From: William Gibbons Jr
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2016 11:13 PM
To: 'william's email list'
Subject: Abortion and the election (personal commentary)

 

 

Greetings to each of you, 

A couple of weeks ago, around the time of Fall Color Cruise & Island Festival, I received a couple of emails from which I am quoting.  In fact, the first one was the entire email from a close friend.  The second, also from a close friend, had an extra sentence.  This is kind of my finally getting back with them, and with any of you who are as stressed as I was about the struggle of what to do this election.  My emails tend to be somewhat wordier, of course (I guess that would qualify as one of those "British understatements"). 

"I was wrong about holding my nose to vote.  I think I need to look into purchasing [a] gas mask!"

"I have, along with millions of people, [been] having a real hard time with this election.
Not sure what to do with my vote, so hope God will provide insight."

I suspect there are many, perhaps some of you, in my life circle who would think I could never vote for someone like Donald Trump.  Under normal circumstances they would be right.  I have heard many people say he [Trump] is a different person in private, but I still have to face the fact that in public he is the most obnoxious presidential candidate I have ever seen.  Plus, I do not believe in building walls.  I do not believe in excluding people based on their religion, or any other criteria, except that they pose a clear real danger to others.  I was a business owner for over forty years, and have lived long enough to know that trickle-down economics does not work in practical application.  And, it almost always comes hand in hand with loosening environmental rules.  Allowing immature people to destroy the very earth we all depend upon to sustain our lives is an incomprehensible reality of those who look at life from only a business standpoint. 

"There is no business to conduct on a dead planet."

- David Brower

But, around a month ago I received a piece of political literature (by mail or email) which said something astounding.  I believe it was from the Michigan Right to Life organization.  Its headline said abortion was the number one cause of death in the United States.  I immediately questioned whether that could actually be true.  I had always read heart disease, which I have, and cancer, which I had only a brief encounter with, have clearly been listed as the number one and two causes of death in the United States for as long as I have been paying attention to such things.  So, I decided to research the facts for myself to discover the truth.  What I found is this.  The primary reason abortion is not widely recognized as the leading cause of death in the United States is because the CDC does not consider it to be a cause of death.  The logic here is obvious.  The CDC does not consider those whose lives are aborted to be real people.  If they are not actual people, there can be no cause of death.  I, on the other hand, very much consider the unborn to be real people.  And do indeed consider abortion to be a "cause" of death.  When included as such, abortion really is the leading cause of death in the United States. 

2014 Causes of Death

Information is from the CDC except 2014 abortions.  The CDC does not consider abortion to be a cause of death, and therefore does not include it in its statistics.  Although not complete by any means, it does somewhat track abortions however (see notes below).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services, a department of the United States government. 

 

•Abortions: 954,000 (see notes below)

•Heart disease: 614,348

•Cancer: 591,699

•Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101

•Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053

•Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103

•Alzheimer's disease: 93,541

•Diabetes: 76,488

•Influenza and pneumonia: 55,227

•Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,146

•Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773

 

The following are from http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/: 

•Based on available state-level data, an estimated 954,000 abortions took place in 2014 — down from approximately 983,000 abortions in 2013 and 1.02 million abortions in 2012. 

•In 2011, 1.06 million abortions took place in the U.S., down from 1.21 million abortions in 2008, 1.2 million in 2005, 1.29 million in 2002, 1.31 million in 2000 and 1.36 million in 1996. From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions occurred in the U.S. (AGI). 

•Twenty-one percent of all U.S. pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. (AGI). 

•In 2011, the highest number of reported abortions occurred in California (181,730), New York (138,370) and Florida (84,990); the fewest occurred in Wyoming (120), South Dakota (600) and North Dakota (1,250) (AGI). 

•Mississippi had the lowest abortion rate in 2011 (Wyoming had too few abortions for reliable tabulation), and New York had the highest (AGI). There were approximately 17.5 births for every abortion in Mississippi and approximately 2.3 births for every abortion in New York. 

•The annual number of legal induced abortions in the United States doubled between 1973 and 1979, and peaked in 1990. There was a slow but steady decline through the 1990's. Overall, the number of annual abortions decreased by 6% between 2000 and 2009, with temporary spikes in 2002 and 2006 (CDC). 

•From 2011 to 2012, the total number and ratio of reported abortions decreased by 4% (CDC). 

From http://www.cdc.gov/Reproductivehealth/Data_Stats/index.htm (from CDC statistics) 

•In 2012, 699,202 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2012 was 13.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 210 abortions per 1,000 live births. 

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction
is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

- Thomas Jefferson 

While my personal perspectives on abortion are very conservative, I am what would likely be categorized as a pro-life choice person.  As an independent, I watched both the Republican and Democratic conventions.  I heard most of the key speeches, including Trump's and Clinton's acceptance speeches.  I thought she came across as very presidential.  Unfortunately, she also made it very clear that she completely supported full government funding of Planned Parenthood, who happens to be the largest provider of abortions in our country.  Almost 1,000,000 (one million) Americans per year never get to see the light of day because in that nine-month preparation period, their lives are terminated.  Allowing them to be considered as real persons, that would be roughly the equivalent of a World Trade Center attack (9/11) every single day of the year.  I cannot even truly wrap my head around whatever level of carnage those numbers represent.  But my heart says I cannot just walk away from them in silence.  I know for certain now, I cannot vote for someone who has made it clear she chooses to completely support allowing abortion to remain the number one cause of death in our country.  Even efforts to make sure women are properly informed, given healthy alternatives, and simply protected by good medical guidelines and practices should they choose abortion, have often been struck down by the type of judges Clinton has promised to appoint.  I could not in good conscience, and did not vote for Clinton.  I have heard all of the arguments of the proponents of abortion.  The issue is always sidetracked under the guise of free will choice, which God clearly gives to each of us.  But, so far, most of the voices I have heard supporting abortion, to one degree or another, come across as the self-centered, egotistical, me first culture so embedded in our country (I can still see much of that in myself, and I do not like it).  Unfortunately, Trump could be the poster boy for these less than desirable, and completely unimpressive, traits.  Coming to a decision has been a journey of great stress. 

