25.9.08

Interview with Donald Miller


Donald Miller is the best-selling author of Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, Through Painted Deserts and To Own a Dragon. He is currently writing his fifth book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which explores the principles of story-telling in our lives. A feature film is in the works based on Blue Like Jazz, and Don is also in collaboration with the filmmakers behind Nooma for a film series titled Transitus. Don also founded The Mentoring Project (formerly The Belmont Foundation), a non-profit organization which is recruiting ten-thousand mentors through one-thousand church-based mentoring programs.

Don is currently touring with the Obama campaign's "Faith, Family and Values Tour", conducting forums in battleground states. On Tuesday, Don spoke in Colorado Springs. We wanted to give him a chance to explain why he made the controversial decision to campaign for Barack Obama.

(Full disclosure: Donald Miller is also the founder of the Burnside Writers Collective, and currently serves as an advisor for us when time allows. He is an invaluable friend and supporter. That said, thoughtful critics, both independent and conservative, have raised some good points in objection to Don's decision to campaign for Obama. The following questions were drafted by Burnside editors Jordan Green and John Pattison.)

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Burnside: Can you lay out your biggest reasons for supporting Barack Obama?

Donald Miller:
First off, I know this is an odd thing for somebody in my position to do, to support a candidate for President. But I do feel this candidate is unique. Barack is the only candidate willing to talk about his faith in Jesus. Other candidates are reluctant, but Obama is not. He is the only one who has consistently talked about the cross, about redemption, and about repentance. Many white evangelicals have a misconception about Barack...they believe that because he is a Democrat, he cannot be a Christian. But times have changed, culture has changed, and political parties change. So one of the reasons I support Barack is because he is my Christian brother, and other Christians are rejecting him.

But that has little to do with his candidacy. In short, there are a few issues I agree with Barack on.

Senator Obama is going to move us past the impasse in our cultural war, something I think of as a cultural Vietnam. On the issue of abortion, he is the only candidate who has a plan to reduce the number of abortions. John McCain's only plan is the same old trick: say that you are pro life and offer no plan at all other than to criminalize abortion. I simply think that plan hasn't worked, and we have to face that fact and look for other ways to make progress.

I realize this is controversial, that there are many who would rather vote for a pro-life candidate and keep the abortion rate the same, on principle. And like them I believe in the sanctity of life, I simply think we need to begin making progress, and Barack is offering progress. He is also standing up to his own party on the issue and moving the party forward to elevate the issue of the sanctity of life within the Democratic Party. I also see this as progress. I do wish we could end abortion completely, but the Republicans have not spelled out a realistic plan to do so, and until they do, I won't vote for a candidate who simply throws us a pro-life line and no plan. It seems insincere.

But let me add this: I do wish Obama were pro-life. His plan to reduce the rate of abortion is a great step for the party, but I also wish he would defend the unborn to a greater degree.

However, at this point, in this election, with these two candidates, I think progress will be made with Barack. Not enough progress, but some progress, especially within the Democratic party, who may soften their stand on the sanctity of life.

A personal connection with me regarding Obama involves the initiative he is taking with responsible fatherhood. He has already drawn up legislation to change the welfare state to stop rewarding families whose fathers leave, and is working to change the economic structure so fathers who stay with their families are given tax relief. This has been an age-old problem that was written about in George Gilder's book Sexual Suicide. (Gilder's) book is a Conservative's economic manifesto, but Barack sees a lot of value in Gilder's ideas. But because Barack is a Democrat, Conservatives are unable to even consider his ideas.

BWC: A lot of folks view overturning Roe v. Wade as a pipe dream. But electing John McCain could very likely tip the scales of the Supreme Court toward the conservative side, and Roe v. Wade could be overturned. Do you think the impact of Barack Obama’s plans on abortion would outweigh an outright reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision?

Don: If McCain cared about the issue of abortion enough, he would move forward on the issue. He might draft a constitutional amendment that would make abortion specifically unconstitutional, the way George W. Bush talked of doing with gay marriage. George W. Bush could have done something like this when he had majority votes in both houses of Congress.

But I feel like they didn't touch the issue because it would have cost them politically. I simply do not see McCain's stand on abortion being as strong as conservatives think it is. He changed his mind on the issue only a few years ago, in fact. I think it's a ploy to get votes. If McCain were strong on the issue, he would call it murder, saying abortion should be criminalized, and perhaps Cindy McCain would talk about the issue. Sara Palin would talk about how abortion should be criminalized.

Instead, they throw the pro-life line at us and go on doing nothing. It should make conservatives furious, but it doesn't. It's like the argument has become a game about racking up rhetorical points, rather than saving lives. I see this as hypocritcal, and I support Obama's plan to make actual headway on this issue. The future may change this for me, but at this point, I see some hope on the horizon.

BWC: Is there something to be learned from the failures of the Religious Right? For 30 years, they’ve aligned themselves with the Republican party with very little to show...are you concerned your decision to campaign is just a pendulum swing to the Left?

Don: I don't know that there is little to show. Religious leaders are very powerful, and Republicans cater to them and cannot win without the religious vote. That said, Republicans have pitched us two issues and reduced the Christian worldview to Gay Marriage and Abortion.

They had to do that because their economic policies are Biblically debatable. And occasionally there are battles won on the two fronts they've given the white church, but if you are asking if it was worth it to sell the church to the Republican Party, I would say no. Abortion is still legal, and many Democrats oppose gay marriage. So I don't see the use in staying in this impasse any longer.

BWC: Some church leaders advocate an “Endorse no one, advise everyone” policy. Do you see yourself breaking from this mindset?

Don: I suppose so. I intend to vote for Obama, so I would consider that an endorsement. I feel free to talk about that. I don't have a cynicism about elected leaders. I think they are human, that The Fall happened to them just like it happened to me. I recently went to Uganda with a diplomat who, because of his rank and power, could start the court system up in the north, and get kids out of prison who should have gotten off with time served. There is so much good that only diplomats can do.

I think it is very fashionable to remain independent right now, but I don't see the use. I am willing to look uncool to help the first African-American become President, and to have a strong, Christian leader in the White House. Besides, if I were not willing to work alongside somebody, I doubt they'd be calling to ask for my advice. I see this as a historical race, and I want to be willing to take some heat as an early adapter. And there are many early adapters.

Most evangelicals polled will vote for Barack. It is only the very conservative, mostly white suburban churched who are leaning toward McCain. Today on the news I heard a pastor say you could not possibly be a Christian and vote for Barack Obama. I cringed when I heard it, because yesterday in Colorado I met with about thirty African-American pastors who love Jesus and know Jesus, who will be voting for Barack. I wondered what they might think when they hear something like that, an angry white man telling them they do not know Jesus, and that they are going to hell. When we pick up a bullhorn and speak from within our insular communities, without so much as talking to people who come from another perspective, we do a great deal of damage. I don't want to be a part of that. But I don't think my endorsement of Barack is quite like that. I am not saying to the church that they do not know Jesus unless they vote for Barack, or that they are going to go to hell or anything. I am simply saying I am voting for Barack, and explaining why.

BWC: Do you see a difference between voting for a candidate and campaigning for a candidate?

Don: I see a difference socially. We consider it patriotic to vote, but unfashionable to campaign. But that doesn't matter to me right now. I want to be on the right side of history on this one. Ethically, I do not believe it is wrong to campaign. Biblically, I don't think it's wrong either. It just doesn't look cool, that's all.

Twenty years from now, when my children asked what I did during this historical campaign, I want to tell them that I went out and worked, made calls, went door to door, and was able to stump for Barack. There are many in my parents generation who regret not being able to say that they worked hard during the civil rights movement, and I don't want to miss this opportunity.

BWC: You’ve mentioned the goal of ending the violent rhetoric of the “Culture War”. While the division of America has been perpetuated by both sides, a statement like “Stop The Culture War” seems more directed at conservatives, and could be viewed as rhetoric in and of itself. How, practically, do we bring about an end to that sort of language? Do you think the values on either side of the culture war are truly in conflict?

Don: I don't intend that statement toward conservatives alone. I think both sides feel like the other side is the enemy. But I know both sides. And both sides have very good people working hard to do what they feel is right. I think we have to make it clear that because we support one candidate doesn't mean we hate the other. I don't hate John McCain. I like him, in fact. But when I do the math, Obama is my candidate.

I hate the negative advertisements just like everybody else. But those advertisements work on the ignorant, and it gets simple thinkers heated up. We just have to have the discipline to be civil. Many of my friends will vote for McCain, and members of my family too. But it doesn't matter to me. Family comes first, and so do friends. When I'm on my deathbed, Barack Obama and John McCain won't be there, but my friends and family will. So they come first, and they are more important. I just won't let myself get too heated about this stuff. It's not worth it.

BWC: Are Christians participating in the electoral process are being forced to choose “the lesser of two evils”? I don’t mean to say Barack Obama or John McCain are evil, but supporting either side seems to demand a compromise of our beliefs on some level. Maybe our anti-abortion stance supersedes our beliefs on war, and vice versa.

Don: I think this is basically true, but I'm not drawn to the negative tone of that popular phrase. I don't think John McCain or Barack Obama are evil. I think they are both good men. But the fall happened, and so things here on earth are messy and no leader is going to be perfect until Christ comes back. Until then, we educate ourselves on the issues, do some careful math, and vote for a candidate that we think will govern the best.

117 comments:

  1. In this interview, Mr. Miller said, "He [Obama] is also standing up to his own party on the [abortion] issue and moving the party forward to elevate the issue of the sanctity of life within the Democratic Party. . . . I support Obama's plan to make actual headway on this issue."

    I suppose these are references to Obama's very recent (post-nomination) talk about promoting "abortion reduction." But anyone who has been paying attention knows that this is nothing more than a short-term public relations "messaging" strategy, cooked up at liberal think tanks, especially Third Way, where veteran pro-abortion activists specialize in developing strategies to help hard-core pro-abortion politicians camouflage their positions.

    The problem is that the real Barack Obama has a long and consistent record, and he is firmly committed to an agenda of policies that, if implemented, would greatly increase the numbers of abortions performed.

    Here is an example how the real Obama has been "moving the party forward to elevate the issue of the sanctity of life. . ." On July 17, 2007, Obama stood in front of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the lobbying-political arm of the nation's largest abortion provider, and pledged, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

    Obama is a cosponsor of this so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) (S. 1173). It is a bill that would invalidate virtually every federal and state limitation on abortion, including all parental notification and consent laws, waiting periods, and limitations on public funding of abortion. Or, as the National Organization for Women put it, it would "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies." These laws in the aggregate have saved -- are saving -- countless lives.

    Cardinal Justin Rigali, in a September 19, 2008, letter to members of Congress, explained with great clarity the sweeping power of the language contained in the FOCA:

    "First it [the FOCA] creates a 'fundamental right' to abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, including a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons. No government body at any level would be able to 'deny or interfere with' this newly created federal right. Second, it forbids government at all levels to 'discriminate' against the exercise of this right 'in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.' For the first time, abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women."

    Rigali added: "We can’t reduce abortions by promoting abortion. . . . We cannot reduce abortions by insisting that every program supporting women in childbirth and child care must also support abortion. No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions."

    But, you need not take his word for it, or mind. Read what Planned Parenthood said about the FOCA, here:
    http://www.nrlc.org/FOCA/PPFAfoca-questions-12445.mht

    Obama also advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the law that since 1976 has blocked almost all federal funding of abortion. This has been one of the most successful "abortion reduction" policies ever adopted. By even the most conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment -- some of them are probably turning out for the Obama campaign's "Faith, Family, Values Tour" meetings. Even the Alan Guttmacher Institute (linked to Planned Parenthood) and NARAL admit that the Hyde Amendment (and the similar policies adopted by many states) have resulted in many, many babies being born who otherwise would have been aborted -- indeed, the pro-abortion groups periodically put out papers complaining about this effect. Obama has also pledged to make abortion coverage part of his proposed national health insurance plan.

    In this connection, it is important to understand that the Hyde Amendment must be renewed every year, because it is a "limitation amendment" on the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill. During some years, the Hyde Amendment was preserved only because Republican presidents threatened to veto, or did veto, HHS funding bills that did not contain the language to continue the ban. But renewal of the Hyde Amendment would be difficult if a president insisted that any funding bill that contained it would be face a veto.

    Obama even advocates repeal of the national ban on partial-birth abortions, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007 on a 5-4 vote, in a ruling that Obama harshly criticized. Indeed, one of the major purposes of the "Freedom of Choice Act," according to its prime sponsors, is the nullification of the ban on partial-birth abortions.

    Mr. Miller refers in passing to a "Human Life Amendment" to the Constitution. It should be noted that the Constitution does not give a president any formal role whatever in the constitutional amendment process. (An amendment requires a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress, and ratification by at least 38 state legislatures, but not the president's signature.) With respect to regular bills, however, such as the "Freedom of Choice Act," the president's hand holds great power: to veto the bill -- thereby protecting hundreds of pro-life laws and saving countless human lives, which is what a President John McCain would do if the "Freedom of Choice Act" reaches his desk -- or to sign, as Obama has pledged to do.

    Let me close with with just more example of how Obama would "make actual headway on this issue." Across the nation, crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) provide all manner of assistance to women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies, and they save the lives of many children. Late last year, RHrealitycheck.org, a prominent pro-abortion advocacy website, submitted in writing the following question to the Obama campaign (as part of a candidate questionnaire): "Does Sen. Obama support continuing federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers?"

    The Obama campaign response was short, but it speaks volumes: "No."

    Douglas Johnson
    Legislative Director
    National Right to Life
    Legfederal//at//aol-dot-com
    www.nrlc.org

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  2. Now THAT'S how you start a conversation off!

    Thanks very much for your post, Mr. Johnson.

    Jordan Green
    BWC

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  3. Regarding Obama's position on abortion:

    I personally can't see the logic in the stance of those who say they are "personally opposed to abortion but don't believe it's the governments place to legislate the issue" - words, it should be said, I've never directly heard from Obama - though I'm doing more research into that position.

    I am highly sensitive to the fact that the most vocal critics of abortion are men. (Feminists for Life, an organization whose members include Sarah Palin and one of my heroes, Martin Sheen, is a notable exception.) It doesn't surprise me that many pro-choice women feel like the "anti-abortion" position is just another form of patriarchy. I'd like to see more women speaking for the pro-life side. And, when men speak from that position, I'd like to hear a greater appreciation for the link between abortion and social justice (poverty, access to health care, and the burdens of modern society).

    I also don't think overturning Roe will dramatically lower the number of abortions in this country. It will throw the issue back to the states. A few states could conceivably outlaw all abortions, but most will not. We would also lose the existing federal restrictions on certain procedures, though we could expect states to enact their own restrictions.

    I've also found data which shows that those countries with the fewest restrictions on abortion actually have the lowest abortion rates, while certain countries where all abortion is outlawed have some of the highest rates of abortion.

    I think if we're serious about reducing the number of abortions in this country followers of Jesus should do a better job of promoting the sanctity of ALL life, including life outside the womb. I agree that babies are especially helpless and deserve special protection, but so do the civilians killed in our country's air attacks in Iraq and, most recently, Afghanistan. When the people calling for the protection of life in utero are the same people beating the drum for an unjust war, the pro-life message gets lost. We undermine our desire for a "culture of life" by sanctioning the torture of enemy combatants and executing criminals (snuffing out any opportunity for redemption). The Catholic idea of the "seamless garment of life" is a powerful concept worthy of serious consideration by evangelicals.

    All that being said, I am voting for Barack Obama despite his pro-choice position, not because of it. I appreciate what Donald says here about Obama's plan to reduce the number of abortions. I also agree that the Republican Party officials seem more interested in using abortion as a wedge issue to win elections rather than doing something about it.

    I'm reminded of the line from Obama's acceptance speech in which he said "What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that's what we have to restore. We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country."

    Finding common ground is the foundation we need to begin our conversation on this and so many other vital issues. Obama seems ready to have this conversation.

    I'll respond to the rest of the interview with Don in another comment.

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  4. I'm sad to say that I was starting to doubt my "gut". I was thinking, after reading this interview (and listening to this conversation for the last year in various news outlets and F2F discussions) that maybe I WAS one of "those" Christians.

    You know, the kind Donald was talking about. I was thinking, while reading this interview, that I WAS closing my mind. My opinion WAS formed and I was NOT wanting to try and find a common agreement with those willing to work w/in Obama's pro-choice/pro-life (still not sure what he is) stance.


