Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One issue

Imagine you are voting in the 1780s instead of today. Consider 2 candidates. Candidate 1 holds many to most of your same views on the economy/taxes, foreign relations, and social issues. Candidate 2 has differing views on many to most of those same issues.

But, what if Candidate 1 was okay with slavery and Candidate 2 was an abolitionist? Who would you vote for? Would their position on slavery be enough to make you a single-issue voter? Would you give up voting for someone who shares most of your views to go with someone who supports the rights of all human beings, no matter their skin color?

But perhaps the pro-slavery candidate was not really "PRO" slavery as much as he was wanting individual people and states to make their own choices about it. He was okay with people owning slaves and he was okay if others decided that owning slaves wasn't for them, but he wanted to protect the rights of those who owned slaves. How about if he pointed out the positives of slavery and that we needed to consider how abolition would affect plantation owners. Or maybe he said that even if we stopped having slaves, what would prevent other countries from having them?

You know, in that time some people believed that Africans were not really fully human, more like animals, to be owned and traded as property. What changed the people’s minds and hearts and finally stopped slavery? I believe it was people facing the facts and good triumphing over evil. People had to come to grips with the fact that these slaves were human beings that God created, not animals or a lower class of humans. But the facts were laid out for a long time and no one could dispute them, yet still slavery continued. That is, until one day when someone in a high position took a stand and said it won't be tolerated anymore. Good had to triumph so that everyone had to acknowledge that skin color doesn’t determine worth.

My hope is that one day we will look back on abortion the way we now look back on slavery. My prayer is that good will triumph over evil and we will face the facts. It's a fact that there is life at the time of conception. It’s obvious with today’s medical technology that babies in the womb are humans and don’t become human simply when they are born, or even 'at the point of viability'. We can know that life begins at conception, because at conception a process is set in motion, the fetus keeps growing and growing. You can’t pinpoint a time after conception that signals, ‘okay, now it’s human/person.’ The sex of a child is determined at conception, how could this fetus be a boy or a girl, but not a human/person?

In 2010 I miscarried at 9 weeks along. We had just seen the sweet little heart beating on ultrasound a week or two before she/he died. No one could tell I was pregnant but when you see the little life before you on the screen, you can't deny that is a small growing person, one who needs protecting. Was my child more of a human because we'd wanted him/her? With all the medical advances in technology and how we can see into the womb the fact that there is life before birth has been laid out for a long time, yet still abortion continues

I feel strange even pointing these things out, since it’s not obvious to the world. I wonder how the abolitionists felt when they told people of the horrible atrocities on the slave ships and plantations and then were met with nonchalant attitudes.

As we near the current election we need to consider these bigger issues. EACH person has a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness we need to stand up and face the facts so that can apply to each person, even those who are still in the womb. I have hope and in my head I see a vision that one day our country will protect the life of the unborn, just as our country stood up and declared that slavery would not be legal. I feel like Christians have lost that hope and have just forgotten about this issue. And I think we, as a country need to do more to protect the life of the unborn. There are lots of ways to do that and voting pro-life is just one of them.

If you were looking back on time and could see Christians voting for someone who supported slavery what would you think of them? Perhaps these Christians knew slavery was wrong and hoped that one day there would be a change, but as they decided who to vote for, they may have felt that the economy was a more important issue, or the state of foreign relations. How will you look back on who you voted for in this election? Is protecting the life of the unborn important enough to make you a one issue voter?

The Supreme Court is the place where abortion was deemed acceptable. Only one person has the power to appoint justices to the court. Obama has already appointed one Supreme Court Justice in his first 4 years in office, will we give him the chance to appoint more justices who want to protect the right to kill innocent children?

And so what if the president doesn't get to nominate any judges. So what if the Supreme Court doesn't take another look at Roe v. Wade during the next four years, or the next 40 years. So what. How could I tell my grandchildren that I voted for someone that was for protecting people's 'right' to kill innocent babies. I would hope that in the 1780s I wouldn't have voted for someone who supported slavery, just like today I won't vote for someone who supports abortion, it's a foundational disagreement and I can't look past it.

I don’t care for politics and I dislike discussing it with friends because there are a lot of people smarter than me who will explain why healthcare is a bigger issue, or the economy is a bigger issue, or our relations with other countries, etc. But I don't think that Christians should tolerate a president who is not going to protect the life of innocent children and will instead stand up to protect the people who kill them. It nauseates me. 

