Uniting for Life
National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc.,
109 2nd St. N.E.
"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and
destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your
God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees
and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your
God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you
that I have set before you life and death, blessings, and
curses. Now choose LIFE, so that you
and your children may live and that you may love the Lord
your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. "
(New International version)
National Pro-life Religious Council
Denounces Ceation of Embryos for Science
Washington, DC, June 16 --The National Pro-Life Religious
Council today strongly denounced the creation of human embryos
for the sole purpose of harvesting their cells and destroying
Researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School's Jones Institute
for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, VA, recently revealed
that they created human embryos from donated eggs and sperm
for the sole purpose of harvesting their stem cells. The Advanced
Cell Technology company in Worcester, MA, is starting a series
of experiments aimed at creating cloned human embryos from
which their stem cells will be derived.
"After studying the facts in this matter, we are united in
denouncing the practice of creating and manipulating human
embryos, in the strongest possible terms," said the Reverend
Rob Schenck, president of the National Pro-life Religious
Council (NPR). "This practice is absolutely Hitleresque."
"Destroying human beings to help humanity is self-contradictory,"
said Fr. Frank Pavone, one of America's best known pro-life
advocates and director of the 40,000 member
Priests for Life. Fr. Pavone is a member of the NPRC board
of directors. The NPRC board of directors includes representatives
from organizations that are Baptist, Catholic, Conservative
Christian, Episcopal, Evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian,
Reformed, and United Church of Christ.
The NPRC is calling on its constituent groups to write their
representatives and senators urging immediate legislation
to stop human embryo creation for experimentation and human
Spokespersons from the NPRC are available for further comment.
Rev. Ben Sheldon Presented Award by
Rev. Sheldon Retires as Executive Director After Long Years
At the April NPRC board meeting, members gave Rev. Ben Sheldon
a standing ovation in gratitude for his many years of service
as NPRC's executive director. Rev. Sheldon was presented with
a plaque with the scripture verse from Deuteronomy 30 (see
above) hand-caligraphied by Michael Podesta.
Rev. Sheldon is one of the founding members of the National
Pro-life Religious Council which was established in 1987.
When it became apparent that pro-life clergy needed to work
together to oppose the inroads of pro-abortion propaganda
within Christian churches as well as without, he helped to
found NPRC to provide a united Christian pro-life testimony
and mutual support to Christian pro-life church-based groups.
This long-time pro-life warrior had spoken out against abortion
before many were aware of its danger, and before the infamous
Roe v. Wade decision legalized it. Since 1967, he has preached
and taught that the child in the womb is God's creation, a
sacred gift to be protected.
Rev. Sheldon and his wife Amy have seven children and 34
grandchildren. As both he and his descendents are giving pro-life
witness, the "Choose Life and your descendents will live..."
is particularly appropriate for Rev. Sheldon and his family.
Connecting the Dots: How to
Support Clergy in Pro-Life Witness
NPRC Panel Presents Popular Workshop at NRLC Convention
One of the most popular workshops at the National Right to
Life Convention this year as in the past was We are the
sheep; Where are the shepherds? This is a panel discussion
in which National Pro-Life Religious Council board members
address the issue of how clergy can be more effectively involved
in the sanctity of life issues.
Some pastors will assert, "I want to just stick to the Gospel,
to preaching Jesus, and stay away from controversial issues."
Commenting on this type of remark, Rev. Ben Sheldon of Presbyterians
Pro-Life said, "You cannot be faithful to the biblical message
of redemption through Jesus Christ without emphasizing the
sacred value of all human life." However, there is a conciliatory,
tactful way of preaching the gospel of life, Pastor Sheldon
reminded listeners. He recommended bringing to the pastor
a woman, child or man who have experienced abortion.
"Put a face on the issue," also advised Georgette Forney,
executive director of the National Organization of Episcopalians
for Life. Mrs. Forney, who had an abortion in her teens, said
many clergy have not seen how abortion hurts women.
Rev. Kirk van der Swaagh of the Conservative Congregational
Congress of Churches stated that pastors need to learn how
to connect the gospel of life to other current issues. "It
is like those connect the dot pictures," he explained. "Ask
your pastor to connect the dots for you .... If he is faithful,
he is going to have to connect the dots himself first."
Lutherans for Life Director Rev. Jim Lamb quoted a woman
who said to him, "I think all the members of my congregation
are against abortion. It just hasn't broken their hearts yet."
Rev. Lamb commented: "That's where we want to get our people
to be. We want to break their hearts. We want to move them
to cross that line from being against abortion to being passionate
about the sacredness of life."
