Abortion. Homosexuality. Capital punishment. These are the three highly controversial issues dealt with in the ninth chapter of my book Fed Up with Fundamentalism, which is currently being (slightly) revised and updated. And, yes, I am fed up with the predominant conservative evangelical views on all three of these highly contentious issues.
What about Abortion?
As I write in the ninth chapter of Fed Up . . ., back in 1986 I felt too intimidated to attend a political rally in Kansas City because of the protesters who had gathered outside the venue, yelling “Baby killer! Baby killer!” as the candidate who had come to speak was noted for her acceptance of abortion in some cases.
Obviously, these were anti-abortion (aka “pro-life”) people protesting the “pro-choice” (aka pro-abortion) position of Harriet Woods, the senatorial candidate and the sitting Lieutenant Governor—the first woman ever elected to statewide office in Missouri.
Following the long tradition of the Catholic Church, in recent decades most conservative evangelical Christians have adopted the view that human life begins at conception, so all abortions are the same as murder, for they kill human beings. That view was the basis for the raucous protests against Woods (1927~2007).
However, neither science nor the Bible unambiguously specifies when human life begins. Thus, most of us non-fundamentalist Christians hold that abortion, especially when done in the first trimester, should be legal, safe, and rare.
What about LBGTQ Equality?
The LGBTQ issue is the second explosive matter that partly explains the overwhelming support of DJT by conservative evangelicals from before his election in 2016 to the present. Although it is hard to know what DJT actually believes on any issue, it is clear that Clinton was/is not only “pro-choice” but also advocates LBGTQ equality.
Most conservative evangelical Christians “cherry-pick” Bible verses to strongly oppose equality for practicing homosexual persons or the right of gays/lesbians to marry.
Although the right to marry has been granted by the Supreme Court (in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision of 2015), many evangelicals continue to oppose same-sex marriage just as they still oppose abortion despite the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973.
I am fed up with the negative, judgmental, “holier-than-thou” attitude of most conservative evangelicals on this issue as well. Not only do they condemn even “monogamous” homosexual activity, they covertly support discrimination against and harassment of LGBTQ persons.
And now, legislation which seeks to protect gays/lesbians from mistreatment is seen by some evangelicals as curtailing their (the evangelicals’ own) religious freedom! Surely, though, religious freedom, which I continue to advocate strongly, can never be condoned if that “freedom” results in harming other people.
What about Capital Punishment?
It cannot be denied that the Old Testament not only condones capital punishment, it even commands it.
It is not surprising, therefore, that fundamentalists and most conservative evangelicals who view the Old and New Testaments as equally inspired and equally the inerrant Word of God, which is to be literally interpreted and followed, are also people who generally favor the use of capital punishment.
It seems disingenuous, though, to base the legitimacy, or the necessity, of capital punishment in contemporary society because of the teachings of the Bible but then completely disregard the many commands—such as for cursing parents (Ex. 21:17), profaning the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14), or committing adultery (Lev. 20:10)—for the use of capital punishment in the Old Testament.
Most of us Christians who are not, or no longer, fundamentalists or conservative evangelicals recognize the clear call for capital punishment for various crimes/”sins” in the Old Testament. However, based on the teachings of Jesus, we believe that Christians should oppose, rather than affirm, capital punishment.