Five years ago I wrote a book entitled Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb where I asserted [among other things] that abortion was a “shiny red button” issue which Conservative Republicans would never actually overturn because it was too useful as a tool to mobilize Evangelical Christians to vote for their candidates in every election.
My argument was based on documented examples of how often Republican leaders had ample opportunity, and power, to overturn Roe v. Wade and made no such attempts to do so.
For example, I mentioned the following statistics:
Planned Parenthood started receiving funding in 1970 when Republican POTUS Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act, which had the support of both Democrats and Republicans.
In 1973 came the landmark case Roe v. Wade. There were 9 Supreme Court justices who ruled on that case: 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans.
It was passed by a 7-2 ruling. Both a Republican and a Democrat opposed.
That means 3 out of 4 justices voted in favor of Roe. vs Wade.
In 1992 there was the Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
Out of 9 justices, there was only one Democrat on the bench. They had an opportunity to overturn R v. W, but they didn’t.
Instead, they ruled reinforcing abortion as protected by the 14th Amendment.
In the 46 years since Roe vs. Wade, Republicans have had control of the Senate:
– 1981 to 1987
– 1995 to 2001
– 2003 to 2007
– 2015 to 2019
So far that’s a total of 20 years out of the 46 since R v. W became law.
Likewise in the 46 years since Roe v. Wade became law Republicans have controlled the House:
– 1995 to 2007
– 2011 to 2019
Again, out of 46 years since Roe v. Wade was decided Republicans have controlled the House for 20 of those years.
From 1995 to 2007 Republicans controlled both the House and Senate.
From 2001 until 2007, and then again 2017 to 2019 Republicans controlled the House, Senate and the Presidency.
Also from 2001 to 2007 on the Supreme Court nine out of the 11 justices who served during that time were Republican.
In other words: The greatest chance for Republicans to end legalized abortion was between 2001 and 2007 when they controlled the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court.
Not once did they de-fund Planned Parenthood, pass legislation to outlaw abortion, or overturn Roe v. Wade.
They could have but they didn’t. They had ample opportunity.
So, why didn’t they do something during all that time, and why now have they decided it’s time to act?
Well, I would suggest that it’s because they realize that they have found a greater source of power for mobilizing the Evangelical Christian voters in America. They no longer need abortion as a “shiny red button” to fire up their conservative base.
So, what is the new issue they’ve discovered to replace the abortion issue? Is it gay marriage? Is it gun rights?
No, I don’t think so. I think the answer is simply this: Donald Trump.
See, the cult of the former President has successfully taken control of enough pulpits, and denominations, and members in the pews that they no longer need to rely on one single issue to mobilize anyone to vote for their candidates or support their platform.
All they need is Trump.
What I believe we’ll start to see now is a further widening of the division within American culture over the next few years.
People are already fully immersed in their political tribalism today. Their ability to listen to anyone outside of their political or religious tribe is completely eroded.
As many have already noted, we should probably brace ourselves for even more aggressive moves toward an American Theocracy in the next few months.
This is exactly the sort of thing I warned everyone about in my book, Jesus Untangled. This was what I was hoping we could avoid.
There’s still hope, but only if we can help one another crucify our politics and disentangle ourselves from our political ideologies.
There is no “Them.” There is only “Us.”
If we don’t learn how to talk to one another outside of our artificial Red or Blue framework, there’s no hope for any of us.
Keith Giles is the author of the 7-part best-selling Jesus Un book series from Quoir Publishing. Keith is also the host of Second Cup with Keith [a new solo podcast available now on the Ethos Radio App, for Apple and Android and on Spotify; and the Heretic Happy Hour PodcastÂ [along with co-hosts Matthew Distefano, Dr. Katy Valentine, and Derrick Day], and the new Apostate’s Anonymous podcast with Matthew Distefano.