"The baptismal font is full of condoms. Now that's a progressive church."
If you're looking to get some hotted-up zealots screaming right in your face, you couldn't do better than braving the protestors outside the meeting of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, where I just got brained on my way in to speak with president and CEO Carlton W. Veazey, a minister of the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. The protectors of the unborn urged me to take as many pictures as possible "so it will haunt your conscience." The anti-abortion activist s have been trying to crash the meeting throughout the day.
Both sides enjoy slam-dunk choices this time around, with Obama's pro-choice chops well established and McCain being the relatively rare Republican with a consistent and apparently sincere pro-life position. Veazey (who graciously provided this post with its title while describing a church he likes in Cape Town) argues that his seemingly oxymoronic coalition is no less legitimate than the religous people on the other side, given how widely the major religions differ on the question of when life begins. Does increasingly early viability threaten to undermine that diversity? No, says Veazey, who notes that plenty of preemies come out pretty damaged.
Which raises the old question of abortion and eugenics. I put the question to Veazey, and, well, he didn't say no. "Remember the 1964 Civil Rights Act?" he said. "After that we had it all. We had the law on our side, we had the country on our side. And it was teenage pregnancy that kept us from moving ahead. It was teenage pregnancy that fueled the crime and drug use in our community, which is why Joycelyn Elders has said 70 percent of the poverty in our community is due to teen pregnancy."
And here's a fun bible quote the RCRC likes to throw around.
Related: Ron Bailey gets an audience with the ghost of Pope Paul VI.