Scott Tibbs

Hoosier Review, June 1st, 2004

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Where is the Courage of Your Convictions?

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? Proverbs 24:11-12

On May 1, the Associated Press reported that Democratic Governor Joe Kernan "supports a woman's right to choose abortion", but is "personally opposed" to it. This is something we hear often from pro-"choice" politicians. Democratic candidate for President John Kerry repeated the sentiments of Bill Clinton and other pro-abortion Democrats when he said he wished abortion to be "safe, legal and rare".

Kerry was at the center of a controversy in April when some Catholics argued that he should be denied communion due to his support for legalized abortion. Kernan faced a similar controversy earlier this month when his alma mater, St. Joseph High School, withdrew an invitation for him to speak at commencement because of his pro-abortion views.

The caveats used by Kerry and Kernan to their support of legalized child-killing raise interesting questions for the two Democrats. If Kernan, as a Christian, believes abortion is the taking of an innocent human life, why does he believe it should be legal?

Saying that you are "personally opposed" to abortion but favor it being legal is a position that does not make sense. Abortion is not a matter of believing something is morally wrong but opposing legal restrictions on it because it harms no one else. One can be morally opposed to homosexual behavior or drug use yet not favor laws against it so long as those involved are consenting adults. Those who believe abortion is wrong take that position on the belief that the fetus is a person and should be afforded the same rights (including protection from murder) that born persons have.

Would someone say that they are "morally opposed" to child abuse but would not interfere in how a parent raises his or her child? Would someone say they are "morally opposed" to domestic violence but do not favor the government getting involved in a marriage? If we could do so, what would we say to a person in 1850 who was "morally opposed" to slavery but did not think ending it was something the government should do?

We can see that all of the above are illogical positions to take. If you believe something is an injustice to the innocent, it is not an option to idly stand by allow it to happen, or to oppose measures to end that injustice. Governor Kernan's position indicates a lack of courage behind his convictions.

On the national level, John Kerry says that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare". Why did Kerry include "rare" with that statement, other than that it was used by Clinton and other pro-abortion Democrats? Is there something about abortion that Kerry thinks is wrong? More likely than not, it was a recognition that while polls indicate that the country is marginally "pro-choice", the American people recognize abortion as something that should not happen in large numbers. (Yet it does, 1.2 million times a year.) While Kerry publicly states abortion should be "rare", he opposes initiatives to make it so, even opposing a ban on the heinous procedure commonly known as "partial birth abortion".

But those who should be most ashamed are pro-life Christians who are apathetic in the face of 1.2 million babies killed every year in America alone. In Bloomington, Indiana, the City Council has voted every year to give grants to the local branch of Planned Parenthood, America's #1 abortion provider. Pro-life Christians have been, for the most part, silent about this misuse of taxpayer funds. What makes this apathy worse is that while abortion rates decline nationally, Bloomington has seen a 38 percent increase in abortions since 1995.

Yet pro-life Christians are increasingly apathetic in the face of this bloodshed. What would Jesus say to those who claim to be "pro-life" yet do nothing about it, and even vote for political candidates who support this legalized killing? The verse quoted at the top of this column should be required reading for Christians in the United States.

This is why I applaud the Catholic Church for putting pressure on Kernan and Kerry, publicly shaming them for their support of a great moral evil. While the Catholic Church has faced significant criticism over this stand, it is a stand the church should take more often. Furthermore, Protestant churches would do well to imitate Catholics on this matter. Protecting the innocent is not merely a Catholic responsibility, but a responsibility of all Christians.