The third thing that happened to me is that I started paying attention to how both scripture and the Church define life, this thing that we are all in favor of. Life, from a Christian perspective, is the unborn child in the womb. But it is also the child born in poverty who desperately needs a community to help raise her. From the perspective of both the Bible and the Church, life is the 18 year black male whose only perceived choices are illegal activities or joining the military to fight in Iraq. Christian social teaching rejects the simplistic definition that sees life only as the first nine months, the time in the womb.
We have, to our own discredit, conflated being pro-life to being pro-anti-abortion legislation. Has this made life more sacred? Has this improved the conditions for those most likely to have an abortion, the economically and educationally disadvantaged?
To ask these questions is to realize that there are no good answers in terms of who to support. The struggle of how to resolve these tensions is as close as my own home - my wife, Lisa, still has not committed to a candidate, given her strong opinions about abortion. I could take the path of least resistance, and choose John McCain, a clearly pro-anti-abortion legislation candidate. But, given the immense number of positions that Sen. McCain has been on both sides of, I wonder if his one and only pro-life credential is even something he will maintain.
Instead, I am choosing to make a compromise, a choice that pulls more clearly in the direction of life than all my other available choices: I am supporting Barack Obama. I am disappointed that Sen. Obama has not supported legislation that would protect the unborn, particularly in the late term. However, even through the sole lens of abortion, I truly believe that an Obama Presidency will change the culture in which unwanted pregnancies will be met with stronger economic and communal support, making the birth of the child a much more imaginable possibility.
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