Posts Tagged ‘Pro-life’

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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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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I spent a good part of Saturday digging through boxes of old stuff that I’ve picked up over the years and it is quite amazing the stuff I found.  There are stacks of books, bumper stickers (Dole/Kemp baby!), yard signs, and employment rejection letters from members of Congress.  How many of you can say you have a letter signed by Idaho’s disgraced former Senator Larry Craig or one where former Representative Virgil Goode spells your name incorrectly?  But one of the most interesting items is a one page political brief written by yours truly.  Unfortunately, I cannot recall why I wrote it.  The only clues as to its purpose are its title and the fact that it bears my social security number.  Although I’d change quite few things if I were writing it today, I want to share my early political thoughts with you.  Again, these words are coming from thirteen years in the past, not today, though I have slightly modified a bit of the spacing, punctuation, and added just a few words for easier reading and clarification.

One social controversy that interests me greatly is the subject of abortion.  After spending much time researching the subject, I have written two essays on the subject and one poem.  Let me state that I am in the camp referred to as “Pro-life.”  I believe that abortion is wrong and should only be used when the mother’s life is in danger or the child is a product of rape or incest.

One concept needed when analyzing the issue of abortion is the question, “When does life begin?”  I believe that life begins at conception of sperm and ovum.  Now if we were to consider the question in terms of biology, the biologists’ school of thought states that a cell is the simplest unit of life.  There is no argument that when the two units combine, they form a single-celled organism.  Therefore, according to biology, this single-celled unit is, in fact, a living creature.  However, I find this case not to be true.  When I took biology in 10th grade, my teacher actively encouraged the practice of abortion and thought the procedure can be used to create “organ farms” that can be harvested in order to help humans with failing organs.  Although I do not deny that doing so would help many individuals with health problems, I object to the process of killing children so that others may live.  Not only that, my teacher went on to say that this process is not wrong because the fetus is not alive anyway.  This [viewpoint] strikes me as hypocrisy.  How can my teacher, who holds a college degree in biology, claim that organ farms would cause no problems because the fetus was not alive anyway?  Even though I wished to confront him publicly about his misconceptions, I unfortunately did not have the courage.  Since then, I have become much more self confident and assertive thus earning the rank of “most opinionated” senior.

Another problem facing us in the abortion dilemma is the idea of morality.  I consider myself a very moral person and like to promote my moral values to others.  When thinking of abortion as the killing of a human, then my belief system would forbid the practice of abortion.  I believe that all human beings are created by and in the image of God[;] therefore to kill a human would be a mortal sin.  My religion also dictates my above belief that life begins at conception as stated in Psalms 139.  It seems to me that since this country was founded on the motto, “In God we trust,” it is incomprehensible as to why this country has taken such a moral backslide.

Now, although some who heard my earlier speeches about abortion might think I am some kind of extremist, I say that this [claim] is not true.  I have no plans to picket [neither] abortion clinics nor plant bombs in them.  In essence, the people who commit such [murderous] acts  are no better than the abortion doctors themselves.  What good would come from the killing of another human life?  It would only renew tensions between the pro-life and pro-choice camps.  Instead, I think any such wars over abortion should take place in the floor of the United States Congress.  This [conflict] would result in less death and violence and would be legal.  In any case, I am opposed [to] the idea of abortion by my moral and scientific beliefs.

So what do you think of the 17 year old activist Joshua?  Moved at all by his words?  I should point out that although you might assume that he was opposed to the death penalty, I assure you he was (and still is) an avid supporter of the practice.  In addition, my position on abortion has changed slightly and I no longer view picketing abortion clinics as extreme.  Personally, I’m amazed at the folly of youth.  Back in those days, I thought a Bible verse and a bit of data were all you needed to win the day.  We have discovered that such tactics are grossly insufficient.  For the record, “In God We Trust” did not become the nation’s official motto until 1956.  And do any political poets even exist in the modern age?  Moving on, although I lamented my trepidation then, I regret to say that it still holds me back even today to some extent.  I think Thucydides gets it right in his History of the Peloponnesian War when he writes, with some people “ignorance makes them brave and thinking makes them cowards”.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into my political past.  I’d like to say my writing has improved with thirteen years of practice.  Back then I had such high hopes for the future.  Unfortunately, those dreams have been horribly weakened by waves of political decay and moral relativity.  Will I be as passionate in 2028?  I’ll let you know when we get there.

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