It never ceases to amaze me when otherwise lovely, dedicated pro-life folks get all hot and bothered, taking sides and arguing about politics. Strange things happen. There are debates about who is the best candidate, who has the best chance of winning and why, in the opinion of some, it’s perfectly OK to settle for a candidate with an abortion background if that particular candidate has better odds.
For someone like me, who never saw a political race I liked, these sorts of competitions are troubling. I am not vexed because people are wrong-headed, stubborn or otherwise divisive. It has taken me nearly 30 years to realize that the problem is much deeper than a simple disagreement.
Reconciliation is not possible because the worldview is so different.
Yet for me, this entire scenario is a matter of principle, integrity and the right focus.
Let’s begin with the most fundamental question. Why is a person pro-life? The answer should be because he feels called by God to serve those who are voiceless in our society. That would mean being the advocate for the preborn, the elderly, the specially challenged and the dying. So it makes sense, if we carry that job description to its logical conclusion, that the pro-lifer would never do anything to jeopardize a single one of those for whom he has accepted the role of servant. And this applies across the board in every sector of pro-life activity except one—politics.
When it comes to politics, a portion of the pro-life crowd gets confused or otherwise off-track because of eternally irritating bogeymen such as “the lesser of two evils” or the “incremental” victory.
Take, for example, the recent election of the somewhat—if not totally—pro-abortion senator Scott Brown. When he was elected, one of the statements made was this:
“Scott Brown is certainly not an ideal candidate. After all, he supports Roe v. Wade.”
But killing the pro-abortion health care bill may be a good enough reason to be glad Brown won anyway …
The most obvious glitch in the above statement is a simple one: Brown favors Roe v. Wade and the only kind of abortion he appears to abhor is perhaps partial-birth abortion, though he will never have to vote on that. At this point in the country’s history, we know for sure that his election did not have any effect on stopping a health care reform measure that now literally mandates more child-killing by abortion than ever before. So, we might ask, how could it have been that some pro-life Americans were misled into thinking that a vote against the health care reform bill excused Brown from his nearly solid support for killing preborn babies?
Are such people naïve or are they so hungry to claim a victory of some sort that they will do nearly anything?
I have no idea; but I do know that as followers of Christ, our first obligation should be consistency in all of our efforts because that helps make our case. When we say the commission of a surgical abortion is an act of murder, we really mean it.
But let’s move on.
One pro-life leader has written,
The morality of our actions is determined in part by the foreseen consequences of those actions. A vote for the “best” candidate who won’t win takes a vote away from the better of the others, and hence favors the worst. If the worst gets elected and ends up facilitating the killing of countless innocent children, the voter shares responsibility for that.
Please note, with all due respect to the writer, that the action described here is based on a scenario of qualifiers such as “the better” and “if,” which means that we may or may not have made any progress for the babies by settling for second best. Since we really have no crystal ball at our disposal, should we not be relying on facts rather than arguments that could result in far more disastrous situations than we ever imagined? After all, I for one know firsthand that most politicians will tell pro-lifers anything to get their votes. But once elected, many turn on the pro-life movement quicker than a tornado whips through a field.
Don’t we share responsibility for betraying the principles of God by bowing to political predictions? History certainly suggests that indeed we do. Woe unto us for placing an election win ahead of fidelity.
God does not reward such tactics; in fact He has not for many years.
One Christian writer examined the “lesser of two evils” argument and opined, http://www.wordofhisgrace.org/evilisevil.pdf
One of the most often-repeated, “patriotic” statements that I hear lately is that we will just have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Sorry. Something must have gone wrong with my brainwashing. I just can’t get myself to believe that it is good to vote for evil. The last I heard, the lesser of two evils is still evil, and the Bible says, “Now I pray to God that ye do no evil.” Using the last vestiges of whatever brain tissue the public education system has left me, I believe I can still think clearly enough to realize that if I vote for something evil, I am trying to promote evil and am guilty of committing evil myself.
So, as we examine both of these statements, we wonder … is the answer to our pro-life struggle actually in the political realm at all? If we say yes, will we have missed a salient fact that has been staring us in the face for years?
I ask this in all sincerity and with a modicum of prudence for I know that many pro-lifers will immediately think I have dropped all my marbles in a trash can somewhere. But before you make a request that someone commit me to an institution for being so silly, think about this.
We live in a society where it is increasingly difficult for those who favor abortion and those who do not to communicate with each other rationally. This is because there are, after more than 35 years, two distinctly different worldviews on the subject of the God-given, inalienable right to life.
There are those who truly believe that all rights come about because of the actions of the state or merely because a certain majority view contradicts the historical perspective taken by followers of Christ. For example, in our day we know that “reproductive rights,” an elastic term constantly being redefined by the culture of death, take precedence according to the majority of folks over God’s authorship of life. If we are honest, we will have to admit that, by and large, God is unwelcome in the public square.
We don’t really have a political problem in America; we have a GOD problem. It is because of this that the stakes are so high. The obvious truth is that God’s Word—not to mention His role in public life—has been denied for so long that today’s crisis is now so severe and the challenges we face so critical. In order for us, as pro-life Americans, to make the type of progress needed so that our laws recognize that every person is worthy of protection just because he is a person, we must first be committed to bringing God back into the discussion.
Each of us should be unabashedly dedicated to focusing the national conversation on the reasons why abortion kills a person; the first of which is that God is the giver of life and thus the only One Who has the authority to take that life back unto Himself. Each human being’s life is a gift from Him, not the state.
It does not matter whether it is popular to utter such truth or even viewed as patriotic to do so. We are not involved in this struggle to win a popularity contest, to claim a pyrrhic victory or succumb to the pressures around us. Our job is to do all we can to save vulnerable human beings from cruel and hideous acts that result in death.
From a historical perspective, it was Alexis de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America (1835), who observed, “I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion, for who can read the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.”
Today, I daresay de Tocqueville would no longer find this to be the case. In our day, we know that, in the minds and hearts of far too many people, God is dead and that is the real problem.
As we approach the coming mid-term elections, many will ask me to comment on what this or that pro-life leader or group has done regarding politicians, mainstream and otherwise. My comment won’t be about the group, the pro-life leader or the politician, but rather the Lord.
This is because it is very clear to me that until U.S. citizens sincerely understand and believe the undeniable truth that God is the only source of human rights, no election is going to matter—other than the one exercised by the individual who elects to follow Christ and never count the cost.