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Posts Tagged ‘Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’

Photo on 3-17-13 at 12.50 PMSince the beginning of this March, I have often been seen wearing a hat embroidered with the name of Belmont University.  Now, some who see me might think that this behavior is a bit odd.  After all, I graduated from the College of William & Mary and have never taken a class at Belmont.  So why then do I wear this hat?  To answer this question, requires returning to the winter of 2007.

Back in late 2006/early 2007, I began my employment with Students for Life of America (or SFLA).  Although the name might suggest that it is an organization devoted to perpetual studenthood, it is, in fact, a group promoting the pro-life cause on university campuses across the country.  In what I believe was their inaugural effort, they hired about eight or so activists to promote the cause and their group throughout the nation. Each of their field representatives was assigned a state or several states.  I had the states of Tennessee and Kentucky.  Curiously, although bordering or extremely close to my home of Virginia, I had, at that point, never set foot in either.  My farthest trip west in a car only had taken me to West Virginia.

My first assignment for Students for Life took me to Eastern Tennessee State University (or ETSU for short), in Johnson City.  Prior to arriving, I had spoken to a number of students there through a recently discovered website called Facebook and scheduled several meetings to discuss the creation of a pro-life group there.  However, things did not proceed according to plan.  None of the students ever ended up meeting with me.  Nor did they even respond to my messages once I arrived.  I spent several days wandering about the campus, looking for a familiar face, speaking to the administration, and trying to salvage the situation the best I could, but the trip proved to be a dismal failure.  As an additional penalty, given the pay structure of SFLA, I was paid nothing for this time and effort, a particularly disheartening double whammy.

As I returned one night to the local Presbyterian college ministry, which had graciously hosted me during my adventure at ETSU, I got a call from another student I had been in contact with, halfway across the state in a small school called Belmont University.  She requested that I meet with them the next morning.  Although the hour was pretty late, I had hoped to make yet another try the next day to prevent my time at ETSU from being an abject failure, and Belmont was a good four and a half hour drive away, I pledged to attend this early morning gathering.

The next morning, while the sky was still pitch black and my head was a bit groggy due to lack of sleep, I packed up my car and headed to Nashville.  When I arrived, I found a situation far more favorable than ETSU.  Led by a motivated and strong-willed young woman with a Tennessee accent named Susan, I realized that perhaps I could make a positive impact at Belmont, that there were students here that were as passionate about the pro-life movement as I.  It was exciting!  And I’m pleased to say that Belmont did not disappoint. 100_0068

As you would imagine, I visited many other colleges and universities in Tennessee and Kentucky during my employment with SFLA (some successful, some not so much).   I met a lot of fantastic people, including a whole bunch of great students across the two states and Fletcher Armstrong of the Center for Bioethical Reform.  However, due to fantastic efforts put forth by the students at Belmont (and their relatively centralized location), I made Nashville my home base.  Even when not working, I spent a good chunk of my free time in the area, going to watch many of the Belmont Men’s Basketball games.  I bought a dark blue hat so that I could show my support for the school at these events.  And, you know what?  They had a pretty good team, one that earned a spot in the 2007 NCAA tournament, a feat that they accomplished for only the second time (up to that point) in the school’s history.

Although my prearranged contract with SFLA expired in the spring of 2007, the many good memories I had, especially of Belmont (given that it was my first successful venture in this job), remained.  Therefore, as a result, every March, in tribute to Susan, Belmont Students for Life and their great university, I dig my Belmont hat out of the trunk of my car and wear it while the team remains in the NCAA playoffs (or for a couple of weeks in the years that they do not make the playoffs).  Unfortunately, the school has never won a game in the tournament, but I am hopeful that this year will be their first.

As so, as March Madness and the 2013 NCAA tournament gets under way, I am proud to don my hat once more.  They might not be my alma mater, but Belmont University will always hold a special place in my heart.

Update:  I decided to wash my Belmont hat in order to get it a bit cleaner.  Unfortunately, it has become too tight to wear now.  However, a fresh one is on order from their bookstore.  Let’s hope it arrives in time for the game on Thursday!

Go Belmont!

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On Thursday, I received a rather negative comment on this blog regarding an event going on at James Madison University.  After reading such news, I decided to head over to the university to see what all the fuss was about.  Well, it seems that the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform had put up their Genocide Awareness Project (or G.A.P.) in the middle of campus.

For those who haven’t heard of G.A.P. before, it is a colorful display that contains graphic images of both abortions and various mass murders through the ages such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan butchery.

Now, I can understand why these pictures would upset most people, like the person who sent me the comment yesterday.  After all, when I first started working for Students for Life of America, I had a rather negative impression myself.  Who wants to see such horrible pictures?  Of course the answer is no one.  Won’t they just serve to turn people off from the movement?

But then I got to thinking about my own experience.  Back in high school, what motivated me to be a pro-life activist?  Wasn’t it the same terrible pictures adorning literature from Heritage House 76?

