Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dudley: When Evangelicals Were Pro-Choice

Did you know that:

A Dallas Seminary professor, writing in a 1968 edition of Christianity Today, said that "God does not regard the fetus as a soul" and the "destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense."

An evangelical magazine called Christian Life said that the Bible distinguished the value of a fetus and an adult.

In 1971 the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution "affirming abortion should be legal not only to protect the life of the mother, but to protect her emotional health as well."

What happened to make evangelicals so pro-life today?  Jonathan Dudley explains at CNN.  Here is a taste:

These stalwart evangelical institutions and leaders would be heretics by today’s standards. Yet their positions were mainstream at the time, widely believed by born-again Christians to flow from the unambiguous teaching of Scripture.

Televangelist Jerry Falwell spearheaded the reversal of opinion on abortion in the late 1970s, leading his Moral Majority activist group into close political alliance with Catholic organizations against the sexual revolution.

In contrast to evangelicals, Catholics had mobilized against abortion immediately after Roe v. Wade. Drawing on mid-19th century Church doctrines, organizations like the National Right to Life Committee insisted a right to life exists from the moment of conception.

As evangelical leaders formed common cause with Catholics on topics like feminism and homosexuality, they began re-interpreting the Bible as teaching the Roman Catholic position on abortion.
Falwell’s first major treatment of the issue, in a 1980 book chapter called, significantly, “The Right to Life,” declared, “The Bible clearly states that life begins at conception… (Abortion) is murder according to the Word of God.”

With the megawatt power of his TV presence and mailing list, Falwell and his allies disseminated these interpretations to evangelicals across America....