Guest Column I:
FREEDOM OF CHOICE?
[The following monologue was Written by Mrs. Donna Rauch. She performed it
during the October 8, 1995, Service of Worship at First United Methodist Church in Crystal
Lake, IL. Still a member at First Church, she now resides with her family in Flower Mound,
Oh what a beautiful day to be in the park Fresh air, sunshine. Lord, you always know
exactly what I need.
I love to come to the park and watch the children play on the playground. Seems like
they don't have a care in the world.
Just listen to the swings as they go back and forth, back and forth.
Oh, and the sandbox. Just look at the sandbox! What is it about a sandbox that children
love so much?
Uh-oh. There they go, throwing sand at each other. It wouldn't be a day at the
playground unless one of them got some sand in his hair.
I can't wait until someday I can sit here and watch my child play on this playground.
Truth is, I should be sitting here watching my child playing on those swings and in
Oh, here I go again. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep beating myself
up? I wonder if my heart is ever going to mend?
Why can't I forget that day, fifteen years ago? I feel like it's yesterday. l feel like
part of me is missing; and the reality of it is, part of me is missing.
Lord, why did I buy into the notion that aborting my child was making a free choice?
I've never been free since that day. I've walked around in silence, with such shame and
Lord, l took the life of one of your children. What must you think of me? I broke my
parents' hearts. l left a man fatherless. Tell me, where is the freedom in that choice?
And why do I sit here, lunch hour after lunch hour, day after day, torturing myself?
Because I never want to forget. l don't ever want to forget that precious child whom l
And another reason l like to sit here, Lord, is because you have always sat right here
with me, drying my tears and healing my heart. Thank you, Lord. You always did know
exactly what I needed.
I'll bet, when I get to heaven someday, I'll see the biggest, most awesome playground I
ever laid my eyes on.
Lord, will you give my child a push on the swings? Will you make sure that no one gets
any sand in his hair? Will you tell him l love him?
Oh, and Lord, don't forget to tell him that by your grace, and your grace only, someday
I will be able to push him on the swing and play with him in the sandbox.
Thank you, Lord. Let's have lunch tomorrow, too.
[copyright © 1995 Rauch] Mrs. Donna Rauch / 4145 Crescent Drive/Flower Mound, TX
Guest Column II:
He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars,
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
Psalm 147:3-5, RSV
I love this scriptural passage because it declares that the God who names all the stars
in all the galaxies He has created is the same God who knows when one heart is broken, and
He heals it.
This passage came to mind as I read Healina the Traumas of Preanancy, a booklet written
by Mrs. Audrey Eddings. Over the last several years, the Lord has been using Mrs. Eddings
in a Ministry of Forgiveness and Inner Healing, a ministry of First United Methodist
Church of Tulsa. This ministry has included teaching and training others in how to work in
this area. The stated purpose of the booklet is "to aid in ministering to those who
have experienced traumas during pregnancy: abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or
The author notes that a woman who has experienced the loss of a baby during pregnancy
may appear to be coping, but deep inside she has a need for healing, love, and prayer.
Research suggests that a person's brain records every thought, sight, smell, sound, touch,
taste, and experience that has touched her life. Some researchers also say that the brain
records exactly how the person interpreted and responded to the event. Abortion often has
a traumatic and negative effect on the woman, so she may be carrying this trauma and pain
at a subconscious level. It can affect: her sense of personal worth, her attitude toward
her own sexuality, her attitude toward other people and toward human life in general, and,
especially for the Christian, her relationship with God.
The good news is that the subtle and devastating consequences of abortion can be
healed. Perhaps the most critical component in the healing process is forgiveness. The
woman needs to forgive herself, the baby's father, and anyone else who may have pressured
her to have the abortion. Most importantly, she needs to seek forgiveness from God as well
as from her aborted child.
Women who experience miscarriage or stillbirth also suffer in similar ways These women
need to discover that they often bear a false guilt for the loss. They may need to forgive
others. Furthermore, they need to be assured that God is not to be blamed for the
suffering they have endured; indeed, they can see, with eyes of faith, that He has been
with them through their suffering.
Women who have lost babies, whether through the voluntary choice of abortion or through
the involuntary events of miscarriage or stillbirth, need to release their children to our
Lord. They should ask Him to give them a vision of their children happy and whole with
Him. It usually is beneficial for such mothers to give their children names, and to think
about how old they would be and what they would look like. If they can visualize their
children in this way, these women will gain the perspective of the eternal dignity of
human life including the dignity of their children, of other people, and of their
This booklet is helpful reading for anyone who might need to minister to a woman who
has suffered the loss of a pregnancy. Even if you are not a pastor or a professional
counselor, you may have a friend who needs your help in working through this healing
process. If you are interested, a copy of Healing the Traumas of Pregnancy may be obtained
by contacting Lifewatch /512 Florence Street/Dothan, AL 36301.
Mrs. Kim Turkington (of Christ United Methodist Church)
3433 Oakbrook Drive S Lexington, KY 40515
PLEASE JOIN US ON THE FIRST TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH IN PRAYING AND FASTING FOR
LIFEWATCH'S CONTINUING MINISTRY.
LIFEWATCH WAS THERE
On June 5th many pro-life groups from across the United States were represented at a
meetingat The Columbia School of Law of Catholic University in Washington, DC
called by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family. From Rome, Father Frank Pavone
(who directs Priests for Life), Monsignor Di Felice, and Monsignor Elliott were present.
Also, Lifewatch was there. We were well represented by Rev. Dan White of Chantilly, VA,
Rev. Kris Meyer of Kenly, NC, and your friendly scribe. (An introduction of Lifewatch to
the assembly went this way: "Representing John Wesley today are the representatives
of Lifewatch..." The laughter evoked was more than polite.)
The stated purpose of the meeting was to present the continuing work of the Pontifical
Council for the Family; pass the word about the Second World Meeting of the Holy Father
(that is, John Paul II) with Families, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro on October
4th - 5th of this year; and hear what the various organizations are doing and
accomplishing these days. The theme of the meeting was unity of the various pro-life
organizations in the United States.
In his opening remarks, Fr. Pavone noted the historic nature of the occasion: this
meeting was the first time that a delegation from the Vatican had met with such a large
gathering of pro-life groups in the United States. The Vatican delegation made no secret
of its desire for unity among the various pro-life groups in the US. Why this push for
unity? Because the social solution to the problem of abortion might well lie in the
discovery of unity among the many pro-life groups, according to Fr. Pavone. Monsignor
Elliott spoke of the pro-life movements having one goal (protection of each and every
member of society, especially the most vulnerable, is one way to state it) and many
strategies (from pro-life education to internet ministries to rescue operations at
abortion clinics to legislative efforts). For this unified work, new organizational
structures are not necessary; rather, what is needed is for the message and the mission of
the many pro-life organizations to be renewed
Well into the meeting, a crucial statement came from Monsignor Elliott. Responding to
those who disapproved of the "exceptions clause" in legislation (that is, no
abortion allowed except in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother), he argued
that there is not one and only one way to legislate, in conformity with the Gospel, on
abortion. Indeed, as a counter to pro-life utopianism, he declared that there would never
be a "knock-down piece of legislation" that would destroy the culture of death
in America. Rather, in line with John Paul II's "Gospel of Life" encyclical,
Monsignor Elliott argued that "imperfect legislation" protective of life will
always be bound to a commitment to take future legislative steps toward further protection
of life. He concluded with this bold command Bury this division [regarding the exceptions
An important truth proclaimed that day was that the pro-life position is pro-woman.
Therefore, pro-life groups would be wise to depict abortion as an anti-woman act. As
Monsignor Elliott movingly noted, "many women's lives have been twisted up and broken
by the choice of abortion."
Interestingly, Ms. Kathy DiFiore of New Jersey spoke of her new website ministry, in
which she attempts to encourage teens toward a way of life that is respectful of human
life. Recently, she said, she engaged a Methodist teen in computer conversation for over
forty-five minutes. Through the conversation, she changed his mind to understand
premarital sex as immoral.
All in all, it was a memorable, productive, and hopeful meeting. (PTS)
TRUTH IS A CHURCH THING
"Let's just get along with each other."
"What we want is a peaceful church."
"All we need to do is love each other and everybody."
These words are commonly repeated in The United Methodist Church today. What holds our
denomination together is understood, by some laity and clergy of the church, to be so
fragile that they take it upon themselves to work hard at holding the denomination
That is, of course, a mighty big job Indeed, it is an impossible job For the Church is
held together or unified, and can be unified, only by God. The Triune Godworking
especially through His Word, Sacraments, and Spirit brings the Church to Himself.
But that involves truth. Indeed, that involves the Truth who is named Jesus Christ, the
Truth of God's Gospel, the Truth of God's loving Trinitarian life, the Truth of God's
loving mission to the world.
Unfortunately, any talk of truth today makes more than a few United Methodists very
uneasy. Instead of truth, they prefer pluralism. But actually, some do not really care
that much for pluralism, for authentic pluralism requires an active and honest engagement
of various positions. So they drift toward tolerancean easy-going tolerance. A live-
and- let- live tolerance. A happy- go- lucky tolerance. A let's- assume- there- is- no-
truth- and just- get- along- with- each- other tolerance. This form of denominational
tolerance tolerates almost everythingexcept truth, and except those who claim that
truth exists. When truth, or the possibility of truth, raises its head, our denomination's
tolerance can turn downright mean and nasty and repressive.
But most of the time United Methodism's tolerance is just plain nice. We seem to have
an unspoken, unwritten, unarticulated agreement not to talk about unpleasant topics in
public, at church meetings, or in conference sessions. We want to be polite. We strive not
to offend. We want to be positive. So abortion is not brought up. And if it is, it is
courteously dismissed as quickly and as quietly as possible.
The following remarks on truth are appropriate to United Methodism's ethos of
tolerance. They remind us that truth is not just for our more fundamentalist brothers and
sisters. Rather, truth is truly a Church thing. "Truth indeed is not a thing which we
can possess like a book which may be opened or closed at will. We can possess truth only
in an act of recognition, which no willfulness of our own can affect. To recognize truth
is to feel its compulsion; and this yielding to the compulsion of truth is faith...
[V\/lhat binds Christians into a oneness that transcends individuality is the objective
force of that truth in which we, through faith, come to have a share...
"Since faith and truth are so closely linked, whenever truth is obscured faith is
imperiled, and with it our membership [in] the Church of Christ is imperilled also. We
must, therefore, allow ourselves no communion with error: truth and error can enter into
no concordat. When truth is involved there must be no compromise. The early councils were
right in appending a rejection of error to the positive clauses in which they expressed
and acknowledged the truth. Not infrequently, perhaps, they failed to distinguish rightly
between the true and the false; still, they did believe in truth, even though they
discerned it only in part. They knew that truth is no child of this world: that truth
betokens its presence, as Kierkegaard said, by a challenge. There can be no recognition,
no confession of truth without a recognition and rejection of error. To say this is not to
demand a heresy hunt. We love those who err, as our Lord and Master loved them. But unless
we would deny the truth, we must combat their errors
"The task laid upon the Church to discern between the true and the false becomes
more complicated as the centuries pass on. History evolves ever new forms of error which
seek to disguise themselves in the luminous garb of truth. This is a process which we are
unable to reverse, nor can we silently evade the problems which it creates..." (from
"The Call to Unity," by Werner Elert [1885-1954], of the Lutheran Church of
Bavaria and a professor at the University of Erlangen [Faith and Order: Proceedings of the
World Conference, Lausanne, August 3-21, 1 927j and Lutheran Forum [Spring 1997])
Well, let's get out there in our congregations, in our districts, in our conferences,
and in our general church, and serve the Truth named Jesus Christ. With love, to be sure.
But also with a willingness to resist the intellectual laziness (if not cowardice) called
tolerance. And with a willingness to combat error. All under the real and living Lordship
of Jesus Christ. (PTS)
A LETTER TO A BISHOP
In his July 14th letter to Bishop Joe Wilson of the Ft. Worth Area, Rev. Marc Rogers
[of First United Methodist Church /P O. Box 709/ Wortham, TX 76693] wrote these powerful
words: "In your address to our conference, reprinted in the Reporter, you said:
'First of all, we are facing a time when moral and ethical truth are taking a back seat to
expediency I am incensed when I see major decisions made in the corporate and political
world by men who lack moral and ethical fortitude. It has invaded every dimension of our
society, and has caused a large percentage of our population to skip over immorality with
a wink or a shrug... We must raise up a new generation of courageous men who act upon the
principles of Christ.'
"I agreed with those forceful words, and I tried to offer my resolution ['In
Opposition to the General Board of Church and Society's Stand on Partial-Birth Abortion']
in that spirit: of wanting us to act forthrightly on the principles of Christ.
"After watching 'Schindler's List' again this year, I was strongly moved to ask
myself, 'What great moral evils are we allowing today, in the same way the Germans allowed
and even approved of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust?' I realized that it's both easy and
inexpensive for us to condemn the Nazis and the Germans; moral hindsight is always
perfect, and it costs us nothing
"What's harder for us to see is where we have failed to defend and uphold the
dignity of all human life in our own church and society today And what's harder for us to
do and much more costlyis to do what the Confessing Church did then: to
witness and act against such abuse and violence committed against God's children even when
it is approved by the influential and powerful within our churches and culture.
"During this time of reflection, God convicted me strongly about the practice of
abortion and partial-birth abortion in America, and our easy tolerance of it. I know that
it is not identical in kind to the genocidal evil of the Holocaust. But surely on no other
issue is a more important 'moral and ethical truth' (that children should not be killed
while they are being born) taking such a back seat to 'expediency' (the practice of
abortion as a form of birth control in a time of great sexual confusion, irresponsibility,
hurt, and pain). Surely on no other issue is such a profound moral wrong being treated
with such a 'wink or a shrug.'
"I am also 'incensed' when I see this happening in the 'corporate and political'
worlds. But I am far more incensed, and much more deeply saddened, when I see it happening
in a church that claims the story of Jesus: the One conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's
womb, and growing to become a 'fetus,' infant, child, and man. A church that claims this
story as its own storythe Incarnation of God as a 'fetus,' infant, child, and
manmust always stand for the sacredness of all human life in God in all stages of
development, and especially for the life of the unborn, infants, and children, who are
among the 'least of these' in the world...
"It seems to me that a church which suffers from the inability to face, or even to
discuss, such a crucial issue is guilty of the same moral cowardice you so strongly
decried in your speech. We should examine the log in our own eye before we look for it in
the world of business and politics.
"Such a church may find approval in certain quarters of the world, but it is in
danger of losing its own soul. I would have to say that all of our previous talk at
conference (about how much we cared for children) seemed hollow to me after the vote
[which failed to pass the aforementioned resolution]. it seemed as hollow as the bishops'
letter on children was shallow in its failure to mention the strong causal link between
'the culture of death' sanctioned by abortion on demand, and the overall abuse and neglect
of so many children in our country and the world. ."
Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, Episcopal priest and president of the Religious Coalition for
Reproductive Choice, recently declared: "In the second trimester, prior to fetal
viability, difficult decisions about abortion must be left to the woman and her doctor.
And we do support a woman's constitutionally guaranteed right to choose an abortion if
that'sI would not say not only a constitutionally given right, but God-given
responsibility to make the difficult ethical decisions, and in fact to choose an abortion
if that's what seems best" ("Firing Line" transcript, from the 3/20/97
show, communique, 5130197).
Recently, while doing some sermon preparation on the "unpardonable sin," this
pastor ran across the word blaspheme Blasphemy, of course, is simply speaking badly or
falsely or poorly of God. Blasphemy describes the taking of God's name in vain, as the
Third Commandment indicates. But also, blasphemy concerns the false and wrongful
association of God and God's name with evil. "It is also blasphemous to make use of
God's name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture
persons or put them to death... Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy
name. It is in itself a grave sin." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2148)
It sounds harsh, but we think that, in her quoted statement above, Rev. Ragsdale is
committing blasphemy. After all, she is using the name of God to help justify the taking
of innocent human life. she is using the name of God as a cover for evil. (PTS)
BABY MEMORIAL QUILTS
According to some pro-choice people, if a child is going to be born into adverse
circumstances where he may be unloved, abused, or rejected, then by all means kill him in
the womb so he will not have to suffer.
My life thus far (and many others as well) shows the opposite view.
I was one of those babies who was unwanted, unloved, abused, and rejected. I came into
this world attached with the stigma of being a "love child" born while my
mother's husband was away in the war. Everyone in the family knew it, and treated me as
such. All the usual things that accompany a "love child" happened to me
throughout my life. The rejection of family, sexual and physical abuse, not ever really
seeming to and my place in my own family, certainly not in the world. All the negative
remarks and actions in my life seemed to lead me down a path of no self-worth, extremely
low esteem, and unresolved anxieties regarding "where do I belong?" and
"what is my purpose in life?"
Some precious people from a Methodist church visited me for a year and kept assuring me
that Jesus Christ could change my life. After being used by everyone I knew, it was very
hard for me to give my life and soul to anyone. But I knew I had gone my last mile alone.
I knew if my children were ever to have a chance in life that I had to entrust my life to
someone and, in 1972, that Someone was Jesus Christ. From then, I began to thank God every
day that my mother chose to let me live instead of aborting me.
Nearly one year ago the Lord led me into the beautiful ministry of making Baby Memorial
Quilts for our precious innocent ones who are never privileged to sleep under their own
little quilts. I pondered why God had chosen me for this, because I know nothing about
Through a series of miracles, and much help from my Ladies Agape Prayer Group at
Antioch United Methodist Church in Oneonta, AL, this mission is being accomplished. We now
have 40 quilts made with 15 more in the making. And now we have been invited by
Congressman Robert Aderhotl (AL-Rep.) To show our quilts in the US Capitol on September
The squares are 10" X 10", and we use white material with any pretty baby
colors for the lining. Including whatever they would like to say to the little ones,
different people make the squares. One does not have to be a quilter to make a square. It
can be painted on, ironed on, just written on, or cross stitched. We use 12 squares to the
quilt, with strips in between. If a quilt of this nature is not possible, a regular quilt
can be made; however, the ones made with different squares are more unique. If a church
wants to do squares, but has no one to quilt, call some of your area senior-citizen
centers, and they will be glad to help. The most meaningful squares are being made by
mothers who have had abortions. This is healing for them in that they have an active part
in making a quilt for their little ones.
If you would like more information on this ministry, please do contact me. May God
bless you as you and your church group decide to become involved in making these very
special little quilts. Please put the name of your church somewhere on the quilt as a
witness to the world that you are saddened by what is happening to many of our babies but
joyful to witness to the God who loves even these little ones and their mothers. Ms.
Eve Ray/801 Fourth Avenue East/ Oneonta, AL 35121
YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT
By switching your long-distance telephone carrier to LifeLine
(which has very reasonable rates) and by designating 10% of your long-distance charges to
Lifewatch, you will support our ministry. To accomplish this, just call 1-(800)-493-2002,
and tell LifeLine that you would like 10% of your monthly bill given to Lifewatch, which
can be identified with this number: NPO#56333. We thank you for your positive response to
At the recent Global Gathering, which was sponsored by the General Board of
Global Ministries (GBGM), Ms. Nancy Pereira, a Methodist theologian from Brazil, held
forth on the plight of children and related theological matters. Ms. Pereira stated, among
other highly questionable things, that "we have to look at Jesus' cross as a tragedy,
a human episode without any sense of meaning." In rapid response, Bishop Dan E.
Solomon, the President of GBGM! and Dr. Randolph Nugent, the General Secretary of GBGM,
issued a joint statement on May 13,1997. In it, they were quick to distance GBGM from Ms.
Pereira's theology: "The theological views which she expressed were her own... The
General Board of Global Ministries neither subscribes to her theological views nor agrees
with the theological perspectives which she expressed..." It is very good to see
leaders of our denomination paying some doctrinal attention.
in Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (University
of North Carolina Press), Doris L. Bergen Concludes: "Issues of race and church
doctrine reveal the nihilism at the core of the German Christian vision of the people's
church. The anti-Jewish church was ultimately non-Christian; the church without rules was
no church at all" (emphasis added). The underlined principle surely applies to
today's United Methodist Church, which has no rules with regard to abortion. (Books &
Culture, March/April 1997)
Think, for a minute, about that organization's name: Religious Coalition for
Reproductive Choice (RCRC). The outfit's religion is highly questionableat least
when it is evaluated by the traditional standards of Christianity and Judaism. It is not
interested in advancing a reproductive agenda; if anything, it stands against
reproduction. (And by the way, reproduction is not a very elegant way of speaking about
God's gift of children to parents, to the world, and to the Church and the Synagogue.
Reproduction sounds so very mechanical as in assembly line.) And choice, as understood by
RCRC, is not real choice. RCRC's choice is one and only one choice, the one that involves
an alienated, frightened woman standing alone at the front door of an abortion clinic. Of
the four descriptive words in the title of this organization, only the word coalition
makes sense; after all, RCRC is a political lobby, and so it is best described by a
political term. Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. An odd name for an odd
organization. it is a shame that The United Methodist Church remains affiliated to it.
