Rachel Held Evans 'Ever-Evolving' on Legalities of Abortion
"The business of the Church is God. She is purest when most engaged with God and she is astray just so far as she follows other interests, no matter how 'religious' or humanitarian they may be." –A.W. Tozer, The Set of the Sail
There is a particular corner of the Church that likes to pat one another on the back, congratulate themselves for being the more enlightened, compassionate, and "ever-evolving" members. They make it their business to appeal to the impulses of secular society, and yet their sanctuaries attract few in numbers and — though they hardly admit it — lack diversity and multiculturalism in their congregations. For the most part the Religious Left looks alike. Older, white, affluent, privileged, and politically liberal, proud of their charitable appearances and less concerned with evangelizing to lost souls. Mirrors of one another.
Rachel Held Evans, a liberal Christian author, fits snugly into this group. The former Evangelical, now Episcopalian recently boasted on Twitter that she is "pro-life by conviction, though my views on the legalities of abortion are complex, ever-evolving, & detailed elsewhere." Backlash ensued. So much so that Evans deleted her original Twitter thread, maintaining she is pro-life but the issue is "complex."
Try as she might to construct nuance, there is nothing inherently moral about the murder of innocent life. Evans would likely say she agrees with this statement. She does, after all, call herself, "pro-life." Her point here, Evans claims, is to point out a hypocrisy between the pro-life voters who supported the election of President Donald Trump and, as she accuses, "ignore or actively oppress communities of color" and so she finds it "hard to believe they want to save lives in those communities."
To avoid being accused of taking Evans' tweets out of context, I want to provide you with as much of her original thread as I can find online. Evans' original thread stated:
Thread: I'm pro-life by conviction, though my views on the legalities of abortion are complex, ever-evolving, & detailed elsewhere.
That said, today I've been wondering if most pro-lifers have considered what overturning Roe v. Wade would look like in actuality... First, it wouldn't end abortion, which would likely remain legal in several states.
Just like in the past, wealthy women would travel for abortions & poor women would resort to deadly Gosnell-style "back alley" clinics & home procedures....
...In addition, it's important to understand that the abortion rate is highest in poor communities of color. The rate among black women is almost 5x that of white women and the rate among Hispanic women more than double...
...(Racism, income inequality, lack of access to affordable healthcare & contraception all contribute to the disproportionate rates. Most women who get abortions are already mothers who do so because they feel they cannot afford more children)...
Evans hoped to appear humanitarian and engage and appease her Twitter base (many of whom I suspect support abortion) by discrediting the pro-life movement with a failed attempted to paint ethical inconsistencies. What she actually, albeit unintentionally did was admit that abortion giants target poor, minority communities. Something the pro-life movement has attempted to expose for years.
Here Evans was attempting to be profound by employing a tired, false notion that pro-lifers only care about unborn babies until they are born, then they could care less after birth, especially if they are born poor or people of color. Never mind that thousands of March for Life participants are young, Hispanic, African American, and Asian peaceful protestors demanding an end to abortion every January along the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Never mind that just two weeks ago several prominent pro-life leaders publicly condemned the separation of families at the border, lending to the pressure on the president to loosen his zero-tolerance position. One might even turn the argument around and ask if the Religious Left doesn't unconditionally fight for the life of innocent unborn, then how can we trust they care about the dignity of born human beings? But never mind all that, I guess.
It is disappointing to see a popular Christian figure call herself pro-life in one breath and then quickly pivot to bash the pro-life movement, which to me appeared to be her overall goal.
Some might say Evans misspoke. I beg to differ and find it difficult to come to her defense in this case.
She implicitly stated that if Roe v. Wade was overturned, then you would be saving the lives of children of color in poor communities. Exactly. That is exactly our goal.
To advocate for the dignity and personhood of unborn children of color who are targeted by the innately racist foundations of Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. To exhibit a Christian witness that loudly shouts the murder of helpless, innocent life made in the image of their Creator with dignity and worth is abhorrent.
As Evans herself points out, it is easy to call one's self "pro-life." Prove it. Cheer us on. Stand beside us as we work to expose the racist driving force behind abortion clinics. My humble advice to Evans is to stop mimicking the mirrors around herself and recognize that hypocrisies and inconsistencies exist among her own political and religious tribe because ultimately sin exists. (Good advice for us all, including myself.)
I pray Evans and American Religious Left leaders eventually step out of their respective cocoons. Step from behind their iPhone and laptop screens. If you are going to call yourselves pro-life, then be brave enough to show up at the March for Life and witness the growing numbers, diversity, and multiculturalism gathered in Washington D.C. each January to commemorate Roe v. Wade's hand in the death of over 60 million unborn lives. Be willing enough to call for an end to legislation that protects the destruction of innocent life.
Yes, posting a picture of themselves participating in the March for Life or decrying abortion with no strings attached might cause Religious Left leaders to lose out on some book sales, Twitter followers, and daily affirmation from the mirrors set around themselves. But it would also be taking a big step toward making their business God, not "other interests, no matter how 'religious' or humanitarian they may be" or, at the very least, appear so by the world's standards.
Originally posted at IRD's blog.