March 18, 2009
Abortion Remains Dividing Point for Obama Observers
President Obama wants to reduce the "need for abortion", but one of his cheerleaders David P. Gushee published a column with USA Today titled, "Mr. President, we need more than lip service":
"Mexico City, conscience clause, Sebelius, embryonic stem cells. In each case, I have been asked by friends at Democratic or progressive-leaning think tanks not just to refrain from opposing these moves, but instead to support them in the name of a broader understanding of what it means to be pro-life. I mainly refused."
David Gibson calls Gushee's column "buyer's remorse."
Christian conscience requires me to make this case even if it has no chance of prevailing in American society. And if we lose on abortion, as it appears we will lose for a long time to come, Christian conscience requires me to ask the government not to require citizens to pay for procuring services that violate their sacred beliefs.
... And if we lose there, then the entire relationship between religious faith and American society will move into a period of profound crisis.
President Obama, we need more than lip service on these crucial issues. Bring the transformational change your promises led us to hope for.
Gushee isn't the only one dealing with frustration. Frank Page, a member of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships' council, said he hasn't been pleased with some of Obama's policies.
"At this point I would have to say I have been very frustrated that what little protections there are for the unborn have been quickly and systematically removed," Page told the Baptist Press. "So that has very discouraging. I have been somewhat encouraged that he has promised that he would not force someone -- a health-care worker, for example -- to be involved in an abortion if he or she should object on a conscience basis. But other than that, there has been the removal of protections and policies that would have protected the unborn."
Joshua DuBois, director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will meet with evangelical groups, including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women of America in an effort to find some common ground, Congressional Quarterly reports. Guessing from FRC and CWA priorities, the discussion will likely revolve around abortion.
Update: Eric Gorski has a helpful roundup on how Christians are optimistic but disappointed about Obama's recent moves.
Focus on the Family's CitizenLink writes that Samuel Rodriguez is also disappointed.