If you have been reading our blog, you know that fundie opposition to abortion was a “political put up job” that came about via a political meeting between extremist Republican Party leaders like Paul Weyrich and fundie church leaders in the late 1970s. In the years leading up to this famous, hidden-from-the-public meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention and no less a conservative religious leader than Dr. W.A. Criswell at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, had already approved abortion on religious grounds alone. Most people also do not know that the anti-abortion crowd was offered a nationwide deal whereby abortion would be legally limited only to situations like incest, rape, and protecting the life of the mother. The anti-abortion people turned down this offer on a golden platter, dug in their heels, and demanded zero abortions—all or nothing. They demanded all, and they got nothing. In doing so, they directly caused 57,000,000 abortions they could have stopped easy as pie. It so disgusted conservative Christian and U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop that he withdrew from the anti-abortion movement and would have nothing else to do with it.
The fundies fought against abortion at the federal level for decades and came up empty, largely because (with a few individual exceptions) the Republican Party at the federal level loves abortion just as much as the Democrats—and those the fundies accuse of being apostates and reprobates. Just in case you missed it, I actually watched the famous network television interview with George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush when the interviewing journalist asked them straight-up what they would do if an unmarried child of theirs got pregnant out of wedlock. They stated that they would recommend an abortion—right there on national network TV. My jaw dropped to the floor. That is when I began to realize that the upper crust Republicans in Washington, D.C. were just stringing the fundies along with lies about their anti-abortion stance to get their votes. You know. Find sneaky Republican ways to grab fundie votes and give the fundies nothing in return—all the while saying all national Republicans stand with the fundies against abortion.
Then one day, someone on the religious right had a great idea: “Let’s extract our anti-abortion efforts from the national level and concentrate them entirely on the state and local levels!!!” They figured it would be easier to manipulate the “local cracker” politicians who would be more susceptible to the in-your-face-all-day demands of the wild-eyed common people, who had been fed trumped-up anti-abortion propaganda by their churches for decades—thanks to Paul Weyrich and friends. They were right. The major strategy they sold to state/local politicians and put into effect was to “regulate abortion out of existence” under the lying masquerade of making abortion facilities safer for women. This was done by imposing health and safety standards so high that few, if any, abortion clinics would ever be able to meet them and still stay in business. A number of states (such as Texas) passed such laws, and abortion facilities began to shut down. Then the pro-abortion people sued the states, and these lawsuits made it all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Within the next three weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will make what is expected to be an Earth-shattering, watershed ruling (one way or another) in these state-level abortion cases. If they rule in favor of the states, the states will take that as a signal to regulate abortion out of existence. If they rule in favor of the pro-abortion plaintiffs, the state-level strategy to end abortion by extreme regulation will be dealt a probable death blow. With the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia gone from the High Court, the remaining eight justices must decide—and the conservatives do not hold an upper hand in this.
This U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which could come as early as this week, will be a watershed moment just as important as the famous ruling on gay marriage last summer. If this ruling goes against the anti-abortion faction in Fundieland, it will not be just another nail in the coffin of Christian fundamentalism in the United States. It will be a giant, ragged, rusty, iron spike driven right into the lid of the coffin and straight through the heart of militant Christian fundamentalism in this country. If you think the gay marriage ruling and transgender restrooms at Target Stores drove the fundies to anger, hopelessness, and despair, just wait until this abortion bomb hits. A ruling in favor of abortion in the states could be just as important as the Scopes Monkey Trial, and it could drive the fundies underground for another 50 years, like the monkey trial did in 1925. Just think about it: gay marriage, transgender restroom use, an Earth-shattering loss on abortion, Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the Democrats and Independents take back the U.S. Senate, and both work together to stack the U.S. Supreme Court with youthful, millennial-minded, progressive justices. It all reminds me of the Krystal hamburger commercial where Mrs. Dumpty is in mourning over the headstone and grave of her husband Humpty Dumpty.
Fundie Dumpty sat on a wall.
Fundie Dumpty had a great fall.
All the fundie preachers
And all their religious right creatures
Couldn’t put Fundie Dumpty back together again.
If this sequence of events does come to pass, I sincerely hope the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals will sit down and seriously begin asking themselves some questions they should have been asking more than 100 years ago. They might begin with these two questions:
(1) Maybe all those United Methodists are not apostate Christians. What if we fundies are the real apostates here?
(2) What if our long string of fundie failures dating back 100 years or more is actually God trying to tell us that we are not really on his side?