Monday, October 29, 2012

Life and Marriage

Letter to the Editor, on Life and Marriage, Submitted to the Herald Journal
Kristen M. Soley
With the 2012 elections quickly approaching, many have been vocal as to their positions in the local paper’s Letter to the Editor.  Praise God for allowing such freedom and difference of opinion in this great country of ours, and the freedom to speak these opinions.  I have absolute respect for each individual and laud their bravery and commitment for voicing their perspective of truth.  Thank you!
The articles I want to respond to are “Vote Informed” by Dan and Monica Mahon of Winsted, “Preserve Marriage as God Intended”, by Helen Bunge of Mayer, “Two important amendments are on the ballot”, by Pastor Bethany Nelson of Lester Prairie and “A response to ‘All Minnesotans are equal’” by Rev. Lucas V Woodford, Mayer.
On Life

I am grateful for the letter to the Editor ‘Vote informed’ by Mahons in Winsted.  They state “We must, as a nation, stop voting for pro-abortion candidates… one’s vote has a moral obligation, carrying grave consequences for now, as well as eternity.”   I agree, completely.
I want to point out the clear differences between the presidential candidates on the critical issue of life, as there is a general misunderstanding of both position and true nature of this position, for the people we entrust to lead our great Nation. 
First, many argue that the right to life is not a political issue, but is, absolutely a “woman’s right” or “It is my body, and therefore my right, politicians should stay out of it.”   In the case of abortion, it is not the mother's body that is being destroyed is it?  Abortion does not kill the mother – it kills her child.  That child is – from the moment of conception –utterly dependent upon her and is living inside her body.  This should be the safest place possible, right?  An abortion is an active choice to destroy a life, not simply a medical procedure with consequences for the mother and no-one else. 18 
Politicians are voted into office to protect and serve its people, all people, especially those unable to protect themselves.
I first want to define some key items, which will help to understand each candidate and his position on life.

• Roe V. Wade -  This is of particular interest, in that Jane Roe, AKA Norma McCorvey from the landmark Supreme Court Case of Roe V. Wade has publicly stated her case, that legalized abortion on demand in 1973, was “the biggest mistake of my life”; and states that abortion “has eliminated over 50,000,000 innocent lives since 1973, in the US alone”.  In 1973 she fought to obtain a legal abortion, but in truth, “has 3 daughters and has never had an abortion.”  She is now a "born-again Christian and pro-life Catholic, dedicated to spreading the message of supporting life, from conception to natural death, working to overturn Roe.”  7 

• Partial Birth Abortion – Section 2 of the `Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003’, enacted November 5, 2003, congress defines partial-birth abortion as “…an abortion in which a physician deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living, unborn child's body until either the entire baby's head is outside the body of the mother [or] … only the head remains inside the womb… puncturing of the back of the child's skull and removing the baby's brains [which will] kill the partially delivered infant….  It is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.” 3 

• Born Alive Bill - The legislation: “[Provided] that a live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.”  These babies were a product of an induced labor, and then after delivered, were left to die, for several minutes up to 8 hours.  These babies were issued both birth and death certificates on the same day.  The legislation was introduced after Jill Stanek testified in 1999 that, while working as a nurse at Christ Hospital in Illinois, infants who survived induced abortions were being left to die in a utility room.8
The Candidates on Life:

Barak Obama:  “Supports unlimited abortion in all cases, without restriction, including partial birth.”13
• Supports Roe v. Wade and affirms, “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.” 1 
• In full support of partial-birth abortion, “He opposed a ban on partial-birth abortions as a member of the Illinois State Senate, in 1997, and he has never renounced that position.  When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion in 2007, Obama attacked the Court for the decision – and soon thereafter, he co-sponsored a bill that would make partial-birth abortion legal again.” 2 

• As the Mahons point out in their Letter to the Editor, as a State Senator in Illinois, Barack Obama opposed the Born Alive Bill that would have provided equal protection for unborn babies who survive abortions, three (3) times (2001, 2002, and 2003). 12

o I found a thorough fact checking article, that explains in great detail, Obama’s position and thinking as he opposed the “2001 and 2002 ‘born alive’ bills.  [He saw them] as backdoor attacks on a woman’s legal right to abortion, but he says he would have been ‘fully in support’ of a similar federal bill that President Bush had signed in 2002, because it contained protections for Roe v. Wade.”  However, “We find that, Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus, according to an undisputed summary written immediately after the committee’s 2003 mark-up session.“

