I've been watching this phenomenon now for several years: Christians reassessing their engagement with politics and their views of candidates and the parties, nuancing their pro-life and pro-family views so that their no longer "just" about abortion and "gay marriage." Similiar nuancing seems to be at play when it comes to some basic Christian doctrines. According to a Pew report earlier this summer, Christians show an increasing reticence to say that Jesus is the Only Way to salvation:
The survey explored many aspects of American faith, but the headline statistic was this: “70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation say that many religions—not just their own—can lead to eternal life.” Among Protestant evangelicals surveyed, 57 percent agreed with that statement—including an astonishing 61 percent of Southern Baptists contacted. Solid majorities of several other conservative, evangelical denominations echoed the universalist response.
It is ironic that the Evangelical movement--started in the late 40s, with which I identified through the 1960s and early 70s--was in part started to separate itself from Fundamentalism, and it now is so far removed from much of what passed for Fundamentalism back then that, truthfully, many of the positions taken by Evangelicals in the 50s now pass for 21st-century Fundamentalism, and thus you see a clear doctrinal drift taking place at leading Evangelical institutions--if you examine and compare 1960 with 2008. Of course, my colleague Steven M. Hutchens has written at length and depth about this. If what gives you your identity is "not being confused with Fundamentalism," and Fundamentalism is defined as whatever society calls Fundamentalism, your identity will drift in order to keep up with the latest sensitivities. Witness the increasing openness to, first, premarital sex, divorce, even abortion, and now homosexuality activity in, first, the mainline, of course, but also in Evangelical places, where "dialogue" on such matters is a sign of the sophisticated and nuanced intellect.
But some things are not discussable, certainly among Christians. And who in the Christian academy would give me a serious hearing, offer their facilities, advertise the meeting, if I were to propose that we sit down and "dialogue" about slavery? The two-thousand-year Christian witness to the moral evil of abortion could not be clearer, but we should discuss it in the context of taxes, pollution, education, and, what else, the War in Iraq. That's nuancing.
I wrote about this several years ago, and I am not budging an inch. Roe v. Wade was conceived by a lie and by liars (ask Norma McCorvey, plaintiff, she'll tell you the truth), gestated in the womb of the court with more lies feeding it (such as the supposed lack of clarity in the Christian tradition on abortion or status) and by pleadings of ingnorance about early embryonic and fetal life, now shown by science to be human life, period, at every stage.
No nation can survive long with such a massive ill-conceived, wrong-in-every-way decision as Roe v. Wade lying like a tumor close to the heart of its precious constituional liberty, this in a republic whose very founding document proclaims a God-given "right to life." Roe v. Wade, like Dred Scott, and slavery, is a contradicting of the constitution of the organism in which it thrives; it lives and thrives like a cancer lives and thrives, killing its host through thte assertion of its own preproatives; it is toxic, bleeding its poisons into nearly every surrounding issue of life and morality. Roe v. Wade, like Dred Scott, is an affront to human dignity. It is an affront to every Down Symdrome boy and girl. It is an affront to every handicapped loved one. It is an affront to every man who died to defend liberty, it is an affront to those who spilled their blood over slavery and to those who were enslaved and their descendants. Roe v. Wade must be destroyed.
If I sound like a Fundamentalist on this issue, that's because I am. I stand with 2,000 years of Christian testimony on the matter, and urge moral abhorrence at the very thought of destroying the life in the womb. Christians--Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Evangelical, Fundamentalist--who think this matter can be nuanced to create a bridge between those who oppose any diminution of the power of Roe v. Wade and those who think it a cancerous lie are sadly mistaken.