“I could never vote for Obama because he’s for abortion,” my daughter blurted out as we sat observing the vice presidential debate late last night.
“People who vote on a single issue are…” pausing cautiously not to complete my thought knowing from where her comments were born.
“Idiots?” she interjected filling in the blank. (I could have been thinking “uninformed” or “uneducated” or “unenlightened.” )
“You said it…not me.” And I let it ride for a while.
Later, she was sitting on the bed, so I sat down beside her. “So, you think Obama won’t make a good president?” prompting her to begin a discussion about her comment.
“I don’t think any of them will make a very good president.” (Score a point for the 11-year-old for seeing through the rhetoric and cutting to the chase!)
“You said earlier…”
“Obama is for abortion.”
“What about the economy? Education? Iraq? Foreign policy? Taxes? There are lots of things to consider when you vote…not just one issue,” I summarized. “You see, some people simply vote on one issue; and you shouldn’t let just one issue decide your vote.”
“Obama is for choice,” I continued. “He isn’t necessarily for abortion, but for the rights of people to choose whether they have an abortion. There is a difference.” Her mind was spinning processing what I had to say.
“Often, people will take a stand on an issue they themselves have never experienced and believe incapable of doing…like abortion. Some people, and help me understand this one, kill the doctors that perform the procedure. So, what were they against?”
“Killing a baby.”
“And yet, what did they do?”
“Killed a person.”
“What’s the difference?”
“You’re right, and that has happened, but most people wouldn’t do so. Yet, these same people who wouldn’t kill a baby or kill a person might gossip and kill someone’s character and reputation.” I paused a moment and added, “Do you know that the Bible lists slander alongside murder?
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:19
“People can destroy life through gossip and slander and that is not being pro-life,” I opined.
“Sometimes people will stand outside an abortion clinic and call the girls that are leaving ‘baby-killer’ or ‘murderer’ or ‘sinner’ or ‘whore.’ If you were standing there, what would you do?”
“I wouldn’t have to agree with what she did,” my daughter stated, “but I wouldn’t have to say those things either.”
“I’m sure that she is already devastated,” I added, “and you’re right, we don’t have the right to hurt her any further with our words. We don’t have to condone, but we don’t have to condemn either.”
I went on to explain the verse about the pointing out a speck in another’s eye while having a plank or log in our own. (Matthew 7:3) She sat intently as we discussed matters of life. “We don’t have a lot of time to point out other’s mistakes. We’ve got a lot of sawing to do on that log of our own.”
I want my children to grow to understand that they don’t have to condone other’s choices, but they don’t have to condemn them either. It is my heart’s desire for them to grow to do what Jesus commanded, “to love your neighbor as yourself,” even if their neighbor chose to have an abortion.