Frank Schaeffer: Why I’m Pro-Life AND Pro-Obama

I’m not making any political statements here, it’s just that I came across an article that I thought made some interesting points, and I wanted to share them here in case people were interested. The article is called:

Why I’m Pro-Life AND Pro-Obama

Here’s a couple interesting quotes:

“The so-called evangelical leadership — Dobson, Robertson et al. also played the pro-life community for suckers. While thousands of men and women in the crisis pregnancy movement gave of themselves to help women and babies, their evangelical “leaders” did little more than cash in on fundraising opportunities and represent themselves as power-brokers to the craven politicians willing to kowtow to them.”

“Regardless of the official position of the Supreme Court on abortion, a country in which all Americans are offered some sort of dignity and hopeful future would be a place conducive to the kind of optimism each of us must hold in our hearts if we are to welcome children into this world. But if our highest aspiration is to be a consumer with no thought or care for our neighbor, we will remain a culture in which abortion is not only inevitable but logical.”

“The real solution to abortion is to change the heart of America, not the law. We need to stop seeing ourselves as consumers. We need to stop seeing ourselves as me and begin to think of we. Our country needs someone to show us a better way…”

…and I think that regardless of who any of us may end up voting for in this year’s election, we can probably all agree that we need to find “a better way.”

Again, I am NOT saying that I am supporting Obama, I just merely thought this article brought up some interesting points that are worth thinking through regardless of where you land party-wise.

(HT: Bob Hyatt)

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7 thoughts on “Frank Schaeffer: Why I’m Pro-Life AND Pro-Obama

  1. another quote from the article:
    “Obama is trying to lead this country to a place where the intrinsic worth of each individual is celebrated. A leader who believes in hope, the future, trying to save our planet and providing a just and good life for everyone is someone who is actually pro-life.”

    i think that millions of human beings being killed, largely out of convenience, is a humanitarian crisis worth putting some amount of emphasis on. and someone who supports such behavior is not consistently pro-life.

    obama’s platitudes sound very positive, but he has relentlessly defended abortion rights. recently, a bill was passed to ban partial-birth abortion. this bill even included exceptions in cases where the life of the mother was at risk. (even though the whole concept is absurd… if the baby is ready for partial birth, a C-section is probably the safest procedure for the mother, and saves the life of the baby) yet, obama would not endorse limiting even this most barbaric form of abortion, voting no on the bill.

    this inconsistency means i don’t trust his platitudes very much. it speaks a lot about the fundamental values that drive him. ironically, it would seem he is driven by the same individualistic, consumer mentality that Frank Schaeffer describes.

    one thing i actually like about huckabee is that when he talks about his pro-life position, he says things like “To me, life doesn’t begin at conception and end at birth.” he then goes on to say how we need to value life at all stages in development, including children’s education, healthcare, care for senior citizens, and everything in between. he doesn’t have a one-dimensional view of pro-life. the pro-life cause shouldn’t end after birth.

    oh yeah, and huckabee has the most aggressive proposal for energy-independence of any candidate. huckabee has some views which cross political lines, which is probably why many republicans are wary of him.

  2. Scott-

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    “i think that millions of human beings being killed, largely out of convenience, is a humanitarian crisis worth putting some amount of emphasis on. and someone who supports such behavior is not consistently pro-life.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on this one.

    The thing that I’ve been batting around for a while though, is this:

    Does the remedy for this “humanitarian crisis” lie in the realm of legislation? Is that where we can most effectively make a positive change? That’s a question that I’ve been wrestling with lately, on many different issues, not only abortion.

    Here’s an analogy that I’ve been thinking about that I think makes my point clearer:

    In urban areas where the crime rate is very high, let’s take Baltimore as an example, are people saying that the way to fix this problem is to enforce the law better, aka throw more people in jail? Not at all. People are instead investigating the complex socio-economic issues that are the backbone of why people end up turning to crime.

    Is murder a “humanitarian crisis” and should something be immediately done about it? I think we can all agree: yes it is. But does the remedy for it lie in more legislation, or at least, in more enforcement of legislation? Will throwing more people in jail help?

