Saturday, March 08, 2008

Open Letter to Sen. Obama

The following open letter appeared in the National Review, Online March 4, 2008. My heart resonates with every phrase. The author is Sherif Girgis of Dover, Delaware. Sherif is a senior philosophy major at Princeton University and a 2008 Rhodes Scholar and a second generation emigre from Egypt.

The Audacity of Hope: A Second-Generational Query

Dear Senator Obama:

As an immigrant from Kenya, your father found new hope in America’s noble principles and vast opportunities. The same promise brought my parents here from Egypt when I was still too young to thank them. Now you have inspired my generation with your vision of a country united around the same ideals of liberty and justice, “filled with hope and possibility for all Americans.”

But do you mean it?

As a legislator, you have opposed every effort to protect unborn human life. Shockingly, you even opposed a bill to protect the lives of babies who, having survived an attempted abortion, are born alive. Despite your party’s broad support for legal abortion and its public funding, most Democrats (including Senator Clinton) did not oppose the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. You, however, opposed it. Your vision of America seems to eliminate “hope and possibility” for a whole class of Americans: the youngest and most vulnerable. You would deny them the most basic protection of justice, the most elementary equality of opportunity: the right to be born.

As a prerequisite for any other right, the right to life is the great civil-rights issue of our time. It is what slavery and segregation were to generations past. Our response to this issue is the measure of our fidelity to a defining American principle: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.”

You have asked me to vote for you. In turn, may I ask you three simple questions? They are straightforward questions of fact about abortion. They are at the heart of the debate. In fairness, I believe that you owe the people you would lead a good-faith answer to each:

1. The heart whose beating is stilled in every abortion — is it a human heart?
2. The tiny limbs torn by the abortionist’s scalpel — are they human limbs?
3. The blood that flows from the fetus’s veins — is it human blood?

If the stopped heart is a human heart, if the torn limbs are human limbs, if the spilled blood is human blood, can there be any denying that what is killed in an abortion is a human being? In your vision for America, the license to kill that human being is a right. You have worked to protect that “right” at every turn. But can there be a right to deny some human beings life or the equal protection of the law?

Of course, some do deny that every human being has a right to life. They say that size or degree of development or dependence can make a difference. But the same was once said of color. Some say that abortion is a “necessary evil.” But the same was once said of slavery. Some say that prohibiting abortion would only harm women by driving it underground. But to assume so is truly to play the politics of fear. A compassionate society would never accept these false alternatives. A compassionate society would protect both mother and child, coming to the aid of women in need rather than calling violence against their children the answer to their problems.

Can we become a society that does not sacrifice some people to help others? Or is that hope too audacious? You have said that abortion is necessary to protect women’s equality. But surely we can do better. Surely we can build an America where the equality of some is not purchased with the blood of others. Or would that mean too much change from politics as usual?

Can we provide every member of the human family equal protection under the law? Your record as a legislator gives a resounding answer: No, we can’t. That is the answer the Confederacy gave the Union, the answer segregationists gave young children, the answer a complacent bus driver once gave a defiant Rosa Parks. But a different answer brought your father from Kenya so many years ago; a different answer brought my family from Egypt some years later. Now is your chance, Senator Obama, to make good on the spontaneous slogan of your campaign, to adopt the more American and more humane answer to the question of whether we can secure liberty and justice for all: Yes, we can.

Republished by permission. This open letter appeared on
National Review Online, March 4, 2008
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YzM2YTc2NDc1ODMyNTM5MTBhZjcyOTBlNmRkMTgwY2Y=
(accessed March 7, 2008).

O that God would raise up other young voices like Sherif's to save yet another generation from the abortion mills of America.

"Lord, you have given Sen. Obama great skill as a rhetorician. He seems to want to serve. Many are drawn to him. Change the Senator's heart O God, or spare us from where he would lead us. Our nation's guilt is already too deep. Fifty million babies have already died. How long O God before you answer? We cry out with Habakkuk, ...

