a broken heart.

I hope you’ll read this post reblogged from Illuminating Love, by New Hampshire’s Kelly Roy. Her ministry is a blessing.

illuminating love ministries

Today my heart feels broken.

Broken for the forgotten.

Broken for the hurting.

Broken for the abandoned.

Broken for the children who are currently being targeted by traffickers and no one knows it.

Broken for the people who go about life and do not know what is happening to the children within their zip codes.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and my prayer is that the community in my state…in my nation awakens to this issue and decides to be apart of a solution.

There are so many who are working to fight trafficking in the United States and globally, but we need more.  We need more people to have their hearts broken for these enslaved souls and take a stand to say, “Not in my community!”  As this month goes along I ask that you would educate yourself on this epidemic, share the knowledge (because knowledge is meant to…

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Pick of the Web 12/13/13

Help yourself to a weekend’s worth of links!

A terrible auto collision on I-89 a few days ago has highlighted once again the crying need for a fetal homicide law in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Union Leader reports here on the deaths of two adults and a preborn child who were killed when a man attempted suicide by driving into oncoming traffic. The suicidal man survived the wreck and is facing charges. Rep. Leon Rideout (R-Lancaster) has introduced a fetal homicide bill for consideration in 2014; more on that here on the blog next week.

I love March for Life’s suggestions for what to do with a bored Member of Congress. Not every suggestion requires being an elected official, so look them over and see what inspires you.

South Africa’s Nelson Mandela has died at age 95. A leader of immense persistence and influence, his renunciation of political violence unfortunately did not extend to a rejection of abortion. Dr. Alveda King recalls him with respect and candor in “How I Failed Nelson Mandela.”

The latest annual report from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is out, showing that PP benefited from half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding in the most recent fiscal year. The Susan B. Anthony List has prepared a fact sheet about the report, and National Right to Life’s Dave Andrusko writes about Five Takeaways From PPFA’s Annual Report.

Anyone who thinks Pope Francis is going to put aside Catholic teaching on respect for life needs to catch up on some reading. Yesterday, he called human trafficking “a crime against humanity … whoever uses and exploits the person, even indirectly, makes himself an accomplice of this abuse.”  Last Sunday, he challenged “throwaway culture” (cultura di scarto). “The victims of such a culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest people, sick elderly people, gravely disabled people… who are in danger of being ‘thrown out,’ expelled from a machine that must be efficient at all costs. This false model of man and society embodies a practical atheism, de facto negating the Word of God that says: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’

The European Parliament narrowly rejected a nonbinding policy that would have promoted abortion as a “right.” The matter is sure to come up again.

Southern New Hampshire food pantries and soup kitchens need our help. You can find opportunities to donate and volunteer at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, Corpus Christi food pantry in Nashua, New Horizons in Manchester, and the New Hampshire Food Bank.

The movement is broad: meet secularprolife.org

In the course of writing about the life issues, I’ve communicated with a lot of people I’ve never met in person. Some of us are online pen pals, basically. I just got a little present from one of them.

image

bumper stickers from secularprolife.org

How’s that for a gesture of good will? I love it.

I believe in God. My correspondent doesn’t. We have in common the knowledge that a preborn human being is nothing less than … well, human.

If you’d like more information about Secular Pro-life, go to www.secularprolife.org. Look for their banner at the national March for Life, too.

On this date in 1979: Mother Teresa’s Nobel Prize lecture

© 1986 Túrelio (Wikimedia-Commons) / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0 de

© 1986 Túrelio (Wikimedia-Commons) / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0 de

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was awarded the Nobel Peace prize thirty-four years ago. She may be the only Nobel laureate who ever used her Nobel lecture to promote natural family planning. Her theme was love and commitment and peace, so NFP fit quite well – along with her references to the Holy Family, St. Francis, the generosity of the poor, the need for families to spend time together, why smiling is so important, and “the greatest destroyer of peace today”: abortion.

Whew.

You can hear or read the full lecture at this link. Share it with the kids in your life, too, so they know this woman as a real human being, not a historical artifact.

