Thursday, March 6, 2008

Abortion and the Christian Vote

Greg Boyd writes an interesting piece on Christianity, politics, and abortion, with the purpose of providing insight on how the Christian can engage politically, with social tact, to achieve the most productive kingdom outcome. Boyd is extremely pragmatic, which is not always a bad thing, in my opinion, but I also know that the ends do not always justify the means, and pragmatism is a slippery slope into this fallacy.

I first read the article, Christians, Abortion, Politics, and the Kingdom of God, after reading a few reviews of Boyds work by another blogger. I wholeheartedly agree with boyd that Christians often go about politics in a happhazard manner, letting one key issue (in this case abortion) trump all others.

Boyd's solution in this article is to compromise, which isn't easy for he states, he "abhors abortion." Here is Boyd's compromise:

With this compromise, Americans might be able to agree that all second and third trimester abortions should be outlawed. Moreover, with this compromise, Americans might be able to move beyond their polarized positions and rather work together to accomplish what the vast majority of Americans want: namely, a country in which abortions are as rare as possible and late term abortions non- existent. In my personal view, the best political approach to complex issues, such as abortion, is one that capitalizes on present agreements to resolve present conflicts. This of course requires people compromising on both sides to expand their area of agreements, but shrewd compromise is what politics has always been about. In my personal, humble, non-kingdom, political opinion, my proposal does this.
Boyd, while wishing that abortion did not merely exists, desires to minimize abortion, and at the same. What do you think? Is this too narrow? Does it limit the ability and goodness of God (God isn't powerful enough to completely end abortion). Certainly Jesus did say his followers would be despised because of him, and quite often, outspoken Christians are ostracized, ridiculed, and regarded as narrow minded hat mongers. But, keep in mind, Boyd is cautioning against forgetting the issues.

In a different piece, Boyd suggests that the underlying cause of abortion is poverty, and that perhaps a Christian voter should steer their vote toward a candidate that is focused on eliminating poverty. This toppling domino would thus eradicate abortion (ideally, pragmatically). I disagree. Statistically, abortion percentages and income climb together on a statistics chart (women with more money have more abortions).

So was boyd right? Would Jesus want us to compromise, keeping in mind that theory of such a compromise might lower the abortion rate in America? Or is Boyd altogether pushing for the criminalization of abortion not only feesible, but the most critical plank in any candidates platform, more worthy than other issues like poverty, aids relief, etc. I personally give the American Christian Voter more credit than Boyd. I believe that the majority of Christian voters are not so singularly minded as they approach the poll booth.

Contact me via email for more stats on abortion and to dig deeper into my own personal opinions on the questions posed in this post.


Anonymous said...

As a society, we obsess about the life of the unborn while failing miserably to protect and cherish the lives of the born. We do not provide health care for all children. Over two billion living children in the world go hungry each day. Millions die from preventable diseases, from lack of clean water or medicines. Thousands are killed in wars, destroyed by bombs, maimed by land mines or shot down as collateral damage in conflicts they did not create. We act as if a child's right to life terminates at birth.

nate said...

Thanks for the comment anonymous. However, I must say I am growing weary of this rehashed argument (in reality it's not really an argument, just a catchphrase) as I've heard it over and over again from all my jaded Christian friend who suddenly go liberal in a reactionary fashion.

The problem with what you said is that it assumes all Christians are singular minded. I do not believe you carefully read my post or you would have seen I wrote this towards the end. It assumes that Christians do NOT focus their energies on any other social ill than abortion. That's just not true. In fact, the Catholic Church, perhaps the most vocal pro-life proponent, spends more money annually combating world hunger than ANY other organization in the world, secular or sacred. They give more money to this need than for pro life propaganda.

Another problem with your argument is that it elevates some ills to the same level as abortion. Granted, in saying this I am assuming that the prolife Christian and any of my liberal minded friends accept that life begins at conception.

Imagine I have two children in front of, both five years old. One child is in need of health care, the other child has a man standing behind her with a gun two her head. Imagine I am an a christian activist standing in front of these two unfortunate children. I care about both their needs and am working at passing legislation to alleviate both their needs...the need for healthcare, and the need to criminalize killing children. Of course I am going to focus more energy on the immanent danger posed in the potential murder.

Your argument assumes that both situations are of equal gravity, and they are not.

Now, I see your point, but like every body else who has regurgitated your words, they are far too dramatic, and as I pointed out above with the instance of the Catholic Church, are some weird internal attempt to try to make Christians look retarded.

Anonymous said...

Nate, I'm a different "anonymous" but I'd like to say that you're both right.

I liked what you said about the Catholic church, and how you described the levels of evil. I have no issue with your reasoning. However, what disturbed me is the hint of arrogance at which you addressed the other person.

To call a comment like that "just a catchphrase" diminishes this person's worldview. Maybe your "jaded Christian friend" was reacting to people like you who puff themselves up without fully listening to others.

I know that these are some of the reasons that I don't attend a church anymore.

Call me jaded if you'd like, but realize that calling people jaded isn't going to solve the problem of Christians that are becoming this way. Sometimes, in order to attract people back to the church, Christians need to put their pride aside and reach out in love.

All the old methods of apologetics and evangelism are becoming stale. It's time to change.

nate said...

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous2.

Your criticism is dually noted! I would be willing to bet if you and I spent time dialoguing we'd find we are much more similar. I would, in act, characterize myself as jaded (however; in sincerity and humility, would not consider myself to be puffed should read the last several posts of this neglected blog).

You're right, I should not have used the term 'catch phrase,' as it may seem condescending--I do avoid ad hominem attacks at all costs what. What I was alluding to is that certain lines of thinking lack timelessness.

(if you want, hit me up at