Friday, October 29, 2004

Deeper look at abortion

I am strongly against abortion and partial birth abortion. The church, however, has erred in the way it has gone about dealing with this. Christians have taken the stand for the life of a fetus and infant and many have left mothers and the larger structural justice in society out of what has become a single-issue voting conundrum that leaves many Christians incredulous that anyone could vote any other way but Republican.

In 1992, during the Clinton vs. George H.W. Bush campaign, I took a photo of a couple carrying a sign that said, "A vote for Clinton is a sin against God." I've searched for that photo but can't find it. The sins of Bill Clinton may justify people who held or hold that position, but we ought to look at the fruits of his administration relative to what the sign intended. It was meant, I think, to refer to Clinton's view on abortion. But did abortions increase in the eight years Clinton was president? I don't know but perhaps we could find out.

According to the ethicist/statician, Dr. Glen Harold Stassen, abortions have actually increased during Bush's administration.

Pro-life? Look at the fruits by Dr. Glen Harold Stassen.

How do we account for this? Is it justice and mercy to take a stand and not also look to the larger moral issues involved? As I have mentioned in this blog, some do take this stand with great conviction, but my challenge is to look deeper, read the above article, post others here that we can look at.

A comment earlier says I'm naive to think we can not have political parties. The intention was to wake us to the reality that we have been co-opted by political parties and we have a lot of work to do in the church to reverse this, and it cuts both ways. Democrats sometimes shamelessly use churches to get votes from the black community. Republicans sometimes shamelessly use churches to get votes from Christians. By giving the example of no parties, I was trying to illustrate that a Christian might come out with a more kingdom-focused mix of moral issues rather than being "forced" to choose between one party that says there's no way you can't vote Republican because of abortion and Christians in the Democratic party that can't understand how someone can abide this "just war" as a Christian.

Both think the other at best is missing the point, and at worst, sinning against God.


At 10:46 AM, Blogger David U said...

Greg, I whole-heartedly agree with you that we as Christians have dropped the ball as far as being there to help those in need. We have no excuse, and we need to confess it and then in our repentance begin to do a MUCH better job of helping those who can't help themselves.

Like you, I also don't agree with the mindset of some who make blanket statements like "if you are a Christian you must vote Republican". I think it is both ignoranat and naive. I respond to the same sentiments expressed by those who say "a caring Christian can only vote Democratic". It is absurd.
There are Chrisitan attributes that both parties say they are in favor of and push as part of their platforms. I think God will use either to accomplish his work in the Kingdom!

For those of you posting under "anonymous", I am speaking for myself only........but I think that sucks.
I know there may be circumstances where you don't want to risk your relationship with someone, or maybe you feel at risk at work. But I can say sincerely that I don't have as much respect for you all as I do for the other people who are commenting and posting their name.

Lastly, I want to point out what I feel is an injustice. The point has been made by several that the reason there have been MORE abortions under Bush than Clinton is because of Bush's policies concerning the economy and welfare. I agree that his policies have effects, but to state that as if it were FACT and the ONLY influence on why more people would choose to have an abortion, is the sign that you have for sure bought into the Liberal "Everybody is a victim" mentality. In other words, these woman had NO choice......Bush signed the document so therefore he took the choice right out of their hands as to have an abortion or not. Are you saying under Clinton people had more money so people had more disposable income for condoms, therefore there were less abortions? Give me a break! George W. Bush is now responsible for people choosing to have unprotected sex! Abortion and unprotected sex are CHOICES! It is ludicrous to blame President Bush for causing people to make those choices. Our nation as suffered from the "Entitlement" mindset long enough. If people don't have as much income and abortions are up, put it on OUR head as Christians instead of playing the blame game and putting it on President Bush. Regardless of the numbers, President Bush is against abortion. He doesnt want to "lessen the numbers"....he wants to do away with it completely! That is a huge difference than what the other candidate is saying.

God bless America!

At 11:56 AM, Blogger don said...

I agree with Dave, and Howard Johnson and Gabby Johnson, to borrow a line from Blazing Saddles. If you're going to post, at least sign your name.

I am going to try to answer here a post in response to an earlier post I made, wherein I posited a brilliant and well thought out postion statement (to me, anyway) on partial-birth abortion as a wedge issue, if you want to call it that.

The post I am answering was made, again, by "anonymous", that brave sophist who frequents this and so many other blogs. (I understand that it is a lot of trouble to sign in, and I used to post as anonymous before I learned how to be a blogger, so if that is the reason, I am sorry for impugning your bravery. If it's not the reason, consider yourself impugned.)

