I rarely discuss political issues on my blog overtly, mostly because I am not, in my opinion, qualified to do that. My views on many political issues are unformed or at least underformed. But I just read what Justin Taylor noted about President Obama’s statement regarding the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The president said:
Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.
I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.
And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.
As a way of commenting on this, Justin Taylor posted the following video, which expresses what John Piper had to say directly to the president a few years ago on this very topic.
As I reflect on what both President Obama and John Piper said, several thoughts come to mind:
(1) President Obama’s use of “private family matters” is a way of slyly bypassing the entire debate. If we’re to be honest, there are few that think the government should not ever interfere in the affairs of a family. If a husband is beating his wife to the brink of death, are we upset if the government interferes? If a father is physically abusing his children, if a brother kills his sister, if a mother uses her daughter as a prostitute to make money, the government should not interfere because it is a private family matter? Clearly not. This “fundamental principle” is hardly a fundamental principle. What President Obama is truly saying is that the government should not interfere in legitimate, non-harmful family matters. And in so doing, he has bypassed the entire debate. Planned Parenthood and others lift up abortion as a non-harmful, even necessary, and perhaps in some cases as a healthy step to take. Many, regardless of political affiliation, say that abortion is not only harmful–emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually–but that it is murder. And this is the problem I have with President Obama and those who insist on abortion as a private family matter: that’s not the point. I wish that he and others would have the dignity to own up to the debate for what it is. I understand that there are real differences on this question, but he seems to wish to lightly pass over the question instead of truly grappling with.
(2) President Obama’s desire to “support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption” is certainly admirable. It is easy to simply be frustrated with a system that encourages abortion and allows for what I believe to be murder. But surely frustration, anger, and even political policies are not the answer, as many evangelicals have been saying over the past decade. Christians, in particular, must come around this who are facing a difficult–and sadly legal–choice, as well as those who have already made a tragic choice, to embrace them with love and the healing that Christ brings. But as we do that, surely we ought not to just blink at attempts to simply bypass the debate and make abortion seem like a constitutional right. It is not a human right, as John Piper so faithfully reminds us.Read More