What she wrote about families hasn’t received nearly as much attention as her work on the right to life. This is from her Nobel lecture, and it’s as compelling now as it was then.

I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten maybe. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see – this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried, and these are difficult days for everybody. Are we there, are we there to receive them, is the mother there to receive the child?

Schedule announced for New Hampshire’s March for Life January 2014

New Hampshire Right to Life has just released the schedule for next months’s March for Life in Concord. The date is Saturday, January 18, a few days ahead of the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

9 a.m. at the Concord Landfill on Airport Drive: memorial service for the preborn children whose remains were found discarded in municipal trash years ago. At that time, prolife activists sought and were refused permission to relocate the remains. Every year since, prolife New Hampshire’s observance of Roe has begun with a brief public service at the landfill’s gate.

10 a.m.: Catholic Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church, 72 South Main Street, about a mile south of the State House

11:15 a.m.: rally on the State House plaza. Address is 107 N. Main, but you can just look for the golden dome. Bring a sign if you’d like, or pick one up at the rally.

Jeanneane Maxon of Americans United for Life (courtesy nhrtl.org)

Jeanneane Maxon of Americans United for Life (courtesy nhrtl.org)

11:45 a.m.: march from the State House, proceeding south on Main Street past the Feminist Health Center (an abortion facility), ending at St. John the Evangelist Church

1 p.m.: program at St. John’s parish center. Hot drinks and food will be available. It’s all free, but bring a donation if you can.

The principal speaker at the program will be Jeanneane Maxon, an attorney with Americans United for Life. I last spoke with her when she came to New Hampshire to testify in favor of the House resolution supporting pregnancy care centers in 2012. Along with the testimony by directors of PCCs in New Hampshire, Jeanneane’s calm and clear presentation to the legislative committee helped to assure that PCCs got the support from the House they deserved. Jeanneane is also on the board of Abby Johnson’s And Then There Were None, the ministry to workers who choose to leave the abortion industry.

Bundle up against the January cold and come to Concord! If the march itself is a problem for you because the weather is bitter or you have limited mobility or you’re traveling with fussy little ones, you can go straight to St. John’s at midday and meet up with the marchers as they arrive.

Photos of 2013’s event here.

Pro-life witness in Argentina a few days ago: the toughness of nonviolence

I was a kid when protests against the Vietnam War were in the news practically daily. An image sticks in my mind of a photo from back then: a young woman walking in front of a line of armed soldiers or National Guardsmen or riot police (all looked the same to me at that age), putting a flower into each gun barrel. It’s odd, what one sees at age ten on the news, persisting in memory to this day.

No one was pointing a gun at the young woman, so her silent statement for peace cost her nothing. Her statement was worthwhile, but she wasn’t at risk when she made it. I realize now the armed men in the photo were probably her age, scared to death themselves, under orders not to respond to provocation from demonstrators whose methods might have been more forceful than the young woman’s.

Both sides chose nonviolence that day. Among the long list of things I’ve learned since age ten: nonviolence is a choice. It’s not a feeling –  that would be simple passivity. It’s not necessarily pacifism, for one may embrace nonviolence while recognizing the right to self-defense. Nonviolence is a choice, and practicing it requires discipline and preparation.

Pro-life men in Argentina assaulted by abortion promoters

Some men from Argentina showed me nonviolence in action last weekend. They were praying outside the cathedral in their town, which was under threats of vandalism from abortion advocates gathered nearby for a conference. The abortion advocates confronted the men, who continued to pray. The men were then assaulted. The abortion demonstrators sprayed paint onto the mens’ crotches and faces,  scrawled swastikas on the men, and pushed their breasts against the mens’ faces. The men refused to respond in kind, remaining steadfast in prayer. The demonstrators failed to get into the cathedral, where 700 people were at prayer.

A video of the incident is here along with an article from LifeSiteNews.com. It isn’t pretty, but you ought to watch it to understand what abortion advocates were willing to do that day.

photo from LifeSiteNews.com of men in prayer outside cathedral in San Juan, Argentina, after assault by abortion advocates

photo from LifeSiteNews.com of men in prayer outside cathedral in San Juan, Argentina, after assault by abortion advocates

Spray paint, swastikas, unwelcome physical contact: violence? You bet it is. Imagine if the people at prayer were women, and the demonstrators were men. Everyone would recognize the violence fast enough in that case.

