I am getting so many emails from people who are justifying their vote for Obama because he would get us out of the war in Iraq and ‘killing people in war is just as bad as abortion.’
I should make it clear that I do not support the war in Iraq.
However, the war in Iraq and abortion are not moral equivalents. Please read my article on this which you can find here.
A few hundred dead vs millions. MILLIONS. I just don’t see how it’s even close.
Father,I am very sorry for your viewpoint. However, let’s be clear. President Obama is not pro-abortion. He is not promoting that the Chinese solution is something that should be adopted by the U.S. He is not, nor has he ever, suggested that families with more than two children should consider having an abortion. He is not, nor has he ever, promoted a position that abortions are something that the government should encourage. We, as Catholics, do not believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural birth. We should also understand that a president has much less effect on ending abortion than he does on wars, the economy, and feeding the poor. We must remember that Rerum Novarum was an important document that was upheld by encyclicals of two succeeding popes, Pope John Paul and Pope St. Pius X. Are we to discount the issues raised by Rerum Novarum to uphold Humae Vitae? Is the president to blame for the fact that most Americans do not believe life begins at conception or are we? I believe religious leaders who are upset over Obama are actually upset because they can no longer take the easy way out on abortion! They can no longer look to the government to legislate morality by caveat. For the religious community who are pro-life the fight begins today and that fight begins with us. It does not begin on the battlefield of the legislature. It begins on the local battlefield engaging hearts and minds of the community around us. Do not blame Obama for the fact that he believes that life begins at the first breath and ends at the last. The fact is most Americans believe likewise. For Catholics to believe that legislators can effect change when the public view is contrary is not only naive but opens up Catholics to be seen as useful idiots to any party looking for power. For years many Catholics have believed in trickle down change, change the laws at the top and people’s views will adapt. Real change starts from the bottom up. Change the hearts of Americans and laws will follow. Finally, this country is in a real problem. It is a problem created by pro-life Republicans both in the executive branch and legislative branch. They have not been effective in changing abortion laws. However, they have been effective in running this country to the ground. We need a change. I cannot sit idly by and watch this country disintegrate, no matter how pro-life Republicans may say they are. Yes, I voted for Obama. My conscience is very clear. If you have a problem with your president, PRAY FOR HIM. I believe priests who choose to use the Eucharist as a way of retaliation for a lost election actually see this sacrament as only a symbol and not the real sustainence that it is. Do these sacraments have power or not? Do we believe that these sacraments are more than just symbols… or not?
radio, there’s so much wrong with your statement, I don’t even know where to begin. Your first paragraph: Is your definition of pro-abortion FORCED abortion? One doesn’t have to believe in forced abortion to be pro-abortion. Do a google search for FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act). He’s very much pro-abortion. Your second paragraph: Millions of babies are killed in abortions. Hundreds, maybe thousands are killed in wars. Which number is bigger?Your third paragraph: As long as people like you continue to be the apologists for openly pro-abortion candidates, there’s not going to be an end to abortion. Yes, the candidates are important, and they can do quite a bit, but abortion will not end in this country until there is a grass-roots change of heart in the average American citizen. We have to be that voice, we can’t just say “Oh, Republicans are pro-life, I’m going to vote for them and let that be my voice”… yes, voting pro-life is important, but people have to start putting their money where their mouth is. Spread the word. Educate someone. Donate or volunteer for a crisis pregnancy center. Engage in debate with the other side. Too many people sit on their rear end, say “Oh, I voted, I did my part” and leave it at that. Nothing will get accomplished if we operate in such a way.But we also have to recognize evil on its face. Pro-abortion candidates will do their best to convince you that they’re in the right, that they’re only looking out for the mother, that they’re in favor of “reducing” abortion, so that makes it “ok” or “acceptable”. We, the people, must call them out and hold them accountable. “President Obama is not pro-abortion”… unbelievable.
radio, did you mean to say “Catholics do not believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death”?If this is really what you said, and it is not a misprint, Where on earth did you get your understanding of the Catholic faith?Paragraph 2270 of the Catechism says, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.”Did you actually mean to say what is printed? If so you need to understand what it is that the Catholic Church actually teaches.
jenny,It is incorrect that only thousands are killed in wars. The 20th century is, for example, full of wars and other government actions that killed millions and millions.
Kristin, I’m referencing the Iraq war, not all wars. We’re talking American politics here, not the world at large.
