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Two Dodges Do Not Make an Answer

Ross Douthat is right: Rick Warren didn’t ask Obama when a human being “becomes a human person”, nor did he ask him to pinpoint the moment of conception or “ensoulment”. He asked him to say when a human being gets human rights, which is of course a question to which both the Catholic Church and – I imagine – Stephen Pinker have pretty straightforward answers. And so does Barack Obama: he thinks a human being doesn’t deserve the protection of the law at least until it’s exited the birth canal, and that’s his prerogative. But his answer to Warren’s question was nonsense, and Sullivan’s water-muddying attempt at a defense of it doesn’t help. Is this the promise of a new kind of politics?

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