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News, Pro-life - Abortion

What does Pierre Poilievre think about the unborn?

In a Dec. 11 profile published by le journal de québec, the wife of Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre talked about the couple’s attitude toward the unborn. Anaida Poilievre told the newspaper (in French):

“We are pro-choice. We decided on this. I am a woman from Quebec, I grew up here. And it’s part of my values.”

But one of Canada’s most prominent abortion defenders, Joyce Arthur, doesn’t think Poilievre is really on her side. She argued back in the summer of 2022 that while Poilievre had declared himself both “pro-choice” and “pro-choix” at the French-language leadership debate earlier that year, his voting record indicated he was “anti-choice.”

So which is it? Is Poilievre somehow against the slaughter of the unborn, even as he has verbally defended a mother’s right to murder her child?

The voting record that Arthur points to shows Poilievre voted for a number of bills which did seek to protect the unborn. But these were protections that pro-choicers should have supported too… if they were, in fact, pro-choice and not simply pro-abortion. Poilievre voted for bills that would have made it a crime to kill or harm an unborn child that the mother wanted to keep. He also supporting penalizing attempts to coerce a woman into having an abortion she didn’t want. Even if we were, for the sake of argument, to adopt the pro-choice notion that a mother’s decision is what makes an unborn baby valuable, then one could be entirely pro-choice (or “pro-choix”) and still support these bills. That same voting record also shows that Poilievre voted against a pro-life bill that would have banned sex-selective abortions. So, Arthur doesn’t make a compelling case for Poilievre to be anything other than what he, and his wife, have said he is.

That said, Poilievre’s Conservatives still welcome pro-life MPs – the only party in Parliament to do so – and he himself has voted for some of the private member's bills the party’s pro-life MPs have offered that would have protected at least some unborn children. As leader he is courting the pro-choice vote, but he is still looking for the pro-life vote too. So any interaction pro-life voters have with him will need to be done with our eyes wide open.

Photo is adapted from the original here by Wikipageedittor099 and is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 agreement.

Apologetics 101, Pro-life - Abortion

How to defend the unborn in under a minute

I live in a town that’s so pro-life that when I go outside wearing a pro-life t-shirt the only reaction I get is, “Hey Jon, great-looking shirt there. Does it come in red?” We’re so pro-life that when pro-abortion politicians marched in this year’s Farmer’s Day Parade, there was all sorts of cheering and clapping for the float in front of them and the marching band behind them, but not a peep anywhere near them. They were enveloped in an angry bubble of silence. Our town is so pro-life that when my daughters and I volunteer at the pro-life booth, we can count on thanks, not shouts. The booth is set up at the summer fair each year, and most everyone stopping by is there to offer encouragement. They bring their kids to get free pro-life lollipops and pencils. Some buy yard signs or hats. The most popular items are our life-size fetal models showing what the unborn look like at 6 months, and 4 months, and 12 weeks; it’s always fun when a pregnant mom comes by to show her kids what size their baby brother or sister is right now. In the half dozen years we’ve been at this, I’ve only had a dozen or so folk either insult or argue with me. This, then, is more about preaching to the choir than reaching the opposition. Equipping the choir That’s why this year I decided to switch things up a bit. If it was always the choir stopping by, then what if we focused on equipping them? What if we tried to give them a quick “Pro-life 101” refresher, so they could walk away better able to speak up for the unborn? Of course, everyone at the fair is there for the rides and the food and the demolition derby, so it isn’t really the time and place for a class in apologetics. If I was going to pitch something educational, it needed to be quick. My daughters helped me out with a big poster that made an even bigger promise: “Learn how to defend the unborn in under a minute!” The sign was eye-catching and, thankfully, ambiguous enough to give me a little wiggle room on the time limit. Was I promising passersby a 59-second lesson or was I going to show them – in perhaps a slightly longer length of time – how they themselves could offer up a sub-minute defense of the unborn? The fudge factor allowed me to go a little long if I needed it. The short version A lightning-quick defense of the unborn is possible because most abortion arguments focus on one thing: what the unborn can’t do. The fetus is said to be less valuable and less deserving of protection than you or me because: they can’t breathe yet they don’t have brainwaves yet they aren’t self-aware yet they can’t survive on their own Whatever the reason given, it amounts to an abilities test – the unborn are said to be worth less, because they can do less. Therefore to defend the unborn all we have to do is show how it isn’t our abilities that give us value. We can do that by asking a couple of key questions. We’ll need our opponents to explain: Where does human beings’ worth come from? On what basis are we all equal? Unpacking the argument If our value comes from what we can do then that presents a problem for equality, since we all have very different abilities. I’m bigger than most, and maybe you’re faster than me, and that fellow over there might be smarter than both of us. So, then, in what sense are any of us equal? It’s quite the conundrum for the abortion supporter. Any ability-based answers he gives to the first question will run him into problems with the second. After all, we all understand that we don’t treat very different things as equal – a Rembrandt is housed in a museum under guard, while a child’s fingerpainting will only rate the fridge door, even though both are art. So unless men and women are actually equal in some sense, then we shouldn’t treat them as equal. That’s a thought no one wants to think, so we can be aggressive in pressing the abortion defender to explain how we’re equal. When he’s fumbling about, it’s our chance and our turn: “You can’t explain where equality comes from, but I can.” We can explain that what makes us all valuable, and equally so, is the only thing we all equally share: that we are made in the very Image of God (see Gen. 1:27). Being made in the Image of God isn’t something we grow into, or get more of, and it isn’t even something we can cast off (Gen. 9:6). We have it, not on the basis of anything we can do, might do, or should do, but on the basis of Who made us, and how He values us. This is not only an explanation for why a small weaker woman is equal to a stronger bigger man, but why the very small and very weak unborn child is equal to any and all. Stand on God’s Word While our opponent might dismiss the Bible, that doesn’t make it any less powerful (Heb. 4:12, Eph. 6:17). And we can counter their dismissal by challenging them to offer any sort of better explanation. They don’t have one! More importantly, when God says His Word won’t return empty we need to trust that it’s so (Is. 55:11). Too often, Christians will try to defend the Christian position without presenting it as the Christian position. If our opponents are attacking the unborn for what they can’t do, then we’ll try to defend the unborn with an equally godless argument, highlighting all that they can do. Instead of arguments about being made in the Image of God, we’ll show how very much the unborn seem to be crafted in the image of Man: The unborn’s heart is beating at three weeks Brainwaves can be detected at 40 days They may be able to survive outside the womb at 20 weeks They can recognize their mother’s voice at 7 months The problem with any of these points is that, on their own and apart from the Bible, they are only another abilities test. We’re saying that the unborn are valuable because of all these things they can do. But that’s the pro-choice argument! If we argue that the unborn are valuable because their heart begins beating as early as three weeks, what does that implicitly say about the unborn at two weeks, before their heartbeat has begun? Any defense of the baby based on what it can do throws shade on babies who have yet to develop those abilities. We either stand securely on God’s Word, or we will, accidentally but most certainly, end up adopting the very position that we oppose: that our worth comes from what we can do. Conclusion I got to share my two-question apologetic with a dozen or so pro-life folk. I also got to try it out with a young man who wanted to argue. It slowly came out that the reason he thought we should all just mind our own business is because he’d gotten his girlfriend pregnant and paid for her abortion. So he was very interested in justifying what he’d done. He thought the baby wasn’t human because it was so small. But this man, little more than a boy himself, was half my size, which I pointed out. Did he really think bigger meant better? No, he conceded, that wasn’t true. He didn’t repent. Or at least not then and there. But I was able to confront him with just how insufficient his justifications were. He left rejecting the Christian explanation for our value, but admitting that he had nothing else to offer. That’s what I could do standing on God’s firm foundation; I could blow apart the underpinnings of his godless arguments. Because I did this while giving the glory to God, this confused and hurting boy will know where to go, and Who to turn to for truth and forgiveness. And all it took was a couple of questions and a minute… or so....