The 42 million mentioned in Fr. Longenecker’s article are worldwide estimates of abortion deaths, so that doesn’t merely encompass American politics.
kirstin,There were 45.7 million abortions “reported” in American between 1973 and 2005.As of 2005, we (America) were running at a rate of 1.2 million per year — that would be close to 3,300 souls per day.I don’t know the global figures, but clearly America has contributed a fair share to this holocaust.Source:http://www.alanguttmacher.org/pubs/journals/4000608.pdf
Your proportionality and intentions argument makes a bit of sense when choosing how to vote. It makes a lot less sense when you try to send people to the confessional for voting for Obama.For a President, unjust war is intentional and directed where as abortion is regulated by congress, the supreme court, and state governments. You keep leaving out of your analogy the fact that the president does not have a ‘criminalize abortion button’ that he can press.But lets get back to the call to the confessional. If you voted for a pro-war president, then you sinned. If you voted for a pro-abortion president then you sinned. Now your trying to say that voting for unjust war is not a sin but voting for abortion is a sin. Sin is digital, either you sinned or you didn’t. There is some proportionality; mortal sin vs. venial sin. But neither unjust war killings or abortion killings are venial.So if you want to make the case that voting for Obama is bad enough to place you out of communion then you are also making the case that voting for McCain excommunicates you.In event, only a bishop can excommunicate anyway, so both of you silly priests are acting ‘outside your pay grade’.
marcus aurelius,”For a President, unjust war is intentional and directed where as abortion is regulated by congress, the supreme court, and state governments. You keep leaving out of your analogy the fact that the president does not have a ‘criminalize abortion button’ that he can press.”You make a very relevant point here. Presidents are commanders of chief of the military and have tremendous power over where and when our soldiers go to war (more, at this juncture in history, than they ought to under true constitutional strictures). Presidents can certainly spearhead attempts to minimize of eliminate abortion via proposed legislation and constitutional amendments. They can also attempt to use their bully pulpit to try to change the populace’s views on abortion. But that is about the extent of their reach in this area.
christopher,Those figures appear within probably parameters, and, of course, very sad.Abortions in the U.S. occurred before Roe. If abortions were ever to be illegal again, they would still occur, just as prostitution and other illegal activities continue. Given this reality, perhaps the wisest action the Catholic Church (or any concerned entity or person) can take is to seek to change our society’s view of abortion at the personal level. To a degree, this is already being undertaken. But, it needs additional emphasis. After all, if individuals don’t seek abortions, there won’t be an abortion industry. Get demand to dry up and supply will necessarily disappear. Pie in the sky? Perhaps. But concentrating on individual behavior and showing individuals better ways to live their lives makes sense since that is where the demand for ending “unwanted” pregnancies begins.
Thanks Kristin,I only wish Fr. Longenecker and Fr. Newman had had a political science class somewhere along the way. The limitations of the powers of the various offices involved does play a key role in this. Presidents simply have far greater war powers than they do abortion-stopping powers. I also agree with you that they aren’t supposed to have the war powers that they do.Ron Paul, like it or not, was the only good catholic choice in this election. He was pro-life and anti-war, and very much in favor of limiting to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Heck, he was the best Christian candidate, not just the best catholic candidate. But the war-loving Neocons had him laughed off the stage because he wasn’t ready to nuke Iran if it frowned at Israel.The really sad thing is that the GOP is to silly and confused not to rally around the old Newt Gingrich/Ron Paul wings of the party to stare down the Israel-obsessed,anticonservative, neocon war dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I like Israel and don’t like Iran. Iranians hang people from hydraulic cranes for bein gay and have practiced terrorism. They’re nut bars. But that doesn’t mean I want a foreign policy stipulated by the Israeli intelligence agency either.
kirstin and marcus,When someone points out one of your factual errors or a breakdown in your reasoning, you seem to ignore the fact and move on to still more factual errors and questionable reasoning.Moreover, it is helpful to argue the point at hand rather than arguing against straw men of your own creation.For example, the ratio of the president’s “war-stopping” power relative to his “abortion-stopping” power is not a relavent factor in the argument presented. If that is not clear, please re-read Fr. Longenecker’s post . . . very, very (very) carefully.
