…and History Repeated itself Not


One thing that I and some friends discussed before the recent Presidential election was whether we ought to skip the Presidential box or vote for John McCain considering his wild legislative history.  Well, my conclusion was that his pro-life credentials were strong enough to have earned my vote.  Of course Sarah Palin helped me decide too.

Since the election, I have had more opportunities to ponder my pro-life stance and I realized that I didn’t even know myself how strongly I believe in this cause.  Before and after the election, I have heard a little talk about “single issue voters,” one of which I have never considered myself to be because I more or less believe in the Republican platform across the board.  Well, I got to thinking a little more about it and realized that as strongly as I believe in Conservatism, if the Democrat and Republican parties and candidates swapped their positions on Life (assuming a consistent adherence to that position), I might have to vote for the Democrat candidate even though I disagree with the rest of the Democrat platform.  Be advised that I don’t think that scenario is even possible because the belief in a right to life comes straight from the Conservative worldview, a key part of which is the belief in a “higher moral authority.”

Now, regarding that “higher moral authority,” consider the irony of an African-American being elected to this office while holding the most liberal of pro-abortion positions.  Why is it ironic?  First, let us state that infanticide (before or after birth) is as nefarious as slavery — or more so if based on the numbers of human beings affected in the United States. Next, let us compare two familiar Presidential races, Obama vs. McCain and Douglas (and others) vs. Lincoln.

In 2008:

  • McCain had a strong pro-life record.
  • Obama claimed to oppose abortion personally but had a strong pro-abortion voting record.

In 1860:

  • Lincoln was the nominee of the Republican party, expressly formed to oppose slavery.
  • Douglas’ personal position on slavery is unknown, but as a matter of policy he thought the question should be decided democratically.

Do you see the parallels?  I think the similarity between Obama and Douglas can be illustrated best by Obama and Douglas themselves:

From barackobama.com (You can read the whole speech there):

“…Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”

From stephenadouglas.org we have Douglas arguing against Seward’s position on Slavery and rejecting Seward’s and the Republicans’ Divine law argument (You can read the whole speech there):

“His [Seward’s] entire argument rests on the assumption that the negro and the white man were equal by Divine law, and hence that all laws and constitutions and governments in violation of the principle of negro equality are in violation of the law of God. That is the basis upon which his speech rests. He quotes the Declaration of Independence to show that the fathers of the Revolution understood that the negro was placed on an equality with the white man, by quoting the clause, ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ Sir, the doctrines of that Senator and his party is-and I had to meet it for eight years-that the Declaration of Independence intended to recognize the negro and the white man as equal under the Divine law, and hence that all the provisions of the Constitution of the United States which recognize slavery are in violation of the Divine law.”

That those statements are similar is neither coincidental nor profound.  They are similar simply because they proceed from a similar worldview and a similar concept of human rights.  I hope that this begins to illustrate the fact (I do not say opinion) that the Republican party started as, succeeded as, and hopefully continues to be the human and civil rights party.

I could add that it is doubly ironic that all Republicans are asking for today is to have the abortion question returned to the states, but that is a discussion for another day.  Instead I will conclude by saying that I have also been reminded in various ways that regardless of my agreement or disagreement with positions, policies, and character of my country’s leaders, it is my responsibility to respect and obey those leaders, and my duty to pray for my country and especially her President.  I shall continue to do so.

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