HomeOpinionOPINION: Clarity inspires. Vagueness produces doubting.

OPINION: Clarity inspires. Vagueness produces doubting.

By Todd E. Brady


Democratic Presidential candidate and popular anti-Vaxxer, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. recently muddied the waters concerning his stance on life and abortion.  At the Iowa State Fair during an interview with an NBC reporter, he stated that if he were president he would support a ban on abortions on pregnancies after three months.  He said, “I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life.”

This surely caused furrowed brows among progressives as he used words that are never to be uttered.  Instead of “abortion,” progressives talk about “choice.”  Instead of “child,” progressives talk about a “fetus.”  C’mon Robert, regardless of who your dad and uncle and grandfather were, you need to know how to play the word games.

Kennedy’s campaign team issued a statement, walking back his earlier statement.  “Today, Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question posed to him by a NBC reporter in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall…Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose.  He does not support legislation banning abortion.”

According to the Catholic News Agency, Kennedy, a Catholic, supports access to abortion but has referred to the taking of a preborn life as a “tragedy.”  So, he supports what he calls a tragedy?  You can’t have it both ways.

While most admit that Kennedy’s chance of election is slim, his recent double-flip-flop on the issue of abortion highlights the place of clarity and vagueness.

Clarity inspires confidence, but vagueness produces distrust.

When RFK Jr. vaguely seemed to favor abortion rights, Republican Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis talked about making him the head of the CDC or FDA.  Former Vice-President Mike Pence immediately spoke up and said, “When I am president, I will only consider pro-life Americans to lead the FDA, CDC, or HHS…To be clear, pro-abortion Democrats like RFK Jr. would not even make the list.”  Whatever one may think about Mike Pence, his clarity here is obvious and unmistakable.

It seems that RFK Jr. has spoken out of both sides of his mouth.  Recent forays into the arena of trying to have it both ways have proven disastrous.  Just ask Target or Bud Light or the Boy Scouts of America. 

Double-speak ruins a cause.  When an organization promotes seemingly opposite ideologies or unclear messaging, uncertainty and distrust reign in its ranks.

The Apostle Paul called for intelligibility in the church at Corinth.  He knew that unclear talk that was not understandable was not profitable.  He said, “If a bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8) and that he would rather five intelligible words be spoken in church than 10,000 unintelligible words.  Not only is there a need for intelligibility in the church, but there’s also a growing need for intelligibility across the landscape of America.

It is one thing for a person to take an opposing stance.  Whether you agree or not, at least you know where the person stands.  On the other hand, it is a terrible thing to not be able to discern where a person stands.  If you stand in one place and I think differently, standing in another place, at least we can agree to disagree, and we know where each other stands.  If you are not sure where I stand on a particular issue, you’re probably going to be skeptical and hold me at arms’ length—rightfully so.

James Montgomery Boice, former minister of the Tenth Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia said, “the issue is not merely where we stand, but why we stand where we do.”  Leadership today seems obsessed with standing where their constituency wants them to stand—not where they should stand.

Folks like RFK Jr. need to be clear about where they stand and why they stand where they stand.

Todd E. Brady serves as Staff Chaplain and Advanced Funeral Planner at Arrington Funeral Directors.  He and his wife, Amy have five sons.  You may write to him at tbrady@afgemail.net.

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