Christina Martin

I’m pro-life and eat chicken: Is animal cruelty equal to abortion?

Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
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November 27, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - I once gave a lecture on abortion at a college in Connecticut. After I finished my talk, I allowed time for students to share any questions they had related to the topic. One of the first people to approach me was a young man who ran a radio show on campus. I remember this man because he walked up to me and zealously stuck a pamphlet in my hand. When I looked at the information, I saw a picture of some miserable-looking chickens stuck in cages. The man began to inform me that eating meat was animal cruelty, that chickens are just as valuable as fetuses, and that a true “pro-lifer” should care for both.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I like animals. While I’m not a dog person, I have compassion for the creatures. I hate it when I hear about poor pooches being used for dog-fighting. That’s just plain wrong. Find a better hobby, people.

But while I’ll agree that animals should be protected, I do think our society often has its priorities mixed up when it comes to pets. Case in point: Michael Vick. The man gets caught taking part in illegal dog-fighting rings (like I said, totally wrong), is condemned by the media, pays thousands in fines and serves 18 months in a federal prison. Yet abortion doctors can tear apart six-month-old babies in the womb and there’s no national uproar. Sheesh, George Tiller is still considered a hero by many.

Back to my college story. I kindly told the well-meaning man that I defend children, not chicken. I’m not sure if I worded it like that, but he got the point.

Fast-forward a few summers. I’m leading a prayer meeting in downtown New Haven, CT at the Amistad memorial. The Amistad memorial is located on the spot of a former jail that once held the slaves who escaped from the ship Amistad. I was leading a prayer meeting focused on ending abortion in front of the statue of former slave and abolitionist Cinque.

I picked that location to make a point. Slavery was an atrocious crime that destroyed the lives of millions of Africans, but there is a greater evil that’s eliminating blacks from the planet. Many slaves lived lives of great oppression, but they lived nonetheless. If they hadn’t, Harriet Tubman couldn’t have been my personal hero. Abortion – unlike slavery – stops a beating heart and destroys life before it begins.

By some crazy occurrence, the same weekend I had my prayer meeting downtown, another organization was holding an event just feet away from ours. It was PETA, the animal rights group that seeks to protect their furry friends at all costs. You may recall some of their more radical members throwing paint at models wearing fur. Lady Gaga enraged them when she wore a dress made of raw meat.

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So PETA was holding an event on the New Haven green with huge pictures of Africans in chains placed alongside pictures of animals in cages. They declared the suffering of animals comparable to the pain Africans endured in slavery. As you can imagine, some found their exhibit quite offensive. I heard about it when a friend asked if I was downtown holding pictures of slaves and chickens. I made it very clear I was not.

A chicken and a child do not have the same value. While I’m at it, a tree and a child don’t, either. Trees are important, but so is paper, firewood, and the oak table I’m leaning on as I write this article. How can we as a society fight for the protection of whales, trees, and chickens while neglecting the right of innocent children to live?

A girl on a train once told me a story about the time her mom gave her a lobster to play with, then minutes later picked it up and threw it in a boiling pot of water. She was never the same. The girl was so struck by her playmate’s sudden death that she vowed to never eat meat again. The girl brought up the story when I began to tell her I was pro-life. She assumed that since I was pro-life, I should be vegetarian, vegan, or an animal rights activist. If I really cared about innocent life, surely I should battle to save the animals.

She’s not the only one who thinks that way. PETA even made a sign that says, “Pro-life? Go vegan.” Along with the words on the sign are three cute little chicks. PETA wanted to use the image in a billboard in the Houston area when Planned Parenthood was opening up its mega-clinic in that city. In the midst of the pro-life/pro-choice debates, PETA wanted to bring “peace” by telling people to respect the sanctity of all life.

I believe that humans are superior creatures to plants, animals, and all other forms of life. We can vote, floss, do complex math, knit sweaters, and create origami. At least some of us can, that is. Of course, being superior doesn’t mean we should be bullies who rule the planet with an iron fist. We should seek to treat animals with compassion,  take care of the earth, and defend human life at all stages.

I have a biblical worldview, or a worldview based on the Bible. In Romans 14:5-6, Paul the apostle writes:

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

The book known by Jews as the Torah and by Christians as the Old Testament has countless verses describing biblical characters offering up lambs for sacrifices, using them for food, and taking their skin for clothing. We can see from those verses that God didn’t have a problem with a fur coat or lamb stew. However, the scriptures reveal that there was one sacrifice God abhorred. Jehovah was continually angered at the Israelites for sacrificing their children to false gods. The shedding of innocent blood through child sacrifice was repeatedly condemned.

Catholic writer Jennifer Fulwiler was once an atheist and pro-choice vegetarian. In an article in the National Catholic Register titled “Why I was a Pro-Choice Vegetarian,” Jennifer describes the faulty reasoning behind her former views:

While I donated money to PETA and other animal rights organizations to help save pigs and cows, I also donated money to Planned Parenthood to support the abortion industry. I had not the slightest qualm about the idea of an early-stage abortion. On my spectrum of worthiness of life, adult humans were on the far right side; fetuses were on the left. Unborn humans were somewhere around shrimp and worms in terms of value, because they could not display any intelligence. And so it seemed unfair to ask women to turn their lives upside down for a lifeform that had all the value of a crustacean. Even though it would be years before I would come to see that this entire understanding of human life was founded on a lie, I would occasionally get a glimpse of the chilling implications of this view. For example, one time in college I heard a professor make the statement that it would be more ethical to kill a newborn baby than a pig, since pigs are more intelligent and aware of their surroundings. I scoffed at the absurdity of such a notion. Yet when I tried to argue against it, I realized that he was actually using my own worldview to justify his position.

Bottom line is this, I am pro-human life. I love people. I really like cheeseburgers. I don’t support animal cruelty, but I don’t think it’s cruel to eat animals. Yet when it comes to what’s most important, my time is best spent protecting and defending the lives of little humans. I don’t have a problem eating chicken while I do it.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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