o Therefore, even though he stated that he voted against the legislation that would support the life of a baby surviving abortion because it seemed to undermine Roe V. Wade; when the verbiage was modified to ensure abortion, as defined, would remain unaffected, he still voted against it, thereby holding to the original position that he did not support legislation that gave a baby who survived an abortion access to care to sustain its life. 12
In summary, Barak Obama is for abortion, under all circumstances, under the guise of healthcare.  He supports partial-birth abortion and does not believe that a baby, born alive in a failed abortion, is considered a human.
Mitt Romney:   In his Pro-life pledge, he says, “If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation’s next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.” 4
• Believes abortions should be limited to only cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life. 5
• Supports overturning Roe v. Wade and promises to appoint Supreme Court Justices who are committed to fair interpretation of the Constitution.  6  
Earlier in Mitt Romney’s career, he was pro choice and has been labeled a flip-flopper because of his change of heart.  I too used to be pro-choice.  God has been busy in my life and I see things differently than I used to; I assume the same goes for Mr. Romney.  

I laud all who have been touched by truth to stand up for life, but cannot judge anybody who does not, because, like me, they may be at a different place in their journey.
In summary, Mitt Romney is pro-life, would limit abortion to cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, and try to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Minnesota Marriage Amendment
A few of the Letters to the Editor I am referencing refer to the Vote Yes/No for the Marriage Amendment, in particular, ‘Preserve Marriage as God Intended, Helen Bunge, ‘Two Important Amendments are on the Ballot’ by Pastor Bethany Nelson, and ‘A response to All Minnesotans are Equal’, by Rev. Dr. Lucas V. Woodford. 
Pastor Bethany states that “same-sex relationships are rarely mentioned in the bible, and the topic is never discussed by Jesus.”  The Bible tells a different story.  Same sex relationships are mentioned in the following books of the bible:  Genesis 19:4-5, 11-13 (Sodom), Genesis 13:13; 19:5, Jude 1:7, Romans 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22, and Romans 1:32. 

In the Old Testament, Genesis 1 & 2, we are taught that God created the "sacrament" of marriage, between man and woman.

Ultimately, Jesus settled the marriage issue once for all, declaring that God had made them “male and female ... a man ... [and] his wife” (Matthew 19:4-5).   Jesus therefore affirms His definition of marriage in the Bible. 19 

As a sister in Christ, Helen Bunge from Mayer pointed out in her letter, "Marriage is the means God has chosen for procreation. What God intended marriage to be in the beginning, he still intends marriage to be.” Jesus proclaims this in Mark 10, 6-8. "But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate."

If you are a Christian, the Bible is the Word of God, written by man, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  It is our truth; to deny this is to deny truth.
I also want to comment on Rev. Dr. Lucas’s letter ‘A Response to All Minnesotans are Equal’, where he states “…Christians who oppose homosexual marriage are not intolerant.  They simply desire to be faithful to the clear Word of God and ‘speak the truth in love’ (Ep. 4:15).  Perfectly said Reverend, and thank you for being a light.  As Christians we are called, whether we like it or not at times, to silently pray and sacrifice for love of our brothers and sisters, and also at times to speak on behalf of His truth, as given to us in His Word. 

As a Catholic, I want to be certain that the Church’s teaching be made very clear. "Like other human beings who are God’s children, our brothers and sisters living with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God. As a result the Catholic Church affirms that they “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in this regard should be avoided.” (Catechism of the Church #2358).

People with same-sex attraction, like others in society, are productive citizens, loving parents, community servants, good friends, and beloved family members. Their fundamental human rights must be defended, and everyone must strive to eliminate all forms of injustice, oppression, or violence." 17

I don't judge those who have been joined in a same-sex marriage, such as is possible in several states in the US; nor those who desire it. Love is love and I believe their love is as sincere as mine of my husband.  

Though not the exactly the same, I know what it feels like to be judged. Picture stepping out of a big, white, passenger van, filled with six of the most precious cargo imaginable, pregnant with your 7th.  Our culture is not always accepting of different.  The fact remains, we all are, in our own way different; that's just the way God works.

As a Catholic Christian, I am called to love, not judge. We all are. However, I am also called to defend the truths of my faith; truths that have not been compromised in over 2,000 years. Times change, the Church does not.

I also believe the marriage amendment in Minnesota is very, VERY, misunderstood.  The primary arguments against it are that it is anti-gay and that it is trying to take away the civil rights of the gay community.

