Prominent voices of clarity are taking to the public square to
inform people about what’s at stake in this election, after the dust
clears and the balloons burst.

Charles Chaput is in a number of places.

So is Princeton Professor Robert George.

The other day, Richard John Neuhaus came out with this penetrating commentary in his magazine. It’s about time, says RJN, that abortion entered the debate.

As abortion extremists put it, the woman has a right to
a dead baby. Obama apparently agrees, even saying that it is a
constitutional right. In this he goes farther than almost any reputable
constitutional scholar, claiming that the abortion license is covered
by a right to “privacy” that is found not only in the “penumbra and
emanations” of the Constitution but in the Constitution itself.

This, together with his adamant support for the government funding
of abortion and for the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate
all state regulation of abortion–including waiting periods, parental
notification, and other very modest measures–leaves no doubt that
Senator Obama is on the farthest edge of abortion extremism. And it
highlights what is arguably the most important single issue in this
election: Who, as president, will get to nominate the next one, or two,
or three, justices to the Supreme Court.

Yes. I say that every chance I get.

It is time to focus again, and this time relentlessly,
on the question of the protection of innocent human life and the
related and inseparable question of the role of the courts in our
political order…

What in the last several decades came to be called the “culture
wars” runs very deep, and there is no end in sight. Nobody who cares
about this constitutional order can be happy with our present
circumstance. Politics is supposed to be about persuasion,
deliberation, and decision-making through the process of representative
democracy. It is not supposed to be warfare conducted by other means.
And yet it is hard to suppress the impression that we are two nations
in conflict.

We are indeed. The deed is abortion, and it is dividing the nation.

The abortion debate is about more than abortion. It is
about the nature of human life and community. It is about whether
rights are the product of human assertion or the gift of “Nature and
Nature’s God.” It is about euthanasia, eugenic engineering, and the
protection of the radically handicapped.

And so much more. The definition of marriage and understanding of
sexuality. The radical curriculum change in public schools and shift
from classical education to outcome-based education. Social
engineering. And the place of religiously – or even morally – informed
voices in the public square, in decision making, even in the discussion.

The construal of the self, of community, and of ultimate
meaning that is espoused by the Court is incompatible with Christian
and Jewish teaching and, we expect, with the common experience of most
Americans. It is, in effect although not in name, another religion.

The divide is not between ‘values voters’ and all the others. We’re
all values voters, and somebody’s values will prevail. Neuhaus
pinpoints here the fact that secular liberalism is another orthodoxy,
its own religion.

And many people are still happily unaware. Of this, and other matters central to American life and its direction.

Here are two of the best, and briefest, lines in an NRO piece about making use of the time left.

Civility is good. But the abdication of moral leadership is bad.

Politics and the pop culture have morphed, the lines are blurred, and for some it’s just varying degrees of entertainment.

With so much Letterman groveling, Saturday Night Live
appearing, glad-handing dinners, and lame sermons, one would get the
impression from both our political and religious leaders that we are
not two weeks away from a critical election.

If we elect Barack Obama two weeks from now, I believe the laughter
will have been a contributing factor. Too many — from the candidates to
religious leaders to commentators to, I’m sure, some Joe Plumbers — are
being seduced by rhetoric during this election cycle. They’re glossing
over substantive differences and duties.

So, some questions to focus the attention.

It’s a good thing that Americans want to embrace the
first black president — they want to make a statement that Barack Obama
can be president — that race and an exotic name should not keep one
from the presidency. That’s a great instinct. But what of human
dignity? And isn’t it patronizing to hold Barack Obama up as a great
civil-rights leader just because he is black? What about the children
who will never be born because of legal abortion? What about the black
children who are killed at even higher rates by this “medical
procedure”? And we haven’t even talked about school choice yet, the civil-rights movement of our day, on which issue Barack Obama sides with the old guard opposing the freedom to choose.

Yeah, no kidding.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....