Scandal Lesson: Reject Politicians Who Reject the Right to Life

The lesson of the scandals that are engulfing the Obama administration is simple: Leaders who don’t protect our most important rights can’t be trusted to protect our other rights, either.

Our rights go together, starting with the right to life:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Barack Obama probably started opposing the right to life in a seemingly harmless way, as so many people do. But the compassionate feelings behind “choice” mask an ugly reality: To be pro-choice is to say that the right to life is not the sacred possession of a human being, however helpless, but is a privilege that the powerful grant the weak at will.

It didn’t take long before legislator Obama had gone from “pro-choice” to spending years protecting the killing of babies who are born alive.

Once you have decided that you have power over the right to life, the other rights quickly fall.

narrowThe Obama administration went after conscience rights next, demanding that Catholic organizations violate their consciences and pay for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients. It was an outrageous move that scared non-Catholics, too. But that wasn’t all: His administration also barred Catholic groups from serving refugee and human trafficking victims unless they violated their consciences and performed abortions.

Then he took a position on gay marriage that would declare believers of all four major religions bigots because their consciences tell them that the ages-old definition of marriage is true. Ironically, the first African-American president’s policies have the effect of declaring Martin Luther King Jr. a bigot because his conscience rejected the morality of homosexual sex acts.

After shunting aside the right to life and the right to conscience, the other rights fell quickly.

His Department of Justice has undermined the freedom of the press.

His Internal Revenue Service has attacked the right to political speech.

Then, completing the “Big Brother” picture, the same administration started a “Boundless” surveillance on just about everyone.

We should have known better. Our rights can never be something we can take for granted — not when slavery was the issue, not when women’s right to vote was the issue, not when civil rights protection was the issue.

In the year 2000 Pope John Paul II warned Washington leaders at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast that all of our rights would fall if the right to life fell: “I would go so far as to say that [our] task is to save democracy from self-destruction. Democracy is our best opportunity to promote the values that will make the world a better place for everyone, but a society which exalts individual choice as the ultimate source of truth undermines the very foundations of democracy.”

In the year 2008, Pope Benedict XVI told president Bush: “The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. … [F]reedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good.”

We can lose freedom easily and quickly.

A free society can’t survive a government that harasses its political enemies. Self-government can’t last if people are not allowed to govern themselves according to their consciences. And liberty becomes tyranny when the powerful give themselves the right to kill the weak.

  • Prolife American

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article’s premise. If a politician is willing to allow a “Dr” to stick a fork in a baby’s head, or when said “Dr” is too incompentent to kill baby, to allow that baby to die without medical intervention, there is no depth to which said politician will stoop.

  • Prolife American

    This article echoes my sentiments exactly. If a politician is willing to allow a “doctor” to stick a fork in a half born child, or allow “doctor” too incompetent to actually kill the child to let him die without rendering aid, there is no depth to which that politician will not stoop.

  • JackB

    Once again this website never ceases to amaze. Demanding that anyone who is not pro-life is to be voted out of office. You may look around and see pro-choice candidates that measure up very well as politicians. Visa versus there are pro-life jerks like Akin and Maurdock who fail miserably. There is no doubt in my mind that prejudicial statements here are a blatant disregard of the separation of church and state.

    • Mark Hartman

      Guess what, JackB? Nobody said that “Anyone who is pro-life must be a great politician.” We said “If they’re not pro-life, YOU CAN’T TRUST THEM.” You’ve fallen into the classic “A implies B, but B doesn’t imply A” fallacy that they teach people to avoid in 8th grade.

      And concerning your “separation of church and state” hogwash, (a) this isn’t a STATE site, it’s a CATHOLIC site; we are entitled to Freedom of Religion (not simply freedom of worship), which means preaching and acting out the Gospel and the teachings of Christ and His Church in every conceivable forum, and that freedom is guaranteed, not restricted, by the First Amendment; and (b) “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the laws or documents of the United States; the Freedom of Religion guaranteed by the First Amendment does not protect the Government from religion; it protects religion from government. That government which purports to violate that freedom violates its oath to uphold the Constitution, and its acts are morally (i.e., in reality) void.

      In point of fact, it is assertions like yours that are in “blatant disregard” of the principles which underlie this country. Go get yourself some education.

