December 2000 -- A quarterly news letter for United Methodists


Contents

Guest Column: MY FRIEND JEAN
A RATHER ODD ILLUSTRATION
LESSLIE NEWBIGIN (1909-1998)
ALBERT C. OUTLER (1908-1989)
YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT
BOOK ORDER FORM
SEND LIFEWATCH TO A FRIEND!
Our Mission

 

Guest Column: MY FRIEND JEAN

Jean and I were close friends in college. We shared the same major and were members of the same sorority. When offered the opportunity to attend Oxford University, we shared accommodations.

In England, I first noticed Jean’s fascination with children. I would stop to photograph the vaulted ceilings of Salisbury Cathedral as Jean captured the playful spirit of a small child tapping her fingers in the holy water. Looking for the picture-perfect child, as we chased baby carriages through Hyde Park, I used to tease Jean relentlessly. We both wanted large families, and we both knew that Jean would be the perfect mother. Someday.

We returned to college to finish our junior year. Jean was anxious to reunite with her longtime boyfriend. John had graduated the previous spring and was waiting to marry his love. If I knew anything about Jean, I knew she would graduate, work with children, marry John, and have many children.

“In a decision made in haste, Jean lost her child and then her mind.”

I did not know that, sitting in her kitchen at 3:00 a.m., I would be trying to convince her to put down the butcher knife and believe that everything was going to be okay. I did not know that I would be wrestling Jean to the floor to quell a rage, or that I would have to dodge a telephone that was effortlessly torn from the wall and thrown across the room. I did not know I would be watching the mind of my dear friend disappear into thin air.

I was twenty years old and in the middle of the first real crisis of my life. My friend was lost. The hallway quickly filled with concerned friends. The speculations began. Drugs, of course, were mentioned as the probable cause of this complete and total breakdown. Maybe Jean had been given something that was bad. Maybe she would simply sleep this off and be fine in a few hours. We could only hope and pray. But in retrospect, I cannot imagine any of us believing that she would be all right in the morning. An ambulance was called, as were Jean’s parents. Since Jean’s father was a prominent physician, we were not surprised that she was transferred away within hours of admittance. We were surprised when our inquiries into her condition were ignored, and contact with her was prohibited, by the attending medical personnel.

Jean officially withdrew from our university after the Christmas holidays. The ensuing electroshock therapies interfered with Jean’s collegiate plans. She needed to stay in the hospital for a very long time. Instead of attending lectures and football games, she participated in individual and group therapy sessions. I never would have guessed why she had to give away so much.

When Jean had returned to the United States from England, Jean and her longtime steady had an argument. They decided to take a break from one another to see if their relationship was real. Jean began dating a classmate. Getting pregnant out of wedlock had not been part of her plan. Jean felt desperate and alone. She drove herself to a clinic on the outskirts of town and had an abortion. Later in the afternoon, when she was able, she managed to return to her apartment. She fell asleep on top of her bed. Sometime that evening, she got up out of bed and retrieved a butcher knife from the kitchen drawer. She placed the knife under the bed to protect herself fro the demons. Jean was being tormented by her thoughts. Jean needed to feel safe, yet she could not find a way to safety. She lashed out at the world that had defeated her.

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Being raised in the Church, we knew right from wrong. Still, tempted by sin, we can easily rationalize all sorts of wrong responses. Jean could not reconcile her beliefs with her deed. Helpless and hopeless and guilty, Jean fell into a state of severe depression. It took months of therapy and a host of medications for Jean to step out of her delusions. What she lost that fall was so much more than any of us could ever fathom. In a decision made in haste, Jean lost a child and then her mind. Thank God that He can forgive and restore us all.

As I am sitting here today, I know not a day goes by that we both do not reflect upon that moment in time and fill with regret and sadness. I lost touch with Jean after graduation. Still, I think of her all the time. I had convinced myself that it would be impossible to track her down. I think I may feel a bit guilty for having a healthy marriage and three beautiful children. What if Jean never experiences this joy? As I struggle to put my thoughts to words, I hold in my hand her father’s phone number. I found it this morning. Battling my own fears, I have tried to call twice today. I do not know if I will reach her. I do know that I will be sorry every day for the rest of my life that I did not reach her when she needed me most.

May God have mercy on us all.

―Jennifer Blanchard (P.O. Box 1422/Rose Hill, NC 28458 is a member of the Rose Hill United Methodist Church in Rose Hill, NC.)♥


A RATHER ODD ILLUSTRATION

Silence, when an entire class of human beings is being exploited to death and destruction by those with more power, is complicity.

