President John Adams once wrote: "Facts can be stubborn things and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Never was a statement more true than with regard to the present issue of abortion and politics.
Planned Parenthood is a huge organization. A 2007 Wall Street Journal report said their budget now exceeds $1 billion. Read that again and let it soak in for a moment. Of this budget $336 million comes from the government, thus from our taxpayer monies. Planned Parenthood is responsible for helping one in four mothers have an abortion in the United States. Planned Parenthood also remains deeply involved in the politics of abortion. (If you think this issue is not political then you are fast asleep.)
Planned Parenthood has what they call an "Action Fund" and this fund will give $10 million to political campaigns this year. The goal is to elect pro-abortion leaders. The major effort is to elect Barack Obama president since they know the Supreme Court may have two openings in the next four years. This is why massive support goes to his campaign. These people know that the Illinois Senator has delivered for them 100% of the time.
What disturbs me is how Christians have become persuaded that this issue is no longer quite as important as they once thought it was. And younger Christians are particularly prone to not be passionate about the pro-life issue in recent studies. When I talk to them I see less and less interest in this subject.
As I listen to Christians I sense that the concern to change the culture of death to a culture of life has waned over the past ten years. One strong reason, at least among the young, is the influence of
people like Jim Wallis and Sojourners. Wallis has successfully caused many to see abortion as just one issue among many similar moral issues. This has been done by linking abortion to the war in Iraq. If they are both the same (morally), and then poverty is also placed on the same moral level as it has been, then abortion becomes a far less important issue. While I have serious doubts about the Iraq war, and while I believe in a society that is committed to lifting people out of poverty, I do not place abortion on the same level at all. For one thing infants in the womb can not speak for themselves or do anything to save themselves. They need us to care for them or they will die. Second, war is terrible but there are some wars that must be fought. Even a pacifist generally sees distinctions, at least a pacifist who holds to classical Christian ethics. Third, poverty is an important issue but poor people are not being systematically destroyed by their fellow human putting them to death.
Part of the problem here is that evangelicals who have no ethical and moral authority in their lives can make up their own minds about this as they go along. Lacking in substantive ethical thinking most of them will then go with the flow. They do not have the resource of a deeply thought out ethical system that is rooted in classical Christianity. Thank God for the Roman Catholic Church, which sees this very differently. We could all stand to study their way of arguing for pro-life conclusions.
Barack Obama insists that he does not like all these abortions but he has never done a single thing, from what I can see, to stop one, not as a legislator or as a community activist. He even says that he wants to allow his own children to retain this choice if they are pregnant and have an unwanted child. And his voting record is consistent on this point. He is the most pro-choice candidate who has ever run for president, bar none. Hillary Clinton was far more nuanced and reasonable about abortion than Barack Obama has ever been. This is the man who said the question of when a human life begins was "above my pay grade," so I am not surprised at his anti-life political position.
CareNet, a wonderful pro-life organization that is doing a great deal of good in saving lives and helping mothers, is a striking alternative to Planned Parenthood. Do you know how much CareNet gets from the taxpayers for their work? Not one dime. The sad truth is that we Americans allow this to happen and as Christian people we do very little to protest it.
I am not convinced that the street protests and culture warriors for anti-abortion politics have made a great difference in the larger struggle, but at least they have tried. That is more than I can say for the overwhelming majority of Christians who have done nothing at all. I am not apocalyptic about this struggle, but I do think that for every life that is taken we are one step closer to destroying the moral fabric of our entire society.