By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
In our system of government, courts do not make law. Rather,
people do, through their elected representatives. This is
what constitutes our freedom and our self-governance. This
is also the reason why elections are so important, and why
participation in elections is an integral part of preserving
and exercising our freedom. When we participate in elections,
questions of ideology matter precisely because we are choosing
the people who, in our name, will make the laws on a wide
range of issues. As long as the people make the laws, the
people are free. The courts, meanwhile, exist to apply
the laws to cases that come before them.
But what happens when the people no longer make the laws?
What happens when judges take this power to themselves, and
invent new laws that are not in the Constitution -- such as
the "right to abortion"?
What happens then is that the people are no longer free.
In such a case, as Thomas L. Gypping of the Free Congress
Foundation recently pointed out, "We can have all the elections
we want, our legislators can pass all the statutes they want,
we can amend the Constitution a thousand times, and none of
it will mean anything because judges have taken the power
to make law away from us. "
We are at a time when all of this is more important than
ever. The President has the responsibility under the Constitution,
to make nominations of judges, and the US Senate has the responsibility
to vote on their confirmation. In most cases, these judges
serve for life, and have the final word on cases that touch
on the most fundamental moral questions of our lives.
A key duty, therefore, is to contact our Senators, and ask
them to confirm only Justices who will strictly uphold the
Constitution as already written. The Constitution is
not an evolvingdocument with a new meaning for every
generation. It is, instead, a foundationaldocument
which is meant to insure a stable government, and the protection
of the rights of the people under a system of carefully balanced
Yet we are currently off balanceas judges around
the country write their own laws from the bench. This should
be the key point in the public discussion about the nomination
and confirmation of judges. What matters more than where the
nominee stands on particular ideologies is how the nominee
sees his/her role as a judge. Is it to create new laws, or
to apply the laws that the people have created? If the latter,
then the judge's personal ideologies won't matter.
If we press this argument for what it is, namely, whether
the people will continue to be their own rulers or not, we
will win a broad coalition of support even from people who
do not share our position on specific issues, but who are
perceptive enough to realize that when people disagree on
issues, the people themselves should resolve the disagreements
through the legislative process, rather than be subject to
the views of unelected judges.
Contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island
NY 10314; Tel. 888 PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515;
Presbyterian Church (USA) Won't Budge
on Abortion Stance
By Rev. Ben Sheldon, Presbyterians Pro-Life
Despite vigorous efforts by Presbyterians ProLife, as well
as other conservative evangelical groups in the Presbyterian
Church(USA) to bring about a change in that mainline
denomination's moderate pro-abortion stance, the annual General
Assembly held in Louisville, Kentucky, June 8-15, refused
to support any of the half-dozen abortion-related "overtures"
that came before that body. Actually, abortion took a back
seat this year to the sexuality issues that have dominated
discussion and controversy for the Presbyterians over the
past several years.
A defeated conservative candidate for Moderator, the annually
elected titular head of the General Assembly, Nancy Maffett,
said that the "Assembly is talking about all the wrong issues."
Attempts to clarify the Presbyterians' position on late-term
abortions, including partial-birth abortions, as well as a
bid to establish a committee to restate the abortion policy
from a Biblical and theological perspective and to rewrite
Board of Pensions guidelines requiring parental notification
in the case of abortion when the mother is a minor, all were
overwhelmingly defeated by the delegates. At the same time,
with the usual disregard to the scientific facts, the Assembly
did approve an overture supporting stem-cell research.
Acknowledging that such decisions need to be "made with responsibility"
the overture added that such research "may result in the restoring
of health to those suffering from serious illness." It is
clear that the advocates of stem-cell research are basing
their arguments on flawed ethics and false science. There
is virtually no evidence that supports this claim.
One pastor commented that "the deck was stacked against conservatives"
at this year's Genera1 Assembly." But, as Presbyterians Pro-Life
President Emeritus, Rev. Ben Sheldon commented over ten years
ago, following a similar defeat. "We'll be back, year after
year, until we finally succeed in turning this denomination
around and restoring the respect for the sanctity of all human
life that once characterized the Presbyterian Church."
At the same time, the Presbyterian Church in America,
a smaller, conservative and Biblical body of Presbyterians,
continues to hold a strongly pro-life stance.
Lutherans For Life Dedicates
New LIFE CENTER
By Rev. Dr. James Lamb, Executive Director, national Lutherans
On April 28, 2001, National Lutherans For Life dedicated
its new Life Center in Nevada, IA just north of Des Moines.
The building was a former Lutheran church that unfortunately
had to close its doors.
