One-Issue Politics, One-Issue Marriage, and the Humane Society

...And then there are some pages that are still up, alive and well. Like this one, which I hope is read by all my pro-choice friends and family who think I'm an evil, evil person for voting Republican because I "can't see past 'the abortion issue'." Maybe it's a lot to ask, but take a couple minutes to read John Piper's article, "One-Issue Politics, One-Issue Marriage, and the Humane Society"

As Piper puts it, "These reflections have confirmed my conviction never to vote for a person who endorses such an evil-even if he could balance the budget tomorrow and end all taxation."

Now, I've got friends who argue that the social programs promoted by the Democratic platform would actually reduce abortions in this country, "and isn't that what it's about?" Well, first of all, a lot of these folks have repeated the same sad lie that "abortions have increased under Bush," (which isn't true -- follow the link) so I think the whole premise is flawed. But that misses the broader point that, if abortions are "wrong", why are we talking about "reducing them"? We don't talk about "reducing rape"; rape is evil. We work toward eliminating it, and punishing the perpetrators of it.

(Don't like the comparison of abortion to rape? Then I hope you have a really solid philosophical justification for not awarding "personhood" to a living being who, by any common-sense definition, is a human who doesn't deserve to be brutally slaughtered. If it's a "human person", then abortion is murder, and why on earth would we be working toward keeping murder "safe and legal?" If it's not murder, then what is it? But I'm getting ahead of myself...)

This kind of "reduction talk" makes sense for "vices" like, say, smoking -- I don't think smoking is wise, I think we should work to reduce smoking, I think we should make it "rare", but I'm not going to criminalize the act and jail those who feel it's okay to smoke. But when you encounter "pro-choice" folks who grant that abortion is "wrong", they're not talking about "wrong" in the sense of "unwise". As best they can (in my experience), they understand the truth that abortion is "morally wrong". Yet they still buy the "Safe, Legal and Rare" rhetoric.

(Another digression: "Safe, Legal and Rare" has nothing to do with protecting women's rights and liberty. As Teresa Collett, Esp. explained in exceptionally clear testimony before a senate committee last month, "It was no accident that the early feminists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, opposed abortion. They saw it as a tool of oppression, manifesting men's domination and mistreatment." The upshot is that many, many men today who would never say, "Honey, why don't you go rob a bank? I'll drive." ...are perfectly comfortable, and feel justified, in pressuring their partners -- in some cases, abusively -- with "Honey, why don't you go get an abortion? I'll drive.")

So, I agree with Piper. (And that, on theological topics, is a good example of "rare".) It's clear that being "pro-choice" disqualifies you from political office, any way you slice it.


emlarson said…
Thanks, Jon! Excellent reply, and you raise a great point that's rarely discussed. It gives me the chance to be an "equal-opportunity antagonizer", because my conservative friends are going to hate this. :)

From a Bible-believing Christian standpoint, I believe that sexuality is a God-given gift to be expressed in marriage, with its intent (though not its sole purpose) being procreation. Frankly, it's hard to read the Bible and come up with a lot of variation from that theme.

BUT, from a societal standpoint, I believe that we should be pushing "responsible sexuality" rather than forcing a Biblical or "Christian" worldview on everyone. So, in terms of lawmaking and such, the use of contraception should absolutely be expanded.

(Another aside: I'm actually terrifying "liberal" on this point. Since condoms aren't 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and/or controlling some STDs, I think adults should have even more discussion about the variety of sexual options and explorations that humans are capable of, beyond intercourse. That gets a bit more complicated when dealing with educating kids of various ages, because they'll have less developed judgment to evaluate which risk they want to pursue, and to what degree.)

Anyway, there's merit to pushing abstinence education to society as a whole, because it's a good way to live -- Ruth and I don't have to worry about STDs, cervical cancer, no fear of an unplanned pregnancy before we were married, because we weren't having sex (with each other, nor with anyone). And that's good whether you're Christian or not. But that education is "good" in a practical sense, and I disagree with pushing it on society as a whole in the "moral" sense, because not all of society can be held to a "Christian moral standard", because not everyone is Christian!

Paul (the Apostle) actually wrote about this kind of issue when he deal with early Christians and whether they could eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. The gist is that they could, because (among other reasons) it's not the job of Christians to be "fixing" the acts of a society that isn't Christian. It's our job to be pointing people to Jesus, Who will change hearts, and at that point individuals might choose to pursue different interest or behaviors.

I hope that makes sense. So, applying it to "abstinence for unmarried adults", if I were talking to Christians I would insist on abstinence as strongly as I could based on the Biblical standards that they themselves claim to follow. If I were talking to non-Christians I would recommend abstinence as a healthy way to live, but would also make sure that their activates were keeping them as healthy as possible... and weren't producing children who they would then feel obligated to kill.

That's probably not a very satisfactory answer, because in the wrong hands (or brain) be can be abused and turn into something really arrogant. But without spending another chunk of time to say more and try to make it clearer (which probably wouldn't help), that's the best I can do. :)

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