September 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the first Christian pastors – and certainly the most influential - in the United States to be openly pro-abortion died last Wednesday in Manhattan. 

Reverend Howard R. Moody, longtime pastor of Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, a champion of various social issues, was best known for assisting women in obtaining abortions even before abortion was legal.

“We faced fines of $1,000 and one year in jail,” Moody said in a 2003 interview with Ed Gold of The Villager.  “My phone was tapped.  But Frank Hogan, the district attorney, knew what we were doing, but didn’t close us down.  That’s because some of the women who came to us were wives of policemen and some were wives of well-known elected officials.”

Moody’s services were known across the country - one woman traveled from Florida seeking his assistance in gaining an illegal abortion after her own pastor advised her to do so.

When New York City legalized abortion in 1970, Moody organized a national network of 1,400 ministers and rabbis and opened the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Help (CRASH) to promote abortion and aid those seeking to abort their children.

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Moody said he believed that the most important calling of a Christian was to perform good works of service to those around them, and accordingly spent much of his life advocating for a variety of social justice issues such as helping the homeless, drug addicts and those in the sex trade.  But he attempted to unite his conviction with the belief that a woman should be able to kill her unborn child if she did not want to carry through with a pregnancy.

Pro-life leader and Christian pastor Patrick Mahoney says Moody was on the wrong side of the social justice fight when it came to the issue of life. “Caring about society means caring about abortion,” Mahoney says, adding, “The essential issue of social justice in our time is abortion. It is the most pressing concern.”

“Eliminate human problems.  Do not eliminate human lives,” says Mahoney. “You can’t say you’re preserving life while at the same time taking it.”

The Greenwich pastor held other controversial views as well, such as what he believed to be “mindless patriotism” among many Americans.  It angered him when he saw some Yankees fans berating another fan for not taking his hat off during the singing of the national anthem. 

Though born in Texas and raised in a Southern Baptist household, Moody came to represent the ultra-liberal wing of Christianity. He referred to God as “he or she” and he removed the cross from his church so as not to offend Jewish visitors.

He admitted there were parts of the bible “he took seriously” while other parts he “didn’t take at all.”

“He leaves a tragic legacy,” Mahoney says of Moody.  “He wanted to reach out and help but he did not understand that diminishing life in the womb and offering a woman an abortion was actually worse than the any other issue she could be facing.”