Ohio Religious Groups Split Over Abortion, Issue 1

Columbus, Ohio (WCMH) – With less than a month until Election Day in Ohio, Catholic Church leaders of the Holy Family of Franklinton are urging believers to protect their unborn children at polling stations.

The June 25 Sunday Newsletter of the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Family posted a picture of a baby in diapers waving an American flag in black and bold letters calling on parishioners to “Vote in August and November.” – Two impending statewide elections that could decide the fate of access to abortion in Ohio.

“Refuse to sign,” read the bulletin. Abortion Rights Initiative I’m keeping an eye on the November vote. “This is not provided for in our constitution.”

Meanwhile, a few miles away on the other side of Broad Street, Jews from the Temple of Israel gathered in the street with clipboards to collect voter signatures in support of the Abortion Rights Amendment.

“Reproductive freedom is a Jewish value,” the synagogue’s website says.

Voters in Ohio will request an absentee ballot and present photo ID. early voting Various centers and religious groups across the state have been more vocal than others, some hoping to sway public opinion on the abortion debate.

“There is a long history of how the religious community has responded to moral and political concerns, going back to the 19th century debates about slavery. are considered to have strong moral wellsprings within the public sphere,” he said. Isaac Weiner, associate professor at Ohio State University and director of the Center for Religious Studies, said:

religious division

On Aug. 8, Ohio voters will decide whether to make it harder to amend the state’s constitution. If you pass Question 1 Enacting changes to the Ohio Constitution would require the support of 60% of voters, rather than the existing simple majority of 50% plus one.

Republican-led state legislature rushed to take action The main aim was to block an abortion rights initiative that was ready for a vote in November.

“The correlation between the Aug. 8 vote and the November election is perfectly correlated because (Secretary of State) Frank Larose “This August vote is 100% abortion,” he said. Dr. Timothy Ahrens, pastor of the First Congregational Church in downtown Columbus.

Ahrens’ church is a member of the mainline Protestant United Church of Christ, which has long championed reproductive rights and the “God-given right of women to physical autonomy,” he said. His church on Broad Street is flanked by rainbow pride flags and generally leans left on social issues.

“This is a big problem for the women and men in my congregation and for the teens who are asking the question, ‘Do you want to be in Ohio?’ ‘ said Mr Ahrens.

The Ohio Catholic Convention, which represents the bishops who head Ohio’s six Catholic dioceses, is adamantly opposed to abortion, which is why the conference’s executive director, Brian Hickey, said of a planned November effort. .

Hickey worked with the anti-abortion movement, Protect Women Ohio, to help the conference send out about a million pamphlets to member churches to educate congregations about the November ballot and its “death culture.” said he informed me.

“Whether it’s a baby in the womb, a prisoner on death row, an immigrant or a refugee, from pregnancy to natural death, all lives should be protected and respected,” Hickey said. “I believe the Catholic Church should speak up for these marginalized people.”

Unlike candidate elections, federal law allows religious groups to support or oppose voting activities. But Hickey said the conference was neutral on issue 1 because it contained no “moral content,” a prerequisite for Ohio bishops to take a stand.

“We are concerned with many issues, from poverty to human dignity and life, but we stick to issues that have a moral content,” Hickey said. “Issue 1 is he is informing parishioners about the special election in August because it could affect the November election.”

Similar words were used at conferences Protect Ohio Women —Campaign against the Abortion Rights Initiative—Inform member churches and their parishioners that the Abortion Rights Amendment undermines parental consent laws and may “justify women’s anxiety and depression” about late-term abortion, or By telling us that we may abolish safety standards related to abortion. procedure.

These claims have been dismissed as “outright lies” by the work’s authors, including Dr. Laura Bean, a pediatrician and executive director of the Ohio Medical Association for Reproductive Rights.

Abortion is now legal in Ohio up to the 22nd week of pregnancy. The bill would allow up to the life of the fetus, which is usually performed between the 20th and 25th weeks of pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Abortions performed late in pregnancy account for less than 1% of all abortion care, according to the ACOG.

