Over at Sightings, published by the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School, Martin Marty himself quotes extensively from Garry Wills’s book Head and Heart: American Christianities, which I have not yet read:

“If the fetus is regarded as a person, why would the murderous mother be exempt from the death penalty, in which most Evangelicals believe? And many Evangelicals allow abortion in the case of rape or incest. That won’t work: ‘We do not kill people because they had a criminal parent.’ Some allow for abortion to save a life. Wills asks, ‘Why should the mother be preferred over the “child” if both are, equally, persons?’ …

“Wills, himself a Catholic, raises the temperature even higher: ‘Nor did the Catholic Church treat abortion as murder in the past.  If it had, late-term abortions and miscarriages would have called for treatment of the well-formed fetus as a person — calling for baptism and Christian burial.’ But this was never the case. ‘And no wonder,’ says Wills. The subject of abortion is not scriptural, ‘it is not treated in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, or anywhere in the Jewish Scripture, the New Testament or the creeds and the early ecumenical councils.'”

Same with homosexuality — compared to other themes such as the plight of the poor, widows, and orphans, the Bible says almost nothing about it. (What little is said is pretty negative.)

Neither Wills nor Marty seems likely to ask the obvious followup, so I will: why rely so heavily on a single very old book that offers so little moral guidance (either way) in today’s drastically different world?