Pro-life - Abortion

A day in the life of a pro-life intern

A summer internship gives young people an opportunity to build friendships and grow in courage while speaking up for the unborn **** It’s 5:30 AM. My alarm clock goes off. Groggily, I turn it off and roll out of bed. It’s time to get up, go out, and start working to save babies. An hour later finds me driving to today’s postcarding location. I chat with Kim – one of our summer interns – about each other’s weekends. It crosses my mind how if it wasn’t for this awful issue of abortion, I probably never would have met Kim. I hate abortion – but I’m glad I know Kim. Getting the truth out We get out of the car, grab stacks of postcards, and set out. I walk up to the mailbox of the first house and put the postcard in. Back to the street and then up a second driveway. Up and down, back and forth, spreading the truth. It’s a bloody, gory, awful truth, but it’s truth nonetheless, and that’s why we spread it. People need to know. Babies’ lives depend on it. As we enter one neighborhood, children start coming out of their homes. Boys and girls, sleepy-eyed and yawning, lugging backpacks that seem almost as big as they are. I watch them trudge to the bus stop, the number of them growing. We’re here because there should be more of them, I think to myself. For every three children walking to the bus stop, there should be one more. I imagine a fourth child for every three and am struck by how those children did exist – they were just killed before they had a chance to wait for the bus on a sleepy weekday morning. Several hundred houses later and we meet up with the rest of our team. Next on the schedule is a “Choice” Chain; here, we hold signs showing abortion and engage pedestrians in conversation. Afterward, we debrief as a team, sharing conversations that culminated in changed hearts and minds. It’s always encouraging getting to talk to a culture and to watch people shift their views on abortion. It’s encouraging to be with so many young people who are a part of making that change. At the end of the day, we unpack our supplies and everyone heads off to their own homes. I’m about to go home myself when I hear something. Back in the room where we keep our supplies, on the floor amidst scattered postcards, I see Kim, crying. I sit down, put my arm around her, and stay. She keeps crying. “Whose idea was this?” she sobs. Now I’m crying too. “Whose idea was it to kill babies?” We sit. We cry. We look at the postcards around us and think of all the babies who died today. Just two girls, surrounded by so much evil, so much death. Afterward, I can’t remember exactly what else we said to each other, just that there was brokenness, and grief, and longing for a better day. Anger and courage Later, I reflect on the supply room, the postcards on the floor, and crying with Kim. I think of a quote by Augustine: “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” As I pack lunch and pick out clothes for the following morning, I pray and I plan for courage. Courage to face another day filled with the tragedy of abortion; courage fuelled by the hope we have as we see the results of our efforts in our country day after day; courage as we lean on each other, cry together, and work together.  I hate abortion. I’m glad I know Kim. The Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform is a dynamic pro-life group working to end the ongoing slaughter of 300 unborn Canadian children that happens every day in our country. They are offering a unique summer job opportunity to come help them in this fight. You can learn more about this paid position at EndTheKilling.ca/internships. Deadline to apply is March 18th. Devorah Gilman worked for the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform from 2013-2019 (Picture courtesy of CCBR). ...

