Uniting for Life

Spring 2003

National Pro-Life Religious Council
109 2nd St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002

Be Salt and Light (or else!)
The Bishop and the Atheist
Abortion Awareness Month in the Black Community
Abortion Advocates Memorialize the Wrong People
Honoring Pre-born Children
United Methodist Annual Conferences Called on to Oppose UMF Involvement with Pro-Abortion RCRC
Valuable New Resource: "Holy Abortion?"
Helping to END THE SILENCE of Church Leaders


Be Salt and Light (or else!)

By Dr. James Lamb, Lutherans For Life Executive Director

The refusal of many churches to be this world's salt and light when it comes to abortion is not a neutral position.

I strive to be positive in my writing whenever I can, even when dealing with some of the very negative life and death issues of our time. But any article with an "or else" in the title certainly does lean toward the negative! Such is the fate of this article. Allow me, however, to at least begin with the positive.

Jesus' familiar words in the Sermon on the Mount that His followers are to be this world's salt and light are very positive words. Christians are to have a positive influence upon the world in which they reside while waiting for the inheritance of their true home in heaven. We are to be salt and give a positive flavor to things. We are to be salt that preserves those things that are grounded in God's truth because they are good for society. Christians are to be this world's light that reveals the deeds of darkness. We are to be this world's light that reveals the love of God in Christ through the things we do. The positive goal of it all is so that more will be drawn to glorify God.

What we sometimes overlook in these beautiful words is that Jesus does have an "or else." "But if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men" (Matthew 5:13). I can't say this without a double negative so here goes. Not being salty is not a neutral position. When a Christian says, "I don't want to get involved, I don't want to make waves, I just want to remain neutral when it comes to trying to influence society" they have already been influenced by society. If we are not flavoring the world, the world will flavor us. If we do not preserve God's truth, it and we will be trampled by the "truths" of this world.

Jesus said that people do not light a lamp and "put it under a bowl" (5:15). Once again, there is no neutral position. A light under a bowl does not sit there all by itself enjoying the glow of neutrality. A light under a bowl goes out! It dies! If Christians are not exposing the deeds of darkness, then the deeds of darkness that the world calls "light" will become our light. If we are not revealing the love of God in Christ Jesus, then we become vulnerable to the revelations of the darkness that see the love of God in a tree or in some transcendent experience.

The refusal of many churches to be this world's salt and light when it comes to abortion is not a neutral position. It is a spiritually harmful position. When the Biblical truth of the sanctity of human life is not upheld, that truth is eroded. The "Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice," for example, says on their website that "Abortion can be a moral, ethical, and religiously responsible decision." Such a statement professes ignorance of the Biblical truth that a human being exists at the moment of conception as the work of God's hands and a gift from His grace. "Religious" people with the explicit message that it is okay for religious people to think this way are promoting spiritual harm. The "salt" has lost its saltiness and has been trampled. The "light" has been snuffed out and replaced by the darkness.

Jesus' words in Matthew 5:13-14 are positive words. As God's people we have a wonderful message of life and forgiveness and hope. There is never a need to turn to death as a solution to our problems. But there is an "or else." To be silent with our message is not neutral. Silence corrupts our message. May we boldly and courageously assume our responsibility to be salt and light so that the Lord of Life, not death, is glorified.


The Bishop and the Atheist

By Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento has something to say to pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic. So does Doris Gordon, an atheist and the founder of "Libertarians for Life."

On January 22, 2003, Bishop Weigand preached the following words:

"As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone — politician or otherwise — who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart."

He made explicit that fact that his words have direct application to Gray Davis, the Governor of California, who is pro-abortion and says he is Catholic. The bishop's homily made national news. And many of the faithful are saying It's about time.

Yet to speak this way is the duty of a bishop. More surprising to many is that an atheist would say the same. My friend, Doris Gordon, founded "Libertarians for Life" (www.L4L.org) and recently wrote an article, "A Libertarian Atheist Answers ‘Pro-Choice Catholics.’" She issues this challenge:

"The Church holds that such children are human persons with rights, yet the "personally opposed" hold that it should be a woman's choice to destroy them. If there is a credible reason for such a position, what is it? Opposition to legal abortion cuts across the religious and political spectrum. I'm an atheist. I was born and raised Jewish. Catholicism had nothing to do with my coming to understand why abortion is a wrong, not a right, and why it should not be legal."

Both Bishop Weigand and Doris Gordon are calling for consistency. If one claims to be Catholic, he/she should accept the teachings of Catholicism. It's as simple as that. Holy Communion, moreover, reinforces the need for consistency. Communion means "union with." To receive Communion is not magic. It is, rather, the summit and source of all our efforts to think, desire, choose, and live in union with Jesus Christ. When one knows the definitive teaching of Jesus as expressed in the Church, and deliberately refuses to accept it, he/she rejects "communion" at that moment. It no longer makes sense to receive physically the One whom you have rejected by clinging to your own conflicting doctrine.

