Arland Nichols

‘The single biggest mistake of my entire life’: a letter from a post-abortive woman

Arland Nichols
By Arland Nichols

The following unsigned letter was received by a priest friend of mine following a pro-life homily. Her message is a powerful one that deserves to be heard by and shared with all young women and parents in a similar situation. I am happy to share her witness with you:

Do you ever hear a homily or Bible verse and feel as if God is directly speaking to you?

This weekend I wasn’t sure if I would go to church or skip it for the week. I was tired, I had a long week and frankly, I didn’t want to be out in public dealing with arguing and talkative children who have to go potty just to get out of their seats.

In spite of my brain saying to skip Sunday Mass, my heart forced the keys into the ignition and I found my way to church.

As I sat in the pew with my little family, I listened intently as the uncomfortable topic of abortion came up. At that very moment, I knew God was talking to me. Sharing His forgiveness and unconditional love and also sending a message by tugging on my heart that I need to share my story.

I am one of you. I am Catholic, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend. I am a sinner, and by the Grace of God, I am forgiven. I could be sitting next to you at this very moment and you don’t even know it. I am one of those people you would never guess had a dark story behind me. While I don’t feel compelled to disclose my identity, I do feel the story behind the person is important and should be shared.

Abortion is one of those subjects that make people squirm in their seats and rightfully so. It is an act that destroys virtually everything we’re taught to respect in the Bible. Our bodies, love between all parties (including the baby), the sexual act itself and especially the fact that once conception has occurred, there is a human being where there once was none.

So many people try to convince mothers facing an unintended pregnancy that the “product of conception” (aka: the baby) is simply “tissue”. Pro-choice individuals attempt to dilute the fact that once the sperm fertilizes the egg, there is now a living human being; a very tiny person who already has a purpose and dignity given by God.

When I was 15, I found myself going out with a boy who I came to truly believe was the love of my life. We knew more than our parents and defied every attempt to keep us apart. Sneaking out nightly to meet somewhere between his house and mine was more common than not and very soon thereafter, I found myself giving him the most sacred gift God had given me.

I absolutely had the mindset that “it won’t happen to me.” I knew how pregnancy happened and I knew we weren’t using any contraception, but I still was in denial that I might find myself pregnant.

I will never forget the feeling that went through my body as I sat in the bathroom of the grocery store after taking that pregnancy test and seeing two very bright lines come up in the little square. My legs went weak. I felt like I was going to faint. I was shaking uncontrollably. I was crying.

I called out for my boyfriend who was waiting outside the door and he came inside. It was the middle of the night and nobody was even around to notice a guy walking into the women’s bathroom to hold onto a young girl now facing a very adult situation.

We left the grocery store and headed to his sister’s house. Once we got there, we called my parents. They did not realize that I was even gone until the phone rang. They thought all along that I was in my bed sleeping. Through my hysteria, they guessed that I was pregnant after a few questions. This is where the situation could have gone one of two ways, and unfortunately, it went downhill and very fast.

It was made clear that I was a shame to the family. It was continuously reiterated that if I chose to continue with the pregnancy, I would not be allowed outside of the house for nine months. I had brought such disgrace to our family and I now wore the Scarlet Letter.

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Feeling as if I had already done such an injustice to the family name, I felt pressured to “get rid of the pregnancy” to save face and spare the family any more humiliation than I already caused. In spite of my parents telling me they would not force me to make a decision either way, I felt as if I had no choice if they were going to ever love me again.

It wasn’t the baby that I didn’t want. I simply didn’t want for my parents to hate me anymore.

The first appointment I made was to hear a doctor tell me I was not far along enough to “achieve the goal” of termination due to a tilted uterus. He sent me home and told me to return in four weeks.

As time went on, I endured daily comments about how disappointed my family was that I had chosen to gallivant around and get myself pregnant. I had horrible morning sickness and was so thin that I was already starting to show. My parents now forbade my boyfriend to have any contact with me whatsoever and my friends wanted nothing to do with me. I sat in my room and cried every hour that I was awake.

Another appointment was made for me and I went to the same doctor who had told me to return in four weeks. He tried to perform the abortion that day in the office, but due to my uterus being too far tilted still, he was unable to succeed. It was painful and terrifying. He referred me to an “abortion specialist” and I left his office, for the second time, still pregnant.

The night before my appointment with the specialist, I vividly remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom crying until I had no tears to cry. I knew what I was about to do was wrong. My heart hurt so badly. I wanted to have the strength to say I would not have the abortion but I was desperate for my parents love and approval again. As I sat there curled up in a ball crying, I physically and very clearly heard a strong yet soft man’s voice in the darkness of my bedroom.

