Friday, October 16, 2009

'Personally opposed' to abortion

It now looks that prominent left-wing evangelical Jim Wallis, who I had always assumed from his books and statements took a pro-life position (though I believe he prioritized the issue very wrongly), is not pro-life after all.

Keith Pavlischek recounts a discussion with Wallis:
I told Wallis as bluntly as I could, that as far as I could tell his position and that of Sojourners [Wallis' organization] was indistinguishable from the old Mario Cuomo position of being "personally opposed" to abortion while wanting to keep the procedure legal. I suggested that neither he nor Sojourners could honestly be labeled pro-life because, for that term to mean anything, it has to involve advocacy for the legal protection of the unborn. Wallis was equally frank in response. He simply rejected my suggestion that the "legal protection of the unborn" had anything to do with being pro-life. Both of us left that conversation with a clear understanding that Wallis was, quite simply, pro-choice on abortion.
So Jim Wallis, it seems, takes the popular "personally opposed" position: I'm personally opposed to abortion, but I shouldn't try to force my views on everyone else. So abortion should be legal.

Of course, no one says, "I'm personally opposed to blowing up innocent civilians, but if that's what you want to do, go right ahead." In reality, the reason to personally oppose abortion—that it unjustly takes the life of an innocent human being—is precisely the reason that it should not be publicly allowed.

As Greg Koukl explains:
Whenever you hear someone say, "I am personally against abortion, but I don't think you should pass any laws against it," one question should immediately be on your lips: "Tell me, why are you personally against abortion?" What you'll almost always hear is, "I'm personally against abortion because I think it kills an innocent human being, but that's my personal belief. I don't think I should force this belief on others."

Follow up with this comment: "Let me see if I understand you correctly. You actually believe that abortion takes the life of an innocent human child, but mothers should still be allowed to do that to their own children." Then pause and let the logic of his comment sink in.

When I asked this question of one person he quickly responded, "Well, when you put it that way ..."

I said, "Put it what way? That's your view, unless I've misunderstood you. Please correct me if I have. As I understand it, that's precisely what you believe."

This isn't a trick. It's not clever "spin." I merely repeated what he'd just told me. That was his view. It just didn't sound so good coming back at him.