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Uniting for Life

Spring, 1993


About This Issue

In this issue the thoughts and viewpoints of the Council's new Officers of the Board of Directors are featured. As President, Pastor Brown calls for a renewed sense of unity and seeking out of God's power and wisdom from Christian pro-life people.

"Meet a Member of the NPRC" highlights the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL). Mary Ann Dacey is NOEL's executive director and is serving as NPRC's Vice-President.

Richard Cizik reminds us that our efforts on behalf of the lives of the most defenseless must include personal spiritual support. Cizik is NPRC's newly elected Secretary.

Ernie Ohlhoff, NPRC's Treasurer, urges clergy and church members to communicate their views on the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA).

We hope you enjoy getting better acquainted with NPRC's new leadership.

FOCA - A Political Millstone

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:5

The so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) represents the greatest threat to the pro-life cause since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down in 1973. While proponents of FOCA seem confident that it will pass Congress and President Clinton has vowed to sign it into law, the actual fate of FOCA is not a "done deal."

FOCA is so bad that every church which opposes blatant abortion on demand should, from a spiritual and moral perspective, be actively opposing it. Enactment of FOCA would establish an explicit public policy denying any meaningful limits on abortion - a declaration that unborn babies are unworthy of any protection whatsoever.

It is one thing to say the "Courts" forced abortion on demand on us (based on some convoluted concept of privacy), but it is quite another thing to say that "We the people of the United States have, through our elected officials, enacted into law a public policy of unrestricted abortion on demand throughout pregnancy."

From a spiritual perspective, the implications of this are untenable.

Our overall goal is to make every member of Congress realize that a very large number of his or her constituents recognize that FOCA is extreme, and that these constituents are personally asking the legislator to oppose this legislation.

Hence FOCA must be perceived as a political "millstone" that will be tied around the "political future" of any legislator who supports this extreme measure.

For this reason we should do all in our power to educate our churches and clergy about the true horrors of FOCA. Then we must ask and assist our clergy and church members to communicate directly with their three federal legislators (their 2 Senators and Congressman) expressly asking them to oppose FOCA.

All communications to Congress should be directed at both U.S. Senators and the appropriate Member of the House of Representatives. This should be done regardless of the position taken by the legislators. Write to ALL of them - pro-life and pro-abortion. Letters to pro-life legislators should affirm their pro-life stance. Letters to both pro-life and pro-abortion legislators should focus on the extreme nature of FOCA and a request not to vote for this extreme measure.

NOW is the time for Members of Congress to hear from their constituents who are clergy and church members and oppose FOCA.

Ernie Ohlhoff, Treasurer for the NPRC, directs the Outreach Department of the National Right to Life Committee.

Meet A Member of the NPRC


By Mary Ann Dacey

Bishop Joseph Harte of Arizona founded The National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL) in 1966. Simultaneously, other concerned Episcopalians began to recognize the Church's indifference toward the growing national regard for abortion as a service to women. Today, NOEL's ranks have grown to 120 Chapters nationwide with members working through their churches and communities to promote the biblical view of the sanctity of human life morally, legally, and in practice.

While our first priority is education, it is done in the hope of touching hearts and minds with the knowledge that through the Lord's guidance, anyone can save the life of a child targeted for abortion. Hundreds of our members volunteer regularly in crisis pregnancy centers; they shelter single mothers in their homes; they counsel women about adoption - and lives are being saved.

Through the work of NOEL, the Episcopal Church improved their position on abortion in 1988. Church leaders declared that they "emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience." And they encouraged the clergy to "become aware of local agencies and resources which will assist those faced with problem pregnancies."

While the work of NOEL is officially recognized by the national Episcopal Church, we work without their financial assistance and have yet to see the 1988 call for education and alternative resources mandated. Parish priests receive no official encouragement to preach on the sanctity of human life, dioceses receive no guidelines for offering abortion-alternative resources, and crisis pregnancy services are absent from any church-funded social justice outreach programs. It is the laity, and a small but growing number of priests and bishops, who are helping women facing crisis pregnancies.

Each day in this country more than 4,500 women cross the thresholds of abortion clinics for the purpose of killing their unborn and unwanted children. Many of them are unchurched and have not heard that He created each of us, that He has a purpose for our lives, and that He detests the hands that "shed innocent blood." Sadly, thousands more may have sat in church pews just the day before and still not heard that Biblical message and worse, may never have been offered the life-giving choice by those in the church community around them.