During the 2000 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, NC, Bishop James K. Mathews held forth on The United Methodist Church. Bishop Mathews was elected to episcopal office in 1960 and became one of United Methodism’s most prominent spokespersons in the public square. In his latter years he has been a retired but engaged bishop.

In his address to this Jurisdictional Conference, Bishop Mathews attempted three things. First, he argued quite reasonably against the present procedures for electing United Methodist bishops. Second, he advised how The United Methodist Church might better handle the debate over homosexuality. And third, he highlighted several characteristics and accomplishments about which the denomination should be justifiably proud. Overall, Bishop Mathews’ address was very warmly received by the conference, and its text appeared in the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference’s Daily Christian Advocate (8/15/00, pp. 6-7 and 10).

Though a delegate from the North Carolina Conference to the 2000 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, this editor did not have the privilege of hearing Bishop Mathews’ address. Work on the Nominations Committee made that impossible. However, a month or so after the conference, this delegate took the time to read the text of his address in the Daily Chsristian Advocate.

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In general, Bishop Mathews’ address makes some good points. However, something rather disturbing appears in its last section. The bishop begins his concluding section with these words: “E. Then I would note that United Methodism is still capable of producing laypersons of outstanding quality.” This claim is certainly true. To be sure, one of the gifts of The United Methodist Church, at her best, is her ability to take people, whatever their station in life and faith, and lead them into deeper Christian discipleship and service; and that often translates into excellence in the various vocations in the church and the world. But then comes the reason for disturbance: Bishop Mathews illustrates his claim by pointing to the life of “Harry A. Blackmun, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who died March 4, 1999.”

As is widely known, Justice Blackmun was the author of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which in effect struck down state abortion laws throughout the United States. For this, he received a flood of correspondence, much of which was undeniably hate mail. Furthermore, for writing this decision, Justice Blackmun was harassed and threatened in other ways as well. All United Methodists, all Christians, indeed all people of good will have been and are quick to condemn the use of hate mail and other vile forms of harassment against Harry Blackmun (or anybody else, for that matter).

Still, we are puzzled by Bishop Mathews singling out Harry Blackmun as the layperson of “outstanding quality.” We have no doubt that Justice Blackmun was a man deeply devoted to The United Methodist Church. We have no doubt that Justice Blackmun was a man of considerable learning and achievement. We have no doubt that Justice Blackmun was a man of much compassion for many people from all walks of life. And we have no doubt that Justice Blackmun was neither mean nor heartless. However, for the sake of intellectual honesty and historical accuracy, we must remember: Justice Harry A. Blackmun’s judicial labor helped find (or create) in the United States Constitution an abortion liberty that makes abortion, for all practical purposes, available on demand in our society. To date, Justice Blackmun’s abortion liberty has assisted in pushing open the legal gates for the performance of 40,000,000 abortions in American society. Think about that number. We are not discussing thousands of abortions. Nor are we discussing hundreds of thousands of abortions. We are discussing millions of abortions―in fact, the forty million abortions that followed Roe v. Wade and its companion decision.

It is no secret that Justice Blackmun’s Roe decision is not beyond critique. For Roe has been a source of continuing legal debate for over twenty-five years now. Many leading judicial analysts, even “pro-choice” analysts, to this day, contend that this decision is highly problematic on legal grounds.

AGAINST THE CHURCH

Historic, ecumenical Christianity has always understood abortion as an act to be resisted. The Church universal has consistently taught and ministered to protect, from the threat of the abortionist, the unborn child and the mother of the child. Certainly, throughout Christian history there have been dissenting voices, mostly maintaining slight deviations from the Church’s basic moral rule against abortion, here and there. But official, Church teaching has been consistently protective of the unborn child and mother.

Therefore, consider this. Justice Harry A. Blackmun helped make abortion, which the Church through the ages has consistently worked to resist, into a very common practice in American society. That is, despite his other laudable, public achievements, in the society and in the church, Justice Blackmun collaborated in a judicial action that legalized and popularized the exploitation of the weakest among us. In the language of John Paul II, Justice Blackmun helped bring a particularly aggressive version of the “Culture of Death” to American shores. That must be seen as a very grave error.