The only words spoken were, “Don’t do it.”

The day of my abortion, both of my parents took me. I was led to a very cold room and given an IV to put me to sleep. I don’t remember anything of the actual abortion itself.

When I woke up, I was told it was over and was given Oreo cookies and orange juice. Immediately I regretted what I had just done. I had 13 long weeks to make this decision and it was suddenly crystal clear that I made the wrong choice but I could no longer go back and undo it. To this day, the abortion is the single biggest mistake of my entire life. My dad carried me out of the building and the details afterwards are very foggy.

Seventeen years later, there has not been a single day go by that I haven’t wondered about the baby whose life was cut short because of a choice. I look at my children now with the knowledge of having robbed them the chance to have an older sibling that they have never even heard about. Knowing I took the only opportunity for the father of the baby to have a child of his own. Living with such mental and emotional distress that not only I, but my husband now has to deal with, and finally, wondering each day if I am truly forgiven and if I will be allowed into heaven after I die.

I can say with 100% conviction that absolutely nothing positive came from my abortion.

Looking back now that I am an adult, I find myself asking what my parents could have done differently once I was in the situation that may have led me to keep the baby or put him or her up for adoption by choosing life. I’ve played over a hundred times in my head what I will say to any of my children if they come to me pregnant or having gotten someone pregnant.

If you are the parent to a pre-teen or teenager, please rehearse what you would do if your child finds themselves facing an unintended pregnancy, and talk with your spouse about it. So many parents say “not me, not my child,” but I am living proof of being a teenager who would go to any length to do what I wanted to do. My parents did not realize I wasn’t even a virgin until the night I called to tell them I was pregnant. Sure they asked me, but I lied and they believed me. They had no idea I had been sneaking around seeing my boyfriend at night.

If your child comes to you and tells you that she is pregnant, or that he got someone pregnant, please reach out and hug your child. Hug her with depth, sincerity and love. Hold her and let her cry. Cry with her and let her know everything will be okay and that you will stick by her and make the right choices with her. Most importantly, remind her that she is loved by you and God, No Matter What.

At this point, what’s done is done and your child is already scared. She has already judged herself and feels horrible for letting you down. She needs your support and she needs you, in your maturity, to think clearly for her and to do everything in your power to not allow her to have an abortion. She will regret it and if you allow it, someday, you will wish you had your grandchild to celebrate with. Some regrets are so painful they cut deeper than a knife and leave scars that never heal.

If you are a teenager listening to my story, please realize that someone has been in your shoes before. I’ve been “in love” with a boy who cared more about physical desires than my true well being.

If a boy or girl truly loves you, he or she will support and encourage you in putting God first and staying out of situations where you may find yourself feeling very alone and scared with another life on the line.

If you are currently facing an unintended pregnancy, know that God chooses to make every single baby inside each pregnant womb and He makes no mistakes. All conceived children have meaning and purpose, regardless if the timing is right for you or not.

To this day, 17 years later, I know in my heart, the voice I heard the night before my abortion was the voice of God. I will never get over knowing that I heard, out loud, the voice of God who told me not to do something and I chose to do it anyway.

I don’t know how many of you will remember my story, but if I can positively impact the life of only one person, then it was not written in vain.

Remember that it is never too late to start over. It is never too late to turn around and decide to make the right choices going forward. It is never too late to come to God and decide to walk the right path, even if the one you’ve been on isn’t the best.

The message to take away from my story is that abortion is wrong. You know it, I know it. I knew it and did it anyway. Seventeen years later, I am still suffering the consequences of it.

No matter what, know in your heart of hearts that it is not, hasn’t ever been, and will never be “just tissue.” From the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, there is a human being with purpose, with meaning, created by God. Please do not deny God’s gifts and please learn from my horrible mistake. You will be glad you did. I promise. Some things cannot be undone. Ever.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Arland K. Nichols is the National Director of HLI America. He writes for the Truth and Charity Forum, where this letter first appeared. It is reprinted with permission.

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Drew Belsky

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ACLU sues Kentucky clerk for refusing marriage licenses to all couples

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk of the court in their county for refusing to grant them marriage licenses.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan (pronounced "rah-win") County, declared that her faith prevents her from complying with the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision, issued in late June, which legally redefined marriage to include same-sex couples.  She is withholding licenses not only to same-sex couples, but to everyone – in fact, two of the couples suing Davis, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are sexually complementary.

