by Sumo Vita, Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:24:24 PM EDT
The abortion issue was used successfully against Kerry, with lethal consequences. Obama's campaign needs to tackle this charge head-on, instead of playing defense. He certainly isn't on the losing side of this debate, not by a long shot - and especially not in the Christian context.
Given that abortions have been occurring since the beginning of time, and given the tunnel vision and hysterical tones adopted by many conservative Christians on this subject, it's interesting that the number of times the word "abortion" appears in the Bible is: exactly ZERO. Jesus' mission on earth was to effect a change of heart and soul - to almost the exclusion of affairs of the world. He showed little desire to change the political or social landscape, and seemed averse to dismantling laws of the time - hence "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, give to God what is God's".
The New Testament also emphasizes the importance of motivations of the heart over the deed. For example, the exhortation in Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (NIV). Passing laws against abortion would have little impact on one's desire to have one. Overturning Roe v. Wade would do little to effect a change of heart.
Many in the pro-life movement bring up the numbers of abortions since the beginning of time, to draw comparisons to the holocaust - and to juxtapose these against the numbers of war casualties. The key deception here is that the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq resulted from the decision of one man, or one cabal of men; one key decision that robbed so many of their lives. In contrast, the millions of abortions are a result of millions of personal decisions and desires - desires that that (as explained above) won't change by outlawing abortion.
My personal position on this issue is nuanced - I do believe that life begins at conception. The point to be emphasized, however, is that the legality of abortions should never have been a rallying cry for Christians, who would do better to instead address the root causes of poverty and other social ailments behind such a decision.