Frank Schaeffer: Pro-Life and Pro-Obama

Note: This Post Has Been Largely Updated by To Vote or Not to Vote? An Election Links Roundup

Since I seem to be kinda political this week, let me mention one other story that got my attention recently: Frank Schaeffer, scion of intellectual fundamentalist demigod Francis Schaeffer, has come out in support of Barak Obama…on pro-life grounds. Here are a few salient excerpts from his Huffington Post Column:

“I am an Obama supporter. I am also pro-life. In fact, without my family’s involvement in the pro-life movement it would not exist as we know it. Evangelicals weren’t politicized until after my late father and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, Dr. Koop (Reagan’s soon-to-be Surgeon General) and I stirred them up over the issue of abortion in the mid-1970s. Our Whatever Happened to the Human Race? book, movie series and seminars brought the evangelicals into the pro-life movement.

“In 2000, we elected a president who claimed he believed God created the earth and who, as president, put car manufacturers and oil company’s interests ahead of caring for that creation. We elected a pro-life Republican Congress that did nothing to actually care for pregnant women and babies. And they took their sincere evangelical followers for granted, and played them for suckers…the “pro-life” ethic of George W. Bush manifested itself in a series of squandered opportunities to call us to our better natures. After 9/11, Bush told most Americans to go shopping while saddling the few who volunteered for military service with endless tours of duty (something I know a little about since my son was a Marine and deployed several times). The Bush doctrine of life was expressed by starting an unnecessary war in Iraq that has killed thousands of Americans and wounded tens of thousands more.

“Today when I listen to Obama speak (and to his remarkable wife, Michelle) what I hear is a world view that actually nurtures life. Obama is trying to lead this country to a place where the intrinsic worth of each individual is celebrated. A leader who believes in hope, the future, trying to save our planet and providing a just and good life for everyone is someone who is actually pro-life.”

Read the entire, quite stunning, column here.

As has been well documented, evangelicals are no longer beholden to any one political party line. This will hopefully be a coming of age for evangelical involvement in the public sphere.

This in many ways mirrors my own life’s journey. I was raised staunchly pro-life, to believe that ‘abortion stops a beating heart.’ And you know what? While I see far more nuance in the abortion question than I did as a homeschooled kid (thanks to voices like my friend Hal Miller), I still believe this.

But you know what else? Lots of other things stop beating hearts too. Like climate change, war, poverty, and the arms trade. Disregard for human life goes deep and runs rampant; we need holistic solutions that address the whole of humanity. Some of us have begun to argue for a robust approach to “life advocacy” which we call being consistently pro-life–inculcating and celebrating life in all her many forms, from conception to the grave.

How do we do this? No matter who we vote for (or if we choose to vote at all), I think we need to approach this as Schaeffer encourages us: “The real solution to abortion is to change the heart of America, not the law. We need to stop seeing ourselves as consumers. We need to stop seeing ourselves as me and begin to think of we.”

26 Responses to Frank Schaeffer: Pro-Life and Pro-Obama

  1. thomasvickers March 5, 2008 at 3:57 pm #

    Thanks for the piece–I’m pro-life, anti-war, anti death penalty and refuse to eat Pop Tarts–I am a middle-aged whie-male (sorta’ brain-damaged), but, I too like Obama. I asked him today in a blog just under yours to Not Fold The

  2. Glen March 5, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    Hey thanks for this post. It is a good addition to the conversation and helps me think I’m not alone in in “consistent pro-life” position.

  3. sam clark March 5, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    I’m pro-life too but I don’t hear much substance from Obama. The things he says are what any politician would say. Because of that I don’t hardly believe the ‘change’ that he promises. Frank Schaeffer? It’s peculiar to me that he is trying to lobby evangelicals. He didn’t exactly put himself in a good position to do that in his book “Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion”.

  4. John Sherrod March 6, 2008 at 5:26 am #

    I agree that a consistent pro-life position would involve the abolishment of our imperialist foreign policy, but I hardly see voting for Obama as part of a consistent pro-life position. Obama is pro-choice! Trust me, I’m disgusted with the death of our many American soldiers plus the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, but let’s not forget the holocaust against the unborn, 40 million and counting.

