Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Biden on Abortion

Senator Biden, appearing Sunday on Meet the Press, stated his position on abortion. The New York Times reports that:

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for vice president, departed Sunday from party doctrine on abortion rights, declaring that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception. But the Delaware senator added that he would not impose his personal views on others, and had indeed voted against curtailing abortion rights and against criminalizing abortion.

So let's unpack this. He believes that "life begins at conception". This is a biologically awkward phrase since life is a continuum and does not "begin" in the sense that people mean it when they employ constructions like the one Biden used. I leave open the possibility that Senator Biden was uttering an inanity, but I assume he was not. I assume that what he meant was that an individual acquires the rights of a person at conception.

He then said that as a senator and potential vice-president he would not presume to impose that belief upon others. This assertion entails, one can only conclude, that if Americans thought that Jews or blacks were not full persons, the senator, entrusted with the power of legislating the laws of the land and confirming its judges, would not interfere with this opinion even were he convinced otherwise. Well, it wasn't too long ago that Jews and blacks were not considered full persons. Would Biden have refused to vote against legislation that would have criminalized the holocaust or curtailed slavery?

The child in the womb is a person, according to Joe Biden, but if the mother wants to kill it, for whatever reason, that should be her right. This is pretty stunning. It's either of a piece with the thinking of many Germans during the thirties and many Americans in the ante-bellum south or it's simply the muddled cogitation of a man who never really took his responsibilities as a senator seriously enough to think through the logic of his position.



Over the past week some in the media have tried to place Sarah Palin out on the fringe of American life. This has been a difficult task since her opinions are pretty much the same as those of the vast number of Americans who live outside the university campus and the Washington beltway. She is pro-life, favors small government, opposes corruption, is a committed Christian, hunts, fishes, and supports the effort to defeat the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan. For some this makes her an extremist, for most it makes her a very attractive candidate.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama, whose personal associations include unreconstructed terrorists and terrorist supporters, is considered a moderate. Obama has the most extreme voting record in the Senate. He opposed the bill that banned partial-birth abortion and later criticized the Supreme Court for upholding the law. As an Illinois state senator he opposed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act which made it illegal to allow children born alive after an unsuccessful abortion to be left to die. He has promised that as president his first act would be to sign the Freedom of Choice act which would eliminate all existing restrictions on abortion, including the ban on the use of federal funds for abortions.

Never mind the fact that only a small percentage of Americans stand where Obama stands on these issues. In the minds of her media opponents it's Sara Palin who's the extremist and who must be discredited.

I really don't think the elite media understands the worldview of most Americans and certainly not that of most conservative Christians. They seem to have assumed, for example, that once Bristol Palin's pregnancy was exposed religious conservatives would abandon the mother's candidacy as if she were a moral leper. They seem to have been surprised that, on the contrary, most Christians identified with the fact that the Palins have challenges just like the rest of us and that just because our children don't always listen to the advice and counsel we offer them it doesn't mean that they, or we, are failures.

I don't know why else the media would have thought that Bristol's pregnancy was newsworthy unless they believed it somehow demonstrated hypocrisy or irresponsibility on the part of the mother and that it would erode her support among Evangelical Christians. If that's what they thought they certainly don't understand Evangelical Christians.