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Barack Obama and abortion

2008 November 15
by Tim V-B

A perennial danger for evangelicals in America is to pin their hopes on politics and hoping that Presidents can legislate for morality.  A danger for UK conservative evangelicals is that we seldom engage with the hot topics of our time.  I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon on abortion from a conservative evangelical church.  I’m sure they are out there, but very very infrequent.  So here’s a short article written for a church magazine:

President Barack Obama

After a seemingly endless campaign, Barack Obama has been elected to be the 44th President of the United States of America.  Our newspapers and televisions have been full of images of queuing voters and cheering crowds, as well as endless speculation about what this will mean for America and the rest of the world.

I don’t think anyone can doubt that this was a highly significant election.  People loved the message of change – and that voice must be heard.  We must give thanks also that this marks a significant step forward in race relations in the US.

However, I am very concerned that Christians in the UK have not seen the full picture.  Many Christians in the US were deeply opposed to an Obama win, but the mainline media has simply ignored the issues that led to such concerns.

The primary issue is that of abortion.  No doubt there will be a variety of opinion on this matter among magazine readers.  And of course the first thing to say is that Christianity is not about imposing a moral code on others, but about forgiveness and new life in Christ.  However, Christianity insists on the sanctity of human life.  Humans are created in the image of God.  Some abortions take place in terrible circumstances (e.g. rape or to save the mother’s life).  But the vast majority are for social reasons: a pregnancy and child would be “inconvenient” so the unborn baby is murdered.  This is a tragedy on a colossal scale.  And here’s the problem: Barack Obama views on abortion are extremely bad.

“Extreme” is the right word to use:

“Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.”

This is the carefully considered opinion of Robert P George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University (simply one of an impressive list of posts he has held).  Obama has promised that “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act”.  This would make abortion a federally guaranteed right through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason.  He opposes the ban on the horrific practice of partial-birth abortion, in which a baby is partially-born (feet first, with the head remaining in the birth canal) before the brain is suctioned out causing the skull to collapse.  Obama wants to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion.  He has opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive following an unsuccessful abortion, instead of leaving them to die (something that happens in this country too).

There are other reasons why many Christians opposed Obama, some ethical, some economic, some political.  It is a shame that these reasons have not been made apparent in our own press.

We must pray for Obama and the tough choices he will make.  American Christians need to repent where they have overlooked the Republican Party’s failure to reduce abortion levels significantly.  The solution is not politics, although there are battles still to be fought and won.  No, the solution is to trust Jesus and live in his strength, to proclaim the gospel and love our neighbours.  More important than campaigning is the need to demonstrate that following Jesus really does produce a radically different lifestyle: looking after orphans and the elderly, the poor and the troubled; providing extended families for those don’t have abortions; demonstrating grace to those who do.  That is an authentic pro-life position, and ultimately will be more powerful than whatever President Obama does.

For some good post-election reading, check the links at

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