A coalition of Texas churches is opposing the state's heartbeat law and promoting the continued legalization of abortion in what pro-life activist Albert Mohler calls a "tragic intersection of liberal religion and abortion politics."
The 25 Texas churches were designated as "Reproductive Freedom Congregations" at a press conference in late August by Just Texas, a liberal organization that says the goal of the churches is to "eradicate stigma around reproductive freedom in Texas … one congregation at a time."
Erika Forbes, the faith and outreach manager for Just Texas, said at the press conference on Aug. 25 that the designation was the "first of its kind in the entire country." Significantly, the designation came one week before a state law took effect that prohibits abortion if an unborn baby's heartbeat is detected.
Forbes said the goal of the congregations is "lasting culture change."
"This launching is the great beginning," she said.
"This designation will recognize Texas congregations working to hold conversations on reproductive health, build trust and respect for women, and remove the stigma on reproductive health decisions – including abortion," Just Texas said.
Reproductive Freedom Congregations must affirm three principles, according to Just Texas:
- "We trust and respect women."
- "We promise that people who attend our congregation will be free from stigma, shame, or judgment for their reproductive decisions, including abortion."
- "We believe access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services is a moral and social good."
Thus far, most churches in the coalition are Unitarian Universalist, although some are Presbyterian and one (University Baptist Church in Austin) is Baptist.
Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said labeling abortion as a "moral and social good" rejects Christianity's teachings.
"That's an astounding statement that turns the entire Christian theological heritage of 2,000 years on its head," he said on his podcast, "The Briefing."
Mohler called it a "tragic intersection of liberal religion and abortion politics."
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.