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My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice
The author notes that evangelical Christians were once largely pro-abortion rights.
October 30th, 2012
05:54 PM ET

My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of "Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics."

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Over the course of the 2012 election season, evangelical politicians have put their community’s hard-line opposition to abortion on dramatic display.

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin claimed “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy. Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock insisted that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

While these statements have understandably provoked outrage, they’ve also reinforced a false assumption, shared by liberals and conservatives alike: that uncompromising opposition to abortion is a timeless feature of evangelical Christianity.

The reality is that what conservative Christians now say is the Bible’s clear teaching on the matter was not a widespread interpretation until the late 20th century.

Opinion: Let's get real about abortions

In 1968, Christianity Today published a special issue on contraception and abortion, encapsulating the consensus among evangelical thinkers at the time. In the leading article, professor Bruce Waltke, of the famously conservative Dallas Theological Seminary, explained the Bible plainly teaches that life begins at birth:

“God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: 'If a man kills any human life he will be put to death' (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22–24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense… Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”

The magazine Christian Life agreed, insisting, “The Bible definitely pinpoints a difference in the value of a fetus and an adult.” And the Southern Baptist Convention passed a 1971 resolution affirming abortion should be legal not only to protect the life of the mother, but to protect her emotional health as well.

Opinion: Why the abortion issue won’t go away

These stalwart evangelical institutions and leaders would be heretics by today’s standards. Yet their positions were mainstream at the time, widely believed by born-again Christians to flow from the unambiguous teaching of Scripture.

Televangelist Jerry Falwell spearheaded the reversal of opinion on abortion in the late 1970s, leading his Moral Majority activist group into close political alliance with Catholic organizations against the sexual revolution.

In contrast to evangelicals, Catholics had mobilized against abortion immediately after Roe v. Wade. Drawing on mid-19th century Church doctrines, organizations like the National Right to Life Committee insisted a right to life exists from the moment of conception.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

As evangelical leaders formed common cause with Catholics on topics like feminism and homosexuality, they began re-interpreting the Bible as teaching the Roman Catholic position on abortion.

Falwell’s first major treatment of the issue, in a 1980 book chapter called, significantly, “The Right to Life,” declared, “The Bible clearly states that life begins at conception… (Abortion) is murder according to the Word of God.”

With the megawatt power of his TV presence and mailing list, Falwell and his allies disseminated these interpretations to evangelicals across America.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

By 1984, it became clear these efforts had worked. That year, InterVarsity Press published the book Brave New People, which re-stated the 1970 evangelical consensus: abortion was a tough issue and warranted in many circumstances.

An avalanche of protests met the publication, forcing InterVarsity Press to withdraw a book for the first time in its history.

“The heresy of which I appear to be guilty,” the author lamented, “is that I cannot state categorically that human/personal life commences at day one of gestation.... In order to be labeled an evangelical, it is now essential to hold a particular view of the status of the embryo and fetus.”

What the author quickly realized was that the “biblical view on abortion” had dramatically shifted over the course of a mere 15 years, from clearly stating life begins at birth to just as clearly teaching it begins at conception.

During the 2008 presidential election, Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren demonstrated the depth of this shift when he proclaimed: “The reason I believe life begins at conception is ‘cause the Bible says it.”

It is hard to underestimate the political significance of this reversal. It has required the GOP presidential nominee to switch his views from pro-choice to pro-life to be a viable candidate. It has led conservative Christians to vote for politicians like Akin and Mourdock for an entire generation.

And on November 6, it will lead millions of evangelicals to support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama out of the conviction that the Bible unequivocally forbids abortion.

But before casting their ballots, such evangelicals would benefit from pausing to look back at their own history. In doing so, they might consider the possibility that they aren’t submitting to the dictates of a timeless biblical truth, but instead, to the goals of a well-organized political initiative only a little more than 30 years old.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Abortion • Catholic Church • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (2,844 Responses)
  1. DPKirpy

    Until the baby is out of the body, leave IT and HER the hell alone. Jesus, go thump your bible about some money changers or something.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  2. Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race.

    1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Dumb buildings are dimly lit structures.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  3. marioD

    Dude, think the author has a few pimples to pop. Seriously, great review of modern non-Catholic Christian thought on the subject. You really need to get out of this country and into some Catholic history books! Saint Augustine commented on this question over 1500 years ago! Bam, just popped some of your pimples huh!

