Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Friday, October 24, 2008

Abortion is "like so 5 minutes ago"!!

A couple years back I ran across a New York Times article. It was a look at the daughters of some of the abortion rights advocates that had been instrumental in the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling. Some of this 2nd generation of young women were having second thoughts on the issue and beginning to see the moral as well as the legal aspects involved. This caused their mothers no small amount of grief. They felt the next generation did not appreciate the seriousness of the rights they had fought so hard for.

In a similar fashion, I look at this new emerging generation of Christians. Their parents have been instrumental in bringing the issue of abortion to the fore front of the political process, and yet quite often, they resist taking the baton and running with it themselves. Some of their reasons have been legitimate. Sometimes zealous abortion opponents have hurt their Christian witness through thoughtless actions. Other times, they saw their parents voting for politicians whose policies lacked integrity, yet supported the candidate solely on their an anti-abortion position.

However, I argue that hidden in all of these noble platitudes is a far more base reasoning. Humans in general, and Americans in particular, resist being defined by others. The political profile of the suburban, white, evangelical Christian is that they vote Republican and their main issue is abortion (followed closely by fighting gay marriage). These issues define the evangelical voter hence in a desire to distance themselves from this profile and define themselves they embrace issues that are more palatable to non-evangelicals.

Lets face it, in today's political climate, abortion is "so 5 minutes ago." Championing social justice, the poor, and especially the environment is much more chic and will get you invited to much better mixers and fundraisers. It is best not to even mention abortion in these circles as it will only open you up to accusations of being a "single-issue" voter or even worse, a closet evangelical.

The reality is we all have "single issues" that are deal breakers on one issue or another. Its just that abortion is no longer the deal breaker for many of today's young Christian voters. But if a candidate were good in many key areas yet said, "Hey, I'm not really against a clean environment, its just that I'm not going to dictate to a business what they can and can not do on their own property" there would be many Green "single-issue" voters abandoning ship on such a candidate.

I'm reminded of a stand up comedy routine by Eddie Izzard that says it all. In commenting about Pol Pot killing 1.7 million of his own countrymen he says we can't even comprehend that. He says, "Kill one man, go to jail. Kill 10 and they send you to Texas and hit you over the head with a brick. Kill 20 and they send you to a room with a small round hole in the door. Kill more than 100,000 and we're almost like 'well done, you must get up very early in the morning'.

The sad truth is we have grown numb in America to the statistics. That thousands and thousands of unborn American citizens have their lives ended with the full consent of our society doesn't register much of a blip anymore. In the end, perhaps its good we've grown numb to it. If we actually allowed the reality of it into our lives again we'd have to do something about it. And then we may be identified as single issue voters and even worse...evangelicals ...and that just wouldn't do.


Redlefty said...

I'm not sure whether the issue is that abortion is no longer a dealbreaker, or if the younger generations are just cynical that either current political party will actually do anything about its legality.

The Republicans had the White House and both houses of Congress for six years and didn't touch the abortion issue. If it didn't happen then, why would it next time they're elected?

I know many of my friends are just jaded on the whole legal posturing because we don't believe they'll be follow through. Given that, then yes, things like education, economy and social programs actually do make an impact on the depressing statistics.

I am definitely guilty of letting the numbers wash over me numbly. I have no way to process "millions" when it comes to human lives.

Thanks for your post.

Steve H. said...

I wouldn't say the Republicans hadn't touched the issue. They have tried to get a partial birth abortion bill passed as well as appoint judges to the Supreme Court that would support anti-abortion legislation. But I do agree they haven't done much...but then the Dems won't do anything.

I'm certainly not against social programs,education, or the environment, in fact I have often organized and been part of such programs. Its just a lot about what is done in those areas often tend to be smoke and mirrors themselves. They become accesories you wear like a handbag. And they have the added bonus of relieving "white guilt".

You know, I must save this stuff for another blog entry :)

Jon L. said...

Really well said. I think for too long abortion has been defined in theological terms while the "pro-choice" argument has been cloked in "scientific/civil rights" language. This has given politicians the out of being able to say that they do not think they should make decisions based on theology or science (hence, the famous "above my paygrade" line).

To me the abortion argument (at least concerning abortion on demand) should be a human rights issue, plain and simple. Should one group of humans be able to down-grade or dehumanize another group of humans simply because of that group's present location or status in life? Should unborn babies be ignored simply because they cannot provide a power trade-off in the social justice political economy (i.e. if they can't provide votes/power, they get no justice)?

Unfortunately, too many politicians have used the "pro-life" label for their own power attainment, and then forgotten it.

My favorite article on the whole topic was written by Reagan in 1983. Aside from some political references of that day, he gave a very logical, compelling argument (and quotes Muggeridge, M. Theresa, & Wilberforce along the way).

The link is still avaiable here:

Bob said...

George Will also wrote a very compelling piece some years ago, with reference to his own special needs son.

Agree with your statements on abortion but I am also pleased that Evangelicals (and I use that term loosely) have seen fit to take up other social issues, e.g. concern for the poor. For too long the Falwells and Robertsons mouthed off about their pet issues with no regard to the poor and "least of these."

Thanks for your thoughts.