet. Refer to the above paragraphs again.

    Then we get more Fox News. They become credible the moment that terrorist fist bump girl gets fired.

    Then we get the rather friendly interview with Moyers.

    Then there’s a debate on Salon.com about whether or not Hagee, Falwell and Robertson get held to the same standard that white America holds Wright to.

    Then we get an LA blog piece, the closest thing to an objective and credible slam of Wright yet.

    So, take out the Fox News pieces (which we all know are hit pieces), and take out the obviously edited for Republican enjoyment you tube videos, and you’re left with much ado about nothing Matt.

    Just because Toby Keith watches Fox News doesn’t mean that you should sir.

    Call me naive after you stop watching the terrorist fist bump channel.

    Darius in #23:

    I’d say that falls into the ignorant category. That said, the fact that Reagan didn’t say a word about AIDS until 1987, and that he didn’t say a word when his buddy Falwell called AIDS a death sentence from God (which I am sure Arthur Ashe and Ryan White both appreciated), I can certainly see where ridiculous things get said out of frustration. Had Reagan been a leader instead of a breathing lump, there would have been no ground for the conspiracy theorists to stand on.

    (note, I’m not saying that he was right, only that I can see where he’s coming from)

  • David Hamilton


    I loved your “They become credible the moment terrorist fist bump girl gets fired” quote!

    But, the issue here is abortion. And you are making it about everything but abortion. Agree or disagree, abortion is the biggest issue for a lot of voters. And Obama is possibly as radical as a person could be when it comes to abortion, with the only abortion that he is not in favor of being allowing one of our mothers to abort us- and we are barely too old for him to champion that.

    I believe that abortion is the moral crisis of our time, and that voting for such a radically pro-choice candidate today would be like voting for a candidate who was radically pro-slavery in the pre-civil war era.

    The civil war was fought because our country was messed up enough to allow one person to treat another person as property, and for a slave owner’s rights to supersede the rights of slaves. Right now our country is messed up enough to allow one person to treat another person, although the second person is in the womb of the first, as property. And the mother’s convenience supersedes the unborn baby’s right to live (92% of abortions occur because the baby is deemed inconvenient, and have nothing to do with rape, incest, or health factors).

  • Billy W


    you have definitely hijacked Denny’s thread. The initial post was about whether or not younger pro-life evangelicals are willing to put aside their difference with Obama on that issue in favor of other issues (social justice, global warming, etc.) After your initial post not one comment reacted to that question (until post 26) because they were too busy dealing with your new topic about racial issues, which means your issue not Denny’s was the new topic of the blog. Was your new topic generally related to Denny’s initial post? yes, but that’s not too hard. By that logic you could talk about anything related to the obama candidacy, or evangelicals. However that is not what Denny wanted to talk about. It is disrepectful to take over someone else’s blog by not discussing the specific issue they bring up and inserting your own. This is not an issue of censorship or differing opinions but respect. It is absolutely fine (and many times helpful) for you to disagree, but it is only right to do so with the original topic as it is introduced by Denny

    I personally feel balance is a good thing and am often appreciative of your counter arguments to the more socially/politically conservative posters here. However I think it would be more helpful and respectful to stay on topic.

  • Paul

    David in #26,

    THAT’S where this comes directly back to my first post:

    (without getting into the moral implications of abortion, just for a second)

    a) is the religious right as big of a voting bloc as it thinks it is?

    b) in light of the failure of the S. Dakota abortion ban, how many on the religious right are now seeing abortion as an inevitability? Add to that how many moderates and lefties out there won’t give abortion first tier status in the first place?

    If the religious right isn’t nearly the voting bloc that it thinks it is (remember, y’all make up 30% of the Republican big tent), will it really be able to stop Obama?

    And if more on the religious right are starting to see that the RNC refuses to back up its pro-life claims (see S. Dakota, again), then might they start looking towards other values voter issues? Especially in light of the fact that Republican leadership has ONLY really been demonstrably good for those in the upper income brackets?

    Which brings me right back around to the idea that the only reason Obama gets beat (good news for the evangelical right, right?) is not because he’s morally inferior (though I agree, he is), but rather because America is made up of some of the worst and uneducated and uncultured people in the western world that will not beat him on the issues, but will beat him on terrorist fist bumps, his middle name and any number of other things that have nothing to do with the man’s platform.

