May 3, 2022·edited May 3, 2022

I am very curious as to you thoughts on historical through lines with racism in this particular matter.

On 4/4/2022 my own governor, Gov. Jared Polis, signed Colorado House Bill 22-1279 - Reproductive Health Equity Act into law. When I read the text of the law, I was stunned. 25-6-403(3) of the law says;


These grotesque words sounded familiar to me. For you as a historian on race in America, they should be very, very, familiar. You likely know exactly where they can be found in the annals of the Supreme Court.

Since I am no PhD of history, it took some thinking and digging for me to figure out why these words were so familiar. After some thinking and digging, I figured it out!

In the final ruling in DRED SCOTT v. JOHN F. A. SANDFORD, paragraph 26 of the final opinion of the Supreme Court stated the following;

“The words 'people of the United States' and 'citizens' are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the Government through their representatives. They are what we familiarly call the 'sovereign people,' and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty. THE QUESTION BEFORE US IS, WHETHER THE CLASS OF PERSONS DESCRIBED IN THE PLEA IN ABATEMENT COMPOSE A PORTION OF THIS PEOPLE, AND ARE CONSTITUENT MEMBERS OF THIS SOVERIEGNTY? WE THINK THEY ARE NOT, AND THAT THEY ARE NOT INCLUDED, AND WERE NOT INTENDED TO BE INCLUDED, UNDER THE WORD 'CITIZEN' IN THE CONSTITUTION, AND CAN THERFORE CLAIM NONE OF THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES WHICH THAT INSTRUMENT PROVIDES FOR AND SECURES TO CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES. ON THE CONTRARY, THEY WERE AT THAT TIME CONSIDERED A SUBORDINATE AND INFERIOR CLASS OF BEINGS... AND HAD NO RIGTHS OR PRIVILEGES BUT SUCH AS THOSE WHO HELD THE POWER AND THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT CHOOSE TO GRANT THEM. “

You and I likely agree that the Dred Scott ruling was one of the most evil and insidious rulings in the history of our nation, particularly because of the logic and language of this exact paragraph. All 7 of the justices who ruled in the majority of Dred Scott case were appointed by Jacksonian/Democrat party. Are you willing to speak up boldly when you see the identical language being used in modern legislation from the very party that was responsible for the Dred Scott ruling?

While you want to immediately draw attention to inconsistencies in how evangelicals may have viewed abortion historically (pre the commercialization of the abortion industry, BTW) and try to tie them to potential roots in racism, are you willing to draw attention to the historical echoes (or screams, IMO) of institutionalized racism which defined the Democrat party particularly for a majority of the 19th and more than first half of the 20th centuries which can clearly be heard within actions of the current Democrat party as well? Or should we limit our scrutiny to evangelicals only?

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Thank you for your accurate historical review.

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I've known about the Bob Jones University link to the current frenzy in the wyte Evangelical church for a while now. I was one of those who was stampeded by the frenzy because of the high emotional content, the righteous anger expressed by those who sought to make the wyte Evangelical church into a political arm of conservative politics, and the extremely naïve view that my religious elders, pastors, and teachers knew what they were talking about. And I had no idea of the history of the American churches, let alone the broad swath of theologies and dogmas of the worldwide church in the present as well as in history.

In short, I was fooled by that combination of personal innocence and the deliberate strategy to use my innocence.

The argument that abortion became a tool to move forward wyte supremacist theologies and gain political power seems to be lost, again and again, and I suspect that deliberate erasure happens because it strikes at the presumed moral argument over abortion.

That push to adopt abortion as a tool of argument was a deeply cynical ploy by wyte supremacists to get control of one of the largest religious movements in America—wyte Evangelicals, who up to the 1980s did not much take part in American politics. The SBC, among others, was of the belief that Christians should avoid the messiness of politics and use their influence to change the hearts and minds of people through their preaching and their teachings. (It's very hard to see the historic teachings of the Baptist churches in general and compare them to the extraordinary changes in outlook we see today. Power corrupts, I guess.)

Seeing the shadow of the loss of power of the wyte majority, and seeing the loss of control over education (and other aspects of our civil, secular society) to the point where wyte people would have to co-exist equally with Black people, and seeing that openly racist theologies and political aims were not generally popular, abortion as a topic became the convenient vehicle for political and religious power.

Absent any argument pro or con, the idea that not a few people were fooled by this approach seems like something we'd all want to know about. It is an example of how what actually happened in history can explain how we got to the point where we are today where a *segment* of the wyte Evangelical church drives a minority political party that uses that slice of reliable voters to enact policies that, overall, are anti-life and anti-people.

It is hard to see the nakedness of that effort. It is harder still to see how thoroughly people insist that they not see it.

We really do have a problem with seeing history, whether it is of the original colonization of the American coast or the events that were initiated by the enforcement of the 14th Amendment in the 1970s.

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There is a deep link between all forms of racial discrimination and abortion : human beings , based on what is convenient for them, get to decide who is human enough or who is not human enough to have the right to live. At some point in history, based on our inability to communicate with them in a language they understood, and to exhibit the traits they deemed universal to humanity, some people decided that we could be trafficked and killed like mere objects. I see a clear link with the commodification of human life and specifically kids that is more and more prevalent in this society. While some people would go to extremeties and use scientific prowesses and humans as factories to have kids, others claim the right to kill the exact same human life arguing it is not human yet or it has no personhood. In sum, the value of a human life is totally dependant on wether a parent wants it or not. Just like the value of black lives has been and is still in some ways dependant on the gaze of dominant cultural groups.

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Dr Tisby, I always appreciate how you thread history together and bring factual information to the seeker. I’ve heard the BobJones story and studied the churches historical position on slavery and my take away is right from the mouth of Jesus - “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.” Matthew 9:12 Those professing to be Christian need the “doctor” as much as the rest but clearly “access” to the doctor isn’t enough to make them better. It’s following the doctors plan that will make the difference. The “church” is not well.

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Getting Roe v Wade overturned is only the beginning for the Religious Right/Christian Nationalist. LGBTQ rights will go, inter-racial marriage will go, segregation will return. Their goal is to make the USA a Christian nation based on biblical rule. The thing about that is, it will be a select few who determine which interpretation of biblical rule and which version of Christianity they will force on everyone.

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A very helpful corrective. I was also taught there was a role that was central coming from the Catholic church regarding using abortion as a galvanizing Right's political strategy in the 1970's as well. I have yet to find the sources on that argument, but wondering about that as well in light of how Catholicism made strange bed fellows w evangelicals on abortion. Perhaps this galvanization also pulled Catholics toward more conservative politics, turning away from a very inclusive Catholic Social Teaching strategy in re: labor rights, inclusion and Civil Rights in this era and beyond.

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Thank the Lord for opening our (conservative right’s) eyes to see that racism AND abortion are sin!!!!

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How easy you forget the history of your own party! The democrats, the party of slavery, Jim Crow, and the KKK. How you forget that Planned Parenthood main purpose was (and still is) to destroy black lives. I honestly can’t believe that you are pro-abortion? How is your hatred so plain to see. Can’t you see how is destroying you? How sad. You need to come to the cross of Christ and repent. I hope you do.

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