In my previous post I discussed Hillary Clinton’s contradictory statements on the life issue at last night’s Compassion Forum at Messiah College in PA, emceed by CNN’s Campbell Brown Newsweek’s religious writer, Jon Meacham.
Yet Obama managed to surpass Clinton. There was this…
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president, National Hispanic Leadership Conference: .. The terms pro-choice and pro-life, do they encapsulate that reality in our 21st Century setting and can we find common ground?
Obama: I absolutely think we can find common ground…. [I]t requires us to acknowledge that there is a moral dimension to abortion, which I think that all too often those of us who are pro-choice have not talked about or tried to tamp down. I think that’s a mistake because I think all of us understand that it is a wrenching choice for anybody to think about…. [t]hat nobody wishes to be placed in a circumstance where they are even confronted with the choice of abortion….
Follow-up questions that never were:
Meacham: Senator, do you personally believe that life begins at conception? And if not, when does it begin?
Obama: This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it’s very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don’t presume to know the answer to that question. What I know, as I’ve said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we’re having these debates.
Follow-up questions not asked:
And there was this on HIV/AIDS:
Frank Page, Southern Baptist Convntion: … Southern Baptists have been very active for years in sub-Saharan Africa in the HIV/AIDS relief ministries…. But we also are involved in a ministry called True Love Waits [abstinence program], which has been credited by the government of Uganda from lowering the AIDS infection rate there dramatically from 30% to 6%. But we also teach a part of that, that faith has a role in the issue of HIV/AIDS. Do you concur with that and would you elaborate on that, please.
Obama: … My view is, is that we should use whatever the best approaches are, the scientifically sound approaches are, to reduce this devastating disease all across the world.
And part of that, I think, should be a strong education component and I think abstinence education is important. I also think that contraception is important….
I do think that… there is a behavioral element to AIDS that has to be addressed. And if there is – if there’s promiscuity and we are pretending that that’s not an issue in spreading AIDS, then we’re missing part of the answer.
Next Obama discussed his daughters’ sex lives, which I’m posting on separately.
Read CNN transcript here.
[Photo of Clinton and Obama courtesy of the Associated Press]