Recently I’ve heard some talk comparing and contrasting the anti-abortion and anti-homosexual movements. As I understand it, some people at least feel that the anti-abortion movement has quietly been gaining ground, while the anti-homosexual movement has very quickly lost a lot of support. People have been asking “Why is this?” and sometimes “What can the anti-homosexual movement learn from the anti-abortion movement?”
I get somewhat frustrated when I’ve heard people involved in politics and elections analyze them only in terms of how they prepared for and managed the election. It makes it sound like it’s all a game, with the winner determined by who prepared their team better and who had a better game plan. Sorely missing from these discussions is any mention of the substance of the party’s platform, as though that doesn’t make any difference.
The same thing frustrates me about the anti-abortion / anti-homosexuality discussion. It’s almost like people think you can make something good and true just by putting the right spin on it. But I believe it is the substance that is really make a difference in these issues.
As I understand it, those against the homosexual movement have tried to support and defend a viewpoint somewhere along a spectrum. On the far end some hold that homosexuals are perverted, depraved people, somewhere on the level of thiefs, rapists, and child molesters. Those less extreme hold that homosexuality is immoral (based on the Bible), and therefore must be a choice which people need to simply choose to quit.
The problem with these viewpoints is that they just haven’t seemed to line up with reality. I think this is the real reason the anti-homosexual movement is losing. An overwhelming number of stories from homosexuals have revealed that the vast majority of them are otherwise normal, decent people. Some are even devout Christians. Many have honestly desired and even tried to be “straight” but to no avail.
There doesn’t seem to be any big, dark homosexual conspiracy that I see. (Some homosexual want to flaunt their sexuality publicly; this may not be desirable but isn’t limited to homosexuality, nor does it seem to be what the majority of homosexual are seeking.) Basically, homosexuals are asking not to be marginalized, mistreated, and discriminated against. Seeing how these are major values in our culture, it shouldn’t be a big shock how public support has shifted toward homosexual rights.
What about the issue of abortion? I think the issue has experienced a stalemate for a long time because the two sides are arguing different issues. The anti-abortion side has argued for the life of the unborn child, while the pro-choice side has been arguing for women’s rights. If the momentum is shifting, it’s because of the strong value for life in our culture, especially the life of children. And there is a lot of evidence supporting the idea that life begins early in a pregnancy. Nevertheless, women’s rights—and women’s lives—are important. If the anti-abortion movement wants to truly be pro-life, they need to support the lives of women with unwanted pregnancies. And there is certainly some of this being done. (I am not familiar enough to say how extensive this is or how much more needs to be done; I simply know they need to go together.) (As a side note, it was interesting to learn recently that Christians generally didn’t have a problem with abortion when Roe V. Wade was originally decided, because they held that life began later than at conception. As I understand it, it was conservative politics which picked it up and made it a religious issue.)