November 3, 2008


Deciding whom to vote for (Patrick O'Hannigan, 1103/08, The Paragraph Farmer))

So then, abortion: When you have to pick your battles, you should at least pick good ones. Vocal support for the stunningly misnamed "Freedom of Choice" act and one-hundred-percent ratings from NARAL are automatic disqualifiers for the Oval Office in my book. Fortunately, only one candidate for president is saddled with such baggage, not to mention "mystery votes" against multiple versions of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, and a running mate who compounds confusion about the tenets of his own faith with garrulous confidence that hairsplitting over trimesters in a pregnancy is good law (Somebody should tell Joe Biden that Roe and its companion case, both classic examples of judicial overreach, do not restrict abortion. Moreover, even the Supreme Court no longer thinks in trimester terms, what with advances in ultrasound technology having put the lie to the "it's just a clump of cells" argument.)

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus understands the rationale for single-issue voting, as he made clear while showing why the Democratic candidate for president (about whom there are still many unresolved questions) does not begin to grasp how the uniquely American hope of a novus order seclorum depends on freedom of religion.

The obvious objection from Obama supporters has little force. Obama taught constitutional law. Big deal. What his supporters seldom acknowledge is that it's possible to teach constitutional law without believing a word of it, and without recognizing the mutually supportive relationship between our founding documents. That's a serious defect in understanding for someone who wants to preside over the only country in the world that has founding documents.

Anyone of good will who accepts that abortion is undesirable must then avoid what theologians call "formal cooperation with evil"-- and one does not avoid evil policy by serenading executives who endorse it with the Marine Band playing "Hail to the Chief."

I do not mean to say that the Republican ticket has a spotless pro-life record. Senator McCain is entirely too accommodating of embryonic stem cell research, for example. He also missed a chance to back Rep. Ron Paul's "Sanctity of Life" Act (H.R. 2597), when his public support would have been welcome.

But pro-lifers conflicted about choosing Republican over Democrat for the odd reason that the Republicans aren't pro-life enough are trying to make the perfect the enemy of the good, and homey don't play that way, not least because he's noticed that the Republican VP nominee is also the bright and feisty mother of a child with Down Syndrome.

Christians in my own church and elsewhere have been urged to pray for a pro-life outcome "no matter which candidate wins." Heartfelt advice like that goes a long way toward preserving tax-exempt status in a litigious society, but let's not kid ourselves: a pro-life outcome with the Republican ticket is a good bet, while a pro-life outcome in the aftermath of an Obama/Biden victory requires a miracle of the kind that slapped Saul upside the head on the road to Damascus.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2008 7:09 AM
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