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Evangelicals came to their current views on abortion through a combination of ethical reasoning, biblical hermeneutics, historical research, theological reflection, and contemporary American politics. That was my argument in a recent post, which was ...

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scott roney

May 30, 2013  4:11am

"Evangelicals came to their current views on abortion through a combination of ethical reasoning, biblical hermeneutics, historical research, theological reflection, and contemporary American politics." Citations are indeed in order. This is a quite broad assertion. Given Evangelicalism's well-known and documented "anti-intellectualism" (the Assembly of God Graduate School was so named because the word 'seminary' was anathema in that community due to its worldly & nonspiritual connotations). The fact that Francis Schaeffer takes up so much space in the topic belies the point that that was in fact a dearth of moral reasoning throughout the conservative church on the issue of abortion. There still is! Most conservative protestant Christians could not mount a well-reasoned argument for the moral justification on either side of the debate. The conservative protestant church mirrors the overly polemicized patterns of its host culture. I think the "pundit" has it correctly.

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Steve Skeete

November 14, 2012  12:14pm

It does not matter when one awakens to the knowledge of the truth as long as one honestly admits to having once held a different view . There is no shame in seeing more clearly now than one did before. So if evangelicals are pro-life when they used to be something else, I ask so what! I am yet to see a reasoned pro-choice position grounded in sound biblical exegesis, and I agree with the position that doctrines are often solidified in times of conflict. To give one's all one must be sure of what one's fight is for or about. So it is in times like ours that a clear position on abortion is vital. Today one must be able to answer questions like when does life begin? What 'right' has a woman to terminate the life of the child medical technology clearly shows is living inside her? From where does the female 'license to kill' come. Abortion is a tragedy of epic proportions, a terrible scourge on humankind. If evangelicals have recently awakened to that reality, I say good for them!

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Claire Guest

November 14, 2012  1:36am

Robert Starr, it's great to see another poster here who is steadfastly opposed to abortion. God bless you for that! I have never given unquestioning support for the Republican party. It is true that some Republicans are pro-"choice". (At the same time, the Democrats have made it ultra-clear in their platform that they are not open to a pro-life position, and Obama authored a bill as senator to prevent doctors from saving the lives of little babies who survive abortion.) One thing about Bush which I appreciated was his staunch resistance to obtaining stem cells from the bodies of aborted babies. Another thing I appreciated was his signing of the bill to outlaw partial-birth abortions. (Clinton repeatedly vetoed that same bill, which came across his desk three times after having been passed by both the Congress and Senate.) I can't answer your question without further qualifying info: How do you propose working with both parties to reduce abortions?

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Robert Starr

November 13, 2012  3:59pm

Claire Guest, I agree with you on a pro-life position. I do not agree that unquestioning support for the Republican party is an effective solution. Many Repubs are openly "Pro Choice" and many who claim to be "Pro Life" don't seem to care much about it (compared, say, to tax policy and many other things). A few Dems are Pro Life and many have intermediate positions (allow only in certain cases, parental consent, etc.). In fact Bush, McCain and Romney all had an intermedate position (allow for rape and incest). A hard-line "all or nothing approach" does not work; working with both parties to reduce abortions might work better. I would agree with you that no abortions are good. But wouldn't you agree that reducing abortions is a good thing, even if you can't get them down to zero?

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Claire Guest

November 13, 2012  12:39am

John Holecek, you say, "Mainline Protestantism folded long ago on same-sex marriage..." This is partly true, but not wholly true. What has actually happened is that schisms have arisen in mainline Protestant denominations over this issue as Bible-believing, God-honoring believers have obeyed His admonition to "come out from among them and be ye separate" (2 Corinthians 6). Christ Jesus prophesied this would happen, and the apostles echoed His warning. Many Catholics have been co-workers in crisis pregnancy refuge centers, and I appreciate them very much. At the same time, there are many other Catholics who are pro-"choice", support re-defining God's definition of marriage, vote Dem in every election (as is true of many Protestants, as well). So I don't understand how you can see this as a Catholic/Protestant issue. Perhaps I misunderstood you. If so, please feel free to clarify.

