(61) 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.

***For an alternative perspective on the rise of the abortion issue among conservative Evangelicals, check out the following article. While I think the author makes some good points and helps to balance a true, growing concern for abortion, I think the race issue is clearly the catalyst. So while I disagree with the morality of abortion now, the reason the issue was shot to prominence so quickly seems to be as a result of racism. It's hard to explain the seismic shift in worldviews about the personhood of fetuses without a motivator, as I argue in the episode. Nevertheless, decide for yourself: https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/fact-and-fiction-about-racism-and . You can also find a version from the Gospel Coalition here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/evangelical-history/christian-right-discovered-abortion-rights-transformed-culture-wars/

Lee Atwater's famous quote about Republican and Religious Right implications and understanding in politics:  https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy/

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.”


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. 

From Cornel West's "Democracy Matters," chapter 5: https://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Matters-Winning-Against-Imperialism/dp/0143035835/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1587954394&sr=8-1

"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."

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