Donald Roach: “I like Obama, but I’ll be voting for McCain”
So says Tom Christian, who attends Rick Warren‘s Saddleback Church in California, after hearing both Presidential candidates make their cases to evangelical voters this weekend.
Both McCain and Obama were asked identical questions ranging from their views on leadership, the definition of marriage, and other subjects that affect the evangelical demographic. With respect to abortion, Warren asked Obama, “At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?” Certainly, there is some biased phraseology within the question. Yet, like the seasoned compassionate liberal he is, Obama replied (according to the unofficial transcript notes):
Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade. But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is there is a moral and ethical content to this issue. So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue I think is not paying attention. So that would be point number one. But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade and come to that conclusion not because I’m pro abortion, but because ultimately I don’t think women make these decisions casually.[emphasis mine]
And so he tries to straddle the line between understanding the moral, theological, and scientific — the latter two above his pay grade — issues surrounding abortion but ultimately concludes that “women don’t make these decisions casually.” From an intellectual standpoint, that was a let-down. And I can imagine Tom Christian and other members of Warren’s church thinking to themselves, “Wait a minute. This guy just said it’s a difficult moral issue in one sentence but then supplanted the same difficult moral issue by giving supremacy to a woman’s choice in the very next breath. He sounds like he is concerned, but it seems he’s just holding to the tried and true liberal position on abortion.”
Truth be told, earlier this year, I wrote that I was leaning toward Obama. I found myself drinking the “Kool-Aid” and, unlike Tom Christian, not reading through the tea leaves.
My main reasoning rested upon my perception of his integrity and my complete lack of hope for our current administration. I’d almost resigned myself to the notion of preferring a president I didn’t agree with, but could trust when he acted on positions, versus a president I did agree with, but in whom I had little faith concerning in his ability to address real-world situations with any modicum of wisdom. Other conservatives like me — they call us Obamacons — have become disillusioned with the Bush administration’s inept handling of issue after issue, moving the Republican party away from its true conservative roots. So why not give a hard-line liberal with conviction a chance, especially one as charismatic as Obama? Can it really get any worse?
Tom Christian would say “yes” and argue that, even though many Americans, evangelical Christians included, like Obama’s message of hope and change, a closer examination of those positions illustrate nothing more than a fruitless liberal framework buttressed by empathetic dicta and inspiring rhetoric. And if Obama turns out not to be the dynamic once-in-a-generation leader many think he is, should we not heed Christian’s observation: note the persuasiveness and allure of Obama but cast our lot with McCain, the pragmatic and proven leader?