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Claire Guest

November 13, 2012  12:30am

Robert Starr, I can only speak for myself and fellow Christians whom I have known for years IRL. I know for a fact that no politician ever influenced us to be pro-life, period. What influenced us (as I've often referenced here) is God's own Word - Jeremiah 1, Psalm 139, Jesus' words, other Scriptures as well. When I first began voting, there was no such divide between Reps and Dems - abortion was a non-partisan issue. Ironically, it seems that Jimmy Carter, who ran on a "born again" platform, had a major part in making support for abortion on demand a Dem issue. Feminists of that day chose the Dem party as their party and made deals with Dem leaders to advance their agenda (a former New York Times editor recently mentioned this in a book). The pro-life position IS very important to me, for the reason I cited earlier (as is definition of marriage). The Dems' hard Left position has definitely alienated and disenfranchised many Americans whose standard of truth is God's Holy Word.

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Robert Starr

November 12, 2012  10:51pm

I see Dudley conflating two points: 1) Republicans influenced Christians to become Pro Life. 2) Republicans used this issue to gain political support. Re Point 1, Galli is correct to say that the Republican party had a relatively minor affect on the theology behind the Pro Life position. Able scholars made contributions apart from political considerations. But the Republican party is not in the business of pushing the Pro Life view. They are in the business of getting votes, and whatever sincere support they have for Pro Life is way, way behind their interest in other issues, such as taxes. Just look at the recent election rhetoric. Galli totally misses Point 2. The Republicans have succeeded in spades to convince Christians that Pro Life is THE most important political issue and therefore that voting Republican is morally imperative for Christians. At the same time they won't make any other compromises, e.g on taxes or health care, for the sake of Pro Life. Great bargain (for GOP)

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Claire Guest

November 12, 2012  12:52am

To answer the title question: Assuming it is true that evangelicals did in fact become pro-life recently (if "evangelical" means Bible-believing Christians, I've never known any who were NOT pro-life, since the 1960s), I am glad to know that any who did become pro-life recently finally saw the light.

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John Holecek

November 11, 2012  7:26pm

How grateful I am that God led me from the confusion, contradictions, "nothing's ever settled" world of Protestantism into the Catholic Church that for 2,000 years has taught that abortion is always wrong and that marriage is reserved to a vow between a man and a woman. Mainline Protestantism folded long ago on same-sex marriage, and I imagine that Evangelicals will get soft on the issue as time passes. In the meantime, with the re-election of President Obama, you will see the Catholic Church rise up in opposition to the Health and Human Services manadate about insurance coverage for contraceptives. Evangelicals are sympathetic to the assault on the free practice of religion, however, for them contraception is a non-issue, another "Catholic thing." That artificial means of contraception are always immoral has been the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church; one of the many reason the Church is hated by the world. "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you."

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Pop Seal

November 11, 2012  6:23am

It's nearly impossible to stay engaged in a world that hates Christ, rejects Biblical ethics, and is otherwise totally materialistic. Even as a pastor, I had to simply turn away, knock the dust off my shoes, and walk away. Societies of old were notorious for child sacrifice. The walls of Jericho were "set with their young"....Joshua 6:26

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john werneken

November 10, 2012  4:22am

Thank for a good and uplifting article. And, I have not yet come to the same destination as you discuss regarding abortion. Obviously there is SOME evil in it else it would not cause so much trouble (who hears of great debates or bombings due to someone feeding or advocating feeding the poor?). Still, regardless of how I might stand on what political proposal addressing abortion, it is a problem. What causes it (undesired pregnancy) is some kind of problem Undergoing an abortion is traumatic, my daughter had one, I know that is true. Period. Losing potential human beings is a problem; we may have too many "damned people" but we do NOT have "too damn many people". And anything that among other things prevents us from reasoning together in addressing our OTHER problems, is a problem itself, if for no other reason then weakening us in that fashion.

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Jason Keuter

November 10, 2012  2:33am

I was struck by the argument that Christians embraced a new, and unprecedented reading of the Bible coming from a pro-choice writer. Putting aside for now the idea that somehow the Bible had been read to sanction abortion until the 1980's, this line of argument demands of pro-lifers an intellectual consistency not required of the prochoice position - after all, did not abortion find its legal sanction in reading the Constitution in a way it had not been read for centuries?