Pro-life - Abortion

No place for pro-life cynicism

Roe’s reversal shows us what God can accomplish for and through His people.  ***** “In the days when the idea of a surprise pregnancy was only an abstraction, I had never suspected that I could feel fierce love for an embryo. I wanted to discuss my mixed-up feelings with Jon, but I didn’t know how, especially since it was clear that his mind was already made up…. Whatever else I might be able to do for our child, I knew I could never force Jon to love it. Of all the pains that await us in this world, I most desired to protect it from feeling unwanted.” This is how Jess explains her rationale for why she had an abortion. The embryo was loved but unwanted; protected from future emotional pain, but killed. Jess’ story captures so well our culture’s cognitive dissonance regarding life in the womb. We know full well that a pregnant woman has a growing, developing human being in her womb. But we legally allow that human being to be dismembered or poisoned for any reason the mother chooses. Here in Canada, we allow that fate right up to birth. The pro-life movement exists because we see this tragedy, we seek to expose the cognitive dissonance, and we strive to save lives. There are those who are deeply cynical of pro-life work. I’ve had many express to me how futile they think pro-life activism is in a pro-choice culture like Canada. Why the skepticism? Should we really believe that things will only get worse when it comes to abortion laws? That opinion certainly isn’t based on historical trends. Legal slavery was ended, we don’t legally subjugate women anymore, and many oppressive regimes have been defeated. Just because a mountain is difficult to climb, and we can’t see every part of the path from where we stand, doesn’t mean that the mountain is insurmountable. Look south of the border and ask, how many thought Roe v Wade would be overturned in our lifetime? Yet, that happened in June 2022 when the U.S. Supreme Court released their Dobbs decision which found: “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives .” This incredibly huge win means that now individual states are free to enact near-total bans of abortion! Examining how this came to be and recognizing the power of God’s hand in human political affairs, is an encouragement and call to action for Canadians who also want to see pre-born children in Canada protected in our lifetime. The state of affairs pre-Roe Unlike Canada, where criminal law is passed federally, in the U.S. criminal laws are passed by the individual states. Alongside Canada and many European countries, there was a growing trend in the U.S. toward legalizing more abortions that started in the 1960s and continued in the 1970s. What I didn’t know until reading the Dobbs decision was how slowly that movement was happening in the U.S. In fact, in 1973 when Roe was decided, 30 states still prohibited abortion at all stages. Well over half the country banned abortion, regardless of the age of the pre-born child. With one fell swoop from the U.S. Supreme Court that all changed, requiring states to allow abortions before the pre-born child was viable – a standard that was preserved and modified in the 1992 Casey decision. Now, in 2022, that decision has been reversed. The pro-life movement in the U.S. has exemplified tireless work toward this day, always striving to produce quality legal literature, educate the public, and continue to work one step at a time. Of course, it wasn’t just the effort of the pro-life movement that brought us to this point. Had Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retired during President Obama’s tenure, President Trump would not have had the opportunity to appoint three Supreme Court Justices. Those three justices were needed to overturn Roe. We can praise God for granting growth and in His providence providing favorable circumstances for this huge victory. It clearly was God’s blessing, along with the faithful labor of many, that resulted in this success. But we don’t immediately go back to where we were. We don’t see 30 states banning abortion at all stages. Ground was lost in the decades since Roe, not to mention millions of lives. All to say, this ruling is a victory, but it still comes with mixed emotions. There is still so much more that needs to be done. Yet, as Canadians we can take encouragement from the victory and take note of the work yet to do resulting from the Dobbs decision. Dobbs and freedom An abortion supporter carrying a "Freedom is for every body" sign that is inadvertently pro-life, sharing a message we desperately want the other side to understand. What did Dobbs decide? If you believe one of my law school classmates, “The decision also opens the door to forced abortions. Either way, your uterus belongs to the state now.” How could someone as intelligent as this guy come to such a strange conclusion? It comes from a very deliberate framing of the abortion issue by abortion proponents. We’ve known this for quite a while – we call ourselves pro-life because we want to emphasize that unjustifiably taking a human life is wrong. Abortion advocates call themselves pro-choice because they want to emphasize that mothers ought to be free to make choices. This was described in another abortion case in the United States, this one from 1992 and referred to as Casey. Incidentally, Casey was also overturned by the new Dobbs decision. In Casey, Justice Kennedy said, "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." The awful extension of having this liberty to define the mystery of human life is that mothers have had the freedom to define pre-born human beings out of existence, therefore making them discardable. The Dobbs decision addresses Justice Kennedy’s definition of liberty head-on by trying to clarify that it is a good thing when, at times, there are limits on liberty. Such a definition of liberty cannot plausibly be absolute, the justices say in Dobbs, because “while individuals are certainly free to think and to say what they wish about ‘existences,’ ‘meaning,’ the ‘universe,’ and ‘the mystery of human life,’ they are not always free to act in accordance with those thoughts.” Liberty with such an individual source cannot be absolute. The state has a role in limiting it. Was my classmate right then? If the State can infringe liberty, does this mean that states are now able to force abortions? Certainly not by the logic in Dobbs. Liberty is important and does require a justification to be impinged. The justification is present here because according to Dobbs, “Abortion destroys what those decisions call ‘potential life’ and what the law at issue in this case regards as the life of an ‘unborn human being.’” That is, you have the freedom to do so much, but you don’t have the freedom to take a life. It’s quite something to see the U.S. Supreme Court say this regarding abortion. Forced motherhood The pro-abortion side is insistent that this is an unjustifiable limitation on women’s freedom, sometimes utilizing the term “forced motherhood.” The idea is that abortion restrictions are forcing women to become mothers by not allowing them to end a pregnancy. Early feminists were also concerned about forced motherhood, but they had a very different concept of what that meant. In their view, the motherhood was forced if the sex was forced. The problem was never the child who resulted from the sex – the problem was the man who did not respect the woman. And certainly, the child should not forfeit their life to alleviate the parents from the consequences of their actions. So much of the language has been twisted when it comes to discussing abortion. When a woman chooses whether to give birth or whether to have an abortion, the choice is not whether or not to become a mother. Once pregnant, the freedom to choose to be a mother is, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “Free, as a man is free to drink while he is drinking. He is not free still to be dry.” Once pregnant, a woman is a mother – she cannot choose otherwise. It isn’t the law that forces that choice, it’s biology. She can end her pregnancy by ending the life of her child, but that does not rewind the clock back to before she became a mother. Sex comes with the potential for procreation. Once procreation has occurred you can kill the resulting life, but that just makes you the mother of a dead child. Are women doomed then? It turns out, the answer is no. In fact, when women are denied the choice to end the life of their child, they don’t generally view motherhood as forced. In The Turnaway Study, researchers looked at women who went to an abortion clinic but were denied having one because they were past the gestational limit in that state. They found that women’s choices changed. Within a week after being denied an abortion only 65% of women surveyed still wanted one. By the child’s first birthday this was down to 7% and five years later it was only 4%. Remember, these are women who chose abortion. These aren’t women who just thought about abortion, these are women who made it to the abortion clinic, despite travel expenses and the logistics of actually getting there. The wanted or unwanted response to the pregnancy faded. The bond between parent and child persisted. Children are a gift No one is suggesting that pregnancy and raising children are easy. But it must be admitted that our abortion culture has fixated on the difficulties. Legal scholar Erika Bachiochi sums it up this way: “Pregnancy, with all its risks and demands, is seen primarily as a burden when viewed from the perspective of the unencumbered, autonomous male. Seen from the perspective of most women, and the men who love them, childbearing is a great gift.” Throughout all human history, mankind – men and women – have viewed the risk and hardship of pregnancy to be worth it. For those of us who believe what God tells us in the Bible, we understand that this great gift is one that comes from our loving, sovereign Savior (Psalm 127:3). Children are entrusted to the education and care of parents but are not property to be disposed of at will (Ephesians 6:4). All parents fail to some extent, but the further promise for us and for the countless pre-born children at risk of losing their lives to abortion is that even if “my father and my mother have forsaken, but the LORD will take me in.” (Psalm 27:10). That is the ethic the pro-life movement continues to exhibit and teach to our abortion-minded culture. The Dobbs decision demonstrates it, and it’s up to us to continue that work here in Canada. There is no place in this work for cynicism or for giving up when we serve a God who works great and mighty wonders for and through his people. Tabitha Ewert is We Need a Law’s Legal Counsel and a member of ARPA Canada’s Law and Policy team. Top picture credit: Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com...

Pro-life - Abortion

Not without a fight: the history of the pro-life movement in Canada

Pro-life activists perform an important role in society. They help to remind people about what is perhaps the most pressing political issue in our country, namely, the legally-sanctioned killing of unborn children. This killing is often justified as being the consequence of a "woman's right to chose." In Canada, exterminating the unborn is considered to be a "human right" supported by all levels of government and all of the major political parties. But this phrase, "a woman's right to choose," is simply a euphemism for the killing of unborn babies. It's a clever choice of words to hide the reality of abortion. Of course, abortion is a worldwide phenomenon, not a specifically Canadian one. All of the Western countries allow abortion, although Canada is unique among them in having no legal restrictions on abortion whatsoever. But it is helpful to see the abortion controversy in its international context. The Canadian pro-life movement has not been successful in stopping abortion in Canada, but the same is true of pro-life movements in the USA, Australia, and elsewhere. It's not that Canada's pro-lifers have failed to find the right tactic - some silver bullet that would put an end to the killing. Rather, the Canadian situation reflects a worldwide embrace of abortion by cultures that want to separate sexual activity from its consequences. A history of the abortion fight in Canada demonstrates that the Canadian pro-life movement has been very adept, thoughtful, strategic and thorough in their various attempts to stop abortion. But despite the movement’s best efforts, it was not able to stem the tide. It began in 1969 In Canada, the push to legalize abortion came on strong during the 1960s. Towards the end of that decade, Parliament was looking into the matter, and in 1969 the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau passed a bill easing the Criminal Code restrictions on abortion. Although the new law did not completely decriminalize abortion, it made abortion more easily available. Hospitals could each have a therapeutic abortion committee (TAC), and the committee could approve an abortion after three doctors confirmed that a pregnancy would likely endanger the life or health of a particular woman. Women seeking abortions were normally approved for the procedure. The pro-life movement in Canada emerged in response to the 1969 law. By the mid-1970s there were dozens of pro-life groups across Canada. The main national organization was the Alliance for Life headed by Dr. Heather Morris. In 1973 the pro-life groups gathered a petition of 352,000 signatures requesting a stricter abortion law. This petition was presented to Prime Minister Trudeau. Then in 1975, the Petition of One Million campaign managed to get over a million signatures on a petition opposing abortion. Yet, despite this tremendous effort, it was not successful in leading to any legislative change. Two key figures In 1978 a new pro-life group called Campaign Life was formed. It represented the more conservative and militant segment of the pro-life movement and continues today as the leading pro-life organization in the country. In the national debate about adopting a Charter of Rights in 1981, Campaign Life's legal counsel, Gwen Landolt, accurately predicted the negative consequences that would result from the Charter. Another major pro-life figure was Joe Borowski, a former Manitoba cabinet minister in that province's NDP government of the early 1970s. In 1978 Borowski launched a court challenge to Canada's abortion law, arguing that it violated the Canadian Bill of Rights which guaranteed the right to life. There was considerable legal wrangling over whether Borowski even had the right to launch such a challenge, and it wasn't until 1983 that his case was finally heard. By this time the Charter of Rights had been adopted, so his challenge was modified to argue that the abortion law violated the Charter's guarantee of the right to life. Borowski lost later in 1983, but he continued to press his case and the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear it in 1988. Morgentaler starts fighting In the meantime, another significant case was winding its way through Canada's courts. From the early 1970s on, Henry Morgentaler, the leading abortionist in Canada, was in and out of the courts for violating the terms of Canada's abortion law. Morgentaler opposed the abortion law because he thought it was too restrictive. The law only allowed abortions to be performed in hospitals, whereas Morgentaler wanted to be able to perform them in abortion clinics. He was ultimately successful in operating a clinic in Quebec where public sentiment strongly supported abortion rights. When Morgentaler opened a clinic in Toronto in 1983 (the first abortion clinic in English Canada), he was charged with performing illegal abortions. He fought this charge all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada which heard his case in October 1986. Pro-lifers were very active during this period. In some locations across Canada, pro-lifers were able to get elected to local hospital boards and shut down that hospital’s TAC. Thus the hospital would no longer be able to perform abortions. This was an especially effective tactic in the Maritime provinces. There were also numerous protests and demonstrations in front of Morgentaler's Toronto abortuary. Occasionally some pro-life activists would attempt to block the steps leading to the "clinic" and would be arrested. An organization called Choose Life Canada was formed by Baptist minister Ken Campbell, and it managed to set up its office right next to the Morgentaler facility. This office was called The Way Inn and it was in a perfect location to dissuade women from proceeding with their abortions. January 28, 1988 Then, on January 28, 1988, the infamous Morgentaler decision was handed down by the Supreme Court, striking down Canada's abortion law and consequently eliminating all legal restrictions on abortion in the country. However, this decision did not create a "right" to abortion in Canada. Instead, the law had been struck down for violating the procedural fairness required by the Charter. Thus the way was left open for Parliament to enact a new law restricting abortion. Pro-life organizations could likely have intervened in the Morgentaler case but had chosen not to. They were active in supporting Borowski's case and did not think they had the resources to also be involved in Morgentaler's. At the time, Gwen Landolt argued that this was a mistake. As usual, she was right. The mistake became clear to all when the Supreme Court heard Borowski's case in October 1988, months after the Morgentaler decision. Borowski was challenging the very abortion law which had previously been thrown out in the Morgentaler decision. So, since the law had already been thrown out, in March 1989 the Supreme Court ruled that the case was moot. The pro-lifers lost again. In the wake of the Morgentaler decision, pro-life groups organized a massive letter-writing campaign urging members of Parliament (MPs) to pass a restrictive abortion law. But there were deep divisions even within the governing Progressive Conservative caucus of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, so despite some attempts, nothing was accomplished. The infamy of 1988 – when free trade trumped life A federal election was called for the fall of 1988, and pro-life groups were very active in trying to elect pro-life MPs. However, the central issue in this election campaign was the proposed Free Trade Agreement with the USA, so the abortion issue did not really receive a lot of attention. Nevertheless, some new pro-life MPs were elected. Many pro-lifers were becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of any legal restrictions on abortion in Canada and therefore became involved in an American-based organization called Operation Rescue led by a theologically charismatic minister, Randall Terry. The "rescuers," often in large numbers, would use their bodies to block the entrances to abortuaries so that women could not enter them. It was hoped that this would prevent abortions from being performed. The police, of course, would move in and arrest the rescuers. Most of this rescue activity took place in the first half of 1989. When is moot not moot? By the summer of 1989 the courts were back in the center of the abortion fight. In July an Ontario court and a Quebec court each issued an injunction preventing a woman from having an abortion, both at the instigation of former boyfriends. The Ontario injunction against Barbara Dodd, however, was quickly overturned by the Ontario Supreme Court so she went to the Morgentaler clinic for an abortion. But in the other case, the Quebec Superior Court upheld the injunction against Chantal Daigle, and two weeks later the Quebec Court of Appeal also upheld the injunction. This latter decision went so far as to declare that unborn children had a right to life! Can you imagine?! Anyway, Canada was now in the midst of a full-fledged national crisis. The achievements of the pro-abortion camp were severely threatened by the Quebec Court of Appeal decision. An emergency session of the Supreme Court of Canada was called, and organizations from both sides of the abortion debate were granted intervener status, including Campaign Life and REAL Women of Canada. During the court proceedings, Daigle's lawyer announced that she had gone to the US and had an abortion there, making the case moot. Despite being moot, the Supreme Court proceeded to strike down the injunction against Daigle. This makes for a very interesting contrast. When Joe Borowski's case became moot, the Supreme Court refused to deal with it for that reason. But when Chantal Daigle's case became moot, the Supreme Court decided the issue anyway. It appears that the Supreme Court is willing to proceed with a moot case, but only as long as doing so will further the pro-abortion cause. This is "justice" in Canada. A law both sides hated In November 1989 the Mulroney government introduced Bill C-43, a new proposed abortion law. It made abortion a criminal offence, except where the pregnant woman desired to have one for reasons of physical, mental, or psychological health. Although the pro-abortion camp opposed the bill because it technically criminalized abortion, many conservative Christians saw the loopholes in it as basically enshrining abortion on demand. People such as Ken Campbell, Ted Byfield of Alberta Report, and Gwen Landolt of REAL Women opposed the bill on these grounds. Some other pro-life organizations, such as the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, supported the bill for pragmatic reasons, arguing that it was better to have a faulty law with some restrictions on abortion than no law whatsoever. Despite strong opposition from both the pro and anti-abortion camps, the bill passed the House of Commons in May 1990. However, it still had to pass the Senate, so opponents had another chance to block it. The Senate vote in January 1991 was a tie, and ties count as a loss by Senate rules. Thus the abortion bill failed and Canada remained without any legal restrictions on abortion. This is still the situation today. We have work to do The pro-life movement has remained active since that time, but no Canadian government has even attempted to bring in an abortion law since the failure of Bill C-43. The pro-life movement in Canada has lost all of its major battles. In this respect, it looks like a failure. But viewing it that way would be a mistake. As mentioned earlier, the abortion fight is a worldwide phenomenon and even the USA, with strong conservative Christian and pro-life movements, basically has a situation of abortion on demand. If the American movement, with its prominent and powerful Christian activist groups, and sympathetic politicians (including President Bush and most Republican congressmen), can't hold back the pro-abortion tide, can we really expect the Canadian pro-life movement to do any better? The fact is that Canada's pro-lifers have fought valiantly, using the best means at their disposal. Getting over one million signatures on a pro-life petition in the mid-1970s is quite an achievement. (Remember, they had to do this the old-fashioned way – they did not have the Internet.) But the petition was ignored. Working for the election of pro-life MPs is a reasonable strategy. But every government caucus has contained some pro-life MPs, and yet look at the situation we are in today. The pro-life movement has tried to use the courts to protect the unborn, with Joe Borowski being the best example of this. But with a judiciary dominated by abortion supporters, this didn't work either. And as a last resort, courageous pro-lifers joined Operation Rescue to use their own bodies to block entrances to abortuaries. And what did they get? Fines and jail time. So it hasn't been for a lack of trying. The pro-life cause will ultimately prevail and abortion will be outlawed in Canada once again. But it will be a long road, and it will be easy to become discouraged in the meantime. The struggle against abortion needs to be seen in its worldwide context so that the setbacks on this issue in Canada are seen as part of a pattern of setbacks for the pro-life movement around the world. It may be an embarrassment that Canada has no legal restrictions on abortion, but many other Western nations also have high abortion rates so they aren't much different from Canada, really. Their pro-life movements have also "failed" in this respect. It's not like the pro-life movement is simply missing a winning strategy, and once that strategy is discovered the pro-life side will finally prevail in Canada. The situation is much worse than that. The culture of the Western nations, at least among the controlling elites, is a basically pro-abortion culture, and there will need to be a change at the cultural level before the law is changed. Canada and the other Western countries need to be re-Christianized. Failing that, it's likely that abortion will continue unabated. Michael Wagner is the author of “Leaving God Behind: The Charter of Rights and Canada’s Official Rejection of Christianity,” available at Merchantship.ca. This article first appeared in the January 2008 issue....

