The "Original Sin" of the Religious Right - 2022-05-05
Though the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is not yet final, the pro-life movement has already begun to celebrate the outcome as a victory for religious advocacy. But morality of abortion aside, overturning Roe comes with heavy costs for the religious right. To put it in theological terms, the relationship between the religious right and abortion is stained by original sin.
There's a widespread but mistaken belief that the battle over abortion rights in America is fundamentally a conflict between religious conservative values and progressive ideals of gender equality. This misconception is bolstered by a persistent myth that the religious right was born out of Roe. As the story goes, citizens of faith who shared a commitment to the value of human life and dignity could no longer stand on the political sidelines, and came together in coalition, sparking a movement.
As Jerry Falwell, one of the movement's early leaders, recounted, "I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court's act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it." Powerhouse evangelical organizations like the Moral Majority were then supposedly catalyzed by the American moral descent epitomized in Roe, and thus emerged the religious right as we know it today.