Evangelicals: From ‘Mind their own Business’ to Activism

I don’t think opposition to abortion rights is ‘hating women’, but it is very true that the Evangelical Right, unlike the Catholics, came to its anti-abortion position rather late.  It was Francis Schaeffer, his son Frank, and the man who became Surgeon General under Ronald Reagan (i.e., C. Everett Koop), who turned evangelical opinion around in the late ’70s with a video series called Whatever Happened to the Human Race?  [The Schaeffers were trying to bring about broader thinking about bioethical issues on a broad front; in this, they did not succeed as well.]  At about the same time, under the ‘Christian President’ Jimmy Carter, the Internal Revenue Service began its attack on the growing Christian school movement by requiring the schools to prove their innocence of being ‘segregation academies’.  While some of these schools had gotten their start that way, in may ways the evangelicals were now repenting of that particular sin and moving away from it; and there has been, for more than 40 years, all too much “guilty until proven innocent” in civil rights law.  Prior to about 1978 the evangelicals, especially in the Christian school movement, really had wanted to “mind their own business” and not impose their standards on society, just as people are nagging at them now to do.  Or, they had had high hopes for Jimmy Carter as an ‘evangelical’ President.  The events of 1978, the IRS attack and the Schaeffer videos which revealed abortion as the taking of a human life, went a long way to convince evangelicals that they could not in fact safely “mind their own business.”

In Response: “Right-wing Christians didn’t always hate women” by Valerie Tarico at Salon.com

Recommended Video: How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

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