The archbishop of Denver criticized Nancy Pelosi for misrepresenting catholic teaching on abortion (here). She claimed that the church was ambiguous on the question of when life begins. Archbishop Chaput answered that the church has never been ambiguous about abortion–it has always condemned the practice. Archbishop Chaput even quotes the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said,
“the destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.” (From Bonhoeffer’s Ethics)
Candidate Obama has voted against restrictions on late-term abortions and even against a law protecting infants who survive unsuccessful abortion procedures. A nurse from Chicago has testified under oath several times that she has witnessed this phenomenon several times. Babies (that’s what everyone calls fetuses after they are born) have been left to die after surviving induced abortions (here).
We are not talking about subtle nuances here–whether a fertilized egg is a person–we are talking about near-term fetuses or even babies surviving outside the womb.
So how can a pro-life voter support a candidate who opposes any restrictions on late-term abortions?
But there is another life-issue–war. The other candidate says he will keep us in Iraq for one hundred years, if necessary.
Looking back on these two issues, we are really talking about elective abortion and elective war. No one on the pro-life side wishes to deny abortion when it is medically necessary to save the life of the mother. What bothers so many is when abortion is not necessary, but a choice, an elective option.
The same is true of George Bush’s war in Iraq. It was an elective war. We were not under attack, nor were we in imminent danger of attack from Iraq. Even had it been true that Saddam Hussein was still trying to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction, no one believed he had a missile ready to launch. So this was an optional war–not a war forced upon us but a war chosen to accomplish a good cause–eliminating a tyrant, bringing democracy to the Middle East–but not a war undertaken for immediate self-defense.
Only one candidate had the judgment or courage to vote against that war.
Help me out readers. Am I being selfish to think of my own family? In sixteen years my grandson could be sent to Iraq. Maybe he will be told that the Iraqi government is almost ready to stand on its own–they just need a little more time. Right now we don’t have a draft–but the current system is unfair to those who enlisted, and there have been senators calling for a reinstatement of conscription.
I assume that all those who enlist for active duty or in the reserves are motivated by the desire to serve their country. I assume they believe they will not been sent into optional or elective wars. They will not be called upon to enter harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary. In that case we will want a president with a proven record of good judgment.
So here is my problem. How can I vote for a candidate who supports elective, optional late-term abortion? How can I vote for a candidate who supports elective, optional war?
You might say the answer is either don’t vote or vote for a third party candidate.
The problem with that for me is that it would be avoiding my responsibility. Barack Obama or John McCain will be our next president (of course, barring unforseen tragedies or divine intervention). I have a responsibility to choose one of these candidates. Which pro-life issue is more important? Or do I call it a draw and vote on the other issues? In that case, the choice to me is clear enough.
Filed under: Bonhoeffer, critical thinking, justice, Violence | Tagged: abortion, Archbishop of Denver, catholic teaching, election, infanticide, Iraq, judgment, life, McCain, Obama, presidential convention, pro-life, war |