In an op-ed published on Monday, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life (SFL), revealed the Urbana15 team denied her group’s exhibitor application.
SFL received an email from Urbana’s Exhibits Manager thanking the pro-life youth organization for applying, but denied their application because, “… Students for Life does not align with Urbana’s exhibitor criteria. One of our key criteria for exhibitors is to have advancing God’s global mission as the vision and purpose of their organization.”
It’s easy to forget, but at the time of Roe v. Wade, evangelicals were decidedly unenthusiastic about the pro-life cause. With Roman Catholics it was another story, although to some extent that was muted in the upheaval following Vatican II. Evangelicals generally took a blasé attitude towards the subject. It was more important, to their mind, to work on evangelising those who made it to the age of accountability rather than to fret over those who didn’t, as they had no worries about their eternal destiny.
It took some promotion, but by the 1980’s Evangelicals and the “Religious Right” were in the forefront of the pro-life movement, to the point where there are people out there who think that the Roman Catholic obsession with the subject came from the Evangelicals!
Today, for conservative Roman Catholics, pro-life is the social issue, even taking precedence over same-sex marriage. And there are Evangelicals for whom it is the same, as is probably the case with most of the Students for Life. However, in the ever-running popularity contest of Evangelicalism, some have decided that the pro-life cause carries too much baggage, and thus it gets banned from an evangelistic gathering like Urbana15. It’s like, after forty years or so of making the pro-life movement central, Evangelicalism is showing signs of “buyers remorse” for a cause they didn’t much care for to start with.
Personally I think both getting people into the world and getting them saved after that are important. But the Body of Christ is supposed to be equipped with diverse gifts and callings, right? So do we all really have to do the same thing? Evidently in this age of enforced groupthink this is too much for some Christian leaders.
If being pro-life is the thing for you, you’re probably better off being Roman Catholic than Evangelical.