How has Ragsdale developed her position? I looked on her website at sermons that remain. In 2005 she asked rhetorically why pro-lifers did not look at pro-aborts "with tolerance and respect." She then said, "The answer to that question is that in this arena it is women who must make the final decision and that you do not respect the moral agency (or full personhood) of women simply because we are women." Convenient: It's not about life; it's about sexism.
But go back further, to an Easter sermon in 2003 when she said that the Resurrection may never have happened. (Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "If Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile . . . we are of all people most to be pitied.") And go back further to Easter 2002: "The suffering and death of Jesus, according to the theory of the Atonement, pays for our sins and buys our salvation. It's an interesting theory, but not one that I find compelling."
Some denominations have cracked open on issues of homosexual ordination, but the fissure began long before, when clerics put God on trial and chose which doctrines they found compelling. In 2003, proclaiming her lesbianism, Ragsdale took aim at those who say that "we can't help being gay—the old take pity, have mercy, argument. You know, the one that concludes with a plaintive—who would choose this? Let me answer that with three words: Me! Me! Me!"
The tragedy of abortion is bad enough, but the origin of the tragedy, and so many others of our time, emerges from worship not of Christ but of "me, me, me." Katherine Ragsdale may show this tendency in a heightened form, but all of us display it to some degree. May God have mercy on her, on her students, and on all of us.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone