The Trump administration prides itself on their "pro-life" stance, yet the women jailed in immigration concentration camps have been denied adequate medical care; some even causing miscarriages. With the debate over a Supreme Court Justice who believes in precedent or activist judges creating new law, issues of women being denied medical care because of who they are are not pro-life. With this lack of compassion in mind, I wanted to take a brief look at the history of the pro-life political movement.
Contrary to the current framing, the religious right didn't form from the Row V. Wade landmark decision, which legalized abortion. It was far less savvy than sticking up for life. The Religious Right's original mission: segregation. White evangelicals fought desegregation.
According to Slate: "It was Green v. Kennedy, a 1970 decision stripping tax-exempt status from "segregation academies"—private Christian schools that were set up in response to Brown v. Board of Education, where the practice of barring black students continued."
The political evangelical Christian position on abortion is roughly 40-years old. Before the abortion debate, the focus was on school segregation and racism. In the late 1970s, being openly racist turned some people off - thus a new culture war began against abortion, homosexuals & gun rights.
Evangelical political figures viewed the pro-life movement as something people could get behind and get behind it they did. In fact, abortion is for some Christians a number one voting issue. Regardless of the candidate, if pro-life, the Republican candidate has their vote.
Many people also consider religious liberty a top priority; however, that was not always the case. It wasn't until the religious right took over conservative politics that the issue of religious liberty became a voting issue. Until the 20th century, the elites discussed religious freedom, not the average congregant. Religious right leaders realized scaring voters & pushing false narratives worked best on naive Christians. The Christians who didn't pay attention to politics or even know what a candidate believed so-long as they hated the people powerful religious right leaders told them to hate, evangelicals supported them, which is how Donald Trump happened. Donald Trump is not the problem; he is a symptom of the problem. 40-years of culture wars created a monster.
As late as 1979, the Baptist Joint Committee argued before a federal court that the Hyde Amendment, which limited federal dollars used for abortion, was unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Claus by choosing the Catholic faith over others.
In essence, conservative Christians turned from a moral stance to a biblical literalist one, which fights against its threat, liberalism. Conservative Christians now struggle for radical free speech & attack anyone who doesn't agree with them as an enemy. Christianity used to be reasoned. But the religious right has enjoyed decades of deception. From Christian television shows to pushing candidates that have very little in common with the average Christian. The individual morality of a Christian has shifted to a mob of morality police. The same 'collectivism' the right charges the left, is a tactic of the right.
Be it the "silent minority" to the "moral majority," the religious right has become a powerhouse with large donors to drive their movement. Billionaire donors realized that supporting conservative pastors pays off by election time. Congregations are told to vote a certain way and for specific candidates.
Over the past 40-years, the pro-life movement has become more supportive of freedom of speech. They oppose the separation of church and state. Also, if you wonder why conservative Christians oppose the Affordable Care Act or natural insurance, it's been beaten into their heads for decades. Any form of what they see as "state health care" goes against billionaire's pocketbooks; so pastors cherry pick verses and regurgitate sermons opposing health care. Unless you can afford insurance, you don't deserve it. How does this idea appeal to the pro-life movement? The same way they justify the death penalty corresponds with their belief in individualist health care. Afford it or die.
Don't think for a second conservative Christians can't organize and vote. As we saw in the 2016 presidential election, 80% of white evangelical Christians voted for an admitted sexual predator, racist & unrepentant bigot. The people who shout "liberalism is a mental disorder," don't even realize how the religious right uses them as pawns. Most remain loyal to the Republican party. Some try to remain purist saying "I don't subscribe to either party," but they remain supporters of Donald Trump.