Morris on Obama

Father Jonathan Morris complains that Barack Obama rejects “some of the most basic principles of Christian morality.” Morris is most concerned about abortion. Morris writes:

Examine carefully the religious language he employs: “I do think that those who diminish the moral elements of the decision aren’t expressing the full reality of it. But what I believe is that women do not make these decisions casually, and that they struggle with it fervently with their pastors, with their spouses, with their doctors.”

Is Sen. Obama suggesting that Christians who consider “the moral elements of the decision” and who “struggle with it fervently with their pastors” may be in line with God’s will by deciding that abortion is the right choice? I think he is, or as he would probably say, “the right choice for them.”

Sen. Obama goes even further with this creative mix of religious talk and completely subjective morality. He suggests women “pray about” whether to have an abortion — as if God might whisper his approval. (“Bill Clinton’s Analogy Revisited: Barack Obama vs. Jesse Jackson,” January 28, 2008)

Morris’s analysis is interesting for several reasons. First, it is obvious that Obama is restrained by his party in pushing his religious agenda, at least in the area of personal choice (as opposed to the economic arena, where leftists seem eager to adopt religious language to support their economic controls).

Second, what most concerns Morris is Obama’s support for legal abortions, not Obama’s faith-based socialism. In general, the religious right makes little effort to defend economic liberty — and more often openly assaults it.

Third, Morris is absolutely correct about Obama’s double standards. Notice that Obama does not reject the religious doctrine that an embryo has the same rights as a person because God infuses a fertilized egg with a soul. Nor does Obama endorse the absolute moral right of women to control their own bodies and futures by getting an abortion. Instead, Obama tempers religious doctrine with a pragmatic subjectivism, as Morris argues. This demonstrates that, just as the religious right cannot, when pushed, defend economic liberty with any conviction, so the religious left cannot, when pushed, defend liberty in the personal sphere.

In any contest between the religious right and the religious left, both sides will tend to win on their pet issues. The religious right maintains an enduring moral fervor for outlawing (and thus imposing criminal penalties for) abortion, while the religious left maintains an enduring moral fervor for forcibly redistributing wealth and controlling the economy. Both sides will tend to “compromise” by eliminating liberty in both the economic and personal spheres.