My, how the landscape of elections has changed. Remember when the issue of abortion used to matter to conservatives in political races? Today presidential nominees can get away with murder, literally. They can smoke, toke and hang out with terrorists who do. What were once considered legitimate leadership litmus tests are now regarded as off-limit character assassinations and hate language. Recently, some nonprofit organizations have been threatened with the withdrawal of their tax-exempt statuses because their leaders merely voiced opposition to what they consider a moral issue: abortion.
Some people think after 35 years of ceaseless controversy since the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade that abortion is an "old" issue better dropped. I disagree. I do believe the economy is an important issue in this election, but it's certainly not the only issue. We can't just be concerned about our finances. We also must be concerned about America's future and those who will occupy it. Our posterity matters. Their rights matter. And that includes their "unalienable Rights," with which they have been "endowed by their Creator," and among them are the quintessential rights: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Abortion is not about a woman's "right to choose"; it is about a more fundamental "right to life," which is one of three specifically identified unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence (and the Constitution, through Article VII and the Bill of Rights). And it is a violation of government's primary purpose: to protect innocent life.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1809, "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government." He was not, of course, writing about the America of today, with state-sanctioned and even subsidized abortion and a movement to promote the killing of the elderly through euthanasia. But he could have been. His belief in what should be "the first and only legitimate object of good government" still should stand. Like Jefferson, our next president needs to uphold those same concerns, not say that such arenas are "above his paygrade." If he and his administration won't protect the rights of the living (even in the womb), then who will? A left-leaning Congress?
America's Founders shared a basic view of human life and conception: Humanity is special, unique and should be set apart from the rest of creation. In fact, in early America, there were two basic beliefs that shaped most people's views of humanity: God created us equal, and we are the highest creation of God. Their views were based on creation narratives in the Bible and expressed in the Declaration of Independence. In order for us to get back to our Founders' understanding, we need to get back to a view of humanity that emphasizes the immortal worth of every human being. (That's why I've devoted an entire chapter to "Reclaim the value of human life" in my new cultural manifesto, "Black Belt Patriotism.")
My friend and prolific author Randy Alcorn recently was asked by a young woman, "Should we vote for who we think should lead our country solely based on their stance on abortion?" You can read Randy's insightful response to that question on his Web site and blog (www.epm.org). I would respond to it by simply saying we all will answer that question in just one week, when we go to the ballot boxes.
Winning the election is not just about what the underdogs -- such as John McCain and Sarah Palin, two maverick pro-life advocates -- should do. But it's about what the citizens who are fighting for the underdogs can do. We the people must stand up, go back to the basics, and once again vote our values.