The biblical and historical basis for parental rights
With the onset of parenthood, couples suddenly find that this new role is now dominating their lives. Children have become a central factor in how time and money are spent, and these same children also become a source of anxiety. Are they okay? Are they alright? The well-being of their children becomes an overwhelming feature of parents’ lives.
Parents want what’s best for their children so the decisions they make are with this objective in mind. Christian parents will want their children to be instructed about God and his Word because they understand that spiritual matters are of the greatest concern. This normally includes education in a Christian school or homeschooling.
Historically, in the English-speaking democracies, parents’ ability to choose Christian education for their children has frequently received widespread support. Of course, parents can choose what education their children are to receive! Who else could make that kind of decision?
Sadly, there are threats on the horizon. Powerful forces in the media and various governments are increasingly suspicious about parental influence in education. These kinds of threats make it imperative for Christian parents to understand the basis of their rights in making authoritative decisions for their children.
One excellent source of information is American lawyer John Whitehead’s 1985 book entitled Parents' Rights. Many of the matters he discusses in the book are dated because it was written thirty years ago. But the biblical and historical information he provides about parental rights are still valid and useful to know today.
In the Bible, God has ordained three key institutions: the family, the church, and the state. Each one has specific roles and responsibilities. Each one also has specific powers and authority. However, the power and authority are not inherent in the institutions themselves but are delegated by God. Family, church and state have “derivative” authority from God – it comes from Him. Therefore the authority they exercise must always be used in accordance with God’s revealed will. There is no just authority that can be exercised in opposition to God’s truth.
To which of the three institutions did God give the oversight and care of children? Clearly, it is the family. Already in the first chapter of Genesis, Adam and Eve are told to be fruitful and multiply. Whitehead notes:
"Not only is there a command to have children, but there is the teaching that children are from God. When Eve had borne a child, she recognized that she had not done this alone and understood that the Creator was the ultimate source of the child. She said: “I have gotten a man from the Lord.”
In Genesis 33:5, Genesis 48:9 and Joshua 24:3-4, it is explicitly stated that children are given by God. As Whitehead explains:
"These verses indicate that children are given by God to families and not inanimate institutions or governments. Not only are children given, but they are also called gifts and blessings: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” As such, children are not just given to any family. The implication is that specific children are given to particular parents as a gift from God."
The centrality of the family in the raising of children is further buttressed by the primacy of the family as an institution:
"The family was the first institution created by God, even before the state. Because it was the first, it can be considered to be the foundational institution upon which all others are built."
John Whitehead is American, so the historical discussion he provides about parental rights is primarily about the United States. Nevertheless, the USA is part of the broader Anglo-American culture (“Anglosphere”) that shares legal precepts descended from Britain. The other Anglosphere countries have operated under the same basic principles.
During the first half of the seventeenth century, Puritan settlers from England began arriving in the North American colonies. This area became known as New England. Later in the century the colonies adopted laws requiring children to learn to read and to be catechized. It was clearly recognized that teaching children was the responsibility of parents and these laws reinforced that fact. As Whitehead points out,
"All of these enactments were concerned simply with the basic education of children, and should not, therefore, be confused with modern compulsory education laws which require classroom attendance at state-approved schools."
Parents in the colonies did, in fact, take their responsibility seriously and children learned to read on a wide scale. “At the time of the Revolution, literacy rates had reached unprecedented heights, and by 1800 literacy was virtually universal.” That is, decades before the public school system was created in the USA, almost everyone (excluding slaves, unfortunately) could read and write in that country. Universal literacy was not the result of public education.
John Locke (1632-1704) has been one of the most influential political philosophers in the history of the English-speaking world. He was the key philosopher behind the founding of the United States, and his thought underlays many early American documents and institutions. Although there is a debate over the degree to which Locke reflects a genuine Christian perspective, there are some clear biblical ideas in his work.
Locke understood that God had created the world and everything in it. As Whitehead explains, Locke saw children as being the creation of God:
"Therefore, instead of belonging to their parents, children belong to the Creator. Parents, then, hold children in trust for God. This means that parents, as stewards, are to take care of their children for God. The child must be raised to live the sort of life which is pleasing to the Creator."