Today the Church seems blinded by secular rhetoric about abortion. Priests stand in the pulpits not mentioning God's teaching for fear of offending their flocks. Women are turned out into a godless world whose "easy" solutions are often followed by years of grief and pain. NOEL is working to affirm those Episcopalians who are reaching out to women in the pews who are our sisters and mothers, girlfriends and daughters with an offer of love, help, and healing in their times of greatest need.

Dacey, NPRC's Vice-President, is executive director of NOEL. Contact NOEL at 10523 Main Street, Suite 33, Fairfax, VA 22030 703-591-NOEL.

A Pro-Life Perspective

A Reminder For Christian Activists

George Washington reportedly said during one of the dark days of the Revolutionary War that "You have to smell the evil in order to see it." For pro-lifers who are exposed on a daily basis to President Clinton's assault against innocent life and feel deeply the outrage of it all - his actions are like sulfur up the nostrils. We can't help but smell the evil, and wonder why others do not.

The world is indeed an unholy place. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson calls it "moral, ethical anarchy" that is ransacking our society. Carl F. H. Henry, the evangelical theologian, refers to this loss of respect for life itself as a drift into "animality," as in the behavior of animals. Unfortunately, most members of our society have drifted into moral indifference. They simply do not care anymore.

But for those of us who do care, the anarchy of society can be psychologically overwhelming. There's no demilitarized zone for us. Either we have the power of God, or we will fail. If not, weariness from the struggle can set in. Some people persevere through sheer dedication. But exhaustion can occur, and exhaustion can breed cynicism. And cynicism is the language of the devil, and leads to discouragement. So let's remember: The battle we wage is a spiritual one. And the best medicine for a spiritual battle is spiritual in nature.

Luis Palau, in his book "Say Yes! How to Renew Your Spiritual Passion" (Multnomah, 1991), tells the story of Ian Thomas, the English evangelist, who failed at first because he thought he could do it on his own. After all, he was aggressive, winsome and doing godly work. He thought he could make it happen. He thought he could make it work. But no, it didn't work out that way. He was powerless and ineffectual.

Ian Thomas compared himself to Moses, whom it took forty years in the wilderness to learn that he was nothing. Then one day, Moses was confronted with a burning bush. Thomas said that the burning bush in the desert was likely a dry bunch of ugly sticks that had hardly developed. Yet Moses had to take off his shoes. Why? Because this was holy ground. Why was it holy ground? Because God was in the bush!

Here was Thomas's major point. God was telling Moses, "I don't need a pretty bush or an educated bush or an eloquent bush. Any old bush will do, as long as I am in the bush. If I am going to use you, I am going to use you. It will not be you doing something for me, but me doing something for you."

Like the evangelist Luis Palau, maybe we need to learn that each of us is that kind of bush: a worthless, useless bunch of dried up sticks. We can do nothing without God. Despite our best effort in the pro-life cause, we'll not make headway unless God our Saviour is in the work. Only He can make something happen. Only He can make it work. Major Ian Thomas summed it up this way: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20)."

Such a reminder may be essential for activist individuals. Our attitude and approach must not be what we're going to do for God, but what is He going to do through us? Maybe the assaults on human life by the Clinton Administration are simply an opportunity for God to remind us Who must be in the work. That's when the `"real" victories for life will occur!

Cizik, NPRC's Secretary, is Public Policy Analyst for the Office of Public Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals. 

Speaking of Life


Hypocrites are defined as those who pretend to be what they are not or pretend to believe what they do not believe. It is a word that appropriately describes everyone involved in the murder of Dr. Gunn, an abortionist in Florida. The abortionist was a hypocrite for making his living killing babies after he had taken an oath to sustain life and "to do no harm." He pretended to be a healer when, in practice, he was an exterminator.

The protester who killed the doctor is a hypocrite because while he claimed that only God has the right to determine who shall live or die, he then pretended to be God.

The women who have abortions are hypocrites, pretending to cherish freedom while denying their own children any choice at all.

But the biggest hypocrites of all are those who sit by and say nothing while millions of lives are lost, pretending that the private choice of abortion has nothing to do with them.

But they can't pretend any longer! With the decision of the White House to use tax monies to pay for abortion, all of us will be directly involved. Oh, our hands may not actually do the killing, but the labor of our hands will pay for it.

Henry Nouwen once said, "We are always one song away from being a mute." It could be said that we are always one word ...one witness ...one protest ...one objection ...one vote away from being a hypocrite.

This column is one of the daily radio commentaries by Dr. Garton, President of Lutherans For Life, broadcast over the Jubilee Network. For information, call: 1-800-325-6333.

