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The Myth of Pro-Life Voters Being One Issue Voters

Note: This article deals with the topic of abortion at the level of a policy issue and not on the human level that it is. It has often been said that 2 lives are affected through abortion, the baby and the mother. But increased studies have shown that in cases where the father is aware of the abortion, he is a third life that is seriously emotionally affected.  It is not my intent in any of this to minimize the seriousness of the decision for women and involved men, nor to discount the mental and emotional anguish involved.  It is precisely because of how abortion affects the lives of all people involved that I feel the way I do about this.  We need to be helping women with this and supporting them rather than so sanitizing and industrializing the most serious decision a woman will have to face as the left has attempted to do.

We’ve all heard it. Pro-life voters are One Issue Voters.  Many people just can’t fathom how evangelical Christians and Practicing Catholics can support Donald Trump as president “after all he’s done and all his lies.”  I get it. He has lied.  He has given many mixed signals.  He has acted immorally. And yet, Pro-Life Christians will still vote for him.

My point here is not to defend Donald Trump. I don’t feel the need to. I don’t feel that is my responsibility. Actually, I hate when Christians defend him for things that are simply indefensible.   That has done much damage to our integrity as Christians, and therefore to the cause of the Gospel.  We shouldn’t be so wed to a political leader that we have to act like they are infallible and sinless. It’s absurd. It’s unbiblical.

So, while I won’t defend Donald Trump, I will defend Christians who VOTE FOR Donald Trump or any Republican with a proven track record on issues they care about.1  In other words, sadly in America it is no longer about the integrity of the leader (given the choices) but about how they will govern I will briefly explain why most Christians still cast votes for Republicans and do so for broader reasons than the Pro-Life position while at the same time using the Pro-Life position as the determining factor in discussion.

In most cases, Pro-Life Evangelical Christians and Practicing Catholics also believe in the Republican position on issues of Freedom of Religion, Parental Rights, A Christian Sexual Ethic not being demonized, Less Government Interference in individual lives, Business Owners being able to exercise freedom of conscience.  But those are issues that can be mired in endless debates as to who has the better solution, or the degree to which Government can be involved in those things in a free society. Despite what you see on social media, most people don’t have the desire or wherewithal to debate these issues that have so many facets to them and are very complex.  So it is just easier to stand on the Pro-Life Position; it is undebatable for a Christian.

So what makes Abortion so decisive?  There are 3 Presuppositions to my argument.

  1. Abortion is a significant Problem in the U.S. (6-900,000 babies murdered/yr)
  2. Abortion is a moral issue. It is Sin and specifically it is Murder.2
  3. The Republican Party is Anti-Abortion and seeks restrictions on abortion. The Democratic Party is Pro-Abortion Rights without restriction.

You say, “Wait a minute George, what about the other issues? Aren’t racism, poverty, and injustice all problems and sins and aren’t Christians called to fight to correct these things?” Let me say this clearly and unequivocally. OF COURSE. YES. AMEN.

The question is not whether those are problems Christians are called to care about, consider, and address.  The question is, is one party calling evil good and good evil in those issues?  As indicated above, there can be various solutions to the same problem.  To these issue specifically, both parties agree that racism, poverty, and injustice are all wrong and need correcting.   The left and left-leaning Christians would have you believe that to vote Republican is a vote for racism, systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality, oppression and the rich.  Furthermore, they mock the idea that Republicans are Pro-Life, with the ad-hominem attack that “they only care about life while its in the womb.”3  All of this is not only untrue; it is downright sinful to characterize a whole group of people in this way.

Despite what voices on the left would have us believe, the vast majority of Christians on the right care very deeply about these issues and believe they are working toward them. In other words, it is NOT that they turn a blind eye toward the plight of the oppressed because abortion trumps all other issues.  Solutions to help the poor and minorities are broad ranging and varied and no one party has the market on the correct solution.  The Rev. Tim Keller highlighted this very point in the NY Times recently.4

I will agree that the leadership on the Right often appears indifferent to the groups that the Left appears to advocate for. That is unfortunate, because Republicans view their policies as actually encouraging human flourishing and addressing many of the issues that both parties agree are problems.  For instance, take the Trump economy.  Through deregulation, better trade arrangements, and lower taxes the last 4 years have seen explosive growth and job creation, corporations moving back to America, and small businesses starting up. Therefore, 2020 opened up with record low unemployment and record low poverty and the highest household wealth and middle class growth in history.  This was especially true for minorities.  A rising tide raises all ships! 5

I know this is all debatable, but that’s the point. It is debatable.  My point is not to prove one position over another but to show that Christians who vote for Republicans BELIEVE that the solutions they support actually do address the plight of minorities, poverty, and issues of equality.  When they don’t and where there are blind-spots,   I have yet to meet a person on the right who doesn’t believe those policies can and should be addressed with bipartisan legislation and fair enforcement of the laws.  For instance, when George Floyd was killed by a police officer, I don’t know of a single Republican that said that was ok.  The Republican-majority Senate then tried to pass the Justice in Policing Act which would ban police choke holds, create a national database of use of force incidents, and ban certain no-knock warrants among other things in the 100+ page bill.   The Democrats in the Senate blocked the effort.    Again, the reasons for this are debatable.  And again, that is the point.