Children, of course, are born without the ability to take care of themselves or make decisions for their lives. They will eventually develop those capacities and become independent adults. But in the meantime, it is necessary for the parents to care for them and take steps to see that they grow morally and mentally into responsible individuals. As Locke saw things:
"the child’s weakness is a source of parental authority, which in turn is a source of parental obligation. Thus, parents are under a God-mandated obligation to “preserve, nourish, and educate” their children. This is not a choice parents have. The obligation is not to the child, but to God."
In other words, parents are accountable to God, first and foremost, for how they raise their children. The children are really God’s children entrusted to the parents, so those parents must answer to Him for their child-rearing efforts.
Locke’s perspective on the position of parents reflects the Christian thought that dominated the US during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Whitehead states that, “it was this parental authority and obligation that was embedded in the law and protected by the courts.”
Whitehead discusses particular American court cases from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that demonstrate how strongly parental rights were upheld in common law. He summarizes the situation thusly:
"Parental power, the early court decisions indicate, is essentially plenary. This means it should prevail over the claims of the state, other outsiders, and the children themselves 'unless there is some compelling justification for interference.'"
It is important to note that the erosion of parental rights that has occurred in recent decades is strongly related to the decline of Christianity in the USA and in the other Western countries as well. This is reflected in American court decisions:
"The older cases specifically noted that they were relying on Christian principles. However, the modern phobia over the separation of church and state prevents any reference to the Christian principles in terms of them being truth."
Parental rights were historically based on Christian ideals. As the Christian basis of the West has deteriorated, the foundation for parental rights has weakened as a result.
There is still some support for parental rights in the USA and other countries like Canada. But Whitehead thinks that continuing support is best explained as being part of “the cultural memory” of the past “when the Christian idea that children are gifts from God was an assumed principle.”
Whitehead suggests that there are two key commitments Christians must make if they are to secure parental rights. “The first is, of course, the commitment to be good parents.” Parents must raise their children in accordance with God’s loving commands and expectations. In other words, parents must take their responsibilities and obligations seriously if they want their parental rights to be recognized.
“Second, as Christians, we must be committed to stand strong for the truth.” Parental rights are ultimately rooted in Christianity, so it is especially incumbent upon Christians to advocate for them. The purpose and rationale for parental rights need to be explained.
In the end, parental rights are not primarily for the benefit of parents, but for the benefit of children. Children need the loving care of their parents. No institution can take the place of the family in the lives of children. As Whitehead puts it, “The state is simply, and will always be, a poor and ineffective parental substitute.”
This first appeared in the June 2015 issue.
Book excerpts, Book Reviews, History, Human Rights, Politics
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Human Rights, Parenting, Politics
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What is Freedom of Conscience?
Whether they’re happening inside the Church or out in the public square, debates about how far freedom of conscience extends can be confusing. Should Christians be compelled to take a vaccine that’s been tested on the fetal remains of an aborted child? Should Christian business owners have a right to refuse a service that would violate their conscience, like baking a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony? How do Christians respond to government mandates or policies that they cannot follow in good conscience? And how do we deal with conscientious disagreement within the Church? The specifics of freedom of conscience can be complex and nuanced and are often misunderstood. Abraham Kuyper called the conscience: “the shield of the human person, the root of civil liberties, the source of a nation’s happiness.” Why is it so important? To answer that question, let’s begin by looking at what the conscience is and is not. What is “conscience”? Definitions of conscience vary, but they center around the idea of what someone believes to be right and wrong. The conscience is a moral compass that helps direct people’s actions. In that sense, conscience is personal and subjective because it condemns or excuses one’s own conduct, not that of another person – after all, you don’t get a guilty conscience because of someone else’s behavior. However, conscience is also based on an objective and general standard. The Bible explains that the conscience is given by God to both Christians and non-Christians and it helps people apply their knowledge of right and wrong to their behavior, both past actions and decisions about future actions. The New Testament also speaks of the importance of