Maybe it’s because abortion is being talked about more in context of elections that the encounter in the Hy-Vee grocery store hit me so intensely last night. I was listening to a message on my iPod that happened to have clips of the often-forgotten presidential town hall meeting in 2008 with Rick Warren at Saddleback Church, where Warren asked both President Obama and Senator McCain the all-important abortion/Life question.
“At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view,” Warren asked Obama.
“Well, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade,” Obama said.
But when Warren asked McCain “at what point does a baby get human rights?” McCain answered, “at the moment of conception.”
I’d heard this before. It wasn’t news to me. And in the years Obama has been president, he’s not displayed another perspective, so I didn’t have any reason to be shocked, but suddenly, right there in the toilet paper aisle, I started crying at the reality and the contrast.
The two statements made by two men were really about more. They were the polarizing view of a nation confused and deceived. There isn’t a reasoning, theological or scientific, to humanity. That’s not something flowery words will ever define. No one’s pay grade has relevance to its answer, really. I think I was crying for the national ignorance that can reason away life as tissue, that can act like it’s good enough to decide a baby should die but human enough to pretend not to have power to judge when life begins.