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Pro-life and pro-gun? Evangelical minister talks faith and firearms in Charleston

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Standing in the spot where a German pastor was hanged decades ago for resisting the Nazi regime, the Rev. Robert Schenck experienced a conversion.

Schenck, an Evangelical minister and former anti-abortion activist who now considers the conservative Christian right as a “Ronald Reagan Republican religion,” drew inspiration years ago from European theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Nazi resister, who preached ethics and the responsible life and was ultimately executed by Adolf Hilter’s regime.

“As I stood there, it was as if the scales were shed from my eyes,” Schenck said, referring to his change of heart regarding some of the positions held by conservative evangelicals. “I saw something I had not seen in more than three decades of work. I had been part of a spiritual corruption of the Gospel.

It occurred around the same time the 2015 documentary “The Armor of Light” was released. Schenck is prominently featured in the short film about Evangelicals and gun culture. Today, he serves as president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington, D.C., and travels the nation advocating for gun control, using Scripture and Bonhoeffer’s teachings to bolster his more moderate arguments.

On Tuesday, standing before several dozen pastors and parishioners from various denominations in Charleston, Schenck raised the question at a Lunch-and-Learn event held by local nonprofit Arm-in-Arm. The topic: Can a community be pro-life (anti-abortion) and pro-gun?

“For me, the gun question in our own culture is a gateway question on Christian ethics,” Schenk said at the event, held at All Saints Lutheran Church in Mount Pleasant.

Though mass shootings have impacted houses of worship, Evangelicals are among the most avid supporters of gun rights and most also are against abortion, the Pew Research Center reported.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. encouraged students of the conservative Christian college some years ago to arm themselves, citing the need to protect against violent perpetrators.

But for others, the Evangelical view on abortion and gun rights represents a contradiction where the community calls for life preservation at one stage while life at later stages remains at risk.

“I see an inherent conflict,” Schenck said. “I’m not anti-gun. But I do believe whenever someone takes a weapon to himself or herself, they (raise) supreme ethical questions.”

Referencing abortion, Schenck said fictional narratives were drawn around ending pregnancies. For example, the claim that every woman seeking an abortion was either being bullied or was selfishly intending to save herself is false, he said.

“It took me some very painful encounters to realize that was not reality at all,” the minister said.

Spike Coleman, who pastors St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in West Ashley, said at the event that the anti-abortion and pro-gun views are “hard to fit together.”

He pointed to moral injury, the damage that can be done to a shooter’s conscience after they’ve taken a life.

For the rest of the post…

I replied to his post. Is Schenck pro-choice now? Can a follower of Jesus use a gun to protect his/her family. self and others? Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

January 23, 2019

Many were alarmed and dispirited by footage this week of raucous cheering in the New York State Senate chamber. The “Happy Days Are Here Again” sort of celebration wasn’t for a bill to guarantee health care or repair roads or to reform the government. The applause and laughter was instead for a bill to remove any protections as persons from unborn children at any stage of pregnancy. While this video does indeed tell us much about the culture in which we live right now I actually think another piece of footage tells us more.

A few weeks ago, I watched an episode of a video series in which children ask questions of an adult. One episode featured an adult who was a mortician, for instance, in order to talk about death and grieving. This particular episode was a conversation between children and a woman who has had an abortion. What struck me the most is that it was a kind of Sunday school.

As someone who believes strongly in Sunday school, I’ve always bristled at the use of the term “Sunday school answer.” I get what the term is meant to imply: a shallow, surface-level answer that is given by children because they know what the adults around them expect. An old pulpit cliché would often talk about the Sunday school teacher who, about to tell a story about a squirrel, asked children what was furry, with a bushy tale, climbed trees, and stored up nuts for the winter. One child is said to have replied, “I know the answer is ‘Jesus,’ but I’m just trying to figure out how to get there.” The point of the cliché is that there’s a real answer, but then there’s the answer one is supposed to give.

That’s what appears to have happened in this interview between the abortion-rights activist and the children. The children seem to be trying to give the “right” answer. One says that abortion is okay, as long as it for “good reasons.” This answer is obviously the wrong one, as the adult seems to chastise him for differentiating between “good” reasons and “bad” reasons. Children keep using the word “baby” in reference to the “choice” that abortion is supposed to be about. The activist, whenever encountering some moral hesitation about abortion, asks the children whether their families are religious, as if to explain some irrational repression. The children seem to be trying to find what it is the adults want them to say, but there are some moral realities they can’t help but bump into along the way.

That’s both the good news and the bad news for those of us who believe in human dignity and the protection of human life, regardless of age, size, or vulnerability. In order to see the realities around us, we must have a thick Augustinian vision of both human createdness and human fallenness.

The fallen nature of humanity is evident. Who could cheer the potential to stop the beating hearts of children who are, in some cases, just weeks away from birth? And the closer one gets to the issue, the more one sees just how blinded by injustice people can get.

For the rest of the post…

“Tuesday, January 22, 2019 is the tragic 46-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Since then, 61 million babies have been aborted in America. The number worldwide, since 1980, is a ghastly 1.5 billion. It is a horror past finding out.”

Desiring God Site…

January 20, 2019

Article by Scott Klusendorf

ABSTRACT: The pro-life movement in America seemed in dire straits in 2016, with losses on almost every front. Donald Trump’s surprising win appears to have stalled the abortion juggernaut. An escape, however, is not a triumph. Dunkirk was not Normandy. Abortion is here to stay as long as millions of young Christians are uninformed, unequipped, and unconcerned.

The pro-life movement faced a gathering storm in 2016.

In California, pro-life pregnancy centers were forced to advertise abortion services or pay crippling fines. In New York, Catholic nuns were told to fund abortion in their health-care plans or dissolve. Nationally, pro-life doctors were pressured to refer patients for abortion or risk their medical credentials. Politically, the outlook was grim. Abortion activists were one appointment away from commanding the Supreme Court. A conservative justice was dead. The Republican presidential candidate had lamentable character, and his pro-life commitment was unproven. And the candidate sworn to uphold abortion at any stage of pregnancy appeared to be running away with the election.

Then, in God’s strange providence, Donald Trump’s win stalled the abortion juggernaut. Given a choice between a flawed presidential candidate who might limit abortion and one who affirmed it wholesale, a majority of pro-life advocates voted to limit the evil and promote the good insofar as possible.1Political ambition did not drive them to the polls. Survival instinct did. They feared a Clinton presidency would irrevocably crush their efforts to save children.

Pro-lifers received some immediate relief from the new president. He cut off overseas funding for abortion. He created a special office to protect the conscience rights of health-care professionals. Most importantly, he began overhauling the federal courts. Last summer, the Supreme Court tossed the California law that forced pregnancy centers to promote abortion. The decision was 5-to-4. Without Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, that ruling goes the other way.

All this is good news for the pro-life movement, but an escape is not a triumph. Abortion is here to stay as long as millions of Christians are uninformed and unequipped, as long as those predisposed to accept our view and contend for it never actually experience pro-life teaching. Whatever gains have been made in Washington, we are failing in our churches and Christian schools. And the political cost of that failure is steep. Sustained political victory happens when large coalitions of pro-life voters command the electoral landscape to the extent that we can protect candidates who support us and penalize ones who don’t. Christian students are especially vital to building that coalition, but they’re not hearing from us. The problem is not messaging. It’s access. For many Christian leaders, the thought of pro-life teaching is dead on arrival.

Only Two Percent

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez presides over a political party dedicated to the proposition that an entire class of human beings can be set aside to be killed. For Perez, the right to abortion is absolute. “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. . . . That is not negotiable.”2 Perez blames churches for hamstringing his party’s messaging on abortion. The Sunday morning pulpit elevates abortion above everything else “and people buy it. Because that’s their only source,” the DNC chairman laments.3

Anyone who thinks Perez is right should visit Summit Ministries. Each summer, Summit runs regional worldview conferences in Colorado, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. The purpose is simple: prepare Christian students for the intellectual challenges they will face once they leave the safety of their local churches and step on to the university campus.