  5. euphonos March 7, 2008 at 2:39 am #

    Mirrored my journey in this area – I started as pro-life and I remain as such while having a deeper understanding of the many variables surrounding abortion.

    I read an article recently in TIME magazine (must post it on my blog as its just flat out brilliant) that said our views regarding ‘life’ boil down to the stage at which we attach existence to.

    To me, life (not just the potential for it) is created when an embryo is formed. Therefore it stands to reason that I am passionately (but also compassionately) against any action that will rob that life of its right to live and choose its existence.

    Abortion takes that right away, as does war and poverty and disease.

    Bring on the visionaries who view human life in a holistic manner! It is a revolution in thinking and action that is growing with emerging generations.

  6. Andrew Tatum March 13, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    I’m actually pretty disillusioned with the whole political process in this country. I’m going to throw out my Hauerwasian card and say that the only alternative to the nihilism, apathy and hatred of today’s American culture is to form and nurture communities that embody and display alternative ways of being human that reflect the face of Christ, the Hope of the world.

  7. Joel Raupe March 13, 2008 at 10:08 am #


    I just can’t see anything positive about buying into Liberation Theology by another name. Franky’s love for Obama is touching, true, but to borrow from his father’s grand methodology, simply “antithetical” to his stated World view. Francis, I am confident, for whose deep work so many, including Franky, appear to wish to take credit, would have certainly insisted on speaking truth and known the Senator for what he is: an unabashed radical Socialist and, like his opponent, a dedicated student of Sail Alinsky.

    Dr. Schaeffer insisted the Body of Christ should not ally or be identified with any one political party or mass movement, as a whole. He insisted the dangers of the Right are dangers of the Left, and like Eric Hoffer, spoke often of how interchangable Mass Movements are with one another. He would have spoken for being Salt, a preservative in interaction, “in the society of one another,” which is, after all, the only real society that has any objective existence.

    Obama must truly a blank slate upon which anyone can project their particular Utopian vision if even Franky can swoon and see his own hopes, his “A Time for Anger” projected upon that screen. That’s charisma, indeed.

    But Obama’s vision is his own, not yours or mine nor anyone else’s, and in the end, we are electing a president to perform a duty, not “making a statement.”

    Voting is a responsibility, and rarely, if ever, a privilege.

  8. Jonathan Kim March 15, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    It’s just too odd to hear Obama Supporters. They sound like they know him when in fact no one really knows him. His quality is not having much record and talking the talk of what the listeners wants to hear. I believe in someone with record and set of decisions that one made. Him being world successful doesn’t quite mean much to me. Brilliant man. I wish I knew him and decisions he made. At the age 46, there must be some record other than spending all time making himself successful.
    Senator Clinton worked on Universal Health Care. I know the choices that she made, good and bad. Senator McCain is a war vet who has large voting record that show his true character. Senator Obama don’t quite have a record that can define him. He is smart and did well making himself successful.
    I do not have any substance to support him and I am puzzled by those swayed by the words. I simply am not in business of trusting other’s words instead of their actions. I wish I had known him making decisions and acting on issues. We have plenty of issues that someone can take on. None that I care, he fought for it in the open. Maybe he did fight in the back room. I don’t know and that’s a problem.

  9. Howard April 19, 2008 at 5:36 pm #


    Here is Pastor Wright’s ‘Black Value System’
    posted at his website. This is what Barak Obama
    pledged an oath to for the past 20 years:

    Pastor Wright gave Louis Farakan a life time
    achievement award. Here is what Louis Farakan believes:
    Posted at his own website.

  10. Net June 9, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    Mother (now Blessed) Teresa of Calcutta said, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion,” at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 3, 1994. Here’s a link to her full speech:

    She said “GREATEST destroyer.” Barack Obama might very well kiss photographs of G.W.B., dead soldiers, and Iraq each and every single day he awakens, as this grave error of Bush’s is why B.O. has been able to gain so much popularity. But when Gianna Jessen was asked to reflect on Mr. Obama’s candidacy, she paused, then said, “I really hope the American people will have their eyes wide open and choose to be discerning. . . . He is extreme, extreme, extreme.” Source:

    Barack Obama is FOR allowing “doctors” to ignore a born alive botched aborted baby to remain in some corner to die without receiving aid. And the wounding of their mothers is “life-long” catastrophic. Just because you can’t photograph it like you can a dead baby, doesn’t mean the torturous aftermath isn’t there. Pro-life and pro-Obama DO NOT go hand-in-hand, unless the hand stretched out to you is the hand of the devil.