I know there are a lot of issues that people consider as they are making their choice on who to vote for and Christians have differing convictions. My Democratic Christian friends (yes! there are such people!) who have prayed through their voting have done their job as good citizens. But I cannot disagree more. Simply said, a law allowing innocent human life to be killed is enough to make me a single-issue voter. I don’t know about all the issues, but I do know who stands for what on this issue. And for me the choice is clear.


Suzi said...

Lark, having sat and listened to the reasons behind why many women/couples consider or have considered abortion, this same comment you made can be said of Romney-- "But I don't think that Christians should tolerate a president who is not going to protect the life of innocent children and will instead stand up to protect the people who kill them. It nauseates me. " It nauseates me to see Christians turn their back on the poor. All the candidates that have earned a pro-life vote by holding up this banner have done little or nothing to curb abortion rates in this country. I don't even think outlawing abortion would do it--you have to address the reasons why women feel like this is their best/only option. This is both a spiritual and economic issue. Providing women with options to prevent pregnancy, education, etc. is another way to express pro-life convictions. I don't really want to argue about this issue, but I just wanted you to know some of us love babies, born and unborn, and still feel comfortable voting for Obama. Hugs, Suzi

Lark said...

I don't want to argue either Suzi, but I did want to have an open discussion with friends. I still love all my friends who want to vote for Obama :o) And I know you love Jesus and that's what's most important.

I know there are a lot of other things that Christians can do to be 'pro-life'. I think for me that's why I compared it to slavery. It's just the principal of it. Outlawing slavery didn't get rid of racism or hate crimes or any of that. Those are deeper issues.

But it's not like either candidate is outright pro-poor or anti-poor, they just have different ways of addressing the issue. But Obama is outright supportive of abortion.

Suzi said...

I do not agree that Obama is "outright supportive of abortion" at all. I think he is sincere in seeking to improve conditions that lead to women choosing abortion. It would be different for me if you could look at a candidate or former president that was vocally pro-life and say, "Wow, look at how well they worked on reducing abortions." The truth is, the abortion rates have been largely unchanged for the past decade or more. Republicans, especially Romney, talk the talk to get elected, then do very little to save the lives of these babies or their mothers(Look at his history as governor). I think it is easy as Christians to try and simplify our moral discussions on an issue like abortion, but I think this is very similar to stoning the woman at the well. She was clearly in the wrong, but so were all those willing to stone her. Abortion in America is a very deep issue. These women are as in need of our compassion and protection, in my opinion. I feel God calls us to love. The way I make sense of being pro-life and loving ALL people is extending grace and forgiveness and trying to see these women through God's eyes, how Jesus saw that woman at the well.

Dawn said...

I could not agree more, Lark. And unfortunately it does seem like this issue is falling more and more out of the consciousness of Americans. I guess It's just hard to keep fighting for it when it's been so long and you wonder if the law will ever change. The fact that abortion is not only legal but supported by the majority of Americans blows my mind. I cannot comprehend how people treat the lives of babies so nonchalantly, and yet my thinking seems to be in the minority. I don't think any other issue is as important, even helping the poor. I think aiding the poor is something that should be done willingly by Christians, not forced on the population at large by the government.

sanshumor said...

Obama is not PRO abortion, Lark. What makes you think that? I keep hearing you make this point but would like you to support it.

He is not for the killing of babies born or unborn. Just because someone is Pro-Choice does not mean that they think the best decision is to have an abortion. That is why it is called Pro-Choice. Obama is actually supportive of the education of women in regards to their options if they find themselves in these positions, etc.

There are several sites that are not religious or bi-partisian that you can check out regarding these issues that might help you understand if you're open to it.

Lark said...

I agree that Abortion in America is a very deep issue. That's why I compared it to slavery at the time. It was rooted in our culture and impacted so much of what happened. I'm sure it seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.

I don't think that we should look at abortion rates being unchanged and conclude
a)that the people in charge don't care about reducing abortions or more would have been done and they are just using that to get elected, or
b)that abortion rates will never change so we shouldn't vote based on that.

And I don't get your allusion to the woman at the well. Are you saying that the woman at the well (or now I'm thinking you meant the woman caught in adultery...not the same as the woman at the well, right?) She obviously committed a sin and the people wanted to stone her that's abortion is and obvious sin to see?

