RFK Jr.’s abortion shift raises question of alignment with other Christian values

by Will Tubbs

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

When Robert F. Kennedy Jr. emerged as a potential third option for president in 2024, he did so primarily on the notion that he was both different from the norm and a bridge to a bygone, more sensible era. 

His pro-liberty stances on COVID and free speech gave him some appeal to middle-of-the-road Evangelicals and the majority of Americans who, poll after poll suggested, were unenthusiastic about another showdown between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. 

Since mid-2023, Kennedy has enjoyed significant support among Evangelicals – enough so that his polling projects him to take votes from Trump and Biden this November – and he continues to seek political capital on the idea that he is a friend to the American everyman. 

He was against lockdowns, opposed men in women’s sports and made loud overtures about the importance of the First Amendment. Then he abandoned the party of his father to launch a third-party run for the White House. 

However, as the months have gone by, the veneer of Kennedy the friend of the traditionalist has gone from cracked to pockmarked as he’s revealed himself to be substantially more aligned with the left and progressivism on many matters. 

The most recent and powerful example came earlier this week when Kennedy revealed that he supports abortion even up to full term. 

During an appearance on a podcast hosted by former ESPN personality Sage Steele, Kennedy said “Even if it’s full-term … I don’t think it’s ever OK” for the government to dictate if a woman can have an abortion.

It was already well-known that Kennedy was pro-choice, having long ago abandoned his pro-life stance. He is fond of referring to abortion as a “tragedy” while simultaneously pushing to restore abortion rights and “body sovereignty”. 

It was always assumed, even apparently by his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, that Kennedy’s abortion stance included some provision for a point during pregnancy when the act crosses a threshold between tragedy and insanity. 

“My understanding with Bobby’s position is that, you know, every abortion is a tragedy, is a loss of life,” Shanahan said during a separate appearance on Steele’s show. “My understanding is that he absolutely believes in limits on abortion, and we’ve talked about this. I do not think, I don’t know where that came from.”

The origin of Kennedy’s new stance might not be as important as the fact that his stances on key conservative Christian matters continue to drift left. It’s a reality that should cause Christians to take a beat when considering the strongest third-party candidate thus far in 2024. 

It is up to the American traditionalist voter to decide if RFK Jr. is the man God would have to lead the United States or if he is merely a person adept at convincing Christians he is on their side. 

This is an important fact to ascertain – a process warranting intense prayer and consideration. With that in mind, what follows is a short exploration of where Kennedy stands on several issues important to traditional Christians. 

LGBT ISSUES

Few issues have proven more divisive among Christian bodies of believers than transgenderism and homosexuality. Multiple denominations have fractured over matters of sexuality and biological sex. 

Traditional Christians are unambiguous in their stances on LGBT issues, and in this area, Kennedy is more or less in alignment with those positions. 

Beyond his opposition to men in women’s sports, he also supports parents’ rights in education. He has stated that he believes all people should be respected, but does not believe that respect means advocacy in the classroom. 

RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION AND FREE SPEECH

Kennedy’s position on First Amendment issues isn’t as cut and dry as one might think. To be sure, he purports to be all in for religious freedom and the right to free speech, but this is a more recent development.

As reported by Christianity Today in 2023, RFK Jr. is not exactly a free-speech absolutist. 

Kennedy’s support of free thinking and free expression has sometimes ended where opposition to his preferred causes begins. 

A longtime advocate for environmental issues,  Kennedy has stated that there should be a law to prevent people from denying climate change or spreading what he views as lies about environmental matters. He’s also advocated for the jailing of the Kock brothers on the same grounds. 

In terms of vaccine mandates, the closing of churches, and other COVID-related topics, Kennedy remains solidly in favor of freedom. 

SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL

If there is one area in which Kennedy is 100 percent in alignment with mainstream politics, it’s the Israel question. 

As recently as March, Kennedy indicated to Reuters that his support for Israel would be as staunch as his presidential rivals.  

He has hinted that his preference is to slow American spending on the war in Ukraine. 

NO STRONG CANDIDATE ADVOCATES FOR FEDERAL PRO-LIFE LEGISLATION

When it comes to abortion, Kennedy’s stance is far to the left, but there isn’t a candidate who truly qualifies as holding a position far to the right. 

Biden has made no secret of his desire to create Constitutional protections for abortion nationwide, although it would take a massive leftward shift in both the House and Senate, and potentially the Supreme Court, to do so. 

The problem for Christians is that former President Trump, who is the inverse of Kennedy having moved from being pro-choice to pro-life, is not as gung ho to end abortion as are staunch pro-life Christians. 

He is the farthest right on the issue and says he wants to leave abortion as a states’ rights issue, but he opposes a federal ban on the practice. That might be news to Biden, who is campaigning on the idea that Trump is bent on achieving the opposite. 

In reality, Trump’s primary stance on abortion is that he’d much rather not speak about it as it is a political hot potato that might harm him in the election. 

Last August, he released a video in which he affirmed his states’ rights stance and said he hoped states would “do the right thing.” However, he was quick to add that going too hard on abortion would harm him and other Republicans at the ballot box. 

As reported by the Associated Press at the time, pro-life activists and Christian conservatives have proven willing to risk elections for the sake of seeking to end abortion. 

Following his August statement, Trump felt enough heat for his move away from the Right to Life that he began championing himself as the person responsible for the end of Roe v. Wade.

With election day about six months away, people who view themselves as single-issue, pro-life voters might find themselves without a strong option. 

The choices will be as far to the left as possible or the prospect of standing pat. 

BIBLICAL WARNINGS ABOUT FALSE ALLIES

Whether the candidate in question’s last name is Biden, Trump, Kennedy, or the one that belongs to the person running for a local city council, it’s important that we pray for guidance from God as to who He has chosen as His man for that position. 

It’s worth reminding ourselves that believers, like their secular counterparts, can be susceptible to the comforting words of politicians.  

The Holy Bible teaches much about the importance of not falling for the machinations of men who would have you believe they’re on your side. 

In Matthew 7:15-16 (KJV), Christ Jesus warns during the Sermon on the Mount, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

Though Jesus was speaking specifically about false teachers who come to pervert the Word of God, there are, as always, practical lessons that can be extracted from the Bible. Underpinning warnings about false teachers is the idea that not everyone who positions himself as an ally of the Faith is authentic. 

In the fourth verse of the fourth chapter of his epistle, James writes, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

For as long as there have been societies, ambitious men have sought to gain political capital and rule over them. Often, religion is the fast track to that capital, so it’s imperative that we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, differentiate friend from fiend.

But it’s equally important to remember that even if a person who is truly ungodly ascends to power, God is nonetheless in control and can still use even that person for His purpose. 

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