    I came back here to confess and found Douglas Johnson's comments.


    I'm still interested in the dialogue but for me, the conversation just got a heckuva lot more interesting.

    Well done, Mr. Johnson!

    Good thoughts, Mr. Miller.

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  5. Whew! Gutsy.

    I'm not sure I agree with the statement "most evangelicals are voting for Barak," but maybe that's because I live in a bubble.

    What Don is doing is going to work. I don't mean it guarantees a democratic president, but rather that more and more Christians are going to see things differently because someone who they think of as one of them is taking a surprising stand. It's going to confuse people first, then it's going to wake people up.

    The challenge is to continue to befriend the conservatives who don't see things the same way we do(not stooping to criticize Dobson, for example). The thing the enemy (the real enemy) most wants and may get, is a civil war among Christians. We cannot allow that to happen.

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  6. Thank you for posting this interview. It's comforting to know that there are indeed others who believe that supporting Barack Obama doesn't mean you don't love Jesus.

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  7. I continually lament the fact that Ron Paul is not the Republican nominee. I find his stances on everything to be the most lucid and consistent i have ever heard on the national stage. I will be taking his advice and voting for a third party candidate. This is not a protest vote to say i don't want Obama or McCain (though i don't want McCain), but rather it is a vote to change the system. I'm greedy; i want more change than the two entrenched parties can offer. I'm done voting for platforms i agree with no more than half of. I want more options. I want the media to recognize that there are other ideas out there besides the mainstream Democrat and Republican ones. I want a political system that properly reflects the diversity and complexity of the issues that face our nation, rather than one that simplifies it to two "enemies", two idolized and vilified personalities.

    I am voting third party and campaigning for them to tell the media to stop ignoring Green, Libertarian, Constitution candidates or independents like Nader who are on the ballot of almost all the states. I am voting third party to try and get those parties enough votes to get federal funds next time around. I am voting for the long term, not just the next four years.

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  8. Jeremy made a very good point. I have a very hard time with my brothers and sisters in Christ using each others opinions, political or otherwise, as a barometer of their faith.

    So Donald Miller is voting for Obama? Good for him for taking a stand based upon the convictions of his heart. Even better is his apparent willingness to allow everyone else the same privilege.

    Like Melanie said, let's not play into the real enemy's hand.

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  9. I guess I read Miller's answers differently. To me he sounds like a little boy trying to justify a bad decision when he knows it makes no sense.

    There are certain issues that should be "wedge" issues, should make you take a stand. Killing children is one of them. This is our generation's issue whether we wish it or not.

    I am afraid that if Donald Miller lived in the time of Lincoln he would have opposed him in favor of someone else who would reduce slavery rather than trying to abolish it. If he lived in the time of Churchill he would have opposed him in favor of Chamberlain and appeasement. Is this really, as he says, the way he wants his family to remember him?

    There come times in our lives when we stand for what is right, even when it means the cool kids won't like us, or we are going to seem hard-nosed - simply because it is the right thing to do. Some issues really are black and white.

    I have been and continue to be a fan of Miller's writings. He is talented and creative and makes me think of things in new ways. I do not doubt his sincerity, just his wisdom. But there are just some things that are wrong. Period. No smooth talk is going to change it.

    On this issue, Obama is wrong. I have a hard time saying it, but his voting record, starting at the state level, is nothing less than a support for infanticide. Especially when he said on the floor of the Illinois senate that giving rights to children born in botched abortions would be dangerous because it would open up the possibility of rights being given to children who are yet unborn and be a blow to abortion rights. This is the man who says he wants to bring us together on this issue?

    For all their faults (and they would probably admit to many) at least the McCains/Palins live their commitment to life as parents of adopted and special needs children. That is something to be honored and speaks much for their character. Also, as a fairly new grandparent I must applaud their love and support for a pregnant daughter, welcoming the new child- quite different than Obama's saying he wouldn't want his daughter "punished" by a child should she make a mistake like that.

    I am sorry. Mr. Miller can try to talk around it all he wants. He will not convince me.

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  10. Don Miller has put himself out there in a bold step; one that I would argue is bigger than we’ve seen from politicians and Christians in 35 years. He’s taking a different look at the issue of abortion and encouraging people, especially other Christians do dig deeper and do the same.

    We only seem to talk about Roe v. Wade in election years. And it’s just talk. The word “overturning” appeared in the conversation only minutes after the opinion’s release in 1973 and nothing has changed. Thirty-five years of the same old rhetoric.

    But what we don’t often hear is how this magic overturning will take place. Please, please don’t simply tell me it’s about appointments to the courts, I know better than that.

    As a Christian and one who finds abortion to be a vile act, I remember learning about the court and slowly coming to the realization that overturning Roe is not as simple as it sounds.

    For starters, the court system is built on long-standing traditions; cases decide cases (aka: case law). Article III of the US Constitution grants the courts power in deciding “Cases” and “Controversies” but says little to the specifics; therefore, most of the rules of the court have developed through a history of tradition. Overturning cases is an extremely rare practice.

    But even if new appointments were made and the court wanted to overturn Roe, they don’t simply say, “Okay, it’s time we reverse that ruling.” Even if they could take up any issue that fancied them (some might call that legislating from the bench), they can’t because the court system just doesn’t work this way.

    First, a case or controversy must be brought before the court. A petitioner brings a legal claim of harm in which a respondent may answer to, and then the Justices decide the outcome.

    However, there are some additional requirements. Donald Miller can’t take a case about abortion before the courts because he doesn’t have standing to sue (at least not that I’m aware of). “To have standing to sue,” according to Understanding Constitutional Law 3rd Ed. by Redlich, Attanosio, and Goldstein, “an individual bringing a lawsuit in federal court must have a direct personal interest in the governmental act she challenges.” A mother or father has a direct personal interest. I believe that an unborn child, if defined as a person and afforded the rights of a citizen, would also have an obvious direct personal interest and that interest could potentially have representation like many other child services. However, at present, the definition of an unborn child is not such that the unborn child has this level of rights in a court of law. So, that leaves the father. (We’ll come back to this in a moment.)

    Next, there has to be some actual or legal harm. In the case of abortion, an abortion will probably have to actually have occurred that violated the right of another. Because the mother can choose to have an abortion or not, she is not legally harmed by the act, that is to say her right has not been violated by the government or another party. Considering that we’ve already established the lack of legal standing of the unborn child, this leaves only the father. Imagine a father who wished to keep and raise the child but the mother had an abortion against his wishes. Now the father would have standing and an actual harm, but what court would rule to place the ultimate decision in the hands of the father rather than with the woman carrying the child? That’s a highly unlikely ruling.

    So ultimately, if Christians wish to see Roe overturned, we need to press on our elected politicians more. We need not to "overturn" Roe v. Wade, but instead find a way to give a voice to the unborn. We can no longer afford to simply be okay with the misguided judicial appointment rhetoric.

    And in the meantime, we need to start looking for successful ways to prevent the need for abortions. It’s been thirty-five years; that should be enough time to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s a big problem and I agree with Don on this one; it’s time for a fresh approach.

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  11. I don't understand the mindset that would end all debate, end all conversation, over a single issue - when there are so many that bedevil us. The state of things is bad enough that ten months from now we may be wishing we had the luxury to debate abortion. No time, though. I've got to go forage for food like the main character in "The Road."

    Don, at the very end of the interview, brought up a point to which I can relate. He talked about weighing all the issues, doing the math, and picking the candidate we think will best govern the country.

    As I said in my last comment, I am voting for Barack Obama despite, not because of, his pro-choice position. But I have done the math and John McCain and Sarah Palin have been found wanting.

    This nation is facing a whole host of crises. I don't need to list them out, but I will, for rhetorical effect: a reputation in ruins, a world that distrusts us, neighbors distrusting each other, splintered families, a broken political system, Social Security facing bankruptcy, the skyrocketing costs of health care, the ballooning national debt, terrorist threat, nuclear proliferation, two wars (for now), and the looming collapse of the American and world economies. (Oh yeah, and in 2005 we let an American city drown.) We are witnessing firsthand the spiritual and practical bankruptcy of many of the policies of the Bush administration - though there is plenty of blame to go around. John McCain has long ago abandoned the facade of "maverick" and is doing the best he can to identify himself with the policies of the Bush administration in an effort to win the support of people from my faith tradition. And it's working.

    Obama - while far from a perfect candidate - offers clear alternatives from Bush and McCain.

    I was on the fence until tonight. I was going to vote for Obama but I was uncomfortable actively working for his election. To paraphrase a friend, it felt like I was erecting empire only to knock it down. But there is too much at stake. If it means being intellectually dishonest for the next 40 days, so be it.

    I am going to do everything I can to get Obama elected, while trying to maintain a commitment to the poor, to the marginalized, and to "the least of these," and to creation. I hope very much that I have the chance to be a thorn in the side of a President Obama.

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  12. You know, John, you raise a good question about whether or not a single issue should color our decision in who to vote for. I never would have thought it, being a card carrying Dem and a NPR loving, Oregonian native (who was raised "free to be you and me") but.............

    Something happened when I came to Christ and what I realized, for me, is that the sanctity of life was THE thing that I could not ignore.

    Believe me, I was actually SICK about it last election but for me, there was this conviction, the kind you get when you know God is speaking to you directly in a clear and loving way, that let me know it was okay to get "hung up" on abortion.

    The reason it's okay to me may seem simple and lacking in intellectual savvy but you know what? I think that's the way God would have it for this girl.

    Just like I don't bother myself with all the various programs and methods out there for reaching the lost (not that they aren't helpful to be aware of) because I know I'm not the one who is going to do anything (it's GOD who calls His children home), so is my view on this issue.

    In "witnessing" to others, all I need to "preach"is Christ crucified. Getting hung up on everything else (doctrine, denominations, etc.) only serves to remove Jesus from the situations He's presenting me with.

    Same thing with politics.

    Now, that doesn't mean that I bury my head in the sand or that I chastise anyone else for being convicted otherwise but for me, I keep it simple and foundational.

    Abortion is about as "child-like" as it gets.

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  13. Randy Alcorn posted some great stuff on his blog. I mentioned the discussion we're having here as one worth checking out.

    If you're interested:
    http://randyalcorn.blogspot.com/

    I haven't watched/read the videos/articles yet but I thought it wouldn't hurt if we all could speak as factually and knowledgeably about this as Douglas Johnson, myself included.

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  14. Leanne,

    I'm concerned now that I may have come across as condescending. I didn't mean to imply that single-issue voters lack intelligence or savvy. I don't understand it, but that is as much about my personality as anything else. I embrace complexity, even adore it. It sometimes happens, though, that I make things complex which are actually quite simple.

    I admire your devotion to the pro-life cause and appreciate the way you articulated it with such simplicity and grace.

    Thanks for your commitment to civility. I apologize if I came across as anything close to disrespectful.

    John

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  15. John Pattison wrote: "Regarding Obama's position on abortion: I personally can't see the logic in the stance of those who say they are 'personally opposed to abortion but don't believe it's the governments place to legislate the issue' -- words, it should be said, I've never directly heard from Obama -- though I'm doing more research into that position."

    Well, Obama does want the federal government to "legislate the issue." He wants a federal statute that would knock down virtually all barriers to abortion, including late abortions -- a statute that would continue with undiminished force even if Roe v. Wade is entirely overturned. As I explained in my earlier post, Obama is a cosponsor of S. 1173, the "Freedom of Choice Act," which would prohibit any level of government from having any policy that would "interfere with" access to abortion, whether for adults or minors. The bill would also prohibit any government agency or official, at any level, from engaging in any action that would "discriminate against the exercise of" the right to abortion with respect to any "benefits, facilities, services, or information." Aside from clearly eliminating the Hyde Amendment and all other laws that restrict public subsidies for elective abortions, this sweeping anti-"discrimination" clause would cover everything from rural health clinics, to health education programs in public schools, to pro-life proclaimations by public officials.

    But, if you want to hear directly from Obama on the question of legislating to limit abortions, here are some statements from his July 17, 2007 speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

    "We know that a woman's right to make a decision about how many children she wants to have and when -- without government interference -- is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have in this country. . . . I have worked on this issue for decades now. I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freeom when I taught constitutional law. . . .So, you know where I stand. But this is more than just about standing our ground. It must be about more than protecting the gains of the past. We're at a crossroads right now in America -- and we have to move this country forward. This election is not just about playing defense, it's also about playing offense."

    Minutes later, he made the statement I quoted earlier: "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

    I think perhaps this is not the sort of "headway on this issue" that Donald Miller was hoping for, in the interview above.

    (There is much more of this sort of thing in the Obama speech and the question-and-answer session that followed. Videos of both are posted on various internet sites. A transcript of both the speech and the question session is posted here:
    http://lauraetch.googlepages.com/barackobamabeforeplannedparenthoodaction)

    If Obama ever said he was "personally opposed" to abortion, I didn't see it. However, he did say, on March 29, 2008, at a town hall meeting in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, "If they [my daughters] make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

    John Pattison also wrote: "I am highly sensitive to the fact that the most vocal critics of abortion are men."

    I have been involved with the right-to-life movement at the national level for over a quarter-century, and locally before that, and that certainly has not been my observation. The board of directors of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), which is a good reflection of the national right-to-life movement because it consists of a delegate selected by each state's affiliated Right to Life federation (along with eight elected by the membership at large), has been predominantly female during the entire time I have worked for the organization (since 1981), and I think earlier as well. The current ratio on the NRLC board is nearly 2-to-1 female, which has been fairly typical. Most of the organization's presidents have also been women, including the current president, Wanda Franz, Ph.D., who has served in that capacity since 1991. Most of the presidents and executive directors of state Right-to-Life organizations are also women. It may be that by "the most vocal" you mean "the ones I usually see on TV," but that of course in partly a function of the decisions that network producers make about who to seek out. In some cases, such mainstream media gatekeepers go to people who fit their mental image of what a pro-life activist should look or sound like, rather than to people who really represent the grassroots pro-life movement locally or nationally.

    Having said that, it is not the critics-of-abortion-movement, it is the right-to-life movement. The reason that we are "critics of abortion" is that it is a violation of the right to life, and men and women should be equally concerned with the right to life. Men and women enter this world by the same route. And certainly, at least half of the humans who are killed by abortion are female -- indeed, more than half, due to the growing prevalence of sex selection abortion in some places.

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  16. Wow!! Initially this blog post and all these comments left me speechless, but I do have some thoughts to share.

    Like most here, I am pro-life. I recently had a miscarriage after 8 years of trying to conceive, and know personally the sanctity of life. I remember learning that the first sign of life God gave my baby was the beating heart. And, I saw the heartbeat and the baby on the ultrasound and instantly loved that child. I still grieve today for the baby I lost.

    With that being said, I personally vote this November on only one election issue. Are not the lives of the servicemen and women equal to that of the unborn? My husband served in Iraq. I feared daily for his life and neither of us support this war after our own experiences. We have friends who have spent three of the past five years over there. I grieve for their lives and for their families. I grieve for my brother who filed bankruptcy this year due to economic woes. And, I grieve for my mother who struggles to pay her medical bills because she is retired and lives on a fixed income with little insurance coverage. I fear for the day she may have some catastrophic illness. To me, all these issues are of equal importance in this election. I believe that the current administration has failed the citizens in all these areas over the past eight years. And, I do believe it is time for a change. I believe that Obama will make more change in these areas than McCain will. McCain has become a Bush "yes man" in recent years, and I do not trust his judgement.

    Just as John Pattison, I will vote for Obama in spite of his stance on abortion. I do not believe either party will ever do anything about hot button issues. It is all rhetoric and as soon as elections are over, nothing is said or done about abortion. I believe that rather than waiting for legislation to change or the slim possibilty of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, that we, as Christians, need to begin with education. It's not enough to educate our children on abstinence alone. They need to have a full sex education and understand consequences of choices they made. Then, they need to understand and feel loved enough that should they become pregnant, they can actually go to their parents to discuss the options rather than obtaining an abortion. I think the majority of abortions likely come from staunch Christian homes where children do not feel safe to tell parents of the sin they have commited. That is where the travesty lies in my eyes!

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  17. Donald Miller has been one of my heroes of the faith since I read Blue Like Jazz five years ago. However, I have been perplexed by the way he has decided to promote the ideas of the american political system. After reading Claiborne and Haw's Jesus for President, I am not sure how Christ-followers can align ourselves with an empire and a president rather than pledging our allegiance to a King and His kingdom. I plan to vote Jesus for president. I still love Donald Miller. I'm just confused.