Anonymous starts off with: "Don is right. Some things are evil.

War is one of them. Christians have through the ages reluctantly agreed to "just war." And this one met none of the criteria."

Okay, from this position looking back in the rearview mirror, maybe not. But at the time, Hussein WAS considered a threat and a madman, WAS known to have used WMD's on his own people, and just about everyone, including most Democrats and Republicans, was saying the war was needed. Look it up. John Kerry said so, too. The only one I know who has been consistently against it was Howard Dean, who, at least, was consistent. I've said this before, but let's try to judge history from a historical perspective. The motives were at the time, I believe, good. By the way, I believe the WMD's were moved to Syria in the weeks leading up to the war, based on satellite film, and it was the right thing to do.

I will agree that war is bad, (Who wants war??) but to sit back and wait for it to come to you is bad and stupid at the same time. And it WAS coming to us, still is. It ain't nearly over yet, and to think we have made it worse by antagonizing them is to badly misunderstand the religious fervor at work and mindset of the antagonists.

Anonymous continues: "Cutting taxes for wealthy while the poor suffer is evil. Works for the wealthy. Very, very nice situation. Want to know why abortion numbers have risen during the Bush administration while they declined during the Clinton administration? Because MORE and MORE people moved into poverty."

My answer: First, cutting taxes for the wealthy is the best thing we can do for the poor. How many jobs do you think are created by poor people?

Second, this is a red herring. It is a statement that sounds true on the surface, but is not quite what it seems, and not addressing the actual situation. I am not wealthy, but my taxes were cut. The only times I can remember that happening were in two Republican administrations, and JFK (Democrat) did it, too, with good results. I just don't remember JFK's cut because I wasn't paying taxes yet.

That being said, I will repeat that there is plenty about this (Bush) administration fiscal policy to be concerned about. Restraint in spending is apparently lost on them. This is an area where I think the Democrats have sometimes gotten a bad rap, and where the GOP has gotten away with murder.

The next statement by Anonymous: "Trashing the environment is evil. George Bush did more to ruin our reputation with the world in canceling the Kyoto treaty than we can imagine. We confirmed the belief many have that Americans care only about themselves."

My response: Right on. Democrats have been historically much friendlier to the environment than GOP platforms, and WE DO need regulations to protect what we have. No argument here.

Next quote from Anonymous: "Religious hypocrisy is evil. We have a president who is the darling of the religious right. And yet he doesn't go to church! Have you noticed that he's always "spending the weekend" at Camp David or at the Crawford ranch . . . but that he is never in church? Doesn't anyone miss the stories about Clinton singing in the choir of his church or of Jimmy Carter teaching Bible classes while president?"

My response: Are you, or am I, or is anyone really able to be in a position to judge this? I don't think so, and I don't want to be.

The only point anonymous brought up relative to my post (partial birth abortion) agreed with my statement that it is an evil that needs to be gotten rid of. The reason this outweighs other issues for my vote is it's sheer scope and severity. It means death to innocents, and it (abortion, not just partial birth abortion) means that to (4 million a year? is that right? I don't mean to be using bad stats, but that is the figure that sticks in my head.) Even if it is not that many, it is enough to qualify as a genuine holocaust, and someone needs to stand up for those unable to stand up for themselves. The Republican platform is the only one that comes close.

One more thought on this lengthy but interesting diatribe: Greg wrote recently about the dangers of one party co-opting a religious group. I whole-heartedly agree. However, I see nothing wrong with the religious group co-opting the party. I think the fact that the Republican party feels indebted to the religious right is a wonderful thing, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and I like to think of it as the GOP doing our bidding instead of the other way around. I know this gets murky, and we need to be cautious. But why shouldn't elected officials be accountable to their constitents, and the more constituents that hold my views, the better. So be it.

I believe myself to be a Christian first, foremost, et al, and politically pick positions based on how I see them fit into my belief system, not out of loyalty to one party or the other. I hope you will all do the same.


At 1:01 PM, Blogger don said...

amendment to last post: 4 million per year figure is apparently way high. I don't know what the actual figure is.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Greg Taylor said...

Thanks for your concern for accurary. That's one thing that's great about being able to discuss and clarify--we are searching for the truth together openly. Some facts are very difficult to get at. This is one of them, because of doctor-patient issues as Toby mentions. You might want to post a question on my brother's entry today on partial birth abortion and see what he is able to look up. He is close to a lot of information on it and even in his post there are some figures.
Greg Taylor


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