Overview:

A provocative Christian tweet about the attack on Roe prompted a lot of reaction, pro and con. Let’s consider the Frankenstein monster that is Christianity × conservative politics.

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What does the public think about the recent rejection of Roe protections for abortion? My last article responded to a Christian tweet that made overblown claims about Christian generosity. Now I’d like to use that same tweet to sample public opinion. I read the several hundred replies, and several themes emerged.

The hypocrisy of Christianity and conservative politics

Here’s the tweet that started this.

Many are saying that now Roe is overturned Christians need to care for pregnant women, foster and adopt children, provide counseling, etc. In other words, they are saying that now Roe is overturned Christians need to keep doing all the stuff they have been doing all along.

Yes, Christians will keep doing all the stuff they have been doing all along, and that’s the problem. Christians will keep voting for conservatives to make sure that Uncle Sam never reduces the burden on pregnant women, whether that pregnancy is wanted or not. They’re determined to avoid policies like universal healthcare, affordable housing and daycare, free preschool and kindergarten, free lunch to needy public school students, paid parental leave, a serious effort to reduce gun violence, or any other policy where the state makes it easier to be a parent. These initiatives are all pro-life and pro-child, and conservatives who turn their backs on them are obviously not. “Pro-life” is a nice-sounding label, but that’s not an accurate description—they’re just anti-abortion.

(Audience participation time! Now that conservatives have torn down Roe protections, what will be their next goal? Will it be making the path easier for women to raise a child with new parent-friendly programs, or tearing down additional civil rights? Discuss.)

You say these policies would be too expensive? I think the results in much of Europe show that they are practical, but let’s imagine you’re right. Then call yourself pro-business or anti-tax or whatever, because you’re clearly not pro-life.

Another Supreme Court decision that showed Christians avoiding their social responsibilities was the 2014 Hobby Lobby decision. It allowed a corporation to opt out of regulations that offend its religious beliefs. That’s right, the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores now has religious beliefs, and as a Christian corporation, it didn’t like paying for contraceptive care for its employees. (This is more irony: reliable contraception would be an excellent way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, which would reduce the demand for abortion.)

Of course, any new pro-parent policy won’t fix the problem of a girl getting pregnant in high school or a woman who is pregnant following a rape, but this illustrates how unconcerned Christians often are about their own hypocrisy.

One final item to add to the Christian hypocrisy list is how a conservative church community treats an unmarried woman who’s pregnant. Given all their anti-abortion bombast, you’d think such a woman who carried her pregnancy to term would be a saint. But how many are instead shamed as sluts?

Assaults on crisis pregnancy centers

A crisis pregnancy center is an organization that tries to persuade or trick women with an unwanted pregnancy to not have an abortion. They can provide useful information or resources to someone who would like to keep the pregnancy, but to someone who wants an abortion, they sometimes lie about the dangers (in fact, an early abortion is much safer than a delivery) or pretend that they can arrange an abortion (they won’t).

There are about 2500 CPCs in the U.S., and more than a dozen have been vandalized since the leaked Supreme Court opinion two months ago. One popular slogan has been, “If abortions aren’t safe, you’re not either,” though I’ve only heard of property damage, not attacks on staff.

To the anti-abortion Christian, I say: I agree that this damage is wrong. Peaceful protests are fine, but violence is not the answer.

Yes, Christians will keep doing all the stuff they have been doing all along, and that’s the problem.

But you understand what drives the rage, right? CPCs often lie. Pregnant women come in, fooled by the signs in the window and seeking an abortion, and they find supportive staff eager to provide sonograms, nutrition advice, and future appointments. Their unstated goal is to keep the woman in the dark as they run out the clock to make her ineligible for an abortion.

Think of the stark warning label on a pack of cigarettes. Every CPC brochure or billboard should have an equivalent that makes clear that they don’t provide abortions. One hundred percent of women leaving a CPC after their first visit should be clear on this, if not from the large, unambiguous signs in the window, then from the clinician saying, “You realize you can’t get an abortion here, right?” in their first meeting.

To the anti-abortion Christian, I say: now it’s your turn. Can I get an Amen? Agree with me that if CPCs can’t do their work without lying, then they shouldn’t exist.

The Twitter conversation touched on several more points, to which I’ll respond next time.

The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing:
that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses
to morality and to truth in this country
if you will just get yourself called “reverend.”
— Christopher Hitchens, about Jerry Falwell

CROSS EXAMINED After graduating from MIT, Bob Seidensticker designed digital hardware, and he is a co-contributor to 14 software patents. For more than a decade, he has explored the debate between Christianity...