Politics

Christian Republicans: Isn’t God Greater than Satan and the World?

stays in vegas

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. I John 4:3.4

Every Evangelical Christian believes that God the Holy Spirit lives inside of them and that he is their teacher and guide. Through the indwelling Spirit they can conqueror Satan and have victory over sin. Christians are overcomers and sin has no power over them. Yet, it seems that once an Evangelical Christian enters the city limits of Las Vegas, Nevada, they lose all power.

The Republican National Committee (RNC), also known as the GOP, God’s Only Party, is working on where to hold the 2016 Republican national convention. Las Vegas is one of the cities they are considering and this is causing Christian Republican cultural warriors to warn the RNC about holding the convention there. According to the Dallas Morning News, Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association; Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum; Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition; Paul Caprio, director of Family-PAC; and James Dobson, president of Family Talk ministry sent a letter to the RNC objecting to the national convention being held in Las Vegas. Here is some of what they had to say:

“In spite of ‘family-friendly’ outreach in the past decade, Las Vegas remains a metaphor for all things decadent. And looking at the yellow pages, one can see that it still delivers. With 64 pages of escort services and countless gambling casinos, it remains a trap waiting to ensnare.”

“At a time when the base needs to be motivated, this is no time to mute or offend them in any way. It may seem strange, silly even to some that conservatives would object to something that COULD be so innocuous. Surely there are shows and great restaurants and beautiful hotels. … What could possible go wrong? The answer is obvious, and wisdom dictates the chance not be taken.”

“There are several wonderful venues being considered. We are not advocating for any of them. But we urge you to reject Las Vegas and celebrate the vibrancy and strength of the Republican Party in a place not at odds with its values.”

Of course this put the Republicans in an immediate bind with billionaire major contributor Sheldon Adelson. After all, Adelson made a lot of the money he donates to Republicans from his gambling interests in Las Vegas. Adelson, with an estimated wealth of $40.8 billion dollars, is the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation which operates the Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. (You may remember a recent story about 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush coming to Las Vegas to kiss the ring of Adelson in hopes of gaining his financial support. All of these men profess to be Christian.)

Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, ever the hypocrite, quickly stated:

Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition emphasized that her opposition to Las Vegas is no reflection on Adelson. “Mr. Adelson is a great man,” she said, noting his commitment to Israel and other causes close to the hearts of many Republicans. She’s bothered by the ready availability of escorts and prostitutes, even if prostitution is illegal in the city. “It’s all over,” Lafferty said. “I can see all the setups that are going to take place. … There are other places that would be great to hold the convention.”

You see the REAL issue is that Christian Republican MEN can’t keep their fly zipped up. As soon as they come anywhere near prostitutes they are powerless to keep from getting their wallet out and charging an hour or two of sexual services to their credit card. (and I am not leaving out Christian Republican women but I do think the biggest worry is over horny Christian Republican men )

Erick Dickerson, the editor of RedState writes:

That is not the only reason the Republicans would be pretty stupid to go to Vegas for their 2016 convention. At every opportunity the left has decided to fight the GOP by using amateur and professional acquired video of embarrassing moments. Along with moments that could be viewed as hypocrisy, the left and its friends in the media will run story after story about wild and crazy nights in Vegas at the RNC. Good Christian delegates getting drunk, gambling, stuffing dollar bills in strippers’ g-strings, etc. will be the toast of not just MSNBC, but the front page of the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Huffington Post, and more.

On top of that, the stories about the GOP bowing before Sheldon Adelson, kissing his ring, and Wall Street fat cats flying into high dollar games with politicos will spoil the story the GOP wants.

In other words, Dickerson doesn’t want the world to see how Christian Republicans really act when they are away from home, away from the watchful eye of their fellow church members and their spouse.

None of this surprises me but it does call into question what Christians say about the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Evidently, two drinks, a little T and A time, and the Holy Spirit can’t even get a word in. As an old crusty preacher told a class of young preachers years ago, a stiff prick has no conscience. Evidently, the Republican morality police fear that entering the city limits of Las Vegas will cause many fine, upstanding Christian Republicans to run towards debauchery. It seems that for all their talk of morality and family values, they are no better than us unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines.