Dukes for Choice Protest

But don’t these images serve to weaken the pro-life cause?  Well, how many people do you suppose are either so disgusted (or so pleased) by these pictures that they decide to have an abortion as a result?  I doubt anyone could make such a claim.  Abortions aren’t pretty, nor are the images that result from this choice.  Some pro-lifers may reject these tactics, but if any choose to abandon the movement when confronted with them, then I doubt they had a very strong commitment in the first place.

No one likes to see these pictures, nor should they.  They are meant to show the real-life consequences of abortion.  You can argue the philosophic merits or detriments of abortion all you like, but when you face the brutal images of the deed, you cannot help but feel revulsion.  It is both natural and human.

After touring the Buchenwald concentration camp outside of Weimar and seeing the photos of what went on there during the Nazi regime, I gained a new-found understanding of the barbarous ways that a man can treat his fellow man.  It wasn’t a journey for fun or pleasure, but it was nevertheless important.  Hopefully, by making such knowledge public we can decrease the likelihood of such events happening in the future.

So too is the goal of the G.A.P.  The organizers don’t like these pictures anymore than you or I.  So then why do they do it?  Well, as a result of this gross panorama the life of even one unborn child is saved, is it worth it?  I believe the answer is yes.

Below are several thumbnail pictures of Thursday’s event.  You are free to look at these graphic images or not.  If you have never seen pictures of the results of an abortion, I encourage you to do so.  Consider yourself warned; you won’t like them, of course, but they do serve as a valuable tool.

So what will your reaction be the next time G.A.P. and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform comes to your campus?  Will you protest, like one reader and Dukes for Choice, demanding restrictions and squelching the 1st Amendment right of free speech?  Or will they motivate you to take a stand for those who cannot speak for themselves?  I suppose that there is only one way to find out.

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Are you a pro-life activist who lives in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Charlottesville, or anywhere in the Shenandoah Valley?  Well, I’ve got some exciting news for you.  The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform is hosting a training session at the campus of JMU tomorrow.  That’s right.  JMU.  Saturday.

Dr. C. Fletcher Armstrong

The featured speaker is Dr. C. Fletcher Armstrong, the Southwest Director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.  Now, I first met Dr. Armstrong back in early 2007 while working as a pro-life activist for Student for Life of America.  Having witnessed his efforts firsthand let me tell you that he is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated forces for the unborn out there today.  I’ve also been informed that Nicole Cooley, author of the book Into the Light:  Rape, Abortion, and the Truth that Set Me Free, will be speaking at this gathering as well.

Here are the details of the event:

October 29th

1 PM – 5:30 PM

James Madison University

Keezell Hall

Room 105

But wait…there’s more!  How about a flier advertising the event?  Pro Life Training Academy – Harrisonburg Virginia

Whether you are promoting the cause alone or you are working with a group, I know that being a pro-life activist is often a tough job.  Fortunately, we do have friends and allies in this fight like Dr. Armstrong and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Knowledge and networking are both powerful tools and this event will promote both.  Therefore, I strongly recommend that if you support the cause and live anywhere near the Harrisonburg, Virginia area, then you should attend this meeting.  Let them know you are coming by signing up on Facebook here!

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Good morning readers and welcome to my latest piece.

You’ll notice the name of this post is the “Tennessee Conservative”.  I suppose a more accurate name would be “The Virginia Conservative in Tennessee”, but for sake of brevity, I chose the former.  No, I haven’t permanently left Virginia.  Shortly after my last post, I packed my bags and headed west, stopping beside Cherokee Lake in eastern Tennessee.

Cherokee Lake in Eastern TN

This adventure is nearly over as I’ll be returning to the Old Dominion tomorrow.  It has been good to see Tennessee again as I haven’t spent much time here since 2007.  Back then I traveled the state (as well as in southern Kentucky), spreading the Pro-life message across college campuses:  The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, UT-Chattanooga, Vanderbilt, Union, Belmont, the list goes on.  At that time, I was working for Students for Life of America.  The reason for my work was simple.  As freshmen are considerably more pro-life than their senior counterparts, we must fight at our colleges and universities to claim and reclaim the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s leaders.

Once in TN, you could imagine my surprise to discover that Students for Life of America (or SFLA as it is known), along with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform and several other organizations, was holding a conference at the Johnsonville Bible College in Knoxville.   Although it is difficult to precisely gauge the effect of my efforts back in 2007, like a surrogate parent, I felt that that I played some small part in aiding the pro-life movement in this state.  Therefore, I attended the event on Saturday; interested to see how the cause had advanced in my three-year absence.  I’m glad say that the room was jammed with numerous students and organizations eager to continue the fight against the gross injustice of abortion.

SFLA Director Kristan Hawkins and CBR Southeast Director Fletcher Armstrong

Regardless of what state we may find ourselves, we must continually fight for our principles of life and liberty.  Our task is to summon the courage to seek out friends and never surrender to the temptations of apathy and modern liberalism.  Not only can we win, we must win for our own sake and the sake of those who come after us.

Best wishes for the fight ahead.  I look forward to talking to you again soon.

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