"Parson" James Kirkwood, part of a group of Illinois pastors called the Christian Emergency League, was asked by Illinois Review Thursday the League's response to unconfirmed rumors that Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner decided he would sign a bill into law, destroying the Hyde Amendment in Illinois. HB 40 would force Illinois taxpayers to fund abortions for any reason whatsoever - making Illinois the first state in the union to voluntarily do so.
The Governor has been silent on the topic in the past few weeks after promising in April to veto the measure if it were to make it to his desk. His most recent statement was reported by Northern Public Radio's Jenna Dooley, to whom Rauner said: "I respect, frankly, both sides of the arguments. I am personally pro-choice, but I respect the moral arguments." He also said he expects to make a decision in the next few days.
The back and forth has been frustrating to social conservatives and to conservative state lawmakers who have spoken numerous times with Rauner on the topic.
Kirkwood didn't hold back on his comments about the situation, and pointed his finger at those among social conservatives that "bow at the altar of expendiency:"
The Christian Emergency League objected to the support of Bruce Rauner as a Republican nominee. We feared the damage he would do to the Republican Party, its platform, and the long-term effect that he would have on our state. Many of our friends in the Pro-life movement told us to either be silent about our criticism or to support the governor in hopes of having a “seat at the table” when important legislation landed on his desk.
Has pragmatism over principle paid off?
At times it’s difficult to categorize the difference between evil and lesser evil. What are Christians and values-voters who supported Governor Rauner going to say now that it appears he will sign HB 40.
The scoffers will say that a Governor Quinn would have signed the same legislation and of course they are right, in their insight and their confession.A Democrat, apart from Glenn Poshard, may have signed this legislation but that’s hardly insightful. Though the confession that our Republican Governor is no better than a Democrat is astute.
As a matter of fact, a strong case can be made that he’s much worse. When a Republican betrays the party platform and a campaign promise to not enact “a social agenda,” he has breached his promise in both the spirit and the letter.
Governor Rauner hasn’t helped Illinois, he’s sabotaged the Republican label. And now we find ourselves in the odd position of trying to galvanize behind an option to primary our own nominee, whereas if we had not caved in to fear we would have been in a position of strength to run a legitimate Republican against a very weak and unpopular Governor Quinn.
Would there really be any discernible difference in our state under a Governor Quinn at this point? If we can take anything away from this tragedy, let it be that you cannot possibly overcome evil with lesser evil. To be weak in principle, to surrender to a reckless pragmatism, is not only to delay respite but to invite a more painful recovery.
Those who bow at the altar of expediency will never muster enough leverage in the political world to enact meaningful change. The real question is why did so many who could smell the stink on Senator Mark Kirk ignore it with a candidate and then a nominee named Rauner?
The answer of course was desperation.
Until Christians, Conservatives, and Pro-Life voters take a lesson from the gun-lobby, for that matter, even from the gay-lobby, we will wander in the wilderness and squander our political capital for a meager bowl of lentils.
A false hope is no hope at all, nor is it a particularly shrewd strategy.