My, how the landscape of elections has changed. Remember when the issue of abortion used to matter to conservatives in political races? Today, presidential nominees can get away with murder, literally. They can smoke, toke and hang out with terrorists who do. What were once considered legitimate leadership litmus tests are now regarded as off-limit character assassinations and hate language. Nonprofit organizations have even recently been threatened with the withdrawal of their tax-exempt status due to their leaders merely voicing opposition to what they consider a moral issue – abortion.
Some people think after 35 years of ceaseless controversy since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade that abortion is an “old” issue better dropped. I do believe the economy is the issue in this election, but it’s certainly not the only issue. We can’t just be concerned about our finances. We must also be concerned about America’s future, and those who occupy it. Our posterity matters. Their rights matter. And that includes their “unalienable Rights,” with which have been “endowed by their Creator,” and among them are the quintessential rights: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Abortion is not about a woman’s “right to choose.” It is about a more fundamental “right to life,” which is one of three specifically identified unalienable rights in the Declaration (and the Constitution through Article VII and the Bill of Rights). And it is a violation of government’s primary purpose: to protect innocent life.
We can couch our action in terms like “abortion,” “termination” or “a women’s right to choose,” but it’s still the killing of an “inconvenient” human life. And it won’t end there. As my friend and prolific author Randy Alcorn wrote, “Abortion has set us on a dangerous course. We may come to our senses and back away from the slippery slope. Or we may follow it to its inescapable conclusion – a society in which the powerful, for their self-interest, determine which human beings will live and which will die.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1809, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” He was not, of course, writing about the America of today, with state-sanctioned and even subsidized abortion, and a movement to promote the killing of the elderly through euthanasia. But he could have been. His belief in what should be “the first and only legitimate object of government” should still stand. Like Jefferson, our next president needs to uphold those same concerns, not say that such arenas are “above his pay grade.” If he and his administration won’t protect the rights of the living (even in the womb), then who will? A left-leaning Congress?
The truth is: If Obama is elected, we will place a man in the highest office in the land who has the most liberal views and voting record on abortion of any president in American history. As a state senator in Illinois, he led opposition three years in a row (2001-2003) to a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of babies unintentionally left alive by abortion. He also opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion and strongly disapproved of the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. He does not support the Hyde amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion through Medicaid. He also voted to block a bill that would have required a doctor to notify at least one parent before performing an abortion on a minor girl from another state. Before a Planned Parenthood action fund last year, Obama promised to give first priority as president to the signing of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would make partial-birth abortion legal again. Strangely, Obama even once said he would not want his daughters to be “punished with a baby” due to an unwanted pregnancy. With the next president likely adding two justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, it is clear that, as president, Obama will appoint and support the most liberal judges and legal eagles, resulting in a pro-abortion advantage in our courts that will push abortion liberties to every extent of the law and land.
America’s founders shared a same basic view of human life and conception – that humanity was special, unique and set apart from the rest of creation. And it affected how they treated people and one another, from the political arenas to their personal life. In fact, in early America there were two basic beliefs that shaped most people’s view of humanity: that God created us and that we were created equal. Most early Americans believed humans were the highest creation of God. Their views were based in the Bible and expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
Of course, today, most Bibles are collecting dust on bookshelves. And the Declaration of Independence is a historical document encased under bulletproof glass in Washington, D.C. It’s something tourists go to see, like all the relics of the past. It reminds us of a valiant time when men fought to gain our independence from Britain. But it should be more than that. It should be a living document, which means it should be a constant reminder and challenge to us to live up to its ideals, to remember that all men are created equal, to treat one another fairly. In order for us to get back to our founders’ understanding, we need to get back to a view of humanity that emphasizes the immortal worth of every human being. (That’s why I’ve devoted an entire chapter to “Reclaim the value of human life” in my new cultural manifesto, “Black Belt Patriotism.”)
Again, my friend Randy Alcorn was recently asked by a young woman, “Should we vote for who we think should lead our country solely based on their stance on abortion?” You can read Randy’s responses to that question on his website and blog, Eternal Prospective Ministries. I would respond to it by simply saying, we all will answer that question in just one week, when we go to the ballot boxes.
Winning the election is not just about what the underdogs, like John McCain and Sarah Palin – two maverick pro-life advocates, should do. But it’s about what the citizens, who are fighting for the underdogs, can do. It’s up to We the People to stand up, go back to the basics and once again vote our values.
Do we still need the Declaration of Independence? More than ever. We are in dire need of reminding one another and electing a president who will honor the fact that, “…all men [including women, children and infants in the womb] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”