I teach the abortion sessions at Summit. For the last five summers, I’ve conducted an informal survey of attendees. I ask for a show of hands on a specific question: “How many of you, prior to coming to Summit, heard a pro-life apologetics presentation in your church aimed at equipping you to defend the pro-life view?” The numbers are remarkably consistent. Out of 1,800 students present each summer, an average of 45 have prior exposure to a pro-life apologetics presentation in their local churches. Let that sink in: 45 out of 1,800! That’s only 2.5%.

What Makes Pro-Life Teaching Hard?

Churches aren’t the only challenge. Life Training Institute (LTI), where I serve as President, trains Christians to make a persuasive case for life in the public square. The primary way we fulfill our mission is by making pro-life apologetics presentations in Catholic and Protestant high schools. Last year, our speaking team reached 72,000 students with pro-life apologetics talks. Unlike other pro-life presentations that focus on chastity or sexual purity (programs we fully support), LTI presentations focus exclusively on why the pro-life view is true and reasonable to believe. To my knowledge, we are the only pro-life group that systematically targets Catholic and Protestant high schools with pro-life talks of this sort.

It takes a Herculean effort and a lion’s share of our budget to get in front of 72,000 Christian students. Many schools ignore us. Why is that?

Credentials aren’t the problem. Anyone who spends five minutes on Google can see that LTI speakers engage students with persuasive content and earn favorable reviews everywhere they go. Nationally syndicated programs like Focus on the Family and Issues, Etc. feature our presentations. We’ve published books with Crossway and Hendrickson. The Gospel Coalition publishes our articles. We’re contributing authors to the Christian Research Journal. In addition to Summit, we lecture at Biola University’s worldview conferences and teach pro-life apologetics to aspiring lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Academy. We were asked to advise a presidential candidate on abortion. Christian leaders like John Piper, J.D. Greear, Al Mohler, and John Stonestreet reference our training materials. We have secular credentials as well. I’ve debated my friend Nadine Strossen — former president of the ACLU — on several university campuses.

Messaging isn’t the problem. Students routinely thank us for making persuasive arguments instead of emotional appeals. A common response is, “That was amazing. You’re the first person to actually give us reasons.”

Speaking fees aren’t the problem. We understand that most Christian schools are broke. Thus, with few exceptions, we send our speakers for free. We pick up the airfare, hotel, car rental, and speaker stipend. We absorb the cost of hiring a full-time staffer to secure the event in the first place. The school pays nothing.

It’s still tough getting in.

What They Don’t Want to See

Put simply, our problem is subject matter. We’re offering an abortion presentation many Christian schools and churches don’t want. Our challenge is to make them want it, to convince them it’s vital to the formation of a Christian worldview, and to persuade them that students will thank them for hosting it.

Once a Christian high school agrees to have us, we face another challenge: negotiating an effective presentation. The best talks include persuasive arguments, gospel, and the careful use of abortion imagery. Gregg Cunningham puts it well: “Pro-lifers should stop protesting abortion and start exposing it. When you show pictures of abortion, abortion protests itself.”4Our pro-abortion adversaries know this and candidly admit their rhetoric is no match for the visuals. “When someone holds up a model of a six-month-old fetus and a pair of surgical scissors, we say, ‘choice,’ and we lose,” writes feminist Naomi Wolf.5

Nevertheless, opposition to the images is stiff, even among pro-lifers. Last year, I spoke in chapel at a large Christian university. The event host refused to let me show a 55-second clip depicting abortion as part of my presentation despite acknowledging my documented history of using visuals responsibly. He knew that I never spring disturbing pictures on unsuspecting audiences, that I fully disclose the contents of the film before showing it, and that I invite people to look away if they wish not to watch. He knew that I situated the pictures within the context of the gospel, stressing God’s grace to wounded people rather than condemnation. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t fight for the clip when his staff objected to its use. He admitted the images save lives and resonate powerfully with audiences but said students at his university were too fragile to handle them.

