Friday, August 29, 2008

Politics and the Lamb on the Altar

I'm generally critical of Rick Warren but he asked some very good questions at the Saddleback Presidential Forum. A full transcript can be found here. One of the questions that he asked both candidates was "At what point does a baby get human rights?" Warren could have asked "At what point does life begin?" or some other related question but instead he asked the right question. The question as asked fits right within the scope of the vocation of the presidency. The President is called to uphold the Constitution and must make sure that all who have constitutional rights receive them. So the question asks at what point a baby has those Constitutional rights. Obama responded by saying "Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade." If the question of who has constitutional rights is above Obama's pay grade then perhaps Obama should seek other employment. It is also the job of a senator to uphold the Constitution. He is completely unqualified to be president if he doesn't even know who the people are for whom he is promoting Constitutional rights.

Obama believes that abortion is a Constitutional right. Obama has borrowed the line from Bill Clinton that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare." Are there any other Constitutional rights that anybody would say should be rare? If there is nothing morally wrong with abortion why should it be rare? Obama has never passed any legislation that would make abortion "rare." Obama's position on abortion as shown by his voting record is at the extreme end of the hyper-pro choice spectrum. Obama has been critical of any bans on partial-birth abortions. Despite the mantras in the pro-abortion camp, a partial birth abortion has never been necessary to save the life of the mother. The baby is almost all the way out. Why would you need to stab him in the back of the skull to save the mother?

Obama was the only verbal opponent of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act on the IL senate floor in 2001. The bill protected the lives of babies who survived an abortion. These were babies completely detached from their mothers, posing absolutely no health risk to their mothers at all. Hillary Clinton actually voted in favor of a similar bill which makes her more pro-life than Obama. When National Right to Life made Obama's voting record known, Obama said they were lying but the records are public and easily obtained. Eventually the Obama camp admitted to National Right to Life that National Right to Life was telling the truth but the Obama camp has not issued any public apology. The question still remains. Being born obviously doesn't guarantee any rights in the mind of Obama. So at what point does a baby have rights? There are professors at prominent universities who claim that a baby has no rights until several months or even years after birth. So the question is a real and important one. More people die each year from abortion than have died in any war so its hard to think of a matter that is more important.

McCain said that a baby has rights at the moment of conception. His position on stem-cell research is in conflict with his answer but at least he gave an actual answer and his voting record is pretty consistent with his position. I'm not endorsing him, I think Chuck Baldwin is a better choice, but I do see good reasons why someone might vote for McCain. Obama is right that we need to think about the "least of these." But the "least of these" clearly includes babies.

The fact that abortion is a moral issue does not mean that you cannot legislate in regards to it. Moral issues are the only issues that you can legislate on. Anyone who says "You can't legislate morality" is either an anarchist or a liar. The feeding of the poor, national health care, speed limits, and anything you can think of are all promoted based upon the idea that there is some moral necessity. There was a time at which slaves were not regarded as people, but property. The issue over whether or not slaves are people or only property was a morally divisive issue. If we went the route of Obama, America would have decided that Slave-masters are the ones who must make the decision over whether or not slaves are people or property and that such a decision is above a president's pay grade.

As a citizen, the Christian votes for different reasons than everyone else does (or at least he should). Everyone else votes for his own self-interest. The Christian follows the example of the Lamb on the Altar and lays aside his own self-interest. The Christian votes for the good of his neighbor. His neighbor includes babies.


Anonymous said...

Did you notice McCain just announced his running mate and it is a woman who is against abortion and is a Christian and was told she was having a downe syndrome baby in something like her 4th month of pregnancy and carried the baby to term. She specifically followed what she proclaimed to follow.
Love Mom

Chuck Wiese said...

I'm glad that McCain chose a pro-life running mate but he did have pro-choice running mates on his list of possible VPs so he shouldn't be viewed as some sort of hero for the pro-life movement. He is probably hoping to gain some evangelical votes and perhaps even hoping to gain some of the votes of the people who really want a woman in office and were hoping Obama would choose Clinton as his running mate. The first will probably work, the second probably won't.

A woman VP raises a number of questions, especially when the person running for president is old and has known health problems. If McCain were to die, would it be right to have a woman as commander and chief of the armed forces?