After Rowe’s death, the clergy were led in praise, lamented

Praise and lamentation over the abolition of abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend as US clergy rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context – and competing messages – for the historic moment.

Abortion is a visceral problem for deeply divided religious Americans. Some are sad or angry after the seismic ruling of the US Supreme Court Dobbs against Jackson on Friday. Others are grateful and excited.

At St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh, the Rev. Chris Stubna rejected his planned Sunday sermon and focused on the decision, calling it a “day of great joy and blessing.” He said the repeal of Rowe’s nearly 50-year-old decision against Wade was the result of the prayers and efforts of many Catholics and others.

“This law violates the very law of God that every life is sacred,” he said. “One cannot support abortion and still be a faithful member of the church.


Stubna’s comments will be considered divisive by some, as American Catholics disagree on abortion rights. Supporters include high-ranking members of the faith, such as President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who are facing restrictions on the sacrament as a result.

Not everyone endured Stubna’s entire sermon. Although he could not ask about the reasons, an Associated Press photographer saw a woman leave during this time. Security officials estimated that three others had also left earlier.

Views on abortion are not only polarized within denominations; the divisions cover the religious landscape.

“SCOTUS has just dealt a terrible blow to women, to girls, to all women giving birth, to freedom,” said the Rev. Jackie Lewis, a senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a multicultural Protestant congregation in Manhattan.

She mourned Rowe’s overthrow, expressing deep emotion during Sunday’s service, saying: “It has eliminated safe legal abortions, opening the door for states to rush in and crush reproductive justice. We turn around. Rotation. So injured that we can hardly move. We feel the loss, the pain of it. “


The majority of adults from Buddhists, Hindus, historical black Protestants, Jewish, major Protestant, Muslim, and Orthodox Christian denominations support legal abortion in all or most cases, according to a Pew Research Center study by the Religious Landscape Study.

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo cut short the start of Friday’s Shabbat service at the Shir Ha-Maalot Congregation in Irvine, California, to express her disappointment, urging community members to support each other and create space for the cowards.

“One of the most unpleasant things about this decision is that although it claims to represent people of faith, it does not represent our faith,” DePaolo said. “It does not reflect our Jewish law. It does not reflect our traditions. That doesn’t reflect our community. “

Catholics are divided on the issue, while most evangelical Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a Pew Research Center study.


The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Conference of Spanish Christian Leadership, sees the decision as a moral and spiritual victory. On Sunday, he told the California congregation at the New Season that now was the time for an unprecedented adoption movement.

“We will adopt babies, but we will adopt mothers, pregnant mothers … who have abortions because they can’t afford to have a baby,” he said.

Southern Baptists, who are members of the country’s largest Protestant denomination, are staunch supporters of anti-abortion views. On Sunday, several pastors praised the decision from their pulpits.

The congregation at First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tennessee, erupted in applause when Pastor John Mark Harrison addressed him. He invited a group of advocates to explain how anyone can continue to support those with unwanted pregnancies through mentoring, admission, adoption, tackling systemic problems and more.


“There’s so much anger and emotion,” Harrison said. “What we need to understand is that we are not called to nurture the emotions of the right or the left. We are also called to enter through the gospel of Jesus Christ … and to serve real people in real times of crisis.”

At Central Church, College Station, Texas, lead pastor Philip Betancourt reiterated that Rowe’s overthrow is not the finish line: “This is the starting point for a new chapter. Abortion must be not just illegal, but unnecessary and unthinkable.

David Rhodes, a leading pastor at Broadview Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, said in an email that the ruling is on par with the Emancipation Proclamation and the Juneteenth and will resonate for years.

He hoped church members left the Sunday service with a clear understanding of what they needed to do next, including “serve both the baby and his mother and continue to work to elect representatives for life.” .


Other religious leaders have doubled their support for abortion rights.

Women must be able to make their own decisions, Rev. Fletcher Harper preaches at the Savior’s Episcopal Church in Secaucus, New Jersey.

“Prohibiting abortion is a sinful act that maintains male domination and the subordination of women,” he said. “It extends the coercive power of the state to a place where it should not have a business.”

During a service Sunday at the Unitary Universal Church in the Southern Hills in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, music director Mary Pratt read aloud a statement from the denomination confirming that she would remain “committed to reproductive justice.”

Pratt said members were shocked and saddened, although they expected the result. “They were looking for reminders why we should go back and fight,” she said.

The beginning of the services at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham, North Carolina, included two verses of “We Shall Overcome” and a prayer by the Rev. Melinda Keenan Wood for those who are outraged, devastated and frightened by Roe’s death.


“We know that this decision will be measured by death, imprisonment and life-changing trauma, as politicians are in a hurry to control the most painful intimate decisions,” Keenan Wood said.

A prominent black pastor in Columbus, Ohio — Bishop Timothy Clark of the First Church of God — tried to find balance in his Sabbath message to his brethren, acknowledging conflicting views on abortion and calling on the church to show compassion.

“I know and love people from both camps,” Clark said. “They are sincere, dedicated. … They really see this as a life-changing problem. ”


Meyer reports from Nashville, Tennessee, and Krarie from New York. AP Religion Team members Peter Smith and Jesse Vardarski in Pittsburgh; Louis Andres Genao, of Princeton, New Jersey; Mariam Pham in Winter Park, Florida; Deepa Bharat in Los Angeles; and AP writer Tom Foreman Jr. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, contributed.



Religious coverage of the Associated Press is supported by AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.

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After Rowe’s death, the clergy were led in praise, lamented

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