Moreover, both the bishop and the atheist are saying that abortion is wrong not because the Church says so, but because of what abortion is. The taking of a child's life is simply not a civilized act. Nor is stealing. The Church teaches against stealing, but we don't hear people complain that laws against stealing are an imposition of religious doctrine. They realize that stealing does not only violate religious doctrine; it violates basic human rights. So does abortion. That truth isn't so hard to understand. But if we forget, then fortunately, we have both bishops and atheists to help us.


Abortion Awareness Month in the Black Community - JUNE, 2003

Black Americans for Life (BAL) will join with the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life in proclaiming June "Abortion Awareness Month in the Black Community."

This marks the second year that these two national groups have joined together to help the African-American Community better understand the realities and tragedy of abortion. Since abortion was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court in January 1973, almost 14 million black babies have been killed by abortion. The abortion rate for black women is 3 times that of white women. This year's activities will feature two prominent religious leaders from the African-American Community.

Pastor Clenard Howard Childress, Jr.

Pastor Childress is a Baptist Pastor from Montclair, New Jersey. He has preached on a wide variety of African-American radio stations across America and has presented talks to various local, state and national organizations. Called the "Urban Prophet" by many, Pastor Childress grieves for the loss of life from abortion and asks why the African American Community is the only minority group that does not vote its values.

Fr. Jim Goode, OFM, Ph.D

Fr. Goode is the President of the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life and the director of Solid Ground, an outreach ministry to the poor and homeless in New York City. Inspired by the late John Cardinal O'Connor, Fr. Goode took up the task of establishing a well-grounded pro-life organization for Black Catholics. "Life must be affirmed and cherished. Abortion destroys the baby and also damages the mother and father. People of all faiths and races must join hands to pull our country back from the culture of death and give new hope to all God's children."

To help promote Abortion Awareness Month, flyers and bumper stickers are available through:

Black Americans For Life,
512 Tenth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20004
(202) 626-8800 ext 155 www.nrlc.org

National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life,
440 W. 36'" Street, New York, NY 10018
(212) 868-1847


Abortion Advocates Memorialize the Wrong People

By Georgette Forney, Executive Director, NOEL (National Organization of Episcopalians for Life),

Co-Founder, Silent No More Campaign

Creative ideas to capture media attention have always entertained me. People come up with a variety of antics and activities to promote this or that cause.

But I just read about one that takes the cake!

A group that identifies itself as "Refuse & Resist!" has made March 10th, the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. They chose March 10th because it is the day Dr. David Gunn, an abortion doctor was killed.

I must say that the logic of their effort escapes me. The organizers suggest a variety of activities on their website focused on honoring "those who put their lives on the line daily to make choice possible; without abortion providers, there can be no choice." My favorite suggestion is "Use your imagination to help create a climate at clinics where women, doctors and staff can hold their heads high without feeling ashamed or fearing assault."

I never realized the man who performed my abortion shared the shame I felt from having an abortion. If shame is common, shouldn't we question why?

Why don't we have an appreciation day for women who have died from abortion?

What struck me about this appreciation day was that they had to wait until 1996 to institute it, because it was 23 years of legalized abortion before one of the abortion providers was killed.

This is where the irony comes in for me. Within the first year of Roe vs. Wade, Kathy Murphy, a 17-year-old from California, died from a legal abortion. And in the 30 years since, many more women have died; thousands have experienced long-term physical complications and millions have suffered from fertility problems. (Did you know according to a study published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 6% of women who have abortions become sterile?)

For a number of women, choosing abortion was their last choice and for millions of others, abortion was their last reproductive choice.

Why aren't their lives worth memorializing?

I don't know the answer, maybe the truth is too scary to promote! Maybe we're afraid to acknowledge that although we thought making abortion legal would make it safe, it didn't.

Maybe we should create an appreciation day for those who are working to make it unnecessary

We don't believe doctors should be killed for performing abortions. We do believe women deserve better choices than abortion.

Contact Georgette at: 800-707-NOEL
405 Frederick Avenue, Sewickley, PA 15143


Honoring Pre-born Children

By Rev. Terry Gensemer, Director, CEC For Life

There is one area where the Pro-abortion forces have been successful in the culture wars, it is in dehumanizing children living in the wombs of their mothers. The fact that for the most part children in the womb have no voice and no face only helps the abortion industry in their agenda. The old phrase "out of sight, out of mind" is nowhere more applicable than in the effort of Pro-lifers to restore a Culture of Life.

Fortunately we have some new tactics at our disposal. One tactic is technology, which allows the world to have a much clearer and a more precise view of life in the womb. What we have been saying for so long about the life of Pre-born children is becoming more and more evident to any one who cares to take a glimpse.