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  18. Paragraph 3 in previous post: I meant to say, "I personally cannot vote this November on only one election issue."

    Sorry!

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  19. @JP (John Pattison)-Can I call you JP? :D

    You absolutely did not offend. In fact, it is your very personality and your passion that I was responding to. I am thrilled you could see I was doing the same and honor that.

    *smiles*

    I think this is EXACTLY "WJJD" ;)

    @ Lisa- you nailed it completely. For you, there are other issues, equally as important, equally as impacting. I think that is JUST what God intended when He knit each of us together.

    We're different, people, and that's not a bad thing. Yes, for those of us who follow Jesus, we have a leader unlike any other, but, I truly believe if we are in line with His will we'll KNOW what to do.

    "You will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right or turn to the left.', right guys????

    (and I'm not talking about some checks and balances system or some "holy scorecard", either, but rather if we are living and loving with Him so deeply that when He speaks to us, we HEAR Him)

    So, just ask He has wired us differently so that we might be able to reach the myriad of people in this lost, lost world, so had He done so with this election, this blog and this very day.

    Is it just me or is that something to CELEBRATE?!?!?!

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  20. Thanks, Donald, for an insightful and fair article on the subject. However, I have to disagree with your statements about Obama's abortion position. (Disclaimer: I have endorsed McCain.) Obama's position is that it is necessary to change hearts, not laws, to end abortion.

    Real change doesn't work that way. Slavery didn't end only because hearts were changed (although that was necessary). Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitution was amended to end slavery, even though many people still thought it was right.

    The Civil Rights movement determined that laws must be changed; in fact, a many southern conservatives argued that hearts should change FIRST. Martin Luther King and others rejected their logic, and rightfully so.

    Barack Obama doesn't talk about changing hearts on the environment; he talks about signing the Kyoto accords, requiring alternative energy, and providing tax incentives. His opinion seems to be that those who disagree will catch up to the law.

    Finally, it is incorrect to state that abortion rates remain constant under pro-life leadership. Under President Bush, abortion rates have declined (according to Planned Parenthood and Right to Life; Sojourners Magazine has a different view). In my own state of Michigan, restricting late term abortions and requiring parental notification have made a significant decrease in the abortion rate.

    I would love to endorse a pro-life Democrat for president, but so far even moderate Democrats are bowing down to Emily's List and Planned Parenthood.

    It is not enough to talk about Jesus, the cross, and redemption. David Duke can do that as well as I can. The gospel must be lived.

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  21. As a Bible-believing Christian, I am PRO-LIFE and will vote ALL my values. That means I am against war, against the death penalty, against discrimination, against destroying life on this planet through pollution and oil addiction, in favor of welcoming the alien, and against policies that lead to violence and poverty around the world. Life doesn't begin at conception and end at birth. Though he is far from perfect, this is why I support Obama for President.

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  22. Man! I'm in love with you guys! All of you!!! This is the first forum that I've found where Christians who disagree are carrying on a gracious and thoughtful debate. Seriously, you have inspired me. I had begun to lose hope and faith in the American church, and you have all restored that faith.

    No matter which side you are on I hope you will join me in praying and working to see these kinds of discussions become the norm in Christian circles. Create a blog. Leave messages on Facebook. Talk to your friends. We've got to work together to restore integrity and grace to the church in America if there is to be any hope of restoring it to the political process.

    As for the abortion issue, I have to say that I really appreciated Douglas Johnson's posts. They were helpful and insightful. However, I'm still voting for Barack Obama. Abortions happened in this country before Roe v. Wade, though we'll never know how many. Criminalizing abortions has never stopped abortions.

    A friend of mine just got back from Poland. She said that as a member of the EU Poland must allow abortions. However, she said that the spiritual climate is such that it has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world.

    I'm tired of being used by Republicans with no genuine commitment to life. Ending abortion requires two things, a spiritual awakening and an economic environment that includes healthcare for pregnant women and children and hope for the future. I'm ready to see real reductions in the number of abortions and I'm not willing to put principle above reality any longer. Who cares if we get abortion criminalized but fail to actually reduce abortions?

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  23. Kay Hart,

    Of course, only you will decide who you will vote for. But, I hope that you will not kid yourself into thinking that if Barack Obama is elected, that it will not increase the number of abortions performed. The abortion policies to which Obama is firmly committed, including his desire to nullify the state and federal pro-life laws and policies won at great cost over the past 35 years, will substantially increase the number of abortions, to the extent his policies are achieved.

    The administrations of the Republican presidents have, in fact, implemented and advanced pro-life policies that have saved many lives, and that continue to save lives. Space here only allows me to give a few examples, but many additional examples can be found on the NRLC website section titled "Presidential Records," here: http://www.nrlc.org/PresidentialRecords.htm

    Here's one example: The so-called "Mexico City Policy," originally adopted by President Reagan, which cut off U.S. aid to organizations that perform or promote abortion "as a method of family planning" overseas, has had an enormous impact in reinforcing the pro-life laws that already protect unborn child in many less-developed countries. Each of the Republican presidents has implemented this policy. President Clinton removed the policy, and indeed the Clinton Administration actually pressured foreign governments to adopt a doctrine that abortion on demand was a fundamental right and should be freely available everywhere. The Clinton Administration also pumped hundreds of millions of dollars to the most aggressively pro-abortion organizations. As a U.S. senator, Obama's first abortion-related vote was in favor of an amendment to nullify the Mexico City Policy. (That amendment passed the Senate, but was dropped in the face of a veto threat from President Bush). Of course, Obama would nullify the executive order that enforces the Mexico City Policy immediately upon being sworn in.

    Just during the tenure of the current President, and thanks in substantial part to his efforts, we have won enactment of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002 (Obama killed a virtually identical bill in the Illinois legislature in 2003), the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2004, the Hyde-Weldon law in 2004 (a sweeping federal anti-discrimination shield for pro-life health care providers), the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 2004, and others. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated, in one fell swoop, the bans on partial-birth abortion that had been enacted by more than half of the states, but in 2007, the same Court upheld the congressional ban on partial-birth abortions, on a 5-4 vote, with President Bush's two appointees voting to uphold the law.

    Moreover, as I touched on earlier, the pro-life movement has won enactment of literally hundreds of state laws related to abortion that, despite the severe limits imposed by the Supreme Court's pro-abortion rulings, are do save many lives. Studies by both pro-life researchers and pro-abortion researchers agree about this effect, although of course the pro-abortion side uses different language to describe it. These laws include informed consent laws (some of which now require that ultrasound images and/or information on fetal pain be made available), waiting periods, and parental notification and consent laws. All of these laws would be knocked flat by the "Freedom of Choice Act," regarding which Obama promised Planned Parenthood, "The first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act."

    Also, allow me to revisit the question of government funding for elective abortion. In 1993, there was debate in Congress over whether to continue the Hyde Amendment, which since 1976 has blocked federal Medicaid funding for abortion. The Congressional Budget Office (at that time under Democratic control) wrote, "Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and from States that currently pay for abortions using state funds, the federal government would probably fund between 325,000 to 675,000 abortions each year [if the federal government resumed Medicaid funding for abortion]. The increase in the total number of abortions would be smaller, however, because some abortions that are currently funded by other sources would be partially or totally paid from federal funds . . ."

    The Hyde Amendment, and the similar policies adopted by many states, are saving many lives. According to a 2007 NARAL factsheet, "A study by The Guttmacher Institute shows that Medicaid-eligible women in states that exclude abortion coverage have abortion rates of about half of those women in statesthat fund abortion care with their own dollars. This suggests that the Hyde amendment forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead."

    Although Speaker Nancy Pelolsi and most other Democratic congressional leaders are hostile to the Hyde Amendment, the law has been extended anyway because President Bush issued a letter in early 2007 saying that he would veto any bill that weakens any existing pro-life policy (see http://www.nrlc.org/Records/PresidentBushToPelosiProLifeVetoes.pdf). However, because the Hyde Amendment (and a number of similar provisions that govern other federal programs) must be renewed annually, things could change quickly under a president determined to re-establish federal funding of abortion on demand.

    Kay Hart, you hope to see increased "healthcare for pregnant women and children," which you see as one factor to reduce the number of abortions. But even in this area, if you look at the record, you will find that with Barack Obama, where pro-abortion ideology conflicts with that goal, the pro-abortion ideology always wins.

    Here is one example: The State Children's Health Insurance (SCHIP) program is a federal program that provides funds to states primarily to provide health services to children of low-income families. Under a regulation issued by the Bush Administration in 2002, states have the option of covering unborn children under the program, a policy known as the "unborn child rule." Among its other effects, this rule allowed states to provide SCHIP services to pregnant women who were undocumented aliens and therefore otherwise ineligible for SCHIP, because the rule established eligibility through the child. However, the rule was harshly attacked by the abortion lobby (since they oppose any law or policy that recognizes the unborn child as a human entity), and it would be on the "hit list" for a future administrative repeal by any administration allied with these groups. Therefore, in August, 2007, during consideration of legislation to reauthorize and expand the SCHIP program, pro-life Senator Wayne Allard (R-Co.) offered an NRLC-backed amendment to codify the "unborn child rule." The Allard Amendment would have written explicit language into the SCHIP statute to guarantee that a covered child "includes, at the option of a State, an unborn child." The amendment further defined "unborn child" as "a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." Senator Obama voted "no" on the Allard Amendment failed, and it failed by a single vote 49 to 50. (Roll call no. 302, August 2, 2007.) The "unborn child rule" continues in force -- but only on the authority of the current president. It will be on the Obama hit list.

    Here is another example, which I touched on earlier: There are a great many "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in this country, mostly funded privately, that provide critical assistance to a great number of women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies. In recent years, a very modest amount of federal money has been made available to CPC networks in some states. Pro-life members of Congress for years have sought legislation to substantially increase this funding, but it has been blocked by lawmakers allied with the abortion industry, which includes the current Democratic leadership of both the House and the Senate. This continuing disagreement over such funding is the reason why the prominent pro-abortion advocacy operation RHrealitycheck.org included the question I quoted above on its presidential candidate questionnaire. Here again is their question: "Does Sen. Obama support continuing federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers?" And here again is the official written response from the Obama campaign: "No."

    So, Obama has already told us that he wants to stop federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers, and that he wants to include funding for elective abortions in his proposed national health care system, and in Medicaid. There is an ideological consistency, and if that ideology becomes the ideology that emanates from the Oval Office, the result will be quite the opposite of a reduction in abortions.


    Kay Hart, you also wrote, "Abortions happened in this country before Roe v. Wade, though we'll never know how many. Criminalizing abortions has never stopped abortions."

    Actually, when the unborn child is protected by law, it does stop many abortions. Not all, but a great many. There is abundant evidence that the effect of making abortion on demand legal, and all that flows from legalization, greatly increases the number of abortions performed.

    In the years immediately after Roe v. Wade was handed down, as the modern "abortion industry" was being established and freestanding "abortion clinics" established across the nation, most states adopted requirements for reporting legal abortions, so we have a handle on how many legal abortions have been performed annually since Roe. The curve went up sharply for quite a number of years -- for example, the number of legal reported abortions increased by about 75 percent just between 1974 and 1981, leveled off around 1.6 million for a number of years, and then began to drop to the current annual level of about 1.3 million. From this trajectory and from analysis of data from before Roe, researchers have come up with responsible ranges for the number of abortions that might have been performed annually in the U.S. prior to legalization, and it is a small fraction of the current figure.

    The effect of removing legal barriers to abortion, and of creating a situation in which abortion can be turned into a big business, results in a great increase in the number of abortions performed, with many people relying on abortion as a method of birth control. Even Stanley Henshaw, Ph.D., the longtime research director for the Alan Guttmacher Institute (closely linked to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation's largest abortion provider) has written, "In most countries, it is common after abortion is legalized for abortion rates to rise sharply for several years, then stabilize, just as we have seen in the United States."

    You also wrote that Poland "has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world." This would be additional evidence for my case, because, while I am no expert on the subject, it is my understanding that abortion remains generally unlawful in Poland, under a law enacted in 1993. I understand that there are exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or for certain serious medical conditions. Last year the European Court of Human Rights awarded damages to a Polish woman who purportedly qualified under an exception in the law because of a serious medical condition but who was nevertheless unable to obtain an abortion. A news story summarizing the ruling said it "obliges all 46 member states of the Council of Europe to ensure abortions are available where they are legal," but in most cases, they are not legal in Poland.

    Douglas Johnson
    Legislative Director
    National Right to Life Committee (NRLC)
    http://www.nrlc.org

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  24. Let it be said out loudly, it is axiomatic that the issue of "pro-life" as political agenda, is pure stunt. The real agenda should be about "medical safety of an abortion".The pro-life issue should be stricken and removed from political campaign agenda, because how it's being used today, offers only divisive energies, that helps to foster a false option of one party and bitterness among voters.

    The total responsibility to, copulate, give time, moral support, and economic substance to a child, etc., is intrinsically a personal family matter. Sex is what brings the young one being aborted, so want to make sex a political agenda then? The pro-life issue is a disrespectful attacks on adults who for whatever reason chose not to continue a pregnancy, and no God has given the power to anyone to overrule that individual right.

    Furthermore, the proponents of the pro-life agenda, are first to start frivolous war against other nations, killing thousands of adults, it is then an overbearing act of hypocrisy on their part, to profess they're "pro-life". It's instead, pro-disrespect and pro-death.

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  25. I am completely pro-life from natural conception to natural death.
    I am a Christian.
    I am a Democrat.
    I live in a Red County where people have openly and honestly questioned my faith and salvation because of my political preference.

    The phrase "the sanctity of life" has been used here, in these comments and I would like to add my 2 cents. Sanctity of life is far more reaching than just abortion. It includes universal health care, the environment, war, poverty and poverty alleviation. To simply vote 'pro-life' while ignoring the other major issues that define and maintain life is ...well, it's unChristian.

    One thing I have noticed in my conversations with pro-life Republicans is that none of them volunteer in local Right to Life chapters. Their definition of being pro-life is voting once every 4 years. It does NOT include volunteering for Bethany Christian Services, adoption agencies, new mom networks, abstinence programs or programs to keep kids off the streets. Are those organizations not all pro-life? Don't they need your time? How can one claim to be pro-life but not actively pursue the preservation of life? This continues to perplex me.

    Abstinence programs are allowed in public schools. They need volunteers. Two days ago one of my students was shot and killed by a gang while walking down the street - what is the response of a pro-life Republican? What are they doing to preserve life in poor, under-resourced neighborhoods?

    For 20 out of the last 28 years we have had a Republican president. Each term I hear Republicans hold their breath, cross their fingers and say, "This is the time...this guy will overturn Roe V. Wade." Yet I don't see that we are any closer to making that a reality.

    Please, if you vote pro-life, step up to the plate and DO SOMETHING about it. Yes, it will require your personal time and energy but you will finally be preserving "the sanctity of life."

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  26. Diane wrote: Each term I hear Republicans hold their breath, cross their fingers and say, "This is the time...this guy will overturn Roe V. Wade." Yet I don't see that we are any closer to making that a reality.

    Senator Joseph Biden said: "I strongly support Roe v. Wade. . .That's why I led the fight to defeat Bork. Thank God he is not in the court or Roe v. Wade would be gone by now." South Carolina Democratic debate, April 26, 2007.

    Senator Barack Obama said: "With one more vacancy on the Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a woman's fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe versus Wade, and that is what is at stake in this election." Speech to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007.

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  27. With all due respect Mr. Johnson, I was making a reference to how PEOPLE should work to make change and not rely on VOTING.

    To quote more stuff at me isn't helpful and actually solidifies my thoughts about pro-life Republicans.

    It demonstrates that I was not heard.

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  28. I have to agree with Diane that our faith must be met with action, just as it says in James.
    And like everyone else, I just wanted to add a few things. I think that abortion is wrong, and if Roe v Wade is overturned, that would be great. But the decision to have an abortion is a symptom of the bigger problem of our brokenness, and a law will not fix that. When I look at Christ's example, I do not think of him campaigning or voting (not that these things are wrong). He was more concerned about real people, much to the dismay of Zealots… Romans 8 says, "through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering." The law is powerless to change hearts, and so if our brokenness cannot be manifested in abortion because of a law, it will show itself in another way. As Christians, we are called to get our hands dirty, and get to know and love women who are pregnant and want a way out. In fact, we should be loving them before they get to that point.
    That's why I do not vote solely on my feelings about abortion. If Roe v Wade is overturned, and that child is born, what happens next? Will that child be treated well by parents who didn’t want him? Will she grow up in poverty with no hope for the future? Jesus came that we “might have life, and have it more abundantly,” and I think that this should be what Christians think of when they promote the sanctity of life. Our actions, more than our votes, should fight for everyone to understand the life that Jesus came to give.

