Stance on abortion politics varies widely among US clergy

FILE - In this Sunday, June 28, 2020 file photo, Senior Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress addresses attendees before Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Southern Baptist megachurch First Baptist Dallas during a Celebrate Freedom Rally in Dallas. Jeffress’ church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Its leadership adopted a stringent anti-abortion stance nearly 40 years ago that remains in place.

James Altman is a Roman Catholic priest in Wisconsin, little known outside his parish until a few weeks ago. Robert Jeffress is the high-profile pastor of a Baptist megachurch in Dallas. They have a message in common for members of their faiths: Voting for Democrats who support abortion rights is an evil potentially deserving of eternal damnation.

Their fierce, openly partisan rhetoric is attention-grabbing, but it remains the exception in America’s diverse religious landscape, even in this divisive election year. Most members of the clergy, including foes of abortion, steer clear of overt endorsements or denunciations of political candidates. Numerous denominations try to frame their stance on abortion in ways that respect multiple viewpoints.

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