Christopher,Please be aware that the application of reason does not follow only one path of inquiry. You may be convinced that you have corrected me and that I should acknowledge it. But I have responded with facts of which I am sure and with arguments in which I have confidence. Please do not try to condescend to those of us who take a different view of the matters at hand. The fact is those who would argue that abortion and immoral or wrongful wars are not equivalent are basing their viewpoints on a personal decision to see these two things that way. If someone wants to argue that, in the U.S., abortion is worse because in the decades since Roe it has taken more lives than wars conducted by our government have, that is their perogative. But since when should Christians adopt a philosophy that grades immorality on a sliding scale? Sometimes, something, whether it kills one person or 40 million is just wrong. I submit that wrongful war is just as reprehensible on ethical terms as abortion irrespective of numbers of casualties involved. If you want to adopt a different standard, I certainly cannot stop you, but I will not agree with you.Abortion is a personal decision that individuals choose, at least here in America. As such it is also something that individuals can cease doing on their own, quite apart from any laws on abortion. Wars, on the other hand, are generally conducted by governments (or at least by organized groups of some kind); as such, in order for citizens who are part of a republic, as we are, to prevent wars with with they do not agree (for example, because they consider them unjust or unnecessary), political processes must be employed. Ending abortion does not necessarily require any government action; if people chose to stop having abortions, even an Obama administration and a Democratic Congress would not enact laws forcing people to have abortions against their wills. I think none of us believes our government is so far gone that it would do something so heinous as to impose laws mandating unwanted abortions. And I think we also continue to have enough faith in ourselves as a nation that we, the people, would not allow that to happen, even if, for some reason, the elected officials did go so wildly off track.I realize that in order to make a point I have offered some radical examples in the last paragraph. But sometimes examination of a subject should stretch the bounds of thought. We are discussing very important values here, and being too limited in the range of possibility can reduce the ability to accurately judge a set of facts and their interpretations.Fr. Longenecker’s article (and others along the same lines) are not, forgive me Father, gospel. I respect his ability to cogently offer an reasoned opinion, but his interpretation is not the final word on the moral “equivalence” of abortion and questionable wars. I’m not a Catholic, but I am aware that in the Catholic community — even in the conservative wing of the Church — there are differing views on that moral equivalence. And I’m sure that will continue.
Kristen, you wrote “Abortion is a personal decision that individuals choose, at least here in America. As such it is also something that individuals can cease doing on their own, quite apart from any laws on abortion.”Either you are ignorant of how many abortions are coerced in this country, or you are just plain misrepresenting the facts. First off – abortion is not a personal decision – it impacts many, many people. Fathers, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, the Body of Christ.Most abortions are NOT wanted…most abortions occur out of fear, out of convenience … there is an abortion mill in just about every town, or a town close by. Most abortions are acquired due to a woman being told by her husband/boyfriend that he will leave her if she keeps the baby – she aborts, he leaves anyway. Many abortions occur because the abortion industry spends millions of your tax paying dollars on advertising and planned deathhood is in our public schools, ‘educating’ our youth. Check out “teenwire” if you are not certain about that. Many abortions are procured by grandparents who compound an out of wedlock pregnancy into a life time of grief for the mother of the aborted baby. It is very nice to say – “stop having abortions…the demand will dry up.” We are fighting, ALL CHRISTIANS, should be – fighting a very real evil and that evil is complacency, and ignorance about abortion. One of the reasons that Obama – and by the way, one out of every two black babies in utero in the U.S. never lives to term, but rather is terminated by abortion. FIFTY PERCENT OF BLACKS ARE ABORTED IN THE U.S.!!! Once again those stats are from guttmacher (planned deathhood’s own number cruncher)- that Obama was elected is precisely because people who state “don’t have an abortion – it is done by choice” and Marcus – spewing that the war in Iraq and blah, blah, blah…Abortion is currently the number one evil visited upon our society. The second is the evil that is coming to us by the muslim terrorist in the middle east and Europe.I don’t necessarily agree that the war in Iraq is the way to fight the terrorism, but I will tell you and Marcus this – if you equate abortion to a tiny war, and it is tiny, you are wrong.I have a brother and a nephew over in Mosul and Baghdad…and so please do not start in with the ‘what ifs’.Please educate yourself about abortion. Please educate yourself about a small war. Please help us fight evil and not sit around and do a late night philosphy ‘think’ about the…one of these is worse than the other…for in doing that, you are permitting young babies to be killed today, tomorrow and the next day, until YOU step up to the plate and help to end the incidious, horrible procedure, called abortion.Sorry…I am off my rant now – a post abortive woman who is so danged tired of all the rhetoric by Catholics who have catered to the left who thinks nothing of BO’s statement ” don’t want my daughters punished by a baby” statement. We Catholics should ALL see children, not as a punishment but as a blessing. It is time to become just as militant as the left and those who have stolen the Church from us.
