So, several hardline Mormon friends have been sometimes not-so-politely questioning how I can vote for Barack Obama given his stance as being Pro-Choice. I'll try and explain this in a language that everyone can understand, so that there is precious little room for doubt.
First, let me say that I think abortion is wrong, sinfully wrong. It is a selfish act that probably kills a fetus with feelings (I'm not sure when life begins, nor has my church clarified its position on when life begins). There are so many people out there who would like to adopt, and abortion slaughters the hopes of these countless couples. I would definitely actively try and encourage anyone I knew to not have an abortion, and to look at adoption alternatives. If I knew someone who had an abortion, I would never give any sort of approval (not that they would be looking for it necessarily), aid them financially in having one, or be okay with it. I hold it as greivous a sin as adultery. This (abortion or adultery) would probably end any friendship I had with them until they repented, probably (I know I used it twice).
Second, I think abortion in the case of rape or incest should be legal. I think that if the mother's life is in jeopardy, it should definitely be legal. If I have to choose between an unborn infant and my wife, the child dies--every time.
Third, I believe that our Nation was founded, firmly, upon a separation of Church and State. While the religious practices of the populous have changed over the course of 232 years, the government has remained secular. This is a good thing. No one religion should dominate, a lesson that Mormons should know well after their persecutions in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. We actually fled the United States for what was then Mexico when we settled Utah in 1847. When religious discrimination is allowed to affect the law, then it leads to civil rights violations.
Since I hold firmly that the government should not have an official religion, and that the 1st Amendment holds that we have freedom of religion, this means that people can believe or not believe whatever they want. Right now, a Christian, or at-least a Christian-enculturated majority has the cultural say in what constitutes acceptable behavior in society. Our laws protect us from the fear of religious prosecution in a legal setting. Criminal codes exist to protect people's rights. Even though many of us view certain sins as criminal, the law and its interpreters do not always agree, based on our Constitution. Therefore, for example, even though I think pre-marital sex is a sin, the law would view this as consensual, and therefore, not criminal. Even though I don't want people having pre-marital sex, using the legal system to punish people for a spiritual flaw is not what our Constitution is about. Obedience should be done of volition, not of fear of temporal consequences. You can't use the law to push a religious agenda, in spite of the consequences...that is unless you want your religion to dominate, because what would happen if suddenly through immigration or massive conversion, a religion that you did not agree with were to become the majority in this country? Would you then want that religion's beliefs dictating what you could and could not do? No, of course not. These protections of and from religion are one of the reasons that America is great.
Fourth, so with an understanding of my position on Church and State, I cannot force my religious beliefs on someone else. Stecher may counter that this transcends mere issues of religion, that it constitutes a humanitarian issue, that we are murdering people. I cannot buy that; his (and my) religion color our perspectives. People don't believe what I do. I find comparisons of abortion with slavery troubling. While both are heinous, slavery will forevermore be the worse of the two. I would venture that the death toll from abortions in the U.S. since its founding are less than one year's toll from the Middle Passage trade. And there are so many other issues. Why get so indignant over abortion and yet not mind going to war and the death penalty (I am in favor of the death penalty, for the record)? I just don't get that worked up over the issue to give myself tunnel vision that it's the only one that matters.
Fifth, while you can certainly argue that abortion is the most important issue in this election, it is not the only one. I will not base my election decision off this one stance. I don't feel it's important enough. Yes, I have children, and again, I state that I hate abortion and I wish people wouldn't do it, but it isn't the only thing informing (that's for you, Norman baby) my vote. Our nation needs leaders who consider all options of an issue, leaders who don't make snap-decisions based on gut reactions. The greater the issue, the more time should be spent in contemplation of the repercussions and consequences of an action. Having studied the positions of both sides, and finding things that I liked and disliked about both platforms, I feel that Obama more closely represents the ideas I think our country (notice I didn't say, "I") needs. To let McCain/Palin have power to continue certain programs and projects, and try and legislate certain things, including the Right's morality (which I share), is something that I cannot stomach.
Sixth, I think rather than fighting and name calling, both sides should work together to try and reduce the total number of abortions.
Seventh, whether or not abortions are illegal, people will still have them. People are selfish. Their lust leads them to create children that they don't want (Certainly many wives have children that they didn't want, but that their husbands unrighteously forced them to have). For people who don't want children because they don't "have time" and "don't want kids" or "can't stand the disruption," I have no sympathy; someone raised you. Given that abortions will always happen, I don't want people dying from back-alley medical procedures.
Eighth, from a religious perspective, would you rather have someone die having an illegal abortion, and die in their sins, or have them live, and possibly feel contrite and repent some day?
Ninth, I am opposed to abortion, but I don't think my opposition stems from something other than my religious beliefs, therefore, I cannot hold that it should be illegal. I don't want any religion, even my own, shaping the laws of all three-hundred million Americans.