When the religious right was pro-choice evangelicals applauded Roe v Wade

    By Rmuse | 8 June 2019
    Daily Kos

    Pro-life and anti-abortion activists converge in front of the Supreme Court. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

    Most American women are aware that there is a concerted Republican effort to eradicate their autonomy as free human beings; particularly to eliminate their right to self-determination regarding their own bodies.

    In fact, it is fair to say that according to a WSJ/NBC poll, most Americans are aware of, and oppose, the religious extremists’ crusade to delete women’s constitutional human right to: “Control one’s own body, assert bodily integrity and exercise self determination.” According to the poll:

    A record number of Americans (71 percent) are opposed to overturning the landmark Supreme Court ruling that recognized abortion as a woman’s constitutional right.

    That significant majority of Americans are cognizant that women are under assault and because they are not slaves to the heretical Christian “pro-life” crusade, they support all women’s right to control their own bodies. In spite of religious Republicans and evangelical extremists’ efforts, decent Americans are opposed to the current theocratic crusade to regulate and control women by overturning Roe v. Wade.

    Obviously, religious Republicans in thrall of the Vatican could not possibly care less what a significant percentage of the population wants – particularly when controlling women and abridging their constitutional freedoms is at stake and under “their” theocratic purview.

    Moreover, a recent Supreme Court ruling in lowly Kansas determined that the religious Republican assault on women’s bodily autonomy is abominable and strictly prohibited under the Constitution. That High Court ruled that women enjoy constitutional freedoms, and protection from religious Republican men, “to control their own bodies as a basic human right” – a right the Vatican has convinced Republicans and their evangelical extremist supporters is an attack on their perceived religious freedom to regulate and control women. (author bold)

    The recent spate of Republican states criminalizing women who choose a legal medical procedure is, of course, driven by evangelical extremists bound to obey the 1968 papal encyclical issued from the Vatican to help male religious leaders worldwide “regulate” women’s lives by controlling their bodies.

    Many will argue violently that evangelical fanatics hate Catholics in general, and the Vatican in particular, with honest-to-dog religious passion. However, although that may appear to be true, it does nothing to dispute the fact that the so-called “pro-life” movement is a Catholic construct being executed by religious Republican men.

    The religious right was not always opposed to a woman’s legal right to control their own bodies; that monstrous religious crusade began a full six years after the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Although evangelical fanatics will never admit it, they are attempting to enforce compliance of the Vatican’s 1968 papal encyclical on “regulating women,” and to provide patriarchal Republicans with emotion-driven electoral support founded on biblical heresy. The so-called pro-life movement’s raison d’être is in stark opposition to their god’s immutable utterance in the religious book they claim informs every aspect of their lives.

    According to the Christian’s “Holy Bible,” and the unerring word of the Christian’s almighty god, there is no “living being” until it takes “the breath of life.” That concept is repeated throughout the Christian bible. And, prior to the Heritage Foundation’s embrace of the Vatican encyclical on regulating women, one of the “most famous Christian fundamentalists of the 20th Century” followed the immutable word of his biblical god on when life begins. It was never at the moment of conception. It was and still is after a fetus leaves the womb and breathes of its own accord.

    The Southern Baptist Convention’s president at the time of the Roe ruling, Dallas First Baptist Church preacher W. A. Criswell, celebrated the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by taking the time to write that he was pleased.

    “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” (author bold)

    That assessment informs that even evangelical leaders were still reading their “Holy Bible” and attempting to follow the teachings of their “unerring god” prior to becoming agents of the Catholic Church in America.

    To be fair, at the time of the Roe decision there were a few, very few, evangelical extremists who only mildly criticized the ruling. For the most part “the overwhelming response was silence, even approval.” In particular, evangelical fundamentalists “applauded the decision as an appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, and between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior.” (author bold)

    W. Barry Garrett wrote in the Baptist Press that, “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.

    It is particularly noteworthy that nearly all evangelical fundamentalists regarded any and all opposition to Roe v. Wade a perverse Catholic issue; most were wholly indifferent to what choice a woman made concerning her own body.

    During a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and the so-called “flagship magazine” of the entire evangelical movement, Christianity Today “refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility as adequate justifications for ending a pregnancy.” (author bold)

    It took a full six years (1979) for the religious right leadership to abandon its pro-choice position and summarily obey the Vatican, the Heritage Foundation and its so-called “Moral Majorityfounder Paul Weyrich. The religious right extremist Weyrich convinced evangelical clergy to “seize on abortion as a Republican cause célèbre and rallying cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term.”


    The Christian opposition to President Carter was due to his threat to strip evangelicals’ tax exempt status if they continued actively supporting school segregation across the South. Sustaining and protecting segregated schools was a racial dog whistle and dependable electoral stratagem to elect Republicans in the former Confederacy.

    As anyone with a pulse understands, embracing the Vatican’s opposition to birth control and abortion had nothing to do with protecting zygotes, embryos, fetuses, religious liberty, Christianity or morality forty years ago any more than today. The religious right and Republican opposition to women’s autonomy was simply “a more palatable electoral issue than the religious right’s primary means of electing Republicans prior to 1979 – promising to protect white Christian students from attending desegregated schools.”

    Many Americans have known for decades that the religious Republicans, and their operatives in the extremist evangelical movement, were pro-choice according to their own “Holy Bible” and the immutable dictates of their unerring “almighty god” prior to becoming mindless lackeys for the Vatican. For dog’s sake, they hued closely to their own Christian bible and the secular U.S. Constitution for six years after the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down because it was an “appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, and between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior.” (author bold)

    All that changed when an evangelical extremist created the Moral Majority to implement the 1968 Vatican directive to the pope’s “Venerable brothers, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, the clergy and all men on the ‘regulation of birth.’” Since only women are capable of giving “birth,” the papal order was really a theocratic edict to religious men on the “regulation of women.” It is true that Republicans and evangelicals have always been drawn to any means of controlling and regulating women, but they resisted using Vatican heresy for five years prior to, and six years after, the Roe ruling.

    American women are in for a world of trouble. That trouble begins and ends with the absurd idea that a zygote is a living being worthy of constitutional protections at the expense of the rights of the woman carrying what the Christian’s unerring god says is not a living being until it breathes of its own accord. It is what Christian leaders believed and claimed was true until they became pawns of the Catholic Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Heritage Foundation; and while they still enjoyed taxpayer welfare for supporting school segregation.

    If America was still a representative democracy a minority of religious fanatics would not be capable of threatening women’s right to control their own bodies. It is acutely unforgivable that Americans have allowed the religious right to hold sway over the entire population, and if any woman thinks their right to use birth control is safe they are as stupid as evangelicals clinging to the bizarre notion that a zygote is a living being.

    That absurd idea issued from a Catholic pope in 1968 where he not only asserted that abortion is murder, but that any “unnatural” form of birth control is tantamount to killing a living being – a notion the conservative Supreme Court has ruled is a valid religious belief in its Hobby Lobby ruling and protected under the religious liberty clause in the First Amendment. It was a ruling that evangelical fundamentalists would vehemently rail against when they were pro-choice and applauding Roe v. Wade as “an appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, and between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior.”

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