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Fri May 20, 2022, 01:11 PM

The Political Religions That Brought Down Roe


The Political Religions That Brought Down Roe
5/19/2022 by Frederick Clarkson


Abortion activists gather outside of the Basilica of St. Patricks Old Cathedral, a Catholic church in downtown Manhattan, on May 7, 2022, while anti-abortion activists and worshippers look on. The protests and counter-protests have been occurring weekly, but have been given added urgency by the recent leaked Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Since it has become clear that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, most of the commentary focused on the history of the law and the politics of the Supreme Court. But there is much more to the story. The Catholic Church has been the principal religious opponent to advances in birth control and abortion rights and access. But to achieve its goals, it needed allies in its long-term campaign of resistance. It took some time, but they found them. How conservative Christianity waged a half-century war on Roe will be the stuff of books and graduate theses. Here are some of the major themes that that they will contain.

Co-Belligerents

In the years before Roe, a tectonic cultural shift was well underway in the the bellwether institutions of mainline Protestantism, which had been at the center of American culture for centuries. Increasingly, they were joining most of Judaism to take pro-choice positions. For example, the United Church of Christ, the 20th century legacy of the Pilgrims (1971), The Episcopal Church (1967) and the Presbyterian Church (USA) (1970). At the time of the 1973 Roe decision, even the conservative Southern Baptist Convention was moderately pro-choice. In the 1980s, it was not uncommon to see a lone Catholic prelate, Cardinal John O’Connor of New York, sitting uncomfortably on a stage with evangelical anti-abortion leaders. But things began to change thanks to the work of conservative evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer, whose books, films and public campaigns helped galvanize much of evangelicalism into confrontation with the secular state on abortion. Schaeffer said that the situations that justified revolution against tyranny in the past are “exactly what we are facing today.” The whole structure of our society, he concluded, “is being attacked and destroyed.” But Schaeffer knew it would take an alliance with the Catholics to prevail, and so he crafted the idea of “co-belligerency,” which presumed it was necessary to set aside institutional imperatives and theological differences in order to cooperate on a shared political agenda.

. . . .
Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, who traveled the country organizing blockades of abortion clinics, said, “You have to read Schaeffer’s Christian Manifesto if you want to understand Operation Rescue.” After reading the contemporary theocratic thinkers known as Christian Reconstructionists, he wrote in his 1995 book, The Sword: The Blessing of Righteous Government and the Overthrow of Tyrants: “I gladly confess that I want to see civic law in America (and every nation) restored to and based on the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.” Terry’s theological evolution epitomizes the sea change in evangelical theology and politics that has guided the maturation of the Christian right political movement in moving beyond protest to contesting for political and governmental power.


. . . . .


Wielding Power

Donald Trump promised the Christian right that lifted him to power that he would appoint justices who would overturn Roe. He kept his word. But he was quietly guided to the right choices in his judicial nominations by a troika of the kinds of people who quietly make things happen in Washington. What was unusual about Trump’s troika was their relationships with each other and with the secretive, conservative Catholic organization, Opus Dei, where all three served on the board of its Washington headquarters, the Catholic Information Center (CIC)—just two blocks from The White House. Opus Dei, which means “the work of God” in Latin, is a conservative, arguably “fascistic” (according to author Craig Unger) international Catholic organization that was founded during the reign of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and became a global “personal prelature” by John Paul II.




Opus Dei’s Washington headquarters is the Catholic Information Center, or CIC. In October at its John Paul II New Evangelization Award Dinner, the organization will formally honor Leonard Leo—longtime president of the Federalist Society who led campaigns in support of Supreme Court nominees John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. (CIC)

. . . . .

https://msmagazine.com/2022/05/19/abortion-catholic-church-opus-dei-evangelical-christianity-religion-roe-v-wade/

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Fri May 20, 2022, 01:31 PM

1. The CIC mentioned in the article has been a significant force in politics for some time.

There was a scandal a few years ago involving the rector of the CIC, Fr. C. John McCloskey, who was removed from his position by Opus Dei. He was responsible for the very public conversion of a lot of neocon and far-right figures: Robert Novak, Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Robert Bork, and others I can't recall.

McCloskey was also one of the "stars" (gag) on the execrable EWTN Catholic network. He had a regular show focused on Catholic writers. Nearly all of them were the typical sort of authors supported by "think" tank bulk buyers with which DUers are familiar.

By the way, the CIC is on K Street, a very expensive place to be, and an area better known for white-shoe law firms and lobbying groups.

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Response to keep_left (Reply #1)

Fri May 20, 2022, 01:33 PM

2. Thank you very much for this reminder.

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Response to keep_left (Reply #1)

Fri May 20, 2022, 01:40 PM

6. Thanks for detailing all those "converts" of wingnuts/spooks. I've been referencing that wave

when I bring up INGRAHAM and NOVAKula and the Spook/FBI community, but didn't associate the Grinch and BORK in it.

I put "converts" in quotes because I don't see a shred of human kindness that implies true spirituality.






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Response to UTUSN (Reply #6)

Fri May 20, 2022, 02:01 PM

8. Yes, I remember you going after Ingraham, especially for her ostentatiously displayed...

...crucifix from the Little Sisters of the Poor (IIRC). Her attitude and speech certainly don't show any evidence for her Catholic beliefs.

Ironically, the extremist alt-right radtrads absolutely hate the EWTN and Opus Dei crowd for being...too liberal. They also hate that about 95% of them--especially the ones on EWTN--are all converts. It doesn't help that the EWTN "stars" can't ever seem to leave their Protestantism behind.

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Response to keep_left (Reply #8)

Fri May 20, 2022, 02:13 PM

9. Wow, I am truly humbled that you/anybody paid attention to any post of mine!

Well, Catholicism ain't exactly innocent in terms of little things like Crusades, Inquisition, criminal exploitation, et al., so is not interchangeable with "spirituality," although some parts of it can be.

But, really, *thank you*!






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Response to niyad (Original post)

Fri May 20, 2022, 01:38 PM

3. Throw these medieval lunatics out in the woods, take away their 21st century technology

take away all books but the bible, and see how they do living in the 11th century.

Until they do that, they can all eff off.

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Response to lindysalsagal (Reply #3)

Fri May 20, 2022, 01:40 PM

5. Agree completely.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Fri May 20, 2022, 01:39 PM

4. KnR

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Response to Hekate (Reply #4)

Fri May 20, 2022, 01:40 PM

7. Thank you.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Fri May 20, 2022, 02:20 PM

10. K&R

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