Event hosts say this all the time. They want other people to see the images, just not their people. They hope FOX News will do the heavy lifting for them. Ironically, that same chapel host said he was on a personal mission to recruit more students for the campus pro-life club, whose numbers were abysmally low. How? By hiding the truth from them? As Cunningham points out, “When pro-life leaders care more about the feelings of the born than they do the lives of the unborn, the pro-life movement is in real trouble.”

If you think accessing Christian schools is tough, try popular Christian conferences. Students ages 18 to 24 are most at risk for abortion, yet you would never know it by surveying the speaking lineups. You’ll find sessions on global sex trafficking, world hunger, economic justice, climate change, refugees, and racism, but there’s no passion to engage the culture on the legally sanctioned killing of 61 million innocent human beings in our own nation since 1973. At times, pro-lifers encounter outright hostility. In 2015, Urbana — once the premier evangelical student conference — featured a Black Lives Matter speaker who used her keynote slot to bash pro-lifers for “only doing activism that is comfortable” and for “withholding mercy from the living so that we might display a big spectacle of how much we want mercy to be shown to the unborn.”

Does any of this sound like an evangelical community woke to elevating abortion above everything else?

Functionally Pro-Choice?

It gets worse. The 2017 Evangelicals for Life conference, where I presented a session on pro-life apologetics, featured a keynote address from Eugene Cho, the former lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle. Cho told pro-lifers to rewrite their job descriptions to include a comprehensive, whole-life ethic. “We can’t just be anti-abortion. We should be for the sanctity of life from the womb to tomb. . . . Not just American lives, but Syrian lives. Not just Christian liberty religious lives, but Muslim refugee lives.” We can’t cherry pick. “All life is sacred and every single human being bears the image of God.”6

Except when that image-bearer isn’t sacred enough to legally protect. What conference attendees may not have known is that Cho is functionally pro-choice. He personally opposes abortion and wants to reduce it but thinks it should remain legal in a pluralistic society due to the high cost of outlawing it. He writes, “Like most Christians I know, I am against abortion. However, I just do not believe we can legislate it. . . . Can we maintain choice but do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?”7

Has it ever occurred to Cho that a society which dramatically reduced the lynching of blacks, but left it legal to lynch them, would be a deeply immoral society? Imagine telling blacks, “We will do all we can to protect you so long as it’s not too expensive and meets with popular approval in our pluralistic society. After all, we want to maintain choice.” This is beyond mind-boggling. When a pro-choice pastor, who thinks it should be legal to intentionally dismember innocent human beings because it costs too much to protect them, uses his platform at an evangelical pro-life conference to tell abortion opponents they aren’t really pro-life, “pro-life” has lost all meaning.

Cho isn’t providing students or anyone else biblical leadership on abortion. He’s conveying what the secular culture already believes. As journalist Christopher Caldwell points out, Americans love to condemn abortion with words but keep the option legally available. “Even where Americans claim to disapprove most strongly of abortion, they booby-trap their disapproval so that it never results in the actual curtailment of abortion rights. A pro-life regime is not really something Americans want — it’s just something they feel they ought to want.”8

Moreover, why is the “whole-life” argument never used against other groups who target specific forms of injustice, only pro-lifers? If an inner-city daycare ministry only receives grade-school kids from 3:00 to 5:00pm on weekdays, do we cast aspersions on them for not operating 24/7? Do we insist they spread their already scarce resources even thinner fighting poverty and gang violence? True, abortion isn’t the only issue — any more than slavery was the only issue in 1860 or killing Jews the only issue in 1940. But both were the dominant issues of their day. Pro-lifers are right to give greater weight to the greater moral issue.

My colleague Marc Newman writes, “Individuals and organizations that make it their exclusive mission to save innocent human beings from a culture hell-bent on butchering them have nothing to apologize for. They don’t need additional causes; they need additional support.”9

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t assume that Christian students will get pro-life teaching from evangelical thought-leaders when some of the most influential ones consider pastoral silence a theological virtue. In 1994, Billy Graham said that addressing abortion in the pulpit could impede his “main message” of salvation. “I don’t get into these things like abortion,” Graham told talk show host Larry King.10