I certainly agree that we need to extend grace and forgiveness, and it's a very sensitive issue as as many as 1 in 3 pregnancies end in abortion, and I know friends who've made that choice and certainly have friends who've done likewise that I don't know that about. But like Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, 'Go and sin no more.' We need to help women in these situations and we shouldn't just try and help them pick up the pieces afterwards, we need to be proactive about helping them make the right choice in the first place. And I think that comes with the legislation making it not legal to do so in the first place. If there was a law saying it was okay to kill children with disabilities we wouldn't all be trying to just encourage parents not to do it, we'd be fighting for change.

Lastly, I disagree with your first point about Obama not supporting abortion. If I say that Obama is supportive of abortion I don't mean that he thinks it's wonderful and a good thing and glad when it happens, I'm just saying he's supportive of people being able to choose that. He's said of his own daughters that he'd want them to have that option.

And unless I've missed some radical change he supports the laws surrounding abortion and keeping it legal. Do you disagree that Obama wants to keep abortion legal?

Lark said...

I'd be very interested in those sites San. I don't think I've ever said he is pro-abortion, but if I said that, it's in a 'how he would vote' way. Would he vote to keep abortion legal or not?

I don't think he would say that it's the best choice for a woman but I think he wants it to be available as a choice (would you disagree to that?) and I just can't vote for someone who wants it to be an option.

I wouldn't vote for someone who wanted it to be okay for people to have slaves. We could say, "Oh, he's not really "FOR" slavery. Obviously paying people for work would be a better option, but we need to look at the bigger picture and for some people slavery may be the best option for them, and he just wants them to be able to make that choice for themselves. It's better for slavery to be legal so it can be as humane as possible." (alluding to how people say that if abortion is illegal it would be done in back alleys instead-does that make sense?)

Some things are just wrong. Slavery was wrong. Abortion is wrong. And if you are not against things that are wrong then in my opionion you are for them. If Obama is not against abortion I can't justify voting for him.

I know those are strong statements and polarizing ones, but I believe that killing a life begun in the womb is as bad as killing an innocent life outside the womb. And we certainly wouldn't tolerate people who wanted to protect murder's rights and I can't support someone who wants to protect abortion as a choice.

Suzi said...

Lark, I think all politicians will face their maker one day and have a chance to be seen for what/who they really are. Until then, we have to take people at their word and by their actions. Obama does strongly protect a woman's choice to have an abortion, and I whole-heartedly disagree with this. He has, however, said and acted on his conviction that we can reduce the rate of abortion by caring for women before they are in this position. This is pretty strongly supported in research to truly reduce abortion rates (providing free birth control, for instance) Romney's opinion on abortion--who knows. He has said he was supportive of women's choice, then that he was pro-life, then that he was not going to pursue changing any abortion legislation while president, if elected. So, I'm not sure how you can feel good about a decision to vote for him, either, if this is truly your "one issue." I really disagree with looking at this issue as different from our commitment to love our neighbor, help the poor, tell the truth, etc. I really don't think God sees it differently, either. Sin is sin. Missing God's perfect mark is missing the mark. Jesus equated the hidden sins of our mind/heart with the ones we all like to point fingers at--adultery, murder, etc. That's what I was getting at with the woman the people were stoning, wherever she was, at the well, or in the town, or at Walmart, I'm not really sure. I'm not at all saying we as Christians should abandon the issue of abortion or stop calling it evil, but I don't think voting for someone just because they pay lip service to this issue is the right answer. If Romney truly has had a change of heart, great. I'm not really convinced, but am also not on this planet as judge, thank goodness :)

Lark said...

I don't know, I think you'd make a pretty good planet judge ;o) I'd vote for you!

I don't really 'feel good' about voting for Romney, I don't agree with him on many things and flip flopping on a subject like abortion is not going to win me over. But I know (unless someone shows me otherwise) that Obama would definitely vote for abortion to continue to be legal.

I get now what you are saying about the woman wherever ;o) And I agree, I don't think that abortion is the only sin out there. Too many times Christians will accept someone who has hidden sins in the heart but is white on the outside, like the Pharisees. But greed is just as much of a sin as murder.

But not all sins are legislated, you know? Loving your neighbor and helping the poor can't be made legal or illegal. And personally, I think that the church should take the lead in social issues such as those and be the example. I don't think we need to leave it up to the government to take care of the poor. I don't think that is the role of the government. I feel like that is more the role of the church.