In the past, when I have not been impressed by either candidate, I usually vote for the Green party, fully realizing my vote will decide nothing but perhaps keeping the alternative parties in the system. This is not one of our tweedledeedee or tweedledeedum elections however.  With abortion as the number one cause of death in our country, and liberal judges legislating, instead of just doing their jobs of deciding on constitutionality and interpreting the laws that pass muster, the choice is too stark this time.  I believe I have voted in every presidential election since I came of age to do so.  I have voted in most other elections as well.  As an independent (I voted for Obama the first time he ran, and for George Bush at least once), I usually look at a variety of issues, and what I think of the person, before making a choice.  That got me nowhere this time.  But I kept thinking of those almost a million Americans who never get to see the light of day.  An argument can be made that Trump will make life miserable for a lot of people. But these are all people with choices.  The child waiting to be born has no choices just yet (that we are aware of).  Who knows if there could have been another Washington, Lincoln, Gandhi (yes, I know he was not an American), Martin Luther King, or Peace Pilgrim among them.  Only God knows for certain. 

This is the first time I have ever needed to resort to bringing my vote down to a single issue.  But, in the end I decided to vote completely pro-life.  From top to bottom, if Right to Life of Michigan endorsed a candidate, they got my vote.  (RTL provided a list by districts in their Right to Life of Michigan News.  It is apparently also available at www.RTL.org, by email at info@rtl.org, or by phone at 616-532-2300.)  If Trump by some fluke, and the help of reluctant votes like mine, manages to astound everyone yet again, I will need to fervently pray he can rise to the occasion (it is not without precedent), bringing his ego and mouth under some reasonable control.  I visited more than two dozen websites, read AARP comparisons, watched debates and conventions, did much soul searching, and a lot of praying seeking God's will along this journey.  I am not usually overly vocal about who I vote for.  Even feeling lead to compose this email, and after weeks of making notes, it was a stressful decision to sit down to write it.  The content is solely my own personal opinions and choices, and does not reflect the viewpoints of anything I am connected with (except perhaps RTL, I suppose, but even then not necessarily). 

Whether you agree with me, or stand totally opposed in your viewpoints, I strongly encourage you to vote. Democracy, to function well, needs all its citizens' opinions to be heard from.  Though no one ever gets all of what they personally want, Democracy works best when all of its citizens peacefully participate. 

People tell me all the time that my spiritual, philosophical, or perspective emails are way too long. It is one of the reasons you do not get very many of them. So I am stopping this one here. The rest of my thoughts and notes are on my website.  If you are interested, you can click on this link to read more. 

http://www.wsharing.com/WS-NLE-161031-AP.htm#EmailEnd

God’s peace,

william
Acts 5:29
 

My standard 'General Notes' followed my signature as with all my emails. They were eliminated here for continuity and space considerations. 

_____________


As you might have picked up on by the past tense of verbs I used above, I had already voted before I sat down to compose this letter from my notes.  One of the articles I read in the AARP magazine explained if you are over the age of 60 in Michigan, you can choose to vote by absentee ballot simply by requesting one.  So, between Fall Color Cruise & Island Festival and our Teaching & Sharing Centers Board of Trustees meeting the following weekend, I dropped by city hall and officially requested one.  It arrived within two days.  Within another few days, I found myself up alone late one night.  I sat down and cast my votes.  The stress I had been feeling about voting was gone.  Only the stress connected with writing this remained. 

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 John 8:31-32

This has been an interesting political year (or so). One thing made very clear is there are a lot of angry and frustrated people in our country.  I think much of that is the result of what our culture emphasizes.  Mostly, we have been sold a bill of goods.  Sometimes it comes packaged very nicely with an enticing, but very ambiguous, slogan like the "American dream."  Unfortunately, most its components has had the effect of increasing an "us and them" attitude, influencing greatly how each of us functions.  Everyone of us has a "them" group (or many) we would not be too thrilled to participate with, or help, unless it were to help "them" be more like "us." 

Freedom is a tricky business. and make no mistake, freedom is what it is ultimately all about. Do you want to be rich? Why? Few people want to be rich just for the sake of being rich. In truth what you likely want is the financial freedom to buy whatever you desire, the freedom to be able to go wherever you wish, the freedom to do as you please, the freedom to be who you are. Just about everything boils down to the basics of freedom from worry, freedom from fear, freedom from hurt, freedom from bondage (emotional, physical, financial, across the board). I remain hopeful that the Teaching & Sharing Centers organization will emerge as a helpful institution in this quest for real freedom. When asked once what we teach and share, I finally concluded, beyond that a strong relationship with God is the ultimate core to real freedom, the most important thing we teach and share, is to freely teach and share. Mostly we try to do it by example. In the end, it is the answer to gaining freedom. Most of us know this intuitively, some do not. But, generally speaking, almost all parents teach and share freely with their children. Expand that to include other people's children, and you lose a portion of those as the beginning of an "us" and "them" mentality. As you progress to adults, and people who do not look, think, or behave like "us," the category of "them" increases, and teaching and sharing decreases. We can change that. The best path to being free, is to freely teach and share. Once again, I invite you to join us, the T&SC organization, on this journey. 
 

"My concern is not whether God is on our side;
my greatest concern is to be on God's side,
for God is always right"

- Abraham Lincoln
 

 

One of the signboards out in front of the Center asks, "what would Jesus do?"  I sure wish He were here to answer the question directly this election.  But I felt the need to add my voice about the continuing outrageous number of abortions in our country.  I pray I stand in God's light as I do, for I agree with Lincoln's quote above. 

Planned Parenthood’s most recent report states that from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012, the organization performed 327,166 abortions and only 2,197 adoption referrals. That equals just 1 adoption for every 149 abortions. 

