Regrets Of An Anti-Abortion Activist

I’ve been thinking for a while that the Trump presidency will be the final death of Evangelical Christianity as we know it. I’ve said for years that politics corrupts religion, and Evangelicals’ gross distortion of Scripture to match its politics has resulted in some truly hilarious moments. Anyone remember Andy Schlafly’s “Conservative Bible Project”? Or Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips’ wish to disband the United Methodist Church, a denomination with some 12 million members?

Anyway, I stumbled across this fascinating interview with Evangelical minister Rob Schenck, “once a militant leader of the anti-abortion movement, blockading access to clinics to prevent doctors and patients from entering,” who now disavows his militancy and believes abortion should be a personal choice.

It’s a fascinating interview with lots of good insight. One of the most pointed reflections is how those involved in movements like this lose sight of the mission’s original goal:

This became more about us, about me, about our need to win, to win the argument, to win on legislation, to win in the courts.

And, I’d add, the need to “win” some relevancy in an increasingly secular culture.

Of course, the pro-choice movement has been saying this forever. If you really care about stopping abortion, then you know legally banning abortion doesn’t do that. Instead, you will embrace policies that support women and families. You will favor policies like universal healthcare, paid family leave, affordable day care, etc. Because the problem is that abortion is an economic issue, not a moral one. Anti-choicers have had this one wrong forever. They think it’s about sluts wanting to have sex without consequences.

Being so “pro-life” that you murder abortion providers is the gross, inevitable conclusion to this distorted view. Pastor Schenck says,

I will tell you that my acceptance of that responsibility had to come only after a long period of reflective prayer, of listening deeply to those who were gravely affected by those murders, in therapy with my own — I will be careful to say — Christian therapist, who helped me come to terms with what really happened and how I may have contributed to those acts of violence through my rhetoric, and eventually in a confrontation, a very loving one but nonetheless an encounter, a very strong, very powerful encounter, with the relative of one of the doctors shot and stabbed. … And it was … actually at a Passover Seder table when I was confronted very gently and very lovingly by a relative who happened to be a rabbi of that one abortion provider. In that moment, I realized my own culpability in those in those terrible, terrible events.

BTW, this is the second time I’ve written about Rob Schenck. The first time was when he was opposing Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court because, of course, Obama. I feel like we’ve come full circle.


Filed under abortion, religion, religious right, reproductive rights

12 responses to “Regrets Of An Anti-Abortion Activist

  1. democommie

    I’ve read about Schenk on a couple of Hemant’s post over @ Friendly Atheist and I think he needs to stop walking it back and RUN the fuck away from that nonsense–having said that, “Yes” it is an improvement.

    I am nearly incandenscently enraged over what those preening bastards in D.C. and increasingly at the levels below are doing to our nation. Lincoln should have strung up every officer of the CSA who refused to take an, “Upon pain of death”, oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Johnson should have forced the former CSA to fall in line with threat of force. This should never have been allowed to simmer for the last 150+ years.

    • themadkansan

      Lincoln should have let Sherman finish what he started. Burn that shit to the waterline and start over.
      (no, I am =not= very accomodating of things these days – let the Second Civil War begin, while we still have something to rebuild…)

  2. Katydid

    S.B. I believe Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are on the way out–despite their insane super-breeding programs that render women nothing more than a uterus on legs–but not because of Trump. The fundagelicals live their lives in a state of us-vs-them tribalism, persecution complex, and cognitive dissonance. They cling to Trump because anyone with two brain cells is appalled by Trump, and that’s that. Nothing you can say or show them will make the least bit of difference because they’ve adopted Trump as one of their tribe, despite all the evidence that he’s just using them.

    • democommie

      Dear Katydid:

      I miss all people of quality who I haven’t seen for a while. Please tell me how I might enjoy more of your commentary. IOW, whose shit do I have to fuck up to get you back in my feed more frequently. Oh, yeah, in HIS name!

      • Katydid

        Hey, Demo! I feel the same way about you! Was glad to visit here on the off chance of seeing new posts and seeing you comment!
        I can’t even read G&T anymore; his new layout borks my browser and turning off all the ad-and-garbage filters just for that site and turning them back on when I leave is too much work.
        I love Southern Beale! We need to continue to visit here to comment on what she has to say.

  3. democommie

    Oh, yes. And bring travellers from other outposts of reality.

    • Which if you read the interview, you’d see Pastor Schenck says he also heard, but they were very rare. Far more common are the other variety.

    • Katydid

      We have copious evidence that those claiming to be “pro-life” are not, indeed, pro life at all. If they were, they’d be focusing their energy and time on handing out contraception (including condoms) and promoting medically-correct sex education. They would be ensuring pregnant women got good medical care, a safe place to life, and necessary medical care. They certainly wouldn’t be allowing 2-year-olds to be ripped out of their parents’ arms as the parents were pleading for asylum in the USA. They would be denouncing Trump for the conditions in which these infants and toddlers are being kept–filthy and lice-ridden in cages on the floor. They would not be insisting that women be forced to arrange funerals and burials for miscarriages even in the earliest days.

      But they’re not doing any of these things because it’s not about abortion at all. It’s about terrorizing women.

      P.S. Yeah, Demo, how you been, man?