Religious Pro-life Group Elects Officers-- United Church of Christ Pastor to Serve as President

The National Pro-life Religious Council, Inc. (NPRC), a Christian pro-life coalition which affirms the biblical standard of the value, dignity and sanctity of human life, held its Spring Quarterly meeting on April 15, 1993, in Washington, DC. Attending were representatives from the 13 churches, denominations and religious pro-life groups with membership on the Board of Directors.

New officers of the Board of Directors were elected:

President: The Rev. John B. Brown, Jr., D. Min., President of United Church of Christ Friends for Life and Minister of Counseling at Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ, Bechtelsville, PA.

Vice-President: Mary Ann Dacey, Executive Director of the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life.

Secretary: The Rev. Richard Cizik, Policy Analyst for the Office of Public Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Treasurer: Ernest Ohlhoff, Director of the Outreach Department of the National Right to Life Committee.

In accepting the presidency of NPRC, Pastor Brown offered some reflections on Ephesians 1 and 2:

"As I understand these thoughts of Paul in the Word of God, there are several important things for us in the NPRC and the groups that we represent to keep firmly in mind. One is that unity is God's will for the universe, and for the Christian Church, the Body of Christ. This is not an option for the Church, but God's will for us, something he commands us to take into account, and to practice.

While the NPRC is not the Church, it is a part of the Church, and therefore unity amongst ourselves is vitally important. None of us dare think that we can carry on the work of the pro-life movement by ourselves. No one member organization of the NPRC has all the answers, all the talent, all the experience needed to carry out God's will for the pro-life movement. Rather we are to cooperate, as one part of the body cooperates with another, for the good of the whole.

Secondly, I see Paul saying to the early church, and to us, that we need wisdom and enlightenment, that we may know God better, and that we may serve him more effectively. We also need power, spiritual power, equal to the tasks and challenges which lie before the church when it comes to the life issues of abortion, euthanasia and eugenics. We must seek to do the work of God in God's way, with His help and with His wisdom and understanding.

I see here in Paul's writing a third point, which is that in Christ and his death we have a foundation for unity which must underlie all that we are, and all that we do as pro-life people. If Christ has died for each of us, for all who work with us in our groups and churches, there is then no basis for us to disparage or to compete with one another. The atoning death of Jesus Christ was meant for all of us, for every member of our groups and churches, for every unborn child we seek to save, for every handicapped and terminally ill person whose life we seek to respect and protect.

A related point, I believe is this: Jesus' death was also meant, at least potentially, even for those with whom we profoundly disagree - those who believe in and promote abortion and fetal experimentation and euthanasia. From God's point of view they too are worthy of respect, even while the battle continues, for God desires them to repent and become reconciled to himself.

That this is a difficult task cannot be denied. It is one of the reasons why we must prayerfully and continually seek the wisdom and the power of God. Without such wisdom and power we cannot succeed. With such wisdom and power His will must surely, and ultimately, prevail."

News Notes

NPRC Denounces Killing of Dr. Gunn

Washington, DC (March 11, 1993) The National Pro-Life Religious Council's President, The Rev. Benjamin E. Sheldon, issued a statement expressing deep regret over the violent act during the abortion protest in Pensacola, FL that resulted in the death of Dr. David Gunn.

Rev. Sheldon stated, "Just as we vigorously oppose the ongoing violence to the thousands of unborn children who die each day at the hands of doctors who perform abortions, we in no way condone the use of violence as a means of protest that results in ending a human life. I am reminded of the words Jesus spoke to his companion who drew the sword to protest the arrest of Jesus: "Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) I urge all Christians involved in pro-life protest activities to consider our Lord's example."

Pastor Sheldon, who served as NPRC's President since 1991, is President of Presbyterians Pro-Life and pastor of Bethany Collegiate Presbyterian Church, Havertown, PA.

NPRC Seeks New Members

This is your opportunity to join with other Christian pro-life leaders to help restore legal protection to the unborn child.

The National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc. (NPRC) is a Christian pro-life coalition which acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and is called to witness to and affirm the biblical standard of the value, dignity and sanctity of human life.

NPRC's Board of Directors consists of leaders of pro-life religious groups or pro-life groups with a religious outreach.

Associate membership is open to any individual, church, or group which subscribes to NPRC's principles.

NPRC currently has members working within pro-life groups associated with the following denominations or churches: American Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Evangelical (member denominations of the National Association of Evangelicals), Lutheran, Orthodox, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist Convention, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist.

Please join NPRC today and help us end the tragedy of abortion!

Click here for a membership form.

Home. Questions and answers. Newsletters. Audio clips. Press releases. Member organizations. Join us. Contact us.

Questions and answers.
Audio clips.
Press releases.
Member organizations.
Join us.
Contact us.