    • Nicolas McAfee

      If you are pro-life, you believe that pro-choice politicians undermine and ignore a fundamental human right and are responsible, if indirectly, for daily destruction of human life on a massive scale. If “measuring up well” refers to general leadership skills, you might have a point, but I think the article is leveling a baseline of priorities that need to be considered if one is pro-life. Namely, the life issue overrides and is of greater significance, leaving it as a primary qualifier for office above those you likely assume. Agreed, many pro-life politicians fail, but the logical end of the article would seek to find new ones. Also, the pro-life cause is not exclusively religious, and many secular people have found perfectly sound logical arguments to come to this view irrespective of religious teaching. If by “prejudice” you mean selection by prior criteria, then there’s nothing inherently wrong with prioritizing this issue over others. I would be “prejudiced” if I voted against any politician who was a climate skeptic…etc.

    • John

      The separation between church and state is a fantasy. Members of any church will vote based on their churches teachings. The churches may have rules about what they can do and say but the members don’t have any restrictions on voting the consciences.

  • Julie T.

    Thank you for another thoughtful column that gets to the heart of the matter. Instead of stifling those who oppose their policies, I wish more of those in government and public office would take to heart a principle of liberty expressed by Benjamin Franklin:
    “Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.”


    What a complete mess of an article. Linking support of abortion rights (which nearly 50% of Americans agree with) to the IRS scandal, NSA techniques, and gay marriage? I’m sure the author longs for the days of the pro-life George W. Bush who respected civil liberties and never did anything that showed disrespect for life, like starting a war that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people or supporting the death penalty .

    If you want to argue a pro-life position, go for it. If you want to argue Obama stinks as a president, you’re certainly going to get a lot of support in the past few weeks. But to link all of this administrations failures to being pro-choice is kind of ridiculous.

  • Robb

    Yeah, this makes complete sense since the Bush administration ran the same surveillance program. At least the Obama administration went through the FISA Court, which Bush unilaterally declared he could ignore as he saw fit.

    In other words, this makes no sense whatsoever.

    • SLCMLC

      Actually Robb, maybe the author is onto something with this rant. Dick Cheney supported gay marriage AND he’s the one who was a proponent of these NSA programs. Hmm…

      • Nicolas McAfee

        I agree that fair criticism of Bush-era policies is justified in these discussions. However, the crux of the article is not to lump all Obama’s offenses under the pro-choice logo–it’s a bit more nuanced than that. I think you guys didn’t read the part where the author writes: “Once you have decided that you have power over the right to life, the other rights quickly fall.” Now, granted, I don’t think connections in Obama’s decisions are necessarily conscious, but it is perfectly legitimate to argue that because his administration devalues the right to life, it is logical that he would not value other rights as well. This, of course, assumes the reader accepts the premise that unborn life is sacred/important, but if you do, then the conclusion is simple to understand. I think the article could have been much clearer, however and includes more than it can account for in such a short number of words.

        • SLCMLC

          I totally understand the pro-life perspective and I can respect someone feeling so strongly about it that they would never ever consider voting for someone who’s pro-choice. But this article seems to go a step further even and link the recent Obama scandals to his pro-choice leanings. And man, I just don’t think that’s remotely accurate. As Robb points out, a lot of this stuff started under Bush who is very pro-life. It’s just an incoherent argument and not really backed up by any facts, just a hated of our President.

          As I pointed out, our most recent pro-life President also began two wars (one probably justified, the other not-so-much) and was an avid supporter of the death penalty as well. And of course, Robb and I can’t emphasize this enough, he’s the one who created these controversial policies the author is now complaining about.

          Like I said above, I respect someone who is pro-life. I respect someone who hates Obama. But I just can’t respect a lazy argument that links Obama’s pro-choice beliefs (that 50% of the country agrees with) with some of the negatives of his presidency that seem completely separate from his stance on abortion.

        • Robb

          Nicholas-the only way this makes sense is if politicians labeled “pro-life” actually value human life, and therefore respect other rights as well. Given George Bush’s record on torture, I continue to maintain this is a ridiculous correlation.

          After all, what kind of pro-life person would have some tortured? What kind of principled person would engage in intrinsic evil?



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