As far as the war=abortion equivalence, I have made that connection as well, speaking not specifically about politics but rather how Christians view political issues, in relation to candidates who espouse “our values”. There is a serious disconnect between issues where we take seriously that all people, including unborn children, are made imago dei , in the image of God, and other places where we tacitly reject that notion when the image bearer in question is wearing the wrong uniform or living in the wrong country. I have run into far too many people who claim to be Christians that see nothing wrong with defending as a necessary evil (if they even see it as evil) the killing of Japanese children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki while expressing outrage over the murder of unborn children in the womb.
However, I recognize that Doug has a point. The loss of innocent life in war is not precisely the same thing as the willful murder of a child in the womb. The intent is different, the circumstance are different just as a child in the womb killed by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting is a different setting than the cold clinical setting of an abortion clinic. That is simply reality.
That reality does not in any way make one acceptable in some circumstances and the other not acceptable under any circumstances, especially for a follower of Christ. Jesus speaks directly to this when He talks about things like adultery as an act and lusting after a woman in your heart or the act of murdering someone versus hating someone in your heart. Far from creating a “sin hierarchy” where adultery in lust is lower than adultery in fact, Jesus creates an “equivalence” between the two. Likewise with murder and hatred. Jesus was not known for His nuanced positions. You will look in vain to Christ for an exposition of “just war theory”. Jesus didn’t say that murder was bad when it was an innocent child in the womb but potentially OK in a military action, especially if it is done on behalf of a free republic founded on “Judeo-Christian” values. If anything Jesus is drastically expanding what is unacceptable for God’s people or rather pointing out what was always the case. It was never OK to hate someone as long as you didn’t kill them. It was never OK to lust after a woman even if you never consummated the act. I think we would say that hating someone in your heart is “not as bad” as actually taking the life of another but that doesn’t mean that we should assume that in the eyes of God the two are in different moral universes.
In war, innocents die. That is simply the way of war, even in this day and age. An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities will result in civilian deaths and the resulting backlash will result in untold more. Simply assuming that if America is the one dropping the bombs that it is somehow more justified than another country is comforting to those who live under the stars and stripes but that is probably less than comforting to a Christian in Iran or North Korea. Whether we admit it or not, and often it is not only admitted but trumpeted, Christians in America view our military as distinct from the armed forces of any other country. When “our troops” kill innocent civilians in a military strike, it is a tragic but unavoidable situation. When the opposite happens and the aggressor is one of our “enemies”, it is a war crime.
This truth alone should dissuade Christians from blithely supporting someone as “pro-life” who advocates for war, especially pre-emptive strikes on a nation that has not threatened America and that we are not at war with, even though that candidate is adamantly anti-abortion. That is not to suggest that Christians should only vote for one candidate or another. Whoever becomes President (or is re-elected) will be in a position where national interests likely will demand a decision that leads to killing. As such we should find ourselves removed more and more from the political process and the governing of a state.
Aborting a child is a horrible thing. It places a mother in the most unnatural possible position, a position where the one person who cares for and protects their child more than anyone else finds herself ending her child’s life. Seeing the results of “collateral damage” in the broken and burned body of a child is likewise horrible. The end result is the same regardless of the circumstances: a child is dead.
A lesser evil is still an evil.