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  29. It's very easy to point out inconsistencies in the pro-life movement, no question. But many of us who are pro-life attempt to live out our convictions.

    I have friends who have adopted single mothers and helped them through the difficult process of beginning an independent life with their children. My inner-city church and pastor work tirelessly to support single moms (as well as married moms) who choose life -- and we celebrate Life Sunday and participate in Life Chain.

    Randy Alcorn, who was referenced in a previous comment, was interviewed while participating in Life Chain (this Sunday, by the way). The reporter made this same accusation -- that pro-lifers care about babies until they are born. Alcorn disagreed, citing his family's actions in adopting a single mother, financially supporting orphans, and working to improve society in other ways. Then, he introduced the reporter to his friend, a pastor who had adopted 15 (I think, I may be 1 or two off) special needs children. The reporter wasn't interested.

    Sure, many of us single-issue voters support McCain, but that's not the whole story. It's just one part of the larger battle which is changing the culture for life.

    I don't want to attack anyone; I have friends who are Christians supporting Obama, and I don't want this disagreement to hurt our ability to reach people with the life-giving gospel.

    However, I strongly believe that abortion is the defining moral issue of our time. That's a judgment call, and you can disagree with it.

    If it's true, then I must do everything in my power to stop it and to transform a culture that is bent on destroying itself.

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  30. Here's a question for all of you commentators: where do you stand on the issue of abortion for victims of rape and incest?

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  31. To answer Robert's comments about where I stand on abortion in the issue of rape or incest, you guys probably won't like this, but I cite Romans 8:28.

    Now, before you unleash a firestorm of criticism, sit through your reactions and ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, I know a little about which I speak.

    God DOES work ALL things through the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

    This isn't about Obama OR McCain, at least it's not to me. It's about what we put FIRST and who or what we trust.

    Simplistic?

    You betcha, but then I am one of those incredibly child-like believers.

    Doesn't mean each one of us has to agree or that God won't be glorified in what we earnestly try to do in His name.

    I say, if you are convicted of something and you are a believer actively walking in the will of God (or stumbling along like the rest of us), then your passionate beliefs about what you think God is leading you to do are not mine to criticize, for I believe He puts those passions in our hearts.

    As I have said before and as has Tim, abortion is THE issue.....for me.

    Lisa said it very well in her response, too, that while we are in agreement on abortion, it's not THE issue for her.

    Lisa is my sister-in-Christ (whom I've never met, btw). If I expect any understanding or acceptance from her, don't I have to extend the same?????

    I think that's what we're trying to do here, what Donald Miller is trying to do.

    Hopefully, we leave this discussion closer and better for the dialogue than we were when we first started it.

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  32. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this forum and would like to bring attention to another aspect of this complex issue of abortion. Would it not perhaps be a better use of our time and energy to concentrate on pregnancy PREVENTION, rather than what to do after someone gets pregnant? If someone wants an abortion then they didn't want to get pregnant to begin with,so let's focus on WHY these women are getting pregnant, and how to decrease unwanted pregnancies. That would mean concentrating on issues that the democratic party is championing, such as poverty, sex education that goes beyond abstinence-only education, etc. If we do not concentrate on social and economic problems, we are merely putting a band-aid on things by banning abortion. Our health care system would not be having the problems that it is having if we focused on PREVENTING disease rather than just how we are going to pay for TREATING preventable diseases. Isn't that something we can all agree on?
    Shea

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  33. Good points, Robert and Anonymous.

    To Robert, the first thing is to remember that less than 1% of abortions are related to rape or incest. That doesn't make it any less of an issue to those that are experiencing it, but if America allowed only abortions for rape, incest, or life of the mother, there would be far fewer abortions.

    The second thing to remember is that there really is no such thing as an "illegitimate" child. Even though something wrong may have occurred at conception, it is not the child's fault, and he or she should not have to die for somebody else's crime. I'm not minimizing rape or incest; I am just saying that if a conceived child is a human life created in God's image, then it is wrong to kill that child. For any reason.

    Now, I realize that as a man I perhaps lack some authority to speak on this subject, so I approach it with humility. Yet, it is vitally important to recognize the personhood of the child; if we start with that, some of these questions will be resolved.

    Anonymous, thanks for your concern as well.

    I believe that abortion has actually contributed to unplanned pregnancies because it has removed responsibility from men. Abortion made sex without consequences possible, and the implications for our culture are horrendous (as we can see).

    In addition, welfare has institutionalized the single parent and (at least for two decades) encouraged single parenting.

    Every week, I deal with boys and girls who are being raised without a dad. Many of them are living in deep poverty and have experienced first-hand rejection from the guy who should be their biggest hero.

    The implications of this cannot be overstated. Moms are left holding the bag, and the only way to keep money coming into the house is to have more children.

    In no way am I blaming abortion and the current welfare system for all of the inner-city's problems, but it definitely has not contributed to the solution.

    The problem with the Democrats' approach to this -- and you are right that they, at least, identify the problems correctly -- but the problem is that they insist on repairing the problem without a moral framework. They are unwilling to say that sex outside of marriage is wrong. They are unwilling to say that abortion is wrong. My former Democratic mayor even argued against character education in the schools! (Shortly before he was indicted on charges of perjury himself.)

    We are not arguing for a theocracy, but society requires a moral framework to operate.

    Also - Lisa, Robert, Douglas, and the rest of you, thanks for the civility in this conversation. We all have strong feelings on this subject, obviously, but I appreciate the common respect.

    William Bennett says (quoting Socrates, I think) that dialogue requires candor, intelligence, and good will, three ingredients lacking in today's political system.

    I appreciate the candor, intelligence, and good will in these comments. Thank you!

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  34. wow interesting article ... and interesting follow up comments as well! I like seeing different Christians perspectives on this issue, especially when we are discussing it outside the usual rhetoric that Christians have become synonymous with. It's great to hear thoughtful discussion. I have a different opinion that I haven't yet heard addressed so I thought that I would throw in my two cents just to add additional thoughts ... I am a Christian, who does not believe in abortion, but after examination of the issue have politically considered myself to be pro choice. The problem is that I don't think we have a right to make it illegal. I agree, it is murder. but what concerns me is the fact that people in that situation are often desperate enough to have the procedure done any way it possibly can. This often means that they will have it done in unsafe conditions that cause severe health problems. Aside from that, I also believe that when we as Christians take such a prolife stand politically, it puts us at odds with those who are in this situation. They view christians as the ones standing in the way of their choice to get rid of a baby. And regardless of whether or not we believe they should have that choice, the fact is that Roe vs. Wade isn't going to be overturned. That is why I believe Christians need to turn away from this issue, and begin to promote pro life issues, not politically but practically. I saw a mega - church billboard recently that said "Considering Abortion? We will adopt your child". This is the kind of thing we need! rather than politically putting ourselves at odds with people about an issue that has already been settled on by the supreme court, we should be reaching out to those who are considering abortion and helping them. Not shoving the idea that abortion is wrong down their throats, but respecting them, and supporting them regardless of what they choose. It is our responsibility to help them with an alternative to abortion. Basiclly the point is that maybe its time to stop legislating our beliefs, and begin to promote them as a church body. Politics will never change the world. Politicians as Don Miller pointed out are fallen. THe government is fallen. But of course they are a part of our human reality. But its time for people to take into account the fact that if we want change, we should stop creating a political fire storm over issues that won't be changed, and begin to reach out to people, and promote pro life - from natural conception to natural birth, regardless of what the state legislates or not.

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  35. I've read a lot of the comments but not all of them... so if this is a repetitive point, my apologies.

    Don, my concern is that history has shown us that religious leaders who've publicly endorsed politicians nearly always regret it. In fact, I can't think of a single example of a time it hasn't backfired-- just ask Billy Graham. Or all of the Christians who put their faith on the line for GWB. The problem, in an oversimplified statement, is that you are endorsing a MAN. It seems to me uncomfortably similar to the Israelites begging God for a King to lead and save them. They got what they wanted and we all know how that turned out. Of course, i don't expect you to blatantly acknowledge a hope that Barack Obama is the savior we need-- but it's an implied expectation reverberating throughout this country. He will fail us. John McCain will fail us. And what happens (a long shot, I realize) if John McCain wins? Do you pack up and go home b/c your endorsed candidate loses? Wouldn't it be so much more Christlike to know that our agendas and efforts are steady REGARDLESS of the "earthly kings" we serve? I also cannot fathom Jesus himself hitting the campaign trail for either candidate. It's putting the focus on the wrong place. Tread carefully, Brother.

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  36. Quoting Cardinal Rigali:
    "We can’t reduce abortions by promoting abortion. . . .

    Should this also mean we can't reduce war by promoting war? If we are opposed to abortion yet still promote abortions, then we should have the intellectual honesty to apply that same logic to war, single parenthood, obesity, being poor, lying, stealing, swearing, smoking, bailing out wall street...and so on.
    I am with Mr. Johnson on this one. Well done sir. I was like that other poster who said they were ready to get on and flog himself for being so unhip and unthinking, UNTIL they read your post. But then I remembered Obama's talk at Planned Parenthood. Glad Mr. Johnson brought that up. Too bad Donald Miller conveniently left out that information about his candidate.

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  37. Anonymous stated: "I am a Christian, who does not believe in abortion, but after examination of the issue have politically considered myself to be pro choice. The problem is that I don't think we have a right to make it illegal."
    If the governing body imposes a speed limit that decides how fast that I drive my car in order to protect me and all others on the road, can they not also decide to impose a penalty on abortion to protect the children in the womb?

    And to the other anonymous poster who said stated: "Sex is what brings the young one being aborted, so want to make sex a political agenda then? The pro-life issue is a disrespectful attacks on adults who for whatever reason chose not to continue a pregnancy, and no God has given the power to anyone to overrule that individual right." You assume that this sex resulting in conception transpires only between adults, not between two teenagers who are unaware of what they are doing and how they are impacting their lives. And what about the "individual right" of the unborn child who is the result of this sex and is aborted? He or she had no say on the sex that conceived them. But according to you, this is not that child's right; it is only the right of the two "adults." Is that fair? How did you decide which individual right took precedence when you made this statement?

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  38. I want to do things to reduce the number of abortions, but I don't think most offered solutions will do that. Increasing government programs and transfer payments will not do that.

    Removing the goal of making abortion "rare" from the Democratic platform won't.

    Signing a law to undo thirty years of pro-life advances in one day won't.

    Appointing more SCOTUS justices in the mold of Ginsberg won't.

    The church stepping up to help women who need it might.

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  39. Personally, I don't know what to thnk about alot of things going on in our country right now. The one thing I do know, though, is that Jesus calls us to live in the world and be salt and light. The foremost component of that is love and sometimes we as Christians foresake love for self righteousness. We have all sinned and fall very short of the glory of God!! None of us deserves the grace that has been given to us, not one!!!

    That being said, I feel like the sanctity of life is a primary component of Christians showing God's love. Abortion kills babies and it affects the lives of both the women and men involved in them. Pregnancy Centers around the country and working hard to help not only save the lives of these little ones, but also offer counseling and love to the women that are in these situations. They offer that love not only to women that choose to have their child, but also to women that have choosen to abort their child. God doesn't call us to judge, but to be his hands and feet here in a hurting world. That means scooping up these women that have made that choice and offering them the love and forgiveness that only God can give. My understanding, and I admit it is small, from what I have read is that Obama will try and make it harder for these agencies to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these women. Planned Parenthood would have you hide the truth about what is going on in your body and would like to discredit any agency that wants to show you the truth. This is done through ultrasounds, which are incredible, and through explaining the truth about what happens in an abortion.

    I do wish that we would put political agendas aside and someone be big enough to call abortion what it is and put an end to it. Will it still occur? Yes, murder occurs everyday and the government doesn't make it legal. If we could put the same energy into saving babies that we put into saving our planet or saving endangered animals, we might not be in the situation we are today with millions of babies being killed every year.

    Mr. Miller, if you feel that Obama has a heart for the unborn and a desire to end this practice of abortion, then I would love to hear his plan. I would also like him to understand that Planned Parenthood is not the agency to help in that crusade. They are about making money, not about the welfare of the babies or the women they claim to want to help. If he truely desires to help end abortion, then supporting the Crisis Pregnancy Centers in our country would be a wonderful way to start!!

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  40. I would ask Mr. Miller if he can produce even one statement from John McCain about "criminalizing abortion." Does Mr. Miller know that overturning Roe doesn't "criminalize abortion"?

    Has Mr. Miller read this article
    by Notre Dame's Gerald Bradley?

    I'd also ask if he can document that McCain changed his views on abortion just a few years ago.

    I'd also ask if he can produce even one example of Barack Obama voting against a single restriction to abortion at any stage in a woman's pregnancy.

    I'd also want to ask Mr. Miller about Senator Obama's promise to sign FOCA as his first order of business in the White House, as well as Obama's opposition to the (1) Hyde Amendment, (2) the Mexico City Policy, and (3) parental consent and notification laws, to name just a few.

    Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate ever nominated for the Presidency of the United States. (I choose my words carefully--tomorrow an article will be published by Princeton's Robert George arguing this case in detail).

    I hope Mr. Miller will do further study on this issue and reconsider his endorsement.

    Justin Taylor

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  41. Open letter to "Anonymous" re: your comment:

    I've appreciated the open and honest dialogue on this page, and I'm glad readers have felt free to criticize (or support) Don's decision.

    However, your comment that Barack Obama is not a Christian, and questioning Donald Miller's faith, is unacceptable to this sort of conversation, so your comment will not be published. Both men's relationships with God are between them and Jesus Christ, whom they both profess as their Lord and Savior.

    Take your ignorant judgments elsewhere, and thanks to everyone who's kept this conversation so civil!

    Jordan Green

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  42. I agree with Tim Miller (10/3 8:54am) and want to add to it my 2 cents. Unfortunately, neither the Republicans or the Democrats are treating the diseases, just the symptoms. One of the main reasons, besides abortion, that I am not a Democrat, is that (in general...and this also applies to MANY Repubs) they throw money in the direction of problems in hopes of solving them, without attempting to address the moral problems underlying them (or in some cases, denying that there are any moral problems).

    It's easy to say we're going to provide welfare, or universal healthcare, or welcome illegal immigrants, or provide abortions as a fundamental right, etc. But when it comes down to it, all we're saying is: hey, it's ok to not work, or come here illegally, or have an abortion...we'll take care of you, and you don't have to worry about any consequences for your actions.

    Reps and Dems both need to have some guts to stand up and tell people that, as Paul put it, "you don't work...you don't eat." Take the money we're using for welfare, and put it toward job training or creating gov't infrastructure projects (ala Roosevelt during the Depression). Universal healthcare means everyone gets access to mediocre healthcare, oh, and by the way, if the doctors make a mistake and get sued...guess who fits the bills now? Socialism as a whole is proven to be a failed system...

    Tell illegal immigrants we'd love to have them here, but they have to leave and come back in the front door, so that way people who have been trying to get in legally can have the first dibs. In regards to abortion, eliminate the idea of a "free pass" for sex, that we can have it whenever, with whoever, and if anything happens, they get an abortion.

    In all these cases, our politicians have told us, "don't worry about your actions...do what you want, and we'll clean up after your mess." We don't allow people to learn from their mistakes. We have deregulated morality in the name of progress..and what are we left with? The denigration of women as mere sex objects thanks to MTV and pornography (so much for the advances of feminism). Abortions on demand thanks to the so-called "right" of a woman (disregarding the rights of the child...or should I say fetus). Families on welfare consisting of three generations, with no end in sight (because the hardworking taxpayers will pay for their laziness). Illegal immigration sets forth a sense of entitlement to those who've come illegally (which usually manifests itself in the second generation), and also throws itself in the face of justice for those who've waited to enter legally (and can you imagine what will happen once we create universal healthcare for everyone here illegally?). I could go on.

