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Southern Baptist Convention was pro-abort….. January 25, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, blogfoolery, contraception, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, Society, Tradition.

….for a while in the late 60s and 70s. Apparently, they didn’t get on board with their pro-life stance until about the time Reagan got elected, which implies it may have been as much a political move as anything?  This comes from no less a source than Dr. Albert Mohler, perhaps the premier theologian at the Baptist’s premiere seminary (h/t to commenter skeinster):

Two years before Roe, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution calling for “legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such circumstances as rape, incest, clear evidence of fetal abnormality, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

That resolution reveals two very important aspects of this story. First, that the language of “the emotional, mental, and physical life of the mother” was already in use and, second, that the convention called for the legalization of what would become abortion on demand. After Roe, the language about emotional and mental health would be used to allow virtually any abortion for any reason. [that’s right – “limitations” on abortion that include provisions for rape, incest, and the life/health of the mother, wind up being absolutely no limitation at all, because there is always some demonic doctor out there who will attest that a woman just absolutely MUST have an abortion for her “health,” even if there is no real health concern at all]
Did Southern Baptists have any idea what they were doing? The leadership of the denomination’s ethics agency was then pro-abortion, but the convention itself passed the resolution. Clearly, no pro-life consensus then prevailed among Southern Baptists.

While most evangelicals were either on the wrong side of the issue or politically disengaged, Roman Catholic leaders were on the front lines opposing abortion as a fundamental assault on human dignity. By the late 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church was fighting demands for the legalization of abortion nationally and state by state – opposition that preceded the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae.

By the time Roe was handed down, Catholic leaders had developed sophisticated arguments and growing organizations to fight for the pro-life cause. In 1967, six years before Roe, Catholics had led in the creation of the National Right to Life Committee. The Catholic tradition, drawn largely from the natural law, became the foundational intellectual contribution to the development of a united front against abortion. Nevertheless, for evangelicals to join the movement in a decisive way, arguments drawn directly from Scripture had to be formed and then preached from the pulpits of evangelical churches.
Those arguments captured the conscience of the evangelical movement and produced a seismic shift within the movement and within the political life of the nation. From the 1980 U. S. presidential election until the present, the pro-life movement has been populated, funded, and directed, for the most part, by evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders
Many evangelicals are involved in the baby-saving movement, and good for them. But the heart and soul of the movement is Catholic.
That link above is interesting, because the author at Shameless Popery brought up the Mohler quote in the context of a bit of blogfoolery going on between The Crescat, whom I have little use for, and an evangelical group called Abolish Human Abortion.  Crescat got mad when the Abolish Human Abortion types called the Church “satanic,” and said that we don’t use “same Gospel they do.”  They almost got it right – we don’t personally force our own interpretations on the Gospel, we adhere to the understanding of the Gospel handed down from the Apostles via Sacred Tradition under the constant guard of the Holy Spirit through the Magisterium of the Church.  But silly protestants say silly things.
Back to the Baptists, that rather enormous switch on abortion is pretty significant, isn’t it?  Standing for the sanctity of human life, or not, would seem to be a rather core doctrine.  If you can’t get that right, what else will you get wrong?  And if you’ll change that, what else will you change? I  note in passing that Herr Doktor Mohler has also been mincing around a bit of late with contraception – seeming to push for baptist embrace of the Catholic position, then backing off at the last moment, leaving on “out.”  Again, what for Catholics would constitute an infallible belief on a matter of faith and morals for protestants, isn’t.  It’s all re-definable, all fudgeable.
Which is what makes the strident stand of the Abolish Human Abortion crowd so funny.  So, they are a particular group of evangelicals who adhere to the Catholic position on abortion – good for them. But there are other evangelical groups who don’t.  And there are others who are in between.  Which is exactly the point – protestants, especially evangelical protestants, have no authority to guide them, which Authority Christ instituted in His Church when He made St. Peter the Prince of the Apostles and gave him both the Keys of the Kingdom, and the three-time affirmation of his special authority after Peter’s repentence of his  sin on Good Friday.  That is why there are literally thousands of evangelical sects, each claiming to have the “proper” understanding of Sacred Scripture.  When push comes to shove, these groups will disagree with each other and cast each other out, leaving them in the increasingly small group of the elect – their group, naturally.
As an aside, I wonder how many of these uber-faithful evangelicals in Abolish Human Abortion now use contraception, or did so with no moral compunction whatsoever?  We’ll never be rid of abortion, so long as contraceptive use remains widespread.
It’s a danger for Catholics, too, and it’s an easy one to fall into.  It’s so very comfortable to look down on the “other,” and hold that one’s small group is the only true faithful clinging to the truth. It’s pride.  Pride drove the original protestant revolt, and continues to drive the accelerating fragmentation of protestantism today.  There but for the Grace of God…….


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