having a good conscience by following its direction and doing what is right (see Rom. 2:15, 1 Tim. 1:5). Christian political scientist David Koyzis, in his book We Answer to Another, tells a story about the Milgram Experiment which relates well to conscience. The experiment was a study designed to look at how people respond to authority. The experimenter would select two participants and assign one the role of teacher, while another volunteer would be given the role of student. The person selected as the teacher was instructed to apply an electrical shock of increasing voltage to the other person – the student – who was in a different room. Now, unbeknownst to the teacher, the other person was actually an actor being paid to play the part. Although the teacher could hear the apparent pain experienced by the person in the next room, most individuals would continue applying electric shocks – despite increasing screams and pleas to stop – when instructed to do so by the experimenter. However, two participants were unwilling to keep going along with the instructions. Both were Christians. They followed the experiment instructor’s commands for a time but stopped sooner than most other participants, knowing that they were responsible for their actions and stating that they were answerable to a higher authority. When asked to do something wrong, we too are responsible for our actions and answerable to a higher authority. Ultimately, the foundation for freedom of conscience is found in the sovereignty of God. Every human being has various authorities in their lives, such as parents, employers, church leadership, or civil government. Each of these has legitimate authority over us, but that authority is also limited. The only One who is sovereign over the conscience is God, and if another authority commands us to do what we believe is sin – what we believe violates how God wants us to act – then we can appeal to freedom of conscience. The conscience is a shield that protects against the abuse of authority and points instead to the one Higher Authority. Conscience and the public square Debates around conscience are becoming increasingly relevant in our society and are most noticeable within certain vocations. Can medical professionals refuse to help a patient access abortion, assisted suicide, or sex-change surgery? Can marriage officiants refuse to marry a same-sex couple? Can a photographer decline a request to take photos at a same-sex ceremony? Can a publisher decline to print pro-abortion pamphlets? Increasingly, our society answers “no.” To allow people to conscientiously object is seen as simply discriminatory and bigoted. Our society needs to understand that a conscientious objection in these cases is not a rejection of an individual person, but a refusal to commit what the objector believes to be a sin or to participate in sinful activity. Today it’s often Christians who are being pressured to violate their conscience. However, there are others who seek the same protections for their conscience. It’s this freedom that an atheist doctor appeals to when he determines he cannot participate in euthanasia, based on his oath to do no harm. And what of the fashion designers, back in 2016, who had principled objections to designing an inauguration dress for First Lady Melania Trump? When these designers announced they would not make the dress because they didn’t want to be associated with newly elected President Donald Trump’s administration, many celebrated their decision as taking a principled stand. Likewise, some in our society want abortion-supporting publishers to be allowed to decline print orders for pro-life material, or for a gay business owner to be allowed to refuse to rent a hall for an event that promotes biblical marriage. Yet increasingly, the same people want to see Christians reprimanded for acting according to their beliefs. For Christians, the answer to the questions above might be easy. But we have our own disputes about conscience within the Church as well, such as what kind of entertainment is permissible or what it looks like to honor the Sabbath Day outside of corporate worship. When conscience pricks Of note, the strongest commands of conscience are often negative, in terms of what you are not permitted to do, rather than what you may or must do. For example, if you use foul language, your conscience will likely bother you more than if you fail to correct someone else using such language. Or, if a publisher prints pro-abortion pamphlets that he objects to, his conscience will make him feel guilty more than if he fails to promote life as he believes he ought. When the conscience commands a person not to do something, the command is about a very specific action. Alternatively, if the command is instead to act on something good, there are often various ways of pursuing that good. Conscience and the Church Because of sin, no person’s conscience is perfectly aligned with what God commands in His Word. The chart below is based on one from a helpful book titled Conscience: What It Is, How To Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ, by Andrew Naselli and J.D. Crowley. The authors used it to explain the difference between two people’s consciences, and how they compare to God’s will. The letters within the chart refer to different rules or principles of right and wrong. Both Arnold and Zoey have added rules to their conscience that are not commanded in Scripture. For example, perhaps Arnold has a history of alcohol abuse in his family, so he adds letter ‘C’ which commands