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Can a politician be personally, but not politically, pro-life?

Sometimes we’re limited to just two options. Two thousand years ago Jesus told us, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30a). This past year United Church pastor Gretta Vospers was told she could either be a pastor, or an atheist, but not both. And this past week my daughter was told that for dessert she could either have apple sauce or not have it.

She chose ice cream.

There was no ice cream in the house, and she knew it. Yet she still chose the non-existent option #3. Illogical? Definitely. But she has a built in excuse for reasoning like a child.

But what’s our excuse?

Canadian Christians want a third way

In Canadian politics Christian politicians – and their Christian supporters – have proposed that when it comes to abortion, there is a third position possible, somewhere in the middle of pro-life and pro-choice.

This came up again during Canada’s 2015 federal election. A political activist phoned NDP candidate, and Christian pastor, K.M. Shanthikumar and secretly recorded their conversation. The activist pretended to be pro-life, and a recording of their conversation (conducted in the Tamil language) was handed over to the Toronto Star, which published a translated excerpt:

CALLER: So, for abortion, you are against?

SHANTHIKUMAR: Yes, I am against that.

CALLER: Gay marriage, abortion?

SHANTHIKUMAR: All that. What is not in the Bible, what the Bible is against, I am against.

After the phone call was made public  NDP spokesman Brad Lavigne noted that Shanthikumar had previously signed a declaration in which he said he accepts the party position on abortion and marriage. Shanthikumar also offered reassurances that despite the phone call, he would support the current party policies:

“[What was in the phone call] is my personal life. My personal life is different from [the] party line, because when I stand by the party I have to stand by the party….All I said was whatever the party [position] I will stand by that.”

What middle ground is possible?

It’s hard not to sympathize with the pastor, who was clearly set up. However, his personally pr0-life but politically pro-choice position makes no sense. Either the unborn are clumps of tissue, or they are precious human beings. So what middle ground could possible exist in between the pro-life and pro-choice positions?

Maybe this NDP candidate was only pretending to support his party’s pro-abortion stance. Maybe he was saying whatever he needed to say to get elected, but if he won then he’d actually stand up for the unborn. That’s our best-case scenario: that he is a liar.

The worst-case scenario? He’s a monster. The only reason to be pro-life is because you know the unborn are human beings. If he is privately pro-life, but as a politician he is going to be pro-choice, then this is a fellow who will, for political gain, support the murder of those he knows to be precious human beings – he is promising to vote in favor of what he would know to be the killing of 100,000 children a year!

The world pretends we can believe one thing and do another – that’s what it is increasingly demanding of Christians. But God says our deeds reveal what we really believe (James 2:18, 2:26). Thus there is no way that someone can be privately pro-life and publicly anything else – what we know in our hearts we must profess with our mouths.

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