My friend James Gibson over at Sanctus writes a very special, thought-provoking post:

Fr. Bernard Coughlin of Gonzaga University explains why Obama’s appeal for “common ground” on abortion is just more empty rhetoric.

“Seeking some road to harmony among the hostile parties, President Obama encouraged both sides—proabortion and antiabortion—to seek and find, notwithstanding their opposing views, a “common ground.” This is not the first time that he has made such an appeal.

In the nineteenth century it was the right of freedom versus the right to enslave; in the twentieth century it is the right to life versus the right to kill the innocent. And much as people would hope to find common ground, there is no common ground to be found. The right to life is not granted by kings, rulers, clergymen, parliaments, or congresses. It is the Creator’s work, not to be fudged.

In disputes over civil laws—the best housing policy, the best health policy, the wisest tax laws—it is reasonable to hope for common ground. But in some matters there is no common ground. The president encouraged his audience to “increase adoptions” and to “reduce the number of abortions.” Friends of mine have suggested the same, and it is all to the good. But abortion always kills an infant. I can readily imagine President Lincoln hearing from the slave owners: “We will decrease the number of slaves,” and “We will increase social services.” But he also knew that one slave is still a slave. And one fetus killed is still killing an innocent life.”

(James Gibson is a former United Methodist pastor who left that church a few years ago and is now an Anglican priest working in the Midlands region of South Carolina.)