Here’s to hoping the RNC chooses Las Vegas. The fallout should be quite entertaining.

Published: April 10, 2014 | Comments: 5

Letter to the Editor April 9, 2014

letter to the editor

I sent the following letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News. I will update this post when it is published.

Dear Editor,

This is an election year, and in less than a month, Ohio will have a primary election. As a voting, taxpaying citizen of Defiance County, I want to pass on some advice to the candidates running for office and those who write letters to the editor showing their support for a particular candidate.

Not every voter in Defiance County is a Christian. Not every voter attends church on a regular basis. A sizable number of voters do not claim the Christian moniker, and outside of weddings and funerals, they never darken the doors of any local church. We are the “nones”, made up of atheists, agnostics, humanists, pagans, secularists, and those who are indifferent towards religion. In Defiance County, there are also Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists. I know this is hard for the Christian majority to believe, but living near them are people who do not think like they do about God and religion.

So, trumpeting the fact that you are a Christian, teach Sunday School, are pro-life, or are a member of the NRA  might play well with Evangelicals, but for those of us who are not religious or not an Evangelical Christian, we are wary of people who play the faith card.

Being a Christian or being pro-life has nothing to do with how a candidate will perform as a local/county/state officeholder. In fact, when a candidate for office plays the faith card I am inclined to not vote for them. Why should I vote for a candidate that considers one voter demographic more important than another? This is especially true at the local/county level. I want officeholders that will represent everyone, not just those who are a part of their particular religious sect.

Those running for office would do well to mimic John F. Kennedy’s approach to religion. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, made it clear that his personal religious beliefs would not come into play when he made decisions. Kennedy understood that he represented every citizen not just those who happened to be Christian.

The United States is a secular state, not just at the federal level, but at the state, county, and local level too. I realize the candidates need votes to win. I realize that Defiance County is ruled by Evangelical, conservative, Republican ideology. Maybe it is a fantasy on my part to think that what every citizen of Defiance County needs to hear is how a candidate for office will spend our tax money, repair our roads, care for our poor and sick, and care for what we have entrusted to our governmental leaders.

It is these issues that will determine how I vote. Sadly, far too many of my fellow Defiance County citizens will vote, not on the issues, but on the number of buzz words they hear a candidate use. To them, where a candidate goes to church or what his view is on abortion is far more important than how he effectively governs.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Published: April 9, 2014 | Comments: 8

Most Teen Girls have No Sex Education Before Having Sex the First Time

sex education

Here we are, in 2014, and we still a huge problem with American children receiving comprehensive sex education. While teen births are down, less than 20% of teens have any form of sex education before having sex for the first time.

Talking Points Memo reports:

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that surveyed teen girls between the ages of 15 and 17, most young women don’t receive formal sexual health instruction until after they’ve already become sexually active. Federal health researchers warn that “this represents a missed opportunity” to ensure teens are receiving the medically accurate information they need to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

Even though the teen birth rate has been declining for the past several decades, and continues to hit record lows, the United States still has one of the highest rates in the developed world. The CDC is particularly worried about unintended pregnancies among younger teens between the ages of 15 and 17, since they’re at greater risk for “poor medical, social, and economic outcomes” after giving birth.

Nonetheless, federal researchers found that this population isn’t necessarily hearing the right information about sexual health. About a quarter of them said they had never discussed the issue with their parents. And although about 91 percent of teen girls said they received some kind of sex ed instruction in school before they turned 18, just six in ten said that included information on both birth control and how to say no to sex. And a staggering 83 percent said they had already started having sex before they heard anything about the topic in class:

Considering the fact that there aren’t currently any national standards for comprehensive sex education classes in public schools, the results are perhaps unsurprising. Just 18 states and the District of Columbia mandate that sex ed courses need to cover information about birth control. Instead of providing teens with medically accurate information, many school districts rely on an “abstinence-only” model that imparts shame-based messages about sexuality to youth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and the National Education Association all endorse comprehensive sex ed programs. But, thanks to social conservatives who falsely claim that teaching kids about sex will spur more of them to become sexually active, there’s still considerable resistance to adopting these policies…

You can read the entire article here.

