By Joel Schmidt
President Obama would make a terrific advocate for the unborn. No, really! He totally has the language down. Here are 18 quotes from his 2013 inaugural address (full text here) that in isolation might fool one into thinking he regards the unborn with the same inherent dignity as everyone else.
- What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. (APPLAUSE) That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
- Today we continue a never ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing. That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth.
- Together we resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
- For we have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.
- For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.
- We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
- We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.
- But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.
- We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few.
- We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.
- Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science …
- … our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice.
- Not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes; tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.
- We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal … that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
- Our journey is not complete until all our children … know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.
- That is our generation’s task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.
- You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.
- Let us each of us now embrace with solemn duty, and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
I’m speechless, no pun intended.
[Thanks to Joel Schmidt for this essay. He is co-author, along with his wife, Lisa, of The Practicing Catholic Blog. Be sure to check it out today.]