Let us be as fair as possible. Let us assume that Bishop Mathews is not a pro-choice partisan. After all, in his address, he suggests some respect for life when he said: “[In the homosexuality debate,] constant reference is made to sexuality as ‘God’s good gift.’ Of course it is, but why not, rather, rejoice in God’s gift of tasting life itself. How easily we might have missed it [because of abortion]!” Furthermore, let us assume that Bishop Mathews has no ax to grind regarding abortion. Moreover, let us assume that Bishop Mathews did not intend to make a statement on abortion by pointing to the exemplary life of Justice Blackmun. The undeniable fact remains: by holding up Harry A. Blackmun as an exemplary United Methodist―indeed, as the exemplary United Methodist out of hundred of others who could have been elevated―Bishop James K. Mathews has bestowed a kind of legitimacy (even if unintentionally) on this United States Supreme Court justice’s legal legacy, including his Roe v. Wade decision.

Apparently, Bishop Mathews is rather morally blind to the matter of abortion. On this, he is not alone. Since 1973, the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has been rather blind to, and silent on, abortion. Perhaps this has to do with individual bishops who are somewhat aggressive in their pro-choice advocacy. Whatever its reason for being, silence from the Council of Bishops, from the church, from Christians―in the face of any great and grave evil―is a sin of omission. Silence, when an entire class of human beings is being exploited to death and destruction by those with more power, is complicity. Bishops are charged by the Church to lead the People of God to stand up for the dignity of the person created by, and in the image, of God. To date, Bishop Mathews and the Council of Bishops have been silent on the assault on human dignity that is named abortion. And their silence allows this assault to continue day after day, year after year, in the United States and beyond.

The intent of this article is not to scorn or humiliate or ridicule anybody―not Bishop Mathews, not Justice Blackmun, not anyone. The intent is to remind us that we United Methodist Christians live in and serve the truth of the Church’s apostolic faith. To be sure, that truth cannot be reduced to loving the unborn child and mother; but that truth certainly includes loving the two of them.

Therefore, another exemplar, a better exemplar, of a “[layperson] of outstanding quality” should have been put forward by Bishop Mathews. To be sure, history will be a penultimate judge of this matter, and Jesus Christ will be the ultimate judge. Still, from our vantage point this side of the Kingdom of God, a different, more exemplary layperson should have been mentioned in Bishop Mathews’ address.

A final note. During the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, a statue, which was carved by Dr. Bruce C. Carruth, a retired professor at Emory and Henry College, was placed at center stage. Inspired by her words―“I never have refused a child. Never! Not one!”―the statue featured a beautiful image of Mother Teresa rescuing an abandoned child. On the same United Methodist stage, Mother Teresa and child were pictured, and Justice Harry A. Blackmun was remembered. How odd. (PTS)♥


LESSLIE NEWBIGIN (1909-1998)

One of God’s great gifts to the Church of the twentieth century was Lesslie Newbigin, who was a pastor, bishop, and theologian. Though Newbigin went on to glory in 1998, his life and theological works will instruct the Church for generations to come.

Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, one of the world’s leading ecumenical theologians and one of Lifewatch’s Advisory Board members, has just completed a book on Newbigin’s life and thought. Entitled Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life, Wainwright’s book is published by Oxford University Press (2000).

Solidly grounded in the faith of the Church, Newbigin was also ministerially engaged in the life of the world. And since the modern world practices abortion, it is not surprising that Newbigin responded to this problem. For example, during a December 1996 speech at a World Council of Churches conference on mission and evangelism in Brazil, “Newbigin recalled the service two days earlier on the dockside in repentance for the slave trade. The Portuguese had domesticated the Gospel and so acted in ways that turned it into bad news (though in fairness one might remember the centuries of Muslim occupation and the struggle to get rid of the invaders). But [Newbigin said,] ‘when we stood in the old slave market, on Saturday morning, on those stones which had felt the weight of the bare and bruised and shackled feet of countless of our fellow human beings, when we stood in that place so heavy with human sin and human suffering and were told to spend two minutes in silence waiting for what the Spirit might say to us, I thought first how unbelievable that Christians could have connived in that inhuman trade. And then there came to my mind the question: Will it not be the case that our great-grandchildren will be equally astonished at the way in which we in our generation, in our so-called modern, Western, rich, developed culture, connive at the wholesale slaughter of unborn children in the name of the central idol of our culture: freedom of choice?’” (388-389, emphasis added)

Furthermore, Newbigin expressed his views on abortion through the lines of this limerick:

Techno-speak

Said an angry young man of Miletus,
“These doctors use jargon to cheat us.
They’re quite reconciled
to killing a child
‘cos they’re only ‘aborting a foetus.’” (note 53, 435-436)

As Lifewatch has mentioned, Lesslie Newbigin supported the faithful witness of Presbyterians Pro-Life. And now, thanks to Prof. Wainwright’s literary labor of love, Newbigin’s witness can be extended. (PTS) ♥


ALBERT C. OUTLER (1908-1989)

Had Bishop Mathews been interested in pointing to one theologian as an example of how Methodism can take a person and shape that person into a great theologian, he would have had to consider Dr. Albert C. Outler as a top candidate. Most who know about these things would agree that Albert Outler was indeed one of the truly outstanding Methodist theologians

―indeed, one of the outstanding Protestant theologians―of the twentieth century. Lifewatch, during our earliest period, was providentially fortunate and extraordinarily honored to have Dr. Outler serve on our Advisory Board.

Albert C. Outler: The Gifted Dilettante (Bristol Books, (800)-451-7323, 1999) is a biography that describes in detail its subject’s extraordinary life and ministry. Dr. Bob W. Parrott―who is the editor of The Albert Outler Library (Bristol Books), which is composed of nine volumes of edited papers―is the author of this unusual biography. His Albert C. Outler, which employs considerable chunks of material from Outler and others, is as interesting as it is instructive.

This book on Outler and Outler himself have much to teach the Lifewatch community. What follows are some notes derived from Albert C. Outler that might prove helpful to those offering witness, within The United Methodist Church, on the glorious Gospel of Life against the insidious Culture of Death.

First, Dr. Outler’s life stands out as a sign for the protection of human life. Albert was a “surprise,” and a good one at that, to his parents. The youngest of five children, he was born six years after his sister Fran, the next youngest in the brood. Raised in a Methodist parsonage that sometimes functioned like an inn for travelers in and through Georgia, little Albert picked up the gift of Christian hospitality. Just as little Albert’s parents and rather large family welcomed their surprising “trailer” as a gift from God, the mature Albert and his wife Carla welcomed, by adoption, two little gifts from God (namely, Trudi and David) into their own home. If a picture is worth a thousand words, lives well lived (like the Outlers) must be worth millions.

Second, Dr. Outler’s theological footprints provide an evangelical way, for United Methodists, into the Great Tradition of the Church catholic. For decades, Outler intended “to follow Jesus, as I can see him, so long as my faith holds. I do intend that the main lines of its future development shall stay as close as possible to the core of what has been the Great Tradition in Christianity.” (365) According to Outler’s steady witness, the Church’s faith―including the Church’s teaching on abortion―is not made up on the fly. Rather, the Church’s faith is always consistent with the Church’s Great Tradition.

Third, Dr. Outler’s clarity is exemplary for the Lifewatch community today. At a May 1973 conference on abortion, Outler spoke with remarkable forthrightness: “It has, occasionally, been explained to me somewhat impatiently, that an aging, WASP, male theologian cannot possibly understand human realities and the human damage of unacceptable pregnancies―and, therefore, that all my notions about abortion are ‘academic.’ My response to this is also ad hominem, and it comes in two parts: the one is frankly sentimental; the other, grimly prophetic.

“My personal sentiments in this matter root in the fact that our two children and our son-in-law were all adopted―and none of them would have seen the light of day in these new [that is, post-Roe] times. To tell me now that the social values that might have accrued to their three anguished mothers (had they aborted) would have outweighed the human and personal worth of these three persons is, I’m afraid, literal nonsense.

“And as for my prophetic forebodings, it seems certain that in America [that is, the United States] alone, over the next few years, millions of fetal lives will be snuffed out―with little moral outcry! There are ways of arguing that this is not comparable to the Nazi holocaust, or to the tragedy in Indochina, or to the widening stains of child abuse here at home. But it will be comparable statistically―and morally it will be even more ominous, for it will be sponsored by many whose professional ordinations are to healing and compassion. Moreover, it will have, for its rationalization, theories of fetal life defining it as a chattel to a mother’s private value judgments. Who then will be surprised if our human sensitivities are still further calloused, if sex becomes yet more promiscuous―with our scruples against euthanasia crumbling and the moral cements of our society dissolving?” (389-9) That, my friends, is an example of someone being perfectly clear.

