Is abortion the only political issue that should count for Christians as we decide who to vote for in elections? Should the church be a single issue community?
Beyond that, what does it mean to be pro-life? I am pro-life, but I ask, is there a broader way of looking at the issue, one that includes care for the lives of 'born' children as well as 'unborn' children?
And Janet Woodlock writes in Secret Women's Business: The Moral Minefield:
debate has raged over the U.S. election on Alan Hirsch’s blog, a fascinating glimpse into the passionate and divisive world of American politics. I’ve been reminded of this passage because it is the closest thing to an abortion in the biblical record. (ripping babies out of the wombs of mothers would cause the death of mothers in a world without surgery or antibiotics, so I don’t think those passages count).
I noticed that a lot of Americans who were anti abortion said they were going to vote Republican in the last couple of elections for that reason. It seems that they were conned by slick political rhetoric from politicians who were unable or unwilling to fulfil their "anti-abortion" promises. Has the number of abortions in the US diminished significantly over the last 8 years?
If I were American, I would regard abortion as a non-issue in the election. Regardless of what politicians may promise, you can rest assured that if elected, they are not going to do anything about it.
And as for wars, when one party was in power the US bombed Baghdad, and when the other party was in power the US bombed Belgrade. So both the major US parties are bloodthirsty warmongering abortionists.
"Put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man, for there is no help in them" (Psalm 2)
In the Christians and Society forum we recently had a straw poll on "How pro-life are you?" and found that few people were consistently prolife.
The thing that most agreed was immoral was reckless or negligent driving.
On the question of the morality of killing, whether in war or by abortion, it seems to me, as an Orthdox Christian, that in these matters Western theology is legalistic. In Western theology "justification" seems to be central to debates about salvation, and everything else. Is homicide justified or justifiable? Is a war "just" (and theologians have laid down criteria of a "just" war). Are we "justified" by grace? And if so, is it through faith, and if so, is it through faith alone? Is the grace imputed or imparted?
While "justification" is not absent from Orthodox conceptions of salvation, it does not seem to be as centraql as it does in Western theology.
And similarly, Orthodox theology does not seem to have any conception of a "just" war. All wars are the result of human sin, and no killing is justified. The Orthodox Church, however, is not a "peace church", in the sense of the Quakers or Mennonites. Many Orthodox saints were soldiers. But killing in war is not thereby "justified". It's not OK. A soldier who kills in battle cannot say "It was a just war, and therefore that killing is not a sin I need to confess, because it was justifiable homicide and therefore a righteous act." The canons of the Orthodox Church require soldiers who kill in war to confess that as a sin and do penance.
We live in a sinful world, a world in which wars happen. Wars are part of the fallenness of the sinful world and cannot be "justified". Killing in war is a sin to be confessed, no matter how "just" the cause for which the war was fought.
And so with deliberate abortion.
One can come up with all kinds of rationalisations, in order to try to "justify" it -- to "save the life of the mother" or for some other reason. But none of these rationalisations make it OK. It is still a sin that needs to be confessed. But there is also no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven. Abortion is a sin, but it is not the only sin, and it is not the worst sin. Perhaps "single issue" voting on this kind of thing is just as sinful.