Back in February of this year, Reverend James M. Lawson, a leader in the
civil-rights movement of a generation ago and the pastor of the Holman United Methodist
Church in Los Angeles, keynoted a convocation of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive
Choice (RCRC) in Washington, DC. In his address, Rev. Lawson declared that "the
nation has not yet decided that women are endowed with certain unalienable
rightsendowed by their Creatorthat among these are life, liberty and pursuit
of happiness." Sad to say, here is a United Methodist pastor who is more interested
in the rights-regarding language of democracy than the truth-regarding teaching of the
Church through the centuries. Furthermore, he said that "God expects of us the
pursuit of justice," and he was clear that his understanding of justice includes the
absolute freedom to abort. Indeed, Rev. Lawson is generally correct. God does demand of us
the pursuit of justice. But it seems to this pastor that authentic justice must especially
love the weak and the voicelessand that includes the unborn. Rev. Lawson also
attacked the advocates of a religious dogma "that demands that all the rest of us
accept the dogma whether we can stomach it or not." Seems that Lawson is advancing a
secular dogma of choice, that is oblivious to its victims (both women and their unborn
children), that has been formulated and protected by the United States Supreme Court, and
that most Christians cannot accept. in so doing, Rev. James Lawson is providing religious
cover for a death-dealing secular dogma. (UMNS, 2/26/97)
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger of the Vatican recently addressed
the dogma of choice with these words: "What is life? Does it mean having the most
possible? Or being able to do anything? Or not having any limitations on our desires?...
The splendor of choice is an illusion of the devil... He is opposed to truth, because he
presents man as like a god, but like a false god, who does not know love but only
himself..." (communique, 414/97)
on October 27-29, 1997, Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon will lead a
potentially wonderful conference, "Can Resident Aliens Survive," at Duke
Divinity School. The promotional brochure for this conference states that Hauerwas and
Willimon "have provided a viable alternative to liberal Protestantism and to the
church growth movement through their vision of 'Resident Aliens."' How true it is.
For more information on this conference, write to: Center for Continuing Theological
Education/Duke Divinity School/Box 90966/Durham, NC 277080966.
A couple of other notable conferences will be taking place this fall. On October
1-5 the Second World Meeting of the Holy Father with Families will be held in Rio de
Janeiro. Information on this event can be obtained from Mr. Rick McCord /US Catholic
Bishops' Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth/phone (202)-541 -3040/fax
(202)-541 -3176. On October 8-12 you are invited to the American Life League's celebration
of life, "Praising God, the Author of Life," in Tampa, FL. For more information,
call Ms. Bridget Carroll at (540)-659-4171.
Planned Parenthood comes up on the United Methodist screen every once in a
while. For example, recently a Planned Parenthood facility was discovered to be housed at
Central United Methodist Church in Detroit. Then we are reminded that the Kentucky
Conference has reappointed one of its clergy to direct a Planned Parenthood clinic. Why
are these problems? Because Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the
United States. Seems to us that The United Methodist Church could find better partners for
mission and ministry.
The 1997 session of the Kentucky Annual Conference approved a resolution which
states, in part: "The Kentucky Conference of The United Methodist Church, when
studying, discussing, and implementing the Episcopal Initiative on Children and Poverty,
will understand children to include the unborn Children." That only makes sense.
The 1997 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a statement
which offers "a word of counsel to the church and our culture that the procedure
known as intact dilation and extraction (commonly called partial-birth abortion) of a baby
who could live outside the womb is of grave moral concern and should be considered only if
the mother's life is endangered by the pregnancy" (The Presbyterian Lavman,
July/August 1997). This makes the Presbyterian Church (USA) the first oldline Protestant
denomination to denounce partial-birth abortion.
For months I have resisted the temptation to write this brief. For better or for
worse, l can no longer resist... In the May 1 995 issue of our denomination's Christian
Social Action, a photo features Bishop Joel Esteban Ajo of the Methodist Church of Cuba.
Attending a reception at The United Methodist Building in Washington, DC, Bp. Ajo, in the
photo, is holding a goblet. The picture's caption claims the good bishop is "holding
ice tea." Interesting. Given the occasion and the style of the goblet, we would have
guessed he was holding a glass of wine. Also, the explicit noting of "ice tea"
made us a little suspicious. But this does bring up the issue of what we might call moral
proportionality: some United Methodists, who fret and fume about the consumption of a
glass of wine are bothered little or not at all by the abortion of an unborn child. I
know. It's puzzling. And troubling.