An Ohio United Methodist pastor recently criticized churches for working to protect unborn babies from abortion, claiming Christians’ opposition to abortion is overly “simplistic” and extreme.
Speaking with Kent Wired, David Palmer, the lead pastor of the Kent United Methodist Church in Ohio, argued that some Christian churches have become too involved in conservative political causes and their activism is damaging to Christianity.
“What I’ve seen in recent years in the Evangelical churches is some developments that are actually damaging to the propagation of the gospel,” Palmer said. “It’s gotten to the point where some churches and church leaders are undermining what we are trying to do, and unfortunately, they get all the publicity.”
As an example, he brought up the issue of abortion. Palmer told the news outlet that he believes Christians have become too extreme on abortion in recent years and their pro-life views are “simplistic.” He said the issue is not as black and white as many Christians now claim.
Here’s more from the interview:
Palmer, an ordained pastor for almost 44 years, said today’s American Church is starkly different from the American Church when he started his ministry in 1979. He said when he began his ministry, the overwhelming sentiment was if the Church were to get involved with any politics, it should be in the realm of the teachings of the Old Testament, primarily those pertaining to idolatry and justice. …
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Palmer suggested the reason behind this dramatic shift can be attributed to efforts by Baptist minister Reverend Jerry Falwell to unify the Christian right under one issue during the 1980s as a way to gain political power.
He also criticized conservative Christians for supporting President Donald Trump, “whose principles and values at bottom conflict with Christianity.”
“It’s very concerning, the direction the church is going, for me,” Palmer said. “Especially the ones labeled evangelical that have gone in the direction of aligning themselves with an extremist form of right-wing politics that has little to do with the gospel and is actually more of a way of promoting a set of traditional American values, not Christian values.”
But the sanctity of human life is a fundamental Christian value, and Christians always have opposed killing unborn babies in abortions. In America, Christians became more involved in abortion politics in the 1970s and ’80s because of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which forced every state to legalize abortion on demand up to viability. As a result, more than 63 million unborn babies were killed in legal abortions across the U.S.
The Bible teaches that every human life is valuable; it condemns the killing of innocent human beings and recognizes babies in the womb as unique, valuable individuals.
Many pastors and Christians believe the denomination to which Palmer belongs is going in the wrong direction by supporting abortions. In the past year, hundreds of churches have voted to leave the United Methodist Church, saying UMC leaders have been deviating from scripture on abortion, homosexuality and other issues.
Until 2016, the UMC was affiliated with the pro-abortion group Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and some of its pastors continue to support pro-abortion causes.
Last year, the United Methodist Women, an organization within the denomination, issued a statement criticizing the Texas heartbeat law, which has saved thousands of unborn babies from abortion. The group vowed to “pray” for abortions to become legal again in Texas. Some UMC pastors also “bless” new abortion facilities in special ceremonies.