    J. O’Toole

  11. Holly August 30, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    This whole election is a heart rending process. I am a consistent life ethics follower, meaning I believe that ALL life should be protected. I don’t believe in war unless it is completely justified and unavoidable, I don’t believe in abortion, I don’t believe in the death penalty, and I don’t believe in trashing the environment.

    But what candidate EVER embodies these ideals. There is never one who stands up unashamedly on these platforms. Why? I have absolutely no idea as they make the most sense.

    I caucused for Edwards, now I’ll be voting for McCain. Every election comes with so much turmoil for me, I’m thinking about not even casting my vote at all. Why do so many people think that killing babies dependent on their mothers is okay? Why are we in this horrible war? Why are we letting Big Pharma run rampantly over elderly, children, and our society? Why do the same people who love God, hate his creation and create Frankenfoods that contribute to cancer and other maladies?

    Why is this so hard?

  12. natrimony September 1, 2008 at 1:36 am #

    Yeah. A consistently pro-life position would move beyond infants. However, it would necessarily include them. Strangely, Frankie the Obama sycophant seems to miss this.

  13. marion September 12, 2008 at 7:44 am #

    Obama isn’t ‘for’ abortion…nor for the horrible thing that was said about him regarding partial birth abortions.
    but the detail of this, and the legal facts, will probably not be grasped by those who want easy cliches and black and white simplistic conclusions.

    thanks Mike…

  14. Lindy Davidson September 15, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    I truly believe that in the future, abortion will be the most hideous black mark against this generation of Americans, but I also hold out hope that the truth will be revealed and abortion will be seen for the heinous civil rights violation it is. In the following article, I liken it to the African slave trade of early America. It is my hope that the party which gets credit for defending the rights of humanity will see this issue clearly and the elimination of the most defenseless humans will come to an end. What would happen if many in the Democratic Party contingency began to call for an end to abortion?

  15. olegtumarkin September 22, 2008 at 5:57 am #

    This is probably the first time since I’ve been voting when I will be voting for someone, not against someone. This is the forst time in last 10 years where I can actually feel OK about any of the potential candidates that might take the White House. While I disagree with Obama’s views, he brings wisdom to politics that has been laking for a long time.


  16. Robin October 18, 2008 at 12:48 am #

    This boggles my mind how ANY one who lives in the Kingdom of God could possibly vote for a man who is PRO MURDER of an inocent child created by God. There is no such thing as “Pro Choice” No one has the right to take the life GOD has created. They belong to GOD not the woman. It is not her body it belongs to GOD.

    B.O. has been going to Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years and this man thinks nothing of taking the lords name in vain while damming the country that has made him wealthy. You would have to be a very sick person to listen to such a hatful person. I could write a book on this crazyness. Christians who are thinking B.O. is some great man are compleatly decived. I am not saying that McCain is some great choice either, but he does have a record of fighting for the lives of unborn children.

    For Franky to say Bush has done noting about abortion, he is ill informed. He needs to reshurch it because he has faught the whole time he has been in office and has achived some. People think that US presedents can do waht ever they want. They can not. They can only bring things to congress and veto things congress brings to him.

  17. Sally November 7, 2008 at 7:05 pm #

    You need to read Frank’s book about himself before you use him as an example…it is a sad book against God.

