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« Hamas Leader's Son becomes a Christian | Main | Naturalism's Hot Water »

August 18, 2008


I wish once that someone would preface a question to Obama with the scientific information that we have regarding whether an embryo or a fetus is human or not. A pre-emptive strike against his standard response. This would remove the "paygrade" dodge and put the question clearly in the objective fact category.

I think you meant "least" instead of "lease", and "presumably" instead of "presumealy".

Really glad to see a take on this topic here. I wish you'd expand on your third paragraph - you lay out the criteria well, but don't seem to then answer clearly whether that criterion was met or not. The fourth and fifth paragraphs instead go back to the first criterion.

Care to elaborate? I'd love to read more thoughts and reactions on the Saddleback Forum.

I would like to know why a man who wants to be President of the United States of America would say the question of the rights of the unborn is above his paygrade. If the President (or aspiring President) can't make this assumption, who does it fall on?

It is a somewhat flippant response to a question about an issue that requires a serious response. Here are two possible motivations for giving such a response.

1) He doesn't care about it.
2) He is truly uncertain on the answer to this issue.
3) He is lying through is teeth about his position.

He no doubt would like for people to believe that option 2 above is what was driving his response. The problem is, his voting record contradicts this. If you are really uncertain on this question, good moral judgement requires that one err on the side of protecting innocent life.

In a certain sense, you could say that option 1 better fits his position, in the sense that it doesn't matter what the truth is, protecting abortion "rights" overrides all other considerations. But lets give him the benefit of the doubt here, because that would place him in the uncomfortable position of sanctioning murder, if he has a conscience. Lets say his voting record is consistent with his belief. This means that he does think he knows the answer to this question, and if you examine it, you must come to the conclusion that he believes a life is not a life until some arbitrary time after birth, which makes him an existentialist. The choice of the mother is what determines whether the life should be protected.

So this also eliminates explanation 1. Since explanation 2 is impossible given his voting record, it means that the only possible explanation is the third option, that he is lying through his teeth and trying to conceal his true position.

Of course, there is still the possibility that the man has no conscience whatsoever, and so all 3 explanations are true. Machiavelli would be proud.

Oops. 2=3, for very large values of 2. Sorry.

As regards Obama's non-response to the question of when life begins (in his opinion), I found the manner in which he approached the question to be unthinkable and downright irresponsible. Regardless of whether you're convinced of the pro-life or pro-choice position, Obama's answer is absolutely unacceptable. He endorses a pro-choice stance and, I presume, considers murder morally abhorrent. Therefore, in his mind, I gather that there's a gestational point (instant, moment, period, etc.) before which it's permissible to abort and, by implication, after which it's not permissible to abort (say, 30 seconds prior to delivery). Anyone (particularly, I'd say, one running for president) who advocates pro-choice and apparently is unwilling to even wager an estimation about when life commences strikes me as intellectually indolent and manifests an astonishingly poor rationale for arriving at one's position on the issue - an issue, no matter your sentiments, of enormous consequence.

In summary, it's my supposition that Obama holds that there's a gestational point at which it would be murder to abort (say, as before, 30 seconds prior to delivery). And as a pro-choice advocate, he also holds that there's a gestational point at which it wouldn't be murder to abort. The conjunction of pro-choice advocacy and Obama's non-response is staggering, for it seems reasonable that he at least supply an account--even if an arbitrary guess--in support of and to legitimize his posture on the matter. His failure to do so (in the interview) is quite telling.


-- Surrealium

McCain wiped the floor with Obama. This is believed to be the case even of Obama supporters.

By the way, Obama may feel the question of unborn rights is above his paygrade but he obviously doesn’t feel it’s above Justice Ginsburg’s.

I just came across this from 2001.

Look at pages 85-87 where Obama is adamant about the fact that "previable" fetuses do not have rights. He seems very certain about this. (He says we must deny them rights in order to protect abortion.)

He also seems to think that "viability is the line that has been drawn by the Supreme Court to determine whether or not an abortion can or cannot take place." But as far as I know, abortion is legal through all nine months, so I don't know what he's referring to there.

I respectfully disagree with this: "The question about orphans overseas is one example. Individuals and the church should take care of the 'least of these,' and the government should get out of the way and make sure it doesn't create obstructions to the good that people should do."

The reason government is posited as part of the solution to this issue is that individuals and the church are hardly making a dent in the problem. Yes, some are doing great work, but compared to the scope of the problem the work done is minuscule. If half of the time and effort spent on facilities fund-raising by US churches was directed towards orphans there would be a more significant impact. Government can and should be involved in this.

There is no Biblical reason that government should not do good and contribute acts of mercy. At the same time government should not restrict attempts by people of faith to help.

Senator Obama's answer makes sense if you consider the possibility that he feels the issue isn't when life begins, but whether women get to choose whether to abort their babies are not. Women can vote for him, unborn babies cannot. Women who are pro choice don't care what his answer is (it's above his pay grade), so long as they continue to the choice to abort. Essentially, his answer reflects amorality on the issue, and begs the question if he has any morality on any other issue. He doesn't see this as a moral issue, it is a vote winning opportunity.

