Eternal Verities, Not

Fascinating piece about how evangelical attitudes about abortion have changed dramatically since the 1960s, when Biblical passages were cited to deny that fetuses had souls and therefore abortions weren’t so bad.

What changed? Politics, the article explains, to the point where evangelicals now denounce not only abortion but contraception.

It’s a good example how of how what many people assume has always been true or proper (like, for example, a particular style of marriage), has in fact not.

Ask most (white) evangelicals about the morality of abortion these days, and you’re certain to hear about its absolute immorality in most, if not all, circumstances. But this is a recent innovation in the history of evangelical belief, a product of political forces as well as new theological insight. That’s not to say that it’s illegitimate, only that—like more liberal evangelicals and mainline Protestants—conservatives aren’t immune to the winds of the world around them. Their beliefs, like those of the people around them, change with time and circumstance.

If the Hobby Lobby fight over the contraception mandate is any indication, we’re seeing history repeat itself. There’s a good chance that, in 10 years, conservative evangelicals will hail their opposition to birth control as a “timeless biblical truth,” the traditional view of “traditional” Christians.

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