News, Pro-life - Abortion

On mandatory vaccines and “My body, my choice”

Don’t we live in strange times? Thousands of people are calling on governments all over the world to mandate vaccines for everyone twelve years old and older. These same people are often the loudest proponents of the principle: "My body, my choice!" How does that make sense? If the argument for allowing women to end the life of their unborn child is based on the false principle that their bodily autonomy trumps all, how can they also argue for the government to mandate the insertion of all kinds of chemicals into one’s body? Shouldn’t it be: my body, my choice? Absolute autonomy – the rule of one’s self – is also the rationale against conversion therapy, and it is the rationale for stripping parental rights in all kinds of areas, but this is probably most damaging when parents want to resist their child’s wishes for sex alignment therapies and surgeries. Because we must let everyone do with their bodies as they wish, without limit, and without any opposing opinions offered. Does it not strike you as extremely ironic, and terribly inconsistent, that the warriors for abortion, conversion therapy bans, and for stripping parental rights – all in the name of autonomy – are the same warriors arguing for mandatory vaccination? (Might this be an irony we can point out, to the benefit of the unborn?) Of course, Christians do not claim, “My body, my choice”, nor do we claim that we are autonomous selves. Rather, we understand that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; that we belong body and soul to our faithful Saviour. We also know that we have been given stewardship of those bodies, to care for them as best as we know how. That means that while some of us may get vaccinated to God’s glory, others will refuse to do so to God’s glory. Some will argue: "Because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, I will not get vaccinated" while others: "Because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, I will get vaccinated." That’s okay. We do not all have to agree. But Christians should be agreed, it seems to me, to be against mandatory vaccinations. We need to have the freedom to act according to our own conscience when it comes to weighing the consequences of receiving, or not receiving, the vaccination; we need freedom to make the best decision in how we serve the Lord with our body. Chris deBoer is the Executive Director of Reformed Perspective Foundation. ...

Pro-life - Abortion

Can a politician be personally, but not politically, pro-life?

Sometimes we're limited to just two options. Two thousand years ago Jesus told us, "Whoever is not with me is against me" (Matt. 12:30a). But even when the options are one way or the other, it seems our fallen nature to want to go another way.  This past week my daughter was told that for dessert she could either have apple sauce or not have it. She chose ice cream. There was no ice cream in the house, and she knew it. Yet she still chose the non-existent Door #3. Illogical? Definitely. But she has a built-in excuse for reasoning like a child. But what's our excuse? Canadian Christians want a third way In Canadian politics Christian politicians – and their Christian supporters – have proposed that when it comes to abortion, there is a third position possible, somewhere in the middle of pro-life and pro-choice. This came up again during Canada's 2015 federal election. A political activist phoned NDP candidate and Christian pastor K.M. Shanthikumar, and secretly recorded their conversation. The activist pretended to be pro-life, and a recording of their conversation (conducted in the Tamil language) was handed over to the Toronto Star, which published a translated excerpt: Caller: So, for abortion, you are against? Shanthikumar: Yes, I am against that. Caller: Gay marriage, abortion? Shanthikumar: All that. What is not in the Bible, what the Bible is against, I am against. After the phone call was made public  NDP spokesman Brad Lavigne noted that Shanthikumar had previously signed a declaration in which he said he accepts the party position on abortion and marriage. Shanthikumar also offered reassurances that despite the phone call, he would support the current party policies: " is my personal life. My personal life is different from party line, because when I stand by the party I have to stand by the party….All I said was whatever the party I will stand by that." What middle ground is possible? It’s hard not to sympathize with the pastor, who was clearly set up. However, his "personally pro-life" but politically pro-choice position makes no sense. Either the unborn are clumps of tissue, or they are precious human beings. So what middle ground could possibly exist between the pro-life and pro-choice positions? Maybe this NDP candidate was only pretending to support his party's pro-abortion stance. Maybe he was saying whatever he needed to say to get elected, and if he won then he'd actually stand up for the unborn. That's our best-case scenario: that he is a liar. Liar or monster The worst-case scenario? He’s a monster. The only reason to be pro-life is because you know the unborn are human beings. If he is privately pro-life, but as a politician he is going to be pro-choice, then this is a fellow who will, for political gain, support the murder of those he knows to be precious human beings – he is promising to vote in favor of what he would know to be the killing of 100,000 children a year! The world pretends we can believe one thing and do another – that’s what it is increasingly demanding of Christians. But God says our deeds reveal what we really believe (James 2:18, 2:26). Thus there is no way that someone can be privately pro-life and publicly anything else – what we know in our hearts we must profess with our mouths. As the PG-rated (for bloodless violence) video below shows, even the world gets that "personally pro-life" is a morally bankrupt position. ...

Pro-life - Abortion, Science - General

The wonder of the womb

If you haven’t seen any of the YouTube videos of Dr. Kristin Collier talking about the unborn, you've missed out. This Christian physician and University of Michigan Medical School faculty member has been speaking at universities around the USA, sharing scientific evidence about the interconnection between mothers and babies in the womb. Let me share a few of the highlights. The placenta: a cooperative project Many of Dr. Collier’s presentations have focused on the amazing miracle of the placenta. Often referred to as the “afterbirth,” it is actually the vital organ inside of which a baby grows. Dr. Collier states, “In a mother’s womb following conception, God is building between mother and child an anatomic masterpiece, a relational organ. The placenta is therefore considered a fetomaternal organ because it is made by both the baby and mother (and Providence). The placenta is the only purposely transient organ in humans and is the only single organ that is created by two people in cooperation. Through the placenta, mother and prenatal child interface. In one organ we see the function of what is usually performed by multiple organs and systems. The placenta provides the function normally assumed by one’s lungs and kidneys and additionally has metabolic, thermo-regulatory, endocrine and immune function.” In other words, when the baby is merely 6-7 weeks old inside the mother, he or she is contributing by assisting the mother in building the placenta. This is an important proof that even at that very early gestational age, this is not just a blob of tissue, but a co-worker in the process of life. Microchimerism: an interconnection Dr. Collier has also shared how analysis of DNA, taken during prenatal screening tests, shows that there is another sort of profound interconnectedness between the prenatal child and the mother. “We know that genetic material from the prenatal child crosses through the placenta and can be found in the mother’s circulation. The interaction at the level of genetic material between mother and prenatal child is illustrated in what is called ‘microchimerism.’” Microchimerism is the presence of a small population of genetically distinct and separately derived cells within an individual. Dr. Collier goes on to say: “The growing baby sends some of her cells across the placenta into her mother in a way that we are only beginning to understand. These cells migrate to various sites of maternal tissue and integrate into them. They then assume the function of the surrounding tissue and begin to function as such. Microchimeric cells have been found in various maternal tissues and organs, such as the breast, bone marrow, skin, liver and brain. “Early and late effects of these cells have been hypothesized. Some of these cells appear to target sites of injury and may help mother heal after delivery by integrating into a Cesarean section wound and helping to produce collagen. Fetal cells may be involved in the process of lactation by signaling the mother’s body to make milk. Others have been thought to help protect a mother against breast cancer later in life. This process likely involves negotiation and cooperation between mom and baby at the cellular level. Researchers are in the early stages of attempting to understand the full function of these cells, which may have important implications for the immune status of women.” To summarize, cells of their children remain within women throughout their lives, helping the mother, and also perhaps explaining the connection that mothers feel with their children - and their lost children. “Human beings carry remnants of other humans in their bodies. These cells become integrated into maternal tissue and are active and working in ways that we are just beginning to understand. Think about mothers who have lost both prenatal and postnatal children, and how they have longed for their children still to be with them in some way. Now we see that in fact, they are.” Babies: a superb design by our Creator God Psalm 139 rejoices in how God forms children within the womb. Learning how these babies participate in building their own placenta reinforces the truth that these are little people growing in there. And discovering the wonderful ways in which mothers and babies are, and stay connected gives us cause to rejoice in the superb designs of our Creator God. And this is why Dr. Kristin Collier is determined to share this knowledge throughout the world. You can learn more in the doctor's wonderful 16-minute presentation below. ...

