Can You Really Have IT Both Ways?

Should a person’s religious beliefs guide their public service or just their private life? Is a core value really a core value if it never finds its way into the light of day in one’s public experience? Do you truly believe in something if you are unwilling to take a stand for it? All of us have to wrestle with these questions and ultimately come to an answer.

Not so long ago, character, honor and truth were the traits our nation was built on. The beliefs of our leaders were worth dying for. Statesmen lived out their core values and these personal beliefs guided them in their public life and service. These men and women stood for what they believed no matter which way the fickle wind of public opinion chose to blow. If something was truly a core value then to go against that value was to deny one’s self.

This past Thursday evening as I watched the Vice-Presidential debate, I saw the dichotomy of true belief and cheap talk. The moderator asked a question that could not be dodged and required a straight forward answer. Here’s a paraphrase of the question: What is your position on abortion?

Both candidates claim to be believers and practicing Roman Catholics. The position of the Roman Catholic Church is unashamedly pro-life and to actively support abortion technically places any Catholic in danger of excommunication. The Roman Catholic Church has consistently fought against abortion and has stood firm on the rights of unborn. The pro-life position is a core value in Catholicism, thus making the candidate’s response a real glimpse into the heart of his own personal belief system.

Candidate Ryan’s answer was simple and straightforward. He declared that he was a practicing Roman Catholic and unapologetically pro-life. He then affirmed that in his public service he would stand and support that core value.

Vice-President Biden’s response was what troubled me. He also declared that he was a practicing Roman Catholic and that he was personally pro-life, but did not feel that his private beliefs must govern what he supports in public life. He supports abortion and the right of a woman to make her own choices, yet denies the right to life of the unborn. He claims a core value privately, but refuses to stand for what he supposedly believes in public life.

Can you really have it both ways? I don’t think so. If you are privately pro-life, how can you publically support abortion? How can something be a core value if you’re willing to toss it out the window publically? As a practicing Roman Catholic how can one go against the tenets and dogmas of one’s personal faith and beliefs and resolve that in one’s mind?

I don’t question the sincerity of Biden’s faith, but I do question the sincerity of a pro-life position being one of his personal beliefs. Honor and truth dictate that one stand and die for their personal beliefs, not jettison them for position, power, prestige, or even a political platform. And tragically, the platform of the Democratic Party is and has been unapologetically pro-abortion.

A personal belief held because of one’s faith is a core value. To go against a core value is to deny oneself, and in this case to openly defy God’s word. Whenever that happens a man has denied the truth he claims to believe—and believed a lie. You cannot have it both ways. Having it both ways is just another definition for hypocrisy!