2 'O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you "Violence!"
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
so justice goes forth perverted.'
(Habakkuk 1:2-4, ESV)

5 comments:

Grant said...

This is going to be a tough election for me. Obviously, this is Obama's main strike against him from my standpoint. But, McCain's record on this issue seems mixed too.

My main question these days is, if we have 7 Republican appointments to the Supreme Court vs. 2 Democratic appointments, how is abortion still legal? I'm glad that partial birth abortion progress has been made, but I would think even a 6 to 3 Supreme Court margin would have been enough to overturn the overall abortion laws.

What more can Christians do to get abortion laws changed?

clc said...

i agree with sherif's words and think that obama has lacked courage on this issue. however, he did not vote for partial birth abortions as stated. he abstained and simply voted "present". in fact, on this issue, many of his votes are abstained votes which is not ideal but also not as "pro-abortion" as people would characterize him to be. i am not supporting this course, just clarifying facts.

the other concern i have involved with this general discussion is the assumption that someone is pro-abortion because they are not emphasizing certain strategies on the issue. obama has stated that he is not personally for abortion but he chooses to fund other programs to help the abortion problem such as those to reduce teen pregnancy, and programs that offer benefits and insurance to unwed mothers, etc. rather than battle on the front of "women's rights". i agree that his stance politically is not solidly anti-abortion but i also believe that people are not looking at the whole picture.

furthermore, what has this christian and republican president with at one time a republican congress and a republican court done for abortion? i personally am more disappointed in politicians who say they're pro-life or change to be pro-life for the presidential run (as mc cain did in '03 the first time he ran) and have done NOTHING. that seems a little more deceptive to me.

i am surprised that with pro-life politicians' lack of action on this issue that we still support and tolerate their empty promises. all the elements were in place, conservative pres, congress, and court. shouln't we be equally as disppointed and incredulous of those who say they are pro-life and do little to nothing for the issue? people's blast against obama is that talk is cheap. well i'm beginning to think that the same is true with this issue. and i think that christians need to have a more comprehensive political approach to this issue. we should be pressuring conservatives and liberals alike as neither have delivered a satisfactory result. and we also need to support other types of grassroots efforts and programs on either side of the table that will support life.

ChosenRebel said...

In my mind McCain's record is mixed as well. But he still has a huge up pattern compared to Obama on this issue. As for the republican's record on abortion, I also agree that it has been muddled and gutless at times. But the Supreme court is still only one vote away and I think it is an overstatement to say that their appointments have had no impact. In addition, these appointments have been notoriously partisan. Bork would have swung the court and was well qualified but was brutally savaged by abortion advocates.

Further, the appointment of Kennedy and Suter (SP?) were historically very interesting. You guys are probably not old enough to remember the whole confirmation process for them but neither has turned out to be exactly what either side of the debate thought they would.

The issue is, which candidate will look for candidates to the Supreme Court that will narrowly interpret the consitution and will uphold the right to life for all American, including the unborn. While I am not a Republican, right now I think they give the best hope for abortion opponents. At the same time, all Christians should be careful not to put their hope in any political savior. And we should be leary of all candidates, present and future, Republican and Democrate, Green and Independent who present themselves in savior-like language.

clc said...

i agree. i think that's where we've gone a bit wrong as a movement, we've relied on a party too heavily for change.

although could you explain more fully your comment about being one vote away. all the research i have done shows the supreme court count at 7-2 (rep. to dems.) if we are to assume by your comment that only 4 of the 7 who have been appointed by republicans may vote pro-life, then in actuality, aren't christians voting for a candidate who may possibly *but not consistently* nominate a pro-life judge who may possibly vote pro-life if possibly a case comes up to challenge that? and how is someone who has changed their position for the presidential bid seem a reliable person for that kind of confidence?

i'm not against possibilities, (with god all things are possible!) but you can see why i am for other apolitical approaches that are less remote.

ChosenRebel said...

huh? Maybe you can take another stab at clarifying that.

I think your boys may have distracted your expression a bit. ;)