Note

I suspect these numbers are even worse because an increasing number of teens engage in oral sex and many of them do not consider fellatio or cunnilingus as having sex. The report defined sex as vaginal penetration.

 

Published: April 9, 2014 | Comments: 1

How Much is Medicare Paying Doctors?

bag of money

The New York Times released today a searchable database of every doctor that receives payments from Medicare. Needless to say, what I found out about the income of some local doctors is nothing short of astounding. Especially the one doctor who received $177,000 from Medicare and had the balls to subject me to a 2 minute whine about Medicare bankrupting doctors. Granted these are raw income numbers and do not include any costs. But, these numbers also do not include any of income doctors receive from treating non-Medicare patients.

Here’s the link to the database.

If you live in a rural, small town area like me, just leave the doctor/specialty fields blank and input your zip code.

This is a huge step forward in understanding where/how money is spent on medical care. It should come as no shock that the American Medical Association bitterly fought the release of this information. Now it is time to have a similar database for hospitals. And while we are at it, how about a database that reveals how much insurance companies pay for a particular procedure and how much these poor, poor non-profits are making.

Published: April 9, 2014 | Comments: 8

Dear Evangelical, Please Tell Me Again Why you are not Homophobic

world vision children

By now, everyone knows about the World Vision debacle over hiring Christian same-sex married couples. One day, they said they would support and hire people who were in a same-sex marriage and two days later, after an Evangelical shit storm of epic proportion, they rescinded their new, progressive policy and returned to a heterosexual only lunch counter policy.  Evidently, World Vision didn’t consider how their homophobic, bigoted donors would react to their gay, same-sex marriage affirming policy.  Surely, no God worshiping, Jesus loving, Bible believing Evangelical would deliberately withhold food and care to undernourished children in poverty-stricken countries? Surely, thou shalt love the Lord the God and Love thy Neighbor as thyself, trumps any political or social view, right? Not in the Evangelical world, where the good news of the gospel has been replaced by a political gospel of bigotry and hate.

Matthew Paul Turner writes:

Ten Thousand Kids.

Those are the words that kept ringing inside my brain as I tried to listen to Rich Stearns talk about what happened last week at World Vision.

Ten thousand kids.

Ten thousand brown, black, tan, or white faces…

Ten thousand souls…

And in only 2 days.

As Stearns chatted with a handful of bloggers about why the board made the decision it made and then reversed that decision two days later, those words—TEN THOUSAND KIDS! TEN THOUSAND KIDS!—blinked like a neon sign in my head.

And that was the two-day cost of their decision, a decision to hire married gay folk, a decision that was decided on last fall and leaked to Christianity Today last week. That was the cost.

Last Monday, the day of the announcement, World Vision’s call center received 7000 calls and a loss of 2000 child sponsorships. That’s just in 12 hours on Monday! The following day those numbers swelled. And then on Wednesday, within minutes of World Vision announcing that it was reversing its decision, the calls stopped and, according to Stearns, “the bleeding stopped.”

Rumor is it stopped almost like magic. Almost as soon as the press release hit, the cancellations stopped, the angry phone calls stopped.

It took several days to count the total loss of sponsorships, a number that eventually rose to “just about 10,000 children,” according to Stearns. A handful of people did call back, hoping to start up their sponsorships again. But the majority did not.

And that breaks my heart.

It should break all of our hearts, regardless of whether you praised World Vision’s initial decision or panned it as “godless.”

Even still, those three words should break us friends. Because it’s a number that represents 10,000 needy children, flesh and blood of various races and nationalities, little ones who are precious in God’s sight…

I am not a Christian but I do recognize that groups like World Vision do important, life saving work all over the world.  That some Evangelical Christians would willingly snatch the food off a child’s plate because they are “offended”  reveals that they have completely lost sight of the Jesus they say they follow. Far more important to them is their right-wing political beliefs. They have power and they know it, and they are quite willing to gut anyone who goes against them. Sadly, World Vision found this out the hard way.

Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe it is time for progressives who still think of themselves as an Evangelical to leave the church and join up with sects and churches that wouldn’t think of withholding food from a hungry child.

