This is my response to our friend whose letter we posted Monday. Instead of making it a direct letter to him, I’m responding to the folks who are upset about what he has done …
Dear Alarmed Evangelicals,
First, your pastor is not alone today; an increasing number of evangelical Christians moved into the Democratic camp this election. That’s a fact. I believe Republicans and conservative Christians need to ask why this is happening and not write it off as compromise or caving in. In the last 28 years I’ve not seen this many evangelical Christians support the Democrats.
The simple equation of evangelical with anti-abortion and the Reagan Republican platform to end abortions by ending Roe v. Wade has been dismantled for many evangelical Christians. But, I’d like you to hear me out on this one point: many of these evangelicals are vehemently against abortion. But they are against it in a different way: reduce abortions and fight against Roe v. Wade.
Second, here are the things that alarmed evangelicals need to consider (and I’d be interested in the response of the Jesus Creed blog community):
The Democrats changed their tune from “pro-choice” to “reduce
abortions” and the result was a capacity to attract thousands of young
evangelicals and evangelicals who are opposed to abortion. This group
in America is sizable. I think conservative (and alarmed) evangelicals need to listen
to this change in rhetoric; I know moderate evangelicals did.
There are many evangelicals and anti-abortionists who think the
near-total concentration today on ending the problem with abortion in
the USA by overturning Roe v. Wade is backfiring because for too many a focus on changing the law has not been matched with efforts to reduce abortions — which is the point. The obsession
with changing the law needs to be met with an obsession to reduce
abortions alongside that law-change battle. (Note: I did not say
“instead of” but “alongside.”)
3. In fact … if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, first they must overturn Planned Parenthood vs. Casey
and then if the Supreme Court gets the right case they can overturn Roe
v. Wade and then what? It goes back to the States and then what? The
big Blue States will permit abortion in their States. I can’t tell you
the number of times I’ve heard this logic. Fighting to change the law
(which, by the way, I’d support in a heartbeat) may not bring about the change that many think.
4. Now, what do we who oppose abortion do? Oppose
abortion laws, of course. But also we have to fight hard for the
immorality of casual, reckless abortion; we have to work hard to reduce
teenage pregnancy, to minimize casual pregnancies, to
increase our efforts to counsel young women who can’t afford children,
to ratchet up our commitment to adoptions, to support birth control
methods … in other words, we have to work hard against the conditions
that increase pregnancies and that can lead to abortions. In other
words, reducing abortions should be the first focus of those who oppose
abortions. Whether the Democrats will follow through on this one is yet to be seen, and you can rest assured that these eyes will be watching for this issue, but the shift in platform focus was effective.
5. Yes, I would support in a minute legislation
against Roe v. Wade and Casey and in State legislations … but this is
what we have learned from this election: undoing Roe v. Wade is a
symptom of the problem — profound disrespect for life and humans as
God’s Eikons and the casual permission for abortions — and a symptom
of what we need to work for — reducing abortions.
Your pastor, friends, is pursuing the same goals with a different strategy. We’ll see if it works. Let’s work together to reduce abortions.
We write to you with our prayers lifted to God for a new day in this country of ours.