Over the weekend there was a “Compassion Forum” held at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. Both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were there to address people of faith in Pennsylvania before the upcoming April 22 primary in that state.
The forum covered several topics including abortion.
Clinton was asked whether life begins at conception — which opponents of abortion contend is a reality that makes any termination of a pregnancy the ending of a life.
“I believe the potential for life begins at conception,” Clinton said. “For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved. … I have concluded, after great, you know, concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, … that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society.”
The New York senator added that abortion should remain legal, safe and rare.
The two candidates appeared separately at Messiah College near Harrisburg, Pa., and briefly met as Clinton left the stage and Obama took her place. The moment of pleasantries and handshakes belied days of angry accusations between the two over Obama’s comments about bitter voters in small towns.
Asked whether life begins at conception, Obama said he didn’t know the answer.
“This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it’s very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? … What I know, as I’ve said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we’re having these debates.”
Clinton is a Methodist. Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ.
Source: Fox News
Senator Clinton when come to her position on the issue of when life begins “after great, you know, concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years.” Senator Obama still hasn’t come to a resolution.
The problem with Senator Clinton position lies in where she is going, as a “person of faith”, for answers to her questions. You won’t find the answer in your own heart and mind.
For both of the candidates the Bible is pretty clear regarding our personhood and provides a direct answer as to when life begins. There shouldn’t be mass confusion over this for people who claim to follow Jesus Christ. Life begins at conception, and our personhood is a reality before conception when one reads Psalm 139.
Plainly put, a position that holds that life does not begin at conception quite frankly is not scriptural and is an inconsistent view for a follower of Christ.
A question that I would have for Senator Obama, if he is unclear as to when life begins would he have a policy that is so anti-life when it comes to preborn children; even so far as voting against Illinois’ Born Alive Infant Protection Act that would protect children who survived an abortion? That seems inconsistent with the answer he gives us during this forum. His votes seem to say his mind is made up regarding this matter.
Another thing that Senator Clinton said that I feel needs to be addressed.
“For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved.”
The compassion argument, after all this is the “Compassion Forum”. Often times those on the left when appealing to Christian voters will point out Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. For instance:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy,” (Matthew 5:7, ESV).
The noun, mercy, in the Greek is eleos, this word when used in the Bible always deals with what we see of pain, misery, and distress. The results of sin. It doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to sin, but does mean extending relief, healing and help to those broken by sin. Why? Because we are broken by sin, as the very first beatitude states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall receive the Kingdom of God,” (Matthew 5:4, ESV). (To hear recent sermons I’ve preached on the Beatitudes you can go here for part one and here for part two).
Jesus showed great mercy and compassion for the woman caught in adultery, but even told her to “sin no more,” (John 8:11). When looked upon the crowds and had compassion on them because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” (Matthew 9:36).
I guess the question to ask is are we really being compassionate to those who are facing an unexpected pregnancy by allowing abortion? I don’t think so, mercy doesn’t mean allowance for sin and compassion shouldn’t create victims which abortion does.
If mercy is relieving pain, misery and distress how is it merciful to add to that pain, misery and distress? Which is exactly what abortion does when you look at the potential complications and risks involved in an abortion, when you look at what it could possibly do to the mother’s chances to become pregnant again after having an abortion, and looking at the mental health of those who have abortions.
No it seems to be that if Senator Clinton is looking at the other lives involved she would advocate: less red tape involving adoption and federal aid to help those wanting to adopt, less money to abortion providers and more to crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes, and abstinence-based sex education to help prevent unexpected pregnancies (which actually works unlike “comprehensive” sex education).
Also Senator Clinton uses the phrase tossed around during her husband’s administration that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. I think a good case has been made that abortion is not safe for mothers (and definitely not safe for the pre-born children). It is legal, but the the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion is bad constitutional law and should be overturned. Regarding rare… 50 million since 1973 would hardly count as being rare.
I guess people of faith in Pennsylvania need to ask themselves if Clinton and Obama’s position on abortion matches up with their values. I would say not.
(If you want to read more on a Biblical framework for the pro-life position, check out my Against Abortion series of posts.)