Another way to restore humanity to Pre-born children is by acknowledging their life and death the same way Christians acknowledge life and death outside the womb. Our communion, the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, have called our clergy and laity as well as the surrounding community to be with children at the literal time of their death in the abortion clinics. As a pastor, this is a normal function of my ministry. When someone is dying at the hospital it is normal for me to be there. On one day a year we ask our entire church to join together at abortion clinics, hospitals, government buildings or in their churches to stand with Pre-born children. The service is called The Liturgy at the Time of Death for the Pre-born.

After someone dies it is normal for the people of the church and the community to come together to honor that person and to declare the truth of the Christian faith, that the departure from this world is not the end of life, but only the reconciliation between God and man. It is no different for Pre-born human beings except their life on earth is shorter than most, and they have no family or friends or church or minister to honor them in life and death. Services we have for these children are performed on a daily basis by individual churches in our communion.

This year on Holy Saturday we once again united to stand with Jesus Christ and His precious Pre-born children. Holy Saturday is the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is a day we look at liturgically as the period of time between the crucifixion and His resurrection. A day of darkness for Our Lord. There is no time on the Christian calendar where there is a closer identity between Christ and those children that will die either in the womb of their mother or after being pulled out of the womb and slain on the abortionist's cold steel table. They too are in a place of darkness and surrounded by the unknown. Their only hope is in the glorious Resurrection of the Son of God, the ultimate victory over death and the grave.

So as we gathered together on that day, we not only mourned for those children scheduled for death, we declared their value and their humanity to a world that has lost its way, to a civilization that has become marked by its lust for selfishness and the disposal of any inconvenience, even an inconvenient human baby. We also celebrated the indisputable and eternal truth of Christ's selfless victory over selfishness and experience Heaven's welcoming of His own into His aims.

In March of 2002, over sixty communities participated all across America and Canada to pray in union with Christ and the pre-born children. Let us join together once again on future occasions to be in union with the children that will die in our nation.


United Methodist Annual Conferences Called on to Oppose UMF Involvement with Pro-Abortion RCRC

A resolution requesting the withdrawal of United Methodist involvement with the pro-abortion Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) has been formulated for consideration by the 2003 annual conferences and submission to the 2004 General Conference. Also a new book that lays out a theological and scholarly criticism of RCRC is being promoted and made available as of April 1, 2003. (see box at right)

Excerpts from the model resolution are as follows:


WHEREAS, the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries/Women's Division are presently members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC);

WHEREAS, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice advances:

(1) an absolute sexual and reproductive freedom (including abortion)...

(2) the idea of the person as a sovereign moral agent isolated from others, from Christian community, and from tradition...

(3) the trivialization of the moral status of unborn human life...

(4) the legitimacy of abortion as a means of birth control...

(5) the holiness of abortion...

(6) a pro-choice God who blesses all human decisions...

WHEREAS, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice's moral and theological agenda contradicts The United Methodist Church's teaching on sexuality, life, and abortion at each of the aforementioned points:

(1) on an absolute sexual and reproductive freedom: "Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are only clearly affirmed in the marriage bond." (The Book of Discipline, Social Principles, Paragraph 161G) "We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection." (The Book of Discipline, Social Principles, Paragraph 161J)

(2) on the idea of the person as a sovereign moral agent in isolation: "...a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel." (The Book of Discipline, Social Principles, Paragraph 161J)

(3) on the trivialization of the moral status of unborn human life: "Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion." (The Book of Discipline, Social Principles, Paragraph 161J)

(4) on the legitimacy of abortion as a means of birth control: "We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control..." (The Book of Discipline, Social Principles, Paragraph 161J)

(5) on the holiness of abortion: "Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion." (The Book of Discipline, Social Principles, Paragraph 161J)

(6) on a pro-choice God who blesses all decisions: "...no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral." (The Book of Discipline, Article VI of The Articles of Religion Paragraph 103);

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 2003 session of the Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church hereby charges its Conference Secretary, ... to withdraw immediately the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries/Women's Division from the membership of the Religious Coalition of Reproductive Rights ....


Holy Abortion?

A Theological Critique of the Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice

Why Christians and Christian Churches Should Reconsider the Issue of Abortion

by Michael J. Gorman & Ann Loar Brooks

Four mainline Protestant denominations (the ECUSA, PCUSA, UCC, and UMC) are affiliated with the Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice. In this important new book, the authors carefully examine the literature and liturgical aids produced by RCRC, demonstrating how its theology radically contradicts the statements on abortion issued by its affiliated churches.

Order Your Copy Now!

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Please make the checks payable to the National Pro-Life Religious Council and send the order in the enclosed business reply envelope to:

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Helping to END THE SILENCE of Church Leaders

A project of: The National Pro-Life Religious Council

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