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Trying to Persuade Pro-Life Evangelicals to Change Parties

by | Dec 20, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Two weeks from tomorrow, as every red blooded political junkie knows, is the date of the Iowa caucuses, the official kickoff of the process out of which will come the pro-life Republican challenger to pro-abortion President Barack Obama. As we approach January 3, know that we will read more and more about  in the Established Media how group “A” is supposedly rethinking its commitment to the pro-life cause—or ought to be.

Today’s supposed lapsers are evangelical Christians, whose support for pro-life Republicans has been crucial over the last many election cycles. Marcia Pally, the author of The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good, wrote a piece that appeared in today’s USA Today under the headline “Reduce abortions, realign U.S. politics.”

In it Ms. Pally tries to make the case not only that some “New Evangelicals” are jumping the pro-life ship but that others will join them as they delight in new “nuanced ideas” about how to reduce/end abortions. (You can find her piece at www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2011-12-18/abortion-religious-right-politics/52051806/1.)

The two-fold core of her argument is that (1) “The 2008 elections saw a five-point rise in Democratic votes and a remarkable 32% vote for Obama by white evangelicals younger than 30”; and (2) “Since then, evangelicals have been developing nuanced ideas about ending abortion that will appeal to Americans across the religious and political range.”

Let me make a two-fold response. First, in 2008 an awful lot of people, particularly under 30 but hardly exclusively, bought into the Obama myth. Whatever they wanted to see in him, they saw. The issue today is whether that represented anything long-standing either for Obama individually or Democrats in general. (Indeed, some were so giddy after the last presidential election they talked about a “Permanent Democratic Majority.”)

But Democrats were hammered in the 2010 off-year elections and Obama’s approval ratings are in the tank. Back to the drawing board.

Second, the “nuanced ideas” are either unabashedly pilfered from pro-lifers—the importance of helping women with crisis pregnancies—or are cover for the hoary pro-abortion myth that abortions go up under pro-life Republican presidents and down under pro-abortion Democrats. NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon has dispelled that myth in a particularly thoughtful and thorough manner. (See “Recycling the Myth that Abortions Decrease Under Pro-abortion Presidents.”)

Pally’s political point about the “New Evangelicals” is that if only her preferred menu of options were adopted, abortions would drop and consequently—oh, the joy–the “glue” or “cement” (the abortion issue) that bound Evangelicals to pro-life Republicans would be loosened. Who knows if they (meaning White Evangelicals, by the way) would stay with Republicans? Clearly Pally thinks/hopes they won’t.

Ms. Pally is, of course, free to proselytize for Evangelicals–new or old. She will troll among good-hearted people, casting her lines among those whom she obviously believes can be snookered into voting for pro-abortion Democrats under the guise that they will “reduce abortions” and pro-life Republicans won’t.

This, I believe, might fall under the category of new cloth attached to old wineskins.

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Categories: Politics Pro-Lifers