Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Poor and the Unborn: Part 1

I have been in more debates on abortion in the past two weeks than in my entire life. The following debate, like the last one, is also due to Facebook. I'm posting it on my blog with the hope that maybe my arguments will help other people, and also that I will receive suggestions and arguments from you all that will help me to be more effective in this debate in the future. Let me know what you think.

Since I am quoting my interlocutor's argument in full instead of responding to it in parts, I have decided to indent it instead of making it a block quote so that it will be easier to read.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic
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  • Okay. So here's the deal. Everyone is so heated about this election and many of my friends (not necessarily those I've tagged, mind you--you all are just the most likely to read this and care) seem to think that I've given up on my Christian faith because there's an Obama button on my profile and I'm voting for Yarmuth and Lunsford in November (for the record, I also voted for our current governor and for his running mate when Mongiardo challenged Bunning in '04). The consensus of everyone around me seems to be that there is no such thing as a politically liberal Christian, and that anyone who votes for a Democrat is a baby killer. Let me clarify a few things, I hope without coming across as a jerk.

    First, some statistics:

    • In 2006 alone, 35.5 million people lived in households considered to be food insecure (frac.org, taken from the USDA).
    • Of these 35.5 million, 22.9 million are adults (10.4 percent of all adults) and 12.6 million are children (17.2 percent of all children) (frac.org).
    • 4.0 percent (4.6 million) of U.S. households had very low food security at some time during 2006. Very low food security is defined by the USDA as "normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food." (www.ers.usda.gov)
    • Mortality due to malnutrition accounted for 58% of the total mortality in 2006 globally (which is over 68 million people) according to Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for 2000 to March 2008 via Wikipedia (cited as Jean Ziegler, L'Empire de la honte, Fayard, 2007).
    • It wasn't until 2002 that the Supreme Court ruled that executing mentally disabled killers is unconstitutional because it is "cruel and unusual" punishment (news.bbc.co.uk).
    • More US patients die from diseases that could be treated by timely intervention than in any other leading industrialized country (www.ft.com--The Financial Times).
    • These diseases include infections, treatable cancers, diabetes, and heart and vascular disease (ft.com)
    • Quoted directly from the Financial Times article: "With the rising cost of healthcare and numbers of those uninsured becoming increasingly important issues in the US presidential campaign, the authors say it is "difficult to disregard the observation" that the slow fall in the US preventable death rate "has coincided with an increase in the uninsured population"
    • And finally, from 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred (guttmacher.org).

    The point of this is not that abortion doesn't matter. Obviously it is deplorable that people are dying from this procedure. But does the sanctity of life end at birth? More people died worldwide from hunger in one year than have died from abortion nationwide in twenty-five years. People in our country are dying of starvation, they're dying of malnutrition, they're dying of disease they can't afford to treat because they can't afford insurance. Until 2002, we were allowing mentally handicapped people to be put to death for crimes they couldn't understand were wrong. And we're saying that all of those people don't matter when we say that we are required to be single-issue voters.

    I don't mean to question your convictions as voters. I just ask that folks don't claim that I don't care about human life because I'm voting for a Democrat, and put into question my salvation as well.
Do you believe in sin, in an act that is objectively, inherently wrong? Because, believe it or not, that's what is at stake in this election. I know it sounds radical, but please hear me out.

As Christians, I think that there are several issues that can be legitimately debated: economic policies, when and under what conditions we go to war, immigration, national defense, health care, even capital punishment. But, there are also certain issues that are objectively wrong, that are evil by their very nature.

In this election, there are at least five such objectively sinful issues on the table: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual marriage. Anyone who participates in these, either directly by supporting them or indirectly by supporting someone who does, is himself guilty of a serious sin. We can't encourage another man's sin and expect a free pass. So, in choosing a candidate we have to look at where they stand on these five issues.

