Monday, September 08, 2008

More on "Above my pay-grade"

The universally disparaged response by Senator Obama to Rick Warren's question of when human rights begin has some interesting follow up.  I really like how Obama adds a lot to his self-admittedly fumbled response in the Saddleback Forum (HT to Mollie at GetReligion) (emphasis mine)

Obama tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview taped for "This Week": "What I intended to say is that, as a Christian, I have a lot of humility about understanding when does the soul enter into . . . It's a pretty tough question. And so, all I meant to communicate was that I don't presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions."

In the ABC interview, Obama goes on to give the answer he wishes he'd given: "What I do know is that abortion is a moral issue, that it's one that families struggle with all the time. And that in wrestling with those issues, I don't think that the government criminalizing the choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions.

"I think the better answer — and this was reflected in the Democratic platform — is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child."

This is a much more nuanced and reflective response than the "pay-grade" comment.  Obama - known for his thoughtful, circumspect answers, truly missed an opportunity here.  Had the above been his answer, he could have avoided a lot of confusion and concern among the evangelical left and moderates that are eager to support him.

4 comments:

Steve said...

No matter what he would have said, it would have been twisted and he would have been demeaned by the industry that has built up for that purpose. I took the "paygrade" comment as voicing humility in the face of a difficult question.

Jason said...

I interpreted the pay grade comment in a similar fashion. Certainly his more thorough response is better, though.

Jeff said...

I tend to agree, Steve, but there remain a few of us truly conflicted, undecided folk who would've appreciated a more thorough and less flippant response. Apparently, Senator Obama agrees.

Steve said...

Also thanks for reminding me of the "Get Religion" blog. I had not been there in several years. They have a perspective that I need to know and learn from. One of the participants, Terry Mattingly used to live around here and has been syndicated in the local paper for fifteen years or so, I'd guess. He was a prof at Johnson Bible College not too far from here. They are associated with the Christian Church and have some Church of Christers on the faculty. I think Terry affiliates with an Orthodox group now.