    In the "name of Love" sometimes we don't do what is loving. Our Father disciplines those who He loves, and we should too. We need to remember that giving others a free pass; whether it's welfare, immigration, abortion, etc; is not always doing what is best for them...and definately not always good for the rest of us (my taxes are already high enough thanks). My highest ideal would be to get a Morally and fiscally conservative, socailly liberal person into the office. Neither McCain or Obama is this. So here's to 2012.

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  43. Coward and Misinformed, not unlike his Jazz book.

    Obama supports partial-birth abortion.

    For that alone he must be voted against. With zeal.

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  44. Cowardly? You could call Don many things, but considering the comments he's had on this board, I wouldn't refer to opposing the majority of the American Church "cowardly".

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  45. If Mr Obama is supportive of abortion rights and does not find abortion morally objectionable, why is he so interested in decreasing the number perfomed. If it is an acceptable practice, why limit it? Perhaps Mr Miller is the one being pandered to when it comes to the abortion issue.

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  46. To recapitulate: This talk by Obama about "reducing abortion" is just a short-term marketing strategy. During his entire political career, both in the state legislature and in the U.S. Senate, he has been in the forefront of opposition to any limits on abortion, and even to protection for all infants born alive during abortions. He is a cosponsor of a federal bill that would eliminate virtually all state and federal limits on abortion, including partial-birth abortion, and in fact, said signing this bill would be "the first thing I'd do as president." He wants federal and state funding of abortion without limitation. Much more on all this here:
    http://www.nrlc.org/FOCA/ObamaFOCAarticle.html

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  47. this post was helpful to me. donald miller's comments were helpful. the comments are especially helpful. i'm still woefully undecided, but it's good to know that while my vote matters, God is still sovereign and i still love Jesus whichever candidate i'm led to choose.

    and @Coop's comment above: Jesus will not be on the ballot for president. are you going to write him in? i understand the sentiment, but acknowledging and participating in our government process doesn't mean we're "giving in" to some ultimate authority over their lives; we're just playing by the rules we're given while we're on this earth and in this country. that's the way God designed it.

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  48. Come on people! This isn't a genuine discussion on abortion without at least one quote from Mother Teresa!
    Who wants to go first? :-)

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  49. "But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.
    And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion?" -- Mother Teresa

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  50. Almost all of the conversation on this has had to do with abortion.

    That's fine and all, but I think many of the Christians supporting Obama see things this way:

    If McCain is elected, there's a chance (let's say 50-50) Roe v Wade would be overturned.

    But it also means the Republican party would still be in power. And whether it's accurate or not, most people view the last 8 years of Republican rule as disastrous.

    The economy is in serious trouble, we're mired in an unpopular war, the war in Afghanistan has suffered as focus has been moved to Iraq, we're unpopular the world over, we have a growing tensions with Russia, our national debt has skyrocketed, Osama Bin Laden has not been captured, we've done very little to curb our dependence on foreign energy supplies, we've lost some civil liberties, changed our system of checks and balances, tortured people, and made no progress on fixing health care or social security.

    Whether all these things are the fault of Republicans as a whole or John McCain in particular is certainly debatable, but the fact is Republicans have been in power as these issues have become prominent.

    So I think many Christians who are on the fence or supporting Obama are looking at this and saying, "Yeah, abortion is a huge issue. It's the most important human rights issue. But there are all these issues on the other side, and am I willing to accept four more years of what we've gone through so far for the chance Roe v Wade might be overturned?"

    Frankly, I think there's another option here, which is not being involved with either side and doing community work to stop abortion (like working at Christian pregnancy resource centers).

    But my point is, this conversation is about more than abortion.

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  51. The first document agreed upon by our fledglinng nation states boldly that all men (not e gender-specific term as used) are endowed by their CREATOR with inalienable (that is, cannot be removed or taken from them) right to LIFE...... without THAT right, given by our God and Creator, protected, what matters any attempts to preserve the environment, deal with economic crises, reduce or eliminate war, feed the hungry? If an individual is not alive none of these things matter in the slightest. And THIS is precisely why anyone with a value-set like Mr. Obama's in regard life should NOT become our Chief Executive. Having rather thoroughly researched his position in regards these issues, this man has demonstrated a very consistent stand on the right of the unborn to be born. At every turn throughout his entire political career he has promoted and/or refused to limit the killing of the unborn. And done NOTHING whatever to deal with anything that could, by any stretch of the imagination, be construed as being pro-life in any capacity. Again, without life, none of the rest of it matters. His political handlers have come up with a very weak way of trying to pawn himself off as being acceptable to the pro-life voters, having realised without these he will never be elected. His feeble talk of reducing abortions (in the face of pledged action to promote them at every turn, including the use of MY money to do so) is simply one more example of his shallow facade of acceptability to garner votes. It appears he has sucked in Mr. Miller to his point of view. I am not impressed. Read about how and why Mr.Obama chose Trinity United church for his "home" church, and about his "conversion". This thinking is part of the problem with the church in America today... a "religion" of convenience to soothe the soul and present a good front. Mr. Miller would do well to investigate further this man whom he endorses. His radical Marxist/socialist bent is well established, though skillfully screened from public view in the final weeks before Americans have to make their best choice for our president. His record is there, available to any who care to search it out. But he's been so well packaged and polished by his handlers. What have we heard of his long and involved history with people like Davis, Ayers, Alinsky, Rezko and others of their ilk? He comes by his wholehearted support of abortion honestly. It is part and parcel of his political history. I do sincerely hope it will not become part and parcel of the political history of our culture, as he plainly has promised. Obama is not "standing up to his party" on the issue of abortion. He is pandering to the wilful ignorance of the American voter. His party is well informed and behind his "new rhetoric", fully assured this rhetoric will be denied by his promised actions. Once more, until a person is born and thus sheltered from a culture that would kill him within the womb, none of the other fine and legitimate promised changes to our society will matter in the slightest. Let us begin with the life we are all given. Without that as a beginning, why go further?

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  52. This is something everyone should read. It is an article on the logic of pro-life/Christians who support Obama.

    http://theologica.blogspot.com/2008/10/robert-p-george-voting-for-most-extreme.html

    For those too lazy to click through, here's an excerpt:

    What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama’s America is one in which being human just isn’t enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama’s America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the laws. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: “that question is above my pay grade.” It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator’s pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy—and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.

    In the end, the efforts of Obama’s apologists to depict their man as the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even should vote for, doesn’t even amount to a nice try. Voting for the most extreme pro-abortion political candidate in American history is not the way to save unborn babies.

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  53. Jordan,

    You critiqued someone for questioning Obama and Millers' faiths, calling it judgmental.

    I wonder how you might respond to a rational, coherent argument showing how Obama's faith is in fact NOT Christian. For example, this article:

    http://www.conversantlife.com/politics/is-barack-obama-really-a-christian

    ndmb

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  54. No, that article says he's not Evangelical.

    Last I checked, you didn't have to understand the Nicene Creed or believe in Biblical inerrancy. You just had to follow Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

    That might be a fundamental difference here, but don't go confusing the two...claiming your "Christianity" depends on all sorts of theological rules outside of merely accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior turns in a mess of Evangelical legalism.

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  55. And either way, Barack Obama's expression of faith is certainly more than I hear from John McCain!

    What is with you people?

    I don't think you should necessarily vote for Barack Obama. But are Christians that blinded by the Republican Party? Why not put both candidates up to this sort of scrutiny?

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  56. It's awful how divisive this election is-- especially among believers. The truth is, we see the issues exactly as we WANT to see them-- few have wrestled from point A to Z and come out the other end with new or different thoughts on the candidates and their positions. Ironically, my Jewish boss (whom I love) said she can't stand Sarah Palin and finds it disgusting how Republicans are always talking about faith... to which I laughingly pointed out that McCain is by far the least outspoken about any sort of faith so maybe she should vote for him. She stammered about how it's somehow just "different". Okay. And to those who feel justified in voting for Obama because he's some choose-your-own-version of a fellow believer, even that is a slippery slope. Did these same kind folks rush to vote for Bush when he was clearly the one most articulating his faith in Christ? Do you still lift and support him because he "shares our faith?" I'm not throwing a punch here, I'm just suggesting this whole "discussion" will never produce valuable conclusions because we see what we want to see.

    Whether it's us venting on this blog, or Don Miller traveling around on the campaign trail, or Pat Robertson spouting off about whatever, we are all taking on the role of claiming we know how God would vote. Of course, that's not a blatant claim but it's implied-- who's going to get this worked up without some belief that we're on God's side in our beliefs? Meanwhile, when I look around, I don't see Jesus hanging around these discussions. I think he got bored a left a long time ago. Oh wait. Just a minute. Is that--? Yep. There he is. He's out on the street corner tending to the thirsty. Excuse me. What am I do sitting here?

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  57. Wow. I have read through many of these comments and many issues have been debated. I do not claim to be any sort of political person but I do love the truth of Scripture very much. Our day in age loves to be relative. Many times we shy away from the truth because it's against the grain or we will be called fools by the world. My allegiance is with Christ and no other. With that in mind I hope to humbly address a couple of the things talked about from a biblical standpoint. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
    1. Abortion - "For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13). God creates life and knits us together while in our mother's womb. That is life and killing of such precious life would be murder.
    2. Gay Marriage - "each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband" (1 Corinthians 7:2b). I would love to go into that passage deeper b\c it is referring to sexual immorality. "For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error" (Romans 1:26-27).
    3, The poor - Oh how I wish we the church would give and love the poor as Jesus commanded us to do. If you are not a regular attender of a church or a regular giver, start. Give joyful as we are commanded to do in Scripture. "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed" (Proverbs 19:17). The Proverbs have much to say about the poor and giving generously. Matthew 6:1-4 are also great words from Jesus about giving to the needy. Church we need to step up in this area. We need to be givers and sacrificial givers. I confess I lack in this area and need to be more gracious with the money God has given to me. We are all without excuse, remember the poor widow in Mark? "And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny" (Mark 12:42). Jesus goes on to say she gave more than everybody b\c she gave what she had and not out of her surplus. That's convicting.
    4. War - What a tough subject to talk about. War is not something that has affected me like it has a lot of people. I so grateful for those who have fought for our freedom and continue to do so. I don't think war is opposed to the Bible. Much war took place in the Old Testament and war will take place before Jesus returns. Exodus 15:3 says, "The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is His name." I bring up war b\c one lady mentioned it on the same level as abortion. My only thought is signing up for the armed forces is a choice and you know there is a risk of going to war. There is no choice for the baby in an abortion. But once again I humbly talk about this issue b\c it is not an easy one.
    5. The Death Penalty - "But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life" (Exodus 21:23a). Yes there are flaws in the justice system b\c it is run by imperfect, sinful men like all of us but the Bible does speak of life for life.
    Well I know this is short and probably not as sound as it needs to be but I challenge you to look thoroughly at Scripture. Hebrews 13:1-5 says, "Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'." Christains this is our comfort. While things are crazy in this world b\c of sin, God never changes. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

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  58. Thank you for your anonymous confessions, anonymous.

    I guess my question is, why are we having to pick and choose between poor people, war and unborn children? why not support a candidate who stands for ALL Biblical principles. And if there isn't one, then don't vote. Don't let your faith and ideals be manipulated by political parties who throw you one or two bones and expect you to sell out your principles.

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  59. I am my mothers third son but her only child. She had two abortions before me, God has over the last 24 years brought her to a place of freedom and healing and now she speaks in churches and gatherings all over sharing her testimony and counseling to post abortive women and families. 24 years it took her to overcome the emotional wounds left by her actions, 24 years many facets of her life were altered, social interactions, ministry, her walk with God all hindered.

    Bryan Catherman said,"So ultimately, if Christians wish to see Roe overturned, we need to press on our elected politicians more. We need not to "overturn" Roe v. Wade, but instead find a way to give a voice to the unborn. We can no longer afford to simply be okay with the misguided judicial appointment rhetoric." which was part of a very well written response regarding the actual legal process that would need to occur for RVW to be overturned.

    At the end of the day I am very much pro-life, I am also an unvoiced libertarian. I do believe in the holistic sanctity of the entire life. I do believe no one issue can determine my political choices. I do believe that the government SHOULD NOT BE the primary conduit for anti-abortive action to flow. The legislative probability of an overturn is low.

    It is my opinion, that it is the family that is the church's responsibility to be a loving arm in the community, to prove themselves an aid to pregnant and post abortive women. To be the fulcrum on which true change occurs. One life, one woman, one baby at time. The greatest commandment Love God, love others. Change can happen but it is us as the embodiment of Jesus who will usher that change.

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  60. I don't mean to sound harsh, but let's be realistic...Don's views here are nice but inaccurate. To say McCain "might" be able to do something about Roe vs. Wade if he actually cared about it? How much more does the man have to say? He answers the questions squarely and directly every time he's asked (unlike Barack, who considers these questions above his pay-grade), and picked up as his running mate one of the most vocal pro-life candidates to grace the national stage. What more would Don need to be convinced that McCain "cares" about this issue?

    Ok, Abortion aside (which is, in my mind, a deal-breaker issue) how can Don be supporting a card-carrying socialist? Barack's "re-distribution of wealth" plan and belief that more government and less faith-based programs is the answer to our problems is right out of a Marxist playbook? Barack constantly talks about the "95%" of America who makes less than $250,000. Does he not get that most of the people are employed by people who will be crippled under Baracks taxing and social health-care plan?

    I think it's sad to picture Don's children living in a full-blown socialist society and him having to fess up that he stumped for Barack and probably swayed many gullable Evangelical's to vote for this man. Very sad.

    Ok, this probably sounded harsher than I intended. Just my two cents,

    j

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  61. Miller criticized McCain for not talking calling abortion murder and saying that it should be criminalized. As far as I know, Obama doesn't consider abortion murder, so why would he have it criminalized? The fact is, if abortion isn't murder (and any clear thinking person would believe it is)then there isn't any reason to end it or reduce its occurrence. So why, according to Miller, does Obama want to see a reduction in abortions?

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  62. Miller criticized McCain for not talking calling abortion murder and saying that it should be criminalized. As far as I know, Obama doesn't consider abortion murder, so why would he have it criminalized? The fact is, if abortion isn't murder (and any clear thinking person would believe it is)then there isn't any reason to end it or reduce its occurrence. So why, according to Miller, does Obama want to see a reduction in abortions?

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  63. @Jason:

    Your logic is off.

    What Don is saying is this: if John McCain considers abortion to be murder, then why isn't he prosecuting women who receive abortions as murderers?

    Barack Obama does not believe abortion is murder, so obviously he's not held to those same standards.

    (Note: I have no idea if John McCain considers abortion murder. But you've pointed out any clear-thinking person should.)

    Finally:

    "The fact is, if abortion isn't murder (and any clear thinking person would believe it is) then there isn't any reason to end it or reduce its occurrence. So why, according to Miller, does Obama want to see a reduction in abortions?"

    You see Jason, there are about a million other things we would want to see "reduced" that would not be considered "murder". Here's a short list:

    1) Mosquitos
    2) Hurricanes
    3) Paper cuts
    4) Junk mail
    4) Baseball rainouts

    You probably get my point: a person doesn't have to believe abortion is murder in order to believe it should be reduced.

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  64. Thank you, Douglas Johnson, for presenting facts rather than assertions, as Mr. Miller has done. I am afraid that many years from now, Mr. Miller will look back and realize he was played like a fiddle (or to play to his genre, maybe a piano or sax) by the Obama campaign.

    Abortion in America is a blight that dwarfs other issues. Go to www.abort73.com and see the truth, if you have the courage.

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  65. Tell me Jordan, why reduce abortions if they are not murder?

    Further, Seeking to convict women who have them as murderers isn't the only possible consequence of viewing abortion as murder. One who believes that abortion is murder can pursue its end and seek to have those who have aborted their baby rehabilitated. Are you suggesting that, abortion shouldn't be considered murder because the women who have them should be convicted as murderers? Btw, please point out where Miller suggested that McCain should seek to prosecute those women who have had abortions. Does Miller consider abortion murder; does he seek to have those women prosecuted as murderers? What I intended to say was that, persons thinking clearly about the issue of abortion, do consider it murder. You see, the issue of abortion has been debated to the point where the real questions are: who are persons; is person-hood based on location; and what is the most moral thing to do, protect an unborn baby or protect the right of a woman to terminate the life of that baby. I believe you are missing my point, I didn't suggest that anything we believe should be reduced should first be considered murder...I believe it is your logic that is off, Sir.