Published: April 4, 2014 | Comments: 7

The God of Mississippi

new mississippi seal

Yesterday, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed into law Senate Bill 2681, the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Evidently, religious freedom must be under attack in a state dominated and controlled by Southern Baptists, right? Of course not. Mississippi is poor, racist, and Christian just like it always has been. There have been no reports of lost religious freedom, yet Mississippi legislators felt the pressing need to “protect” religious freedom. Why?

To answer the why question all you need to do is look at who participated in the bill signing:

Tony Perkins stated after the signing:

What the Founding Fathers hailed as a virtue to be pursued and protected is today being pursued and pummeled by those who want to see religious freedom quarantined to the four walls of our churches. Fortunately, there are still some elected leaders who understand that all our freedoms hinge upon our First Freedom, the freedom of religion. Today, I had the honor of joining Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) at the signing of SB2681 — the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and had the opportunity to thank him first-hand — and others who were instrumental in passing the bill — for their tremendous leadership in defending religious liberty.

Unfortunately, political courage is in short supply these days. That’s never been more obvious than these last few weeks, when the opposition launches massive misinformation campaigns. Too many “leaders” tuck tail and run, instead of standing their ground and learning the facts. Some things are worth fighting for — and religious freedom, the ability to live out our faith in every aspect of our lives, is at the top of that list. As the Apostle Paul instructed the believers at Corinth, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

There is absolutely no aspect of our lives that should be beyond the guiding light of Scripture — a truth the Founding Fathers not only understood, but also felt obligated to defend.

The Southern Baptist Convention, an increasingly fundamentalist denomination, and Tony Perkins, drunk with political power, continue to push their theocratic agenda at the state level. Knowing that they can not win at the federal level until the Republicans regain control of the White House and Congress, they busy themselves getting laws passed that “protect” religious freedom and ban abortion. As they continue to lose at the state level on the same-sex marriage issue, they have found another way to “protect” heterosexual marriage by using laws like the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Some gay activists believe that this bill will allow Mississippians to discriminate against gays in the name of  religious freedom.

The Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act also changes the state seal requiring the addition of IN GOD WE TRUST. Make no mistake about it, the GOD now prominently displayed on the state seal is the Christian God, the God of the Southern Baptists, the Roman Catholics, and Tony Perkins. This law is not about freedom at all. It is all about giving Christianity preferential treatment in an increasingly secular society.

Not long ago, I said that I was tired of what I thought was petty lawsuits filed by groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, and the American Humanist Association. I now see that unless we fight the theocratic tendencies of Christians at every point, they will inch by inch attempt to turn the United States into a Christian nation. In doing so, they will destroy the secular state and give their religion preference. As history clearly tells us, when state and church become one, freedom is lost and people die.  Those of us who are secularists or who believe in a strict separation of church and state must stand our ground against the theocrats. If we don’t, we shouldn’t be surprised when more states pass similar religious “freedom” laws.  It is easy for us to get distracted by the huge progress we are making on the same-sex marriage  issue and not pay attention to the theocrats who have walked in the back door. While we are busy celebrating our successes, they are busy getting laws passed at the state level that restrict minority rights, deny women control of their own bodies, and give Christianity preferential treatment.

Published: April 4, 2014 | Comments: 11

Do the Religious Beliefs of Politicians Matter?

jesus campaign endorsment

I am a big supporter of religious freedom, but I also know that religious beliefs affect how a person thinks and the decisions they make. So, a politicians religious beliefs do matter because they will affect the decisions they make on our behalf.

There was a time when politicians understood the difference between personal religious beliefs and political beliefs. They understood the difference between sacred and secular.  John Kennedy understood this, and because he did he infuriated Roman Catholic church leaders. However, since the days Jimmy Carter roamed the halls of the White House, religious beliefs and political beliefs have been intertwined, with every President giving some sort of testimony of faith in Jesus Christ.

