Robert George on “Obama’s Abortion Extremism”…etc.

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I couldn’t possibly say anything more illuminating or informed than what Professor Robert George has to say about Obama’s stance on abortion. Dr. George is Princeton University’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence.  Warning: Reading this article very much troubled my soul–I have no doubt that those of you who are worried about the ramped up “culture of death” will also have similar feelings. May God help us.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/viewarticle.php?selectedarticle=2008.10.14_George_Robert_Obama’s%20Abortion%20Extremism_.xml

This also leads me to wonder just how things are going to change here in Canada. We have NO legislation currently regulating abortion in Canada, and none of the major political parties seem to want to get involved in producing any, including the Conservatives. Prime Minister Harper was quoted in the Globe and Mail in September 2008, saying, 

We have a lot of challenges in front of the country. . . We have a difficult world economy, as we all know. That has to be the focus of the government and I simply have no intention of ever making the abortion question a focus of my political career. [Emphasis mine]

I like many things about Prime Minister Harper, and I know that he has some kind of Christian faith stance. But I wonder how long he can expect to avoid dealing with the abortion issue until the moral imperative regarding the abortion laws (or more accurately, lack thereof) pushes itself involuntarily upon he and his cabinet. Given a minority government–again–I’m not hopeful that the pressure will ever be sufficient. 

Strategically, I realize that a minority government of any political stripe these days is unlikely to make many changes on the abortion laws in Canada. In fact, I wonder how long it will be until we get another majority government, given the way the vote is being split up these days. Perhaps Harper is simply a realist who realizes that change in this realm is next to impossible and he doesn’t even want to be hassled with what he knows what would certainly fail. And if Obama gets in (which it looks like he will) and some of his hoped-for changes to the laws come into effect in the United States, no one can predict what kind of influence that will have on us in Canada.

Let me be clear on something here. I don’t expect any government to be able to enact sweeping changes in the abortion laws overnight, let alone within a term of office. I think it is a huge mistake for some Christians to have taken an “all or nothing” approach to the abortion issue. Small changes–even infinitesimal changes–are at least a first step. (In this regard, it is very sad that the Unborn Victims of Crime Act died when the election was called. Even though having nothing to do with abortion, it could have been a starting point). 

But surely there has to be some kind of starting point, even if just in a small incremental way? It is here that I do not envy the extremely difficult challenges that our pro-life MPs have, whatever party they serve. It is all so terribly hopeless that it must be despairing at times. Let’s not fail to pray for these folks, maybe even write your pro-life MP a letter of encouragement. (I was once at a gathering where Bill Blaikie, now a retired long time serving Christian MP, was speaking. He said Christian MPs almost NEVER get letters of encouragement from Christians, but get some of the worst hate mail from those claiming to be Christians. What a shame that is!  I know, just because they are Christian doesn’t necessarily make them a good politician, but surely as a brother or sister in Christ we at least owe them some word of encouragement for their public service…Again, all I can say is, “God help us.”)

It is here that I go back to my previous ponderings on “public reading of Scripture,” particularly my proposal that perhaps it is high time for the church to rediscover the genre of the theological confession. Until the Church in Canada can begin to muster the courage (hopefully a courage led and infused by the Holy Spirit) to not only confess Christ in a unified way again, but also have the courage to reject that which we find to be against Christ–until then, at least a major part of the pro-life voice will continue to be silenced.

Again, may God help us.

DG

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5 thoughts on “Robert George on “Obama’s Abortion Extremism”…etc.

  1. i’m not sure i’m in the mental space to read that article right now but hope to come back to it. thinking about abortion really gets me feeling defeated and hopeless and depressed. it really is an awful awful thing that we should be ashamed for not lamenting more. even now i resist reading the article because i can’t handle going there. i remember my family was heavily and intensely involved when abortion was a hotbed issue in the 80s in BC and it got us nothing. it really feels like a hopeless holocaust. i wonder why i vote conservative anymore. is it because they are the only ones that come close to having anyone who even comes close to seeing it like i do? i imagine even if there are some MPs who are opposed to abortion, why would they stick their necks out without realistic goals and real support? what is even realistic? i imagine we will have to be content with small steps. unfortunately the only Christians i ever hear of who are speaking up on this issue come off really badly and seem hell-bent on demanding a theocracy or the highway. the others are all working in teen-pregnancy centers, and their’s is the kingdom of heaven. as for me . . . the whole thing just strikes sadness, fear and trembling into my soul.

  2. Hello David:

    Nice blog! I’m going to jump to Obama’s defence a little.

    At least one aspect of the article you link to seems to misrepresent Obama’s views. See here: http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-factcheck16-2008oct16,0,5905242.story. This makes me suspicious of the whole. One important thing to note is that Obama is committed to reducing the number of abortions and believes that his social and economic policies will help acheive that goal, since apparently the majority of abortions are due to economic considerations (and rank sin).

    Christians who’ll vote for Obama are looking at more than this one issue and, I’d guess, are tired of being manipulated into propping up a political party which they feel falls short on so many other issues Christians should be concerned about.

  3. Thanks, Nick. Good to hear from you!

    I have no illusions that I know the in’s and out’s of the platforms of the respective US candidates. I frankly haven’t followed it close enough. So, you shouldn’t read my post as “anti-Obama” and therefore “pro-McCain.” (You didn’t say that per se, but it was maybe implied??) As in Canada, there doesn’t appear to be any candidates are taking the abortion issue seriously at all. As for the article, I considered the source–a highly respected legal professor from Princeton University–as fairly relevant here. Of course he can make errors and misrepresentations, but so can Obama supporters. Can you point me to unequivocally clear documentation that shows Obama’s committment to reducing the number of abortions? I’d be genuinely interested to see it.

    As for the commonly cited complaint that some Christians have sometimes been too committed to “one issue,” I’m not saying that there’s aren’t other issues, but surely there is a hierarchy of issues. While it is laudable to cry for justice for the poor and oppressed, I just can’t figure out why that cry shouldn’t extend also to the most vulnerable of all–the unborn. We can’t cry, “Justice!” for this or that group, but practically ignore those who can’t cry out for themselves. It baffles me how those who say they are committed to justice issues think that the abortion issue is, somehow, not about justice, and that those who are opposed to it are “one issue” people.

  4. Hello David:

    My comment wasn’t meant to imply anything, but I can see how it might have. Mostly I agree with your comments regarding abortion and justice, although, of course, I wasn’t trying to imply that those who oppose abortion are “one issue” people–only that some (?), many (?) of those who oppose abortion are “one issue” people. Also, in case I wasn’t clear, I disagree with Obama’s views on the legalities of abortion. He has, however, at the very least, paid lip service (and that is the only evidence I have) to his commitment to reducing the number of abortions and has pointed to his social and economic policies in that connection (at the Saddleback “Faith Forum”). Were this really a goal of his, then it is not inconceivable in the present policital climate that this pro-choice candidate could reduce the number of abortions more significantly than a pro-life candidate. (Has there been a significant decline under Bush?) Whether this is likely may be questioned, and I didn’t so much want to defend Obama on abortion as to add the perspective of those who might vote for him even though they disagree on this issue.

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