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  66. I remember seeing similar debates about this issue in 1992. If Bill Clinton gets elected abortions will skyrocket and the pro-life movement will suffer a massive setback. The only difference this time around is we have the internet to debate and attack each other.

    Oh, by the way, the number of abortions actually went down during the 8 years of Clinton in the White House, not up. From 1992-2001 the number declined by almost 13%. I haven't been able to locate current figures but I think the numbers have declined a bit but are nowhere near the rate of decline during the Clinton Administration.

    Yes, it would be wonderful to put an end to all abortions but...

    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step....


    Soli Deo Gloria

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  67. Jason,

    I'm breaking my response down, line by line:

    "Tell me Jordan, why reduce abortions if they are not murder?"

    Because abortion is horrible. But what I'm saying is there are other things besides murder that should be "reduced" or prevented. Like stealing, for instance. Therefore, a person does not have to believe abortion is equivalent to murder in order to believe it should be prevented.

    For example, I may call war "murder". You don't have to agree to that same definition, but you could still believe war should be prevented.

    "Further, Seeking to convict women who have (abortions) as murderers isn't the only possible consequence of viewing abortion as murder."

    If abortion is legally defined as murder, then women who have abortions would, at the very least, be accessories to murder. Murder is a felony offense punishable by prison time. If you define abortion as murder, you will have to try and convict the murderers.

    "One who believes that abortion is murder can pursue its end and seek to have those who have aborted their baby rehabilitated."

    Well, yes, but 'rehabilitation' would require some sort of compulsory detainment. Or prison time, since that's typically the sentence for convicted murderers. Or we could set up some sort of "reeducation camp", which I guess is what you're proposing?

    "Are you suggesting that, abortion shouldn't be considered murder because the women who have them should be convicted as murderers?"

    No, that's not what I'm suggesting. I'm explaining the consequences of legally defining abortion as "murder".

    "Btw, please point out where Miller suggested that McCain should seek to prosecute those women who have had abortions."

    It's in the second paragraph of Don's second response to our questions: "If McCain were strong on the issue, he would call (abortion) murder, saying abortion should be criminalized". If an action is "criminalized", it must be prosecuted.

    However, I'm not sure why I'm explaining this to you, since you're the one who brought it up initially with your first post: "Miller criticized McCain for not talking calling abortion murder and saying that it should be criminalized." Back to your last comment...

    "Does Miller consider abortion murder;..."

    I have no idea. I haven't asked.

    "...does he seek to have those women prosecuted as murderers?"

    Not that I know of, but I doubt it. He's a writer, and in no position to enforce law or prosecute suspected criminals.

    "What I intended to say was that, persons thinking clearly about the issue of abortion, do consider it murder."

    That's what I assumed you intended to say. I'll also assume you believe abortion should be defined as murder, since you would consider yourself to be thinking clearly. Please let me know if I'm incorrect in that assumption.

    "You see, the issue of abortion has been debated to the point where the real questions are: who are persons;..."

    Uh, maybe.

    "...is person-hood based on location;..."

    Okay, not so sure what location has to do with this. Generally, I'd say a person is a person despite their location.

    "...and what is the most moral thing to do, protect an unborn baby or protect the right of a woman to terminate the life of that baby."

    The absolutely moral thing to do is to protect the life of the unborn baby.

    "I believe you are missing my point, I didn't suggest that anything we believe should be reduced should first be considered murder..."

    Good! If I'm reading this correctly, then you understand my first point about some people believing abortion should be reduced even if they don't consider it murder.

    "...I believe it is your logic that is off, Sir."

    You're probably right.

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  68. Dawg Doc raised an important point, and I would like to address it.

    Abortions declined during the Clinton Administration, and (contrary to claims Donald Miller has made here and there) they have continued to decline under President Bush. See:
    http://www.factcheck.org/society/the_biography_of_a_bad_statistic.html
    and
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/22/AR2008092202831.html?hpid=moreheadlines

    But it is a non sequitur to suggest that this means that both administrations deserve equal credit for abortion reduction.

    Clinton came into office advocating several policy changes that would have increased abortions. He advocated repeal of the Hyde Amendment. In 1993, we (the pro-life side) defeated that attempt, but it was a near thing and the outcome surprised a lot of people.

    Clinton then tried to have elective abortion made part of a government-mandated health "benefits package" under the Clinton health-reform scheme. That was one reason, although far from the only reason, that the Clinton health care plan failed to win enactment.

    Clinton also advocated the "Freedom of Choice Act," but we were able, with difficulty, to block it in Congress.

    All three of these fights occurred in 1993-1994, before the Republicans took control of the House in the 1994 election, and all of them were rather near things. There is no reason to assume that the outcomes would be the same under a President Obama, especially with pro-abortion Democratic leadership in control of both houses of Congress.

    If Clinton had succeeded in repealing the Hyde Amendment, or enacting government-mandated abortion-on-demand health coverage, or enacting FOCA, it would have increased abortions. I don't give Clinton credit for the successes of the pro-life movement in blocking his efforts.

    In addition, during the years of the Clinton Administration, many of the current STATE laws limiting abortion were enacted -- parental notification, waiting periods, women's right-to-know laws, and others. Clinton doesn't get credit for that, either. There are empirical studies showing that these laws prevent many abortions. They would virtually all be nullified by Obama's "Freedom of Choice Act," however.

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  69. Dawg Doc raised an important point, and I would like to address it.

    Abortions declined during the Clinton Administration, and (contrary to claims Donald Miller has made here and there) they have continued to decline under President Bush. See:
    http://www.factcheck.org/society/the_biography_of_a_bad_statistic.html
    and
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/22/AR2008092202831.html?hpid=moreheadlines

    But it is a non sequitur to suggest that this means that both administrations deserve equal credit for abortion reduction.

    Clinton came into office advocating several policy changes that would have increased abortions. He advocated repeal of the Hyde Amendment. In 1993, we (the pro-life side) defeated that attempt, but it was a near thing and the outcome surprised a lot of people.

    Clinton then tried to have elective abortion made part of a government-mandated health "benefits package" under the Clinton health-reform scheme. That was one reason, although far from the only reason, that the Clinton health care plan failed to win enactment.

    Clinton also advocated the "Freedom of Choice Act," but we were able, with difficulty, to block it in Congress.

    All three of these fights occurred in 1993-1994, before the Republicans took control of the House in the 1994 election, and all of them were rather near things. There is no reason to assume that the outcomes would be the same under a President Obama, especially with pro-abortion Democratic leadership in control of both houses of Congress.

    If Clinton had succeeded in repealing the Hyde Amendment, or enacting government-mandated abortion-on-demand health coverage, or enacting FOCA, it would have increased abortions. I don't give Clinton credit for the successes of the pro-life movement in blocking his efforts.

    In addition, during the years of the Clinton Administration, many of the current STATE laws limiting abortion were enacted -- parental notification, waiting periods, women's right-to-know laws, and others. Clinton doesn't get credit for that, either. There are empirical studies showing that these laws prevent many abortions. They would virtually all be nullified by Obama's "Freedom of Choice Act," however.

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  70. Jordan,

    In my last response to your comment, I probably let my pride get in the of my answer. So, please forgive me for that. We may have some conclusions that vary slightly however, I believe we agree for the most part.

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  71. I am a Christian and a Republican, but in many ways one is not connected to the other. I firmly believe in the Two Kingdom aspect, and politics is definitely in the worldly kingdom. That said I still believe that God is in ultimate control of all things earthly and heavenly (Rom. 13).
    That said I think there are many more issues than abortion that Obama gets wrong, and that's what bothers me about him more than anything. I don't think John McCain is a true conservative Republican, but he is more in line with me politically than Barrack Obama.
    Being from the South I hear falsehoods all the time that aggravate me Barrack Obama. I don't think he is a muslim, "pals around with terrorist", or isn't even an American citizen. But I don't think he has been honest with his position on abortion, enciting Class Warfare, and not believing in America Exceptionalism.
    His Economic plan is Socialistic. He believes in "spreading the wealth around" which kills American incentive to own businesses and grow economically. His "tax cut" is a tax credit after raising taxes from the previous level which will in fact raise taxes for all people, including the middle class, and further rewards the 40% of Americans that pay no income tax for not working.
    Finally as some who believes in the "Right to Life". I also believe in that all have the right to pursue Life to the fullest. These means that people are best served when government gets out of their way and allows them the true freedom to do and be all that they can. It doesn't mean you decide what Health Care everyone should have, it doesn't mean you send people money that others worked so hard for and would be more than willing to give back to others if given the chance. To me one of the most telling things about Sen. Obama was when his tax records were released. Given all the great claims that he has made at healing our country, his tax record showed that he actually gave less than One (1%) percent of his income to charitable organizations. The question that pose is...Do the works of a man matter more than his rhetoric? Or are we too as Christians suppose to be convinced that all of his works prior to this election do not prove that he is not deserving of being our next president?

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  72. who was in control of congress during the Clinton admin?

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  73. Forgive me, too, Jason. I can be pretty snide on occasion...actually, frequently. That's something I need work on.

    Also, I think Democrats were in control of Congress for six years during the Clinton administration. If it's not six, it's four.

    @Jason Goodwin:

    Thank for taking this discussion outside abortion. Not that abortion isn't an important issue, but this election is obviously about more than that.

    Your point on Barack Obama's charitable giving record is interesting...but I don't think tax records record all giving, right? I know John and Cindy McCain are generous with charitable giving: they were huge supporters of Phoenix Children's Hospital where my wife works. On the other hand, they also have a ton of money and Barack Obama is one of the lowest paid members of Congress. Tax records are not necessarily a clear picture of a person's charitable giving.

    Re: Obama's socialist economic policy: I think you're right, but John McCain doesn't seem to be much different. Both supported the bailout, which was one of the most drastic examples of socialism, good or bad, in American history.

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  74. During the first two years of the Clinton Administration (1993-95), Democrats had majority control of both houses of Congress. That was the period in which the pro-life side fought hard battles to defeat the "Freedom of Choice Act" and the abortion mandates in the Clinton health care proposal, and to preserve the Hyde Amendment.

    In the 1994 elections, the Republicans took majority control of both houses of Congress, beginning in January 1995, which they held for the remaining six years of the Clinton Administration. Pro-life gains were constrained, however, by the fact that Clinton held the veto. Even on the pro-life bill which large numbers of pro-abortion lawmakers supported, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, we were never able to quite reach the required two-thirds vote to override Clinton's vetoes in the Senate.

    Douglas Johnson
    Legislative Director
    National Right to Life Committee (NRLC)

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  75. wow. I was way off on that. You would've thought I'd remember, since I had a picture of Rush Limbaugh on my 7th grade binder during that time.

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  76. I teach Christian Worldview and Theology to young adults. I have been known as a cheerleader for Don Miller in the past. Chapter 5 of Blue was a catalyst in my spiritual development. For his follow up, Searching, and many other reasons, I am indebted and grateful for Don's work.

    Unfortunately, I am horrified and will be taking down my recent post, "In Defense of Don Miller." I simply feel betrayed. I would have preferred his silence on the current political campaign.

    Now, it seems evident that for Don Miller, he is simply hoping to help us elect a black president in the name of affirmative action. He believes that he is being an important part of a historical, political reconciliation effort.

    Sadly, this will be done at the drastic measures of pushing aside more relevant issues: i.e. social (educational vouchers), economic (liberal and speculative over-spending), and international (radicals with nukes).

    When Iran starts flexing its military muscles, pro-choice/pro-life issues will be eclipsed. When Israel and the entire world are under threat, our ability to borrow for that dream home will not matter.

    When the real crap hits the fan, I want an update on Don's favorite black candidate whose reshaping postmodern politics--who also seems to reek of passivism.

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  77. I was going to attempt to refute Donald's nonsensical argument (Barack is "making progress" against abortion by wholeheartedly supporting it. Huh?). But then I read Douglas Johnson's rebuttal. Wow. That was the most effective, well-written and thorough blog beat down I've ever read. It's clear that any "pro-life" Christian supporting Obama is either severely misinformed or intellectually dishonest. I'm leaning toward the latter in Miller's case.

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  78. Jordan,

    You were in 7th grade when Clinton was in office?

    :)

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  79. I am ashamed that Don Miller spoke at our Christian Staff Conference in Jan of 2008! I have two words for you Mr. Miller. “Mill Stone” May the scales fall of your eyes, because either you are blind or your heart does not belong to Jesus.
    Your standards should be God's standards and as a result those standards or biblical truths should be applied to the candidates at hand. The one that most aligns with or supports those truths should be the one you cast a vote for.
    Obama would deny babies who survive botched abortions medical care. Check out the facts at www.bornalivetruth.org If you REALLY want to know Obama's views on God's biblical truths, check out www.citizenlink.com and click on Oct. newsletter! Vote informed. Watch Catholic Vote 2008 on www.youtube.com. Not just for Catholics, but all that love Jesus!

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  80. Moderator,
    Where are you? This blog has taken a seriously negative tone since I visited last. It makes me so sad... not just this blog, but all of the blogs I'm following where Christians point their finger at one another and throw out accusations that would make a Pharisee blush. I'm imagining Jesus looking over Jerusalem and weeping. He knew how I feel right now. Lord Jesus, heal us.

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  81. Sorry, Kay...this is the dialogue. I only moderated one comment this entire time, and I was guilty of sarcasm myself.

    It's pretty ugly, isn't it?

    Thank you for posting.

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  82. Mr. Miller, I'm disappointed your support for Sen. Obama not because you are voting for and campaigning for him, but because of the way you try and reason your way through your decision. I'm also disappointed in your disdain for “white evangelicals” and the “white suburban churched." You say that one of the reasons you support Sen. Obama is because “he is my Christian brother, and other Christians are rejecting him.” Well, Mr. Miller, do you not believe that John McCain is your Christian brother? And to be fair, haven’t a lot of Christians rejected Sen. McCain? Mr. Miller, be honest as to why you really support Sen. Obama. Your comment that “times have changed, culture has changed, and political parties change” seems to be an effort to suggest that real Christians should support one political party over another. You have always been crafty with your words, and this is no exception.

    Your arguments on why you embrace Obama's positions on abortion are troubling to me and seem empty. You claim to want "fewer abortions,” but your candidate will lift all restrictions on abortions and will oppose and cut funding for those organizations that counsel women not to have an abortion. Your candidate is also against parental notification. Perhaps I am misinformed on this issue with regard to the commitments of your candidate, Sen. Obama.

    Could you, Mr. Miller, support a leader of a country that practices genocide? I hope you could not, but because of your enthusiastic support of Sen. Obama I have to suppose you could and perhaps would under the right circumstances. Some believe that abortion is the genocide of the unborn. Do you?

    Mr. Miller, if you really wanted fewer abortions does it not make sense to align yourself with a pro-life candidate and then come alongside that candidate and help him/her shape the "fewer abortions" policies you seek? Why not use your voice and influence with pro-life candidates in this way? You make pro-life candidates seem dishonest because they don't enact the kind of "fewer abortions" policies you think are needed. You make it sound like they hold a pro-life stand because it earns them votes. Well, doesn't a pro-abortion candidate talk about "fewer abortions" to earn himself/herself votes? Let's be equal and honest in our conversation. And by the way, you made claims on this issue without any specifics. How will giving federal dollars to help women pay for abortions, as Sen. Obama wants to do, reduce the number of abortions? Everyone knows that if elected Sen. Obama would surely appoint pro-abortion judges to the bench. How would this limit the number of abortions? How will lifting all restrictions on abortions, as Sen. Obama wants to do, achieve fewer abortions? Abolishing the laws against stealing will not reduce the rate of theft; in fact it may encourage more people to steal.

    Mr. Miller, have you spoken with any ranking member of the McCain campaign on what they would do to reduce the number of abortions? And if you have, did you offer your help to strengthen their policies? If not, why not? Does partisanship keep you from this? Did you seek to campaign for Sen. Obama, or did they seek you out because of your ideology and possible influence on the "white church"?

    At least twice you suggested that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin don't really care about abortion. You said, "If McCain were strong on the issue, he would call it murder, saying abortion should be criminalized, and perhaps Cindy McCain would talk about the issue. Sara Palin would talk about how abortion should be criminalized."

