A darling beauty queen (who not long ago was a spunky little tomboy — how things change!) reacted quite strongly recently to a post where I named myself as a George W. Bush fan:
“How in the world can you believe he is Pro-Life??? If you are Pro-Life you must be PRO-LIFE (as my wonderfully brilliant older sister said)!! that does not mean you can only be pro-AMERICAN-fetuses! what about all the innocent fetuses, born babies, children, women, men, animals, etc that are being killed daily in-IRAQ and the rest of the world?!? what about them? how can you REALLY believe anything bush says about wanting to save lives when he is destroying them left and right?? and then to say he has been “Christ-like”?? no no no no no!!! more like just the complete opposite!”
My friend had many other issues with Mr. President, but I’d like to take the time to think through each one separately. I suppose this one comes down to, “Can the President be Pro-life if he is Pro-War?” although it sounds almost as if my friend thinks that the President is more than Pro-War, but actually Pro-Death of Innocents.
Let me clarify that my original little post was simply stating that I think President Bush is a decent, good, manly man whom I respect. I never set out to claim George W. Bush and Jesus are twins or that Bush should be deemed a Saint.
After writing the post, I was asked by a friend to “name ONE thing that this president has done that is truly in line with any of Jesus’ teachings in the Scriptures.” My response was that the Number One thing this president has done that is in line with Jesus’ teachings was when he signed into law a ban of partial birth abortion.
Partial Birth Abortion is a hideous procedure. It isn’t even “abortion,” but rather infanticide. Everything except for the baby’s head is born out of Mom, and then the skull is poked with scissors and the baby’s brains are sucked out. Then the rest of a dead baby is delivered — to bypass the laws that call killing a “born” baby murder. I distinctly remember the day when President Clinton vetoed the ban on partial birth abortion — honestly I was shocked to tears. I don’t understand how anyone, even Pro-Choice folks, can be Pro-Partial Birth Abortion. You can’t get much more pro-death than being for this procedure. So, yes, I see George W. Bush’s signing of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban as a pro-life move. I see it as a Christ-like move. Could Bush do more for pro-life causes, “life” meaning those born or unborn? Well, sure he could, or at least I would like to believe that a U.S. President could do more than he has. But I wasn’t asked what he hasn’t done, I was asked what he has done. The signing of this ban is a BIGGIE for me.
So what about “all the innocent fetuses, born babies, children, women, men, animals, etc. that are being killed daily in Iraq and the rest of the world”? First of all, I don’t think we can blame all death in the world on George W. Bush. And as far as Iraq goes, it is clear to me from his words and actions that President Bush has come at this war from a “pro-life” stance. Besides protecting our country, Bush was desiring to free Iraqis from a Reign of Terror — or a Kingdom of Death.
According to Iraq Body Count, since our invasion of Iraq between 34,000 and 38,000 civilians have died in Iraq. These are no small figures, to be certain. But do you know how many hundreds of thousands of deaths were caused under Saddam Hussein? Not to mention the children put into prisons, women put into rape factories, and those who suffered under other human rights abuse. “The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq has compiled documentation on over 600,000 civilian executions in Iraq. Human Rights Watch reports that in one operation alone, the Anfal, Saddam killed 100,000 Kurdish Iraqis. Another 500,000 are estimated to have died in Saddam’s needless war with Iran. Coldly taken as a daily average for the 24 years of Saddam’s reign, these numbers give us a horrifying picture of between 70 and 125 civilian deaths per day for every one of Saddam’s 8,000-odd days in power.” (Read the whole article here.)
(Also, this article from the BBC, written in January of 2001, provides a short and informative history lesson on the state of Iraq under Saddam.)
If anything, President Bush is guilty of being overly optimistic about Iraq — that the war would be short and sweet and everything would come up roses — but even this would not make him guilty of wanting innocent people to die. It seems clear to me that getting Saddam Hussein out of power was a pro-life move.
So can President Bush be Pro-life and Pro-war? I think one can be anti-death while still expecting it to happen, and knowing it must happen for Good to win over Evil. The Story of Liberty by Charles Coffin, published in 1879, tells the bloody, messy, and yet valiant and victorious story of Liberty — how strains of her song caught the ears of folks in the Middle Ages, how the Bible helped open many people’s eyes to freedom, and how many people were burned at the stake and mistreated along the way. This book opened my eyes to the atrocities committed by Protestants and Catholics and non-Christians alike, but more than that it demonstrated the high cost of freedom. To get to the place of true freedom was expensive. To get to where we are today, where we have the “right” to openly hate and character-bash our President has been very costly — the price for this liberty has been paid by millions who shed their blood for us. Almost anything that matters in life was at one time purchased with blood, usually the blood of innocents. Christ is the archetype of this phenomena, revealed by the fact that our salvation, our reconciliation to God, is made available only through His blood. War is yucky. Death is despicable. But if war can bring freedom and life — it can be good.
Now, I’m not arguing the validity of the War in Iraq — not today. I’m not arguing whether it was the best decision, whether our constitution allows for our involvement with such foreign matters, or whether we can really force another country to discover liberty or democracy. These are complex issuess our citizens should discuss and dialog about, and questions I haven’t worked out in my own mind yet.
What bums me out is that the liberal left’s answer to the problem of war has not been one of intelligent dissent, but rather a smear campaign against George W. Bush. Calling Bush a liar or a murderer (or someone who desires to “destroy life left and right”) is not a healthy way to argue the validity of our middle east policies. There are plenty of grounds for argument over the war without having to simply write George W. off as a hideous monster. The treatment of Bush by the liberal media reminds me of a church situation we once went through where any Bad Guys (those who disagreed with leadership) were simply painted with the Ugly Brush — it was a quick and dirty way to get people not to listen to the whole truth, the other side of the story. Could it be that the ugly words used against our President are part of a smokescreen to divert people’s attention from the issues at hand? Thinking back to our church situation, the leadership HAD some truth on their side but often chose not to go there. It was easier to get rid of the problem voices than it was to work through the tough thoughts. I think the Democrats have some good points, too! I just wish the Democrat leadership would focus on facts and policies and lay off the name calling and character bashing.
Going back to comparing the difference between “pro-life as in anti-abortion” and “pro-life as in anti-death of innocent people in Iraq,” I can’t help but notice the huge dichotomy in statistics. In the United States, over one million babies are aborted each year — that’s over 1 million deaths taking place not in a third world country racked with violence, but legally, on shiny sterile doctors’ tables, with mother’s full consent and rallies held to celebrate this “right.” Even the most anti-Bush statistics won’t guesstimate Iraqi civilian deaths at 10% of this number for the entire time we have been at war. Again, one innocent Iraqi death is one too many, but isn’t it not fair to state that someone can’t be considered pro-life if his focus to ending death is on the 1,000,000 happening every year in his own country? I realize that President Bush has not put an end to abortion in general, and I think he is less Pro-Life than I am, but the Partial Birth Abortion Ban was an obvious, and overdue, pro-life place to start.
For more of my attempts to address a friend’s issues with President Bush:
I. Whether or not George W. Bush should be considered Pro-Life (try here as well)