  18. Carl McColman November 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm #

    “Yet, while it may seem paradoxical, a country’s abortion rate is not closely correlated with whether abortion is legal there. For example, abortion levels are quite high in Latin American countries, where abortion is highly restricted. (In fact, 20 million of the 46 million abortions performed annually worldwide occur in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws.) At the same time, abortion rates are quite low throughout Western Europe, where the procedure is legal and widely available. Also, Eastern and Western Europe have the world’s highest and lowest abortion rates, respectively, yet abortion is generally legal throughout the Continent.” Source:

    I am sick & tired of the idea that in order to be “pro-life” I must favor the reversal of Roe v. Wade — as if that will do anything other than kick the issue back to the states. It’s time for Christians who really care about reducing abortion rates to begin looking at the entire question of “life” issues, which includes fighting poverty, improving support for single mothers, better education, and fostering a values-based rather than commodities-based culture. With this in mind, I am firm in my conviction that Barack Obama was the true “pro-life” candidate this past election, and even though leaders of my church (RC) suggested that supporters of Obama might be committing a mortal sin, I followed my conscience. Thanks, Mike, for publicizing the fact that Frank Schaeffer did the same. I certainly hope that Christians who have allowed themselves to be seduced by the Republican party’s callous manipulation of people of faith will come to their senses and recognize what that party truly stands for — it certainly isn’t Gospel values!

  19. Jay November 19, 2008 at 6:22 am #

    Since there were presidential candidates that were consistently pro-life, that is against abortion and war, it seems completely illogical and irresponsible for voting for the less of two evils. Only when we stop doing this and break the two party monopoly will be start to make real political progress.

  20. V.S. December 10, 2008 at 3:37 am #

    Frankie Schaeffer has sold out. Listen to his interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. It is obvious that he has left orthodoxy (even though he attends a Greek Orthodox church to assuage his “personal need” for “something bigger”. I have read his writings and he is a typical disgruntled “MK” (Missionary Kid) who feels he must whine about his upbringing and what was “withheld” from him by his parents because they taught him to see the world through a biblical world- and life-view.

    No one should take what Frank Schaeffer says about Christianity as somehow wise, just because he is the “Son of Francis Schaeffer”. I doubt his father would be proud of where his son now stands.

  21. Daniel December 11, 2008 at 10:36 pm #

    You articulated many things that we have felt ourselves, and put into action with our votes. “Pro-Life” has indeed become nothing more than a contradictory label that we have swallowed for too long, and have ended up as nothing more than tools of a party that ultimately is more concerned with protecting their own power and fortunes. It’s time we stopped following the carrot dangling over our heads….

  22. Brad January 25, 2009 at 7:07 am #

    I have NO DOUBTS that Dr. Francis Schaeffer would disagree with his son. WOW! Obama having a vision. That is to laugh at. You guys have really gotten sucked into his sweet talking that you don’t even hear the deception.

    Vision of what?
    – Embryonic Stem Cell Research that allows human life to be devalued?
    – Allow tax payers money to fund abortion? If you want pro choice go for it. But don’t ask me to pay for it.
    – Socialism
    – I can keep going if you want.

    Can a Christian even support either parties? Democrats or Republicans if a Christian is going to be true to his God.

    Do you really think Obama is your hope for the future? Hay, I got some nice Swamp land to sale you if you want it.

    If you think Obama will do anything for the cause of abortion and poverity. If he did not do this before he was President he’s not going to be doing it has President. Half you guys are not evening thinking!

    Obama is against about everthing Dr. Francis Schaeffer stood for. I can even believe most of your comments. You guys are so fooled that I about feel sorry for you.

  23. Brad January 25, 2009 at 7:13 am #

    One more thing. If you really believe that humans are the cause of global warming then you are the most fooled.

  24. Mickbic March 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Having been raised in a fundamentalist Baptist home I can certainly identify with Frank Schaeffer leaving that behind. There may be some question about who is more pro life than the other, but we should all be free to question the values of whoever is in power.

    The cultural wars are dispiriting. It would be nice if they would cease and a lasting peace could be achieved. Apparently we are all sinners and also at a loss of finding the righteous and just answers to the world’s problems.

    My prayers are with Frank and Barack and all who have let their voice be heard.

  25. Frances Sullivan June 2, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    You either believe abortion is the taking of a innocent human life our you don’t. I believe if more people could see the how a baby looks after it is aborted they might think twice about being in favor of it. We all should ask ourselves “what would God think or say about it”. We will all have to face Him someday and we will answer to Him for this I believe.


  1. To Vote or Not to Vote? An Election Links Roundup « zoecarnate - October 27, 2008

    […] Frank Schaeffer: Pro-Life and Pro-Obama – Huffington Post […]

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