    Mr. Miller, your displeasure with Sen. McCain and the Republican Party is obvious with your comment that “John McCain’s only plan is the same old trick.” Really? Do you really believe that it is a “trick”? That sounds more partisan than anything else. It also is surprising coming from a fellow pro-lifer like yourself. I must confess that I’ve never heard a pro-lifer accuse another pro-lifer of some kind of policy “trick” on this issue. Do you really think that Sen. McCain wants more abortions? Do you think he doesn’t care if the abortion rate rises? Is this why you think he is “tricking” us? Are you saying he shouldn’t be trusted when it comes to this issue?

    Mr. Miller you have suggested that you are pro-life. It may seem to some that a pro-lifer like yourself should be eager to help a pro-life candidate strengthen their policy when it comes to abortion. I’m disappointed that you haven’t done that. I wonder if you have told your candidate, Sen. Obama, that abortion is murder and should be criminalized? Have you challenged Sen. Obama, whom you are campaigning for, on this very issue? Have you challenged his policies to lift restrictions on abortion? How hard are you working to convince him not to lift those restrictions? Do you think abortion should be criminalized? Do you think a constitutional amendment should be drafted specifically making abortion specifically? With our current Supreme Court and a Democratic controlled House and Senate, do you really think such an amendment would pass?

    And by the way, policies on war and abortion are not the same. To claim, as some do, that being anti-war is the REAL pro-life position is a shameful attempt to displace the error of abortion. The two are not the same. Some who claim that anti-war is the new pro-life position are eager to participate in anti-war protests but would never be seen at an “anti-abortion” protest. I wonder why this is? It seems to be a political hijacking of the abortion debate as an effort to neutralize pro-life efforts to end legalized abortion. Observers might conclude that strong anti-war protesting is acceptable because of the “nobility” of the cause. Why don’t they recognize the “nobility” of such protests against abortion? Why don’t they protest as strongly in front of abortion clinics? The lack of consistency from the anti-war crowd seems a bit hypocritical.

    Mr. Miller, I agree with you about your irritation with a fellow Christian who says that it is impossible to be a Christian and vote for a particular candidate. How we vote does not determine our eternity; only our belief in Jesus does. Please do not forget that partisanship divides not only politically but also spiritually. In fact, partisanship may be the single greatest issue that divides the church racially. Some may believe that your words about the “white church” and “white suburban churched” do not help in this regard. Those are partisan words that divide the church of Jesus Christ, Mr. Miller. Even though you may disagree with the so called “religious right” could it be true that you hold more in common with them than those in a particular political party? The Bible says that there is one Church. Please, Mr. Miller, use your voice and influence to unite it not divide it further.

    Respectfully,
    James Brummett
    Chesterfield, VA

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  83. http://www.sermonzone.com/blog/2008/09/23/why-i-a-black-man-cant-vote-for-obama/

    Christians who supporte Obama, need to do their homework.
    We may not be told to judge a man, but we are allowed to be fruit inspectors, looking for fruit of the Spirit.
    You dont sit in a church for 25 years and listen to that kind of talk about America. You dont work effortlessly for abortion rights and have the backing of Planned Parenthood. You dont decide to support the enemies of Israel.
    That is not fruit of the Spirit.
    That is not following God and His Word.
    In case this link wont work, it is from Huntely Brown. (why I can't vote for Obama.)

    It's on Snopes, it's true and it speakes volumes.

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  84. I am 17. When you're 17 years old and you're in a public high school with most of your friends on the verge of voting, political tension runs pretty high. It runs even higher when your school is 50% black, 50% white, and smack in the heart of the bible belt, in a town centered around an air force base, with a church (usually baptist) on every corner.

    So, I know people voting for Obama. I know people voting for McCain.

    And, I've made a few observations.

    1. A lot of people are voting for Obama because he's black. It's a preoccupation of most people, how can I leave my mark? And, to many, voting for the first president with at least 50% African-American Heritage would constitute leaving their mark. But to vote for Obama for his blackness, is that not racism? Is that not making him less than the complex person that he is?

    2. Pregnancy prevention, especially among teenagers, is a myth. I've been in sex ed at LEAST three times. And, I promise, the girls who are sexually active don't care... mostly because they're too busy reading Cosmo's latest about "Bad Girl Sex". Teenage girls don't make decisions about sex based on logic, or on what they've been taught. They don't care at all. What they care about is Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in the library and all of the things that they've learned from society about who they should be and how they should act.

    Also, I don't think that it's a good call for Mr. Miller to stump for Obama. Not at all. Because, with an amorphous platform like "Change", and a record of being pro-choice in all cases, even partial birth abortions, loudly supporting Obama could be a stumbling block in young Christians' growth. With a two-party system, things have become so polarized that to align yourself one way or another is disorienting. Miller isn't being avant-garde and forward thinking, he's being divisive and confusing.

    At the beginning of the race, there were all these questions about "Is Obama Black Enough?" It was a ridiculous and bigoted question. But the answer has proven itself to be "Yes". He is black enough to exploit it, and charismatic enough to avoid criticism, and monumental enough to sweep the media onto his parade. He is a master rhetorician who can spin webs of cotton candy to obscure his liberal voting and paint himself as centrist.

    He's playing the game, as is McCain.

    Obama just happens to be better at it. But if the game is deception, then whose word can we take?

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  85. You dont sit in a church for 25 years and listen to that kind of talk about America.

    What kind of talk about America are you supposed to hear in church? I argue absolutely NONE. You should be hearing about Jesus Christ, his propitiatory sacrifice for your sins and how you ought to live as a result. Not about how great America is.

    You dont work effortlessly for abortion rights and have the backing of Planned Parenthood

    If you don't put any effort in you won't accomplish anything. this is nonsense.

    You dont decide to support the enemies of Israel.

    What enemies of Israel has Barack Obama supported? Do you watch movies? Every dollar you spend on them goes to "enemies of Israel", particularly when one considers that the church is the new Israel.

    That is not fruit of the Spirit.
    That is not following God and His Word.


    I missed those things in that list of fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). I think rather it is not following your perception of the Word of God.

    Glad to know the fruit police are on patrol. Uh, I think there's a log in your eye. You might see better without it.

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  86. Toenet, 6:05 Post, you said it all. "The one that most aligns with or supports those truths (Biblical)should be the one you cast a vote for."

    Psalm 119:104.
    Through your precepts I get understanding, therefore I hate every false way.

    The Word of God is the plumbline. Discernment is sadly lacking in the church.

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  87. I just found out about this discussion and have been quite impressed in more ways than one. I tried my best to read through everything because I wanted to wrap my mind around the perspectives that differ with mine to see if maybe, I too have been buying the campaign rhetorics and talking points but here are my thoughts:

    Perhaps the issue of abortion should really be addressed before the fact but even then, what do we have to work with with a President Obama?

    When he spoke before Planned Parenthood, he got a laugh when he mentioned that McCain is accusing him of promoting sex education among kindergartners, paused, then affirmed that it is the right thing to do. I have a big problem with sex being taught so early unless it is conducted by the parents. I believe that such policies only contribute to the problem of our already sex saturated society.

    I also have a problem with Obama's many inconsistensies concerning parental involvement in the training of kids. I find him disingenuous addressing social issues and calling on parents to take responsibility and at the same time taking their authority away in his legislations.

    If Obama wins and comprehensive sex education becomes part of the public school education curriculum, parents will not have the choice about it.

    Remember also that Obama supports teaching homosexuality very early among children. He claimed that his wife taught her daughters about homosexuality at 6 y.o. - in the context of tolerance.

    If Obama wins and FOCA is enacted, minors can have abortions without parental notification, even if the girl is only forced into it. I do not have to elaborate on just how wrong this is.

    If Obama wins, parents will not have the same educational choices such as what has been fought hard by proponents of the homeschool movement -- believing that children are a trust from God and not for the government to raise and nurture.

    If Obama wins, he will not be a supporter of teaching abstinence either.

    Again, majority of what he stands for is truly against Scriptural teachings that I will risk saying that his policies will contribute to the problem and not help.

    As a side note: I find Senator Obama dishonest, arrogant AND bordering on blasphemy for not speaking against all the deification he's getting. I also find it peculiar that you cannot enter his campaign site to know where he stands without signing up and donating. Hmmmm.

    This is one of the Bile verses that guide my vote:

    "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." Ezekiel 33:6

    Corie

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  88. keystonehomeschoolerOctober 20, 2008 at 1:33 AM

    dawg doc:

    I am a naturalized citizen and the great teaching about America that inspires me so much is its Christian foundations and the fact that the constitution was framed with on Biblical principles. There is so much suppression and alteration of American history that justifies the elimination of God in the public place. It's a problem. If God is exalted, what's wrong with teaching about the greatness of America? You almost sound like you're justifying Rev. Wright but I hope I'm wrong.

    Please understand also that Planned Parenthood is not about the welfare of our young people as much as it is the industrialization of sexuality among them, funded by our tax dollars, and PP is actually the biggest abortion provider around.
    http://www.abortionfacts.com/planned_parenthood/planned_parenthood.asp

    Corie

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  89. Corie,

    1) I am not justifying Reverend Wright's pathetic demagoguery. But neither do I think our churches are the place where we ought to preach some whitewashed view of America as the great savior of the world. She is not and never has been. America is a self-interested nation, not a benevolent white knight riding around to rescue the oppressed. If we were, we would have done much more in Rwanda and been heavily involved in stopping the genocide in Darfur. America picks and chooses her battles based on what is in her national interests.

    There is nothing wrong with that, but we should admit it. I love this country and I am proud of what she has done right and I'm critical when she has done wrong.

    Dealing with Reverend Wright specifically, I think his comments have been distorted by the demagogues much the way Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson's comments were distorted after 9/11 by the media. All were making a good point. A nation that worships money & power, promotes ungodliness in its lifestyles, oppresses people because of their financial situation, race, or gender is not a nation God will bless.

    In other words, we are a great nation as Barack Obama, John McCain, and even Rev. Wright agree. But we are not a godly nation and until we are He will not bless us.

    2) I'm no fan of planned parenthood and their penchant for abortion. But let's not get confused. PP is not pro-abortion, nobody really is. Their mission is to provide a service that is in demand, largely by poor women with no health insurance. Alleviate those two problems and you can get rid of PP. Passing a law that makes abortion illegal will not solve the problem, it will just drive it underground and create more criminals, IMHO. Then we'll all get to pay higher taxes to lock up these lawbreakers.

    Let me be clear: I hate abortion with every fiber of my being. But I firmly believe the only way to end the slaughter of the innocents is to win the hearts and minds of the people that consider abortion an option. Until we do that, all our efforts will be frustrating to us and possibly out of step with God's will. He did not put us here to oppose abortion but to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the cure for the sin that infects our mortal bodies.

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  90. Corie,

    If Obama wins, he will not be a supporter of teaching abstinence either.

    This patently false. On his website Senator Obama says he will support abstinence education as well as "safe-sex" education.

    We have to start facing some facts in life. Kids are going to have sex regardless of what we tell them. Look at Sarah Palin's daughter if you must. I'd bet she was raised in a pretty decent Christian home, taught not to have sex before marriage, and then got pregnant anyway. I know sons of pastors who have gotten girls pregnant at 17 even though they were taught differently from a young age. One thing that was missing from each of these homes is that they were not taught about safe-sex.

    I am not one who believes that teaching about condoms causes kids to go and have sex. Parents MUST instill solid values in their kids. But if those kids choose to ignore their parents wisdom, which they often do, they should have the educational basis to make a better choice than engaging in risky, unprotected sex.

    You know, I'd love it if we lived in a society that never talked about sex, never saw teen pregnancies, never had abortions, and never had STD's. But we don't. And we won't until we are glorified and live forever with our heavenly father. Until then, I believe we have a responsibility to be good citizens of both the kingdom of God and the City of man.

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  91. So Donald Miller wants to emulate Jesus by praying at a convention, and being a leg man for a candidate.

    Am I missing something, or is he just becoming the Left's Pat Robertson?

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  92. A lot of you Democrats (i am a registered independent and am voting third party) keep talking about how Democrats are so big on helping the poor, but to me my concern for the poor is one of the main reasons I could never vote Democrat.

    The Democrats like to talk about helping the poor when in reality they really just treat the poor like they are animals in a zoo. They want to feed them, cloth them and watch over them, having full control so they don't ever have to do anything for themselves.

    Heaven forbid if they actually made something of themselves and moved into the suburbs with the rest of us. No, instead they just want them to stay in the ghetto or trailer parks and be good loyal voters.

    Nothing is expected of the poor people except to keep voting Democrat in return for some very minor financial relief.

    Now the Republicans aren't doing anything to help the poor either. But true conservative policies would. It's too bad Bush has ruined any idea of what a conservative is supposed to look like.

    In fact Bush has ruined the Republican party and now there's McCain, who is no better or even worse than him.

    This country was founded on principals of hard work and personal responsibility. If one person can rise up out of poverty and end up successful, then anyone can. Heck, people come here from the Middle East and Asia and end up owning their own business in a matter of a couple years. All this with no coddling from the government, just seizing the opportunities a free market offers them.

    But poor people have been so ingrained by the government to not even try to work their way out.

    Also, if one more person says this economic collapse is the result of Bush's policies I'll scream. The truth is HE tried to fix this before it was broken and the Democrats blocked it. Read this NYT article for the truth.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E3D6123BF932A2575AC0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print

    It's worth noting that the Democrats failed to fix the problems BECAUSE they were afraid it would "hurt the poor" by not letting them borrow money they couldn't afford. Further proof the Democrats have no clue how to help the poor. It's all in that article.

    So while you may think Democrat=helping the poor, I think the complete opposite. Democrat=hurting the poor.

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  93. To Jordan:
    First of all, have you looked at Barack's tax return? If $2 million plus reported income is not making alot of money then sign me up! Of course alot of that money did come from the sales of his 2 (TWO) memoirs but the point still remains he gave very little of that money to charitable organizations.
    Second, I admitted that I didn't think McCain was as conservative as I would like him to be. He comes across as being Socially Conservative and in line with my Conservative views concerning Defense, but Economically I think he is off a touch and regarding illegal Immigration, well let's just say I DON'T AGREE. If it were me, I would have voted against the Bailout and let the Free-Market do what the Free-Market does, correct itself when it has been over-inflated, which I think the market has become. Nor, would I Bailout home owners who made bad loans. It's called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and many Americans need to start taking some. My goodness our Founding Fathers would storm the White House if they knew what we had become. Sen. Graham was right we have become a nation of whinners. And, if the reason for the American Revolution was "Taxation without Representation" we have enough evidence to overthrow our current governmnent immediately.
    Third, I think an Obama presidency would over inflate the American currency at a rate that would greatly risk our economic system worse than the recent housing crisis. And increase our national debt to an also dangerous level that could bring an end to Capitalism completely, and greatly threaten our national security.
    Fourth, every Democratic presidential nominee that has ran on a platform of only taxing the rich, which in my opinion already pay enough of their share, have always ended up extending their tax raise to the middle-class. Of course Obama has already told us that he would raise the taxes of everyone who pays income taxes because he is going to repeal the Bush tax cuts. This means no more good things like the Child tax credit, and for someone like me who has 2 children and a third on the way, the $1000 tax credit that Obama is promising will in no way make up for the tax hike that removing the Bush Tax cuts will cause.
    Finally, I don't think enough people have truly thought through enough of these very important things. I think there are too many single issue voters, party platform voters, and overly impressionable voters. People hear Barack, but they don't listen to what he is saying, they don't look at his record, and they don't consider his lack of any executive experience. All they see is a fresh face, hear nice pleasantries, and a NON-Republican and think they have found the answer. I said in my earlier post that I don't think he is the things that many people try to paint him as, but with all the skeletons in his closet (they few we have been privileged to find out about) it should cause us a little pause before we cast our vote for this great agent of change. Which I don't think will be the kind of "Change" that most Americans realy want.

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  94. There is so much that I could say, but many people have echoed my opinions (about why a vote for Obama is horrible, about why McCain is the better candidate despite being imperfect, and why I find it disturbing for a Christian to support Obama). I didn't say that you aren't Christian if yo vote for him. But, I agree with all of the people who have had major reservations upon reading Miller's interview. And, for me, despite being intensely pro-life and seeing the horrendous record Obama has on it, it's not only about abortion. I do not trust this man at all. I only hear and find out about more lies, I very much worry about his judgment, and I have not seen much fruit as to strong, Christian character.

    I do want to say to Melissa--I really commend your articulate conviction--something that we need more of in 17-year-olds and college students.

