The Birth of Pro-life
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08-01-2010, 07:56 PM
The Birth of Pro-life
The 1970's seemed to awaken a whole cadre of new Christian fundamentalist idealism that ranged from public anti-homosexual bias to the new crusade for religious home schooling. And why wouldn't it. The sexual revolution was in full swing-- the women's liberation movement had gained irreversible traction, and post sixties liberalism became as commercially viable as any previous cultural phenomenon. Changing sexual mores ,widespread use of contraception, and the the explosion of alternative belief systems made the ground fertile for a new Christian fundamentalist revolution. And one Christian leader was right in place to ride the crest of this wave right into main stream America-- this was Francis Schaeffer.

Schaeffer had spent the mid nineteen forties thru the sixties running a Christian commune
outside of Geneva Switzerland which attracted all sorts of religious refugees ranging from mixed race married couples, to unwed women with children, to ostracized homosexuals, to just the run of the mill Jesus worshipping peace lovers. In the 1960's his writing attracted such fans as Jimmy Paige from the rock band Led Zeppelin and decades later Bono from U2. Even such counter culture gurus as Timothy Leary made a pilgrimage to vacillate in the free spirited existentialist sanctuary. Schaeffer wrote, "The hippies of the sixties did understand something. They were right in fighting the plastic culture, and the church should have been fighting it too."

So what happened in the early seventies that turned the tide for this burgeoning new tolerance and open-mindedness. Well I heard Francis Schaeffer's
son Frank Schaeffer tell the story on NPR back in 2008 after he had written a book describing that era. He told the account of when he was seventeen in the early seventies and got his got his girlfriend pregnant. He said it was the biggest fight he and his father had ever gotten into. The elder Schaeffer had wanted his son to provide an abortion for the young girlfriend but Frank Schaeffer, being young and almost militantly idealistic argued that it wasn't just a sin to do this, but it was murder. After a falling out from this incident the now changed Schaeffer senior adopted his son's view and proceeded to make that part of his mission as well.

After The Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade in 1973, Francis Schaeffer apparently snapped. He published a couple of books that compared abortion to "infanticide". It wasn't until 1979 when he had a meeting with Jerry Falwell that much came of this new Christian ethic. Falwell had just gotten his "Moral Majority" up and running and was looking for issues that would help mobilize his base. As the membership of this new organization began to swell, it was evident that this would be a hugely successful cultural movement with all kinds of political implications. From the 1980's on, this has been the single most divisive campaign issue that this country has known since the emancipation of slaves in the 1800s.

Of course a host of other issues have been affected by this movement that include the churches opposition to contraception and planned parenthood, to the strangling of scientific study in the field of embryonic stem cell research. Millions of people have made this the single issue that determined the election of George W. Bush in 2001 who banned government funding for new stem cell research.
Since then, science has had a remarkable set back and is only now gaining back the ground that has been lost from this tragic, archaic agenda.

Francis Schaeffer finally died in 1984, but not before he saw the full extent of the fury he had helped to unleash. He felt regretful that he was instrumental in creating a political monster that gave rise to so much extreme anger and vitriol.
And Frank Schaeffer, in his NPR interview, told how he had now joined a Greek orthodox ministry and was putting his support behind Barrack Obama in the 2008
campaign. The lesson here is "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it."
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09-01-2010, 12:20 AM
RE: The Birth of Pro-life
To follow up a little, I will say both Schaeffers probably didn't realize the kind of direction that the new fundamentalists were headed. All his life Francis Schaeffer had been very accepting of the differences between people who were trying to find peace with religion. He didn't have the hate agenda like the new breed that had come along. In fact one meeting that they had with Falwell, opened up their eyes quite a bit. Frank Schaeffer recounts Falwell stating that if his dogs acted the way homosexuals did, they would be taken out and shot. The younger Schaeffer said he looked at Falwells face for any sign that he was joking and was surprised to see none at all. When they left his office the elder Schaeffer turned to his son and said something to the effect of "that man is a truly disgusting ass". Not much could be done though, they had already passed on the torch.
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14-04-2010, 04:15 AM
RE: The Birth of Pro-life
Much of the pro-life movement in the United States and around the world finds support in the Catholic Church, evangelical protestant denominations, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). However, the pro-life teachings of these denominations vary considerably. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Catholic Church consider abortion to be immoral in all cases, but permit acts which indirectly result in the death of the fetus in the case where the mother's life is threatened.

The National Association of Evangelicals and the LDS Church oppose abortion on demand, but consider abortion allowable in cases with clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, dire threat to the life/physical health of the pregnant woman, or when a pregnancy results from rape or incest. The Southern Baptist Convention believes that abortion is allowable only in cases where there is a direct threat to the life of the woman.
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