Apologetics 101, Pro-life - Abortion

Pro-life shirts that spark, spur, and speak

“Hey, what’s with the shirt? What’s Abort73.com?” “I could tell you, but better yet, why don’t you go online and check it out?” **** Fifteen years ago, on campuses across the US, Canada, and even in England, students started showing up to class in t-shirts emblazoned with a distinctive “Abort73.com” logo. And the next day they'd be back, with a different shirt, in a different color, with a different style, but also emblazoned with “Abort73.com” across the chest and back. What'd it be like to sit behind someone who, day after day, was outfitted this way? Would you start getting a bit curious about this website? Would you want to know more? Speaking up without saying a word That’s the brilliance behind Abort73.com. Through repeated exposures, people who otherwise would never check out a pro-life website go to this one. Their curiosity compels them. Day after day, week after week, month after month, shirt after shirt, the same short web address – eventually curiosity has to get the best of them. These shirts are also an aid – and really an answer to prayer – to the many Christians who want to speak out against abortion but don’t feel equipped to do so. Perhaps you’re the type to get tongue-tied, or maybe you always think of just the right thing to say twenty minutes after the opportunity has passed you by. Maybe you’re worried that if you do speak up no one will pay attention. Or you’re more worried that everyone will listen. Whatever the case might be, these shirts can help you speak up without saying a word. A two-pronged approach Most pro-life t-shirts have been designed to make a statement all on their own with slogans like “Abortion is Murder” or “Choose life - Your mother did.” Originally Abort73.com shirts weren't like that. They were focussed entirely on getting folks to the website, because that's where they would have the room to really make the case for the humanity of the unborn in a way that no single t-shirt ever could. That's why their early shirts just had the website address, albeit in all sorts of fonts, colors, and styles. When people did visit the site, what they found was a well-organized summary of the medical, philosophical/logical, and pictorial arguments against abortion and for the humanity of the unborn. The one notable downside to their approach is that none of their "first layer" arguments – those you can find off of their front page – are Christian arguments. God's thoughts can only be found by digging deeper into the site. Nowadays Abort73 has expanded their approach in that they also sell shirts with slogans. I suspect that's because, even as it's better to get people to the website for the full presentation, they now recognize that speaking to the humanity of the unborn via even brief t-shirt slogans can be a way of stirring things up too. Especially on today's college campuses. The shirts are $20 US each but if you buy a half dozen you can get them for just $10 per, and that is pretty impressive. Why not check it out? So, is your curiosity piqued? Then why not go to www.Abort73.com and check it out? Or go directly to their store to order a shirt...or thirty? A version of this article was first February 2006 issue under the title “A shirt a day…the vision of the folks behind Abort73.com”...

Documentary, Movie Reviews, Pro-life - Abortion, Watch for free

FREE FILM: Babies are still murdered here

Documentary 2019 / 102 minutes Rating: 8/10 If you were told the pro-life movement is made up of two groups that don't always get along, who would you guess? Old vs. young? Men and women? Catholics and Protestants? The answer is, none of the above. The real divide is between abolitionists and incrementalists. If you aren't familiar with these two camps, abolitionists want the unborn to be protected from the moment of conception onward and see anything else as being an unprincipled compromise. Incrementalists also want the unborn protected from conception, but they argue that this goal can best be achieved with a step-by-step or "incremental" strategy that involves protecting some now – saving whatever babies we can right now – even as we move towards protecting all at some later date. So an incrementalist might propose a law that would criminalize abortion in the third trimester, seeing it as a step towards full protection, while an abolitionist would see such a law as saving those third-trimester babies at the expense of babies in the first two trimesters. Babies Are Still Murdered Here comes from the abolitionist camp, and while I count myself among the incrementalists I'd say this is a thought-provoking watch for all pro-lifers. Overall the film makes three points: Pro-lifers need to call out abortion for what it is – murder – because we do nobody any favors by minimizing the wickedness of sin. A related point: Christian pro-lifers need to fight abortion as Christians. No more of these secular, scientific, supposedly "neutral" arguments. We need to call out abortion as a sin, call people to repentance, and offer them every help we can as representatives of God's Church. Some pro-lifers can get so caught up in strategy that they'll work against other pro-lifers. If this third point strikes you as incredible, the film gives a few different examples. Ohio Right to Life opposed a heartbeat bill in the name of being strategic. They argued that the bill would almost certainly be struck down by the courts, and the legal precedent could set the pro-life movement "back 40, 50 years" so they spoke out against it. And after the heartbeat bill was struck down by a federal district judge, this question came up at the National Right to Life convention: "If one of these more idealistic bills comes up in our state what advice do you think we should give to our legislature? Do we ask them to vote for something like that? Should we ask them to oppose it?" The answer given? National Right to Life General Counsel Jim Bopp said: "Not introduce it. Not consider it. Not a committee hearing. Not vote for it." This is what a pro-lifer was telling pro-lifers. Lest you think pro-lifers undermining the pro-life movement can happen only in the US, let me give a Canadian example. Back in the 1990s, I witnessed the Alberta pro-life movement get so intent on a strategy that they undermined the personhood of the unborn. The provincial government had taken a fiscally responsible turn and was cutting programs to balance the budget, so pro-life leaders proposed that we promote an end to the tax-funding of abortion as a financial issue - we could pitch it as one more budget item that could be cut. However, the pro-choice opposition saw through this approach and accused the end-tax-funding group of trying to save babies' lives rather than save budget dollars. And, of course, that was entirely true. But that's when things got crazy – the end-tax-funding group denied they wanted to save babies' lives and insisted it was about the money. And by making it all about money, when it was pointed out that a live birth cost the government more than 10 times what an abortion did, the whole strategy fell to pieces. Avoiding all mention of God or the worth of the unborn didn't fool anyone but did make pro-lifers seem money-grubbing and uncaring. So yes, there are times when a pro-life incremental strategy can go very, very wrong. We need to know that, so we can steer clear of it! It is by understanding how and why it can go wrong that we can head it off from doing so. It comes down to keeping our first priorities our first priorities. God's people save babies as a means by which we can glorify God: in reaching out to the desperate, we reflect His goodness, His mercy, and His love. But when we make saving babies our ultimate goal, then it becomes an idol, and in service to that idol, we might find ourselves opposing or undermining God's Truth. We can then, in the name of "effective strategy," downplay what abortion is and downplay what our own end goals are. But this is not honest. And it does not make glorifying God our goal. And, interestingly enough, as we saw in the Alberta tax-funding debacle, it doesn't even seem to be effective. RC Sproul, Jeff Durbin, George Grant, Voddie Baucham, Sye Ten Bruggencate, and John Barros are among the notable names involved in the film. They have a lot of provocative thoughts to share, and even if you don't agree with them all, there is something here every pro-life will find beneficial to hear. What's more, you can watch the whole film for free, below. If you find it edifying, then be sure to check out the original, also free: Babies are Murdered Here. ...

