How Pro-Life is the Religious Left?

Pro-life activists in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. (AP Photo / Olivier Douliery)

A curious division exists among the Religious Left when it comes to the subject of abortion.

The older, lifelong Mainline Protestant folks often tout their pro-choice sentiments openly. Some of their affiliated denominations, like the Presbyterian Church (USA) or the United Church of Christ, blatantly “protect women’s equal and fair access to abortion.”

Alternatively, some of the Religious Left’s newest converts, many former conservative Evangelicals or “post-Evangelicals,” are holding on to their pro-life labels. But for how long will it last?

I’ve mentioned some of these thoughts before on social media and most recently during a podcast interview with apologist Alisa Girard Childers that is yet to be published. These thoughts have been on my mind, especially since the brazen pro-abortion session at Wild Goose Festival last month. So I would like to further process and explore these observations here.

Post-Evangelicals find themselves in a precarious position when it comes to their pro-life labels. Too much anti-abortion talk is an insult to, say, the 44 Religious Left officials who collectively called for continued federal funding of the abortion giant Planned Parenthood or the liberal clergy in Texas who praised abortion as a “God-given right.”

Professing pro-lifers among the Religious Left cannot deny that many of their liberal theological colleagues disagree with them. And for the post-Evangelical crowd who are “evolving” on abortion to appease their new theological (and political) tribe, an open pro-abortion trajectory seems almost inevitable. But for now, post-Evangelicals are claiming to uphold the dignity of unborn life without downright condemning abortion.

Perhaps this is why you’d be hard-pressed to find many in-depth discussions of the inherent dignity and vulnerability of the unborn on popular post-Evangelicals’ blogs and social media feeds. It would also be helpful to hear their thoughts on euthanasia. Will they comment on news reports that Belgium is euthanizing children, as Brandon Showalter reported here?

Sure, popular post-Evangelicals will sporadically mention they’re pro-life in blog posts to inflate their moral authority while simultaneously encouraging readers to vote for a pro-abortion Democratic political nominee. Others only remind us that they are pro-life when they want to criticize the pro-life movement or paint a broad brush stroke of hypocrisy on conservative Christians.

Katelyn Beaty, an author and former managing editor of Christianity Today, astutely noted this tendency among progressive Christians last week.

“Of course, I wish pro-life Christians would apply a consistent life ethic to other issues beyond abortion.

“But I also wish progressive Christians who constantly critique pro-life Christians for being hypocritical would seriously, and publicly, weigh the life ethics of abortion,” she wrote. 

Post-Evangelical author Rachel Held Evans responded, in part:

“Every time I do that I get called a baby killer, am sent pictures of aborted fetuses, watch as my positions are completely mischaracterized in pro-life publications, and receive a bunch of death threats. Frankly, it’s not worth it.”

Evans shares more thoughts on her “consistent pro-life approach” here:

“…But what I think we’re afraid to acknowledge is that ethics can be hard. Being “consistently pro-life” on guns, on war, on euthanasia, on healthcare, on foreign policy, on aid, and on abortion just isn’t as straightforward as we’d like….

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Chelsen Vicari