"It is my deep conviction and belief that God ordained marriage between a man and a woman," Davis told Kentucky station WYKT.  "I can't be a part of this."

"My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Laura Landenwich, an attorney with the ACLU, said that "Ms. Davis has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion.  But as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who[m] she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs."

The ACLU's complaint avers that "Plaintiff and Plaintiff Class have suffered and continue to suffer irreparable harms, including harms to their dignity and autonomy, family security, and access to the full spectrum of benefits conferred by the state upon others."

Davis, a Democrat, is appealing to Kentucky's Bill of Rights, which states that "no human authority shall, in any case whatsoever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience."  Moreover, she told WSAZ reporter Kaitlynn LeBeau, "My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has ordered all clerks in the Bluegrass State to comply with the Supreme Court's decision.

"Each clerk vowed to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal beliefs," Beshear said in a statement.  "I appreciate the clerks who are fulfilling their duties, issuing licenses to all couples, and I would expect others to execute the duties of their offices as prescribed by law and to issue marriage licenses to all Kentuckians."

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Davis's decision brought protesters to her office in Morehead last Tuesday.  The crowd comprised both opposition and supporters, bearing signs with messages including "Morehead = Equality," "Leave Religion out of your GOVERNMENT job!," and "We stand with you Kim."

Davis refuses to speak on camera because of an intensifying tide of threatening hate mail.  One man told her by e-mail that she needed to be killed.  She has received gratitude and support as well, including from states outside Kentucky.

"This is a battle," Davis told one reporter by phone, "nationwide, that I think is vital to every person who holds near and dear to their heart the word of God."

Resistance to Obergefell is not limited to one Kentucky county.  All three staffers at the county clerk's office in Decatur County, Tennessee resigned following the decision.  Decatur County commissioner David Boroughs told a local paper that he is "proud of them that their faith is so strong and well-rounded that they feel they can do that."

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Matthew J. Franck

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Obergefell is so awful that it makes Dred Scott look like a piece of lawyerly precision

Matthew J. Franck
By Matthew Franck

July 6, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse) -- When the blow finally fell, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges—holding 5-4 that every state in the Union must license same-sex marriages—seemed somehow less crushing in its impact, less hurtful and wounding, than one might have expected from a decision that is so thoroughly a defeat for the truth about marriage and the truth about the Constitution.

Make no mistake, the harms from the Court’s appallingly illegitimate decision are many, and gravely serious. But the good news for a cockeyed optimist like me is that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion is so incompetent, so gossamer-thin as an exercise in legal or constitutional reasoning, so unpersuasive even in political terms, that it renews my zest for carrying on the battle of persuading my fellow citizens and turning the country around on this issue.

I should have known he would do this for us, as well as to us. For Kennedy began to travel this road nearly twenty years ago in Romer v. Evans (1996), in which a 6-3 Court denied to the people of Colorado the authority to amend their state constitution to prevent their elected state and local legislators from adding “sexual orientation” to the list of “identities” on the grounds of which discrimination by public and private actors alike is forbidden.

Is Anyone "Demeaning" Others' "Dignity"?

Yet at least in Romer, the word “dignity” had not yet appeared in Kennedy’s reasoning. In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which overturned state laws that criminalized homosexual sodomy, Kennedy turned away from the equal protection clause and to the textually and historically ungrounded jurisprudence of “substantive due process.” This meant, in Kennedy’s hands, the judicial protection of a free-ranging, judicially defined notion of “liberty” invoked to overturn any conduct-regulating statute that trenched on the “dignity” of persons whose wishes and desires tugged at the judges’ heartstrings.

In Romer, at least, Justice Kennedy had labored to produce something that resembled a competent account of the equal protection clause—though his attempt failed. But Lawrence was something else. Lawrence was a moment of real self-liberation for Kennedy. That can be seen in his quotation of what were probably his own words from the joint opinion he co-authored with Justices O’Connor and Souter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This “mystery passage” was already in 2003, and remains, the most widely lampooned bit of pseudo-reasoning of the last half century, but Kennedy sensed the cultural and political power that it represented, and in Lawrence he set it on course to colonize our constitutional law entirely. His opinion was also liberally salted with references to “dignity” (three times, including another line quoted from Casey), and to the idea that laws resting on negative judgments of homosexual conduct “demean” those who engage in it (four times).

