'On Faith' Contributor: Personhood Amendment Was Strategic Defeat for 'Radical Religious Right'

Initiative 26 -- which would have amended the Mississippi state constitution to include unborn children as persons protected under the law -- was rejected by Magnolia State voters last night.

In response, Georgetown professor and Washington Post "On Faith" blog contributor Jacques Berlinerblau quickly hacked out a post celebrating the temporary victory over the "devastating sleeper cell of a law" but warned that in losing, those dastardly villains on the religious right may have actually won (emphasis mine):

[T]he proponents of Amendment 26 probably also knew their cause was doomed once everyone from parents of in-vitro children, to physicians, to victims of rape, found out what it was actually about (that many of these folks were committed Christians is an interesting sidebar).

My contention is that while these activists may certainly hope (and pray) for victory, they understand their immediate task as tilting national conversations to a terrain upon which the radical religious right can better manouver.


...[I]n Mississippi and elsewhere the new parameters of the abortion debate will be defined not by “pro-life versus pro-choice” but “pro-personhood versus pro-life.” If that shift actually ensues, then Amendment 26 was a stunning victory.

It was the Christian Right’s ability to completely re-configure public dialogues and perspectives that was the mission accomplished of its most recent blustering.

In the interests of truth-in-advertising, the Washington Post should rename its religion blog from "On Faith" to "Piling On People of Faith."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.