Abortion, Overturning Roe v. Wade, and Politics

Somehow I got signed up on a Newsweek subscribers-only mailing list even though I’ve never subscribed to Newsweek. (If someone subscribed to it for me, I’ve never gotten an issue!) Anyway, two significant articles contain the same point: Republicans are nervous about too large a victory on abortion restrictions. First, there’s Mississippi’s plan to outlaw abortion “except in cases of rape, incest or a life-threatening condition for the mother.” Whoa, hold on there, say the pro-life groups, like Pro-Life Mississippi. “‘At this point, it’s a little bit of a runaway train,’ says Terri Herring, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, who fears that the ban could backfire—and lead to a reaffirmation of Roe v. Wade.” Perhaps a valid fear. I’ve never been against incremental restrictions, because that’s simply the way politics works. On the other hand, if states like South Dakota and Mississippi can get laws passed, let’s do it and see how far we can go. If we’ve argued for years that most of America is pro-life to some degree or another, what are we afraid of?

The other article [note: one or both of the articles may require a subscription like I don’t have] is specifically on the GOP and their concern, or at least lack of outright support, for the South Dakota law. The author of the article closes with

After the Democrats enforced pro-choice orthodoxy at their 1984 convention in San Francisco, they were branded as “San Francisco Democrats,” code for culturally out of step with the mainstream. Republicans may not want to be called “South Dakota Republicans.”

Probably not. How should this issue, which I do not view as political although it has political implications, be decided? The temptation exists to call such politicians cowards and turncoats. Is their concern totally political, or does some vestige of morality still exist? How cynical shall we be about politicians who, by vote or party at least, support the issues we support?

I don’t know. But a victory is a victory, and I’m not afraid to claim it. (Of course, I’m not running for office either.)


Religion and Europe

Interesting story here from The Christian Science Monitor. The contrasting attitudes in the United States and Europe regarding religion and church attendance are telling.

My question is whether one state of affairs is clearly better than the other. The United States is very religious, and Christianity is the primary religion. Europe is very secularized (which is different than “secular”) and Islam is the only religion that seems to be growing. I am not for Islam gaining converts, but Europeans seem to have simply sloughed off that religious veneer that has been lamented for generations (see Kierkegaard). Americans largely still claim religious affiliation, but the predominant faith seems to be “Christian is as Christian does” and if I “do” good, then heaven’s waiting for me when I die. So, is it better to get rid of the false appearance of religiosity for the sake of honesty, or to continue on under the pretense of Christianity for the sake of soothing consciences (or whatever)?

On the other hand, I’d rather have someone living next to me who thinks she gets to heaven by good works than a nihilist who thinks it matters very little what he does. As far as the civil realm goes, there’s no question which is better. But if we are concerned with which state of affairs might cause Christian belief to truly flourish, the European one might hold some promise. Currently, though, the demographics don’t look so hot (see the map in the middle of the first page), especially in formerly Lutheran nations–Luther would not be surprised, I think. At one time, he suggested that if the Germans were not serious about the Gospel, it would move on. Time has unfortunately vindicated that prediction.

[Thanks to GFBA Rob for the link.]