The purchase of the building and the 3 acres of property
is a first for National LFL. According to Dr. James I. Lamb,
Executive Director, "LFL is not about bricks and mortar. We
are about equipping Lutherans to apply the Gospel to life
issues. Still, a building is needed to do this. Because the
asking price was extremely reasonable, our board of directors
felt it was a good move and would eventually free up more
funds for our mission."
At the new location, LFL expands from 1,950 square feet to
6,700 square feet; acquires more room for offices, more space
for a bigger mailroom, and more storage for materials: and
acquires a space for teaching and learning.
Since moving to the Ames/Des Moines/Nevada, Iowa area in
1996 (to be more centrally located), LFL has grown in membership,
in outreach, and in the amount of educational materials it
produces and distributes. Dr. Lamb says, "In 1996 our 1,950
square feet of office space seemed like a lot. Yet, we soon
found ourselves cramped! In fact, before this church property
became available, the national board formed a committee to
explore the possibility of a future Life Center with more
office space and flexibility. Well, the future is here! Not
only did we need more room for materials, there is a need
for more staff to adequately meet the needs of congregations
and our state federations, local chapters, and Life Ministry
Coordinators. We have just added one person and plan to add
another within the next two years. There was no more room
at our old offices!"
A capital campaign is underway to raise $250,000 to purchase
and remodel the property and set up a special maintenance
fund with the goal of not using any general funds. Contributions
to the LFL capital campaign should be sent in care of the
"LFL LIFE CENTER FUND," Lutherans For Life, 1120 South
G Avenue, Nevada, IA 50201-2774.
Lutherans For Life is an inter-Lutheran, educational organization.
The mission of Lutherans For Life is "To Witness to the Sanctity
of Human Life through Education Based on the Word of God.
" The organization has 15 state federations and numerous local
chapters and Life Ministry Coordinators.
Lutherans For Life believes that the Church is compelled
by God's Word to speak and act on behalf of those who are
vulnerable and defenseless. The crisis of our times is the
repudiation of Biblical truth manifested in the wanton destruction
of innocent human life through legalized abortion-on-demand
and the growing threat to the lives of others through legalized
assisted suicide and euthanasia. Therefore, as Lutherans For
Life, we will strive to give witness, from a Biblical perspective,
to the Church and society on these and other related issues
such as chastity, post-abortion healing, and family life.
Can We Lower Teen Pregnancy
By Georgette Forney, Executive Director of the National
Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL)
In 1997, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported
there were 872,000 teen pregnancies (ages 15-19) which resulted
in 483,698 live births, 254,363 abortions and 133,939 'fetal
I wonder, is there a way to lower abortion numbers to 0?
The culture that teenagers and young adults are growing up
in is vastly different than it was even five years ago. Our
society has become pre-occupiedwith anything sexual.
Commercials, movies, clothing, music, concerts, theatrical
productions and even amusement parks all stem to appeal to
our senses via sexual messages. Politicians and sex education
in public schools also affirm the message that fulfilling
sexual desires is the right of every American.
Young people today have a different view of what love, intimacy,
and commitment are and their definitions are characterized
by their tolerance for anything and everything. Yet, when
I talk with them, I sense a deep desire to experience the
traditional meaning of love, intimacy and commitment. But
they can't find anyone to show them what those words look
like in real life.
Should the Church do anything to try and counter the culture
teenagers and young adults are growing up in? Can a community
church provide any help or guidance for them? Do you think
it's the responsibility of the local church to set abstinence
as a standard for those who are not married? And does teaching
abstinence, chastity or self-discipline indirectly affect
pregnancy/abortion rates, especially among teenagers and young
I believe there are three things every church that values
life (including teens and young adults) should be doing;
- Invest time and resources in developing a strong youth
program, that emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus,
and His teachings on abstinence and self discipline.
- Hold Parenting classes that provide information about
today's youth culture, partnering with them to set abstinence
as a standard for their teen and young adults.
- Help families/parents by having ministries and programs
that build healthy families and strong marriages.
In our culture today, teens face pressure to become sexually
active from the sixth grade and on. What can we, the church
provide as far as motivation for them to avoid sexual activity
and pregnancy? Are we even interested in trying to help them?
When asked who is most influential person in their lives,
teen most often reply parents and adults who care about them.
I believe it is incumbent on the church to do all we can to
help parents care for their kids. The other day, I saw the
following question and I believe it provides an important
clue on how we can help lower the numbers above:
Dad's should hug their daughters, cause if Dad isn't hugging
her, who is?
Abortion Ministry Resources
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