7 Quick Takes Friday

UPDATE: Keanan (Howerton) and Amos (Ivey) are coming home! Praise the Lord! And don’t stop praying for all the other orphans and people of Haiti.

Another set of quick takes – current events edition…

In entertainment news…

1. Tonight is Conan’s last night as the host of The Tonight Show. There have been so many great moments this past week from Conan (and David Letterman). I think this whole thing is ridiculous. I can’t wait to see what Conan comes back with in September.

2.  For some reason I can’t embed videos today on the blog.  But I would recommend you watch this, just in case you were thinking about blaming Conan for this mess: Don’t Blame Conan (David Letterman)

In local news…

3. Last night, I went to my school district’s public budget forum with my friend, Heather, who is a teacher in the district. They need to reduce the budget by $19 million dollars due to cuts that the state is making. As a supporter of public education, this bothers me and I certainly have my opinions on what should and should not be cut. If you live in my city, I hope you will consider either attending one of these forums or reading the summary online (I posted the link on Facebook). And take the survey as well to share you thoughts.

In world news…

4. Yesterday, Anne Jackson posted this on Twitter:

And the link goes to this photo. Beautiful.

5. I’ve been keeping up with the news on Haiti by following Soledad O’Brien on Twitter. Yesterday, she covered the departure of a group of orphans being transported to their adoptive families in the US. Thanks to all who have called and prayed for humanitarian parole for these kids.  The Howertons and Iveys are still waiting for news.

6. The earthquake is drawing a lot of attention to Haiti but there are people who have been ministering there long before the tragedy. Thanks to my husband for sharing a link about this family that has been there since 1994.

In American news…

7. This weekend marks the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and on Sunday many people will acknowledge the right to life through Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. The statistics are overwhelming.

According to the Allan Guttmacher Institute, African-American women are nearly five times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion. Almost one in every two African-American pregnancies ends in abortion. (source: World Magazine)

I am thankful for many churches who will be showing this video on Sunday morning. Consider what could have been.

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

Where Children Find Hope

The Detroit Free Press just released a special report called Where Children Find Hope. The documentary features Christ Child House and some of the thrity-plus boys who are living there. These boys are a fraction of the 18,000 kids in Michigan’s foster care system (6,000 of which are legally free for adoption). I am thrilled that the Free Press is telling their story. I hope that you will go watch the short documentary.

The above photo is one of many part of this project. Photographer: Kathleen Galligan, Detroit Free Press.

Consistent Ethic of Life

I just read through “Principles and Policies for Christian Voters” which is essentially a voting guide put out by Sojourners. My O’Pa (grandfather) was a fan of Sojourners and I have been familiar with the group since high school when he began sending me articles from their magazines. He even signed me up for Christian Ethics Today, a small magazine similar to Sojourners, in which, his poetry was occasionally published. Whenever I get my issue of CET in the mail, I think of my O’Pa. He was known for his somewhat lively Christmas letters which usually gave his opinion on some “hot topic”. He passed away last summer and many times I have found myself wishing he was still here so I could ask him a question about something. He was incredibly wise.

So, I read through this voting guide and thought it made a lot of valid points. I could talk about a lot of them (and maybe I will in another post) but I will just touch on one because it is so close to my heart. Here is what Sojourners has to say under the section titled “Consistent Ethic of Life.” I have added emphasis on certain words because I am going to discuss them.

All life is a sacred gift from God, and public policies should reflect a consistent ethic of life.

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you.” (Isaiah 42:5-6)

“The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)

1. Dramatically reduce abortion. Our society should support common ground policies that dramatically reduce the abortion rate by preventing unwanted pregnancies, providing meaningful alternatives and necessary supports for women and children, and reforming adoption laws.

2. End capital punishment. Our nations’ use of the death penalty should end. We should not take life to punish wrongful death. There is no evidence that it deters murder. It is easy to make fatal mistakes, as DNA testing has shown. The death penalty is biased against the poor, who cannot afford adequate legal representation, and is racially disproportionate.

3. Stop genocide. In Darfur and other countries, around the world, persecution and mass killing continues. Selective intervention by multilateral peace-keeping forces under the United Nations that can protect and save lives should be supported and strengthened.