United States v. Windsor, the Defense of Marriage Act case from two years ago, gave us more of Kennedy’s free-floating jurisprudence of “dignity” (ten mentions including “indignity”), condemning laws that “demean” (three mentions). Obergefell rests explicitly on this fragile, groundless rationale, with Kennedy mentioning the connection of marriage to “dignity” nine times, while three times saying that it “demeans” same-sex couples when a state limits marriage to one man and one woman, and twice invoking the matter of “identity.”

But there is something else quite new in Obergefell. Kennedy, somewhat defensively, mentions twice that defenders of conjugal marriage might believe redefining the institution to include same-sex couples “demeans” marriage itself. Since no one opposed to same-sex marriage actually speaks this way, this is a curious characterization, but perhaps an important one. In Kennedy’s mind, the Constitution has been converted into a great Dignity Document. The role of the Supreme Court is to adjudicate whose version of Dignity it embodies, which can be decided by pondering who is made to feel worse by having his strongest convictions “demeaned.” Victory will go to the one who can appeal successfully to strong feelings about his “identity.” As Chief Justice Roberts said in dissent, “The majority’s driving themes are that marriage is desirable and petitioners desire it.”

A Constitutional Crisis

Confronted by such a string of sentiments masquerading as constitutional principles, why then should I feel heartened by the new phase of the struggle into which the Obergefell ruling has just pitched us? The reason is that Kennedy is so terribly bad at his chosen profession of judge that he has now unmasked himself, and his four silent colleagues who joined his opinion for the Court, as imperial rulers with no regard for the Constitution, for the forms of reasoning that give the law its real vitality, or for the rightful authority of the people to govern themselves within the bounds of a Constitution they understand and respect.

Moreover, while noting all the manifold ways in which the marriage debate has been played out over the last two decades—just as he was attempting to shut that debate down—Kennedy evinced no understanding of what the arguments about marriage really are, not even grasping the arguments on the side he favored. In so doing, he showed himself to be, if not one of the least intellectually honest persons ever to come to that debate, then one of the least well-informed. His opinion is an act of the most breathtaking argumentative carelessness in the history of the Supreme Court. Roe v. WadeLochner v. New York, and Dred Scott v. Sandford—all rightly invoked by the dissenters in Obergefell as the true models for Kennedy’s reasoning—are closely reasoned works of lawyerly precision by comparison.

As a legal opinion, Obergefell is an utter failure. What the late John Hart Ely, who was politically in favor of abortion, said of Roe v. Wade, we can say of Obergefell: “It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” But Obergefell is also embarrassingly bad as a contribution to the political and social debate on marriage. From this I take heart that the battle can be rejoined, with the making of better arguments—each side offering its best against the other’s best—in a struggle that will continue for years to come.

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But wait. Isn’t the debate over? Isn’t that what a Supreme Court decision on the Constitution means? Well, frankly, no. The movement for rescuing and restoring marriage in our country will not be made to vanish by so transparently political a holding of five justices of the Supreme Court. The movement for defending the sanctity of life in our law, forty-two years after Roe v. Wade, waxes rather than wanes in strength. As the pro-life movement was joined, so the marriage movement will be joined, by defenders of the authentic Constitution so blithely traduced by the Court’s majority. The Roe decision has often made pro-life converts out of people who actually read it—I know, because I was one of them—and the Obergefell ruling, in time, will do similar work in adding strength to the ranks of marriage’s defenders.

A constitutional ruling so shoddily reasoned, so completely and, one may say, easily dismantled by the four justices who dissent from it, must paper over a cause that cannot ultimately win in an open democratic debate, and that therefore seeks the shelter of powerful friends in the judiciary. This is just what many young people will come to see for themselves simply by reading the decision, just as many have done by reading Roe. The twin discoveries, that a great constitutional wrong has been committed to give cover to a great moral wrong, will come together.

We may take heart, then, from Justice Alito’s observation that “even enthusiastic supporters of same-sex marriage should worry about the scope of the power that today’s majority claims.” Indeed they should, for the debate is not over; it has only entered a new phase. That phase will necessarily include some sober deliberations regarding what can be done about a Supreme Court with (at least) five members who believe that they can rewrite the Constitution at will in order to transform fundamental institutions of our society. For Alito’s very next sentence is, “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of authority have failed.” Indeed, they have, and so it is back to the drawing board. When even the chief justice complains of “the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy,” it is time to do some hard thinking about meaningful institutional reform of the federal judiciary.

