A Pro-life Majority?

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Every few months some pollster will release a study showing that “57 percent of evangelical young people don’t hold a Christian worldview” or some such thing, and you can bet that figure will show up on PowerPoint sermon outlines all over the country. As we fret and fuss, few seem to ask, “Who says? Who defines a Christian worldview? And who defines what an ‘evangelical young person’ is, for that matter?”

The opposite pull is at work whenever Christians trumpet opinion polls showing, for instance, that a majority of Americans now call themselves “pro-life.” See, we’re tempted to say to our secularist neighbors, most people are with us; we really do have a moral majority!

In the latest issue of Time magazine, columnist Nancy Gibbs asks what’s going on with these numbers and concludes that people “apply the brakes to whichever side has the momentum.”

Gibbs also thinks the numbers point to a couple of factors, and I think she’s partly right on both counts. Gibbs writes:

“Perhaps people under 30 are more opposed to abortion than those older because their first baby pictures were often taken in utero. I also wonder if younger women are now sure enough of their sexual autonomy, and their choices generally, that they don’t view limits on abortion as attacks on their freedom.”

Could it be that younger Americans see the right to abortion as so unthreatened by legal or cultural sanction that there’s no need to fight for it with an ideological label? If so, that’s not good news for the pro-life movement. But it is a signal that what we’re up against is deeper than opinion anyway; it’s about principalities and powers in the heavenly places.

Yes, for the sake of justice, we need a pro-life Congress, and pro-life governors, and a pro-life Supreme Court. But, since we have a pro-life Messiah, we need most of all a pro-life church. And that’s about more than survey answers or party labels or rally placards. The kingdom of God, we must remember, “does not consist in talk but in power” (1 Cor 4:20).

The culture is changing but it can be good news for the church.


Onward cover

About Russell Moore

Russell Moore

Russell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency 
of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

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