If your social media feed looks anything like mine, it’s been a firestorm since the Supreme Court leak. Regardless of who the leak came from or the negative implications this might have on the trustworthiness of the country’s highest court, it is a big deal. The legacy of Roe v. Wade has had an incredibly significant impact on this country. Since 1973 a woman has been ensured the liberty to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Now it seems that freedom is about to be undone.
And while there are a lot of things to address, I think it’s important that I highlight the role of the Christian Church in shaping the catastrophe we are facing today. Many will claim that the evangelical and conservative coalition have been fighting abortion since the Roe v Wade ruling. But this isn’t accurate. In 1979, SIX YEARS after Roe v Wade, evangelical leaders decided to crusade against abortion. Why? Because the anti-abortion campaign was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. (https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133/)
Historian Randall Balmer conversed with Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and architect of the religious right. Balmer reports that Weyrich “Was emphatic that abortion had nothing whatsoever to do with the genesis of the religious right. He added that he’d been trying since the Goldwater campaign in 1964 to interest evangelicals in politics. Nothing caught their attention, he insisted – school prayer, pornography, equal rights for women, abortion – until the IRS began to challenge the tax exemption of Bob Jones University and other whites-only segregation academies.”(https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/08/abortion-us-religious-right-racial-segregation) They didn’t care about abortion, they cared about preserving the discriminatory racial practices of private colleges.
The push for banning abortions came after the Southern Baptist Convention voted in 1971 to legalize abortion. Because, as many evangelicals noted at the time, the Bible is silent on matters of fetuses. Until the 1979 push, the Church had always held that life begins with breath. Despite what many people argue, the “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice” debate is not seated in whether or not we think a fetus is a life. Nor is it seated in whether or not we believe that a woman’s body is her own, regardless of whether or not a fetus has taken up residence in her uterus. Instead, the debate is about whether or not white supremacy is our highest value.
White supremacy is evil. And yet it pervades and infuses everything we see and do. So don’t let people fool you into thinking that this conflict began from anything other than racism.
The damage that the Church has done, we are committed to undoing. So when you wonder whether or not Front Porch is a safe place, know that it is a place where we believe that Black Lives Matter, Trans rights are human rights, and women’s bodies are their own.