March 7, 2013
WAKING THE MORAL MAJORITY:
C. Everett Koop and the religious right (Randall Balmer, 3/06/13, Christian Century)
The 1978 elections persuaded Weyrich that abortion could be that issue. On the Sunday before the election, pro-lifers in Iowa and Minnesota leafleted church parking lots. Two days later, they defeated a popular incumbent Democratic senator in Iowa, and in Minnesota they captured the governorship and both Senate seats.
What Weyrich still lacked was a way to alert grassroots evangelicals to the scourge of abortion, and here is where C. Everett Koop figures into the story. Koop, a distinguished pediatric surgeon, had long opposed abortion, but in 1978 he teamed up with Francis A. Schaeffer, a goateed, knicker-wearing evangelical philosopher, to produce a film series called Whatever Happened to the Human Race?Schaeffer had long excoriated what he called "secular humanism" and warned that the legalization of abortion would soon lead to infanticide and euthanasia. Koop's sterling reputation as a physician added credibility to the argument. As the film series toured American cities in 1979, the term "secular humanism" entered the political lexicon--and Falwell, Weyrich and other leaders of the religious right harvested popular anger over abortion. They adroitly mobilized politically conservative evangelicals into a potent voting bloc in time for the 1980 election.The rest, as they say, is history.
Posted by Orrin Judd at March 7, 2013 10:03 PM