[Perlstein] Fascinating to read the Southern Baptist press on Roe v. Wade from the time, giving lie to their claim that the decision was what politicized Evangelicals (it was actually their racist "Christian schools" losing their tax-free status...)Rick links to this post, "Baptist Press Initial Reporting on Roe v. Wade" from May 6, 2010. I found a PDF of the Baptist Press News Analysis of January 31, 1973 in which one finds these amazing remarks:
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision that overturned a Texas law which denied a woman the right of abortion except to save her life, has advanced the cause of religious liberty, human equality and justice. At the same time ‘the court struck down a Georgia law that imposed unconstitutional procedures, in getting medical approval for an abortion…
The two decisions raise numerous other questions which Baptists and others should seek to understand. Among them:
Question: Was this a Warren type or “liberal” Supreme Court that rendered the decision?
Answer: No. This was a “strict constructionist” court, most of whose members have been appointed by President Nixon.
Question: Did the Supreme Court violate religious propriety by its abortion decision?
Answer: The Roman Catholic hierarchy insists that the Supreme Court blundered by making an immoral, anti-religious and unjustified decision. It has vowed to continue the fight against relaxed abortion laws.
However, most other religious bodies and leaders, who have expressed themselves, approve the decision. Social, welfare and civil rights workers hailed the decision with enthusiasm.
The Supreme Court itself recognized “the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy. It said, however, that “we need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus,” the court continued, “the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.
Thus, it appears to be the view of the court that it decided a constitutional question without attempting answers to the medical, philosophical or theological problems in abortion.
Question: What is the Southern Baptist position on abortion?
Answer: There is no official Southern Baptist position on abortion, or any other such question. Among 12 million Southern Baptists, there are probably 12 million different opinions.