Re: Back when a fetus was a fetus


I had no idea

Hasn't this been covered extensively on this very blog?

Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 7:20 AM
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eternal truths are provisional.
praise the load.

Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 8:18 AM
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Evangelicals used to be swing voters until the 1970s. Jimmy Carter came out of the liberal evangelical tradition (as did my dad, incidentally).

I think that one of the key turning points was the increasing focus on the apocalypse as an imminent event. Scared people become conservative. I remember as a kid being exposed to a bunch of literature on the apocalypse, with prophecy lined up against current events. The USSR was playing the role of Gog and Magog, and the US playing a role that somehow managed to be like a second Israel though the Israelism was never really made explicit. I get the impression that the apocalyptic focus was a relatively new thing at the time, maybe a few decades old.

I'm rambling and speculating based on experience rather than any real study of what all was really going on, so take it with a big grain of salt.

Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 8:27 AM
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1: Has it been? I had no idea either.

Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 8:34 AM
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I think it's been mentioned in passing, but not something that would be hard to have missed.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 8:36 AM
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3.2: One hypothesis I've seen put forward is that it filled the vacuum created by the sudden non-viability of open racism in fundamentalist churches.

Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 8:39 AM
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Rightwingers (though not the Catholics!) solved this problem by changing the Bible. Here's the Catholic version, the New American Bible:

22 When men have a fight and hurt a pregnant woman, so that she suffers a miscarriage, but no further injury, the guilty one shall be fined as much as the woman's husband demands of him, and he shall pay in the presence of the judges. 23 But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Well, you can see the problem. Not only is fetal life considered lesser in value than human life, it's judged to be less valuable than the life of a woman!

So the scholars got to work, and produced (for example) the World English Bible translation:

"If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.

See: "gives birth prematurely" rather than "miscarriage." All fixed! And the Bible remains infallible. Whew.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 8:55 AM
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7: I pointed this out to some fundamentalists 6 or 7 years ago and they got ENRAGED.

Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 8:59 AM
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My understanding is that you can re-translate the bible however you want, as long as you pray hard enough beforehand to ensure that you have God's blessing.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 9:08 AM
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6 - It was pretty explicitly a decision made to broaden the religious right's issue list, which at the time was heavily focussed on the right of Bob Jones and other evangelical schools to discriminate against blacks without consequence. There was, honest to God, a conference call where someone suggested it (previously it had been pretty much entirely a Catholic issue). Hang on, I'll find a citation.

Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 9:24 AM
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Randall Balmer, in the introduction to Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America, says that's what Paul Weyrich of the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation reported to him directly in 1990:

During the following break in the conference proceedings, I cornered Weyrich to make sure I had heard him correctly. He was adamant that, yes, the 1975 action by the IRS against Bob Jones University was responsible for the genesis of the Religious Right in the late 1970s. What about abortion? After mobilizing to defend Bob Jones University and its racially discriminatory policies, Weyrich said, these evangelical leaders held a conference call to discuss strategy. He recalled that someone suggested that they had the makings of a broader political movement--something that Weyrich had been pushing for all along--and asked what other issues they might address. Several callers made suggestions, and then, according to Weyrich, a voice on the end of one of the lines said, "How about abortion?" And that is how abortion was cobbled into the political agenda of the Religious Right.

Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 9:28 AM
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11: So why did it stick? How did it become the focus of their followers?

Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 9:32 AM
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12: Daniel Rodgers, Age of Fracture, roughly pages 164-185 discusses the 1970s and the resurgent Catholic Right and Protestant Right. Anybody remember Anita Bryant? Anti-feminism was a large part of it, and a Catholic Church that felt secure with a public role. Also early 80s encyclicals against poverty, nuclear war, Liberation Theology flowing up from Latin America

The effects of all these movements in feminist thought and politics flowed quickly into the larger culture. The first and most important reaction from morally conservative women was distress at the challenge that early 1970s feminism posed to older norms of womanhood. The Stop ERA movement was the initial collector of that cultural backlash

is how the section starts

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 10:15 AM
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12, 13: Yeah, my understanding, based on a classic book I haven't read, is that it really is/was about tying abortion (and later, contraception) into a particular conception of womanhood, motherhood, and family, a conception that has become seriously threatened by feminism and the changes in the economy since WW2.

Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 11:16 AM
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7/8: Along similar lines, a speaker in college explained why some particular gay-is-evil verse when properly translated does not really say homosexuality is a sin. This, together with a foreign language education and a passable level of intellectual curiosity struck the death blow to any lingering fundamentalist inklings I once had. As if I were ever going to learn ancient languages with the degree of sophistication and nuance it would take to sort out the myriad plausible-yet-irreconcilable interpretations available on any given issue!

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 1:45 PM
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a conception that has become seriously threatened by feminism

Hehe. It's a pun!

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 1:46 PM
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The other day I went to look at Mario Cupmo's 1984 convention speech. You could lift most of it now. Just put in "addressing climate change" for the stuff about ending the nuclear build up.

What was jarring to me and felt like it reflected a big change was the complaint that the Republicans were insufficiently supportive of Israel.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 6-12 5:05 PM
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