Why Is The Dallas Morning News Letting Robert Jeffress Turn a Debate About War into a Debate About Abortion?

The Dallas Morning News has already made clear where it stands on the question of Syria. In an editorial last week, the paper decried the "egregious act of mass murder" currently taking place there and urged the the U.S. to launch a "series of cruise missile or drone strikes on Syrian air bases and command centers" to make it stop.

Before and since, they've opened their opinion pages to arguments on both sides, to columnists who fear an ill-defined, indefinite quagmire and those who view action as a moral imperative.

This morning, the paper published a piece by First Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress that takes neither side. Instead, Jeffress uses Syria as a springboard back into the abortion debate.

Here's how he begins:

The attempt by President Barack Obama and progressives like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to stir up our outrage against Syrian President Bashar Assad for gassing several hundred Syrian children would be more effective if the president and his supporters demonstrated the same compassion for the lives of more than a million children in our country whose lives were ended through abortions last year.

Why is genocide in Syria intolerable while infanticide in our country is not only permissible but considered a constitutional right? By what moral authority do we deny the leader of another nation his "freedom of choice" to exterminate his own people, yet empower our own citizenry to kill their children and even provide hundreds of millions of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood to carry out the executions?

The obvious answer is that early-term abortion is, legally and morally, a medical procedure. To view this as infanticide requires the belief that life begins at conception, a belief that science cannot address and which is far from universal.

Jeffress, being Jeffress, isn't interested in such nuances. There is, he writes, universal moral law handed down by God that "transcends time and culture." It bans genocide and, by extension, it bans abortion. Anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

There are weighty legal and moral issues to consider in the debate over what to do about Syria and how to regulate abortion, but they aren't the same issues. A theological argument that they are would be best made in a religious tract.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson