September 2002—A quarterly news letter for United Methodists


Contents

bullet GUEST COLUMN: KATIE, A BLESSING FROM GOD
bullet AN AMAZING WEEK IN WASHINGTON
bullet THEIR BISHOPS AND OURS
bullet YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT
bullet BOOK ORDER FORM
bullet SEND LIFEWATCH TO A FRIEND!
bullet Our Mission

 

GUEST COLUMN: KATIE, A BLESSING FROM GOD

In October of last year, my husband and I were confronted with one of those "tragic conflicts of life with life that," The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline states, "may justify abortion" (Paragraph 161J). An ultrasound revealed that something was seriously wrong with our four-month-old fetus.

Aware that we were only weeks away from the deadline for legal abortion in our state, our doctor strongly urged us to consider an amniocentesis. From what he saw on the ultrasound screen, he suspected our child had a chromosomal disease called Trisomy 13, which, he told us, "is incompatible with life."

Amniocentesis, the doctor explained, would let us know for certain whether our child had a chromosomal abnormality. He added that it also carried certain risks for the fetus, including miscarriage. I told the doctor I believed abortion was wrong. "Why," I asked him, "should we risk killing our child merely to satisfy our curiosity?"

Our doctor looked me straight in the eye. "You are going to get big," he said, "and people you don’t even know will come up to you in the grocery store. They will be excited for you and ask when your baby is due. All the while, you will know the hard truth that your baby is not going to live." He added compassionately, "You may not be able to handle that."

My husband, Steve, and I were shaken. I felt numb. The previous ultrasounds and prenatal visits had indicated that all was well. We had joyfully begun preparing the nursery. Nonetheless, I felt the peace of the Lord, and my resolve was steady. "I can handle it," I told him.

When my father and a long-time friend heard that all was not well, they tried to persuade me to consider abortion. "You don’t know what you’re facing," they said. "What if the baby lives a full life-span and needs total care? What kind of life will you have?" My father argued, "If the baby is going to die anyway, why not terminate now? The longer you carry the child, the harder it will be for you."

Before we ever tried to get pregnant, Steve and I had discussed abortion. He thought abortion was sometimes acceptable, but he was willing to go along with my conviction, with the moral truth, that abortion is wrong. Now that the problems we faced were no longer hypothetical, however, I raised the issue again. I asked him what he wanted to do.

For a few days, Steve weighed the pros and cons of abortion. Then one day, as he was driving home from work, he heard a radio spot for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children who have life-threatening illnesses. Steve thought to himself, "If my baby had one wish, what would it be?" Instantly, he knew the answer: it would be to live. From then on, abortion was out of the question for both of us.

At some point I decided to research Trisomy 13 on the Internet. The pictures I saw broke my heart. The afflicted babies were severely misshapen, sometimes having only one eye, no nose or a nose on top of the head, malformed genitalia, extra fingers and toes. That night I told Steve what might await us. To be honest, I felt shame. "Maybe you should not come into the birthing room," I suggested. I pictured myself holding our baby in my arms, not letting anyone see.

"No," he said. "I don’t care what our baby looks like. I am going to be there with you, and I am going to love him or her no matter what."

Since we believed our baby would not live long, we tried to make the most out of every day of the pregnancy. We sat at the piano and played from a book of children’s songs. "Somewhere over the rainbow way up high, there’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby." We watched Roadrunner cartoons and Christmas specials. We rejoiced over every kick and hiccup.

While the baby was inside me, my body was doing most of the work. Once the child was born, however, her organs would not be strong enough to sustain her. "I wish you could stay pregnant forever, so our baby could live," Steve said.

Towards the end of the pregnancy, the doctors convinced us that the risk of miscarriage was negligible, and an amniocentesis would help them know whether or not to attempt immediate, surgical procedures. Since this was for a valid medical reason—not just to satisfy our curiosity—we agreed. The amnio results arrived about two weeks later. We learned that we were having a baby girl; and, sadly, we learned that the initial diagnosis had been correct: she had Trisomy 13 and was beyond the help of modern science.

In the early morning of March 4th, my water broke. I woke Steve and told him it was time for us to go to the hospital. Before we left, we got down on our knees and prayed. I thanked God for the privilege of carrying our baby. We asked for a miracle; we asked for God’s comfort and peace; we asked for His will to be done. On the way to the hospital, we sang songs to our little Katie. We had been told she might be stillborn, so we imagined ourselves dancing with her in a field of daisies.

The birth was traumatic. When I was fully dilated and ready to push, the nursing staff discovered Katie was breach. "Your wife is about to burst open, and the doctor isn’t even here yet," the head nurse warned Steve. Later he told me I was lucky he could not find a knife, or he would have done a caesarean himself. He feared for my life.

For thirty minutes I rode the waves of contractions with my legs closed together. The doctor finally arrived and went to the sink to wash his hands. "Is everybody excited?" he asked. My sister wanted to slug him.

It was too late to turn the baby around, too late for a caesarean, too late for an epidural. Katie had to be delivered vaginally in the breach position. I screamed in fear.

By the time she was born, Katie was blue and still. Steve was praying that I would just get to hold her for a few minutes before she died. The doctor carried her to the warming table, and she started to breathe. Finally, they brought her to me.

She seemed perfect, and she had a a head full of dark hair. My heart skipped a beat. Had God healed her? I looked down at her hand and started to count her fingers. "Don’t count," my husband said. Attached to Katie’s pinky was a tiny extra finger, a telltale sign of Trisomy 13.

When Katie showed signs of hunger, I put her to my breast but could not get her to suckle. The nurses tried to help, but they finally told us we might have to choose between an IV, a feeding tube, or letting her starve to death. Reluctant to cause our daughter any discomfort, we were not sure what we should do. Finally, one of the staff suggested we try a bottle. To our delight, Katie began to suck at the plastic nipple. We were overjoyed to see her alive and feeding.

Since the first indication of Trisomy 13 in October, we had stopped working on the nursery and avoided baby stores, for the doctor had told us she would probably live no more than a few hours. So it was with great pleasure that Steve walked into Wal-Mart the next morning and bought four shopping carts full of baby accessories. He brought the new car seat into the hospital, and we did what we had never expected to do: we loaded up our things and took our daughter home.

We were able to hold, love, and kiss our daughter for two wonderful months. Steve took a leave of absence from work so that he could spend every possible moment with her. We explained to friends that Katie was a "special needs" child. "She needs extra kisses," we said; and we gave her all the kisses we could.

Our precious daughter is gone now, and we miss her terribly. Katie was a gift from God, and she changed our lives forever. We have wonderful memories and hundreds of pictures, and someday we hope to see her again in heaven.

Those who urged us to consider abortion did not realize what a huge blessing God had in store for us. They do not understand that God does not make mistakes.

Elisabeth Slotkin/6146 Klare Drive/Keystone Heights, FL 32656/(352)-473-8802


AN AMAZING WEEK IN WASHINGTON

As your Lifewatch lobbyist, I spent the week of July 22nd-26th in Washington, DC. Then and there I met with at least one person in each of the offices of the 65 members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate who are also members of The United Methodist Church. In these meetings, I presented information on Lifewatch’s and United Methodism’s positions on partial-birth abortion, human cloning, physician-assisted suicide, and other sanctity-of-life issues.

My general impressions of this lobbying effort are two in number.

First, in a wonderful way, God answered our prayers during the week in Washington. More than you know, I appreciate the prayers you offered for the effort. All week long I sensed a prayerful connection with the larger Lifewatch community. Indeed, those of you who prayed diligently, before and during the Washington week, deserve more credit than I for this mission to Capitol Hill.

Each day of the week I laid out a schedule for congressional and senatorial office visits. Then I prayed for strength, since the work was physically exhausting. I prayed about things that seemed confusing or unclear. I prayed over the materials to be handed out. I prayed to be a blessing to those I met. I even prayed to meet with some US Representatives and US Senators. God answered all the prayers. I had sufficient strength for each day; my questions were answered; all information packages were delivered with a smile; and I met with three representatives (Mac Collins [R-GA], Cynthia McKinney [D-GA, though she is not a United Methodist], and Ralph Hall [D-TX]) and one senator (Max Cleland [D-GA]). (Not surprisingly, the Georgians were most willing to meet this lobbyist because she happens to be registered to vote in their state!)

Second, this first-time lobbyist was impressed by how partisan Capitol Hill actually is. We all know this in a general sense, but I had the opportunity to see it "up close and dirty." For example, opposing forces can prevent a bill—such as the ban on partial-birth abortion—from even getting to the floor.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

As might be expected, there is good news and bad news to report from the week of lobbying.

First to the good news. During the week, the House of Representatives voted to ban partial-birth abortion. The vote was 274-151. Rep. Hall commented that was a good majority, but he could not understand why anyone would support something as hideous as partial-birth abortion. Even though they support a woman’s right to choose in the first two trimesters of pregnancy, some United Methodists in the House voted to ban partial-birth abortion. Others voted for the ban because they are consistently pro-life.

There is more good news on human cloning. No one that I spoke with is in favor of it. Generally, the only research favored by United Methodists in Congress involves no wasted embryos (e.g., research using stem cells harvested from umbilical cords). And Rep. Hall, who is the chair of the House Committee on Science, has distinguished himself as strongly pro-life on cloning. (Rep. Collins said the only human cloning he would support would involve the cloning of Elvis...and that appears to be a bit late!)

Now, to the bad news. The bill that would ban partial-birth abortion has to pass the Senate before it becomes law. Unfortunately, the Senate is controlled by pro-choice senators who do not want the bill to reach the floor for consideration. Sen. Tom Daschle, the majority leader who controls the legislative agenda, is not anxious, for several reasons, for the proposed ban to be placed on the Senate’s agenda. In addition, Democratic senators, who oppose partial-birth abortion, are under intense pressure from their pro-choice leadership not to force a vote on the issue. Furthermore, the Senate, unlike the House, has rules which allow much longer debates (filibusters); this can stall a bill for months or years. Last but not least, the tyranny of the urgent is keeping a Senate vote on the ban at bay. Terrorism, corporate-accounting scandals, and the economy are pushing aside the ban on partial-birth abortion.

There is more bad news. Some believe that the ban passed by the House is constitutionally flawed. The bill does not contain an exception for the health of the mother, and the US Supreme Court requires a health exception in any ban. The reason

there is no exception for the health of the mother is that a doctor could always find that the mother’s mental health warrants an abortion. With the current Supreme Court, the ban, if passed by the Senate, would probably be struck down 5-4.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

After spending a week with United Methodist legislators and their staffs, I would suggest that we:

(1) Pray, pray, pray! Pray that pro-life US Representatives and US Senators be elected. Pray that the senior policy advisor of each legislator be pro-life or at least open to reason on the life issues. Pray for a new, US Supreme Court justice who would not strike down a partial-birth-abortion ban.

(2) Get politically involved. Support candidates who are pro-life. Campaign for them. Display yard signs for them. Contribute even small amounts to their campaigns.

(3) Write to your US Representatives and US Senators, especially your senators. This is far more effective than commonly thought, because it is so seldom done. As has been said, all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to remain silent. So speak up.

(4) Have a servant attitude toward the opposition. During the week in Washington, I was strongly convicted of this. Instead of griping about how our representatives and senators are voting, we should pray regularly for them, and let them know it. Our legislators of both parties need our prayers to discharge, with faithfulness, their political responsibilities in our nation’s governance. They have an awesome task, and we need to remember to pray for them and to write to them. God can use anyone, if we will but pray.

(5) If you are in Washington, visit your representatives and senators. Because you are a voter, they will be hospitable to you. Letting them know what you think might well positively influence their votes on the life issues.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity you provided me to visit our United Methodist legislators in Washington. I believe that God graciously blessed the effort.

Again, thank you very much. And may God bless you, The United Methodist Church, and our nation.

Zoe M. Hicks/Hicks and Hicks, PC/2296 Henderson Mill Road, Suite 110/ Atlanta, GA 30345


THEIR BISHOPS AND OURS

Week after week this spring and summer, the crisis within the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, regarding abuses of young people and church power, worsened.

For the most part, public attention had been focused on priests, their sins and crimes. (At this particular time, we must remember that the overwhelming majority of Catholic priests are faithful to Christian teaching in their lives and ministries.) But attention then shifted to some Catholic bishops and their part in the scandal. For example, charged with wrongdoing that occurred years ago, the bishop of Palm Springs stepped down. Later, after it was disclosed that he had been involved in a nearly $500,000 legal settlement for silence on a past homosexual relationship, Archbishop Rembert Weakland was granted a hurried retirement by the Vatican. Then the bishop of Lexington was suddenly removed from office. Furthermore, there is the much more widespread matter of compromised and compromising leadership, as shown by Boston’s bishop (Cardinal Law) and others.

The Reverend Richard John Neuhaus, a Roman Catholic priest who is the executive editor of First Things, observes that the bishops stand at the center of today’s crisis in American Catholicism. Rev. Neuhaus writes: "The point is that this is a crisis, and this crisis must be permitted to do its work. That work involves scrupulous self-examination, candid confession, firm contrition, and believable amendment of life. And the doing of that hard work is chiefly up to the bishops. They are the ones who got us into this mess and, given what we believe is the divinely constituted structure of the Church, they are the ones who have to lead in getting us out. Faithful Catholics owe it to the church and owe it to their bishops not to let them off the hook. In this instance, the virtue of docility includes a respect for bishops that requires recalling them to the duty and the dignity to which they were ordained. Too many of [the bishops] have neglected that duty and debased that dignity." (emphasis added)

Neuhaus goes on to ask, "What is this crisis about?" Then he replies: "The answer is that this crisis is about three things: fidelity, fidelity, and fidelity. The fidelity of bishops and priests to the teaching of the Church and to their solemn vows; the fidelity of bishops in exercising oversight in ensuring obedience to that teaching and to those vows; and the fidelity of the lay faithful in holding bishops and priests accountable." (First Things, June/July 2002)

By pointing out the central role of the Catholic bishops in getting their church into and out of the present crisis, Rev. Neuhaus does truthful service. For by the grace of God, the Church does have leaders, named bishops, who have been granted by God the authority to oversee the Church’s life and to navigate the Church through the occasional waters of crisis that are bound to rise from time to time.

The Catholic crisis brings to mind another crisis in another church. This church crisis is closer to home, for it involves The United Methodist Church and its bishops.

Bishops in United Methodism, as in Catholicism, have been granted oversight authority. The Book of Discipline (2000) indicates that the bishops are "[t]o lead and oversee the spiritual and temporal affairs of The United Methodist Church which confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and particularly to lead the Church in its mission of witness and service in the world." (Paragraph 414.1) Furthermore, bishops are "[t]o guard, transmit, teach, and proclaim, corporately and individually, the apostolic faith as it is expressed in Scripture and tradition, and, as they are led and endowed by the Spirit, to interpret that faith evangelically and prophetically." (Paragraph 414.3) These two statements from the Discipline set forth given, general duties of the bishops of The United Methodist Church.

There is a subject, in United Methodist life, that involves an obvious crisis in leadership. And that subject is abortion. For over thirty years, The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops (which includes both active and retired bishops) has been silent on abortion. While there were around 40 million abortions performed in the United States since 1973, our church’s Council of Bishops has remained silent on this matter. Again, while there were 40 million abortions performed, while millions of little ones were destroyed, and while their mothers were deeply afflicted, the Council of Bishops had not a word to say about it. Since the Church universal has, through the ages, taught truthfully and ministered mercifully to protect the unborn child and mother from abortion, the Council of Bishops’ silence is a blatant sin of omission.

When United Methodist bishops do, on occasion, speak for themselves on abortion, they usually take the pro-choice side. For example, consider Bishop Melvin G. Talbert. Bp. Talbert is the former bishop of the San Francisco Area; and he is now the chief ecumenical officer of the Council of Bishops and the president of the coordinating council of Churches Uniting in Christ. Recently Bp. Talbert wrote this affirmative word about the pro-choice position: "To be for choice is to be willing to enter into the pain and the struggle of life in the real world, and in the face of that reality, to choose. It is in this context that we are challenged to face the ambiguity and the complexity of conflicting values and judgment. Our faith compels us to respect others’ values, life circumstances, and decisions." (Christian Social Action, May/June 2002) Opposing historic Christianity, this statement is an obvious sin of commission.

There is no doubt that the Roman Catholic bishops are involved in a crisis, which involves homosexuality, in their church. But just as clearly, United Methodist bishops have created, through their silence on abortion, a rather more subtle crisis in our church. Since the matter of abortion results in the deaths of millions of little ones and the long-term scarring of their mothers, it could be claimed that the United Methodist crisis is the more serious of the two.

In the midst of these crises, the faithful of the churches are not helpless. Indeed, as Rev. Neuhaus reminds us, the faithful are charged to have "a respect for bishops that requires recalling them to the duty and the dignity to which they were ordained," and a "fidelity...in holding bishops... accountable."

"A Charge to Keep I Have" is one of the great hymns of the Church. The whole Church sings this hymn. So all of us—laity, clergy, and bishops—have a charge to keep the churches of our time as faithful as possible.

What is our charge to keep? To pray for the Church catholic, for The United Methodist Church, and for her laity and clergy and bishops. To seek to be holy in all things—that is, seek to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbors as ourselves. And finally, to do what we can, in love, to hold our bishops to the high calling that is theirs.

To be more specific, to serve the faithfulness and purity of The United Methodist Church, consider doing the one or more of the following:

*write a letter to your bishop to encourage him/her and the Council of Bishops to teach and preach faithfully about abortion;

*make a telephone call to your bishop to encourage him/her and the Council of Bishops to speak, in truth and love, on abortion;

*schedule a meeting with your bishop to express your hope that he/she and the Council of Bishops will lovingly address the matter of abortion;

*write an article in your congregational newsletter about our bishops’ silence on abortion; and/or

*preach or teach about how the United Methodist Council of Bishops has been silent, for decades, on abortion.

And may our Lord bless you and your witness. (PTS)

An earlier version of this article appeared in the 5/29/02 newsletter of St. Peter’s United Methodist Church of Morehead City, NC.

LIFEWATCH AND THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: AGAINST HUMAN CLONING

On May 7th, the National Pro-Life Religious Council held a press conference, to support a legislative ban of human cloning, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. It was a speaking-truth-to-power event. Nearly twenty representatives from across the ecclesiastical spectrum—Evangelical Protestants, Oldline Protestants, Orthodox, Pentecostals, and Roman Catholics—made brief but powerful statements against cloning. The Lifewatch community should know that The Reverend Harold D. Lewis, Jr.—the pastor of Lincoln Park United Methodist Church of Washington, DC—stood up front with the Lifewatch contingent. Also, Ms. Linda Bales, of the General Board of Church and Society, attended the press conference.

Below is the statement offered by your scribe. Notice that, in large part, this statement simply declares what is official, United Methodist teaching on human cloning. Thanks be to God that Lifewatch, on this matter directly related to God-given human dignity, can proudly stand with official, United Methodist teaching.

I represent Lifewatch, an organization of United Methodists for the dignity of every human being.

As United Methodists, we have church teaching on human cloning. Therefore, this morning I will not resort to personal opinion. Rather, I will state The United Methodist Church’s authoritative teaching on the cloning of human beings.

The Book of Discipline contains our church’s Social Principles. The social principle on Genetic Technology (Paragraph 162M), declares, in part: "We oppose the cloning of humans..."

In addition, The Book of Resolutions adds rationale and specificity to the Social Principles’ statement. Resolution 91 states, in part: "We call for a ban on all human cloning, including the cloning of human embryos. This would include all projects, privately or governmentally funded, that are intended to advance human cloning. Transcending our concerns with embryo wastage are a number of other unresolved and barely explored concerns with substantial social and theological ramifications: use or abuse of people, exploitation of women, tearing of the fabric of the family, the compromising of human distinctiveness, the lessening of genetic diversity, the direction of research and development being controlled by corporate profit and/or personal gain, and the invasion of privacy..."

Resolution 91 also implores: "We call on all nations to ban human cloning and to identify appropriate government agencies to enforce the ban..."

For reasons related to the protection and advancement of God-given human dignity, The United Methodist Church unqualifiedly opposes all human cloning. Therefore, we United Methodists call on the United States Senate to pass S-1899, which would ban all human cloning in the United States.

Thank you. (PTS)


YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT

After sorting through a pool of distinguished applicants, Lifewatch is very happy to announce our new Publicity and Outreach Coordinator. She is Mrs. Cindy Evans of Holts Summit, MO. Cindy is known to the Lifewatch community since she recently authored the "What Can I Do about Abortion?" brochure.

Raised in Michigan, Cindy is a life-long member of The United Methodist Church. The more she learned about abortion and about United Methodism’s position on abortion and the other life issues, the more she sensed God’s call to pro-life involvements. She then volunteered at a local crisis pregnancy center and served on a conference task force that studied ways that United Methodists could help women with crisis pregnancies who carry their babies to term. In 1996 she joined the Lifewatch Advisory Board. Cindy is married to Dave, and they have two teenage children.

Lifewatch is pleased to welcome Cindy Evans to this important ministry!

As your congregation’s committees assemble your church’s 2003 budget, please remember to include support for Lifewatch’s ministry. Many, many thanks.

What promises to be a grand, ecumenical conference will take place October 24th-26th in Indianapolis, IN. Entitled "Confessing the Faith — Reclaiming Historic Faith and Teaching for the 21st Century," this gathering aims "to unify and encourage mainline Christians in North America in their reaffirmation of classic, orthodox Christianity." This conference rightly assumes that the Gospel of Life is a part of the faith of the Church. The Association for Church Renewal, to which The Confessing Movement within The United Methodist Church and Good News belong, is the sponsor of the event. Dr. Thomas C. Oden, a distinguished professor at Drew University’s Theological School and a member of the Lifewatch Advisory Board, and Dr. Maxie D. Dunnam, the dynamic president of Asbury Theological Seminary, will be among the plenary speakers. It is not too late to register. Call (317)-356-9729.

The day before the May 7th National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC) press conference took place (see the article above), the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) offered a press release. The May 6th release quoted from a 11/26/01 RCRC statement that asserted: "The issues involved in discussing cloning are religious, scientific, legal, and moral. The public deserves full information on all the issues." The May 6th press release also indicated "that cloning is a complex issue for many people of faith," and "that the United Church of Christ, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and the Rabbinical Council, representing 1,000 Conservative rabbis, support therapeutic cloning." Furthermore, "[m]ost other Christian and Jewish denominations have not announced an official position on human cloning." Therefore, RCRC suggests, human cloning should be a matter of choice, and the United States Senate ban of cloning should be defeated. Once again and as expected, RCRC raises "choice" to the highest social good. However, when human choice leads to the undermining, and in fact to the destroying, of human dignity, that choice deserves to be questioned, challenged, limited, and stopped. Or so says the Great Tradition of the Church catholic, which was well represented by the nearly twenty speakers at the National Pro-Life Religious Council press conference.

In the 06/01/02 issue of Lifewatch, we mentioned that US Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), an extraordinarily articulate pro-life politician, is a United Methodist. Now we must offer an update. Earlier this summer Sen. Brownback journeyed to Rome, as they say. That is, he joined the Roman Catholic Church. We wish him well in the Roman Catholic Church, and we pray for him God’s continuing grace and for his deepening commitment to the Gospel of Life.

Pastor Russell E. Saltzman is a Lutheran. He edits Forum Letter, which is a wonderfully and theologically engaging monthly newsletter on American Lutheranism. Pr. Saltzman is a member of "an on-line support group" for "adult children born of rape or incest." A woman named Jennifer maintains the Web site. In "Nothing Personal," a recent article on the support group and abortion, Saltzman states: "Everyone deals with issues of birth and origin—well, they do if they are conscious and sentient. The perilous biologic journey of sperm and egg, from conception to zygote to blastocyst to embryo to fetus is just so much random chance that particular questions about the particularity that you represent are inevitable. If somebody had a headache that night, you wouldn’t be here. If the 64-some cells that formed the blastocyst had failed to travel the fallopian tubes, you wouldn’t be here. If the blastocyst had failed to implant itself on the uterine wall, you wouldn’t be here. There are a thousand natural reasons why you should not be here, and the chances of you being here at all are unutterably impossible. The chances of pregnancy from rape are even chancier. Actual pregnancies resulting from reported rapes are ridiculously minuscule, point-oh-oh-oh-something per thousand. But it is always somebody’s bad luck when they do happen and the ‘ifs’ roll on. If she had stayed out of the parking lot that night; if she had been more aware of her surroundings; if the guy she met hadn’t been a twisted creep; if her step-brother hadn’t forced her on the sofa. If.

"Absent a creator—absent God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth—your conception and birth are exactly that, dumb blind chance. Yet we say that God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth made you. And me. And a very talented, warm-hearted woman named Jennifer, with two sweet kids of her own. Her body itself (and my body, aging though it is) carries a living and breathing rebuke to those who regard human life as a matter of convenience. Against all appearances to the contrary, imagine this: God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, made her, made me, made you. It is more personal than the Presbyterians or the Lutherans [the PCUSA and ELCA now have pro-choice positions on abortion] will admit." (August 2002)

 

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Our Mission:

Out of obedience to Jesus Christ, the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality (TUMAS) “will work to create in church and society esteem for human life at its most vulnerable, specifically for the unborn child and for the woman who contemplates abortion.” Therefore, TUMAS’s first goal is “to win the hearts and minds of United Methodists, to engage in abortion-prevention through theological, pastoral, and social emphases that support human life.”

 

Lifewatch is published by the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, a network of United Methodist clergy, laity, and churches. It is sent, free of charge, to interested readers. Editor, Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth: 111 Hodges St., Morehead City NC 28557 (252)726-2175.Administrator, Mrs. Ruth Brown: 512 Florence Street, Dothan AL 36301 (334)794-8543/E-mail: cindy@lifewatch.org Web site: www.lifewatch.org

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