Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gun-Free Does Not Mean Safety

"Gun-Free Zone."  Sounds like a safe place?  My kids go to school in one.  I went Christmas shopping in one the other day.  I went to go see a movie at one a few weeks ago.  Wait a minute...

Can I just tell everyone how much panic and breathlessness I've experienced in the last few days?  Tim wants me to stop thinking about it--dwelling on it, and I don't blame him.  He loves me and doesn't like to see me struggling, especially with something so seemingly out of my control.  

I NEED to do something, though.  I have no idea what that means, but I can tell you where I'm starting.  Maybe some of you will want to join me.

Here are my initial thoughts: 

1. Gun-free zones are part of the problem.  I was reading an interview with Dr. John Lott, a national leading expert on guns, who calls them a "magnet for (these) attacks."  Think about it.  Connecticut, Aurora, Columbine, the Oregon mall, Virginia Tech.  All of these are gun-free zones.  All of them left their inhabitants defenseless and invited the type of cowardly violence  that seeks to take as many lives as possible before taking their own life and leave a legacy of monstrosity (which the media all but ensures).  Lott mentions that in the Aurora movie theater shooting, there were 7 theaters in the area showing the Batman movie, but only 1 with a "Gun-Free Zone" sign posted.  The killer didn't choose the theater closest to his home or the theater that was the largest, he chose the theater with the sign.  

2. I have to wonder what tightening down on gun laws would do.  If guns were banned, who would turn them in?  Would the bad guys with unregistered guns do it?  Or would it be the good guys--the law-abiding citizens who own guns in order to protect themselves against the bad guys?  And, just because guns would be illegal, would it mean that bad guys wouldn't get the guns?  Drugs are illegal, right?

3. Europe.  Again, to cite the Lott interview, there have been a similar amount of multi-victim shootings in Europe as in the U.S., yet European gun control laws are much stricter than here.  He cites shootings in Norway, Finland, Austria, Germany, and the U.K.

4. The "Safe School Zone Act" doesn't work.  I'm going to quote directly from the Lott interview on this one.  

Newsmax: Would it be a good idea to have teachers who have concealed carry permits in the schools, to better protect kids?
Lott: I’m all for that. I’ve been a teacher most of my life. I’ve been an academic. I have kids in college still, and kids below that. It’s not something that I take lightly. But it’s hard to see what the argument would be against it. 
People may not realize this, but we allowed permit-concealed handguns in schools prior to the ironically named Safe School Zone Act. And no one that I know has been able to point to a single bad thing that occurred, not one. 
We changed the law, and we started having these public-school shootings. So I don’t think they got the intended result that they were hoping for with that type of ban. Right now, [some jurisdictions] allow you to carry concealed-permit guns in the schools. There are not a lot of them. But there are no problems that have occurred with any of those states, either.
So, here I am.  I have a kindergartner and a 1st grader at a public elementary school.  They both have incredible teachers who I do not doubt for one second would throw themselves in front of a bullet for my children.  But, I feel like there is something amiss here.  I can't help but see that if that brave school principal at Sandy Hook Elementary would have had access to a firearm, she could have prevented many lives from being taken.  

The idea of guns is a new one to me.  I've never owned a gun, but I want to now.  Not because I am crazy or want to kill people, but because I want to be able to defend myself and my family against people who are crazy and want to kill us.  I will say this, though:  I want there to be a gun in my children's school.  I want it to be in a safe place near the front office and I want a number of qualified people to know how to gain access to it.  If some psycho decides that they want to kill my kids and their friends, I want their teachers and other people entrusted with their care to have the ability to defend themselves and my children with more than their supply closets, their own bodies, or a 911 call that can take as much as 10 or 15 minutes to respond to.  A lot can happen in 10 minutes.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's why we do what we do...

If you've known me for for really any amount of time, you probably know about my passion for the preservation of life.  I've probably talked to you about Online for Life.  I might have even shared with you pictures of babies God has used OFL to save from abortion.  But, until this week, much of what OFL does was not "real" for me.  I have always understood what it is we are doing as an organization, have always been passionate for the "numbers" (babies saved, centers worked with, states represented in, cost to save a baby, etc.), and I have always believed with all my heart in the mission of OFL.  But this week things got deeper for me.

I met Kourtnee.