chima, I’m so glad this blog site has such polite posters — not. No, I’m not ignorant, but thanks for accusing me of it.Abortion is a personal decision in the sense that the government in the U.S. does not force anyone to have an abortion. Not all countries can say that. Abortion is at base a matter of the woman affected deciding whether she will have one. Yes, there will always be pressures on the woman one way or the other from family or church or friends, etc. — if the woman tells anyone before she decides to go to have an abortion (assuming she does go) and conceivably afterward if she tells after having one or if she doesn’t have one against someone’s wishes. But no one can be put a gun to anyone’s head and force them to have an abortion (at least not without running a huge risk of going to prison for a long time). Yes, there are ads about planned parenthood, etc. But there are also ads for the pro-life side, so frankly I’m not very sympathetic to arguments that people (even young people) are so weak or uninformed or unopinionated that they have abortions because some ad tells them to. Young people can be pretty savvy about advertising and can ignore what they don’t want to hear and see. However, as I said, I hope that there will be more education by churches to help people who are currently haveing abortions stop that behavior. I would like to see even more emphasis by churches and pro-life groups on abstinence and responsible practices. And I would like to see more people taking responsibility for their own actions. Society is not responsible for coddling everyone from conception to grave. Every person needs to realize that their own life is theirs to take charge of. The rest of your rant I will just consider as blowing off steam into the wind. It doesn’t really apply to me.
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kirstin,I was begging for a response less than ten pages long. I have a job and seventeen children to support.
Christopher,Then what are you doing on the computer, LOL? Get out there and support those young uns. 😉
Exactly! Over and out.
Listen, if you hired a pro-choice bus driver in your town would it be an immoral act worthy of excommunication? No! Why? Because hiring the bus driver does not cause abortions because bus drivers have no authority over abortions.I am arguing that a president has very little abortion stopping power. Only his supreme court nominations and a few executive orders on the fringes of the issue. Therefore to equate support of Obama to procuring an abortion (which is essentially what Newman & Longenecker are doing) is not just wrong, but it is inane. To support this point of view on the grounds that aboriton kills more people is crazy. We are not God! We don't hold the scales of judgment in our hands!The fact of the matter is that a president has far, far more control over warfare (despite the constitution), than the president has over abortion.Therefore the act of voting for a war mongering candidate is far worse than voting for a pro-choice candidate because the office in question actually has control over one and not the other.
Except of course for this little thing called The Freedom of Choice (to Murder) Act, and the appointment of pro-abortion justices that could extend the life (death) of Roe v. Wade for decades more. Bush did his part for the supreme court nominations. What do you think Obama will do?
Obpoet, The Democrats have a near filibuster-proof majority. McCain would have had to make very moderate choices just like Reagan had to. Remember the fence-sitting, moderate female justice that Justice Roberts replaced? I think that is the sort of moderate justice that McCain, like Reagan would have been able to appoint.So that’s why I feel that the Neocons lost this thing from start to finish by losing the house and the senate. I made contirbutions to Ron Paul-esque pro-life Republican house races in states I don’t even live in. I think i have my eye fairly squarely on the real prize. I would like to convince Fr. Longencker and you folks to do the same.Support Ron Paul’s pro-life, anti-war, libertarian economic principals as the core of the new GOP and you will have a real message. Obama with his redistributionist ways will fade quickly enough. We need to focus our energy on a shadow cabinet that can offer solutions to the problems Obama will cause, not demonize him (often wrongly) with AM radio excerpts-out-of-context accusing him of reverse racism. That just makes conservatives look like pin headed jerks. Stop focusing on Obama and focus on the ideology that swept Gingrich and Ron Paul into power against Clinton. Then never, ever let that message get corrupted by the evangelical right, the neocon war mongering-spend-thrift traitors to the conservative cause.The Neocons elected Obama, not bad catholics. Get that through your heads. Close you eyes and say it again and again until it sinks in… The Neocons Lost It All for the Life Movement, The Neocons Lost it ALL for the Lide Movement, the Neocons Lost it All for the Life Movement.Once that bit of sound political savvy and intelligence starts to sink in, think about what a Neocon is:-never met a spending program he didn’t like-Will fight any war at all against a country that frowns at Israel or has an oil interest-Uses evangelical religion as a political tool-Condones the use of torture and invasion of privacy to further perceived Nationalist causesA true conservative:-Is strongly opposed to war and would never agree to a war of choice-Errs on the side of cutting costs and spending-Has a rational skepticism that government solutions are beneficial-Hates torture or abuse of any kind directed against helpless prisoners in US custody-Places long term ethics against short term nationalist objectives-Believes that free markets, with reasonable regulatory oversight is the best solution for the economy long term-Believes that the current bail outs and meddling with the economy are likely to exacerbate the financial crisis.Those are the drums we should be banging right now if we want a pro-life political movement to sweep into power and replace Democrats in 4-8 years. It’s all about Ron Paul and Ronald reagan folks. It’s not about Obama.