    Check out this link: http://www.ewtn.com/library/bishops/provostpelos.htm

    If you choose to use modern American "man-made" Evangelical Christian churches, don't be surprised to get modern answers to this question. In fact, many modern American Catholic converts have converted once they found that the Catholic Church has held a position of truth about life for many many years....after all if the Catholics got this one right....how many others could they be right about.

    Thank me on your day of judgement, I need extra credit to get a shorter stay in Purgatory please!

    October 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      Thanks for nothing.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      Bam. You've proven nothing.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • My goodness you’re stupid

      Saint Augustine and the catholic church also believed the world was flat, the sun went around the earth, the earth was the center of the universe and mental illness was caused by daemons

      October 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Bob

      Converts are some of the best Catholics because they are often well studied and have had an opportunity to know what they are choosing.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Chad

    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

    When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. Genesis 25

    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1

    The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. Genesis 25

    And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit Luke 1

    Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light? Job 1

    I cant imagine what kind of "theology" could possibly consider an unborn child not human.. utter, utter nonsense.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
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      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian. ...

      October 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • fvw50

      Chad – nicely stated, thanks.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  5. Anon

    Over 50% of all fertilized eggs (human beings by a conservative's standard) do not attach to the walls of the ute-rus and are flushed out during a woman's normal period. So by a pro-lifer's stance, every se-xually active woman (even married) that has had more than one period is a serial killer. Moreover, if god is killing over half of the humans before birth, doesn't that make god an abortionist?

    If it's good enough for god, it's good enough for me.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Rhubarb

      There is a massive difference between the non-survival of a fertilized egg in the womb because of natural causes and the DELIBERATE destruction of that fertilized egg by non-natural external forces.

      Nobody who expects to have a yield from a crop or garden digs up the garden or disturbs it in any way. They LEAVE IT ALONE because they know if they don't disturb it, and the seed doesn't naturally die on its own, that it will grow and eventually yield what they planted. Not all seeds yield; that's not the farmer's fault.

      If you LEAVE THE FERTILIZED EGG ALONE, it will become a BABY. If you violently disturb it, it will DIE. That means IT WAS ALIVE WHEN YOU DISTURBED IT AND NOW IT ISN'T. It ISN'T now because you KILLED it. Therefore, logically, IT WAS ALIVE WHEN IT WAS CONCEIVED.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Snow

      @Rhubarb..

      why don't you extend that logic into your lunch? how do you justify killing life to fill your stomach? if you follow natural course of things and had left it alone, that chicken would have LIVED for MANY MORE MONTHS.. now IT ISN"T.. because YOU KILLED IT..

      isn't life important to you?

      October 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Rhubarb

      @Snow:

      If, from the content and tone of my post you cannot tell that life if important to me, then the problem lies with you.

      Why don't YOU apply your theory to fruits and vegetables, as well as chickens? I hold human life above animal life; if I'm hungry, I eat an apple. Or some carrots. And yes, occasionally a chicken sandwich. If doing any of those things makes me a murderer in your eyes, so be it. I'd love to know what you eat.

      You clearly cannot argue the logic and factuality of my post.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  6. Arbour

    Does the "fetus" have miniature head, hands and feet? heart that beast? eyes and nose? If they are not human, what kind of "thingy" are they?

    October 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • My goodness you’re stupid

      “If they are not human, what kind of "thingy" are they?”

      Monkey and ape fetuses are almost identical to human fetuses. Should we grant them legal human personhood too?

      October 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  7. Sean

    Hey, Kids! How about we work on reading comprehension today? All of the people commenting on how the author is taking quotes from the bible out of context should read the article again. Christianity Today and Christian life used the quotes to support their positions on when life begins. They were not the author's quotes nor did he make any interpretation of them. Maybe we should be having a conversation about education in this country instead of religion.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  8. sweetpc77

    Anybody actually read Exodus 21:22-24. Dudley misses it here I think. He states, "But according to Exodus 21:22–24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense." Exodus 21:22-24 states " Exodus 21:22-24 (NIV) 22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot," The context of this passage has to do with miscarraige when a woman is struck or injured by another being. If you read the entire 21st chapter of Exodus, the context is really about personal injuries and not abortion.

    As Americans we have the right to be religious. We also have the right to speak freely. We as human beings are no better than anyone else despite our accomplishments, despite our shortcomings, despite our successes, and despite our failures. We are all human...even our candidates. We will definatley see that in the next 4 years. A perfect President does not exist.