And it's great when Christians get involved in the government and use their given power to make choices that will help the less fortunate and so on. But I think that making good laws that protect people who have no voice is a more important role for the government to have.

sanshumor said...

Lark - check this out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/

I'm fascinated by people's views on such a "deep issue" I think there are no right or wrong beliefs. But there have to be rules that help govern us as a whole.

Yes, Obama is in support of keeping the option to have an abortion legal. Whether or not that law exists will not determine whether or not abortions will take place. You do away with the law and women will go out and have illegal abortions. Which are dangerous.

I understand everyone's outrage over this issue. But I do feel there are circumstances in which a woman should have the option to abort her pregnancy: rape, serious health complications, etc. If an unborn baby is causing the mother harm, the mother has the right to terminate the pregnancy to save her life and not be put in jail for it. She is acting in self defense. In cases of rape, what would you have the mother do? Have the baby and give it up for adoption? Maybe. But thats not up for you, me or the government to decide that for her.

You are asking that the government make it illegal for women to have abortions. Which means that if a woman makes this choice she is breaking a law and can be punished for doing so. Do you agree a woman should be punished for terminating a pregancy if she might die or if she is raped?

I don't want to argue over this issue as it won't change your views or mine. You believe something that I do not. We disagree on the root of this issue which is when life begins. I just don't see this as black and white: murder or not murder. There's a lot of grey in between. But thats my opinion.

I do want you to make an informed decision on who you vote for. That's what I've been trying to address and I'll try and stay on topic (I don't really agree with your comparison of abortion to slavery, but thats a completely diff conversation).

I think you can be all for the legality of something and still be against the act itself. Obama is not supportive of abortion. He is supportive of women having the right to CHOOSE. That is a HUGE difference. It's like having the right, as next of kin, to terminate a loved one who is on life-support. It is not illegal to do that, we have a choice to do so or to not do so. Thats not the most perfect analogy.

Just think carefully about Romney. Obama says what he means. He is pro-choice but pro-education and support of women in these circumstance. He wants to provide other resources and alternatives to abortion. What can you say of Romney for SURE? That he was once pro-choice, now pro-life? His decisions go with where ever the crowd goes. But what will he do after? That's the question you should ask yourself. And if you believe he will do what you think is right, then you have the answer for who you should vote for.

Thanks for being open to discussion, Lark. I am proud that you take your voting seriously and that its important to you. That we have these rights to decide for ourselves is what matters. All the best to you and your lovely family. :)

Lark said...

Thanks to you also for being open to talk about this.

You asked if I believe in allowing abortions in the cases of rape, life of the mother, etc.

Unlike Romney I don't think abortions should be allowed even for rape or incest. I know those are very difficult situations and unfortunately those do happen. But I believe that if God created the life it's not our choice to destroy it. Abortion is also a tradgedy for a woman to endure and can increase the stress of the tragic circumstances the woman is dealing with rather than lessen them. If I had to help my daughter through a situation like that I would still want her to keep the baby, being half hers and the baby would still my grandchild and her own child. Awful awful world we live in, I can't wait until Jesus comes back and redeems us. The Bible also says that the sins of the father should not be paid for by the son.

As far as life of the mother, that I think is a legitimate reason because I don't know of any way that it could be endangering the mother's life without endangering the baby's life as well and thus it wouldn't be so much about 'killing' the baby as it would be saving the mother. But that's one of the situations I haven't done as much research on and would be open to more information to make a more informed opinion.

And I mentioned the following on facebook but wanted to add them to my comments here.
I don't want to just lower the abortion rate. I want it to be illegal. In the short run that might work to try and help people not get themselves into those prediciments. But we could take away penalties for other crime and then just try really hard to work and convince people not to steal cheat or murder. But that isn't going to be effective in the long run.

I understand that if you don't believe the abortion is a crime my position would be difficult to understand. But imagine any other thing you consider is a atrocious crime....now and consider if you would be okay with voting for someone who supported protecting those rights (that's why I compared it to slavery-it was an abominable crime, yet tolerated and protected as a right). I view abortion as the holocaust of our generation. Making it illegal would not end all abortions, agreed, just like I can't make people stop commiting murder, stealing, etc. You wouldn't vote for someone who wanted to make murder legal and then just try to educate people as to why they shouldn't do it.