Sunday, May 11, 2008

An Open Letter to Senator Obama

Dear Senator Obama,

I hope that out of the many letters your receive every day you have an opportunity to read this and consider my words. First I must say that I admire your dedication to social justice, equality, and peaceableness, as well as your deep sincerity. On a personal level as part of an interracial marriage and the father of a biracial son I would feel deeply proud to see a man such as yourself in the presidency. I will not, however, be able to support you in your run for the presidency due to your support for legalized abortion, which contradicts all the ideals that you espouse in your speeches.

In your book “The Audacity of Hope” you imply that opposition to abortion is a primarily theologic concern, and thus while it must be respected it is foreign to the realm of politics. Nothing could be further from the truth! Claiming that opposing abortion requires a faith inaccessible to the uninitiated ignores the universality of human rights. To segregate basic respect for our fellow human beings to the church does a disservice to the rest of the nation. If people of faith were the first to oppose injustices such as slavery, inequality, and mistreatment of women it is not because these issues were only theological, but because religious people sometimes have a heightened sensitivity to real wrongs.

My personal awareness that this is more than some “political issue” was when I was fifteen years old and my mother told me that I was scheduled to be aborted myself and I had two older siblings who had been killed by abortion. Then I understood that abortion is not some abstract issue but a real violence destroying real humans. When I became a physician my mother asked that I use my influence as a doctor to help prevent abortions and help other women and families avoid the devastation that legalized abortion had on us.

In your explanation of your abortion position you said you support unrestricted access to abortion because the act is never done without the woman “wrestling with her conscience.” While this certainly should change our perspective on women who terminate their fetuses (compassion instead of judgement) the difficulty of the decision doesn't make the outcome (killing a fellow human) any less wrong. If you read in a history book that a slave owner or participant in genocide had deep misgivings about their actions this should elicit your sympathy, but the result for their victims (death and enslavement) becomes no less wrong because it was hard for their oppressors to do it. Nor should empathy for those who feel they have no choice but to act violently prevent their fellow citizens from restraining this violence and demonstrating a more peaceable way.

Senator Obama, as someone who champions human dignity and recognizes that our rights as individuals should not allow us to trample our weaker neighbors I would expect that you would be pro-life or at least more neutral on abortion. As someone who has been moved by your writings and speeches, I hope that your unwavering support for abortion is a blind spot you have carelessly inherited from the Democratic Party platform, rather than any true hypocrisy of the humane values you claim to espouse. Having read your books I really believe the sincerity of your values. I also believe it is not mere rhetoric when you say that you deeply respect me as a pro-life American. But your respect for me and your pronouncements of sympathy towards pro-life values are no comfort when the outcome for the victims is the same. Unborn Americans are being killed by the thousands everyday and as president you would do nothing to defend them.

Were it not for your position on this single issue I could have wholeheartedly supported your run for president, but instead I must vote against you and invest all my political energies into opposing your election.

Despite my opposition, however, I believe that you will become the next president of the United States. So as you enter your presidency I beg you to reflect on your values and reconsider your duties to human beings not yet born. You could use the “historic moment” of your presidency to lead America towards a more compassionate way that protects all the weak from violence. Like you, I am optimistic that the recognition of human dignity by political power will someday make our nation and world a better place. Future generations will judge our lack of action. If you do not realize that human rights apply to all humans another reformer one day will, and I fear that history will judge you harshly for your blind spot—like the early American leaders who spoke boldly about liberty and kept fellow humans as slaves.

Thank your for taking the time to read this letter and consider its contents. I pray that you exceed all my expectations and prove all my concerns wrong, and become the sort of leader America so desperately needs.

Jonathan Davis

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