I'm surprised at Obama's position on abortion. You'd think he would have empathy for the fetus, since they're both inexperienced. :-)

There was a special on Barack Obama, and I watched part of it. Consequently, some suspicions I've had have been confirmed, but I have also come to respect him more as a person.

It is crystal clear to me from the special, given his choice of companions during college and his struggles to get himself off the street, that he cannot help but to have affinities which are unique to the Islamic worldview - and this concerns me.

But I don't think, given Barack's experiences with life, that he can bring himself to make knee-jerk, rash, decisions without the desire for others to understand them (not that I think he is prone to make knee-jerk, rash decisions).

Barack is certainly a philosopher - I like that about him -, and he knows that America affords its citizens the best chance [in theory] to avoid the pitfalls of errors in critical thinking; so, I definitely think that he is useful to American Politics.

As an aside, I'd like to thank Rick Warren for staying true to the forum by resisting the urge to argue the points himself; As Christians, we think about these questions a lot, and we know we can provide important insight. But I like that they [at least Barack, anyway, since I've only seen a portion of his session] were able to feel like they got their points across sufficiently, as opposed to having to watch every word they said.

Don't get me wrong: They are on the record, and will probably have to refer back to this event; But given the structure and questions of the forum, no one can deny that their responses left plenty of room for qualifications.

Another thing:

I’ve read and heard that Democrats are complaining that the question on abortion was an easier question for the pro-life position.

Why? Why? Can’t pro-choicers, the abortion on demanders, just come out and say once a child is born it has rights? Please. Just say it already.

When someone like Rick Warren asks: “When does an unborn baby have rights?” Just respond, “once it takes it’s first breath – and the head is removed.”

Just say it.


FrorryFew, what are you on?

CP, the context of Matthew 25:40 is Jesus addressing his disciples. He was not saying what the government should do; rather, he was saying what his followers should do. The government can only do good and contribute acts of mercy, as you put it, by imposing taxes. You and I may have different opinions regarding what constitutes doing good. The government can cut red tape to facilitate adoptions, but I don't want a big, wasteful government program as a substitute for charitable actions of private citizens. The House recently passed H.R. 5501, which allocated $48 BILLION in taxpayer money to fight AIDS in Africa. No doubt Rick and Kay Warren feel that was not enough.

I think it’s scary when Jesus and the Bible are used as tools to mandate compulsory government charity.

>>FrorryFew, what are you on?

Clearly, Tramadol. :)

But don't worry, he's gone now.

>>There is no Biblical reason that government should not do good and contribute acts of mercy.

CP, thanks for your comment. I actually think there are a few biblical reasons--the main one being that in order for a government to truly do good, it ought to stick to issues of justice, not mercy. It's the job of the government as an institution to provide a base of justice (people get what they've worked for, their rights are protected, good is rewarded and evil is punished, etc.) so that we are free to give mercy. (See Romans 13 for a description of what God's purpose was in creating government and granting them authority.)

It's one thing for the government to collect money for public works like roads that affect everybody, but as soon as the government gets into the business of mercy, they must take from some by force in order to give to others. This is not biblical. In the New Testament, giving for mercy is always voluntary--not to mention the fact that you are not allowed to take from one person what is rightfully his, even if you plan to give it to someone else.

Even worse, when the government starts redistributing wealth, not only is this unjust, but it depends on class envy (another biblical Big-Ten no-no). So you get laws like the one passed a few years ago in California that added an extra tax for millionaires. It was passed because they played on people's envy: Look what they have that you don't--they should give you some! So all the people who weren't millionaires banded together in voting booths to take some of their money by force. Again, this is not biblical in any way.

In the end, people begin to confuse justice with mercy (hence the phrase "social justice"), which has all sorts of implications--not only for our view of government, but also our view of God. (It turns out that our generation has a much more difficult time understanding God's holiness and hell--we think that God owes us salvation and that it's not fair if He doesn't give everyone the same mercy. I really think the change in our political culture might be affecting our understanding of God, as well.)

And finally, it turns out that those who think the government ought to be more merciful actually end up giving less themselves (check out this book on that). So not only does it make people feel like the rich people owe them (and everybody else) something, but it also makes them less generous themselves because "somebody else ought to be giving before I do." So it increases a very unbiblical attitude and depends on two unbiblical things--taking property from some and stirring up envy in others.

I am against abortion. My problem is with my other right to life friends who plan on voting for McCain, or who voted for Bush. These neoconservative leaders not only abort babies, they take out their mothers and entire families too, carpet bombing countries and civilian centers for unjustifiable reasons.

Would like to know,

Please cite one credible source that the American military intentionally targeted “civilian centers” to intentionally kill civilians.


I think there were two operable words that disqualify these links from answering Kevin W's request, namely *credible* and *intentionally*

Brad B

Thanks for your replies. A bullet can be aimed at 1 person. This is what the police do when they stop a criminal. Bombs are indiscriminate and always involve the innocent. Anyone should know this. Remember too the Iraq war was based upon lies. So even the bombing of the opposing military is questionable.

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