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Christian Politicians & Abortion
Ana Brennan, J.D. | 17 December 2020
With the recent Presidential election and the impending senate run-offs in Georgia, we are once again faced with politicians who not only support abortion despite their professed faith but use their Christian faith to defend and justify abortion. We cannot judge what is in a person’s heart or truly understand their interior spiritual life, but we can judge their words and actions in light of Christian tenants.
Joe Biden's and Raphael Warnock's pro-abortion positions go well beyond the old, "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but…" or "I was elected to represent the needs of my constituents." Even though these statements are completely morally bankrupt, they do not directly defend abortion or use one's faith to justify evil. Yes, other Christian politicians support abortion to varying degrees, but we currently have two politicians who believe advocating for abortion is consistent with Christianity.
It is beyond any doubt Christianity generally and Catholicism specifically, teaches explicitly that abortion is an intrinsic evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church[i] is very clear:
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," "by the very commission of the offense," and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
I included paragraph 2272 to illustrate just how serious the Church considers abortion. No one can say they are a good Catholic and support abortion. Throughout his political career, Joe Biden has trumpeted his Catholic faith. Unfortunately, Biden’s devotion to his faith rejects Catholicism’s defense of the sanctity of human life, especially the unborn.
Over the past forty-seven years or so, Biden’s support for abortion has intensified. As a senator, he opposed funding abortions, but funding issues sometimes have more to do with appropriations and not the morality of abortion. During the 2020 presidential election, Biden took his advocacy of abortion to the extreme. Not only was he endorsed by Planned Parenthood, but he also made a campaign ad[ii] with them. This ad clearly states the pro-abortion agenda he plans to pursue.
“It’s a simple proposition, health care is a right. . .“As president I’m going to do everything in my power to expand access to quality affordable health care for women, especially women of color.”
“Together we’re going to reverse the global gag order, the domestic gag order, restoring the Title X program.”
“We will protect women’s constitutional right to choose, and I am proud to stand with you in this fight.”
“Abortion is health care. Health care is a right.” There is no denying that Biden is pro-abortion. He is not “personally opposed but. . .” or even wants to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” He is all in for abortion.
Biden’s support of abortion is completely inconsistent with the Catholic faith, yet he still tries to pass himself off as a good Catholic. Recently, the Washington Post ran an article:
“Biden could redefine what it means to be a Catholic in good standing. Catholics are divided on whether that is a good thing.”[iii]
You see, the problem is not with Biden. We just need to redefine what it means to be a good Catholic. Biden is a good Catholic because he cares about other issues that the Catholic Church is concerned about, like addressing poverty and helping refugees. We have this discussion every election: the life issues are paramount. Assisting the less fortunate at the expense of the lives of children is not morally acceptable. Pursuing other noble works or carrying a rosary in your pocket does not mitigate the wholesale slaughter of innocent children.
Unfortunately, Joe Biden is not the only Christian who seems to be confused about abortion. Reverend Raphael Warnock is a Christian pastor of a megachurch running for senate in a run-off election in Georgia. One would hope that a pastor would be pro-life or at least not promote abortion. Sadly, Warnock perverts his Christian faith to justify supporting abortion. Warnock explains his position:
“I believe unequivocally in a woman’s right to choose, and that the decision is something that we don’t want government engaged in – that’s between her and her doctor and her minister,”. . .he has been “focused on women’s health, women’s choice, reproductive justice. That is consistent with my view as a Christian minister. And I will fight for it.”
In November, Warnock gave an interview to a local radio station and was asked:
“Do you think it’s consistent with God’s view – that God endorses the millions of abortions we’ve had in this country since Roe v. Wade?”
Warnock replied, “I think that human agency and freedom is consistent with my view as a minister.”
In addition to their pro-abortion policies being inflicted on society, it is disturbing these two “Christian” pro-abortion politicians, because of their prominence, can lead many astray. Again, Warnock is the pastor of a megachurch who is tasked with leading his flock. His rabid abortion beliefs are a great disservice to his congregation. Biden may not have a congregation, but he adds to the confusion of what a good Catholic is. The term "cafeteria Catholic" was created almost as an insult. Being a cafeteria Catholic was a bad thing. Now Biden has flipped the script. He is the quintessential cafeteria Catholic, which is now considered a "Catholic in good standing."
The perversion of Christianity is not surprising. If Biden and Warnock can defend and promote killing unborn children, we really cannot be surprised when they twist Christianity to justify the killing.
Ana Brennan, J.D.
Vice-President, Society of St. Sebastian
Senior Editor, Journal of Law & Culture