John Piper on Being Pro-Life Under a Pro-Choice President

John  Piper re-posted something he preached back in 1993 when Bill Clinton was about to be inaugurated. He lays out several questions he would like for a pro-choice president to answer in regard to the rights of the unborn. These questions are just as valid today for our new President. I would like to add one question to his list of four:

5. Is your call for all Americans to have hope and expect positive change in our country valid for Americans who are still in the womb?

Here is his original post. It is worth the read.

0 Responses to John Piper on Being Pro-Life Under a Pro-Choice President

  1. Per question #5, I think he would answer, “Yes.” If you go back to the Saddleback forum, he sees this issue more systemically & comprehensively than the way this issue is often framed. He wants to work to reduce the overall number of abortions that happen in America. And, actually, the number of abortions in America did not go down from President Clinton to President Bush.

  2. Nick Gill says:

    I wish someone had prepped Rick Warren with these questions during the Saddleback interviews.

  3. mattdabbs says:

    Philip,

    You said he wants to reduce the number of overall abortions but just one month ago he was pushing to give Planned Parenthood an extra $1 billion. I am not sure how that shows he is trying to decrease abortions. He is starting to reverse course on some of these issues since he got the nomination. This is one of them and this new proposal on his part does go against what he said at Saddleback.

  4. preacherman says:

    I find it interesting that republicans say their pro-life and nothing has changed since they have been in power. Think about how many republican presidents could have tried to make a difference: Ragan, George H. Bush, George W. Bush. If they had spend as much time and and energy and money as they have on war; what could have been accomplished? Think about it, is the person in office really going to have any power or influence on the issue?

  5. DP says:

    Matt, I found you through Philip’s blog. I’m liking your thoughts. #5 is great question. I appreciate that Obama wants to attack the systematic causes of abortion, but to me, that’s just pie in the sky when the same president has pledged support of the Freedom of Choice Act.

    @ preacherman, the Supreme Court made abortion a constitutional issue after Roe v. Wade, and no president can overturn the Court. In fact, nothing can except a constitutional amendment or the Court itself. The chances of a constitutional amendment passing that bans abortions is pretty close to nil, so that leaves the Court to overturn itself. To that end, GWB’s appointments of Roberts and Alito to the bench give the Court its greatest opportunity to overturn Roe in a long time. It has already upheld a ban on partial-birth abortions. Now all the court needs is a case on its docket to overturn Roe.

  6. Terry says:

    Preacherman,
    I understand why you think that way. However, Republicans did accomplish some modest pro-life victories which helped to reduce the numbers of abortions. For example, the Partial Birth Abortion Act stopped the legality of those kinds of abortions. President Reagan’s “Mexico City” policy limted funding to abortion-providing organizations overseas (both Presidents Bush renewed his policy, while President Clinton repealed it so that more abortions were funded during his administration). Because of the Casey decision in the early 1990s (largely due to President Reagan and Bush Supreme Court appointees), parental involvement and informed consent laws were upheld. Those laws did not stop the legal practice of abortions, but they slowed the practice. In addition, Republican presidents since Reagan have spoken out against the unnecessary killing of pre-born children. While I would have liked for them to have done more, it was difficult since they did not have fillibuster-proof majorities in the Senate. In addition, several Republicans were supporters of unrestricted abortion and too few Democrats were pro-life. If they could have had purely pro-life Republicans and more pro-life Democrats, abortions might be illegal today. However, the public does not want it yet. The public is supportive of the modest pro-life policies that were passed in the last 36 years, but it does not tend to want to restrict the legal practice of killing pre-born children much more than they have so far.

    Now, with President Obama committed to signing the Freedom of Choice Act, the modest pro-life gains of the past 36 years could be wiped out in a matter of days. Until the pro-life movement gains bipartisan support, we may be able to save lives only through pro-life counseling (as takes place in my local congregation’s ministry to new mothers) and adoption (which I strongly recommend).

  7. A buddy of mine at Harding Grad wrote a blog entry a few months ago on this very topic. I’d be challenged to top it…

    http://cbspkn.blogspot.com/2008/11/filibustering.html

    I guess what strikes me most, in terms of this issue & it’s relationship to conservatives, is how conservatives insist on almost every other issue that less government is the solution. Yet, when it comes to this issue & a few others like it, government intervention is supremely necessary. I’ve never quite understood the contradiction.

  8. Terry says:

    The government’s job is to protect innocent human lives. That’s neither conservative nor liberal. It’s simply the government’s job.

  9. DP says:

    I’d hardly consider outlawing the murder of unborn children to be unwarranted government intervention. To phrase it as a government-size issue sounds like a cop-out that misses the point.

  10. I wouldn’t consider it unwarranted government intervention either. And I’m not framing this as a government-size issue, but a government role issue. Conservatives assert on most other positions that government is the problem. Conservatives insist on this issue that government is the solution. And I haven’t ever had anyone ever give me a good explanation for the apparent contradiction.

    This isn’t a cop out to explain why I’m a liberal; I’m not a liberal. This is a conflict in ideology that I can’t account for as I try to understand one side’s thinking.