    The end result is the same no matter what: the pro-life candidate gets into the oval office, which is about the only point on which McCain is decent in my book.

  • Ellen

    Ellen in #4: your dancing around the question posed to you certainly leaves me asking a lot of questions.

    The question I hope is answered is “How cynical are you about the political climate?”

    Seriously, I mostly have to choose who to vote against, not who to vote for. If the conservatives put up a minority candidate (or a non-minority candidate) that was truly conservative, I’d vote for that person (male or female). Until then, I’ll continue to vote against people.

    The last time a conservative black man was in an election that I could vote in (mayor) I voted for him.

  • David Hamilton

    You didn’t comment on my suggestion that abortion and slavery are analogous. There are obvious differences, but I think that there are some similarities, such as the ones I pointed out earlier.

    In that case, your argument would be like a person trying to get people not to vote for an anti-slavery candidate before the civil war because whatever group he or she was in was not large enough or because slavery was inevitable.

    Slavery was not inevitable, and Lord willing neither is abortion.

  • David Hamilton

    (maybe the analogy would be more accurate here to say “trying to get people not to vote on the issue of slavery” rather than “trying to get people not to vote for an anti-slavery candidate.” I wouldn’t necessarily call McCain an “anti-abortion candidate” (as that would imply that his biggest issue was abortion), but he is the default winner on the issue of abortion.)

  • Ellen

    Where’s the criticism of black people voting for Obama only because he is black?

    I think that it was Walter Williams who said that his mother said she had never voted for a Democrat, but that she was going to vote for the black man.

  • Ellen

    From that link: “After all, our Democratic pals made much of John Kerry’s distinguished martial history, unlike that of our semi-draft-dodging Doofus-in-Chief.”

    From another place I read:

    “”Well, he served in Vietnam… and then he married a rich woman and got elected to the Senate. Are the Democrats now telling us these things don’t make for a good candidate?””

  • Paul

    John Kerry:

    served in Vietnam

    was called a war hero even though his record says otherwise

    was boring but smart

    flip-flopped on everything

    generally not a very good candidate

    John McCain:

    served in Vietnam

    was called a war hero even though his record says otherwise

    is amusing but dumb as a rock

    is flip flopping on everything

    is generally not a very good candidate.

    The moral of the story kids?

    America is doomed.

  • Steve Austin

    Many will rail against John McCain without thinking, because they opted for Obama without thinking, becaue they tend to shy away from abstract thought. John McCain is a Progressive Democrat, but still represents the strength & fibre of the American experience with his hero’s treatment during war as well as his other life experiences.

    Mr. Obama is a beautiful icon of nothing-but-change, in the same way that Robert Kennedy was in 1968. No one knew what either intends/intended to do, and none of his supporters care/cared. For better or worse, it has to be admitted that “Barry” wouldn’t even have made it this far in his political career without his racial heritage. Listen to him speaking off-topic and you’ll have a frightening view of what our country’s decision-making will become should he be elected, as he has already been selected by 95% of the media.

    As far as abortion-on-demand, which ironically has its greatest champion in Mr. Obama, Americans are recognizing more and more that it is a state-level decision, and the national courts and the Supreme Court should never have gotten involved with it. A few years after the next election of a conservative President, it will probably go back to being a state issue, and the Tenth Amendment will have one more reaffirmation, as has happened to the Second Amendment recently.

  • Steve Austin

    P.S.: One other benefit of not being a Liberal like our troll friend here is you do not have to get up in the morning angry at this country and its people, and you are not required to feel helpless and depressed in the ocean of thinkers and doers that is the freest country in the world. You don’t even have to search for the next argument to justify your conviction that you are always the smartest guy in the room.

  • Paul

    Dude, y’all Texans had so many better wrestlers than Steve Austin…

    The Freebirds
    Iceman Parsons
    all of the Von Erichs
    Chris Adams
    Gino Hernandez

    shall I keep going?

    I loved World Class Championship Wrestling when I was a kid.

    Steve Austin was totally 2nd tier compared to any of those guys.

  • Paul

    No way man. The WWF was a soap opera for boys (and still is in its WWE incarnation). The WCCW was all about the brawls. Way, way, way better.

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