New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a candidate for her party's 2020 presidential nomination, attempted to appeal to Christian faith in order to justify opposition to pro-life laws during a news conference Thursday in Georgia, according to CBS News.
Gillibrand's news conference took place after a roundtable discussion with state legislators, physicians, and abortion rights advocates. Georgia recently adopted a law banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. During the news conference, Gillibrand said restrictive abortion bans go against Christianity.
What did Gillibrand say?
"If you are a person of the Christian faith, one of the tenets of our faith is free will," Gillibrand said. "One of the tenets of our democracy is that we have a separation of church and state, and under no circumstances are we supposed to be imposing our faith on other people. And I think this is an example of that effort."
The senator told The Washington Post on Wednesday that she believed the Democratic Party should be "100 percent pro-choice," calling the issue non-negotiable.
This writer's perspective
Gillibrand's Christianity argument is both confusing and contradictory. She says one of the tenets of Christianity is free will. This is not accurate, nor is it a useful way to argue against a law.
Believing in the value of the freedom to make choices in life does not mean one believes there should be no laws restricting harmful choices. By that logic, how could a Christian support a law banning any behavior? And why would a belief in free will be more important to a Christian than a belief in the inherent value of every life?
Then, Gillibrand's next sentence appears to contradict her first. She tells Christians that they should oppose abortion bans because a belief in free will is allegedly fundamental to the faith. Right after that, she pivots to separation of church and state, saying that faith should not be imposed on people.
There's nothing wrong with believing faith shouldn't be imposed on others, but it's an odd thing to say one sentence after using faith to make an argument about public policy.
Gillibrand appears to be saying that it's wrong to impose your faith on other people—unless your faith leads you to believe that there shouldn't be restrictions on abortion.
If you're going to attempt to pander to religious people just because you're in the south, you should, at the very least, demonstrate a basic understanding of the religion.
(H/T The Hill)