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April 30, 2009

Obama's First 100 Days

As President Obama marked his first 100 days in office yesterday, a new Gallup poll shows that 41 percent of weekly church attenders supported Obama before the election, but the number has jumped to 57 percent.

Dan Gilgoff offers a round-up of what's happened in the last 100 days, but most of Obama's focus has been on the economy and more recently on the swine flu.

The Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land has worked with presidential administrations going back to Ronald Reagan's, but he can't remember any that has convened an advisory council composedised mostly of religious leaders, as President Obama has done. The council gives religion "an institutionally higher profile than under President Bush," says the conservative Land, who directs public policy for the nation's largest evangelical denomination. "No president that I've dealt with has had anything like it."

During his press conference last night, Obama was asked whether he hopes Congress sends him the Freedom of Choice Act soon, which Obama said was not not highest legislative priority.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. In a couple of weeks, you're going to be giving the commencement at Notre Dame. And, as you know, this has caused a lot of controversy among Catholics who are opposed to your position on abortion.

As a candidate, you vowed that one of the very things you wanted to do was sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which, as you know, would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion. And at one point in the campaign when asked about abortion and life, you said that it was above -- quote, "above my pay grade."

Now that you've been president for 100 days, obviously, your pay grade is a little higher than when you were a senator.

Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?

OBAMA: You know, the -- my view on -- on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.

I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they -- if they suggest -- and I don't want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women's freedom and that there's no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.

The reason I'm pro-choice is because I don't think women take that -- that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their doctors, with their clergy.

So -- so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.

And so I've got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.

Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that's -- that's where I'm going to focus.

Comments

I don't agree with any of the Presidents in my lifetime (starting with LBJ) on everything, but I do agree that the government should not be making choices for individuals wherever possible, because that would be unconstitutional and enslaving.

I believe the church is more responsible for promoting the sanctity of life than the U.S government. Can a government purporting to provide liberty do this as well as the kingdom of God?

Not that the church was way ahead on the issue of slavery, either. We've got a lot of wood left to chop.

I realize the quote is serious, but I found humor in the typo (he likely said "pregnancies"):

"I would like to reduce the number of unwanted *presidencies*..."

We need to stop apologizing for upholding God's standards.

"The government shouldn't be able to tell us what to do with our bodies" is NOT an acceptable argument. Abortion, no matter which way you twist it, is MURDER! The last time I checked, the government is responsible for regulating criminal behavior. Therefore, I have absolutely no problem with the government getting involved.

Most importantly, we should be concerned with what God thinks, and I can open my Bible and know what he thinks of murdering children for convenience.

Sarah Pulliam said: "I don't agree with any of the Presidents in my lifetime (starting with LBJ) on everything, but I do agree that the government should not be making choices for individuals wherever possible, because that would be unconstitutional and enslaving."

Does that mean the government should not make the choice for individuals when it comes to stealing other people's property? How about rape? Should the government impose any laws against rape? How about murder of children outside of the womb? According to this logic then making any laws against murder of children and adults, rape, theft, etc are "unconstitutional and enslaving". According to this logic I should make the choice of whether I want to rape my neighbor, murder my boss, beat up my wife, steal money from a bank; not the government. If the government tells me I can't do those things then it is "unconstitutiional and enslaving". Are you serious? Governments makes decisions for individuals all the time and it should be no different when it comes to abortion because it is murdering of your own child. And just as murder of adults, theft, rape are all wrong and are legislated by government (and rightly so) there should be laws aginst abortion because it is murder.

Clarification for Doc. caveat bettor made that statement, not me. Just clarifying that the name of the commenter appears below, not above. Continue on.

Sarah Pulliam:

I apologize for the mistake. thank you for clarifying.

Doc: Sorry I didn't see this for a month. But I think you and I agree to a great extent, given my "wherever possible" qualification.

I'd like to ask respectfully: How do you feel about slavery being written into our Constitution?