Now imagine what could have ensued if the men had fought back. Surely some of them wanted to. Get away. Stop profaning my church and mocking my faith. Stop killing children. Such thoughts must have crossed some minds, I think. The provocation was unmistakable and probably nearly irresistable. And yet each man there – without exception, if news reports are accurate – decided to respond to violence with peace and prayer.

Would I have had the self-discipline to do that? I’d like to think so. But really, what would I have done? Every fiber of my being would have wanted to push back and scream. Not doing so would require not only an act of will but also practice and study. I need to develop self-discipline as I’d develop a muscle. It would be silly for me to expect it to come through for me if I never worked it out.

You’ve got to be tough to be peaceful

The Argentinean men may have been strangers to one another until that day, for all I know. If so, more power to them. Preparing as a group for nonviolent action is a much less daunting project than going it alone.

Martin Luther King, Jr. knew about the value of unity and organization to nonviolent public witness. Add his Stride Toward Freedom: the Montgomery Story to your Basic Books list. It’s about the 1955-56 boycott of public buses in Montgomery, Alabama, in an effort to break segregation. Public officials went so far as to put an injunction on carpools, which people were using as a device to avoid using the buses. Ultimately, the boycott worked, and segregation of the buses was declared unconstitutional. The boycott had to last a year in order to prevail, though. Impatience and violence would have undermined the effort. In his book, King outlined some aspects of nonviolence that were critical to the Montgomery effort.

  • Nonviolent resistance isn’t for cowards. It is passive physically, but strongly active spiritually. King pointed out that the weekly mass meetings associated with the boycott always included prayer, and that ministers took the lead exhorting participants to Christian love and nonviolence.
  • Nonviolence does not seek to defeat or humiliate an opponent, but rather to win friendship and understanding.
  • Nonviolence is directed against the forces of evil rather than the persons doing evil.
  • Willingness to accept suffering without retaliation is crucial. King frequently repeated the theme that unearned suffering is redemptive.
  • Have faith in the future and in God’s Providence; “the universe is on the side of justice.”
  • Avoid not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. Motivation must be love, not hate.

All those things ring true where the right to life is concerned, except that the last item – avoiding internal “violence of spirit” – gives me pause. Abortion kills children. The abortion industry fights to prevent accountability for outcomes to women’s health. It wants my money. It has destroyed my confidence in the medical arts, as I see abortion apologists at the state house fight conscience protections for health care professionals who choose not to participate in abortion.

Makes me mad, all that. I can’t pretend to view the landscape with satisfaction. There is real urgency to the call to build a culture of life. To do so with conviction and persuasiveness, without giving way to anger – the “violence of spirit” of which Dr. King wrote – is a challenge I’ll probably have to face every day of my life.

Strategy or tactic?

Pope Benedict XVI in 2007: “It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not a mere tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God’s love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone.”

An attitude, not a tactic. The same attitude held by the men on the steps of the cathedral in Argentina. An awesome challenge to me, really, and to all of us.

Speaking of attitude, I treasure a letter I received in 1996 from Pastor Bob Mears in New Hampshire, may he rest in peace. A man had been convicted back then of murdering two abortion facility workers in the Boston area, and a few activists in our area were being careful not to make any public comment about the convicted man, even to condemn his actions. “Not our issue,” said these people. They were totally wrong and I said so. So did Pastor Mears, in much more articulate fashion. I wrote to him to thank him for his outspokenness. He replied with this note.

Dear Mrs. Kolb, Thanks for your note of 6/24. I believe the issue of violence is crucial. We are Christians first and Americans second. For us the example and teaching of Jesus are decisive. Can you imagine Him wielding an attack weapon like Rambo? He calls us to take up the cross, not the sword. It’s a much more effective weapon because you don’t have to lay down the truth and justice when you use it. Blessings to you – Bob Mears