In the Meantime

While we prepare for hard work on many fronts in the battles for marriage and for the Constitution, we should recognize and immediately try to mitigate the great harm the Court has done. Despite Kennedy’s pat denials, marriage has been grievously wounded as an institution, and we must do what we can to bind up its wounds, in our own families, communities, and churches. After all, every future generation is at stake. We must never tire of saying: every child deserves a mother and a father—preferably his or her own biological parents. That, as the dissenting justices recognized, is what marriage has always been about, in every age and culture, and it is why marriage has always been understood as the union of a man and a woman.

And we must do all that we can to institute safeguards for religious freedom in our country, which will now come under attack as never before. It was strangely gratifying to see Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, in their dissents, give this matter their lengthy and considered attention. Thomas foresees “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty” in this invention of a new “right” of same-sex marriage, and Roberts noted how telling was the way in which Kennedy shrugged off such potentials:

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. . . . The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

The protection of religious freedom may rapidly become our most urgent legislative business, both in Congress and in state legislatures. But win or lose in legislative assemblies, the faithful and their pastoral leaders in the many religious communities devoted to the truth about marriage must prayerfully muster the courage to act, and to live as their faith informs their consciences, as well as to “advocate” and “teach.” As Alito notes, “those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent” on the marriage question will be ready to exploit the Court’s decision. Look at your social media feeds: That is already happening.

In our response to our counterparts in this great constitutional, political, and moral debate that now begins anew, we can start by preaching and practicing a truer, fuller understanding of dignity, in our families and churches, than the one about which Kennedy so vainly prattles. And we can fix our eyes on the prize of restoring, through real democratic debate and persuasion, the great goods of constitutional self-government and justice to individuals and families.

Thank you, Justice Kennedy, for giving us this opportunity. I know you didn’t mean it, but thank you nonetheless.

Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute

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Lisa Bourne

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US Episcopal Church faces backlash after approving gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church gave the green light last week for clergy to perform same-sex “weddings,” in a heavily-debated fundamental change set to come in the door incrementally.  

As of November 1 of this year homosexual couples will have the right to be “married” in the church, the result of new liturgies for same-sex couples approved Wednesday at the denomination’s General Convention in Salt Lake City.

The bishops also accepted changing the church’s canons (rules) governing marriage, to make them gender neutral, thus replacing the terms “man and woman” with “couple.”

Episcopal clergy however, will be allowed to refuse to perform a homosexual “marriage” with the promise they would not be penalized, and individual bishops were also given the right to refuse to allow same-sex ceremonies to take place in their diocese.

The compromise is angering Episcopalians on both sides of the issue, with liberal factions potentially trying to block the plan and insist on the immediate introduction of same-sex “marriage” with no way for dioceses to opt out, and conservatives likely to reach out to overseas leaders in the wider Anglican Communion for help in getting the church to stop.

The leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church, released a statement expressing his “deep concern” over the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution to change the definition of marriage.

“Its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.”

Blessings for homosexual unions were first approved at the denomination’s 2012 convention, along with acceptance of transgender clergy. The Episcopal Church still maintained at the time that marriage was an exclusive life-long covenant of one man and one woman, as held in the church’s Book of Common Prayer.

While several Episcopal bishops defended the Biblical definition of marriage at this year’s convention, the majority of bishops argued that the provisional and trial rites would expand the traditional teaching about marriage, without changing the church’s underlying text or doctrine of marriage.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was among those at the convention who said homosexual sexual intimacy was morally acceptable and should be blessed in faithful covenanted relationships, stating, “I think it is time for us to do this.”

Robinson, whose 2003 elevation to bishop was a key factor in the denomination’s later split, said, “Gays and lesbians are living out their lives in holy ways,” and changing the church’s rules on marriage “allows us to recognize this,” to “declare how far we have come.”

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In response to an inquiry for comment on the Episcopal bishops’ resolution accepting homosexual “marriage,” the Anglican Church in North America directed LifeSiteNews to the church’s recent response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage,” which said in part, “The Anglican Church in North America only authorizes and only performs marriages between one man and one woman.” 

Leaders of the Anglican Global South, a grouping of 24 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, issued a statement criticizing the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution as another unilateral decision taken without consideration for the Anglican Communion, ecumenical and interfaith relations and the mission of the church worldwide.

“This Resolution clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God’s plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally,” the Global South statement said.

“The church is intended by its Lord to be the holy leaven to shape society by its spiritual and moral values in line with God’s design,” it continued. “But sadly, by this action of (The Episcopal Church), the church gives way to the society to alter and shape its values. In other words the church is losing its distinctiveness as salt and light in this world.”

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