    If we don't take the time to educate, truly educate, ourselves, our opinions are just noise, valuable more to ourselves than others.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Louis

      Again "gives birth prematurely" is a modern interpretation, the KJV (and other versions) render it as the woman having a miscarriage, and this was the version that 60s evangelicals used.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • My goodness you’re stupid

      “hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely”

      Exodus is talking about a time about 1000 BC. No doctors, no medicine, no incubators, no ventilators, no emergency rooms, no medical science, no science at all, just endless supplies of dirt, filth, disease and religion. A “premature” birth back then was a death sentence at least 99% of the time

      October 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  9. mrstanaland

    My Take: I'm not "pro abortion", but I don't think throwing women and doctors in jail is the right thing to do. The drug war didn't stop people from using drugs, it simply moved it to a black market and led to millions in prison. If we ban abortion, the exact same thing will happen–millions of abortions will still occur, but now we will have women die from unsafe back alley abortions and many others will be thrown in prison.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      So true. And yet people keep fighting the "drug war". And will continue to fight to control women.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • truth be told

      That being the case why not decriminalize all forms of murder.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      Truth be sold.
      Your argument is stupid. You really believe making it illegal will stop it from happening?

      October 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @mrstanaland

      " My Take: I'm not "pro abortion"

      No... you're "pro choice"... allowing for a woman to choose. "Pro abortion" is one of those nasty re-frames from the

      **Pro-Forced Gestationers**

      Peace...

      October 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • mrstanaland

      @therealpeace2all Yes, I know I am pro-choice! I just want the "pro-lifers" to realize that the choice is not between a nation with abortions and a nation without abortions...the choice is a nation with regulated abortions at clinics and a nation with abortions in back alleys and yet more people thrown in prison.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Don't forget increases in pregnancy related deaths and an increase in complications stemming from unsafe abortion practice.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @mrstanaland

      Yes !

      @Hawaii

      Yes !

      Peace...

      October 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  10. christine

    i wonder how many people that posted on this are actually women. i don't understand why people can't just focus on their own lives. if i wanted to get an abortion it isn't going to affect the lives of people outside of my family. just like if i wanted to marry a woman it would not affect the lives of people outside of my family. if you are against abortions, don't get one. such a concept. everyone needs to worry about their own crappy lives, and stop trying to ruin other peoples lives.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  11. ladyfon

    MY Bibles disagrees with this Author. Care to say what version you are reading?

    Exodus 21:22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[a] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, – New International Vision

    King James Version Exodus 21:22 is If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
    23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
    24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

    October 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      The problem is that the bible is very ambiguous in its wording. For example when it says "But if there is serious injury", is it referring to serious injury to the mother or to the child? The text provides no clue either way.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • truth be told

      The Bible was not written in English, for clearer interpretations seek out the meanings of the original language.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • TC

      Yes, violence against pregnant women is banned, but NOWEHERE do they mention the fetus as a person as well. Try again.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @layfon

      "Her fruit depart from her" in the KJV is to miscarry.

      Wycliffe is clearer:

      22 If men chide, and a man smiteth a woman with child, and soothly he maketh the child dead-born, but the woman liveth over that smiting, he shall be subject to the harm (he shall be subject to a fine), as much as the woman’s husband asketh (for), and as the judges deem (appropriate).

      As is Knox:

      22 If men fall out, and one of them strikes a woman who is pregnant, so that the child is still-born, but she herself lives, he must pay whatever sum the woman’s husband demands, and the judges agree to;

      The 1984 (and current) NIV contains a footnote:

      22 “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[a] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.

      a. Or she has a miscarriage

      You will find that in the pre-1970s versions miscarry is the interpretation. This verse is post-1974 biblical revisionism.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • ladyfon

      Heubert, that is not my point. I want to know what version his is reading that states: the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense… Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul

      October 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TBT

      "The Bible was not written in English, for clearer interpretations seek out the meanings of the original language."

