(61) S3E11 The Influence of Race on Evangelicalism's Anti-Abortion Position
I was disappointed, though not surprised, to discover that the anti-abortion position and movement in Evangelicalism (especially the white brand) has racial overtones. While our sullied past doesn't negate the logical case made against abortion in season three, I do think it is vital that we Evangelicals are honest about our history. Understanding the past helps lead us to repentance, honesty, integrity, authenticity, and restoration, whereas the ignoring of the past leads to hard heartedness and blindness of both past and current injustices. This episode ties in consequentialism, race, and politics - three topics which have been discussed at length throughout the three seasons so far.
- A huge thanks to Joseph McDade for his generous permission to use his music: https://josephmcdade.com/
- Thanks to Palmtoptiger17 for the beautiful logo: https://www.instagram.com/palmtoptiger17/
- Discord Discussion Board: https://disboard.org/server/474580298630430751
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
- The 1971 SBC Resolution on Abortion: http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/13/resolution-on-abortion
- Brief explanation of the origins of the anti-abortion movement in Evangelicalism: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/20/734303135/throughline-traces-evangelicals-history-on-the-abortion-issue
- Detailed article about the origins of the anti-abortion movement in Evangelicalism: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133
- The Color of Compromise: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Compromise-American-Churchs-Complicity/dp/0310113601/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+color+of+compromise&qid=1591475569&sr=8-1
- The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America: This resource is a very deep overview of the history of Evangelicalism and the Religious Right. It helps paint a picture of how we got to where we are and the compromised
- One Nation Under God: https://www.amazon.com/One-Nation-Under-God-Corporate/dp/0465097413/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=one+nation+under+god&qid=1591475623&sr=8-1
- Revolution of Values: is a great look at the history of modern Evangelicalism and the racist roots of the Religious Right from the perspective of a long-time Southern Baptist, and one who served the Republican party under Strom Thurmond: https://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Values-Reclaiming-Public-Common/dp/0830845933/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=jonathan+hartgrove&qid=1591475669&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExUVZOQlVWQUhGSklOJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzM5MzgxTTU5SDBXSURKRlVOJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAxMzY3NDRTQzhRWTU0Njk5NFEmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl
- A good summary of the rise in anti-abortion sentiment: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-evangelicals-decided-that-life-begins-at-conception_b_2072716?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmluZy5jb20vc2VhcmNoP3E9RXZhbmdlbGljYWwrYWJvcnRpb24rbW92ZW1lbnQmZm9ybT1BUElQSDEmUEM9QVBQTA&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFK1r-ntO2NVaghH4hLP_lW3elDj6xvvJiThE7fIQ8JGqyHT_JdoYoUqFlPH78UZokykrlr4reUpQt3VYpWDtlj0N29jhWoGUq3oSH55qWnPELjR8dRMsBxOO1j6-5MZSqJJNxsFsm7VVjo0iwKcM5MLr8hhHWSacvgWAClJodGR
- Scene on Radio Podcast: http://www.sceneonradio.org/s4-e8-the-second-redemption/
- Behind the Bastards on Jerry Falwell (explicit language): This is a three part series which is good at helping not only to paint a picture of ulterior motives in the abortion issue, but in seeing the political and business problems inherent in the religious right. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/behind-the-bastards/id1373812661?i=1000458529023
- Bob Jones Finally Drops Interracial Dating Policy in the Year 2000: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/marchweb-only/53.0.html
Former SBC President W.A. Criswell (1973): "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, and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed."
W. Barry Garrett (1973): "Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the [Roe v. Wade] Supreme Court Decision."
Christianity Today symposium with the medical community (1968): “individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility” were deemed justifications for abortion.
- Falwell and Other Conservatives' Pragmatic Support of Apartheid: https://www.nytimes.com/1985/08/21/world/falwell-denounces-tutu-as-a-phony.html
- Shea's "The Biblical Basis for War:" https://media.spokesman.com/documents/2018/10/Biblical_Basis_for_War.pdf
- Episode 49 on one of my experiences of racial tension in the church: https://thefourthway.transistor.fm/episodes/49-se7-eradicating-another-virus
- ACE Homeschool Curriculum is a great example of racism embedded in our conservative Christian tradition. Homeschooling and Christian schooling were in large part (at least in certain places, and likely more so the further back you go) begun by groups wanting to avoid desegregation. Falwell's Liberty Academy is a great example of this, which then created the university as another entity. You can see the racism come out in ACE's pragmatic approval of Apartheid: https://www.critic.co.nz/features/article/5806/escaping-the-cult--of-accelerated-christian-educat
QUOTE: ACE is also very problematic with its insensitivity towards Blacks, Jews, and Asians – in fact, anyone who isn’t white. I remember sitting at my desk until five or six in the evening, toiling over a white-washed colonialist account of American History with only the odd brightly coloured comic strip incorporated within the PACES to alleviate my boredom. These cartoon strips promote segregation – students of each race attend different schools. White children attend Highland, Black students attend Harmony and Asian students go to Heartsville. The PACES go on to explicitly support racial segregation, arguing that although apartheid appeared to allow the unfair treatment of blacks, it was nonetheless a remarkably successful system, enabling the development of South Africa into a modern industrialized nation; “White businessmen and developers … turned South Africa into a modern industrialized nation, which the poor, uneducated blacks couldn’t have accomplished in several more decades. If more blacks were suddenly given control of the nation, its economy and business, as Mandela wished, they could have destroyed what they have waited and worked so hard for.” Forget the misery, poverty and racism occasioned by such a scheme – as long as white Christian businessmen were in power, all was well in the world.
- More firsthand testimony about ACE and the origins of private schooling (25:30): https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/10-colonialism-in-missions-feat-rebecca/id1487348559?i=1000469105255
- Brief discussion of dog-whistle politics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7P3yFJ-DGM
- In-depth discussion on dog-whistle politics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6A3NQiJpH0 (shorter version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnOGFdGY_vw)
- More dog-whistle examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbkNM6u44pQ
- Our double standards on moral/political legislation and involvement: https://www.dckreider.com/blog-theological-musings/economic-pornography-and-pet-sins
"Never before in the history of the American Republic has a group of
organized Christians risen to such prominence in the American empire.
And this worldly success—a bit odd for a fundamentalist group with such
otherworldly aspirations—has sent huge ripples across American
Christendom. Power, might, size, status, and material possessions—all
paraphernalia of the nihilism of the American empire—became major
themes of American Christianity. It now sometimes seems that all
Christians speak in one voice when in fact it is only that the loudness of
the Constantinian element of American Christianity has so totally drowned
out the prophetic voices. Imperial Christianity, market spirituality, money obsessed
churches, gospels of prosperity, prayers of let’s-make-a-deal with
God or help me turn my wheel of fortune have become the prevailing
voice of American Christianity. In this version of Christianity the precious
blood at the foot of the cross becomes mere Kool-Aid to refresh eager
upwardly mobile aspirants in the nihilistic American game of power and
might. And there is hardly a mumbling word heard about social justice,
resistance to institutional evil, or courage to confront the powers that be—
with the glaring exception of abortion."