Union Theological Seminary President Serene Jones recently argued that Texas’ law prohibiting most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected is “un-Christian.”
In a commentary published by Salon Tuesday, the head of the New York City-based progressive ecumenical institution argued that the heartbeat abortion ban, also known as Senate Bill 8, is “grounded in a fundamentally warped interpretation of Christianity.”
“As a Christian, a biblical scholar, and a mother, it is infuriating that lawmakers would twist and distort our sacred text to give the government the power to force women to carry a child to term,” wrote Jones.
“The Bible doesn’t say that abortion is a sin and has no explicit definition of when life begins. The reality is that abortion only became a rallying cry for conservative Christians — and particularly Evangelicals — when Republicans decided it was politically advantageous to do so.”
Jones further argued that “the Christian faith requires protecting the lives and well-being of women by allowing them reproductive freedom, not taking steps to eliminate it.”
“Texas’ law is particularly un-Christian,” she continued. “The bottom line is, no government should have the power to force women to carry a pregnancy to term. Any faith leaders who say otherwise are willfully mischaracterizing the teachings of their religions.”
The column was critiqued by Micaiah Bilger of LifeNews.com, who argued that it is Jones who is “twisting Christian teachings to claim that it’s acceptable to kill a unique, living unborn baby who is created in the image of God.”
“The Bible recognizes unborn babies as valuable human beings in Luke 1:41, Genesis 25:21-22, Psalm 22:10-11 and other passages,” wrote Bilger.
“Jesus placed great value on children when others in society did not in Matthew 19:14, and Proverbs 6:16-17 states that one of the things God hates most is the shedding of innocent blood.”
Bilger concluded that “opposition to abortion has never been about politics.”
“Christians and other pro-lifers fight against abortion because they know that abortion is a violent, oppressive injustice against a defenseless child in the womb and every unborn baby deserves a right to life,” Bilger contends.
Jones’ remarks come the week that the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over a legal challenge to Texas’ heartbeat abortion ban, which is being challenged by abortion providers and the Biden administration.
In April 2019, Jones garnered controversy when she claimed in an interview with The New York Times and on Twitter that Christians do not need to believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
“You can believe in resurrection without believing in a bodily resurrection: Faith is more than adherence to rigid dogma,” she tweeted at the time. “The truth about our lives—about our world—is God’s love and grace will always have the final word. Rejoice!”
In a column published by The Christian Post at the time, John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris responded to Jones’ claim by noting that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is fundamental to the Christian faith.
“The earliest witness of the church, the thing that altered their Jewish faith, the thing that they lived and died for, was that Jesus not only rose from the dead, but that if He did not, as Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15, ‘our faith is futile; you are still in your sins… (and) we are of all people most to be pitied,’” wrote Stonestreet and Morris.