COURAGE, FREEDOM, BRIDGE BUILDING
Fourth, Dr. Outler’s courage inspires. Outler was critical of bishops who would not lead their denomination and of bureaucratic structures that were all too willing to fill the leadership void: “Instead of episcopal potentates (good riddance to them!), we now have episcopal populists―some with billowing spinnakers to catch the shifting winds of opinions; others with gonfalons to wave in single-issue causes. Meanwhile, our curia [that is, the denominational boards and agencies] continues to assume many of the tasks of general superintendency in the church at large.” (302) Over the years, this generalization from Outler has described rather well how The United Methodist Church has responded to abortion. It took courage for him to state it, and his courage in outspokenness generates renewed courage in the Lifewatch community to this day.

Fifth, Dr. Outler’s freedom, within a strong loyalty to United Methodism, is a model for us. Said Outler: “It was my father who taught me how to be a free and loyal Methodist. Free in a tight connectional system; loyal to the system and yet independent of its power to repress.” (305) Hence, offering a witness to the Gospel of Life within The United Methodist Church today and not be an act of ecclesiastical treason. A witness to the Gospel of Life can and should be an act of Christian freedom, which is based on an accompanying loyalty to the denomination.

Sixth, Dr. Outler’s bridge building can generate more of the same today. About Outler, Parrot claims: “He [Outler] never confused unconditional love with unconditional approval. Grace allowed him to love the sinner but not the sin. Thus he never attempted to build bridges for sin but for sinners who were open to God’s justifying and convincing grace. The roles of a bridge builder and a prophet were compatible in his being…” (409) According to Outler, witnessing in the Church and to the world aims at bridge building, not at accommodating and not at destroying, for the sake of the Gospel.

And seventh, Dr. Outler’s thought often referred to the cross of Christ. “Peacemaking is the enterprise, carried through suffering to a cross if necessary, to overcome evil in the world and estrangement between people, by love. Peacemakers are those who place themselves by choice in the midst of human conflict―to do and to speak the truth in love at the cost of the cross, with their vindication expected not from their worldly success, but from God’s blessing and unconquerable providence.” (393-394) Offering a Christian witness for the protection of the unborn child and mother includes a willingness to sacrifice and even to suffer for Christian truth.

Albert C. Outler: The Gifted Dilettante, for which thanks should be given to Bob Parrott, is more than a biographical record. It is the story of a great life and an adventuresome ministry that helps others to do what he did: speak and live the truth in love for a long, long time. (PTS)♥


YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT

“We are called to guard and transmit the faith delivered to the saints.

● In July, Bishop Richard Looney, who until recently was the resident bishop of the South Georgia Area of The United Methodist Church, preached the sermon at the service at which the three elected, Southeastern Jurisdiction bishops were consecrated. Bishop Looney’s sermon, entitled “Bishop - Overseer: A Noble Task, Not Person,” was based on Titus 1:5-9. It outlines what is expected of those who would be bishops in the Church. The third point of the sermon warrants considerable attention: “3. Finally, we [bishops] are to be guardians and transmitters of the truth. ‘[You] must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that you may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who who contradict it. There are also many rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families.’ (Titus 1:9-11)

“But we can become so diligent guarding that we have no time to transmit, or so harsh that we transmit a false Gospel.

“We live in a time of such rampant individualism in society, in the church, and even in the Council of Bishops that we forget that we are called to guard and transmit the faith delivered to the saints. Some may be intrigued by our speculations, or teased by our little theories, but the world is hungry for the Gospel which continues to be a scandal. In Jesus Christ, we see the incarnate God. He came to us, lived with us, died for us, rose triumphant, and through the Spirit would be our transforming friend today.

“Again, The Book of Discipline [1996] is quite clear. Bishops are authorized ‘to guard, transmit, teach, and proclaim the apostolic faith as it is expressed in Scripture and tradition, and...to interpret that faith evangelically and prophetically.’ (Par. 414.3) People can be blessed by the sharing of your personal Christian experience. They are not necessarily fed by your personal theology―unless informed and undergirded by the apostolic faith.

“But again, who we are may speak more eloquently than any words. In my second appointment one of my churches wanted an evangelist whose theology troubled me. My Dad said, ‘Go ahead, boy. He’s a much better man than his theology.’ And it was true. Yet, that’s no excuse for us to be sloppy or opinionated, but it is a reminder that no words can cover a superficial life.

“We are to give instruction in sound doctrine and confute those who contradict it.”

An Amen! or two from the congregation?

● Charles Colson, the distinguished evangelical thinker, does the “Breakpoint” radio program. One of his “Breakpoint” programs reported on a debate between Stanley Fish, the deconstructionist theorist then at Duke, and Robert George, a political theorist at Princeton, at a meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) meeting. We reported on this debate in the last issue of Lifewatch (9/1/00).