More recently, WORLD magazine reports on an evangelical pastor in New York who says that abortion is a double-justice issue and people should be stopped from doing it, but he doesn’t focus on it from the pulpit because “pushing moral behaviors before we lift up Christ is religion” — something Jesus warns about. The biblical approach to controversial sins, he says, is to preach the gospel and let congregants arrive at the right conclusion. He cites the example of an Ivy League graduate who thanked him for not focusing on abortion from the pulpit. She added, “If I had seen any literature or reference to the ‘pro-life’ movement, I would not have stayed through the first service.” She was a lawyer, a resident of Manhattan, and an active ACLU member. Her history included three abortions. Eventually, the woman converted to Christianity under the pastor’s influence. Later she approached him to ask, “Do you think abortion is wrong?” He said yes. She replied, “I am coming to see that maybe there is something wrong with it.”11

I’m glad she eventually figured it out, but what are we to conclude — that clerical silence in the face of child sacrifice is an acceptable means of evangelism? That’s cold comfort to dead children who, this pastor candidly admits, “are not being treated as they deserve.”

Prudence in the pulpit is essential, but the pastor presents a false choice. Pastors don’t have to choose between “pushing moral behaviors” or “lifting up Christ.” They can preach truthfully on abortion but do so within the context of the gospel.

For the rest of the post…


Clergy, including (from left) the Rev. Carl Jackson, Rabbi Charles Feinberg, the Rev. Cari Jackson and the Rev. Barbara Gerlach, bless an abortion clinic in Bethesda on Monday. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

When clergy gather at an abortion clinic, it’s usually in protest, outside the building.

Rarely are they huddled inside the clinic, not to condemn but to bless the procedures that happen there.

Yet that was the Rev. Carlton Veazey’s task as he led a prayer in Bethesda on Monday. “God of grace and God of glory, in whom we move and live,” he said, as he opened a prayer for the well-being of the doctor and nurses who facilitate abortions at a clinic here and for their patients. “Keep them safe and keep them strong. And may they always know that all that they do is for Thy glory.”

Veazey was one of four Christian pastors and one rabbi who gathered to bless this Bethesda abortion clinic in an unusual interfaith ceremony. (A Hindu priest who was supposed to attend from a local temple, who has blessed an abortion clinic before, didn’t make it.)

Opinions on the morality of abortion differ drastically by faith. Catholicism and some Protestant denominations teach that life begins from the  moment of conception and abortion at any stage is akin to murder. Other Protestants and teachings from several other faiths disagree with that definition of life and emphasize instead the sanctity of the health and the free will of women.

“Jewish rabbinic authorities, starting with the Middle Ages, say that a fetus is not a person,” said Rabbi Charles Feinberg, who is retired from Adas Israel synagogue, after participating in the ceremony. “Judaism has always said abortion is never murder. It may not be permitted, depending on the circumstances — how far along the pregnancy is, how seriously ill the mother-to-be is — but it is never murder. It only becomes that once the baby is born.”

Yet everyday conversation about abortion tends to cast it as a question of faith on one side — the antiabortion side — versus secular liberalism on the other.

For the rest of the post…

This holds true in America today, given our own holocaust of abortion, where 60 million innocent babies have been destroyed in gas chambers called abortion clinics.

Like Bonhoeffer, we can’t turn a deaf ear to the cries of the innocent among us. We must speak up!

Proverbs 31:8-9 says: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice” (NLT).

The only way those who cannot speak for themselves will get justice is if those of us who can speak actually speak.

A report last week by National Public Radio highlighted the importance of this. It was headlined, “Down Syndrome Families Divided over Abortion Ban.” The report discussed a bill in Ohio that would ban selective abortions for Down syndrome babies.

Of course, destroying innocent life in any situation is wrong, but what caught our attention was a comment by the mother of a Down syndrome child who said she never even considered ending her pregnancy when she found out.

She told NPR: “He’s still a baby. He’s still worthy of life just like everybody else.”

To that we said, “Yay and Amen!”

But this mother went on, speaking of the Ohio bill that would ban abortion for children like hers, saying: “I try not to bring this up, just because people are so passionate. And I value my friendships with people.”

