In an article published today in The Washington Post, pro-abortion Reverends, Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers and Harry Knox, argue that people of faith shouldn’t oppose abortion. They also claim the there are only “a few strident voices” in the religious community that speak out against abortion.
For too long, the shouting of a few strident voices (emphasis mine) has closed off the space for nuanced and empathetic conversation. There is no monolithic religious opinion about contraception, abortion, or sex education. Decisions about reproduction are morally complex. And clergy do not always use Bible verses as political weapons — a misrepresentation too often promoted in the media. The wisdom found in our faith traditions is rich, nuanced, and rarely absolute. Here is the good news: Most people of faith in the United States support access to compassionate abortion care.
In other words, these reverends are saying that there isn’t a large body within the religious community that opposes abortion. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For starters, the Catholic Church, which is comprised of over 1.1 billion people, has always been adamantly pro-life.
To quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
”Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law… Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae, ‘by the very commission of the offense.”
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In 2013, Pope Francis reiterated the fact that the Catholic Church will never compromise on their opposition against abortion. He said, “I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or ‘modernizations’. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”
Additionally, according to a 2013 Washington Post/ABC Poll, 59% of born again evangelical Christians agree that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. And only eight percent of evangelical Protestants believe abortion should be legal in all cases.
Numerous Christian leaders have spoken out publically against abortion, such as Pastor Rick Warren; Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Dr. James Dobson; Former President of Focus on the Family; and Evangelist Billy Graham, to name a few.
Now, with that said, it’s important to mention that within mainstream Christian denominations, especially United Presbyterians, Methodists, and Episcopalians, there are some who support abortion rights. But the fact of the matter is, they are in the minority.
Furthermore, the writers of this very inaccurate article argue that the religious community should even support taxpayer funding of abortion.
“People cannot truly make the best decision for their lives and families if they are denied access to the health care that they need. That is why people of faith should speak out about discriminatory and harmful policies like the Hyde Amendment, which targets low-income people who utilize federal health programs for health coverage by withholding coverage for abortion care.
People of faith, as well as those with no religious affiliation, have widely varying opinions about moral questions. That’s okay. Freedom for differing views and beliefs is a core American value. The problem is when one particular religious viewpoint gets written into law, in direct violation of our national commitment to religious liberty. Every person in the United States should be able to make decisions according to their own conscience and faith tradition, especially in deeply private matters, such as accessing health care.”
This statement reveals how extreme Dr. Withers and Rev. Knox’s beliefs really are. Advocating for abortion is one thing; but asserting that people of faith should pay for it is another matter entirely. They want the religious community to support compassionate abortion care and fund it simply because everyone should have the right to their own beliefs. However, abortion is never “compassionate” because it always takes the life of an unborn baby and it always wounds those involved. And if these Reverends really supported religious liberty, they would realize that forcing people to pay for abortions against their religious convictions is a travesty in itself.
It sounds like what Dr. Withers and Rev. Knox really want is abortion-on-demand; paid for by our tax dollars; and backed by people of faith–how very frightening!