These days, thanks to the religious right, religious beliefs, namely fundamentalist Christian beliefs, dominate every political and policy debate. From blind support of Israel to reauthorizing the SNAP program, right-wing Christian politicians have been willing to use the Bible to justify how they voted on a matter. Instead of the first question being, what is in the best interest of the American people, the first question is, how does my right-wing Bible reading Christian voter base want me to vote?  Instead of acting on the behalf of all their constitutes, right-wing politicians pander to the religious extremists that now dominates the Republican Party. (especially those who align with the Tea Party)

Result? Politicians advocating for young earth creationism, homeschooling, and Bible-verse infused capitalism. We now have politicians who are ignorant of history, ignorant of the fact that the United States is a secular state. Some even think that the United States is a Christian country.  They oppose religious pluralism and use their political might to destroy the wall of separation of church and state. They are quite willing to support legislation and litigation that gives Christianity preferential treatment and, in some cases, persecutes people who are not Christian.

Because Jesus is alive and well and directing people how to vote, I want to know exactly what a politician’s religious beliefs are. Here in Ohio, Christian fundamentalists have taken over the state government and are using their political power to advance a religious agenda.  Because of this, we can no longer relegate religious beliefs to the realm of personal and private. When a politician flaunts their religious beliefs and uses them to advance their ideology, then their beliefs deserve investigation.

palin speaking in tongues

Scott Walker, the current right-wing nut job inhabiting the Wisconsin governor’s office, is a great example of a politician who frequently speaks about his religious beliefs and uses them for political means.

Here is a 2011 tweet by Governor Walker:

walker tweet

Michael Luciano, writing for The Daily Banter, writes:

…Dear Jesus, please give me the strength to cut food aid and reject health care funding for those who need it. 

John Mackett is the pastor of Meadowbrook Church in Wauwatosa, Wisc., which Walker and his family attend. It’s a Pentecostal outfit that encourages members to speak in tongues. Mackett calls this “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” because apparently spouting nonsensical gibberish is a great way to spread the Word.

Whether Walker has spoken in tongues is unclear because as far as I can tell, no one has asked him.

But it has always struck me how little interest the specific religious beliefs of politicians generate. The media frenzies that accompany high profile political races always seem bereft of nuanced questions on this front. While much of the American public is interested in whether a candidate believes in god, it seems few, including the media “watchdogs,” have time for details….

…While the Constitution prohibits religious tests as a prerequisite for holding public office, it doesn’t prevent us from asking the people seeking our votes to elaborate on the religious views they frequently hold up in their favor.

Specifically, here’s what I would like to ask Walker:

1. Have you ever spoken in tongues?

2. Do you agree with your church’s Statement of Faith that the Bible is “without error”?

2a. If yes, do you believe that god created humans and other animals in their present form, or do you believe that humans and other animals evolved biologically over time?

3. Do you agree with your church’s Statement of Faith that Jesus “provide[s] the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe and only such as receive Jesus”?

3a. If yes, do you believe that the 73 million Americans who aren’t Christians – including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, nonbelievers, etc. – will go to Hell?

3b. In your view, is this an appropriate fate?

4. Do you agree with your church’s Statement of Faith that the Second Coming of Jesus is “imminent”?

4a. If yes, how imminent?

4b. If you believe Jesus is coming back at all, would you look forward to the Second Coming and the accompanying Battle of Armageddon that is said will destroy the world in the Book of Revelation?

5. In 2009, you told a group of Christian business leaders that when you met your future wife, “That night I heard Christ tell me, ‘This is the person you’re going to be with.’” You replied, “Lord, if this is what you want, I’ll try it,” and that it was a matter of “trust and obey.” If one day, Jesus speaks to you and tells you to do something as a public official that you don’t understand, will you do it?

Again, it’s not just Walker. And while affirmative answers to these questions will score a candidate votes in many places, they’ll certainly lose them in others. Either way, we won’t know where candidates stand on the finer details of their religious beliefs if we continue to show irrational reverence to irrational beliefs….

I am with Luciano. We can no longer ignore the religious beliefs of those who want to represent us in Washington or at the State level. I really DO want to know if a presentational or legislative candidate thinks the Battle of Armageddon is real or that the destruction of Russia is prophesied in the Bible. I really DO want to know if they think the earth is 6,000 years old or that evolution is a lie of the devil. I really DO want to know if they think the United States is a Christian nation and that it is our duty to spread Christianity to the ends of the earth. I really DO want to know if they think God speaks to them in prayer or through reading the Bible.  I really DO want to know if they think an ancient religious text, the Bible, should be the moral and ethical standard for all Americans.

