This weekend, Senator Obama used the response as part of an answer to Pastor Rick Warren’s question, “when do babies get civil rights.” Good question. How a candidate answered that question will tell us a lot about the candidate; and not just the candidate’s position on abortion. The candidate’s answer will also tell us whether the candidate values civil rights for citizens of this country. It will also tell whether the candidate’s positions are consistent. (Consistent positions indicate that the candidate’s views are based on firmly held values and not just stands taken to appeal to a segment of the voting population, based on whatever poll results say.)
So how did the candidates answer? Senator McCain’s answer was simple and direct. He said a baby has civil rights, “at the moment of conception.” The answer reflected his personal beliefs, and although he may have to struggle with supporting the current state of the law, in light of those beliefs, he let us know that he had thought the issue through and reached a conclusion. In contrast, Senator Obama’s answer went something like this:
“I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”
OK . . . why the “squishy” answer? What’s so hard about telling everyone when you think that a baby (or child) gets civil rights? Is the answer based on what theologians say, or what scientists say, or is the answer based on a person’ s own judgment? Obviously, Senator Obama wants to give the answer that will appeal to the most voters, not the answer in which he truly believes. His resort to the “above my pay grade” answer is nothing more than a cop-out. How can Senator Obama not have faced the question of when babies gain civil rights, when he’s consistently supported abortion rights; including voting against the partial-birth abortion ban? If he doesn’t know when a baby is entitled to civil rights, how does he justify voting to let viable child, who is partially delivered before being aborted, die?
We ask our young members of the Armed Forces, some no more than 18- or 19-years-old, to make snap judgments about using deadly force based on very restrictive rules of engagement. Those young men and women, most with a very low pay grade, have the moral courage to think things through, to do their best to apply the rules that constrict them, and to live with the consequences of a quick decision made under often difficult circumstances. Why, then, do we let Senator Obama get away with a “above my pay grade” cop out answer? We shouldn’t. Obviously, we shouldn’t elect him to the grade of President! He doesn’t have the judgment for it.
5 months ago