Bean said the amendment would also not affect parental consent laws. The proposed amendment, like the Second Amendment and other constitutional rights, does not distinguish between minors and adults. This is because existing law already makes a distinction.

Joining the Catholic bishops in opposing the Abortion Rights Amendment is the Ohio Baptists, a group of churches affiliated with the conservative Southern Baptists.

In its June 2023 newsletter, the convention partnered with the conservative religious advocacy group Center for Christian Virtue, based in Columbus, to not only promote reproductive rights efforts, but also Efforts to legalize marijuana The November vote is equally noteworthy.

“Ohio Baptists must work with local churches in our area to stop these efforts to destroy our children and youth,” the newsletter reads. there is

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio), while not clear on abortion, asked its members to vote against No. 1 to “defend the right of Muslims to amend the Ohio Constitution.” It has called for casting, according to its website.

Similarly, the Cleveland Chapter of the National Jewish Women’s Council, a progressive faith-based advocacy group, said its reproductive rights and health committee co-chair, Tracy Grinstead-Evely, said: It is said that it is mobilizing members for the upcoming state elections.

Fifty of its members gathered 2,700 signatures to put the Abortion Rights Initiative on the November ballot, with the chapter opposing No. 1. One of its goals is to change the misconception that religious people are against abortion. There is no straying from the truth,” Grinstead-Everly said.

“We are inspired by the words ‘Justice, Justice, You Must Seek,’ and we understand that reproductive freedom is inextricably linked to religious freedom, and we seek self-determination goals. We are fully committed to moving forward,” said Grinstead-Evely. “Having the ability to control one’s own body is the most basic human right and genuine access to the services necessary to exercise that right. Anything else is unjust and undemocratic. That’s why it’s so important to vote yes in November.”

Last July, the chapter signed the following agreement: letter A lawsuit challenging the state’s six-week abortion ban, or in support of Senate Bill 23, was filed in the Ohio Supreme Court. Requiring all Ohioans, regardless of faith, to adhere to one view of the beginning of life is a violation of religious freedom. The letter has been read.

“No religion has the right to monopolize the claim that it’s on its side,” Grinstead-Evely said.

Pulpit vs. Pugh

According to Gregory Smith, deputy director of religious studies at the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, what is said from the altar does not necessarily reflect the nuances of individual members’ beliefs.

About 84% of non-religious people believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but “they aren’t the only ones with that idea,” the center said in 2022. Smith said, citing the findings of the For example, approximately 56% of Catholic adults and 66% of black Protestants in the United States believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Smith said Americans are even more divided when asked about circumstances such as the stage of pregnancy, whether the mother’s life is in danger and whether the pregnancy was due to rape or incest.

The United Methodist Church, according to its list of social principles, takes a similarly lenient stance on abortion, being “reluctant to approve” surgical abortions in view of its belief in the sanctity of the unborn child. , in some cases opposed. But the church also said it recognizes the “tragic conflicts of life” that may justify abortion and an equal obligation to respect the “sanctity” of a mother’s life and well-being.

“It’s a spectrum. It’s not always black or white,” Smith said. “Some people take an absolutist view, arguing that it should always be against the law, or that it should always be legal, but most people don’t. Most people. lies between these two poles.”

Rabbi Sharon Maas of Temple Israel is a firm supporter of reproductive freedom and the concept of “one person, one vote”, but all faith leaders are against dealing with believers who disagree with what is being said from the pulpit. He said he should welcome the conversation.

“I personally have a policy of sitting down and drinking coffee with anyone who disagrees with me and wants to discuss an issue, even if that means leaving the congregation. , because we need to be able to have honest, open and loving conversations, let’s talk together about some of the most tumultuous issues of our time,” Maas said.

https://www.wkbn.com/news/ohio/ohio-religious-groups-divided-on-abortion-issue-1/ Ohio Religious Groups Split Over Abortion, Issue 1

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