Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Open Question to My Pro-Life Brothers and Sisters

I'm cross-posting this from my Facebook page, where I first posted this earlier in the day, because of the honest and worthwhile discussion that it has engendered. I want that discussion to continue and to spread, so here it is. I normally don't just cross-post--I like being able to generate unique content for the Project--but for now, I hope you find the same value in discussing this very salient question as I have. So I'm sharing this, with no changes made to my original post. ~E.A.

This is something that I found myself thinking about on my way to work this morning--I've heard from multiple Christians, friends and colleagues whose friendship I appreciate, over the past couple of weeks explaining their potential Trump vote by saying (I'm paraphrasing here), "I don't know what Trump will do about abortion, but I know exactly what Clinton will do."

I want to set aside for a moment my own personal concerns with being a one-issue voter, as well as the other immense baggage that both major party candidates have (and, frankly, the two most prominent third-party candidates have as well, but that's another can of tuna).

Having set those questions aside for now, let's assume for a moment that a President Trump does indeed nominate a thoroughly pro-life justice to replace Scalia. Herein lies the rub: the SCOTUS is still one vote short of overturning Roe.

If there is any doubt in that reality, just look at Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt from the previous term, in which Kennedy (a) provided the crucial fifth vote to overturn Texas's HB2 law, as opposed to letting the court deadlock at 4-4, which would have kept the law intact, and (b) rather than write the opinion himself and basically dictate the case law as he saw fit--which would have been his prerogative as the senior justice in the majority--he handed the opinion off to a much more unequivocally pro-choice justice in Breyer.

So to get that fifth vote to overturn Roe, another justice would have to retire, most likely (due to age) either Kennedy or Ginsburg. The notion of Ginsburg retiring under a Trump administration, especially after her comments about him earlier this year, is pie-in-the-sky at best. But would Kennedy really want to retire under a Trump presidency, either? This is a SCOTUS justice whose key value is human dignity, and who will go at great lengths in an opinion to protect it. Trump so debases the dignity of others, especially those who cross him, that I have a hard time believing that Kennedy would want to retire during a Trump presidency.

So where does that leave pro-life Christians? Still a vote away from overturning Roe, and after four years of President Trump, no closer to actually doing so. And that's *if* Trump actually selects an anti-Roe justice, which, as we both agree, is a big 'if.'

Now, I ask this with all possible sincerity: is it worth the horribleness that Trump has directed towards the very people Scripture exhorts us to protect, revere, and uplift--the immigrant, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the downtrodden--simply to, at best, tread water on Roe for the next presidential term?

And is it worth the harm that we would almost be certainly doing to the witness of the Gospel by elevating a profane, race-baiting serial womanizer to the most powerful job in the world simply because he tried to pander to us after decades of completely ignoring Christ's message?

It really is hard for me to see how it possibly could be.

Thanks for reading. I realize this is a very sensitive topic, with strong opinions on both sides. If you made it this far, I'm grateful for you hearing me out.

Longview, Washington
October 25, 2016

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