Sunday, June 16, 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 four)

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

That the pro-life cause has become synonymous with Falwell, his Moral Majority, and its successor movements is evidence of careful storytelling and masterful salesmanship. But it does not stand up to factual scrutiny.

In the decades preceding the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973, abortion was considered a “Catholic issue.” In 1968, Christianity Today, the flagship evangelical publication founded by Graham, convened a symposium of some two dozen theologians who ultimately could not agree whether abortion is sinful. In 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution affirming the procedure under a generous range of circumstances. (W.A. Criswell, the SBC ex-president and legendary pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, one of America’s leading megachurches, approved: “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.”) In 1973, Barry Garrett, the D.C. bureau chief for Baptist Press, reacted to the Roe decision by writing that the Supreme Court had “advanced the cause of religious liberty, human equality and justice.”

Falwell was no stranger to opining on court rulings. Yet the first time he mentioned abortion from the pulpit was 1978—five years after the Roe decision. Ed Dobson (no relation to James), one of Falwell’s closest friends and an original dean at Lynchburg Baptist College, sat at his side during that fateful 1979 meeting with Weyrich. Years later, commenting on the notion that Roe v. Wade had ignited the religious right, Dobson said, “I sat in the non-smoke-filled back room with the Moral Majority, and I frankly do not remember abortion being mentioned as a reason why we ought to do something.”

No comments:

Post a Comment