The Jell-O Jiggler Candidate

Republican presidential candidate and my old friend Robert Dole can point to a solidly prolife voting record. But a few days ago Dole started to wobble on abortion--so much so that an associate of mine described his position as "gelatinous." And while there's always room for Jell-O on the dinner table, there's no room for a prolife candidate who jiggles around on the foremost moral issue of our time. For 16 years, the Republican platform has contained a plank calling for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion--one that helped build three presidential victories. Of course, the GOP can't win without prolife voters--and its leaders know it. But prochoice Republicans have pressured Dole to find a way to be more "inclusive" on the abortion issue. And that's when Dole began to wobble. Dole announced that he would "not seek or accept a retreat" from the call for a human life amendment. Well and good. But then Dole said he wanted the platform preamble to include a "declaration [of tolerance] for divergent points of view on issues such as abortion." This was no compromise, Dole insisted. It was merely an attempt to inject some "civility" into the political process. But shortly afterward Dole announced that the declaration of tolerance would not be placed in the platform preamble, where it would apply to the entire platform. Instead, this declaration would be placed within the abortion plank itself. Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council asked the question that's making Republican leaders squirm: Why is abortion being singled out as the one issue for which Republicans acknowledge divergent viewpoints? After all, Republicans disagree on all sorts of issues, like term limits and gun control and taxes. Why no "statement of tolerance" on those issues? Dole's response only made matters worse. He told CNN that the statement of tolerance "is probably going to be in the abortion plank" itself because, he explained, unlike all the other issues in the platform, abortion "is a moral issue." In other words, we're supposed to take everything in this platform seriously--except abortion. Term limits, gun control, taxes--these issues are non-negotiable. But abortion? Well that's just a moral issue. What these politicians don't seem to understand is that moral issues like abortion are the very ones that Christians cannot compromise on. By setting moral issues apart from all the other platform issues, Dole seems to be saying that morality is whatever an individual says it is--and that's pure relativism. But Christians believe that issues of life and death are rooted in moral absolutes--God's law. God says in Deuteronomy, "I am the Lord of life and death." Decisions regarding who shall live and who shall die belong to God alone. As Christians, we cannot stand idly by and watch while man usurps God's authority--nor can we compromise with those who do. Now, Christian humility requires that we show tolerance for those with whom we disagree. But if we're to be faithful witnesses, we cannot equivocate when it comes to moral questions. I hope everyone gets this message--including "Jell-O Jiggler" politicians who wiggle and wobble on the foremost moral issue of our day.


Chuck Colson


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