Abortion is a made up issue designed to coalesce a right-wing political movement. It isn’t even mentioned in the Bible unless you consider the obvious implications of the ordeal of the bitter water in Numbers 5.
Everyone has a right to make their own decisions about abortion and we believe if someone is against it they shouldn't have one. No one has the right to impose their beliefs on this topic on others, especially when right-wing Biblical interpretations are fabricated for political purposes.
Most conservative "Christians" won't read won't read any further than this. They just can't handle hearing something that could bring down their entire psychological house of cards. That means it's up to us to educate ourselves and educate those around us who will listen.
It's very interesting to note that in Jewish law and tradition an unborn fetus is not considered a person (Heb. nefesh, lit. “soul”) until it has been born. The fetus is regarded as a part of the mother’s body and not a separate being until it begins to egress from the womb during parturition (childbirth).
Things haven't always been the way they are now with American Christianity.
A 1968 a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing 'individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility' as justifications for ending a pregnancy.
In 1973, Wallie Amos ‘W. A.’ Criswell, President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1968 to 1970, had this to say:
“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."
Enter con-man Paul Weyrich, the late religious conservative political activist, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, and Godfather of The “Christian” Right, who literally shopped various issues trying to galvanize a conservative “Christian” movement.
His hypothetical “moral majority” needed a catalyst—a standard around which to rally. For nearly two decades, Weyrich, by his own account, had been trying out different issues, hoping one might pique evangelical interest: pornography, prayer in schools, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, even abortion. “I was trying to get these people interested in those issues and I utterly failed,” Weyrich recalled at a conference in 1990.
The 1978 Senate races demonstrated to Weyrich and others that abortion might motivate conservatives where it hadn’t in the past. He saw his opening and he never looked back. He and his buddies Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, Richard Viguerie, and others were off and running in the creation of The "Christian" Right.
This article in Politico explains the entire early ugly history in great detail. It is a must read. ... As you will learn, abortion was just a ploy to rally a herd mentality. Bigotry was the real motivation behind the madness of Paul Weyrich and his bunch.
There are of course many other facets to this story. Frank Schaeffer picks up where Politico left off in his book,
"Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back."
Frank's book is another "must read" for seekers of the Truth.
The article, "The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal" does a great job of explaining the bizarre, cult-like shift that has taken place over the last 3 decades with regard to how Christianity views abortion.
After 34 years of constant messaging The Christian Right Industrial Complex has become a Billion Dollar Empire. Before every Presidential Election the key operatives get in their private jets, meet at an arranged location, and ordain their chosen candidate for President. Then they get back in their jets and fly back to their tax exempt havens. In 2012 they ordained Rick Santorum.
Ever since the above described shift began pseudo-religious, political operatives like Tony Perkins and "The Family Research Council" have conducted a multiple decade propaganda / brainwashing campaign that would make Joseph Goebbels proud! Wouldn't you know it? The motto of the Family Research Council is "Pro Marriage & Pro Life." Those two terms are dog whistles for "Anti LGBT Equality & Anti Choice." They've cherry-picked a few scriptures and twisted them to mean something they don't. Let's look at some of those scriptures. Analysis below from "The Bible is Pro-Choice," by Joyce Arthur.
The first such passage is found in Psalm 139:13-16:
"For Thou didst form my inward parts; thou didst weave me together in my mother's womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
All this passage states is that God is directly involved in the creation of a fetus and knows its future. This is useless for the anti-choice position, since God creates all living things, including trees and bugs. Plus, just because God is supposedly omniscient doesn't give fetuses any special status—it simply means God already knows whether they will live or die. It is dishonest to conclude from this verse that a fetus is a human being deserving of more protection than women. The passage is poetic prose that anti-choicers have twisted and trivialized by giving it a literal, objective meaning where there is none.
The second passage used by anti-choicers is similar:
"Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you'..." (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
Unfortunately, anti-choicers usually stop right there, and forget the rest of Verse 5, which negates their preferred meaning:
"...'and I appointed you a prophet to the nations.'"
This passage is specific to one, very special person—Jeremiah the prophet, whom God has called to provide miraculous powers and authority to the world. Since we are not all destined to be divine prophets, this verse cannot be construed as applying to any fetus except the unborn Jeremiah. Again, anti-choicers are being dishonest by pulling this verse totally out of its context.
The third passage quoted by anti-choicers tells the story of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Mary the mother of Jesus, while both were pregnant:
"In those days, Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." (Luke 1:39-41)
This passage simply records a fetus kicking in the womb. We can only wonder in befuddlement why anti-choicers think this would help them. Besides, John the Baptist is yet another divine fetal prophet ordained by God. Since very few of us are chosen by God before birth to herald the arrival of the Messiah on earth, we cannot claim that this passage venerates all fetuses.
End of content from "The Bible is Pro-Choice."
Conservative "Christians" actually get extremely hostile about this issue. Abortion and LGBT equality are the only two flimsy reasons they have to cling their twisted right-wing ideology. Deep down they must know on some level that right-wing ideology and the teachings of Jesus Christ just don't go together. They don't line up. They don't fit. To alleviate their cognitive dissonance they have to demonize and scapegoat others. Liberals become "Baby Killers." LGBT folks are an "abomination," and a threat to the fabric of society and "good, clean Family Values."
It's really sad that modern Christianity has been led down this ugly road.
Again, conservative "Christians" won't read this article. It's up to us to educate ourselves and educate those around us who will listen.
There is a long list of excellent resources about this topic. We suggest you read as many of them as you can. The more you know the better equipped you will be with the next hostile conservative "Christian" you encounter.
For some more history check out, The Not-So-Lofty Origins of the Evangelical Pro-Life Movement. and How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement.
This is an excellent article and very exhaustive and well researched.
Here's our take on the topic, which currently has 93,000 likes.
What Does it Mean to Be Pro-Life? is another.
Read "The Handmaid's Tale," by Margaret Atwood if you get the chance. It's a scary look at what far-right Schlafly/Perkins-type ideals might look like if carried to extremes in a monotheocratic government.
Conservative "Christians" have all manner of mantras they repeat over and over again. Several examples include, "There's no such thing as The Christian Left," "The Christian Left is an oxymoron," "You can't be a Christian and a Liberal," "You can't be a Christian and be pro-choice."
Once again all of the above are lies they have to tell themselves to avoid cognitive dissonance. The new Pope seems pretty liberal on quite a few topics as far as we can tell. Jimmy Carter is one of the best examples of following Jesus ever to hold public office. The Kennedy Family is pretty darn liberal and they're Christians. Then again, there's a block of fundamentalists who think that Catholics aren't Christians, which is ludicrous.
A whole lot of Christians must have voted for Barack Obama, twice, for him to be elected by the largest margins in recent elections.
In fact, there's an organization called the Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice which consists of more than 40 denominations and faith groups who educate and promote issues of reproductive choice.
Don't ever let any of your conservative "Christian" friends or family shout you down on this or any other issue again. Their ridiculous mantras are nothing more than pure silliness. Fewer and fewer people buy them. They are the reason so many people want nothing to do with organized religion, which is sad, because their rhetoric is a pack of extremist fabrications.
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.