So, on the one hand, she said Down syndrome children are “babies deserving life just like everybody else.

And on the other hand, she said she doesn’t want to talk about a law that would protect them “because she values friendships with people.”

OK, we value friendships with people, too. But it’s the height of apathy (perhaps selfishness) to value personal comfort over protective care. It doesn’t matter how much social pressure you might receive.

To refuse to speak is to speak. Bonhoeffer was hanged by a piano wire for speaking up. Today, we might get a nasty tweet or an angry Facebook post.

Big deal.

The prophet Amos spoke about times like this, saying, “Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time” (Amos 5:13).

When the times are evil, it’s natural to want to keep silent. But it’s supernatural to speak up in the face of evil

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/12/lets-break-americas-shameful-silence-in-face-of-evil/#78XUImldCmZmW2jD.99

 

January 31, 2016

Thanks Cd’A Press for the article, “The Right to Life” on the front page (1/24/16)! Your photographer took time to get some good shots of a variety of pro-life signs at the march. And thank you people for getting out to protest this worldwide tragedy of the killing of children; well over one billion children in the last 50 years (or about 44 million children worldwide per year).

The actor Jack Nicholson, who might have been aborted if his unmarried Mom had gotten pregnant today, said, “My only emotion is gratitude, literally, for my life (1984).” One sign that our family has not seen in about 38 years of attempting to stand up for the Civil Rights for unborn children and against the exploitation of their moms (and dads) is, “I have noticed everyone who is for abortion has been born.”

Elie Wiesel who survived the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz says, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

Regarding “signs depicting graphic abortion images,” Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower had German civilians forced to visit Buchenwald concentration camp at the end of WWII. When looking at the depths of depravity to which their Nazi leaders had sunk, many said, “We didn’t know.”

Conversely, German Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer had the courage to speak out against Hitler’s murder of millions of innocent human beings and became a martyr at the age of 39 (1945). After the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1946), guilty Nazi leaders were hung.

For the rest of the post…

Tennille Richard   Jan 19, 2016

So I prayed about it some more, trying to figure out what God was calling me to. I eventually came across a post on Take My Hand, Not My Life that they were looking for a new administrator. It was started by a group of Filipino students for a class project, and the project was done and they weren’t able to keep up with it.

So I contacted them, and a few months later, I took over. I floundered around quite a bit, and then I noticed that a page from British Columbia was “liking” and commenting on a lot of the stuff that I was posting. So I contacted Heather Sudnik from British Columbia, realizing that she had just started up a page for her community, and made a new friend at the same time. We supported each other and helped each other out while we floundered along. A few other pro-life Facebook page administrators from different parts of the world also started asking me how to do certain things. So I started a support group of different pro-life page administrators. Eventually, out of that came the theme days for pro-life social media.

Shortly after The Center of Medical Progress released their first video from my heart’s desire was to have a theme day about Abortion Survivors. Just about everyone in the Pro-life community knows Gianna Jessen’s, Melissa Ohden’s, and Claire Culwell’s stories. However there are lesser known abortion survivors in the support group such as Carrie Fischer and Nik Hoot’s adoptive mother. I wanted to share their stories too. I really wanted the world to hear their stories, alongside with Gianna’s, Melissa’s, and Claire’s. That theme day turned out to be a big day all around.

CMP released video #4 that day, Planned Parenthood’s website was “hacked by extremists”, and RU-486 was approved by Health Canada. Satan was working overtime to block these people’s stories from being brought to light. The only good thing that happened that day (beside our first theme day) was the new release of CMP’s latest video. And God had ordained that day long before any of us were born. I was reminded of His Grace and remembered that He is much bigger than this; so let’s see what He has for us.

Since then, we have had many theme days, which included Adoption Stories Day, Pregnancy And Infancy Loss Awareness Day, Sibling Saturday (which was about siblings that lost other siblings due to abortion), and Father’s Friday (which dealt with father’s who lost children to abortion.) Over the years, it seemed like every time I shared a story or a meme on my page about how it’s wrong to abort babies who were conceived in rape, I would get some backlash about it. That is why it’s been on my heart to do a theme day celebrating the lives of those conceived in rape for quite a while. I just wanted the ideal timing for it.

