Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Personally opposed"

In March of 1860 Abraham Lincoln spoke at Union Hall in New Haven, Connecticut. He was campaigning for the Republican Presidential nomination and the legal status of slavery was the issue. It has been suggested that Lincoln's argument respecting slavery then might well be applicable to the abortion issue today — especially with respect to those who say they are "personally opposed" but are "not willing to deal with as a wrong." From Lincoln's "Speech at New Haven":
.... You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong?

Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other? You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow it to be even called wrong!

We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion....and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong! .... [more]
If you are "personally opposed" to, say, murder, or theft, or rape, or abortion, shouldn't that mean that you will do what you can both as an individual and a citizen to fight those evils?

Are You Really Personally Opposed if You Won’t Call it Wrong? – Kevin DeYoung, The History Place - Abraham Lincoln: Speech at New Haven