Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bush and Abortion

If George Barna is to be believed, 86% of evangelicals will cast a vote for George Bush in November. Barna’s data was recently confirmed by Ra ph Zallow writing in the Washington Times. He wrote that Kerry and Edwards are "losing ground to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney among white evangelicals."

Meanwhile, numerous leaders of the "religious right" are lining up behind Bush. Jerry Falwell said "For conservative people of faith [that about covers the religious gamut], voting for principle this year means voting for the re-election of George W. Bush." Pat Robertson spouted that Bush would win in a landslide and then added, "The Lord has just blessed him. I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and come out of it. It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him." Andrew Sandlin, president of the Center for Cultural Leadership, writes "…we should work faithfully with the historical options God has granted us. He has not placed us in a historical situation that permits us to vote for the ideal candidate (and perhaps He never will). So, God expects us to vote responsibly and thoughtfully for the electable candidate that most accurately reflects Christian conviction. And in the upcoming Presidential election, that candidate is George W. Bush."

Furthermore, after four years of largely ignoring Evangelical concerns (which I will get to below and in subsequent days), the Bush political team is busily revving up the Christian conservative vote, going so far as to request that local coordinators hand over church directories to the campaign. As I have briefly discussed elsewhere, Evangelicals have, unfortunately, also been the largest constituency crying for the blood of Iraqis. Do I overstate the case? Read Cal Thomas defending the use of tactical nuclear weapons and Joseph Farah’s bloodthirsty musings about the destruction of Fallujah and tell me who the fanatics are.

When I’ve asked my Christian brothers and sisters why they intend to vote for Bush there is usually some innocuous statement about Bush being a "man of faith" and adhering to "Christian principles." They say that he is a man of "integrity" and humility" and that he is honest. But the Bible says that we know a man by his deeds.

When Bush was asked at a press conference if he had made any mistakes during his tenure, he hemmed and hawed, stammered a bit, and said "You know, I just — I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet."

In Bob Woodward’s book "Bush at War," we see the President proudly and repeatedly declaring that he hates and distrusts the media, and for that matter he doesn’t read the mail. The contrast with Ronald Reagan could not be starker. When Reagan passed away recently, I read that during his tenure he had written scores of hand-written letters to Americans that had written the White House. Bush would apparently rather watch "Sports Center." Bush also tells Woodward that, "I’m the commander—see, I don’t need to explain—I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation." Maybe someone should suggest Proverbs be rotated into the Bush devotional schedule.

As for the honesty of the administration, the repeated deceptions and dissembling regarding Iraqi WMDs and links to terrorist organizations, lured the country, and a comatose, derelict press corps and Congress into a quagmire with no end in sight. Although less consequential, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services has also confirmed that career staffers were threatened with disciplinary action if they disclosed to Congress that the cost of the prescription drug bill than under consideration was $134 billion more than originally thought. Shameless fealty to political expediency trumps fidelity to the truth for this White House.

But what about abortion? Isn’t George Bush pro-life, and wouldn’t John Kerry do everything in his power to advance the culture of death? Kerry was recently quoted as saying "I oppose abortion personally. ... I believe life does begin at conception." The logical implication is that every time Senator Kerry has voted to fund abortion with public money that he has voted to fund the killing of human beings. Kerry has also voted against legislation requiring parental consent or notification for a minor to get an abortion. Truly, Senator Kerry cannot be described as "pro-life."

But what of the President? Andrew Sandlin says Bush has justifiably become a hero to Evangelical Christians because, "He has been an unflagging champion of the pro-life position, and he eagerly signed Congress’ legislation banning partial-birth abortion (Clinton had twice vetoed it)."

Pro-lifers like Sandlin point to the ban on partial birth abortion to burnish Bush’s anti-abortion credentials. The cold, hard fact is that the ban has not and will not save a single life. As Jim Rudd and others have pointed out, the legislation, which will almost certainly be overturned by the courts, does not mention "Intact Dilation and Extraction" (D&X abortion). Since the act does not use this official medical term, the D&X procedure is not really banned by the legislation. Moreover, the very language of the ban encourages abortionists to kill the child in the womb with poison since the act only restricts activities performed on a "living baby." So if an abortionist first kills the baby and THEN performs the D&X procedure, the ban does not apply.

Another piece of evidence proffered by Bush’s pro-life supporters is that he re-instituted Reagan’s Mexico City policy thereby denying taxpayer dollars to organizations that promote abortion overseas. However, Bush soon began to lift those restrictions beginning in 2003. The LA Times reported on February 16, 2003 that "In a major policy shift, President Bush has decided to allow social service agencies in Africa and the Caribbean to receive U.S. funds under his $15 billion emergency AIDS relief plan even if they promote family planning and provide abortions, White House officials said." As William Jasper wrote at the time, "George Bush has out-Clintoned Bill Clinton. The Clinton-Gore team (or any other Democrat-controlled White House, for that matter) could not have come close to getting most congressmen behind such an enormous and outrageous pro-abortion, anti-family foreign aid scheme. But with the Bush White House fervently supporting this UN boondoggle and providing cover, congressional Republicans jumped on board the global gravy train, eager to burnish their compassion credentials."

In 2004, there is only one full-fledged pro-lifer running for the White House—Michael Peroutka.





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