Kevin Albin (one of my wonderful co-administrators) and I have been talking about it since November. I had the March for Life in the back of my head, thinking that the two should be close together. I remembered reading an article written shortly after the DC March For Life last year.  Women who were conceived in rape or had given birth after rape were marching together; so it seemed like a natural fit to put the two side by side. That’s how we chose January 19th, 2016 to celebrate the lives of those conceived in rape!

I have been friends with Juda Myers of CHOICES4LIFE for a while, and familiar with Monica Kelsey’s work with the Safe Haven Baby Boxes, and learning more about Rebecca Kiessling’s (pictured above) organization Save the 1. They have all been extremely supportive in what I am doing. I think that it’s so important to share their stories, to tell the world their lives have value and to end the stigma around babies conceived in rape and incest.

Kevin shared his thoughts:

“My reasoning behind wanting to celebrate the rape-conceived, is because A. No child deserves to live with the stigma that they are unwanted or a demon for their mother due to someone else’s evilness, and B. No mother should have to relive the nightmare by ‘correcting’ one vicious deed with another evil! I know three people personally who are rape conceived, and while they are the greatest people in the world, they are still too ashamed to talk about it because they are constantly being put down by family members and treated like a mistake!! I want to do my part to help erase this most unfortunate stigma”

Monica, Rebecca and Juda also shared their thoughts:

“As a person who was conceived through rape and almost aborted, I am reminded everyday how precious life is. As we celebrate the thousands of lives who were conceived through rape, I pray for a day when we value ALL life, every day, and that our worth exists simply because we do.  As a firefighter/medic that saves lives for a career, I am thankful that my life was saved so that today I may save others!” Monica Kelsey, Conceived in rape
“I’m very grateful to Tennille and Kevin for wanting to celebrate the lives of the rape-conceived in this way. I’m always in awe of people who aren’t in this people group themselves, but are able to empathize with the plight of all of those born and preborn who are. Save The 1 is thrilled to be participating in this special day!” Rebecca Kiessling, Conceived in rape

“Working with moms/children of rape conception my heart breaks hearing stories of abuse & rejection. It brings me to tears that Tennille, J.R. and Kevin would want to celebrate our lives when most are calling for our death. I was conceived in the mind of God not the loins of man. I’m so grateful to all who understand & do everything to defend our lives. You & our mothers are true heroes.” Juda Myers, Conceived after 8 man assault

So here I am, 2 years later, a girl still on her couch, reaching people she never would have imagined, meeting people from every corner of the world through her laptop, spreading the word on abortion in many different ways and sharing how it affects everyone. And now I am reaching you as well.

When it comes to the rape-conceived, my husband J.R. puts it this way:

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer stood in the cross-hairs of persecution and stigma. And yet the Grace of God maintained him. The truth is hardly deniable by his wise words, and yet he survived, flourished and blessed us, despite being appointed to die. We are told that it is acceptable to abort the children of rape victims because they are appointed to die. They stand in the same cross-hairs as Bonhoeffer did, but should be allowed opportunity to the same grace as he was. These children conceived in rape are viable, sacred and valuable.”  

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his own words:

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”

For the rest of the post…

Ted-Cruz-Shutterstock-Licensed

Ted Cruz implores pastors to “stand up and speak” about the evils of abortion

“There are six thing which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to do evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Proverbs 6:17-19

It’s a surprising, and even grievous, twist when a political candidate has to call on the church to be the voice of truth in a nation, instead of the other way around – but that’s what Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has done.

As Live Action News reported this week, Cruz issued an invite to 100,000 pastors to join him in a conference call Tuesday to address assaults on Christian liberty; however, when it comes to abortion, he says the continued choice to be assaulted may be in the hands of American pastors.  In the call, he said:

If we cannot speak about this, there is very little that we can stand up and speak about. Preaching from the pulpit biblical values on life and comparing those values, the teachings of Jesus, to this nationwide business of trafficking in the body parts of unborn children is a message that needs to be heard across this nation.

