An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear President-Elect Obama,

I am an American, and I believe in those fundamental principles on which America was founded. I am a Christian, and so are you. But I am of the evangelical brand, which has consistently voted against the Democratic Party in general, and which voted heavily against you in this election. Yet amidst all the criticisms of you from my Party, I have not been deaf to the praises of those evangelical Christians who supported your campaign and helped see you to victory. They have lauded you as a "uniter, not a divider", and you have claimed such yourself. In your acceptance speech you acknowledged the just under half of the U.S. constituency who voted against you, promising that you would not work against us as your enemies, but with us as your people. I pray and ask that you keep this promise.

Many evangelicals, myself included, see and lament the plight of the poor and marginalized segments of American society, and are committed to pursuing the courses of action that will best serve to improve their quality of life. We question that unbridled capitalism, led by the Invisible Hand, will serve this end, and recognize that government can and should play a mediating role in economics. But despite the affinity of some (many?) evangelicals with these convictions of yours and your Party's, there are concerns which prevented us from supporting your candidacy for President of the United States, the foremost of which is your position on abortion. Or at least the position that you took in 2007 when you promised Planned Parenthood that you would expediently sign the Freedom of Choice Act, removing all restrictions on abortion at the state and federal level, and would appoint justices that would uphold Roe v. Wade. Yet more recently, you pledged a commitment to reduce abortions. That presupposes that you see abortion, at least to some extent, as a moral evil. If this is true, then you and we have a starting point for collaboration in one of the foremost (if not preeminent) priorities of 'our half' (if not a large majority) of America.

Let me just state my plea to you plainly: If you pursue measures consistent with Roe v. Wade, you will only perpetuate the deep rift in America that has become so pronounced during the last several election seasons. At the very least, I make this petition: Will you lead the American people, including the Democratic Party, to devote serious attention to the issues raised by the Pro-Life citizenry of America? If you are not in a position to throw your weight behind the Pro-Life movement, then will you at least prove a willingness to rigorously engage us on the issue rather than perpetuate the polarized entrenchment?

Let me reaffirm my commitment, as I speak for millions of evangelicals across this nation, to fight not only for the rights of unborn persons, but also for the rights of those who have been brought alive into this world. We are with you on this, heart, mind, soul, and strength. We extend to you this hand in partnership. Will you extend to us your hand of cooperation in abolishing the scourge of institutionalized injustice for the least of these, the unborn?

You have spoken a message of "Hope". Now give us reason to hope for a more just and righteous society, a hope for reconciliation, and a hope of moving forward as one nation under God, united by and for justice and liberty for all.

Earnestly and Respectfully,

Matt Stephens

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