ABOUT ABORTION AND WHAT DO I MEAN WHEN I CALL MYSELF PRO-LIFE CHOICE

As mentioned already, my personal perspectives on abortion are very conservative, and I stand firmly in the pro-life camp. Still, I am a person who champions choice in all areas of life. I call myself a pro-life choice person, because I believe God is clearly all about choice. He is the Author of our free will human life. In His infinite wisdom, He has placed the unborn child under one person's control, the mother. He built great love into that relationship. At the Center, I have even seen it firsthand in the unfortunate form of guilt and remorse from women who lament having chosen abortion with the words, "my child would have been [age] years old this year." 

God grants us all free will. I take a more traditional Native American position on how it relates to others. While I can teach and share my perspectives and experience, and encourage others to always choose the path of life, it is not my place to tell someone else what to believe, or what they should do with their life. A person's life is ultimately between them and their Creator. Period. I am just william. God is God.  As a society, we do however set reasonable guidelines, we call laws. We are not allowed to drive on whatever side of the road strikes our fancy. Consequences to others would be too great, so there are rules against it, and personal consequences for ignoring them. I have seen no reasonableness on either side of the abortion issue. Both sides seem entrenched in an all or nothing mentality. My choice is always to go with God. To the best of my ability to discern it, I do not see God supporting wholesale abortion.  The reality though is clearly more women choose abortion over adoption, but why? 

It is obviously not because of a lack of suitable families seeking to adopt a child. Each year in the United States, about 51,000 American children are placed for adoption. In addition, about 6,500 foreign children are adopted by Americans, for a total of a little under 58,000 children adopted per year. There are no national statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt, but experts estimate it is somewhere between one and two million couples. If adoptions replaced half of the abortions performed each year, there would still be way more than enough couples waiting to adopt the children. I suspect such a change would require a shift in our culture to one that more broadly respects life. We are not anywhere close to that now. 

"A man's heart away from nature becomes hard,
and a lack of respect for growing living things
soon leads to a lack of respect for humans too."

- Native American elder

Disrespecting life at any level leads to disrespecting life at every level. I am amazed that pro-abortion liberals are not at all willing to consider the violence we see all across our nation in any way connected to the casual attitudes about abortion and the violence committed against the defenseless and helpless unborn. While those who are personal friends usually know I am strongly pro-life, the only time I recall writing about it previously was to condemn, and make people aware of, a barbaric procedure referred to as partial-birth abortion. A clear example of how far things will go without any respect for life. Partial-birth abortion is the one which outraged me the most when I found out about it years ago. Without going into the gruesome details, as the baby is in the process of being born, they kill it before it is fully out of the mother so it can be legally deemed an abortion rather than murder. I have never understood how such a thing could be legal in this country under the guise of "choice."  That procedure finally became illegal in 2003, although abortion providers have apparently found ways around the law for some years. 

Much like an acorn, or a maple seed, in the ground, once it sprouts it is a tree. It may not look like much of a tree at first, but it will never grow into a pig, or an orange on a tree, or a human arm. It starts out as a tree, and it matures as a tree . . . always. I consider the conceived human to be the same. The biggest difference is that I could, with the utmost of care, move the seedling tree to a more suitable spot if it needed to be. Unlike a tree though, I do not have the ability to carefully transplant an unborn child if it is someplace someone does not want it. Since God, in his infinite wisdom, has placed the new baby under the initial control of a single individual, the only comprehensive abortion law I could see myself whole heartedly supporting, is one that said if the child has a chance of being viable outside of the womb you can no longer kill it for convenience. It must somehow, by whatever safe medical procedures are available, be delivered into the hands of those of us who believe in the sanctity of life. We do not allow parents to kill children (at any age once they are born) simply because they do not want them. The same should be true for an unborn child which is viable outside of the womb. Then it would be up to us, who believe in the sanctity of life, to put our money and efforts where our mouth is, and have facilities and procedures in place to care for each baby, until the child has sufficiently grown to be placed for adoption. 

I believe one of the great failings of the pro-life movement was when they allowed the pro-abortion faction to gain the upper hand in referring to themselves by the lofty sounding label of being "pro-choice."  Abortion proponents are not at all about choice. Unfortunately, they are often mostly about making money. They do not feel they should be subjected to the same guidelines and rules as other medical providers for the safety of those receiving their services. They do not feel they should have to provide alternative information or warn women about the substantial psychological aftereffects (let alone any physical). Unregulated, they claim a physical complications rate of only 1%. No one seems to question the possibility that an industry with no oversight might be lying, especially considering Canada, which does regulate and track abortion, has a 10% complications rate. Where is the real choice when frightened women at a time of great emotional stress are lead to "choose" abortion, with no real protection, and no helpful guidance regarding true alternatives. I have seen percentages running much higher, but the general conservative estimate is that even though abortion constitutes only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services, it accounts for one fourth (25%), or more, of its income. If it is all about being pro-choice, then anyone voicing that perspective should be going all out to make sure there are many choices available for women who find themselves in difficult circumstances. Planned Parenthood supposedly goes over all the options. But they cannot be encouraging options other than abortion very much when they have just 1 adoption for every 149 abortions. Considering the attitudes and philosophies of their founder, this is not at all surprising. But it is not all them either. Under the headline 25 years, 25 million lives, the Right to Life of Michigan News states, "The future of as many as 25 million lives is also at stake when looking at the issue of abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court continues to have an outsized influence on national politics and policies. Some legal thinkers and justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have openly suggested that Roe v. Wade did not go far enough in promoting abortion rights, arguing that issues such as requiring tax funded abortions should be guaranteed beyond the realm of legislatures and voters." We need to be excelling at making sure women in the distressed state of an unwanted pregnancy have the chance to fully explore every choice and option, and have adequate help to choose well in the bigger picture, not just take what appears to be the easy way out. Because years of experience have taught us, abortion never ends up being the easy way, even though the pregnancy is gone. Those women visiting the Center, with the emotional scars which remain years after the fact, and the ever present guilt which causes such remarks as, "my child would have been [age] years old this year," are clear examples. Taking a life is easy if you pretend it is not a life, or rationalize it is no different than in nature. But willfully terminating a life casts a long shadow. Choosing life is almost always the very best option. Any real pro-choice person would go out of their way to make sure women, young or old, know that. The choice would still be theirs to make. 


