Sen. Barack Obama met yesterday with several faith leaders, from a variety of political perspectives, in a private closed door meeting. Among the attendees, Rev. Franklin Graham, whose presence was deemed significant by CBN reporter David Brody, since Graham has yet to meet with McCain. Issues discussed included the senator’s support for abortion rights and gay rights.
Steve Strang, the founder of Charisma Magazine, attended and wrote this about the private meeting on his blog, The Strang Report, describing Obama’s response to his question on abortion as being "more centrist than expected."
The questions were mostly “softball” questions in my opinion. I was
concerned after three or four general questions that we wouldn’t ask
the most important questions. So I raised my hand and he called on me.
I said, “Senator, I want to ask a question I’m sure you are expecting
regarding your position on abortion. I represent a segment of the
church where nearly everyone considers the issue of supporting life to
be the most important issue and where nearly everyone would be opposed
to abortion. I want to ask what your stand on abortion is and if you
believe what I think you believe, how you justify that with your
Christian faith and why you think we should vote for you.”
his response was “off-the-record,” I can say that the time he took to
answer was probably 15 minutes. He came across as thoughtful and much
more of a “centrist” than what I would have expected. He did not appear
to be the crazy leftist that is being supported by George Soros and his
radical leftist friends. Sen. Obama looked me in the eye as he answered
my question, almost as if it were a one-on-one interview. I had already
read the chapter on “faith” in his book the “Audacity of Hope.” If you
want to know how he answered the question, read that chapter.
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What Mr. Strang and many of his fellow prohibitionists in the "pro-life" movement fail to realize is that many pro-choice people are "more centrist" than they expect. It is their failure to give any ground on the abortion issue, to even discuss education and prevention issues, that many progressives and liberals support, that has resulted in the divisive nature of the debate about legal abortion.
It isn’t the "left" that needs to move on the issue of legal abortion, it is the far right — those who are pure prohibitionists, anti-contraception, advocating for abstinece-only-until-marraige programs — for they have used this issue to gain power and allowed people like Karl Rove to use it to manipulate others of genuine belief and good faith to win elections.
Perhaps Mr. Strang, and others, can one day find their way toward the "more centrist" views that the vast majority of Americans hold when it comes to sexuality education, contraception, and women’s rights to safe, legal abortion. As we often say on this site, prohibition will not stop abortion, only make it unsafe for the women who seek it.
The Associated Press reported that attendance at the meeting ran across the political spectrum,
About 30 people attended, the campaign said, but it released only
three names: the Rev. Stephen Thurston, head of the National Baptist
Convention of America, Inc., a historically black denomination; the
Rev. T. Dewitt Smith, president of the Progressive National Baptist
Convention, Inc., which was home to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders; and Bishop Phillip Robert Cousin Sr., an A.M.E. clergyman and former NAACP board member.
Two sources familiar with the meeting, but who spoke on background
because the session was private, said others attending included
conservative Catholic constitutional lawyer Doug Kmiec; evangelical
author Max Lucado
of San Antonio; Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Media, which is
aimed at young Christians; the Rev. Luis Cortes of Esperanza USA; and
Paul Corts, president of the Council of Christian Colleges and
Jill Stanek refuses to believe the facts as reported about who attended, preferring to lead her readers to believe that no Catholics, or Evangelicals, were present. Once again, Jill gets it wrong.