Four years ago Fish had written: “A pro-life advocate sees abortion as a sin against God who infuses life at the moment of conception. A pro-choice advocate sees abortion as a decision to be made in accordance with the best scientific opinion as to when the beginning of life, as we know it, occurs.” (First Things)

In the course of the debate, George corrected Fish by noting that the pro-life advocate does not need to make her argument on the basis of theology and that the pro-choice advocate can no longer make her argument on the basis of scientific evidence.

Fish responded: “Professor George is right, and he is right to correct me.” In his paper, Fish continued: “Nowadays, it is pro-lifers who make the scientific question of when the beginning of life occurs the key one in the abortion controversy, while pro-choicers want to transform the question into a ‘metaphysical’ or ‘religious’ one by distinguishing between mere biological life and ‘moral life’... Until recently pro-choicers might have cast themselves as defenders of rational science against the forces of ignorance and superstition, but when scientific inquiry started pushing back the moment when significant life (in some sense) begins, they shifted tactics and went elsewhere in search of rhetorical weaponry.”

To Our Sunday Visitor, Fish admitted that his about-face on understanding the abortion debate was just “an acknowledgment of factual error.” Furthermore, he said, “I should have known better. Pro-life arguments are now based on scientific evidence, and the pro-choice arguments are not. That is a cultural, historical fact.” (Deborah Danielski’s “Deconstructing the Abortion License,” http://deborahdanielski.faithweb.com/deconstr.htm)

As might be expected, Fish’s comments have stirred the waters in some academic and cultural quarters. And thank God they have.

● Bumper stickers are not this editor’s favorite means of communication. Even so, we recently ran across one whose message is as truthful as it is moving. “Children are a gift from God” (Psalm 127:3-5), it declares. A Christian brother here in North Carolina is conducting a media campaign with the same theme. We are very pleased to be a part of it. If you would like one or two of these bumper stickers, please make your request known to Mrs. Ruth Brown/Lifewatch/512 Florence Street/Dothan, AL 36301/ tumaslaw@sprynet.com /(334)-794-8543. Your request will be fulfilled, promptly and free of charge, by Mrs. Brown.

● The fifth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the first anniversary of the Columbine High massacre were observed last spring. In the midst of those sad days of remembrance, the Roman Catholic archbishops of Oklahoma and Colorado released a powerful pastoral letter. In their letter, Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran of Oklahoma and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Colorado challenged their readers to reject our society’s “culture of violence and death” and instead embrace a “culture of life.” Archbishops Beltran and Chaput noted that, while the killings in Oklahoma and Colorado were “heartbreaking,” they were not “senseless” in the literal sense of the word. They went on: “In a way they make perfect sense, [because] they are the fruit of a culture which already ratifies violence through abortion on demand and capital punishment... If American young people see 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence on television before they leave elementary school, if they’re offered a steady diet of virtual reality and simulated sex and brutality, if they’re told relentlessly that they deserve what they want right now, and if more than 200 million guns now circulate around the country, why is anyone surprised at the bloodshed?” Like they wrote, these killings are “heartbreaking,” but hardly “senseless.” (Catholic New York, April 27, 2000)

● Kathleen Kristian, last spring, was a senior at Maria Regina High School in New York. She entered the 18th annual New York State Pro-Life Oratorical Contest and won. Her speech centered on how the legalization of abortion has “adversely affected” her generation. Said she: “We’ve grown up in a world where human life has been devalued. You look at all of the high school shootings. You look at all the violence and the people attacking their teacher with a hammer, and it’s like, ‘What do you expect when you’re telling them all the time that they’re worthless.” In her speech, she told a tale about how some thieves, after breaking into and entering a store, changed the price tags on various items. Expensive goods were given small prices, and inexpensive goods were given larger prices. She “compared it to society and how we’ve started valuing things that are utterly worthless and devaluing human life which is completely full of worth.” (Catholic New York, 6/1/00) ♥ 


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Lifewatch is published by the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

 

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/e, 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 congregations.

It is sent free to interested readers. Editor, Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth: P.O. Box 177, Rose Hill NC 28458 (910)289-2449/Administrator, Mrs. Ruth Brown: 512 Florence Street, Dothan AL 3630/ (334)794-8543/E-mail: cindy@lifewatch.org Web site: http://lifewatch.org

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