him not to drink alcohol to avoid temptation. Maybe letters ‘D’ and ‘E’ are Arnold’s belief that he must not play cards or any games involving dice. Arnold and Zoey have also both failed to include letter ‘B’ in their conscience. Perhaps this is a failure to consistently honor the Sabbath Day, and their consciences no longer accuse them for it. However, Arnold and Zoey’s consciences are both aligned with God’s will in letters ‘J’ through ‘M,’ where they have rightly applied biblical principles and commands to their lives and consciences. The natural tendency is to think that if another person has more rules than us, they are legalistic. Alternatively, if they have fewer rules, they are failing to live as Christians. However, Scripture remains the standard to which we must seek to align our conscience. The conscience can easily become oversensitive by including rules that are not matters of right and wrong. We see examples of the Pharisees in the New Testament who created additional rules for the Sabbath and wanted everyone to abide by them. We might feel unnecessarily guilty if we do not abide by similar rules on the Sabbath. Alternatively, conscience can become desensitized. Perhaps you use or tolerate foul language that would have shocked you a decade ago, or you consume entertainment that you would have been ashamed of years earlier. Our conscience does not always accurately tell us what is sin and what is not. While it might not always make sense to follow conscience in relation to other authorities, we have a duty to obey it because we cannot commit what we believe is sin. At the same time, we should be careful when dealing with the consciences of other people. In 1 Corinthians 8, the Apostle Paul talks about whether believers can eat meat offered to idols and refers to consideration for brothers and sisters with a weaker conscience. So, if we believe a brother or sister has a weaker conscience, we must not be a stumbling block to them and cause them to disobey their conscience. On disputable issues, we may realize that someone has a weaker conscience, and we can discuss the biblical principles that apply. Or perhaps they have a stronger conscience, and they can help us understand where our conscience is not aligned to Scripture. Again, conscience is not meant to be some wishy-washy idea where everyone can believe what they want, like in the time of the judges of Israel, when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” There are direct, objective commands and principles that can be taken from Scripture. There are many issues which should not be disputable for Christians and are clear in the Bible. However, there are also issues where serious Christians can come to different conclusions about what God commands. For example, what activities are not permitted on the Sabbath? Or perhaps more current, how do we navigate government restrictions and the call to honor our authorities versus our callings to obey what God demands of us? What about masking, vaccines, etc., both within the public square and the Church? Christian conscience differs on these issues, and believers can have biblical arguments for why they think God commands or prohibits different actions. What isn’t conscience? Some of us might react to the idea that conscience is a kind of subjective belief that is not accountable to other people. We can’t simply say, “well, what’s right for you isn’t necessarily right for me.” Conscience is not merely a personal preference like your favorite food or music. It is also not license to do whatever you please and ignore other authorities. Rather, freedom of conscience refers to moral beliefs that respect a limited sphere of individual authority while still recognizing other legitimate authorities that can impose obligations on us. As such, the conscience is not unlimited. Some people might abuse the ability to claim conscientious objection out of self-interest or to simply justify their actions. Authorities such as the civil government, church government, employers, or parents do have power to compel or deny certain actions. However, if the civil government (or other authorities) limits conscience, they must provide good justification for doing so and seek to accommodate conscientious objectors as much as they are able, such as through exemptions for freedom of conscience. Abraham Kuyper again shows the importance of conscience, stating that: “Ten times better is a state in which a few eccentrics can make themselves a laughingstock for a time by abusing freedom of conscience, than a state in which these eccentricities are prevented by violating conscience itself.” Conclusion Ultimately, conscience belongs to an individual and is accountable to God. However, it should also be rooted in Biblical commands and principles. Increasingly, we encounter disagreements in the Church about various issues, while in the public square some Christians’ jobs are threatened because the State fails to recognize conscience. On many matters, Christians will refuse to do something they believe is evil even if others do not believe the action is wrong. The Church has an opportunity to continue to show our society what it means to live according to moral standards based on the will and Sovereignty of God. Wherever we find ourselves, let’s seek to say, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16). Daniel Zekveld is a policy analyst with ARPA Canada and the principal drafter of ARPA’s latest policy report on Conscience in Healthcare....
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....