  11. mattdabbs says:

    Philip,

    Here is my take on it. The government does pass laws that can encourage or discourage abortion. They can actually put money toward making abortions easier for those who cannot afford it. What other moral issue is like that? Does the government fund lying? Do they fund cheating? Adultery? Because the government plays such a direct role through legislation and through the judiciary Christians are more likely to try to encourage their representative to actually represent them. Remember, those in government represent their constituency. So no one is asking for bigger government here. They are asking for the government to uphold the constitution which begins with this statement:

    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    I would call preventing abortion promoting the general welfare as well as securing blessings for our posterity. So this is not so much a matter of convenience – asking for smaller government most of the time but bigger government when it is convenient. This is asking the government to carry out the duty they have sworn to uphold. Call me crazy 🙂

  12. Not calling anybody crazy 🙂 Just calling you conflicted

  13. mattdabbs says:

    I am not sure how anyone who is pro-life asking for bigger government. How is calling the government to protect the innocent asking for bigger government? No one is asking for a special task force or any new department, etc. No one is asking for the government to have an expanded role. The government has already stuck its foot in this area and we are asking them to make decision that are pro-life in an arena they have already expanded into. I would think people would appreciate Christians trying to do this through our already existing government rather than taking things into our own hands.

  14. DP says:

    I want abortions to be made illegal. Not restricted, not rare, but criminal. This issue is not above my pay grade: I fail to see how abortion is not murder.

    As such, the role of the government is to create and enforce the laws, and I think it is entirely appropriate to ask the government to criminalize it, because only the government can. I’m not sure I understand how that conflicts with a limited-government philosophy.

  15. Frank says:

    To ban abortion is a perfectly-legitimate public policy option. It would not be in conflict with the value of limited government.

  16. I remain unconvinced. I appreciate the attempts, though. Perhaps this is something I could hash out with one of you in person one day

  17. mattdabbs says:

    Let me take one more stab here. Your point is to ask the government to step in here in a pro-life way would be asking for bigger government. The government has already stepped into this arena. They have already made policy. Government already exists in the arena of abortion and women’s rights. To ask that government to change a “yes” to a “no” is not asking for bigger government. It is asking for the same sized government to do a change in policy. The effect would actually be smaller government as the government now federally funds lots of programs that assist people in having abortions. So the net result of a policy change on abortion is a reduction in government.

    When radical crazies take things into their own hands to end abortion by violent means people say those crazies need to try to change policy through the structures that already exist. When people propose to use those policies, procedures, and structures that are civil the complaint is to say we are asking for bigger government?

    Can you give more feedback than that you aren’t convinced or that we are conflicted?

  18. I’ve already written once here (though it appears to be repeatedly ignored) that I’m not framing this as a government size issue. It is a government role issue. Conservatives insist upon the notion that “if government would just get out of our way we would be better off” as if it is an immutable principle of life. But on this issue, they want government to intervene. Role — not size, role.

    And what’s most striking is that a vast majority of these conservatives (and a unanimous quorum in this forum) are Christians. We follow the example of a leader who didn’t try to solve big societal problems, or even “big sin” problems, through government. Change on this issue isn’t going to be affected through policy. It’s transforming hearts one-by-one. Now, in saying that I’m not saying that we should withdraw our voice from the process. But that our voice should be heard louder in a personal way rather than in a political way.

  19. Matt Dabbs says:

    Thanks Philip,

    That helped tremendously. So if we talk about it as a role issue are Christians to expect that the government should not be in the role of protecting those who have no voice? It is our responsibility to hold our government to a higher standard and to call a spade a spade. I do agree with you that it should not be our ONLY means of trying to make a difference when it comes to this issue. I appreciate you saying that.

  20. Matt Dabbs says:

    Have a look at Piper’s latest with parallels from Lincoln and slavery with abortion – http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/DGBlog/~3/519566828/

  21. DP says:

    Philip, I agree with you that we, particularly as Christians, should be looking at the deeper causes of what causes a mother to desire to kill a child, but I also believe that the government has a STRONG interest in protecting the life of the unborn children. None of the systemic cause treatments do anything to protect the actual life of the children. So, I’m thinking we should do both ban abortion to protect the children, and try to change hearts on the issue, to circumvent the issue before it gets to that point. But if it does, there must be some safeguards.

    Analogy: apply the same ideas we are discussing to the battle against narcotics. Sure, part of the cure is getting people who don’t want to do drugs in the first place, but I doubt any of us would advocate for the legalization of narcotics. The government would be giving its implicit approval of drugs in that case, which would likely have the effect of undermining any other efforts.

  22. mattdabbs says:

    Another blog post from today – Roe vs. Wade anniversary and 50 ways to Help Unborn Babies and their moms by Shane Vander Hart – http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CaffeinatedThoughts/~3/FFdGSRe5np8/

  23. I liked that last link very much. Thanks Matt

  24. Terry says:

    Matt, you did an excellent job in presenting the pro-life position in this conversation. I appreciate it!

  25. Nick Gill says:

    Conservatives do not believe that police departments should be disbanded, nor do they believe district attorney’s offices should be shut down. The sanctity and protection of life is a clear and legitimate role for government — this has been shown in more cases than can be cited in a week.

    Answering Piper’s first question (Are you willing to explain why a baby’s right not to be killed is less important than a woman’s right not to be pregnant?) will go a long way towards establishing the sanctity of life as a legitimate motive for government action to protect the lives of pre-born Americans.

  26. mattdabbs says:

    Shane Vander Hart has posted another 25 things that can be done to help unborn babies and their moms – http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CaffeinatedThoughts/~3/meAE-A3TJVk/

  27. For #4 under political action, here’s an option…

    http://www.huckpac.com/?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=2086

    Gotta love opportunistic politicians 😉 FWIW, I love the Huck

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