Above His Pay Grade? [UPDATED]
Over at Catholics in the Public Square, Christopher Blosser has put together a round-up of the coverage of Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum, including the reactions to Sen. Obama's "above my pay grade" response to the question "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?"
Among the reactions Chris highlights is this one from Mark Hemingway at National Review Online:
When asked "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?," McCain answered "At the moment of conception." Obama's answer here was flaming-dirigible bad:(emphasis added)Whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is, you know, above my pay grade.That spectacularly inept metaphor is going to haunt Obama throughout the rest of the campaign. News flash: There's not a job on the planet above the pay grade of the President of the United States. If you can't solve every problem and are humble about it, that's fine — but you can't get away with being unsure about the most defining moral issue in politics. Of course, he didn't put down the shovel:But let me speak more generally about the issue of abortion. Because this is something, obviously, the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue is not paying attention.So after completely hedging on the question and declining to give a specific answer — he wants to speak "more generally" about the issue? And, lo and behold, speak more generally he does: "I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue." In related news, Obama is also "absolutely convinced" that the sky is blue, water is wet and puppies are adorable. None of this, however, tells me a thing about his judgment and moral worldview.
Definitely check out all the links that Chris provides.
Also, you might want to check out this ad taking on Sen. Obama's abortion record, which was put together by a couple of very talented bloggers:
Deal Hudson: "Obama Flunks Rick Warren's Abortion Question":
Here's a truism: If you're running for President, don't answer a question by saying, "That's above my pay grade." After all, if you want to occupy the White House, there is no higher pay grade. You are the boss, and the buck stops with you.
But Barack Obama used precisely that expression when asked by Rick Warren at what point "a baby gets human rights."
How can a man who has voted three times on the Born Again Infant Protection Act be unable to answer that question with "specificity"? Does he mean that he voted against BAIPA without having an answer to that question? But then what did he base his vote on?
Obama made the telling mistake of pitting the truths of science against the truths of theology. He seems to think there are two truths in contradiction to each other. And his implication is clear: Theology teaches life begins at conception, but science sees it differently.
Isn't this supposed to be the faith-friendly Democratic candidate for president? The fact is, those who hold to Obama's ideology have come to the conclusion that human life does not begin at conception, regardless of what theology and science both teach.
The most telling paragraph from Deacon Fournier's piece (to which Christopher's post at Catholics in the Public Square links):
... Senator Barack Obama miserably failed the test concerning the foundational world view issue. Without the right to life, there are no other rights. Rights attach to persons and abortion kills little persons. Without the freedom to be born, there are no other freedoms. When Senator Obama was asked about the humanity of the child in the womb, he said that such a question was “above his pay grade”. Oh, he then blathered on about their being a “moral and ethical” dimension to the issue. However, he then stated unequivocally “I am pro-choice, I believe in Roe v Wade”. He mouthed something about reducing abortions but the utter clarity of the moment was the highlight of the evening. The pastor, this man of purpose, followed through with this question, ”Have you ever voted to limit abortions”? Barack Obama was, for the first time in my viewing, at a loss for words. Because the truth is now out there and he knew he could not lie about it...(emphasis added)
More from Deacon Fournier:
... This question was certainly not the only “World View” question where the questions of Rev. Warren elicited crystal clear distinctions between the candidates. On the issue of defending true marriage as between a man and a woman, Senator McCain took the gold. On the issue of education (even though Pastor Warren only asked about merit pay for teachers, which both candidates support) Senator McCain took the opportunity to unequivocally endorse parental choice in education and position it properly within the social justice embrace, emphasizing “choice and competition”. He strongly and eloquently supported the opportunity for all parents, no matter what their economic situation, to be able to choose where to extend their educational mission for their children be that public schools, charter schools, faith based schools, private schools or home schools. He rightly called it a “civil rights issue for the 21st Century”. And he is absolutely correct.
Both candidates expressed support for the proper mediating role of faith based institutions and organizations in the delivery of compassion and care in a partnership of care with the Government. However, it was only Senator McCain who clearly articulated that such organizations also have 1st Amendment rights and should be able to select employees whose views comport with their own deeply held religious convictions...