He commented that if the church cannot stand up under a crisis like the Planned Parenthood revelations, then it has lost all its authority to speak on moral issues. As a result, he implored pastors to preach this Sunday on the abortion issue in order to help call the church to action in this dark hour. 

I would encourage every pastor on this call to preach the truth about what is happening with Planned Parenthood. I recognize these are topics that are not without controversy, and they invite criticism when faith leaders speak candidly about them.

Cruz also appealed for prayer for the nation’s leaders, and prayer for action against selling human body parts, among other crimes, moral and legal, which have been exposed more blatantly than ever by the Center for Medical Progress and its undercover videos.

Cruz, whose father is a Baptist pastor, understands something many American pastors seem to not comprehend: to be faithful to the Word of God is to stand against the shedding of innocent blood. To preach the Bible and to eschew talking about an issue in which God historically has poured out His judgment on a land is to be irresponsible with the call of God to preach His word.

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Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer

When a national crisis is exposed and the sin and culpability of a nation is placed in the living rooms of Christians, the leaders must speak out. Just as pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer learned in Germany when Hitler rose to power, a pacifistic attitude would have only led to more culpability, and Bonhoeffer knew it; he not only spoke out but stepped out to help end the reign of evil. He lost his life for it, but he reflected the Christ he preached.

Now, Cruz, a politician and preacher’s son,  has shown himself to be a man who stands for life more vocally than some of the church.

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Due to a variety of current events, the name of Margaret Sanger has repeatedly surfaced in the news the past few weeks. The focus on Planned Parenthood because of a series of investigative videos has brought renewed attention to the organization’s notorious founder. Presidential candidate Ben Carson has encouraged people to “go and read about Margaret Sanger and go and read about the beginnings of this organization so that you know what you’re dealing with.” Several journalists have been criticized for accepting the “Maggie” awards for their pro-abortion coverage. And a group of black pastors sent a letter to the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery asking that the bust of Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger be removed from the museum’s “Struggle for Justice” exhibit.

Who was Margaret Sanger? Here are nine things you should know about one of the 20th century’s most controversial figures:

1. In 1916, Sanger opened the world’s first birth control clinic in New York City. Nine days later Sanger was thrown in jail and the clinic shutdown for violating the Comstock obscenity laws, which included a prohibition against literature describing contraceptive methods.

2. At the First American Birth Control Conference in 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL). In 1942 the ABCL changed its name to 1942 Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In 1952 in Bombay, India at the Third International Conference on Planned Parenthood, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) was founded. Sanger served as president of the IPPF from 1952 to 1959. (She died in 1966.)

3. Sanger was leading advocate of the eugenics movement, specifically of negative eugenics, which promoted the reduction of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with undesired traits or economic conditions. Her views on eugenics were shaped at an early age by her experience in a large family. The sixth of eleven children, she noticed as a child that the wealthy families had small families while the poor had large families. In her autobiography, My Fight for Birth Control, she wrote, “I associated poverty, toil, unemployment, drunkenness, cruelty, quarreling, fighting, debts, jails with large families.”

4. Sanger believed the use of birth control was necessary, as Jyotsna Sreenivasan explains, not only for the individual woman’s well-being but also for the economy as a whole. In her 1931 pamphlet “Family Limitation” Sanger wrote, “The working woman can use direct action by refusing to supply the market with children to be exploited, by refusing to populate the earth with slaves. . . . Pass on this information to your neighbor and comrade workers.”  Sanger arranged for this pamphlet to be distributed widely though a Socialist labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World.

5. In Woman and the New Race, Sanger included a chapter to answer the question,  “When Should a Woman Avoid Having Children?” Included in her list are the admonition that “No more children should be born when the parents, though healthy themselves, find that their children are physically or mentally defective” and “By all means there should be no children when either mother or father suffers from such diseases as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, syphilis, cancer, epilepsy, insanity, drunkenness and mental disorders.”

6. On a radio show, Sanger is reported to have said that “morons, mental defectives, epileptics, illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends” ought to be surgically sterilized. If they wish, she said, such people should also be able to choose a lifelong segregated existence in labor camps.

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