On April 13, 2008, a “Compassion Forum” was held at Messiah College (PA) to discuss the moral issues that divide our nation. Presidential candidates Senators Clinton and Obama accepted the invitation to participate. Senator McCain declined. It was not a debate. Clinton and Obama were individually questioned about the role religion played in their lives with regard to various moral questions. The full text of the forum can be found here.

I was particularly interested in their responses on the very divisive subject of abortion. Obama was questioned by Jon Meacham, Newsweek editor and well-known writer on religion, as follows:

MEACHAM: Senator, do you personally believe that life begins at conception? And if not, when does it begin?
OBAMA: This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it’s very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don’t presume to know the answer to that question. What I know, as I’ve said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we’re having these debates.

On the same question, Clinton responded:

MEACHAM: Senator, do you believe personally that life begins at conception?
CLINTON: I believe that the potential for life begins at conception. I am a Methodist…….. I think abortion should remain legal, but it needs to be safe and rare.

The “potential for life?” The question was: “Does life begin at conception?” The answer is “yes” or “no.”

These are people who run on a platform that insists on a right to abortion for any reason for the entire nine months of pregnancy. So, of course, they have to tip-toe around when they give their answer in order to please their political base and yet appeal to those who believe the exact opposite. You really have to question their intellectual honesty. How can you trust someone who fudges on basic facts? You’d think they never went to school, never took Biology 101, never had a child themselves. They knew in their heart of hearts that when that sperm met that egg, a new life had begun.

But would they say it? No, they spin and hedge. They are, after all, politicians.

For the definitive answer on when human life begins, please see this best-ever very short video: