Thursday, June 27, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta, excerpt fifteen)

from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta:

The pro-life movement has not won the public argument—and, arguably, it hasn’t really tried. The message of abortion as a moral evil, as an affront to the loving God who made humanity in His own image, has proven curiously ineffective. Why?

For one thing, that message seems wildly inconsistent with the politics otherwise practiced by those who claim the “pro-life” mantle. If one is driven to electoral advocacy by the conviction that mankind bears the image of God, why stop at opposing abortion? What about the shunning of refugees? What about the forced separation of babies from their mothers? What about the hollowing out of programs that feed hungry kids? What about the lifelong incarceration of nonviolent offenders and the wrongful execution of the innocent? What about the Darwinist health-care system that prices out sick people and denies treatment to poor people and produces the developed world’s highest maternal mortality rate? What about the fact that, in 2020, guns had become the number one cause of death for children in the United States? Surely even the most devoted anti-abortion advocate could spot the problem when Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former Trump press secretary who was running for governor of Arkansas, declared, “We will make sure that when a kid is in the womb, they’re as safe as they are in a classroom.” Indeed, America set another new record for school shootings in 2022, and the evangelical movement was silent.

The other problem with the pro-life message: the messengers. Can we really expect Americans to take lessons on virtue from a president who brags about grabbing women by their vaginas? Can we really expect voters to entertain the argument of unborn lives having inherent dignity coming from a man who lies about having ended unborn life himself? Evangelicals can rationalize all this—going on about “binary decisions” and “the lesser of two evils” until they convince themselves it’s true—but the unwillingness to demand and enforce a higher standard has sapped their arguments of moral urgency.

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