    So, what I’m wondering is, is there a correlation between this kind of crisis, and the abortion crisis, both of which are killing innocent people? I’m not positive yet, but I’m starting to think there might be. Will passing laws that ban abortion have an affect on the background reasons for why people end up wanting/needing an abortion in the first place? Is it possible that abortions are a symptom of something else? Like I said, I’m not decided yet, but these are the questions I’m wrestling with.

    Like the author of this post said, and as I quoted in my post above:

    “The real solution to abortion is to change the heart of America, not the law.”

    What do you think?

  3. Actually, I very much agree also. We’ve had 35 years of pro-life activism, and have made only small baby steps towards getting rid of the scourge of abortion, even though during many of those years, we had Republican presidents and Republican-controlled congresses. I also agree that the Republican Party has played the pro-life movement for suckers for years, and really done little to nothing on its behalf. I think one obvious reason is that (as we so easily forget) the Republican Party does not equal the church!!!! They are rabid secularists (of a different sort than their rabid secularist Democratic counterparts). We can expect little more from people who are often Christians only in name. Yes, the real solution to abortion is totally to change the heart of America, not the law (although trying to change the law also is a good thing, too). We need to acknowledge that by supporting the party that exalts consumerism and is anti-life in a different way (by being so hawkish when it comes to military affairs), we have been feeding the forces that drive abortion. One point of view I used to greatly appreciate (and seldom hear about any more) is the Catholic concept of the “seamless web of life,” the idea that we must support and protect human life before it begins (by being pro-life) and AFTER it begins (by struggling against war and poverty and disease, etc.). Consistency is the key. I went to a seminar last month in Washington, in which 400 people from 40 churches across the region gathered to hear ruminations on urban, inner-city ministry, and more importantly, learning to love our neighbors where we live and work. If we were to get involved in the lives of our neighbors in such a way as to be a blessing to them, helping them to improve the quality of their lives, then this would go a long way to helping the nation have a change in heart against abortion.

    Not through laws primarily, but through the loving, life-affirming presence of the followers of Jesus!

  4. Kevin-
    Thanks for stopping by and for commenting!

    “One point of view I used to greatly appreciate (and seldom hear about any more) is the Catholic concept of the “seamless web of life,” the idea that we must support and protect human life before it begins (by being pro-life) and AFTER it begins (by struggling against war and poverty and disease, etc.).”

    GREAT point, thanks for sharing it.

  5. Hey guys, I 100% agree that the problem is ultimately a heart issue, not a legal one.

    Rape, murder and stealing are all heart issues as well. Should we no longer put murderers and rapists in jail because it doesn’t change their hearts? Should we no longer police these crimes?

    Laws against such behavior really have one purpose: to protect the innocent. Laws aren’t about changing people’s hearts, but they help to protecting innocent victims by providing disincentives for breaking the law, be that through fines, probation, or jail time.

    Legal and political discussions on this issue are a significant way that progress is made towards illuminating people’s hearts.

    There is plenty to dislike about each political party, but I wish those that already have their hearts convicted on this issue would not tolerate voting for candidates who get this major issue so wrong.

  6. Scott-
    Thanks for coming back and weighing in again! I think this is a really important issue that warrants further discussion, and I’m glad that you’re taking part in it.

    I think you make some great points about laws and that they are meant to protect the innocent. That’s an excellent parallel to the abortion issue, in that, anti-abortion legislature should be put into place in order to protect the innocent.

    Here are a couple of my thoughts on some things that you said:

    “Laws aren’t about changing people’s hearts, but they help to protecting innocent victims by providing disincentives for breaking the law, be that through fines, probation, or jail time.”

    I think that this is a failing of our judicial/prison system in general, in that DISincentives typically don’t motivate people as much as incentives do. People are typically more motivated by positive reinforcement, than they are by negative reinforcement.

    “Legal and political discussions on this issue are a significant way that progress is made towards illuminating people’s hearts.”

    I agree that these things have the POTENTIAL for progress, however, if the last 30-ish years of pro-life/pro-choice fighting is any indication, it seems to me that it might be time for a different tactic, since nothing significant has changed for the better in all that time… one side still thinks Abortion is perfectly acceptable, and the other thinks it’s utterly unacceptable. Not much change of heart as best I can tell…

    “There is plenty to dislike about each political party…”

    AGREED 😉

    “…but I wish those that already have their hearts convicted on this issue would not tolerate voting for candidates who get this major issue so wrong.”