The answers to questions like this matter because they materially affect every one of us. (including people who live in other countries since we like to drag the world into our mess) It is time for the media to start asking probing questions about our politicians religious beliefs.  The future of the human race may depend on it. Many of the warmongering and global climate change denier politicians turn to the Bible for justification for their political beliefs. They should be openly challenged over their interpretations and they need to be reminded that they govern a secular state not an American version of ancient Israel.

What do you think? Do you think a politician’s religious beliefs are off-limits or do you think their religious beliefs materially affect the political decisions they make on our behalf and we should know what they believe?  Please leave your pithy comment in the comment section.

Published: March 26, 2014 | Comments: 10

50 Years Ago: Evangelicals Didn’t Care About Abortion

abortion is murder

Paula sent me a link to a Slate story on Evangelical beliefs about abortion 50 years ago. The article is quite an eyeopener:

…In his book Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics, Jonathan Dudley notes that most evangelicals held far more liberal views at the time. “God does not regard the fetus as a soul no matter how far gestation has progressed,” wrote professor Bruce Waltke of Dallas Theological Seminary in a 1968 issue of Christianity Today on contraception and abortion, edited by Harold Lindsell, a then-famous champion of biblical “inerrancy.” His argument rested on the Hebrew Bible, “[A]ccording to Exodus 21:22–24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”

This position was reaffirmed at a symposium sponsored by Christianity Today and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, where participants agreed to disagree over the “sinfulness” of an “induced abortion,” but agreed about “the necessity of it and permissibility for it under certain circumstances,” namely, rape and incest. The document produced by the conference, “A Protestant Affirmation on the Control of Human Reproduction,” said, “The prevention of conception is not in itself forbidden or sinful providing the reasons for it are in harmony with the total revelation of God for married life” and that the “method of preventing pregnancy is not so much a religious as a scientific and medical question to be determined in consultation with one’s physician.”

Three years after the symposium, the conservative Southern Baptist Convention endorsed this view, with a call for “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

By 1982, however, the SBC—along with most American evangelicals—had switched gears entirely. During that year’s convention, delegates held that “human life begins at conception” and that they would work for “appropriate” legislation or a constitutional amendment to “prohibit abortions except to save the physical life of the mother.”

What happened to cause this sea change in attitudes toward fetal life and abortion among evangelicals? In short, politics, and in particular, the successful coalition-building of Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, and other Christian conservatives in the wake of Roe v. Wade. Conservative Catholics were quick to mobilize against the court’s ruling, but many Protestant evangelicals were relatively apathetic. At that point, “culture war” issues such as abortion, feminism, and homosexuality weren’t on their radar (hence Jimmy Carter’s successful appeal to them in the 1976 presidential election).

It took the organizational might of Falwell and his “Moral Majority”—as well as evangelical anti-abortion figures such as Francis Schaeffer—to galvanize evangelicals around other “culture war” issues such as feminism, homosexuality, and school prayer. This in turn led to alliances with largely Catholic organizations like the National Right to Life Committee.

Belief tends to follow behavior, and working in political alliance with Catholics—a significant shift from earlier periods of evangelical political activism—led conservative evangelicals to adopt “pro-life” positions on abortion. Likewise, there was a shift in evangelical media—via books, magazines, radio, and television—toward anti-abortion beliefs. In 1980 Falwell declared, “The Bible clearly states life begins at conception.” Four years later, notes Dudley, InterVarsity Press—an evangelical imprint—was forced to withdraw a book that restated the earlier consensus around abortion.

Again, the clearest picture of this comes by way of the Southern Baptist Convention, which resolved in favor of limited abortion rights through much of the 1970s, but then made an abrupt shift in 1979 and 1980. By the late 1980s, the SBC had all but erased its previous history of abortion acceptance. To wit, at the beginning of its endorsement of the 1987 “Danforth amendment,” the SBC held that “Southern Baptists have traditionally opposed abortion.”…

…Ask most (white) evangelicals about the morality of abortion these days, and you’re certain to hear about its absolute immorality in most, if not all, circumstances. But this is a recent innovation in the history of evangelical belief, a product of political forces as well as new theological insight…

Published: March 26, 2014 | Comments: 12