If both candidates support some of these issues, then we have to choose the candidate that will cause the least harm. If they both support all five of these issues, THEN you can base your decision on the legitimately debatable issues. On the non-negotiable issues, it is clear that McCain is the only candidate that a Christian can vote for.

The following information is taken from Ontheissues.org:

ABORTION
  • Obama: received a 100% rating from NARAL and a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee, supports Roe v. Wade, voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP, voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, and voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. One of his first acts as president will be to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, which will undo all pro-life legislation and allow unfettered access to abortion whenever, however, and wherever you want it. And it's going to be on YOUR tax dollar, whether you agree with abortion or not.
  • McCain: received a 0% rating from NARAL and a 75% rating from the NRLC. Supports repealing Roe v. Wade, voted YES on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP, voted YES on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions, voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions, voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime, voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life, voted YES on maintaining ban on military base abortions, voted YES on banning partial birth abortions.

EUTHANASIA
  • Obama: said that someone who is terminally ill should be provided with the means with which to end their own life. He also said that, of all the decisions he's made as a senator, his biggest regret was voting for Congress to intervene in the euthanization of Terri Schiavo. That's his single BIGGEST regret!?!? Wow.
  • McCain: about the Terri Schiavo issue, he called it “a very difficult issue” adding that “In retrospect, we should have taken some more time, looked at it more carefully, and probably we acted too hastily.” I'm not really sure what that means, but at least it shows some more sensitivity on the issue then what Obama has shown. Beyond that, McCain hasn't indicated his position on euthanasia from what I can tell.

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH
  • Obama: encouraged the passing of the Stem Cell Research Bill, and voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.
  • McCain: supports federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, supports fetal tissue research but against over-intensity, voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.

CLONING
  • Obama: on cloning, he hasn't indicated his position from what I can tell, so that issue is unclear.
  • McCain: voted YES on banning human cloning.

HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE
  • Obama: voted “No” on a constitutional ban of homosexual marriage, received an 89% approval rating from the Human Rights Campaign (which indicates a strong pro-gay-rights stance), opposes CA Prop. 8 (which defines one-man-one-woman marriage), said that homosexuality is no more immoral than heterosexuality.
  • McCain: supports CA Prop. 8, voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage (in '06) but voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage (in '96), rated 33% by the HRC, indicating a mixed record on gay rights.

McCain is not perfect on any of these issues, but he's better than Obama on abortion and homosexual marriage, probably better on euthanasia, and we know for a fact that McCain is against human cloning. Obama is not better than McCain on ANY of these issues. For that reason, I will be voting for McCain.

Before I close, I would like to say more on the issue of abortion.

It's a basic moral principle that the most grievous sins are those that effect life most directly. ALL other rights -- to food, to clothing, to shelter, to speech, to religion, to bear arms, to an honest wage, etc -- are based on the fundamental right to life. Abortion is the issue that effects life most directly, more than ANY other issue. So, while it is not the only issue on the table in this election, it is the most important one.

In other words, you can't just put the little abortion issue aside and be like, "But Obama has such great economic policies!" The economy isn't as important as abortion, and there is simply no proof that abortions will go down under his presidency b/c of his economic policies. Obama wants a capital gains tax that will strain an already unstable stock market, and he wants to tax small businesses, which means either higher prices for the goods they produce or less jobs. These businesses have to make up that cost somehow, and neither solution is good for the woman who is considering an abortion.

Assuming the economy does improve under Obama, there is simply no way that this will offset the increase in abortions that will take place once he passes the Freedom of Choice Act, which he said will be one of his first actions as president.

Obama is disingenuous (to put it mildly) when he tries to act like a moderate and say, "Oh, no one likes abortion" and "We need to decrease the number of abortions." Freakin baloney. There's never been a greater champion of abortion to EVER run for President. He's practically in love with a woman's "right" to choose, which is itself a misnomer since no one has the right to kill another innocent human being.

I hope that clarifies my position, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share it. I love you, I really do, but I think you're wrong on this one.

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