Friday, August 22, 2008

On Politics and Abortion

It occurred to me the other day that I should write something on abortion and politics for the blog. It has been a very hot topic in most of my “circles” as of late. It’s an issue that gets hot every election year. What I tend to see is a lot of earnest Catholics who identify with Democratic ideals (Democratic as in the Party, not as in Thomas Jefferson) wringing their hands over how they can bring their political ethos in line with their religious ethos.

I will say right up front that this is not a problem for me. There was a time when I was a self-identified Democrat and also self-described as “Pro Choice”. Then I realized that people had souls and I became “Pro Life”. I don’t know if I’m a Republican. But I do believe that each and every abortion results in the death of a human being, and that tends to trump pretty much every other political issue out there. It's hard to beat 1.2 million innocent deaths per year with programs to provide organic food for the homeless.

Here’s Barack Obama at the Saddleback thingy the other day, speaking on whether life begins at conception or not:

"I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective," Obama responded, "answering that question with specificity is above my pay-grade." Obama added that he believes "there is a moral and ethical element" to the abortion issue but stressed that he is pro-choice. "I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I'm pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don't think women make these decisions casually," he said.
You don’t have to study philosophy to see some major problems with what Obama is saying here. Usually, when I have an important question for which I do not have the intellect or training to answer, I go to an expert. He provides an answer. I’m sure Obama will have to do this a few times during his presidency, should he be elected. Making an important ethical decision (whether or not abortion results in the death of a human person) without sufficient data is not something a reasonable person does. I hope my president doesn't do it either.

As it has been pointed out, if a hunter sees a rustle in the bushes he does not shoot until he is certain of what he is shooting at. To do otherwise would be irresponsible. If one is not sure, then one gives the benefit of the doubt to life.

I think what Obama thinks he’s saying is that it is impossible to know when life begins. But maybe what he’s really saying that it’s impossible to know what life is at all. If I think it might be a person, then I won't act in a way that may cause harm. But, if a person is just a whole lot of water and $5 worth of cheap chemicals, then it doesn't really matter. That baby doesn’t know it’s alive yet. It hasn’t seen, lived, tasted, touched, or loved. In other words, nobody cares. It goes away, and there’s nobody left to complain. You see, it has no soul. It doesn’t matter. Buh-bye.

But, if you believe in a soul then that baby has a unique being apart from touching, tasting, living, breathing, seeing, and someone certainly does care. I can name two people who care: me and God.

Here’s a fact, 1.2 million induced abortions were performed in 2005. If you really believe that a fetus is a human life, or even admit the possibility, then that’s 1.2 million dead people or potentially dead people. That’s 1.2 million people that me and God care about.

Really, it comes down to the soul. You can’t see it, touch it, or taste it. If nobody knew that I ever existed, would I matter? What is real? What matters?

Hopefully something. Especially if you’re going to be president.


Anonymous said...

Tony, do you think if Joe Biden happened upon your blog entry that he'd threaten to "shove his rosary beads down your throat"?

Another reason that though I recognize politics are important I still can't stand them: as you mentioned in another entry Obama is about as far left as the mainstream leftists' get, yet now he has chosen Biden who is considered centrist for a liberal? Don't you feel insulted as a registered voter that a presidential candidate would so obviously pick a VP that would only serve to appeal to the center (independants)? Furthermore, isn't this sending the mixed message to potential Obama voters that he's strong in his beliefs but at the same time willing to compromise them? Personally I'm with you, McCain is the choice. But just watch him pick Ridge or Lieberman to better appeal to the left-center. politics is all just a game, and I hate it when people play games with genuinely important things.


This Liberal said...

Supposedly Plato said that most men are moved by polemics, not by dialectics.

So it goes in politics. This is unfortunate, but very much the case. I don't like it either. But we have two alternatives, either to engage the discussion or to leave politics as the domain of scoundrels and demogogues.

There is such a thing as an honest politician. If we don't take our ideals into the public square, we can become guilty of rank cowardice. The fight is real and it is intense.

It can also be effective and a lot of fun. When the truth is stated plainly and without pretense, it is often recognized for what it is.

That's my two cents, in any case.