So, while I don’t want to cast all people in this category with a broad brush, here is a representative list of other Issues that Pro-Life voters generally also vote for that fall within the Republican Philosophy:

  • For Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Conscience, Free Speech
  • For Free Markets leading to Jobs, Wealth, & Lower Poverty Rates for All
  • For Lower Taxes so people can control where they spend, invest, donate to
  • For Homeschooling Rights and School Choice for their Children
  • For Parent’s Right to raise & teach their Children Biblical Truth
  • For Traditional Family Values not Being Demonized nor Penalized
  • For a Christian Business Owner’s Right to exercise their conscience
  • For Christian Counseling and Pastoral Care to be able available and legal
  • For Justices to be appointed who don’t legislate from the bench
  • For Law and Order and Justice for All, w/o which there is no Justice
  • Against Cultural Marxism, Socialism, and Other Godless Systems
  • Against Racist Lip Service that Keep people fighting and down
  • Against systems and agendas that teach relative truth
  • Against systems and agendas that are anti-God
  • Against systems and agendas that divide our country
  • Against systems and agendas that seek to tear down our history

In other words, being Pro-Life also comes with a worldview that undergirds it and includes it. Not that being Pro-Life includes these things, but that this philosophy often includes being Pro-Life. That is why voters in this category vote based on philosophy and not candidate, providing the candidate makes good will efforts to uphold the philosophy.

Again, I know these other issues raised here are all debatable.  And again, my point is not to prove which position is right on them, but to show there is more to a Pro-Life voter’s overall philosophy than abortion.

So, it’s not a fair assumption nor critique to call Pro-life voters one issue voters, even if they bring up Abortion first or even as the main reason for how they vote.  They just might not want to get entangled in a never-ending web of policy and whose hypocrisy is worse discussions about all the other debatable reasons they are voting for the Republican.  They may just be bringing that one up because while we can debate differences in all the other policies, one issue is undebatable for practicing Christians.   They might just turn to the clarity of this one issue as the deciding factor.  Abortion is the taking of the most precious and vulnerable human lives among us.  And one party stands for this evil. The other stands against it in defense of the vulnerable.  Where do you stand?

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

Read More: Does Voting for Pro-Life Politicians Actually Help Fight Abortion

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(1) President Trump has appointed over 300 Federal Judges with strong pro-life records.  He has been hailed by Pro-Life groups as “The Most Pro-Life President in History.”  https://www.lifenews.com/2020/08/11/president-donald-trump-the-most-pro-life-president-in-history/

(2) This article does not take address the inconsistent and fringe view among an extreme minority of people claiming to be an Evangelical Christian who then actually attempt to argue that Abortion is not sin, that it is not murder, or in the oddest of all cases that it is actually good.

(3) There has been a co-opting of the phrase “Pro-Life” to mean quality of life and issues of poverty, rather than the movement to protect the unborn from abortion and the elderly from euthanasia.  There are two reasons for doing this.  First, it takes the issue off of abortion.  Secondly, it is used as both a straw man and an ad hominem attack against people who are anti-abortion to say you really don’t care about life.  It is interesting that people who do this are often the same ones who object to the use of the phrase “All Lives Matter” because it is meant to detract from the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”  In both cases we should take the movements as what they are, rather than try to marginalize the position by globalizing the issue to everything.  Saying Black Lives Matter, doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter. Similarly, say Pro-Life to mean life in the womb or rights of the elderly doesn’t mean quality of life outside of the womb doesn’t matter nor that the people who advocate it aren’t interested in issues of poverty, inequality, healthcare and the like.  Read More on this: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/mean-pro-life/

(4) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/29/opinion/sunday/christians-politics-belief.html

(5) https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/09/poverty-rates-for-blacks-and-hispanics-reached-historic-lows-in-2019.html

 

George Sayour
George Sayour

George is Senior Pastor of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian
Church (PCA) in Lexington, NC. When he's not pastoring or writing, he's fishing, kayaking and spending time with his family.

Articles: 39

2 Comments

  1. I think another reason we Republicans emphasize abortion as an issue is that I might be willing to give on some of these other issues, but abortion is non-negotiable. To compromise on school choice or economic freedom could seem, under some circumstances, like a necessary compromise. To compromise about legalized killing is a different matter.

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