By the Rev. David Wilson Rogers
The dramatic reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade and ruling allowing voluntary prayer at state functions such as football games by the Supreme Court have catastrophic implications that will affect Christianity in profoundly negative ways. The reason has little to do with actual abortions or the legitimacy of Christian prayer. Rather, Christianity has been resoundingly injured by the way in which the abortion and prayer debate has evolved over time and the way many Christians have presumptively celebrated these decisions.
Abortion has been cultivated within American Christianity as a polarizing, emotionally charged, all-or-nothing issue. For legitimate and understandable reasons, many believe that abortion is a heinous sin, tantamount to child sacrifice. Likewise, for legitimate and understandable reasons many see abortion as an essential aspect of women’s reproductive health and necessary as a health care option. Right or wrong, the option for abortion has been part of American law for nearly 50 years. Fundamentally, it is—and always has been—a political issue. The problem is that in the passionate absolutism of the hateful division regarding the matter, both sides of the argument have arrogantly chosen to fundamentally demonize the other side without any degree of Christian compassion, understanding, forgiveness or love. Rather than working as Christ’s ambassadors in the world, far too many people have become judgmental warriors determined to destroy a side they refuse to understand or revel in arrogant victory over the presumed enemy they want to see destroyed.
When it comes to prayer, the presumed victory allowing a coach the opportunity to lead public prayer on the football field, may seem like a victory for Christ to those who are short-sighted enough to believe that it gives license to promote Christian values in the schools, but in a nation that is founded on religious freedom, it also gives license for all religious traditions to freely, and perhaps simultaneously, evoke public displays of prayer on the local High School Football 50 yard line. How many Christians celebrating this Supreme Court ruling would be happy to see Christians, Muslims, Wiccans, Pagans, Satanists, Druids, and whomever else believed in a particular religious tradition other than Christianity all simultaneously gathering on their own little section of the center field to offer praise to their particular understanding of God?
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