One of my favorite atheist/agnostics points out that Obama chose poorly in using abortion to make the argument that those who have religion need to recognize that “because God says so” is not a sound basis for public policy.
Right on, he did, but it’s not surprising that he felt safe in doing so. The anti-abortion position is in no way limited to Christians, but any Christian who bases the anti-abortion argument on God is simply begging for marginalization. The argument must be predicated on the continual-line humanity of a person from conception to death in a nursing home for it to have legs in the battle against the pro-abortion position. The obvious relationship is that it is because humans are human no matter in what format or age that Christians are so well convinced that God views abortion as baby killing. The God part should be derivative, not foundational.
It seems by observation that another consequence of the self-marginalization that goes along with predicating the argument on the wrong keystone is that atheist/agnostics are hesitant to express outright pro-life positions because they find it difficult to formulate justification outside religion (and, as I was reminded after writing the post, because they fear being 1) lumped in with extremists; 2) lumped in with the religious who justify their positions on religion alone). Another of my favorite atheist/agnostics is not willing to see abortion banned but does admit she couldn’t do it herself and piles on a healthy dose of rage for those stupid enough to get themselves into positions where they think they have to.
Each of those times, even if the idea I might be pregnant only lasted for five minutes, I contemplated the possibility that there was a real live tiny human being inside my body, and I knew beyond any doubt that if it really were there, I could not kill it.
She goes right up to the idea that a human baby is a human baby from the very beginning but then backs off in the post to the point that every woman must decide for herself. I am in no way picking on Rachel here; I really liked that post as I like most of what she has to say. I’m just pointing to an example of a person who believes without religious foundation that a conceived fetus is a human baby and yet who will not go on to apply that as an objective standard. I think there’s a lot of that going around, and I think the marginalization of the pro-life as a religious position hastens others stopping short of applying that objective standard.
So Obama believes positions with religious origin or relationship must be shaped into cogent arguments not based on God or they have no place in public policy. As a Christian, guess what? I completely agree with that standard. Go tell it to the people who think “love your neighbor as yourself” and “turn the other cheek” are recipes for government instead of a standard of personal conduct–or rather, those Christians and non-Christians alike who use those passages as clubs against Christians who don’t believe that war is the greatest evil.