January 14, 2009
A Letter Written to Barack Obama
by Father Jim Booth
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church
The following is a letter that was sent to Barack Obama regarding the
so-called Freedom of Choice Act. I assume that no one in Washington
will bother to read it, so I post it for the consideration of all who
might be interested.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. Obama,
It is my solemn duty as a human being, as a Christian, and as an
American citizen to write to you and urge you not to sign the
so-called Freedom of Choice Act. I firmly believe that this
legislation is utterly and completely immoral, un-American,
unconstitutional, and entirely inhuman. It is my understanding that
you intend to sign this bill into law if passed by Congress. This
saddens me greatly and I firmly believe that this bill, if passed,
will plunge our great nation further and further into the darkness of
evil and injustice. If a child in the womb is not safe, then who is?
If a human baby possesses no legal rights and protections, then who
I understand that you once said that the point at which human life
begins is above your pay-grade. From this I am led to believe one of
three things: 1) you deliberately said this to avoid controversy but
you do not really believe it, 2) you said this without thinking, 3) or
you actually believe that the point at which human life begins is
uncertain and above your pay-grade. Charity demands that I assume
that your statement in this regard is an honest albeit unfortunate
expression of your belief. The other alternatives reflect
characteristics that I hope a sitting president would not possess,
those being a calculating disingenuousness and a propensity to act and
speak without thinking.
If you truly believe that the point where human life begins is above
your pay-grade, then what are the logical ramifications of this
belief? Well, if you really believe that an unborn child may or may
not be a human being, is it not logical, prudent, and necessary to
presume that the unborn child is indeed a human being? One would hope
that a human baby deserves such a presumption. After all, why do we
insist that our soldiers be morally certain that they are shooting at
enemy combatants and not at innocent civilians? Why do we insist that
our police officers refrain from shooting at a violent criminal if
there is a possibility of hitting an innocent bystander? Without a
doubt, when we have soldiers or policemen who do not use deadly force
prudently, we usually remove them from duty and even bring them to
justice if the circumstances warrant.
But the Freedom of Choice Act removes all restraints on terminating
the lives of babies who you think, if you are being honest, may or may
not be human beings. Are you willing to let our law enforcement
officers and soldiers use deadly force indiscriminately with no
restraints or ramifications for their actions? One hopes not, but if
you actually believe that the status of an unborn child is really
uncertain, then the Freedom of Choice Act is morally indistinguishable
from removing any and all restrictions on the use of deadly force in
our military and law enforcement agencies.
But we are not really talking about mere indiscriminate use of deadly
force, but the unjust and immoral use of deadly force. We would not
accept a soldier deliberately shooting at someone on the presumption
that he might be an enemy soldier. We would not tolerate a police
officer who deliberately shoots someone on the presumption that he
might be a dangerous felon. How is this different than tearing the
body of a baby limb-from-limb on the presumption that she might not be
a human being? So, Mr. Obama, if you are truly uncertain as to when
human life begins, it seems pretty apparent that you must choose to
protect the baby that you think might be human instead of killing her
on the mere presumption that she may not yet be human.
Also, please consider that our legal system presumes innocence and
tolerates the possibility of letting the guilty go unpunished in lieu
of the possibility of punishing the innocent. Can we not afford the
same presumption of human life for the unborn lest we tolerate the
murder of innocent human beings? Do we deliberately send anyone to
jail unless there is no shadow of doubt regarding their guilt? Are we
not more careful when exercising the grave responsibility of capital
punishment, allowing appeal after appeal to preclude the execution of
someone who might be innocent? It seems that abortion is nothing
other than the summary execution of a baby whose only 'crime' is to be
inconvenient or unplanned. This is nothing less than cruel and
unusual punishment for being in the wrong womb at the wrong time.
Likewise, if we look at our constitutionally guaranteed rights such as
the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms,
etc. we recognize that these explicitly enumerated rights can be
restricted without denying the basic constitutional right itself. If
the Brady Law can insist on a background check and a waiting period to
purchase a firearm, how can we accept these restrictions upon a
constitutionally guaranteed right but the FOCA would overturn all laws
stipulating parental consent for an abortion involving a minor or a
waiting period for abortion especially since abortion is not an
enumerated right in our Constitution? If we accept that limits can
legally be placed on free speech, what is the justification for
denying any limits placed on abortion, which again is nowhere to be
found as an enumerated right in our Constitution? If we can accept
that conducting a peaceful public demonstration can require a permit,
a reasonable and legal limitation on the exercise of both the rights
of free assembly and of free speech, in what way does abortion deserve
unfettered exercise above and beyond our actual constitutional rights?
Mr. Obama, it is absolutely absurd, disproportionate, and
unacceptable that the FOCA would elevate abortion above and beyond
every enumerated constitutional right.
But as a priest, as a shepherd of souls, I must also insist that you
consider the moral aspects of abortion in general and of the FOCA in
particular. Indeed, you will be judged on your actions personally and
with respect to how you have used the power and authority of your
office. You have been entrusted with a sacred duty and you will have
to answer for how you have exercised that power and authority.
Indeed, Jesus insists that "from everyone who has been given much,
much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with
much, much more will be asked" Lk 12:48. Is there a secular office
higher than the one you have assumed? You have been given not just
much, but the most. Is the FOCA the "much more [that] will be asked"
of your administration, or is God perhaps asking you for something
else? What would Jesus expect of you, the same Jesus Who said "Let
the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the
Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these" Mt 19:14. Does the FOCA,
which removes anything that hinders abortion, allow for little babies
to come to Jesus unhindered? Yes, the 'kingdom' of the United States
has been entrusted to your care, but please remember that the little
babies are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
And I must direct your attention to Matthew 25:31-46. Here Jesus
insists that "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these
least brothers of mine, you did for Me" Mt 25:40. How do you think
Jesus will respond to someone who pulls Him apart limb-from-limb?
Please remember that Jesus Himself was once an embryo, once a
blastocyst, once a fetus, or whatever dehumanizing term you wish to
choose for an unborn baby. Having been an unborn baby, is it
conceivable that Jesus would not particularly identify Himself with
these least of His brothers and sisters?
Finally, I ask you to consider whose interests are served by the FOCA?
Is it Jesus' interests, or someone else's? Perhaps a passage from
Jeremiah will help clarify this for you: "They built high places to
Baal in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, and immolated their sons and
daughters to Molech, bringing sin upon Judah; this I never commanded
them, nor did it even enter my mind that they should practice such
abominations" Jer 32:35. I can hardly see that the interests of this
country, the interests of women, the interests of children, and most
importantly, the interests of Jesus are served by the FOCA. But if
you sign the FOCA into law, it would seem that you are serving Molech
and bringing more sin upon this nation. With all due respect, please
do not sign this abomination into law, if not for the sake of the
salvation of your own soul, for the lives of the little children who
will be unjustly sacrificed on the altar of false freedom.