"If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a horse have?
Four, calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg"

- Abraham Lincoln

"Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery,
I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

- Abraham Lincoln
 

We can endlessly debate when life begins, and what to call that life. Just because someone claims the unborn child is not a real life, does not make it so. And likewise, just because I believe the developing child to be a real person does not make my perspective correct. Truth is always what God believes. My own beliefs and perspectives are usually arrived at using the questions what would Jesus do, and what is God asking of me? If you do not believe there is a God, or believe that God's perspectives are irrelevant for your life, then you have greater problems and hurdles to overcome than deciding about abortion or who to vote for. I have been on both sides of that coin for about an equal number of years now. I can unequivocally say, placing God in the middle of your life, instead of pushing Him off to the sidelines, makes a night and day difference in the way you perceive things, and how well they play out.  Still, it all boils down to the biblical admonition to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So, the most basic question of all is, would you have preferred that your mother aborted you. If you are a person that would actually answer yes to that question, you need to come see me at the Center. We need to explore how you perceive God, His immense love for you, and how truly important your life is to God, indeed to all of us. 

THE ABORTION ARTICLE I FOUND MOST INTERESTING IN MY ONLINE SEARCHES

     
 

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban's Legal Loophole
By Lauren Green (Published August 20, 2007)

Much was made of Congress upholding  the 2003 partial-birth abortion ban this past April. Pro-life groups applauded, while pro-choice groups ranted that it was chipping away at Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that made abortion legal in the United States. 

But, just last week, a story surfaced in the Boston Globe about how doctors are using lethal drugs to kill fetuses in the womb, so the baby is not alive when it's "delivered." Apparently, it's all legal. It allows doctors to circumvent the partial-birth abortion law, or at least the spirit of it, because the intent of the law is to prevent babies being aborted that would otherwise be able to live outside the womb. As the Boston Globe story points out the partial-birth law is written so broadly that the injection procedure sits within legal boundaries. 

The report says that in Boston, three major Harvard-affiliated hospitals have responded to the ban by using the injection technique: Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women's, and Beth Israel Deaconess. The injections are the new standard operating procedures for abortions beginning around the 20-weeks' gestation — that's the middle of the fifth month and halfway through full term. 

Tom Strode of The Baptist Press wrote that it "may violate the spirit of the 2003 law, but it apparently does not transgress the letter of the ban." 

A doctor from a California hospital commented that the procedure is too risky and "the only clear benefit is a legal one to the physician." 

It's so odd to be talking about matters of life and death in such a matter-of-fact way. These decisions are filled with emotion and heartache. And, the subject of abortion is especially difficult and touchy. On one hand are the rights of the mother to order her life as she sees fit; and, on the other side is the constitutional right of the unborn baby to have a chance at “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," as designated for "all men created." 

I've known women who've had abortions, as well as those who, for religious reasons, decided not to have an abortion. I've seen the great pain that each woman had in her decision. And, I've seen a couple of women who had no pain whatsoever, they were very glad to get rid of the problem. 

One woman who had an abortion was a typical college co-ed discovering her sexuality for the first time, not living in her parents' upper middle-class home in the 'burbs. She was very intelligent and very talented. She knew how women got pregnant. But like many of us, she was willing to take risks for a night or two of pleasure. The result was a pregnancy. She had the abortion after painfully mulling over her options. Her future with a child would mean all her career plans would be quite different. A future without a child at that point would mean continuing on course without any problems. A future with having gone through an entire pregnancy then giving a child given up for adoption, would make for a level of emotional despair that no 19- or 20-year-old wants to deal with. So, the choice was made to end the pregnancy at around seven weeks. She said afterward, "It was a boy." 

And at that point I knew her life would never be "on course" again. It's not to say she regretted the decision. She has never said that. But, there was an emotional cost that she hadn't expected. 

The woman who didn't have the abortion was also a college co-ed. She was practically engaged to her boyfriend at the time, so, of course, having sex seemed normal because they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. But, something changed in him. He began to be abusive, physically, and she knew she needed to leave the relationship permanently, otherwise she wouldn't survive. She wanted no part of him, but she was carrying his child. Her religious beliefs said abortion was not an option, so she gave the baby girl up for adoption. It was the kind of open adoption where the adoptive parents send her pictures of her little girl, who is now 12 years old. The woman knows her baby's name, what she looks like and what she's accomplishing in her life. That has given her considerable joy. But, at the same time, she has continued to struggle with romantic relationships. Women of abusive boyfriends or husbands usually do, since it's a cycle that's hard to break. 

But it's odd how our opinions change over the years as we get more information. If you had asked me at 13 years old what my views on abortion were, I would have told you I was staunchly for it. Back then, I couldn't imagine anyone not being for abortion. It was every woman's right. Of course then I had raging hormones and just thought that having a way to end a pregnancy was a great way to avoid the wrath of my parents and avoid any sort of "bad girl" stigma. I was only thinking of what was convenient for me. I hadn't learned to be awed by life, nature or people. Children rarely do look at things except from their own perspective of how something benefits or doesn't benefit them. I would probably say that there are lots of adults who think that way too. The ability to put someone else's needs before your own and to love sacrificially, is what I believe we're on this earth to learn; some learn it faster than others. 

I would rarely expect a girl barely entering puberty to understand the larger picture of what her life meant to the people around her. I took for granted that my mother loved me and would do anything for me. I could intellectually understand that "God is love," but deep in my being, it wasn't a reality. There was a chasm between those words and my ability to live as if I believed them. 