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n t

November 10, 2012  1:05am

Here's what I wrote on the Huffington Post site: My mom has always been an evangelical; she's very pro-life now and has been since at least the '80s. But she's mentioned to me that back in the '60s and '70s Protestants somewhat prided themselves on being more liberal on abortion than Catholics--who were thought (wrongly or rightly) to be against abortion even when the life of the mother was at stake. Also, at that time, abortion simply wasn't spoken about very much. It was a new issue in this regard. It took evangelicals some time to figure things out. How many pro-choicers can give no other reason for their position than, "Because it's a choice"? See my essay: http://cognitiveparfait.wordpress.com/category/abortion/ Human life is like a time-based artistic creation. The beginning is important!

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MARCIA YIAPAN

November 09, 2012  10:05pm

SSJ, All I want is for Christians to be able to allow for a range of opinions on this subject, and not resort to labeling debate opponents as murderers. Could you do that? If not, ask yourself this question: how could God ever command the Israelites to kill every man, woman and CHILD in the Promised Land, to make way for his arriving tribe? Other considerations trumped the "sanctity of life". Or would you fall back on the myth that the God of the OT is different from ours? He's not: our God did it and he was justified. So I maintain it's possible that an early abortion could trump bringing a poor little bastard or terribly crippled baby into the world for some women/girls today. I know one family that refused to abort a weak, weak fetus; now the little girl of four is almost blind, and has undergone many surgeries and body casts. Yet they boast that she's a "miracle baby". Really? One wants to weep for the whole family. If another woman chose abortion instead, who could blame her?

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Claire Guest

November 09, 2012  8:14pm

Wow, Marcia - talk about emotion: Your post positively reeks with emotion, and you accuse my position of being based on emotion? The first scenario you posited is unnecessarily negative, because no one can say the child would end up like that. As for your second scenario, think of Helen Keller - she was able to live a very productive life with the limitations of blindness and deafness. But, really, the bottom line is this: GOD, and GOD alone, is the only Righteous Judge. HE, and HE alone, has the RIGHT to determine who lives or dies. When mere man takes that upon himself as a 'final solution', it can never be truly righteous.

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Stephen Smythe-Jones

November 09, 2012  6:37pm

The descriptive term for a Christian, e.g., Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Protestant, etc., is nonrelevant. The only issue is whether a person who claims to be a Christian believes abortion is contrary to the Christian Faith. If he dissembles or says no, then he is a fraud and an apostate. No discussion on the matter.

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robert puharic

November 09, 2012  6:05pm

Jon Trott's gracious note is appreciated

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robert puharic

November 09, 2012  6:01pm

Grady Walton confuses truth with utility. It's like saying the laws of physics can't be true because if they WERE we'd be able to build nuclear weapons. God does not determine morals or truth. And women don't suffer because of abortion. That's a falsehood pushed by the 'prolife' movement. In addition, what about the women who give birth and kill their kids. Perhaps we should prohibit childbirth!

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Dee McDonald

November 09, 2012  1:51pm

Marcia, as for your first scenario, how do you know that kid is going to go to hell? What if my son of 8 months lives his life and then goes to hell when he dies? Should I have aborted him so there would not be that possibility? I realize the situation that you are talking about in LA is a very sad reality, but how can you make the argument that we should abort babies because we think they are going to hell? Perhaps we should start aborting babies from those who are the babies of corporate criminals because they will grow up in a situation where they will learn that stealing from people is acceptable? And then maybe they won't be saved, and then.... Where do we stop the line in this prediction business? As far as your second scenario is concerned, I'll admit that on a natural level, yes, that seems like the right thing to do. If you do not consider that there is a all-knowing God who conceives of the thought and carries out the births of each human, then of course it would seem right.

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MARCIA YIAPAN

November 09, 2012  9:59am

Claire, you grasp at straws because your position is weak and based on emotion. Consider this scenario: a 13-year-old girl is gang raped as initiation into her L.A. Bloods. She conceives and gives birth to a boy who grows up to be a criminal, is shot and dies at age 25. He goes to hell. Would it not have been better for the fetus that would become him to have been aborted at three months' gestation? ...Or how about this one: An unbelieving Jewish woman's fetus has Tay-Sachs genes, which means it will turn into a person who is both blind and deaf with motor and mental impairments. Jews are trying to wipe out this incurable disease by aborting all such fetuses. Can you blame them? Would you outlaw such abortions today? Remember--the voters are listening.

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