Does anyone else notice the difference in language between #1 and points #2 & #3? Do you really think God is hoping we just “reduce” abortion? If we are only seeking to reduce abortion, please tell me when it is acceptable?

I found this section of the guide very frustrating. Although titled “Consistent Ethic of Life” Sojourners is blatantly inconsistent.

Abortion needs to end; it needs to stop. It deserves the same strong language they used for capital punishment and genocide. In fact, abortion is “racially disproportionate”. In this country, an African-American child is nearly as likely to be aborted as he/she is to be born. Abortion is “persecution and mass killing.” Abortion takes the life of a child and since 1973 it has taken the life of more than 45 million children in the United States alone.

Christians definitely need to be more consistent in their pro-life message. We need to create more aid and assistance for women facing unplanned pregnancy. We need to show more compassion and acceptance for women in these situations. We need to step up and be the ones adopting children. As people against the taking of a life, we must do all that we can to support those who choose life. As Christians, we must be consistent in our ethic of life but saying we need to just “reduce” abortions is not consistent. In fact, what it is, is Sojourners bending to the political party that they lean towards. They are being cowards. They know if they take a strong stance on abortion people may vote for the “other party.” If Christians want their votes to be taken seriously, then they cannot bend on Christian values. They need to stand firm so that elected politicians (who are supposed to represent the people) bend to us.

If you are sensing my anger, then you are getting the correct feeling from this post. Maybe this is my “lively Christmas letter.” But I hope in my seventies I am still as bothered by injustice as my O’Pa was and that I am still writing blogs like this. This is not my post against Sojourners; I agreed with many things in the voting guide. This is me begging them to not sell their souls to a political party. There are too many Christian organizations who have already done this on the other end of the political spectrum. It is of no use to have one on the left end as well.

Please see the following sites for more information:
Feminists for Life
Abort73
Protecting Black Life

“Pro-Choice”

I don’t want to rant but I just came across this while doing research for my never-ending paper.

Planned Parenthood’s 2005/2006 Annual Report reports of their services that 264,943 abortions were preformed while only 12,548 clients received prenatal services. These numbers are just far too different to say that Planned Parenthood is truly “pro-choice.” This report clearly shows their bias.

Someone once told me about her visit to a Planned Parenthood center when she became pregnant as a teenager…she said to me, “They are not very pro-life there.” Fortunately, she choose to carry her child.

When this paper is finished, I will write about something much lighter.

Graduate School

Today I am spending my day at the library trying to write my graduate school paper which is due in just about four weeks. For my project, I chose to create a new program for the place I work that would reach out to college students who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. This is something I care a great deal about and is why I originally became involved with this organization in the first place.

When I was at MSU, I took a social work class. Our first assignment was to talk about our experience with social work. We wrote about our experience and then were required to present it to the class. It was supposed to demonstrate how we have all at one time or another needed assistance. Everyone in the class came up with some way in which they or a family member had been helped through social services.

A girl who always sat in the back of the class got up to share her experience. She told us that she was terrified of public speaking and would do the best she could to explain her experience to us. She shook through the whole presentation. She shared the story of how her freshman year of college she became interested in a guy. He asked her out and they went to a party together. During the course of the night, he put something in her drink and later raped her. She woke up not really knowing what exactly happened but knowing it was not right. A few weeks later, she discovered that she was pregnant.

At MSU, there is a center just like the one I work at close to campus. She went there and experienced the love and support she desperately needed at that time. No one judged her and no one pressured her to do anything she did not want to do. What they did was give her the information that enabled her to make the right decision. During her presentation, she shared with us that her daughter was now two years old and through the help of that center and her parents she was able to continue school and choose life for her child.

I strongly believe that no person should have to choose between their education or their job and their child. As the body of Christ, we are called to care for these women and that is what our center and thousands of other pregnancy resource centers do around the country every day.

The Guttmacher Institute tells us that over half of women who have abortions are under the age of 24. I’m about to turn 25. Since high school, I have had to make decisions about who I am and what I want to do with my life. I think this is the experience for most 18-24 year olds – can you imagine having an unplanned pregnancy during this time? I see how many would feel that abortion is their only choice but so many suffer for that choice later in life.

I’m having a hard time writing this paper today (well, I’ve been having a hard time writing it for the past three months). Putting all of this into the technical and theoretical terms that are required of me is proving to be very difficult.