• In Minnesota, in particular, the “law already defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and has since before Minnesota was a state. The proposed Marriage Protection Amendment does not impose anything, it simply proposes that our current law on marriage be put into our constitution so that it will be protected from activist judges or politicians bent on redefining marriage without the consent of the citizenry.” Without the amendment, voters would be powerless to stop them. 15

• The amendment makes no change in rights and benefits for gays and lesbians, nor does it limit the Legislature's ability to provide future benefits if those become needed. 15

• Gays and lesbians have the right to live as they choose, but do not have the right to redefine marriage for all of society. 15

• Minnesota does have “Domestic Partner Laws”, though not exactly the same as those of “married” persons, currently, they do have rights to:
    o Tax Benefits
    o Hospital Visitation
    o Legal Protection
    o “Minnesota doesn't offer statewide registration for domestic partner benefits. Hoever, in Minneapolis, couples of any gender that are in a committed, caring and intimate relationship can register as domestic partners with the city, after filling out a form and paying $20 to the City Clerk's office. 20
           For cities that allow domestic partnership registration, many private employers offer the same benefits they offer a legally married couple, including:
               • Insurance
               • pension benefits
               • Time off for a family member who is ill or for a death in the family.16
     o Domestic partner registration is comparable to a marriage certificate, but with limited legal effects. It doesn't entitle the two parties to the same benefits received by a married couple, but can serve as relationship proof in securing benefits from private employers or businesses. 16
     o Any other desired benefits can be given through contract between the domestic partners.  There is nothing stopping these domestic partners to draw up a legal document delineating any / all legal wishes, such as a will.
The hope is not to strip any rights of our gay communities; however, there are risks inherent in redefining marriage for everybody.   Minnesotan's rights both religious and civil could be under attack if the No vote prevails, for example:

• Boston, MA 2005 - A father was jailed for wishing for his child to opt out of homosexual teaching of marriage in a public school in Massachusetts. David Parker and his wife  asked school officials to notify them about classroom discussions about same-sex marriage and what they called other adult themes and wanted the option to exclude their boy, now 6, from those talks.” –

• April 18 2012 - A Catholic Bishop in Spain is now facing prosecution for speaking (on moral principle) against homosexuality in a homily.   He was teaching what the Catholic Church holds as truth (a religious freedom)  -

• June 7, 2012 - Toronto, Canada, Catholic schools in the province of Ontario will abide by a law requiring them to allow “Gay-Straight Alliance” clubs, despite concerns about the loss of religious freedom. Homosexual marriage passed in Ontario Canada in 2003.

• June 8, 2012, Lutheran churches in Denmark are now required to marry same-sex couples in their churches, contrary to their church teaching (religious freedom).

• March 11, 2006 - Catholic adoption agency forced to close for refusing to adopt children to homosexual couples (religious freedom)

• May 21, 2009 - Churches in England required to hire homosexuals.:   I found a GREAT quote from a comment on this article from a man named Jason “The US isn’t Britain, though. An awful lot of things in the Constitution were written specifically to position the United States in a different way from them (our First Amendment protections, for example, are far more robust). I’m gay and all for equality but I am perfectly happy to let the churches do what they will as long as I have equal rights under the law, because that’s a concept this country was founded on.” 5/21/2009 (Jason)

• April 11, 2008 - Christian photographers fined $6,600 for refusing to photograph a same-sex ceremony (religious freedom)
With my husband's generosity, prayer, and God-given time through His providence, I have done my homework and my best to provide all my sources and encourage you, before going to the polls, please check the sources for this letter, find your own, and read them, pray, and then head to the polls.

Please note, when voting, if you choose not cast a vote for or against the marriage amendment at the polls this November, it will count as a no vote, which would vote to re-define marriage.
1 – 1/22/2012 – White House Statement by the President on the anniversary of Roe V. Wade.
2 - Carol Tobias | Washington, DC | | 10/26/12 3:19 PM
3 – Partial Birth Ban Act of 2003, final language -
4 – Mitt Romney –My Pro-Life Pledge, May 17, 2012 -
5 -  August 27, 2012, CBS News -
6 – -
7 – Norma McCorvey -
8 – Jill Stanek 1999, -
9 -
10 – Atlantic Wire -
11 DOMA -
12 – Obama and Infanticide – 8/28/2008 – Jess Henig,
13 – Catholic – Obama vs. Romney on the Top 2012 Issues for Catholics
14 – CNN - Federal appeals court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act.  David Oriosto, October 18, 2012
15 – Minnesota for Marriage Myths and Facts –
16 – Domestic Partner Benefit Laws in Mn – Hannah Ardeb, Domestic Partner Benefit Laws in Minnesota |
17 – St. Mary’s Catholic Church Bulletin – Summer 2012, Fr O’Hotto
18 -
19  - Pastor Jim Freeney, 2004 -
20 -