      Hence the inherent dangers of biblical literalism. This verse has been retranslated to come out the way comtemporary evalgelical theologians want it to.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • DJL

      The article's author isn't quoting the bible, he's quoting what Professor Bruce Waltke wrote in the 1968 issue of Christianity Today.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ladyfon

      New Life, Good News: loses her baby
      Young's Literal: her children have come out
      Amplified, Common English: she has a miscarriage
      Complete Jewish: her unborn child dies
      Contemporary English: suffers a miscarriage

      etc.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Huebert

      Ladyfon

      My point is the version doesn't matter, they are all ambiguous enough to support either interpretation. When I read the versions of exodus that you posted I read that the destruction of fetus is not a capitol crime, you read another way. That is the problem with ambiguous writing, we have no way of determining which reading the author intended.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • jorgath

      Based on the Hebrew of Exodus 21:22, I could just as easily translate the first half as:
      "When men strive together to strike a pregnant woman and comes out a son, but not comes out evil, they will pay the penalty afterwards."

      Or, in other words, that if you hit a pregnant woman, she gives birth specifically to a son, and the son isn't evil, you have to pay a fine.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  12. Abortion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    October 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Yes, it makes a person less intelligent and reinforces ideas based in poor logic and reasoning.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
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      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
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      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian. .. .

      October 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs

      October 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • nope

      @sey...
      nope

      October 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Huebert

      Hi prayer bot.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      Brainwashing is not healthy for children.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • truth be told

      A clean mind is not brainwashing, Truth is real brain food, God is Truth.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Huebert

      Beware anyone who spells truth with a capital T.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • DJL

      Truth is a measure of belief, not fact or correctness. You can tell the truth and be wrong.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
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      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
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      "2357" degenerates to:
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      "fred" degenerates to:
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      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian. ...

      October 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs:

      October 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Bob

      Just because you don't understand prayer doesn't mean prayer doesn't work.

      November 1, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  14. John

    There is a fundamental difference between the opinions of 1968 and today, and that is the thought that a soul is needed for the abortion to be the ending of a life. Re-read what the author quoted and wrote himself above.

    The implication of the article is that the fundamental change is in when life begins, and that is not accurate, though I doubt the author would have had much to write about without making that mistake.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  15. NorCalMojo

    Did people have little green alien ultrasound pictures stuck to their refridgerator in 1968?

    Another factor is the boomer women are now waiting on grandkids instead of partying. Their priorities have changed.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  16. Jt_flyer

    The abortion issue will cost Romney dearly. Every-other TV commercial in Ohio is Romney saying he wants to eliminate planned parenthood.

    He couldn't have just focused on the economy and left abortion alone! Stand up to the fanatics. We decided the abortion issue in the 70's. let it go! It's over. Finished. Move on before its too late.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      Unfortunately that's one of the few topics left for the gop to use. Without it they would go the way of dinosaurs quicker.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Not to mention only 3% of revenue for PP comes from abortion, and they also give many other services as well. Eliminating Planned Parenthood would increase the chance of undiagnosed breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. Increase poverty pregnancy and teen pregnancy, as well as increase the dangers of pregnancies for the lower income people in those areas. Then again, screwing the poor is what Romney does best, as well as a large part of the GOP.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • John

      @Hawaiiguest – your 3% statistic doesn't take into account federal funding, which is of course what Romney is targeting (not the organization itself). The reason abortion only accounts for 3% of their patient income? So many are provided for free to those who qualify.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John

      Federal funding does not pay for abortions. This is a lie that equates "government funds for specific services", of which they need to prove that that amount went to those services, with "they perform abortions, therefore, federal funds go to pay for those abortions". Get your head out of the sand, and actually read the laws that prevent what you just said.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Bob

      Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger on the idea that eugenics and more specifically, reduction in the breeding of African Americans, would result in stronger white people. In the future, Planned Parenthood will be part of efforts to encourage selective abortions based on genetic testing and prediction that is less than 100% accurate. Mysteriously, a lot more minorities will receive positive test results and be encouraged to abort their babies than white people. Good fruit does not come from a bad seed.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • julnor

      Eliminating govt funding for planned parenthood is not the same as eliminating planned parenthood or abortion. Now I have no problem with PP getting taxpayer money, I just believe that it ought to get its taxpayer money directly from the taxpayer rather than laundering it through the govt. if it is so important and popular, it should have no problem getting enough funds. They may have to fire their lobbyists and hire fund raisers, however.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bob

      What the hell are you babbling about? Sanger thought this, they're currently doing this. Guess what, who cares what Sanger thought? It's irrelevant, a Red Herring, and useless. As for what you're saying PP is doing now, got any proof of that?

      October 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Bob

      You don't care that Planned Parenthood is founded on racism and aggression against the black race? So if the KKK decided to hire some doctors and start doing abortions, you'd give them government money too?

