Thou Shalt Not Steal (Issues).
did fundamentalist Christianity begin embracing abortion
as an issue? There is, after all, more in the Bible about
killing the fetus than saving them.
For inciteful details on this ugly side of American politics
here's an except form a much longer article found on the
slacktivist web site. The whole article can be found here.
In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce
to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion
myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put,
the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right
would have us believe that their movement began in direct
response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally
outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical
stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the
sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly
and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their
congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular
humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America.
But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right,
inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century,
trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent
unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's
misguided Roe decision.
It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for
one thing: It isn't true.
Although various Roman Catholic groups denounced the ruling,
and Christianity Today complained that the Roe decision "runs
counter to the moral teachings of Christianity through the
ages but also to the moral sense of the American people," the
vast majority of evangelical leaders said virtually nothing
about it; many of those who did comment actually applauded
the decision. W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press wrote, "Religious
liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme
Court abortion decision." Indeed, even before the Roe
decision, the messengers (delegates) to the 1971 Southern
Baptist Convention gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, adopted
a resolution that stated, "we call upon 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." W.A. Criswell, former
president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of
First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, expressed his satisfaction
with the Roe v. Wade ruling. "I have always felt that
it was only after a child was born and had a life separate
from its mother that it became an individual person," the
redoubtable fundamentalist declared, "and it has always,
therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother
and for the future should be allowed.