Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More on abortion...and the centrality of the Gospel
This article sums up well where I am on the abortion issue in which the bottom line is that now is not the time for Christians to lose focus on this cause:
I'm also wondering what the Centrality of the Gospel means for abortion...


Ben said...

Funny that Guthrie goes one way but the authors of the Evangelical Manifesto go the other way. And I'd still agree with the latter: "We call for an expansion of our concern beyond single-issue politics, such as abortion and marriage, and a fuller recognition of the comprehensive causes and concerns of the Gospel, and of all the human issues that must be engaged in public life. Although we cannot back away from our biblically rooted commitment to the sanctity of every human life, including those unborn, nor can we deny the holiness of marriage as instituted by God between one man and one woman, we must follow the model of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, engaging the global giants of conflict, racism, corruption, poverty, pandemic diseases, illiteracy, ignorance, and spiritual emptiness, by promoting reconciliation, encouraging ethical servant leadership, assisting the poor, caring for the sick, and educating the next generation. We believe it is our calling to be good stewards of all God has entrusted to our care so that it may be passed on to generations yet to be born."

By the way, something I meant to say a while back to your last post on abortion. You said that you suspected poverty had become the issue du jour among evangelicals of a certain stripe because we want to be liked and poverty is a "nice" issue that makes us look better. (I'm paraphrasing, but I don't think I'm misrepresenting what you said.) I think that's only true if you don't really mean it. If, for instance, you are truly concerned for the poor, you will support policies that may harm the middle and upper classes but benefit the powerless. And THAT won't be popular. For instance, let's say that the critics are right about universal healthcare....that it will lead to long lines and bring down the quality of healthcare in America. What that actually means is it will bring down the quality of care for those of us who already have access to it. For those who must depend on the emergency room or nothing, it would still be an improvement. And I argue a dedication to the "least of these" would mean supporting such a change. You can't tell me that's a politically popular position.

Still for all that, I can't entirely dismiss your point on abortion. The wholesale slaughter of unborn children is a monumentally important issue and there's a tendency to get comfortable with it because it's so ubiquitous. That's dangerous.

I don't know where that leaves me. Does abortion outweigh just about every other issue? Maybe. But other issues also involve human suffering on a vast scale. (Global warming and its potentially catastrophic implications come to mind.)

As for abortion and the centrality of the Gospel....how about this? If people aren't born, they can't hear the Gospel. Of course, that raises another whole host of theological implications.

And so, having come to no conclusion whatsoever, I'm going to bed.

kennyching said...

I agree that poverty could become an unpopular issue, but it isn't yet. But if Christians were to push it the way I'd imagine they should, then it would become unpopular the way being pro-life is unpopular. Also, being pro-poverty could probably grow to include being anti-abortion. This is a tragedy of the current Democratic Party: you can't really be pro-life there and be elected to high office.

One thing I'm waiting to hear, which I've asked previous commenters to address, but so far they've declined, is a theory of how abortion isn't a categorical evil such that I can't vote for any pro-choice regime. But I feel, Ben, you will rise to this task.

One final thing: a vote for a Republican would not be a single issue vote. I also think withdrawing from the war in Iraq would be immoral and disastrous and that Republicans may be better on the economy, which may ultimately be better for the American poor (yep, that's trickle down economics I just invoked).

Ben said...

See, the difference between you, Kenny, and certain shallow-thinking, name calling writers who shall remained unnamed is that you force me to stop and examine myself.

I will honestly have to take serious time to stop and think through your challenge re: voting for pro-choice politicians. And the need to take such time (combined with the lack of such time) has derailed many of my blogging projects - from a planned magnum opus on abortion at the beginning of 2L year, to a blog contest a year and a half ago, to a planned conversation w/ Matt Novak on the Lord's Supper. All this to say, I firmly intend to respond to your thoughts.....but I may not. Or I may only after a long time.

Maybe we can talk about it when you come by in August or September. What's the latest on that, by the way?

By the way, for the record, my reference to "shallow-thinking, name-calling writers" was NOT a reference to Romanos. Just want to make that clear.

Erin said...

What's your definition of "categorical evil"? Do any other current issues fit into the category of categorical evil?