Human Rights, Pro-life - Abortion
Abortion supporters don't believe in equality
There are two ways society views human worth. Which leads to a better society? **** In his now famous TedTalk, author Simon Sinek unlocks the secret to how the most powerful leaders shape their messages. They start with “Why?" "Your Why", says Simon, “is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do What you do." Simon illustrates with great clarity how powerful it is when leaders of any organization or movement start their message with an explanation of their purpose, their beliefs. I thought about this yesterday as I stood on the side of Main St. in Grimsby quietly participating in the Life Chain demonstration. I wondered how many of the people driving by really understood why we were there - our purpose, our belief. I wondered too if my fellow demonstrators really understood how people with opposite views on the issue of abortion can arrive hold the position they do. You can’t really take seriously the folks who drive by yelling at you and giving your kids the finger. But putting that aside for the moment, let’s be honest; demonstrations are not the most effective format for respectful and rigorous debate. They tend to polarize groups into opposing camps and do little to create empathy between people who hold different views. We’re content to consider each other crazy. However, at one point in yesterday’s hour-long demonstration a passing motorist rolled down her window and yelled to demonstrators “It’s my body, It’s my choice!” And I thought; There it is! Her “Why.” Her belief. And as horrifying as the consequences of that belief are, it struck me how perfectly logical it was that this woman might also support the idea that she has a right to end the life of another human being. There’s nothing wrong with her logic. She’s not crazy per se. She just doesn’t believe that the human growing inside her is...well, human. And that is precisely where we differ. Two views I believe that human life starts at conception. And that belief changes everything. I’m not crazy either. Far from it. Feminist author and pro-choice advocate Mary Elizabeth Williams (also a staff writer for Salon) would agree with me. In an article that Mary wrote titled “So what if abortion ends life?” she states the following: "I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life.” She goes further: "When we on the pro-choice side get cagey around the life question, it makes us illogically contradictory....When we try to act like a pregnancy doesn’t involve human life, we wind up drawing stupid semantic lines in the sand.” I totally agree. Which makes Mary’s following statement so confusing. She says "And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.” How can someone believing that the fetus inside them is human still claim the right to kill it? That does sound crazy to me. 1) All life is not equal But Mary explains... "Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always." And there it is: Mary's “Why." Her belief. Mary believes that some humans are more important than others. She’s forced herself to believe that or else her pro-choice position would be, to use her own words, "illogically contradictory.” Mary also thinks she should be the one to decide whose lives, in particular, are more important and whose aren’t. And this why I (and many others) stand in silent demonstration at the corner of Main St. and Christie St. each year. 2) All are equal because all are made in God's image I believe that I am not my own (Nope. Not my body. Not my choice) ie: I do not belong to myself. Rather, I believe that in both life and in death I belong to my faithful saviour Jesus Christ. I belong to and submit to the one (and only) creator-God who made me and who alone determines the purpose of my life. Therefore I personally am not the ultimate authority on what I can or cannot do with my life or the life of others. I believe that all lives including the lives of those who stand in direct opposition to what I believe are equally sacred and worthy of protection. I believe that the protection of life is everyone’s responsibility and so also my responsibility. My purpose here on earth is to love God, love my fellow human beings and to serve them by putting their life and well-being ahead of my own. I and those who believe as I do are not fighting for self-importance or survival. We're fighting to outdo one another in kindness. I realize that we can’t make you believe what we believe. But surely you can see that we’re not crazy either. Which kind of society do you want? And to those of you who don’t quite know what you believe consider this: What kind of society do you wish to experience? What kind of society do you wish to build for your children? What kind of leaders will you choose to support and follow? Will you follow those who believe that some lives are more important than others (who believe that their lives are more important than yours perhaps)? Or will you choose to follow those who believe all lives are of equal value, and who believe that leaders should put others ahead of themselves? Simon "Start-with-why" Sinek has another book out which may help you decide. It’s called Leaders Eat Last. This choice is indeed yours. I’m praying that you’ll choose wisely. This article was first published in October 2016. Jason Bouwman is a graphic designer and author of the utterly unique book "Still Thinking" which we review right here....
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