But something changed for me in my teen years, when I asked my mother how she felt about abortion. I was ready for a debate against an "older" generation woman who didn't understand women's liberation issues. But her answer shocked me. She said she really didn't know. Abortion was never legal during any of her five pregnancies. She related how she always got so deathly sick while pregnant, that when she found out she was pregnant with her last two (my sister and I), she said if abortion had been available, she might have taken that option. "But," she said, “that would have deprived her of the children that have given her the greatest joy.” She said, "I can't imagine my life without my two youngest girls." She says now she's grateful she never had the option to make such a life-altering decision. 

Her response hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Legal abortion for my mother could have meant my life would have been snuffed out before it even began. And it wasn't that my mother was single and wanted to wait until she got married. She and my father were married and already had three children, a girl and two boys. 

It wouldn't have been a financial decision either. My parents were never close to being rich, and barely would have been considered middle class. But they always provided what we needed, and were always joyfully willing to make whatever sacrifices they could for their children. 

The decision would've been purely because of the severity of pain and discomfort during her pregnancies. Was her health at risk? I don't know. (I don't think it was preeclampsia or something life-threatening, but maybe just the most severe morning sickness you can imagine; 40 years ago, pregnant woman were handled a bit differently.) My mother would have had her tubes tied after her third child, but back in those days, they'd only perform the procedure on women who'd had at least five children. I was my mom's fifth child. That's why I'm the baby of the family … and that's why I'm here writing this today. 

My mother knows that if abortion had been an option for her, I might not be here. She can't imagine life without me. But then, I can't imagine not being alive. If I weren't here, where would I be? I can't begin to wrap my brain around that scenario. It brings up shades of the classic move "It's A Wonderful Life," where George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, gets to see how his hometown would have looked had he not been born. It's a beautiful story. 

But none of us will ever know what life would've been like if we were never born. I can only start imagining. Where would I be? Would I be dead? Does a seven or 10 week old fetus know it's alive? Does it ask all sorts of existential questions we all want to know like, “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, and "What is the purpose of life?" 

It would be great if the movie "Look Who's Talking" were actually true... that babies talk like a savvy Bruce Willis in their mother's womb. But the reality is, we don't know what babies are thinking in the womb or even if they do think. There's brain activity, there's even pain and reaction to stimuli. They suck their thumbs and move around a lot. We're really limited when it comes to knowing what a baby is actually "thinking." 

But let me tell you what changed my mind completely about abortion. I met Dr. Bernard Nathanson; for anyone not in news or active in the abortion debate, you may not know who he is, but you know his work. He was one of the original founders of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL.) He coined the phrase, "A woman's right to choose" and "reproductive rights." He performed more than 60,000 abortions and is now staunchly pro-life. 

What changed his mind was seeing for the first time, through the technology of ultrasound, what actually happens to the unborn child during an abortion. You can read more about his thoughts and what he saw in his book, The Hand of God

My opinion about abortion wasn’t changed by what he said, but from what he did. Here was a man who had been in entrenched in one camp and was thoroughly knowledgeable about the process and the political agenda he helped form. Then, suddenly, he was moved by the tiniest of beings. He'd been transformed by the sight of the most innocent and helpless of humans, the unborn. And his decision changed me. 

Even though I've never had an abortion or been pregnant, I have been affected by it — affected by people who have made a decision one way or the other to have or not to have, and by those who never had the option on the table. But what I do know is that humans are just not qualified for making all sorts of life-altering decisions, because we simply don't have all the facts. We can't predict the future, of how things will turn out if we choose door one or door two. But regardless, choose we must. Not because we should, but because we can. 

Our legal system is filled with all sorts of contradictions and loopholes. It allows us to operate in the realm of not what is right, but what is legal. It's not always the same. One always trumps the other, and the courts are filled with those cases. And unfortunately, in the litigious society we live in, there are several generations growing up who've never been taught to live by the highest standard possible. What is legal is not always right … but what is right should need no law. 

 
   


DOWN SYNDROME AND ABORTION

Down Syndrome came up right away in visiting sites about abortion. In the past, it has been stated that 90% of unborn babies diagnosed as having down syndrome are aborted. That is false. The actual number is apparently around two thirds (67%), which is still troublesome in my book. Even pro-life organizations are trying to dispel the erroneous ninety percent figure, because it often has a pro-abort influence on couples. Unless they are already very familiar with down syndrome, they think if such a high percentage of people choose to abort down syndrome babies, there must be a really good reason for it. 

I have seen the signs on television declaring, "black lives matter." Yes, they do, but the broad truth is every life matters, Muslim lives, Jewish lives, the lives of the poor, lives of the ignorant, and yes, even unborn lives, including those with down syndrome.  A quick easy fix of eliminating the challenges of down syndrome, or other babies deemed less than perfect, by simply not allowing them to be born, leaves me stunned and not even knowing what to say about a future such a choice presents. 
 

"There is no such thing as 'redemptive violence.' Violence does not save;
it only destroys in both short and long term."

- Richard Rohr


MY CONSERVATIVE RIGHT TO LIFE STANCE

As I already said, a culture which disrespects life at any level will soon disrespect life at all levels. Very few people on this planet truly know why they are here, or what they might be trying to accomplish in the larger perspective spiritually. Most of those around me are more liberal on abortion than I personally am, even those who are pro-life. I also do not believe in war, the death penalty, or assisted suicide.  To give or take life is God's prerogative. A Muslim life is no less precious to God than an unborn American baby life. War, or even the basic use of military force, is always an admission of failure to accomplish something peacefully. There is nothing noble, glorious, or patriotic about it. While those who end up having to put their lives on the line most assuredly deserve respect, seeing the horror firsthand, they most especially would have hoped for a better way to solve or settle an issue. At age 66, this is what I now believe. 

I am aware I have enough struggle just working on my own sin, not the least of which is judgments.  Even after years of praying for the ability not to judge others, I can look at a person and their behavior, and find all sorts of evaluations entering into my mind without truly knowing anything about them. 

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"  - Matthew 7:1-3 (RSV) 

I read those verses daily for a long time, and still read them at least once a week.  I honestly do not have a problem with anyone else's sin. That is between them and God.  But I believe in democracy.  I believe I need to participate by voting in elections.  And, I believe it is important to vote my conscience.  There is little difference in the other aspects of my pro-life philosophies.  But there is a stark difference in their abortion stances.  That is what lead me to vote pro-life this year, all the way down the ballot. 


