Now, let's have a civil public debate

It’s been a long year of talking heads on TV, both in media and
politics. We have heavyweight voices on talk radio. There’s a great
deal of chatter online, and it has reached new levels of nastiness,
especially in the blogosphere…..which winds up being reported on the TV
news shows, just to elevate its role in the national debate over the
presidential campaigns, for some reason.

Okay, the last presidential debate is over. While it is endlessly
replayed and rehashed throughout the above-mentioned world today, this
is a good time for the people to start tuning that out more, and start
talking with each other. Civilly.

The Witherspoon Institute has seized this opportune time to launch a new online journal Public Discourse that offers solid critical thinking and logical reasoning on major issues facing the nation.

Like this commentary by Princeton Professor Robert George. 

The media are talking about the ‘coolness’ factor a lot today. How about a splash of cold water:

Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate
ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the
most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed,
he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either
house of the United States Congress.

Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified
pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals - who aggressively promote Obama’s
candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the
pro-life point of view.

What is going on here?

Important question to ask, and George prefaces the answer with this:

I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama’s
self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak.
It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly
believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about
Obama’s abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama
as ‘’pro-abortion'’ rather than ‘’pro-choice.'’

According to the standard argument for the distinction between these labels, nobody is pro-abortion.

In the presidential debate last night, Obama said that. Just before
he explained his own position. Which George scrutinizes with his usual
incisive logic and reason. He used the analogy of the slavery issue and
applied it to the “personally opposed but…” argument.

Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but
as ‘’pro-choice'’? Of course we would not. It wouldn’t matter to us
that they were ‘’personally opposed'’ to slavery, or that they wished
that slavery were ‘’unnecessary,'’ or that they wouldn’t dream of
forcing anyone to own slaves. We would hoot at the faux sophistication
of a placard that said ‘’Against slavery? Don’t own one.'’ We would
observe that the fundamental divide is between people who believe that
law and public power should permit slavery, and those who think that
owning slaves is an unjust choice that should be prohibited.

That last line clarifies the argument. Now here is Obama’s record.

For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal
the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay
for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and
are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments
that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group
NARAL, ‘’forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions
to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their
wishes instead.'’ In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive
today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde
Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that
abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the
federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why
people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his
running mate.

But this barely scratches the surface of Obama’s extremism.

George lays out the record, the details of Obama’s record,
statements and plans. Like signing into law the ‘Freedom of Choice Act’
enshrining all abortion on demand as the pre-eminent right across the
nation and abolishing every limitation in every state, including
‘parental notification’ and ‘informed consent’ laws.

But it gets even worse. Senator Obama, despite the
urging of pro-life members of his own party, has not endorsed or
offered support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, the signature bill
of Democrats for Life, meant to reduce abortions by providing
assistance for women facing crisis pregnancies. In fact, Obama has
opposed key provisions of the Act, including providing coverage of
unborn children in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
(S-CHIP), and informed consent for women about the effects of abortion
and the gestational age of their child. This legislation would not make
a single abortion illegal. It simply seeks to make it easier for
pregnant women to make the choice not to abort their babies. Here is a
concrete test of whether Obama is ‘’pro-choice'’ rather than
pro-abortion. He flunked.

Read the whole article. It is critical to be informed and to
understand, fully, the consequences of this vote. And then inform
others. Civilly.


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