From Creative Minority:
“Ooohhh, isnt it nice, When your heart is made out of ice”
Ride Sally Ride by Lou Reed
At the Washington Post On Faith blog Sally Quinn writes, ostensibly, about the morality of abortion and the impact that should have on your choice of candidate.
The piece begins by following the logical consequences of a belief that life begins at conception. I will get back to this concept of belief versus observation later (please stick with me) as I think it to be crucial, but let me run through some of Quinn’s post first. She, quite rightly points the logical inconsistency of that belief with the rape / incest exceptions supported by McCain.
McCain and Palin are pro life and committed Christians. McCain says he believes that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder. So does Palin. McCain, however, is in favor of allowing an abortion if a child is conceived by rape or incest. Murder is acceptable, in other words, if rape or incest are the cause of the pregnancy. But does McCain then believe that one could murder a child in infancy if the child had been conceived by rape or incest? What’s the cutoff age for killing someone conceived under those circumstances? Three years old? 24? 86? His position raises the question.
Palin is more consistent. She is against abortion under any circumstances other than to save the life of the mother.
Quinn makes a good point about the intellectual dishonesty or calculating callousness required to hold this position. As has been stated here and elsewhere, voting for McCain is not a choice for perfect good. I won’t rehash this here. This position is, I think, morally and intellectually indefensible.
Speaking of intellectually and morally dishonest, after noting McCain inconsistency and stating Catholic Joe Biden’s position of “I’m prepared as a matter of faith, to accept that life begins at conception but I just don’t care,” she gives gives Biden a repugnant free pass. How can anyone, let alone a leader vying for one of the top offices in the country, maintain such a position? “I believe that life begins at conception but I will not lift a finger to do anything to stop these lives from being taken. Oh and vote for me!” Why would anyone, on either side of the debate, vote for a man who believes lives are being taken but maintains it is not his business? The is as intellectually and morally bankrupt as you can be.
Quinn finishes her post by stating that she has respect for those who believe in life at conception, but does not count herself among them.
I have total respect for those who believe that life begins at conception. I do not. My belief is that when a fetus is viable, when it can survive on its own, then it is a human being. My beliefs are based, not on religion, but on my own sense of morality. I do not want others imposing their religious beliefs on me.
A closer look at Quinn’s statement here is quite revealing and, I think, instructive. While there is much to disagree with in this short statement the root of the issue is in one word. Belief. This is how they get away with it. Belief. I have mine. You have yours. We are entitled to them. You cannot impose yours on me, and I am equally unable to impose mine on you. It is in the Constitution, look it up.
But is when life begins a belief or an observable fact? Archbishop Donald Wuerl, a man of belief, says observable fact. Science. He said, “”When life begins is not a matter of faith, but a matter of science.” He is right. For Pro-abortion folks, this is the ballgame right here. Their entire viewpoint requires life to be merely a belief and not observable fact. The science is very clear on this topic.
Everything required for an individual human life is there right at the moment of conception. Case closed.This is why those in favor of a right to choose abortion always frame this crucial point in terms of belief. Beliefs cannot be imposed, but facts can impose themselves. Facts are not choices. They are what they are. For this reason, whenever I discuss abortion with somebody who favors choice, I never use the word belief or utter the phrase, “I believe life begins at conception.” When you do, you have just handed them there get out of jail free card.
More Quinn. She says, “My belief is that when a fetus is viable, when it can survive on its own, then it is a human being. My beliefs are based, not on religion, but on my own sense of morality. “ Note that she doesn’t base her definition of a human being on anything empirical but on a belief system of her own design. She pretends that this is not a religion, but it is. Just her own personal denomination that uses her own sense as the guide. Her own pride, her magically informed sense makes the call. You have Jesus, she has Sally. Pride, Sally. Pride.
So, to make a short point long. When speaking about abortion and life, we must avoid the concept of belief. It is human life, period. Then the question turns to rights. Does that human life have rights? This is dangerous territory for pro-abortion pols. Territory they don’t really wish to defend. Let me make my case.
Much has been made of Barack Obama’s “above my pay grade” answer at Rick Warren’s Saddleback forum. But the question that Warren asked that drew the disingenuous and flippant answer from Obama has been widely misreported. Warren did not ask when Obama believed life began. No, he asked him when does that life, babies, have human rights. This distinction is crucial but is often missed by even the pro-life. Take this report from the Catholic News Agency when Obama tried to mitigate some of the fallout from his remark.
Washington DC, Sep 9, 2008 / 02:24 am (CNA).- Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, has backed away from his remarks that deciding when life begins is “above my pay grade,” conceding in a television interview that the comments were “probably” too flip.
At the Saddleback Church candidates’ forum in August, moderator and church pastor Rev. Rick Warren had asked the candidates “At what point does a baby get human rights?”
Note that even CNA mischaracterized the question. This is a critical distinction and I believe that Rick Warren understands it and that is why he phrased the question the way he did. When does a baby get human rights? A baby. It is a human life, a baby. Case closed. The question is about rights. I think that Warren rightly sees the pitfalls of debating when life begins as a matter of faith. It is a life, let’s talk about rights.
Frame the debate in this way and the intellectual and moral dishonesty of Obama and Sally Quinn become much more readily apparent. If we are successful in framing the debate in this way then perhaps Quinn and everyone else who uses this intellectually ignominious argument to defend the indefensible will be shamed into honestly debating what choice really means.