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.