In humble attempt at casting this in the tradition of Socrates, a (slightly altered) quote:

"The unexamined vote is not worth casting."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pro-Life and Pro-Obama?

That's right, some folks fall into the pro-life, pro-Obama category, and rightly so in my view. I have been pro-choice for the most part, though I can't say that I've thought about it as comprehensively as I would like to--it's a tough issue. As many say, in an ideal world, there would not be any unintended pregnancies. But given that our world is far from ideal, I can understand the circumstances that lead to abortions--indeed, I can see how I could end up choosing an abortion if I were in similar circumstances.

Regardless though, I can come down on the side of Obama as he talks about ideas such as "strengthening of support for prenatal care, health care, maternity leave, and adoption," which "will make help drastically reduce the numbers of abortions [according to studies]" (that quote is taken from, a site dedicated to this whole issue). There's more info about Obama's stance on these issues on his website, and there's more on the views of conservative supporters of Obama on this and other issues at

What the above websites suggest is, not to rule out abortion stances as a consideration, but to view it as one issue among many. Why? Because issues of "life" deal with many areas beyond simply abortion. How about war? Or health care, or poverty, or destitute, third-world countries without the basic opportunities so many of us take for granted? Many of those who we pass by on the street, or hear about in the news, are losing their lives or tragically suffering in life because of the stances taken by politicians--and yes, most recently and most prominently, in my view, the stances by so-called "conservative" politicians.

As is noted in the article I'll paste below:

"Regardless of the official position of the Supreme Court on abortion, a country in which all Americans are offered some sort of dignity and hopeful future would be a place conducive to the kind of optimism each of us must hold in our hearts if we are to welcome children into this world. But if our highest aspiration is to be a consumer with no thought or care for our neighbor, we will remain a culture in which abortion is not only inevitable but logical."

That sort of ethical, empathetic view of the world around us is one that I embrace, above and beyond any religious affiliation or political viewpoint; it is the type of perspective that really guided my thinking throughout the last year-and-a-half or so as I wrote this blog and sifted through candidates' stances (as I particularly attempted to highlight with the series I put together on Obama's ethics, titled "The Value, and Values, of Barack").

As a sidenote, this naturally goes into the realm of faith-related considerations for some; as I've previously mentioned, having come from a religious background, I can relate. (I don't consider myself religious now, though I intend to come full-circle and consider questions of faith again at some point.) Because of that background of mine though, I naturally have friends and family who still consider themselves religious or spiritual, and I fully respect that; I would say though, that it is devastating to me how much of the Christian camp specifically has been convinced to vote unquestioningly for the Republican party from one election to the next. Much of that has to do with folks being convinced that their vote is no more complicated than one or two issues--a perspective I would respectfully take issue with, for the reasons I mentioned above.

Additionally, I would encourage any people of faith out there to take a look at Obama's stances on the full spectrum of issues. Most, if not all, are governed by the simple principle he has repeated in one capacity or another throughout his campaign: "We have an individual responsibility to be our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper" (that line is taken from here (PDF), which provides an overview of his stance on many faith-related issues; more details are also available on his website). He and John McCain both talked about faith and values at a recent forum in September; you can read my quick thoughts on that and watch videos of it here. I would also strongly urge any interested in his faith perspective to listen to the below, in-depth speech he gave two years ago; it's on faith across religions, though Christianity receives a good part of the focus (it was given at a "Call to Renewal" conference):

Lastly, here is the first part of an article from Huffington Post called "Why I'm Pro-Life and Pro-Obama":

"I am an Obama supporter. I am also pro-life. In fact, without my family's involvement in the pro-life movement it would not exist as we know it. Evangelicals weren't politicized until after my late father and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, Dr. Koop (Reagan's soon-to-be Surgeon General) and I stirred them up over the issue of abortion in the mid-1970s. Our Whatever Happened to the Human Race? book, movie series and seminars brought the evangelicals into the pro-life movement.

(Dad's political influence persists. Last week one of my father's followers -- Mike Huckabee -- was interviewed by Katie Couric, along with all the other presidential candidates. Couric asked the candidates if they were to be sent to a desert island and could only take one book besides the Bible, what would that that book be? Huckabee answered that he'd take my father's book Whatever Happened To The Human Race?)

Fast forward...

In 2000, we elected a president who claimed he believed God created the earth and who, as president, put car manufacturers and oil company's interests ahead of caring for that creation. We elected a pro-life Republican Congress that did nothing to actually care for pregnant women and babies. And they took their sincere evangelical followers for granted, and played them for suckers.

The so-called evangelical leadership -- Dobson, Robertson et al. also played the pro-life community for suckers. While thousands of men and women in the crisis pregnancy movement gave of themselves to help women and babies, their evangelical "leaders" did little more than cash in on fundraising opportunities and represent themselves as power-brokers to the craven politicians willing to kowtow to them.

Fast forward...

Today when I listen to Obama speak (and to his remarkable wife, Michelle) what I hear is a world view that actually nurtures life. Obama is trying to lead this country to a place where the intrinsic worth of each individual is celebrated. A leader who believes in hope, the future, trying to save our planet and providing a just and good life for everyone is someone who is actually pro-life.

Conversely the "pro-life" ethic of George W. Bush manifested itself in a series of squandered opportunities to call us to our better natures. After 9/11, Bush told most Americans to go shopping while saddling the few who volunteered for military service with endless tours of duty (something I know a little about since my son was a Marine and deployed several times). The Bush doctrine of life was expressed by starting an unnecessary war in Iraq that has killed thousands of Americans and wounded tens of thousands more.

The society that Obama is calling us to sacrifice for is a place wherein life would be valued not just talked about. As he said in his speech delivered on February 6 in New Orleans, "Too often, we lose our sense of common destiny; that understanding that we are all tied together; that when a woman has less than nothing in this country, that makes us all poorer." Obama was talking about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but his words also apply to our overall view of ourselves..."

Read the rest of the article here.

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