In the US presidential election, the abortion issue matters

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In a nation where separation of religion and state is asserted and at the same time politics and faith are brought together in public fora, John McCain and Barack Obama met for the first time in a discussion with Pastor Rick Warren (author of best-seller Purpose Driven Life) in Saddleback Church, a mega evangelical religious group in Lake Forest, California. (Photo Credit: NYTimes/Almeida, M) Listening to both candidates made it clear that it’s increasingly hard for voters to completely agree in all positions with the future president.

Governance covers a wide range of issues that makes disagreement more likely. During the presidential forum both candidates made clear their viewpoints on secular concerns and moral questions like abortion, stem cell research, wealth, evil in the world, etc. That’s why voters focus on the top issues to guide them which candidate they’ll choose.

Less than eighty days before the election, the race between Barack Obama and John McCain is tight. As the young Senator Obama goes with a forward-looking, secular vision of the world, McCain displays his sterling military background and experience as legislator of 25 years. In world realities which McCain knows have pretty limited choices, simple black-and-white options give room for quick answers that are more direct than his rival Obama.

That’s why when McCain was asked when life really starts to elicit his position on abortion, the Arizona senator curtly answered “at the time of conception,”—a view that Christian conservatives and Catholics want to hear. More popular than Obama among the evangelicals and conservatives, McCain was emphatic that he’ll be a pro-life president.

On the other hand, Obama, who is known for his pro-choice liberal view had to make qualifications and show that he hasn’t come to a firm resolution on the issue. Letting the audience know that he’s a Christian, he spoke of a familiar biblical maxim of “doing for the least of my brother,” yet he seemed to struggle with the idea that among the “least” in society must be the defenseless unborn who are killed by abortion that he supports. Obama approved of partial-birth abortion that other people consider as “infanticide.”

The abortion issue is just among the many concerns Americans want to settle with their presidential candidates. There are still many who can’t decide which of the candidates can deliver best for the Americans and the world on issues like the economy, healthcare, social security, international relations, homeland security, taxation, education, stem-cell research, immigration, among others. As the days close in for the Republicans and Democrats to choose their respective vice-presidential candidates, more realignments of voter are expected to follow.=0=

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