"Pro-Choice Clinic Escort" by Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0

Can the “religious left” save abortion rights from Republican hypocrisy?

Jun 18, 2020

By Paul Roseberg

Donald Trump’s upside-down Bible photo-op at St. John’s Church has led to unprecedented blowback from retired military generals, culminating in a mea culpa from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But the religious pushback was similarly sharp, starting with the Rev. Gini Gerbasi, an Episcopal priest who was among those “literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades,” as she described on Facebook — an extraordinary use of state power to crush religious liberty. A bevy of leaders from the Episcopal Church spoke out forcefully, soon joined by CatholicsLutherans and others, including some evangelicals.

But as McKay Coppins writes at The Atlantic, “most white conservative Christians don’t want piety from this president; they want power.” In particular, they want the power of his judicial appointments, with the goal of overturning Roe v. Wade, writing their minority views into law for generations to come, even as their share of the population (though not the electorate) plummets. As noted in a forthcoming report from Political Research Associates, support for legal abortion is at a 25-year high.

At the same time, the main voting bloc opposed to legal abortion — white evangelical Protestants — is shrinking as a share of the population, even as it holds steady as a share of the electorate.

There could not be a more clear-cut example of anti-democratic minority rule than the multi-decade process of eroding abortion access, with ultimate goal of overturning Roe v. Wade.

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