Marcus:”A true conservative:-Is strongly opposed to war and would never agree to a war of choice-Errs on the side of cutting costs and spending-Has a rational skepticism that government solutions are beneficial-Hates torture or abuse of any kind directed against helpless prisoners in US custody-Places long term ethics against short term nationalist objectives-Believes that free markets, with reasonable regulatory oversight is the best solution for the economy long term-Believes that the current bail outs and meddling with the economy are likely to exacerbate the financial crisis.”An excellent definition.Let me add these: – Is absolutely pro-life and anti-abortion. – Believes in fair but firm immigration policies and control of our national borders.
Kirstin, I happily accept your additions!
Except that the justices poised to retire are liberal, which would tilt the court heavily in favor of conservatives, so the Dems could filibuster all they want as the decisions kept coming down on the right (correct) side.
Except that the justices poised to retire are liberal, which would tilt the court heavily in favor of conservatives, so the Dems could filibuster all they want as the decisions kept coming down on the right (correct) side.
War is war – some survive it, others do not. When good people throw red herrings into the abortion issue, such as the war in Iraq…have we forgotten the war in Afghanistan (my home country?), then we muddy the issue.Because it is easy to say “the war in Iraq” is comparable to the abortion issue and we want to finish off the war in Iraq so let us vote for the most pro-abortion presidential candidate we have ever had, then one does that.However, let me ask you – how long has the war in Iraq been going on? How long has abortion been legal in the United States?Fact: we CAN and we MUST end abortion – for it has gone on 35 years and killed 50 million people…far more than the Iraq war, and if I recall correctly, that is just about 7 years in…Please think about that when making the argument and please, please work against abortion. No matter the ’cause.’
chimakuni,Abortion has been around in one form or another since the beginning of civilization. Just as war has. It will be around in illegal form again should there ever be a change barring it in legal form in the U.S. I’m not condoning that, lest anyone misunderstand, but merely stating the facts. Until hearts and minds change so completely that every individual would never have an abortion, abortions will continue whether they are legally permitted or not.War is a function of government. Increasingly in the U.S., wars have been “decided on” by presidents. Therefore it is appropriate for voters to judge a presidential candidate on how he or she would deal with that vital issue. You or I cannot make a unilateral decision that the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan should end. We can only vote for candidates for office who will do our bidding.Abortion, while it, as many have said, can be reduced considerably through government action, is still at base an individual decision, as I noted before. The two issues are not really on the same plane, and from a perspective of what a candidate for president can do about either, war is clearly the issue where the commander in chief has more power. Abortion is horrible and we should all do everything possible to end it. But the point being made by me and others is that in a presidential race, voters must look at candidates on the basis of their stances on many issues. A president is not merely a one-issue decision for the electorate. If someone chooses to make it a one-issue decision, that is their business of course, but I think the main problem with this entire discussion is that those who desire to make a presidential race all (or chiefly) about abortion appear to be overlooking the fact that our duties as citizens should extend to informed decision-making about many issues vital to our country.
If Adolph Hitler were running against Obama for president and he claimed to be pro-life, would you vote for him on the grounds that a potential holocaust would kill fewer people than abortion? Because that is where the proportionality argument expressed on this blog would take you.And the fact of the matter is that the current GOP supports unrestricted free-trade with an evironment-ruining, super gulag; the abortionist super state of China. How can you support McCain if as a pro-lifer he supports continued unfettered free trade with China?At the end of the analysis, i don’t blame people who can’t support Obama, or even who dislike Obama because of his pro-choice views. BUT I don’t send them to the confessional or claim they are out of communion either. That is just incredibly inane and short sighted and will drive good catholics from the church, and good potential converts away from the church.
Marcus,WWII resulted in 72 million casualties. A pro-life Hitler would have prevented how many abortions in Germany?Compare this to the current annual US abortion statistics and Iraqi casualties. So exactly how does this logic of yours work??
Obpoet,I think that the logic of my absurdist argument is fairly clear. I am decrying a lack of logic in making ‘proportionalist’ arguments with regard to two serious moral shortcomings in the two presidential candidates around the subject of unjust war and abortion. I am obviously arguing that there was no clear,cut, and dry catholic moral argument against voting for Obama vs. McCain that would justify a call to the confessional as if voting for Obama was akin to procuring an abortion.
Marcus,So by your logic, you wouldn’t vote against Hitler?