    Here’s the thing that I’m batting around in my head: what about other life/death issues?

    Should the amount of financial/medical aid that we send to Africa be on our list of “major issues”, since that directly affects the life/death of people, innocent people too.

    What about the need to address environmental issues that are directly causing famine, sickness, etc.?

    What about the hundreds and thousands of innocent people that are dying in Iraq, civilians caught in the crossfire? Is that something that we should be concerned about?

    What about poverty in general; the fact that so many people in the world, and in our country, are dying every day because they don’t have the resources to meet the basic need for food and shelter? Here’s a previous post that relates to this: https://thetensionishere.wordpress.com/2007/07/19/water-or-what-church-should-be-about

    My point is this: who defined for us what the major issues are? Because that’s exactly what happened: someone else defined them for us. And are those major issues really the only ones? What other things should we be concerned about?

    Is it possible that there is a candidate that might actually reflect all of those major issues?

    I doubt it. So, we’re back to voting for whomever seems to be about the majority of the issues that we feel strongly about…

    And I’m just not sure, anymore, which party reflects more of the things that I think are important…

  7. Hey Curtis,
    Actually I think there has been significant progress in the pro-life movement, even in the couple years. For example, the recent ban on partial birth abortion. Also, judicial activism has become a significant discussion, and it is becoming more clear that Roe v. Wade was outside the bounds of the court. The recent administration was able to put 2 constructionist judges on the court… more progress does seem possible, if we continue to fight (and vote) for it. And people’s hearts are changing.

    “one side still thinks Abortion is perfectly acceptable, and the other thinks it’s utterly unacceptable. Not much change of heart as best I can tell…”

    This really is changing. Now that we have ultrasounds and better understanding of what goes on in the womb, there are fewer and fewer people who buy the story that a fetus is just a lump of tissue with no moral complications. More people hold the opinion that abortion is wrong personally, but many still don’t want to tell other people what to do. Another casualty of moral relativism. The science clearly backs up the pro-life position… women’s experience after abortion backs up the pro-life position… the only thing keeping it going is the eyes-wide-shut individualistic, consumer mentality that does not want to be burdened with such responsibility. Added to this is modern feminism, which finds the unequal responsibility for pregnancy between men and women unacceptable.

    “what about other life/death issues?”

    There are other significant issues out there, no doubt, but by almost any measure, none is as tragic or on the same scale as over 1 million innocent lives terminated each year, in the US alone, because they are “unwanted”.

    Take the war in Iraq for example. Each casualty is a tragedy, but it should be noted that most casualties are caused by suicide bombers and roadside bombs, not US military crossfire. The number of deaths are thousands, not millions. Also, the difference between party lines on this issue is not nearly as dramatic… both parties are willing to wage war to an extent, and both understand that sometimes it costs lives to save lives. One could even argue that more lives have been saved than lost as a result of the Iraq war.

    You also mentioned the poverty and sickness in Africa… this is a tragedy similar in scale to that of abortion. But again, the difference between political parties is not as dramatic… the US always has been, and will probably continue to be, the most generous government in giving humanitarian aid around the world. Besides, isn’t it clear that this is really the Church’s responsibility anyway, not the US government?

    Now the environment… not killing millions of innocent people each year. And again, the difference between parties is not that dramatic. Both parties are going “green” these days, both support renewable energy and energy independence. I don’t see either party pushing for reduction of plastic packaging filling our landfills.

    “who defined for us what the major issues are? Because that’s exactly what happened: someone else defined them for us.”

    Truly, no one has defined this for me. The facts involved in the issue put this in a category all its own: the numbers of dead (millions), the reason for dead (convenience), the unique responsibility of the US government (protected by law), and the dramatic difference between political parties (one wants to see it end, the other wants to see rights further expanded).

    I know it seems really close minded, un-nuanced and horribly right-wing conservative to put such weight onto a single issue. I wish my conscience were freer, but the crime is too heinous. Could you vote for Hitler, even if he was an environmentalist and had plans for universal healthcare?

    I know many christians who feel they don’t need to consider the issue of abortion when they vote. I’m really trying not to judge, but I just don’t get that at all.

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