THERE WAS ANOTHER ISSUE WHICH HELPED SWAY MY CHOICE

I was not much of a reader yet when I was in school, I usually passed tests by paying attention in class. To the best of my recollection, creating laws is the venue of Congress, not that of the nine unelected individuals sitting on the Supreme Court. I do not like the trend of nine unelected officials making laws. Even if it were the conservative judges going in this direction, I would see it as dangerous. But the truth is, conservative judges seem to be more constitutionally focused, while the liberal judges appear to always be more oriented toward a social issue standpoint. I believe they are overstepping their bounds. The court system rules on the constitutionality of laws, and interprets those laws deemed valid. As far as I know, they are not supposed to be making the laws. That is the responsibility of the legislative branch of our government. I really do not like the idea of nine unelected officials making significant life impacting laws for the rest of us. That is not my concept of democracy. If liberal courts get to continue making laws, rather than simply ruling on them, there is no limit to the toll they can take on democracy. I already received a political letter from a right to work organization which sees trouble ahead even though the vast majority of Americans support the right to work concept, as opposed to being denied the freedom of choice whether or not to belong to a union. Along with unfettered abortion, ultra-liberal courts usurping the legislative process was an influence. Clinton champions both. 

Those who feel marginalized and powerless are not always in one of the "groups" classified as minorities. I suspect these are many of the people Trump has resonated with. 


GAY MARRIAGE

I actually thought about a year ago that I should have something on my website about my views on both abortion and homosexuality. I made a few notes, but then lost interest, and threw them away. Pertaining to the above section, the fallout from the supreme court gay marriage decision has lead me to add the topic here as well. 

     
 

"Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises," acknowledges Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges, "and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here."

He explains that while that "sincere, personal opposition" cannot be "enacted law and public policy" without harming gay couples and violating the Fourteenth Amendment, he favors a continued "open and searching debate" between those who favor and oppose same-sex marriage.

"It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned," writes Kennedy in a paragraph that will likely become the focus of scrutiny by church-state experts.

"The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths," he continues, "and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered."

 
     


"Tolerance has become militantly intolerant."

- Kevin DeYoung


The excerpt above, from one website quoting Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority in the case which legalized gay marriage, sounds reasonable enough. But that is not the way it is playing out. An Iowa wedding chapel, art gallery, flower shop, and bistro; Oregon bakers; a Washington florist; a Colorado bakery; New York farmers; Arizona artists; a Kentucky T-shirt printer, and New Mexico photographers have all learned that some things do not play out in real life the nice sounding way supreme court justices might make them out to be in their rulings. Jobs and businesses are being lost, and fines are being levied as religious freedom takes a back seat to civil rights law. It is a tough call, all the way around. The backlash potential is enormous. In the 1800s, the Cherokees thought they had won the ultimate victory, when the United States Supreme Court ruled they were a distinct and sovereign nation, and that the laws of the State of Georgia held no sway over them. We soon learned that supreme power does not rest in any one branch of a three branch government. Being forced to participate in gay marriages against deeply held religious beliefs, or face lawsuits and severe penalties, does not strike me as the same category as everyone being allowed to buy a house where they want, apply for a job they desire, or go a restaurant of their choice, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I did run across one reasonable voice in all that I read. 

     
 

"I would never want to coerce any fundamentalist to provide services for my wedding — or anything else for that matter — if it made them in any way uncomfortable. The idea of suing these businesses to force them to provide services they are clearly uncomfortable providing is anathema to me. I think it should be repellent to the gay rights movement as well. 

The truth is: we’re winning this argument. We’ve made the compelling moral case that gay citizens should be treated no differently by their government than straight citizens. And the world has shifted dramatically in our direction. Inevitably, many fundamentalist Christians and Orthodox Jews and many Muslims feel threatened and bewildered by such change and feel that it inchoately affects their religious convictions. I think they’re mistaken — but we’re not talking logic here. We’re talking religious conviction. My view is that in a free and live-and-let-live society, we should give them space."  - Andrew Sullivan 

 
     

When Donna and I were married, in order to get married in the church, the pastor required that we actually believe in God, and have some sort of relationship with that particular church. You could not just walk in off the street and demand the use of his services and the church building. Not all pastors feel this way, but considering this pastor's beliefs, it seemed quite reasonable. If it had not seem so, there were plenty of other places to get married. For those of us who take our relationship with God seriously, God comes before all else. Making us criminals for such a belief, or just calling us bigots, does not, and will not, change that. The dissenting judges in the gay marriage case saw significant problems ahead. 

With regard to the bakery, one website I read, asking what Jesus would do, concluded He would have baked them a wedding cake. That is one possibility, of course. He was pretty accepting of where people were at in their journeys. But he had many powers at his disposal. Asking what Jesus would do does not mean everyone is going to come up with the same answer. He might have also just spoken a word and change their whole perspective on life, and sex. 

     
 

Chief Justice John Roberts is less confident. In his dissent, he argues that today’s decision "creates serious questions about religious liberty." 

"Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority—actually spelled out in the Constitution," he writes. "Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for dissenting religious practice." But he says the Supreme Court is too much of a "blunt instrument" to do likewise. 

"The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to 'advocate' and 'teach' their views of marriage," writes Roberts. "The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to 'exercise' religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses." 

Roberts looks ahead to the likelihood of future conflicts between gay rights and religious rights, such as the tax status of conservative Christian colleges. He notes: Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today. 

In his own dissent, Justice Samuel Alito argues today's ruling will make it "impossible" for further religious exemptions to be created. "If the issue of same-sex marriage had been left to the people of the States, it is likely that some States would recognize same-sex marriage and others would not. It is also possible that some States would tie recognition to protection for conscience rights," he writes. "The majority today makes that impossible. By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas." 

