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May 18, 2009
Obama's Methodist Language at Notre Dame
Did President Obama borrow language from a United Methodist Church TV ad during his address yesterday at Notre Dame?
The United Methodist Church occasionally airs a television advertisement based on a trilogy of openness. It's tag line is:
"Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. The people of The United Methodist Church." Through its television campaign, the United Methodist Church is promising seekers that it is a denomination of open hearts, open minds and open doors." (Source)
During his address at Notre Dame's commencement event, the President said,
"Each side [of the abortion issue] will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition."
Wonder about the official position of the United Methodist Church on abortion? Here it is:
The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born.Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother, for whom devastating damage may result from an unacceptable pregnancy. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection.We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life. We call all Christians to a searching and prayerful inquiry into the sorts of conditions that may warrant abortion. We commit our Church to continue to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate a pregnancy, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy, and to those who give birth. We particularly encourage the Church, the government, and social service agencies to support and facilitate the option of adoption.Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Christian conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.(The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2004)
Perhaps you can offer an explanation of that statement. During my 20 plus years as a United Methodist Church (UMC) clergyperson, it seemed to me equivocal: a little yes - a little no. But among the denomination hierarchy, my experience was that it was overwhelmingly yes, pro-abortion.
Is that why he used an adaptation of the UMC tag line?