Kristen Hatten

Atheists, agnostics, pagans, and more: do they have a place in the pro-life movement?

Kristen Hatten
By Kristen Hatten
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August 13, 2013 (LiveActionNews) - Lately I’ve been noticing a new pro-life trend. Quite active on Facebook are groups and individuals who condemn any attempt to convert an abortion advocate without taking a religious approach.

What I can glean of their message from social media and blog posts is that unless you lead with Jesus, you are denying His power to change that person’s mind. In other words, taking any approach other than “here’s what the Bible has to say about abortion” is irreligious folly.

I have several issues with this, but let’s start with my own personal experience.

I’ve shared my conversion story with Live Action readers and in The American Feminist, the magazine of Feminists for Life of America, so I won’t rehash it again. But allow me to reiterate that had my lovely friend, with whom I chose to debate abortion one fateful night, used religion as a basis for her argument, I not only would not have been convinced, I would have dismissed her entire thesis outright and probably ended the conversation.

Would I have been, frankly, an idiot for doing so? That is debatable. (By which I mean: yeah, kind of.) But I would also not have become, that very night, a pro-life advocate.

I was converted on the basis of human rights, science, and reason. Was God behind it? In my opinion, yes, He was. He is always behind Truth. I believe God created human rights, science, and reason. So using these to argue is not terribly different from mentioning Him by name.

Because my friend was, to get Biblical, “wise as serpents,” I became pro-life that night. A year later, I was no longer an agnostic but a Catholic. Coincidence? I guess. If you believe in that sort of thing.

I spent the first few months of my uncomfortable pro-lifeness (after initially trying desperately to become pro-choice again, and failing) splashing around in the shallow but welcoming online pool of the non-religious pro-life. There were pro-life pagans, agnostics, atheists, humanists, homosexuals, and so on. They, like I, had found the argument for the sanctity of unborn human life compelling enough without believing in a Christian God.

For me, this new belief in the unborn led me directly – eventually – to that same Christian God. I doubt I am the only one for whom this has been the case. It has given me an even deeper love for the fetal among us: they saved my soul.

So not only does a Bible-first approach to explaining the evil of abortion not work on everyone, it outright excludes a small but important faction of the pro-life community, whom I believe we should welcome.

Craig Gross, pastor of XXXchurch, devotes his ministry to helping porn stars leave the sex industry. In explaining his controversial personal friendship with porno legend Ron Jeremy, he explained to “Nightline:” “To me, the message of Jesus unites and doesn’t divide. You know what we’re all against, but you never know what we’re all for. Like, to me, I’m for Ron.”

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There might be a very profound message in that simple statement.

If I care deeply about the soul of a pro-life pagan – and I do! – is it for me to tell her she has no place in our movement? Will that endear her to my religion? Will it go any way at all towards bringing her to understand the love of Christ?

No, of course not.

My goal as a Christian should be to bring Christ to everyone I meet. How best should I do that? By yelling Bible verses through a megaphone? By handing out pamphlets? By excluding them from the Godly work of protecting Life?

I recall encountering, for the first time, the priest who would become my first pastor. I attended a tragic funeral for a young man at his parish. It was the second time in my life I had been in a Catholic church, and this happened one month after I became pro-life. (Again, “coincidence.”) Normally quite hostile to Christianity, I felt peace and – indeed – holiness in the sanctuary. I also felt what I would later come to know as the Holy Spirit emanating from Monsignor Donald Fischer. I would feel it every time I was in his presence. I would feel it in that same sanctuary when he confirmed me a Catholic, one year later.

All this – all this Godliness – because my friend didn’t mention God.

God has His ways. I believe they have been called “mysterious.” Perhaps we should be humble enough to accept they don’t always involve us being loudly right at everyone’s face. Are you right to say God is the number one reason to oppose abortion? In my opinion, yes. But being right is not always how you win an advocate for Life – or a soul for Jesus.

It is a difficult thing to humbly submit to the will of God when nothing makes sense. Maybe pro-life paganism or agnosticism or atheism or homosexuality don’t make sense to you. Maybe they are an affront to you. But just like Craig Gross and his friend Ron Jeremy are both “for Ron,” aren’t we all working towards the same goal? Don’t we all want to protect life in the womb? Does God frown on you when you embrace a pro-life atheist or does He say, in the immortal words of Dire Straits, “That’s the way you do it”?

I’m thinking it’s (something like) the latter, and I personally welcome – and rejoice in – all the pro-lifers. We may disagree about graphic signs, the death penalty, politics, and more, but any friend of the unborn deserves a seat at our table.

Kristen is Vice President of New Wave Feminists. She tweets as @walkertxkristen and can be found on Facebook if you know where to look.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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