Friday, February 08, 2008

Franky Schaeffer: Crazy for Obama

You may recall our post of several days ago, "Catholics for Obama???" (Musings, January 31, 2008). Well, here's one to continue the discussion: "Frank Schaeffer: Pro-Life, Pro-Obama" (Vox Nova, February 8, 2008). Frank (or Franky) Schaeffer isn't a Catholic, as some of you may recall (he claims to be an evangelical convert to Eastern Orthodoxy). In recent years, however, he has become increasingly embittered against his parents, his evangelical religious and conservative political past, as we noted in "Jaded: Franky Schaeffer 35 years later" (Musings, November 3, 2007), and "Groothuis: Franky Schaeffer 'Escapes from Reason,' again" (December 20, 2007). If Schaeffer has not, like a good Buddhist or Lewis Carroll, become adept at affirming and maintaining two mutually incompatible propositions simultaneously -- and I'm not at all certain he hasn't -- he has most certainly become careless and uncritical about the underlying presuppositions of his political bedfellows. His political drift has that all-too-familiar pallor about it that reminds me of G.K. Chesterton's statement that "only live fish can swim against the current."

Consider the following, from an editorial by Schaeffer entitled "Why I'm Pro-Life and Pro-Obama," published only yesterday:
“I am an Obama supporter. I am also pro-life. In fact, without my family’s involvement in the pro-life movement it would not exist as we know it. Evangelicals weren’t politicized until after my late father and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, Dr. Koop (Reagan’s soon-to-be Surgeon General) and I stirred them up over the issue of abortion in the mid-1970s. Our Whatever Happened to the Human Race? book, movie series and seminars brought the evangelicals into the pro-life movement.

“(Dad’s political influence persists. Last week one of my father’s followers — Mike Huckabee — was interviewed by Katie Couric, along with all the other presidential candidates. Couric asked the candidates if they were to be sent to a desert island and could only take one book besides the Bible, what would that that book be? Huckabee answered that he’d take my father’s book Whatever Happened To The Human Race?)

“Fast forward . . .

“In 2000, we elected a president who claimed he believed God created the earth and who, as president, put car manufacturers and oil company’s interests ahead of caring for that creation. We elected a pro-life Republican Congress that did nothing to actually care for pregnant women and babies. And they took their sincere evangelical followers for granted, and played them for suckers.

“The so-called evangelical leadership — Dobson, Robertson et al. also played the pro-life community for suckers. While thousands of men and women in the crisis pregnancy movement gave of themselves to help women and babies, their evangelical “leaders” did little more than cash in on fundraising opportunities and represent themselves as power-brokers to the craven politicians willing to kowtow to them.

Fast forward . . .

“Today when I listen to Obama speak (and to his remarkable wife, Michelle) what I hear is a world view that actually nurtures life. Obama is trying to lead this country to a place where the intrinsic worth of each individual is celebrated. A leader who believes in hope, the future, trying to save our planet and providing a just and good life for everyone is someone who is actually pro-life.

“Conversely the “pro-life” ethic of George W. Bush manifested itself in a series of squandered opportunities to call us to our better natures. After 9/11, Bush told most Americans to go shopping while saddling the few who volunteered for military service with endless tours of duty (something I know a little about since my son was a Marine and deployed several times). The Bush doctrine of life was expressed by starting an unnecessary war in Iraq that has killed thousands of Americans and wounded tens of thousands more. . . .

“What we need in America is a spiritual rebirth, a turning away from the false value of consumerism and utilitarianism that have trumped every aspect of human life. To implement this vision we need leaders that inspire but to do so they have to be what they say they are. It’s not about policy it’s about character. . . .

. . . the Republicans have . . . been hypocrites while talking big, for instance about their pro-life ethic. But what have they achieved? First, through their puritanical war on sex education they’ve hindered our country from actually preventing unwanted pregnancy. Second, through the Republican Party’s marriage to the greediest and most polluting earth-destroying corporations they’ve created a climate (both moral and physical) that has scorched the earth for-profit, with no regard to future generations whatsoever. The Republicans are to the pro-life movement what the Clintons are to selfless public service.

“The real solution to abortion is to change the heart of America, not the law. We need to stop seeing ourselves as consumers. We need to stop seeing ourselves as me and begin to think of we. Our country needs someone to show us a better way, a president who is what he seems, someone with actual moral authority that our diverse population can believe in who has the qualities that make us want to follow him. Obama is that person.”
If you don't know what I think -- though it should be obvious -- feel free to read my comments on the Vox Nova blog. Your thoughts?

Update: Things have heated up considerably over in the combox over at Vox Nova ("Frank Schaeffer: Pro-Life, Pro-Obama"). Feel free to join the debate. Be advised, however, that some of the recent heat may be attributed to the overheated combox viruses contributed by the "Spirit of Vatican II" (the dissident Fr. Joseph O'Leary) who has been banned from this site.

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