Alito notes: The majority attempts, toward the end of its opinion, to reassure those who oppose same-sex marriage that their rights of conscience will be protected. We will soon see whether this proves to be true. I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools. 

In his own dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas argues that "the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect." 

"It appears all but inevitable that [civil marriage and religious marriage] will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples," Thomas writes. He continues: The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability. It makes only a weak gesture toward religious liberty in a single paragraph. And even that gesture indicates a misunderstanding of religious liberty in our Nation’s tradition. Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for “religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Religious liberty is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlated to the civil restraints placed upon religious practice. 

Although our Constitution provides some protection against such governmental restrictions on religious practices, the People have long elected to afford broader protections than this Court’s constitutional precedents mandate. Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty. 

 
     

One of the first items I copied and pasted for this subject was text quoting Chief Justice John Roberts. It was on a site which printed excerpts from Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, and the Chief Justice writing for the minority opinion, in boxes side by side. Because it resonated with me, I am going to go ahead and include it here, even though some of it is already mentioned above. 

     
 

John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, wrote in his June 26, 2015 dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges

"As the Court explained two Terms ago, 'until recent years . . .  marriage between a man and a woman no doubt had been thought of by most people as essential to the very definition of that term and to its role and function throughout the history of civilization. This universal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is no historical coincidence. Marriage did not come about as a result of a political movement, discovery, disease, war, religious doctrine, or any other moving force of world history — and certainly not as a result of a prehistoric decision to exclude gays and lesbians. It arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship." (pages 4-5) 

"The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child's prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways. Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond. Society has recognized that bond as marriage." (page 5) 

"Stripped of its shiny rhetorical gloss, the majority’s argument is that the Due Process Clause gives same-sex couples a fundamental right to marry because it will be good for them and for society. If I were a legislator, I would certainly consider that view as a matter of social policy. But as a judge, I find the majority’s position indefensible as a matter of constitutional law . . .  Allowing unelected federal judges to select which unenumerated rights rank as 'fundamental' — and to strike down state laws on the basis of that determination — raises obvious concerns about the judicial role." (page 11) 

"Unlike criminal laws banning contraceptives and sodomy, the marriage laws at issue here involve no government intrusion. They create no crime and impose no punishment. Same-sex couples remain free to live together, to engage in intimate conduct, and to raise their families as they see fit. No one is 'condemned to live in loneliness' by the laws challenged in these cases — no one." (page 17-18) 

"One immediate question invited by the majority's position is whether States may retain the definition of marriage as a union of two people . . .  Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective 'two' in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world." (page 20) 

"Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority's conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right to govern themselves. They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges. And they certainly would not have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after 'a quite extensive discussion.' (page 25) 

"When decisions are reached through democratic means, some people will inevitably be disappointed with the results. But those whose views do not prevail at least know that they have had their say, and accordingly are — in the tradition of our political culture — reconciled to the result of a fair and honest debate . . .  But today the Court puts a stop to all that. By deciding this question under the Constitution, the Court removes it from the realm of democratic decision. There will be consequences to shutting down the political process on an issue of such profound public significance. Closing debate tends to close minds. People denied a voice are less likely to accept the ruling of a court on an issue that does not seem to be the sort of thing courts usually decide. (pages 26-27) 

"If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision . . .  But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it." (page 29) 

 
     


HOMOSEXUALITY, SEX, AND A LITTLE MORE ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE

I have had good friends who were homosexual all of my adult life. Back in the early 1970s, when I was in real estate, I helped one friend buy his first house so he and his partner could have a stable home for themselves and the son they were adopting. So, let me start by saying that if I were judging it, anyone who attacks or demeans gays, because their struggle to face their truths and find their way in life does not suit the moral standard of the former, should check Scripture about what else is on the list of things deemed sinful. Jesus was pretty clear about the spiritual dangers of judging others. When I am asked about my perspective on homosexuality, I usually begin by quoting the following from the Bible: 

“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery,
and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

- Luke 16:18 (NIV)

I am a divorced man married to a divorced woman. The above quote is Jesus speaking. If I stand convicted from Jesus' own lips for the struggles I have faced in life, on what basis would anyone expect me to stand in judgment of the struggles someone else is dealing with? Do not most denominations teach that the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross is because we are incapable of overcoming "sin" on our own? 

We need to stop dancing around it, or getting sidetracked. For most of those who strongly condemn homosexuality, the issue is almost always about sex, not love. While not as commonplace as with women, who share feelings more freely, expressions of love from one man about another man are not all that uncommon. You might hear, I love my pastor. I love my dad. I love that guy. The list could go on and on. In attending different gatherings over the years with gay friends, including a primarily gay congregation worship services, I have been asked if I was interested, and even invited to participate sexually. I have simply acknowledged it was not my cup of tea, and thank them for the compliment. My acknowledgement of my solidly heterosexual perspectives was never met with mocking or any pressure. It simply ended the topic (unlike many male female encounters). I believe God loves everybody. It would mean God loves homosexuals just as much as those of us who are heterosexual. That is not the same as God condoning our behaviors. But, heterosexuals are no strangers to sexual choices and behaviors that might not make the grade before God either. It all comes back to judge not.  When I was going to college, I worked one summer at Great Lakes steel. A man just a little older than I was, who worked the other shift of my job, stated to me one day that he loved his dad so much he would give him a blow job if his dad wanted one. That is usually where we see the line in the sand being drawn. Nobody objects to loving someone. The objections always come back to being about sex. 