      October 31, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bob

      Purely for abortions? No because that's against federal law and isn't done with PP either. The origins of PP isn't as important as the services they currently provide.
      I notice two things from your post:
      1) You didn't give evidence for what I asked for
      2) I'm wondering if you're willing to hold churches responsible for the past.

      October 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  17. fact-checking

    Exodus 21:22-24 cited by the author as evidence that killing a fetus is not a capital offense:
    (English Standard Version) "(22) When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. (23) But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, (24) eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot..."

    So how exactly does that say killing a fetus is okay? My wife is pregnant, and I have already seen the ultrasounds that show the baby's hand and feet. I suppose this author is implying that "her children come out" means miscarriage, but even the KJV says "her fruit come out from her," but doesn't specifically say the fruit is dead. Couldn't this just as easily mean a pre-mature but viable birth? And "if there is harm" could appy to both mother and child, could it not? I'm not saying it definitely does, but this author is certainly taking a lot of liberty interpreting a scripture to suit his pre-formed opinion.

    Let's take another part of the same Bible out of context as this author did. In Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV) God says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." In Psalm 139:13, David says, "you knit me together in my mother’s womb." Neither of these alone can definitely say abortion is wrong, especially when someone who is pro-life (me) decides to take them out of context. I have my beliefs, you have yours. Just make sure you aren't justifying your beliefs on false assumptions by some two-bit journalistic hack who can't separate his own opinion from universal truth.

    Do you own thinking and deciding. And I will respect your decision even if we disagree. I doubt this guy would offer the same courtesy.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Adam

      What you are referring to is a block quote from Bruce Waltke, in a 1968 article in Christianity Today. His use of quotation marks means that, in fact, it was NOT the author making those statements.

      If you take umbrage with that particular exegesis, then please address them to professor Waltke of 44 years ago, thank you.

      Do your own reading...

      October 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • check facts

      Check again buddy. He was quoting somebody else

      October 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Oscar

      The author's point wasn't that he held a particular view – he was demonstrating that the evangelical community changed its perspective over time. The biblical citations came from an evangelical in the late 60's.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Sean

      Read the article again. The quoted piece were used by Christianity Today and Christian life to support their views on when life begins. Those were not the author's interpretations.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  18. Steve

    Next thing these religious nutcases will come up with is that life begins the moment you unzip your pants!

    October 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Dominick

      People have formed opinions based upon science, comprehensive thought and religious or moral principles. Your rudeness shows that your are incapable of participating in such a debate. That was a very immature statement.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • PaulB

      That's close to the Catholic viewpoint. With them, contraception is also wrong because it prevents conception, and the traditional stand was to have as many kids as possible. The bottom line is that most new Christians are simply born into the faith, so preventing abortion by their own people is just a means to keep their numbers up.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  19. david williams

    As our beloved Vice President would say, this is malarkey. Every culture in every age has condemned the destruction of life before birth, to some degree or other. Think of the Hippocratic oath (before the pro-aborts changed it). Of course human life begins at conception. There is no other event in gestation that could change the fetus from non-human to human, unless you accept the patent nonsense of the feminist claim that it is the "acceptance" of the mother that makes the child human.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race.

      1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      What part of our bodies being but just buildings doesn't one understand?

      October 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Spencer7171

      The point at which it becomes human is the point at which it's brain develops.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • PaulB

      david
      No other culture has had to deal with worldwide overpopulation. They all survived with the clear evolutionary moral that numbers meant security, and the Bible Hebrews clearly believed this. Children were a resource; a means to further the wealth of your family. We no longer live in a society that thinks this way.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @david williams

      Another **Pro-Forced Gestationer** I see. 8O

      Peace...

      October 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  20. ER

    Don't vote based opn religion. Please. Religion is a waste of time.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      Nothing beats praying to an invisible man when things need to get done.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • PaulB

      There are people who hope that things change for the better and there are those who work to make it so. Prayer by itself is indeed a waste of time.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Bob

      If I work every bit as hard as someone who does not pray, but I also pray, then I am clearly doing more to promote change than someone who is just working. You don't even ave to believe in God to believe that. Any psychologist will tell you that affirmation and visualization help people to channel even their own energy toward achievement of goals, and prayer is a practice that employs those things.

      If you work and don't pray, you are not really trying, just like if you pray and don't work. Doing both is what people with actual strength do.

      November 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.