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  95. dawg doc:

    Sorry, but the fact is Planned Parenthood is pro-abortion from the very start. Check it out please because this information is so critical with Barack Obama getting 100% rating with them, along with other staunch pro-abortion groups.

    http://www.abortionfacts.com/planned_parenthood/planned_parenthood.asp

    To be blunt, it was meant for ethnic cleansing!

    I appreciate somebody's ealier illustration. One may say that he is vehemently against abortion but if he were a Jew, he would not ignore Churchill and stump for Chamberlain. And if he was black, he would not settle for slave reduction but its abolition.

    Let's walk the talk and vote against abortion.

    Vote your conviction because God could hold the blood of those innocent babies against you.

    The LORD hears their cries and feels their pain. Do you, really?

    ~ Corie

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  96. Let me say that Donald is right. McCain's plan to overturn Roe v Wade is an assumptive "camouflage" to win over the religious right. Within such a fallacious statement we as Christians choose McCain's believing he'll do such. The problem is that we don't know if he will. And if he doesn't, he has no plan to combat abortion from a moral perspective. Obama does. He has a multi-cultural plan to institute the importance of adoption as a remedy for this cultural dilemma. Therefore, under the assumptive understanding, that both have yet to move forward in their attack on abortion, we must guide ourselves by their varying "other" politics. And Obama is clearly the supporter of 92% of Americans both middle and lower class who are in need of support in many sectors of life. He also cares about the ghettos, underpaid schools, and overall education for all people. McCain's plan for the "other 8" is a miserable failure on the christain fore front. Its as much an attack on life as abortion is. Its a protection of the hierarchical structure that has hindered America since her inception. Its egocentric and money driven. All characteristics that are not found within the life of Christ. McCain pro-life? I think not.

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  97. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  98. There are guidelines for determining which candidate more closely matches Biblical ideals.
    True believers are accountable to God to vote along those lines.
    At least one VP candidate is pro life and that, then becomes the measuring stick. And McCain is far more pro-life than Obama who has voted for abortion and other extreme acts. He is in fact, one of the strongest supporters of abortion you will find anywhere. There is no way to justify his voting record. None.
    So, we have a choice and we have to make the one that we feel is most Biblically based.
    Obama is only pro-life when it comes to *wanted* children. He is no voice for the unwanted unborn.

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  99. I want to point out that Mr. Johnson (who has graciously given him time to this discussion) has been disingenuous about Obama's support of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Obama has supported this law.

    Further, FOCA does allow limits on abortion after the first trimester.

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  100. Mr. Johnson also states with certainty what would have been, or what will be. He has no basis for this as he cannot travel between alternate space-time realities (or can he?).

    The data shows abortion rates are lowest in countries where abortion is legal (European states), and highest in countries where abortion is illegal (Uganda, et al), and overall equal across the board (average of both legal and illegal states).

    Therefore, the claims of what would have been or what will be with any semblance of certainty are ludicrous, and (I would argue) not arguments at all.

    If we could discuss actual facts, perhaps we could make headway.

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  101. toenet,

    No need to challenge Miller's faith in Christ. That is absurd behavior, especially over something as trivial as a campaign endorsement ("This world is not my home/I am just passing through).

    But more troubling is your equivalence of the Gospel of Christ and the Republican platform. "Mill stone?" Seriously? Leading others astray from the GOP isn't the same as leading children into hades.

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  102. Anonymous,

    You claim there are "guidelines for determining which candidate more closely matches Biblical ideals." Please show me which verse in your Bible gives me this guideline.

    Maybe it's written in your margins. I don't have your margins, but I do have the same text. I have no guidelines for any votes, let alone candidates. Clearly nothing could ever determine if a candidate "matches Biblical ideals."

    Democracy isn't in the Bible. Congress, Presidents, Constitutions - these aren't in the Bible. These are man's constructs, and they are up to man's discernment.

    I'm just trying to defend the Bible here. Defending the Gospel of Peace as best I can from its marriage to US politics.

    There are other countries in the world, by the way.

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  103. I got so excited by Don's upbeat, positive approach towards Obama's campaign and his stance on abortion, but the excitement ended rather quickly when I decided to look past Don's rhetoric and do a little research for myself.

    Obama has no plan to reduce abortions. He instead plans to do away with the Hyde ammendment and he fully supports a bill that will make abortion more accessible and state funded (the FOCA). At the same time, Obama applauds the work of Planned parenthood, an organization that stands against everything pro-life.

    I agree with Don that McCain's approach to abortion is not viably functional, but at least McCain's stance is morally acceptable. Unlike McCain, Obama's Pro-Choice stance is morally abominable, and it is simply wishful thinking to pretend that he will actually reduce the rates of abortion in the United States.

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  104. I would like to assure Mr. Kippel that, wherever I may find myself on the tree of space-time contingencies, on any given day, I may sometimes be mistaken but I am never disingenuous.

    The "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) does not, in fact, as Mr. Kippel believes, allow limitations on abortion "after the first trimester." That statement could only be made by someone who had not actually read the bill, because the operative language of the bill itself has nothing to do with trimesters. Here is the actual text:
    http://www.nrlc.org/FOCA/FOCA2007S1173.html

    If you read the bill, you will find that the FOCA says that no level of government may in any way "interfere with" access to any type of abortion prior to the point at which the abortionist himself declares "viability" to exist, which is the point at which the baby can survive indefinitely independently of the mother. In reality, this is about 23 weeks, which is in the sixth month (long, long after "the first trimester").

    (I should note here that under the FOCA, the abortionist can never be "wrong" if he declares a given baby who is past 23 weeks, targeted for abortion, to be non-viable. The FOCA would quite clearly gives the abortionist discretionary authority that would not be subject to review by any other authority. Here is what the bill actually says: "(3) VIABILITY- The term `viability' means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.")

    Now, even AFTER the point at which an abortionist would choose to declare a baby targeted for abortion to be "viable," clause (1)(C) of the FOCA says that no level of government may "interfere" if an abortion is sought for "health." The drafters of the FOCA quite deliberately did not define "health." No state would be allowed to adopt any narrowing definition of "health," because that would be a narrowing of the federally guaranteed right, which would be contrary to the entire thrust of the FOCA. For example, if a state tried to ban AFTER-VIABILITY abortions sought on the basis of "emotional health" claims, that would obviously be a narrowing of the unconstrained "health" right found in the FOCA, and therefore impermissible. Thus, the FOCA really would allow no meaningful limits on abortion even after "viability," which is to say, even in the sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth months.

    Obama did, in fact, lead the opposition to the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, and he did because he said he opposed recognizing what he called a "previable fetus" as a legal person -- even when that baby had been born alive. His more recent claim that the bill was unnecessary because Illinois already had a law to protect all babies born alive during abortions is contradictory to the reasos he articulated at the time he opposed the bill -- and, the claim is also false. The short explanation is here: http://www.nrlc.org/Election2008/Release101608.html

    The long version, with more hyperlinks to primary documentation, is here:
    http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/WhitePaperAugust282008.html

    The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) that Obama killed on March 13, 2003, the committee which he chaired, was virtually identical to the BAIPA that Congress enacted, without a dissenting vote, the previous year. The objections that Obama made to the state BAIPA would logically apply equally to the federal BAIPA. It is therefore implausible --or perhaps, disingenuous --to say that Obama now "supports" the BAIPA, since he so tenaciously opposed it when it was actually before him as a lawmaker.

    Douglas Johnson
    Legislative Director
    National Right to Life Committee (NRLC)
    www.nrlc.org

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  105. I would like to assure Mr. Kippel that, wherever I may find myself on the tree of space-time contingencies, on any given day, I may sometimes be mistaken but I am never disingenuous.

    The "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) does not, in fact, as Mr. Kippel believes, allow limitations on abortion "after the first trimester." That statement could only be made by someone who had not actually read the bill, because the operative language of the bill itself has nothing to do with trimesters. Here is the actual text:
    http://www.nrlc.org/FOCA/FOCA2007S1173.html

    If you read the bill, you will find that the FOCA says that no level of government may in any way "interfere with" access to any type of abortion prior to the point at which the abortionist himself declares "viability" to exist, which is the point at which the baby can survive indefinitely independently of the mother. In reality, this is about 23 weeks, which is in the sixth month (long, long after "the first trimester").

    (I should note here that under the FOCA, the abortionist can never be "wrong" if he declares a given baby who is past 23 weeks, targeted for abortion, to be non-viable. The FOCA would quite clearly gives the abortionist discretionary authority that would not be subject to review by any other authority. Here is what the bill actually says: "(3) VIABILITY- The term `viability' means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.")

    Now, even AFTER the point at which an abortionist would choose to declare a baby targeted for abortion to be "viable," clause (1)(C) of the FOCA says that no level of government may "interfere" if an abortion is sought for "health." The drafters of the FOCA quite deliberately did not define "health." No state would be allowed to adopt any narrowing definition of "health," because that would be a narrowing of the federally guaranteed right, which would be contrary to the entire thrust of the FOCA. For example, if a state tried to ban AFTER-VIABILITY abortions sought on the basis of "emotional health" claims, that would obviously be a narrowing of the unconstrained "health" right found in the FOCA, and therefore impermissible. Thus, the FOCA really would allow no meaningful limits on abortion even after "viability," which is to say, even in the sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth months.

    Obama did, in fact, lead the opposition to the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, and he did because he said he opposed recognizing what he called a "previable fetus" as a legal person -- even when that baby had been born alive. His more recent claim that the bill was unnecessary because Illinois already had a law to protect all babies born alive during abortions is contradictory to the reasos he articulated at the time he opposed the bill -- and, the claim is also false. The short explanation is here: http://www.nrlc.org/Election2008/Release101608.html

    The long version, with more hyperlinks to primary documentation, is here:
    http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/WhitePaperAugust282008.html

    The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) that Obama killed on March 13, 2003, the committee which he chaired, was virtually identical to the BAIPA that Congress enacted, without a dissenting vote, the previous year. The objections that Obama made to the state BAIPA would logically apply equally to the federal BAIPA. It is therefore implausible --or perhaps, disingenuous --to say that Obama now "supports" the BAIPA, since he so tenaciously opposed it when it was actually before him as a lawmaker.

    Douglas Johnson
    Legislative Director
    National Right to Life Committee (NRLC)
    www.nrlc.org

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  106. Tim, I'd like to add on to your point that 2 to 4 Supreme Court judges could be replaced in the next 4 years. Both presidents already expressed how they'll pick their judges. That is where the power is, really, not on the President's plan or campaign promise, but in the kind of judges they'll appoint that will determine the future of the abortion industry.

    "For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." I Samuel 15:23

    ~ Corie

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  107. I like Donald Miller ok (like the rest of the world, I read blue like Jazz) and I actually went and heard him when he stopped at my school to campaign. Overall I thought he has something interesting to add to the campaign and I don't really fault him for getting involved.

    However, a friend of mine raised an interesting point. After the meeting she asked him if the reason he was doing this was really to help the cause of Christ on earth, or just that of Obama. And he answered he was just doing this for Obama, not really to share Christ. Ok, I understand. I don't think there is anything wrong with Christians being involved in a political campaign, but there is a reason that people don't usually favor their spiritual leaders involved in politics...sometimes you can forget who you're actually campaigning for...the politician or Christ. Just a thought.

    r0ck0n

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  108. This may not add to the discussion to a great degree, however, I think that when we are evaluating our governmental structure and people's role in it, it is interesting to note the time in which scripture was written. In the time of the first church (Acts 2 especially), which is the time we as believers point to as the "model" for church, government was a completely different animal. Today, we have a say. We can vote, campaign for a candidate, or even run ourselves. The first church existed under a governmental structure that they could not change. Government was a given, the common man had no say. So... the church went about being people who dedicated themselves to the apostle's teaching, to fellowship, eating in one another's homes, and each sold what he had and gave to each as he had need.

    I agree that we are responsible to use scripture as our guide, pray hard, and then vote, but it is vastly more important that we begin to live out the values outlined in scripture that we say we believe in among the people we encounter everyday.

    You want to change the government? Win your neighbor to Christ, disciple them, care for one another, meet each other's needs. I just see a lot of people who campaign for a candidate, cast their vote and they feel like they've done their job.

    The real work is to get in and get your hands dirty. Spend some time reaching out to the hurting. For those of us who believe in Jesus, the mandate is to BE THE CHANGE IN THE WORLD not just vote for buzz word campaign slogans of change.

    Just my thoughts. Don't shrink back from the discussion, we need to be willing to love God and love people enough to sort through.

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  109. Mr. Miller was used by the radical left to split the pro-life, Christian vote in swing states.
    Obama will start by eliminating the executive order against further infant stem cell creation. Children will now be bred to be experimented on.
    The name "patsy" comes to mind.

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  110. I am sickened and saddened by what I have read of Donald Miller's thoughts on Obama and abortion. Clearly, Miller is deluded and has drank the Koolaid reserved for the uninformed. Another Christ-follower reassured me after the election that while she was sorry for MY loss in the election, she was confident that Mr. Obama would be the MOST AMAZING ADVOCATE for all issues she and I were concerned about. How in the same paragraph can one state "I am 100% with you on pro-life" AND then state "I am so excited to see Obama and his family move into the White House!"? Is everyone drinking the Koolaid, and did Dennis Miller ladle it out? How could so many God-loving people be deceived?

    Meanwhile visions of infants having their brains sucked out of their heads haunt my brain nightly.
    My own naivete allowed me to believe that the evangelical vote would work against Obama- not FOR him. So I really was not worried. I had no idea that the people I had admired as devoted to God were being brainwashed with lies disguised as promises. So when Obama won - I was not upset because I LOST. I was upset for the BABIES LOST. I was upset at the realization that God's elect would not stand up for them! What a sad day!
    Would it help if their little cries could be heard as they are torn limb by limb from the womb? Of course that will never happen because we live in a society that hates to be bothered with ugly visions and sounds. We are warned to avert our gaze for the fear of being made uncomfortable. We do not speak of abortion from the pulpit because the dismembered baby has been dehumanized down to "a political issue".

    Abortion is a slick business in this country. It keeps the act of murder quiet and neatly tucked away in buildings that look harmless and clean with respectable names like Planned Parenthood and The Lovejoy Clinic. We cannot see or hear the carnage that takes place so we do not think about it. And the little ones continue to be ripped apart,before their cries can be heard.

    Thanks to President Elect Obama's Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA] we may add to this nightmare the little ones who WILL cry, because they have survived the attempt upon their life. But no one will come, they will be placed in the comfort rooms and left to die. Read about the "Comfort Room". http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/06/in_march_2002_t.html

    Yes, Dennis add the promise of infanticide to Faith, Family and Values conversations.

    Sorry Randy Alcorn, but I cannot be as kind in my words to Mr. Miller:

    How dare you served as an Obama surrogate and travel around on the Faith, Family & Values Tour seeking votes of "religiously committed Americans". I, your sister in Christ trusted you to speak the truth. I assert that the blood of the murdered unborn & newly-born are on your hands, the hands of the people you recruited, and the hands of our new President Elect".

    Thankfully, we have a forgiving God, and there is always hope because of Him. I read your book Dennis, Blue Like Jazz and loved the part where you apologized to the unbelievers at Reed College for not telling them about Jesus. It was this act of humility that led me to the same church you attend.
    I assert that you now need to ask forgiveness for lying to every "religiously committed person" about Barak Obama's true stand on abortion. It's not too late to tell them the truth, and protect the innocent. You can also add your signature to the petition to stop the Freedom of Choice Act. http://www.fightfoca.com/

    In His Love,
    Sue Locke

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  111. I apologize to DENNIS Miller for inadvertently using his name in place of DONALD Miller's name in my post of November 29.

    Sue

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  112. Now that we are on the other side of this election and transition of power, I am curious what Mr. Miller would think about this:

    http://www.moralaccountability.com/obama-on-abortion/holding-catholics-in-alliance-for-the-common-good-morally-accountable/#more-268

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  113. What fools these mortals be. . . . most Christians don't vote or get involved, which is why we are stuck with do little Republicans instead of real pro-life ones. By the way, the God of the Bible NEVER says that gov't welfare is the way to help[ the poor. In fact, He says, "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thous shalt not covet," an endorsement of the right to private property and free market values. Also, Proverbs 10:4 says, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Private charity is God's way of getting His people involved in helping the poor, needy, infirm, and elderly. President Obama is clearly a liar and a charlatan, not a real Christian.

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  114. Is that a wolf over Don's shoulder? WOLF PACK!!!

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