Now, here is where I stand. It is not rocket science, sexually speaking, that men and women were designed to fit together. I have been called a bigot and homophobic for making that statement over the years. Ironically, I have not been called that by any gay person.  It was always a liberal heterosexual doing so. Therefore, before anyone gets all bent out of shape about it, I do not personally care if two men (or two women) want to be involved sexually. That is between them and God. My job is to learn to love all of His children. Even when invited to participate in something my beliefs would have me turn down. The one problem I do have though, is the idea of treating homosexuality as just an alternative lifestyle that anyone might like to try, just on a whim. As a divorced man married to a divorced woman, I have the same issue with divorce. I do not want divorce being looked at with such casualness that those entering marriage figure it is no big deal — if it does not suit their fancy in a week they can simply file for divorce. I do indeed see such things as part of the brokenness of this world. Every one of us has issues to deal with, which seem contrary to the design we are taught God had for this world. For a long time, I have personally believed that an all-knowing God could not have been caught off guard as the narrative in Genesis might lead one to think. I perceive it is likely we were intended to go down this path. Perhaps God wanted us to learn first-hand about the difference of the way of love, and how superior it is to the path of judgment and condemnation of others. I do not know. Only God knows. 

Not that anyone pays much attention to the concept anymore, but marriage legitimizes sex. This is the whole issue for those who object to gay marriage. Few people are going to object to members of the same sex living together (as is the case much of the time through college), cooking for one another, sharing laundry duties, pooling their money to afford things, hanging out together, or a myriad of other things found in marriage. Homosexuals have a tough enough road to haul without my standing in judgment of them. My issue is not even with gay marriage being approved, any more than it was not an issue being asked if I was interested in participating personally. We live in a democracy. My issue is with how gay marriage became the law of the land by nine unelected judges usurping the legislative powers set forth in our Constitution for Congress (the legislative branch of government). And, while it is not as if anyone is required to personally participate sexually, you can now be jailed, fined, fired from your job, or lose your business for simply declining to participate in something you might not believe in as valid. The case of the photographer who was sued particularly caught my eye. I have been to heterosexual wedding receptions that went out of bounds for my comfort levels. I simply take a walk, or leave early. If I were a person who strongly objected to homosexuality, by what standard of freedom does the law require me to be there photographing any behavior I might deem inappropriate, including the wedding itself? 

On the overall question of same-sex couples being allowed to wed, Justice Kennedy (writing for the majority) concluded with a thought provoking statement. I still agree with Chief Justice Roberts that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds, deciding something for the rest of us that should have worked its way through the legislative process as our constitution intended, but I would like to share it here. 

     
 

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."  - Justice Kennedy 

 
     
     
 

"America will never be destroyed from the outside.
 If we falter and lose our freedoms,
it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

- Abraham Lincoln

 
     
   
     
 

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. 

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. 

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."  - Abraham Lincoln 

 
     

One more week and the clutter of yard signs will disappear. Our mailboxes and our phones can get back to normal. The core teaching I emphasized to my children, and am currently doing so with our sixteen-year-old grandson, is that all choices have consequences . . . some good . . . some not so good . . . some outright bad. I suggest they always try to choose wisely, because the consequences of their choices are theirs to live. This is not just true for individuals, but collectively as well. Not voting is a choice. Democracy is a participatory form of government. We may not like some of the outcomes, but if you choose to be not even involved enough to put a little mark on a piece of paper, or flip a lever on a machine, I am not interested in hearing you complain later that you are unhappy with our government. Not voting is a choice to remain a part of the problem, rather than participating in trying to find solutions. 

As a true independent, this has been the most difficult election decision I can ever remember facing, and I have voted in every presidential election since I was old enough to do so. Even if you are voting directly opposite of me, I urge you to vote. Democracy only truly works when everyone is respectfully participating and feels free to express their perspectives (even if a little heated at times). 

I went to Lansing on October 4th to pray with Franklin Graham and other Christians on his fifty state tour of our country throughout 2016. I agree wholeheartedly with Franklin Graham that neither major political party can solve the challenges facing our nation. Only God can pull us out of the quagmire we have created by our own choices. God loves us all, every single one of us, gay, straight, Muslim, those considering an abortion, judgmental individuals, Trump, Clinton, you and me. Putting Him in the middle of your life works. To borrow a phrase from Donald Trump's playbook — what do we really have to lose — by giving God the chance to show you the truth of how much you are loved? 

For me, elections in the United States of America have never been about who wins. They are about the greatness found in the system of how we peacefully change our leaders. That is why I vote every time. And I marvel at the wisdom of our founding fathers, and what a great gift from God such freedom is, every time I do. 

_____________
 

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If you wish to use copyrighted material from this newsletter for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The following websites were visited gathering information for this email-newsletter: 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/w_ParentingResource/down-syndrome-births-drop-us-women-abort/story?id=8960803
http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/
http://www.americanadoptions.com/pregnant/deciding_between_abortion_or_adoption
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/02/should-christian-bakers-be-allowed-to-refuse-wedding-cakes-to-gays/284061/ http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/Reproductivehealth/Data_Stats/index.htm
http://www.christianitytoday.com/amyjuliabecker/2015/april/true-or-false-90-of-babies-with-down-syndrome-are-aborted.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/june/supreme-court-states-cant-ban-same-sex-marriage.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial-Birth_Abortion_Ban_Act
http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/08/20/partial-birth-abortion-ban-legal-loophole.html
http://gaymarriage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006193
https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws?gclid=COnO0cPkxs8CFRApaQodJsYAdA
http://www.lifeissues.org/2015/09/make-second-mile-less-scary/
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/christian-couple-loses-business-for-refusing-to-participate-in-gay-wedding
http://liveactionnews.org/abortion-vs-adoption-why-so-many-choose-the-first-and-what-we-can-do/
https://lozierinstitute.org/new-study-abortion-after-prenatal-diagnosis-of-down-syndrome-reduces-down-syndrome-community-by-thirty-percent/
http://moonbattery.com/?p=72093
http://www.npr.org/2006/02/21/5168163/partial-birth-abortion-separating-fact-from-spin
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/court-holds-that-wedding-photographer-cannot-refuse-service-to-gay-couples/ http://www.pregnantpause.org/adopt/wanted.htm
http://religionnews.com/2013/09/06/gay-rights-vs-religious-rights-7-issues-to-watch/
http://www.snopes.com/causes-of-death-2016/
http://www.teenbreaks.com/abortion/down-syndrome-babies-abortion.cfm

 

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