Churches Move Cautiously on Abortion, Calling for Post-Roe Calm
According tho the Wall Street Journal, on the first Sunday after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, clergy members treaded carefully in discussing abortion, and they called for respectful debate on an issue that divides many congregations.
Mr. Stanley told parishioners that he had strong personal feelings about the issue but did not elaborate.
Priests at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C., did not mention the court’s decision during two Masses on Sunday morning. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a member of the church and joined the majority in ruling that there is no constitutional right to abortion.
Worshipers stood and applauded the ruling at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, which claims 49,000 members across three campuses.
Dr. Graham, a member of former President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board, thanked Trump for appointing three Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. Dr. Graham believes that church members should work to oppose abortion at the state and local levels.
Some churches and clergy had called for the upholding of Roe v. Wade and spoke out on Sunday morning. The priest at one Episcopal church in the Washington area read a statement from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who criticized the decision as harmful to women.
Some congregants felt fear or stress, according to Lauren Holtzblatt, co-senior rabbi of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., especially given Jewish precepts that prioritize a pregnant woman’s health over that of her fetus.
Churches and other Christian organizations opposed to abortion played a large role in the decades-long battle to overturn Roe v. Wade, and some are gearing up to continue advocating for abortion restrictions at the state and local levels.
The Southern Baptist Convention, one of the country’s largest Protestant denominations, announced plans to seek a ban on most abortions while also supporting crisis pregnancy centers, foster care, and adoption agencies.
Nonetheless, many congregations are divided on various aspects of the debate. Parishioner Jim Cruller, a commercial real-estate agent who was baptized and married in the church, told the Washington Post that he disagreed with the court’s rejection of Roe v. Wade.
Ginienne Santoro, a risk-management consultant, said she supported the Roman Catholic Church’s anti-abortion stance, even though it is unpopular in liberal areas like Washington.
Majorities of U.S. Christians across several categories, including white evangelical Protestants, Black Protestants, and Catholics, report abortion positions that fall somewhere between absolute prohibition and unrestricted access, according to a March Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults.
Almost a quarter of white evangelical Protestants in Pew’s survey said abortion should be mostly or always legal, while 53 percent said it should be mostly illegal but allowed in some circumstances. According to Pew, roughly two-thirds of Black Protestants believe abortion should be mostly or always legal.
In general, Christians in the survey were more likely to support legal abortion when a pregnancy is the result of rape or poses a health risk to a woman.
According to Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a historian who studies religion and politics at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., Christians who oppose abortion aren’t necessarily prepared for the post-Roe world.