Human Rights, Pro-life - Abortion

Do we have a “right” to life?

If you’ve ever attended a pro-life rally or an abortion protest you’ve heard fellow Christians talking about the unborn’s “right to life.” But is this a phrase that Christians should use? Does it have a biblical basis? Can Christians claim a right to life, or for that matter, any rights at all? Rights vs. wishes It all depends on what you mean by the term “rights.” We'll sometimes hear special interest groups claim a "right" to healthcare or a "right" to a free college education but that's a trivialization of the term. They are using it in a way that is really no different than claiming a "right" to pepperoni pizza, or a "right" to free parking. These are items some might want at taxpayer expense, but describing your wishlist as rights does not make them so. Rights are better understood as that which it is wicked to deny. So, for example, if a government doesn't provide free college tuition, we aren't going to hold tribunals to investigate their human rights abuses – it is not a monstrous evil to deny citizens a tax-funded post-secondary experience. But if governments violate their citizens' right to property, then there should be an outcry because we recognize that the right to property is one that governments would be wicked to deny – this is a fundamental right. Rights before God? When it comes to the pro-life movement's "right to life" slogan, I've run across some Christians who object to the term. Since we are sinful creatures, wholly dependent on God’s grace, they argue that God doesn’t owe us anything. Are we in any position to make demands of our Maker, to make any claims of “rights” before Him? Clearly not. But as Stephen Pidgeon explains in this article, just because we have no rights before God doesn’t mean we don’t have rights given by God. In the Ten Commandments God spells out a number of prohibitions, and it is from these prohibitions that our rights spring. God has said, “Thou shall not murder” so from that we all have a God-given right to life. No man, no group, no government has the right to murder us because God has forbidden it. Since this right comes from a God-given prohibition, no authority on Earth may take this right from us. Individuals and governments can violate the right to life – they can and regularly do murder, ending the lives of one-quarter of all citizens here in the United States and Canada before they are even born. But even as they violate the right to life, and deny the unborn's claim to it, the right remains nonetheless. Governments and individuals did not award this right, so they cannot take it away. Of course, God can rightfully take our life – we are his, and He can do with us as He pleases. We have no rights before God. But we do have God-given rights that we can hold to before Man. And, made in His Image (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6), the unborn, too, can claim a God-given right to life. And we can pray for the day when our governments start to recognize, honor, and protect that right....

Human Rights, Pro-life - Abortion

ABILITY ≠ WORTH ....but the world thinks so, and sometimes we do too

While we were at the library one of my daughters grabbed Nice Wheels, a book featuring a boy zipping across the cover in a wheelchair. I thought it was a great choice; my children don’t know anyone in a wheelchair so this seemed like it would a good way to teach them that whether we’re standing or sitting, we’re all people. But that wasn’t the moral of this story. The author wanted to teach my daughters that our value comes from what we can do. The book begins with a wheelchair-bound boy rolling into class and a second boy wanting to know, “Can he do what we can do?” By day’s end we’ve learned that the boy in the wheelchair can sing just like everyone else, and can paint, and listen, and laugh, and eat lunch, and share like everyone else too. And as the book draws to a close the second boy decides that, shucks, if this boy in his wheelchair can do everything we can do, why not be his friend? While the author’s heart was in the right place, her thinking couldn’t be more wrong. If we’re worth befriending because we can do things, what if we can’t do things? If our value is tied to what we can do, then what of a boy who can’t sing, or paint, or eat lunch with the other kids? Comedy and tragedy The world believes that our worth is tied to our ability. That’s why we have feminists arguing that women can do anything men can do, even including all that brawny stuff. No matter that men have way more muscle, feminists won’t admit men make better firefighters, soldiers or alligator wrestlers. They can’t concede that men can do more in these areas because in their worldview that means men are more valuable than women. Feminist confusion is comical, but equating ability with worth can also be deadly. It’s this same thinking behind abortion: we can kill the unborn at 10 weeks because they can’t do this yet, or at 20 weeks because they can’t do that yet. It’s also the impetus behind legalized euthanasia: if a strong healthy young man wants to commit suicide we’ll try to stop him, but if an old man requests euthanasia because his physical and mental abilities are diminishing, well, that’s supposed to be understandable. Dripping in the church In our churches we oppose abortion and euthanasia. We know our lives are valuable even when we can’t do anything at all. We know it, but daily we manage to forget it. We tie our sense of worth to how much we make, or have donated, or to the position we hold. Or we base it on how well our kids behave, how many books we’ve read, how many invitations we do or don’t get, or how many Facebook likes we’ve collected. We know better, but we still fall for the lie that our worth is somehow tied into what we can accomplish, or earn, or achieve. There can be something appealing about this lie in the short-term, particularly just after we’ve lost 20 pounds, or scored a game-winning goal. But in the long term it all fades; relying on our own strength is a dead-end. Unearned What a blessing it is to know, then, that our value doesn’t come from our abilities. Ours is a derived worth that comes from the God in whose image we are made (Gen. 1:27, 5:1 9:6, Psalm 8:5-6). Our status also comes from God’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). But it doesn’t come from what we can do. We’re valuable because of how God made us, and because of what God commanded. So it’s all gift. Understanding that frees us from the impossible burden of trying to earn it. When we know for a fact that nothing we can give could ever be good enough for God, that frees us from worrying whether or not it will be. It frees us to simply respond in thankfulness, giving freely of ourselves and our gifts without being self-conscience about how little it is we have to offer. And understanding where our worth comes from should stop us from expecting others to earn their status. The newcomer to our church shouldn’t have to smile first before we welcome them. The lonely girl shouldn’t have to accept one of our first ten invitations before we offer her an eleventh. The awkward guy shouldn’t have to play hockey to be a part of our group. And that kid in the wheelchair doesn’t have to show he can do everything that the other boys can do before he’s worth befriending. They shouldn’t have to earn it. They can’t earn it. We can’t earn it. It’s all a gift from God....

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