Kourtnee is a sweet baby girl, just one year old, who I have prayed for since before she was born, rejoiced in her birth, and have passed her picture around with pride.  But until this week, Kourtnee was just another baby that was rescued from abortion (an amazing thing, no doubt!).  Now, though, Kourtnee is a person that I have connected with, I have kissed and hugged, I have played with, I have seen the sparkle in her eyes and the joy she brings to her mother and father on their faces, and I have seen and felt the joy she brings to everyone around her.  This baby is truly a blessing!  And, she is REAL.

I heard Robin, Kourtnee's mommy, talk about how convinced she was to have an abortion, adamant even, but because of OFL connecting her with her local pregnancy center, she chose to carry her baby, recognizing then what I saw and experienced this week: the baby within her was REAL.  Like I said, it's something I know and have known, but the brevity of each and every decision that we are influencing for these dear, scared, unprepared women hit me like a ton of bricks.  Every day 3,500 Kourtnee's are lost to the tragedy of abortion in the United States.  3,500 Robin's are faced with the most difficult decision of their lives, but they choose wrong and now have to deal with the sadness and regret years and years after the fact.  I ache for the Kourtnee's and the Robin's alike.  They are REAL.

Robin is a brave woman.  She wants to share her story with the world, so she went on video to tell it.  Please watch her story, share her story, and let her story affect you.  I believe we can see the end to abortion in our country.  I believe it can happen in our lifetime.  But, it has to start in our hearts.  Each of ours.  And that happens when we realize that this is real-life, and even when it's not pretty, God can bring beauty from the ashes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Staying at Home...and Working Hard

There have been times in my life since becoming a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) that I have felt looked down upon.  Have you ever met a person for the first time who almost immediately begins looking over your shoulder as you talk to them, just to see if there is someone "better" that they might be able to meet?  This has happened to me several times, and many of those after the infamous question, "So, what do you do?", had been asked.  Hilary Rosen is definitely one of those people.  

Recently, democratic strategist and DNC adviser, Hilary Rosen, decided to let her views be known on SAHM'S and their relevance pertaining to economic issues in the form of an attack on Ann Romney, wife of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.  Here is what Rosen said during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper
"With respect to economic issues, I think actually that Mitt Romney is right, that ultimately women care more about the economic well-being of their families and the like. But he doesn't connect on that issue either. What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, 'Well, you know my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues and when I listen to my wife that's what I'm hearing.'  Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and  why do we worry about their future."  
If I could do a non-scientific poll of families who have a SAHM, I would bet on a few things: 1. The families don't have super-high incomes, but many times have actually designed their lifestyle to fit their goal of having a SAHM. 2. The SAHM has just as much knowledge and concern about economic issues their family is facing, in fact I would bet that many of those SAHM's actually manage the family's finances either wholly or in part.  To say that because we work within the home (and, believe me, it is hard work!) makes us irrelevant on economic issues is insulting.  And, to assume that all families with a SAHM is wealthy enough to have no need to worry about their family's economic future is also wrong.  I am proof-positive of that!

What is ironic to me about what Hilary says is that she claims SAHM'S are out of touch with "a majority of women in this country", but the truth is that she is the one who is out of touch with a majority of women in this country.  I think a majority of women in this country would place a high value on what Ann Romney has to say.  She is the epitome of a strong woman.  A breast cancer survivor.  A woman battling multiple sclerosis.  A SAHM who raised five BOYS!  Grandmother of 16.  To say that Mrs. Romney has never worked a day in her life is not only wrong, it is laughable.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Blog: Fluke, Feminism and the False War on Women

Fluke, Feminism and the False War on Women
By: Amy Gerwing

What’s left to say about Sandra Fluke and her testimony before congress that hasn’t already been said.  From the irrepressible opinions of Rush Limbaugh to the left’s manufactured “war on women”, this story has been covered by every commentator from every angle, ad nauseam.  But that’s not going to stop me from getting my two cents in. 

On the surface, Sandra Fluke appears as the typical 30 something professional student, working her way through an elite higher-level institutional, keeping one foot solidly planted in political activism with the hopes of one day securing a cushy job on Capitol Hill or in a media conglomerate.   

However at second glance, Sandra Fluke represents a growing percentage of women who, for the sake of their feminist tendencies, proudly throw off the oppression of men and traditional relationships like marriage, only to turn around and trade them in for a bigger more oppressive partner; Mr. Government.

In her testimony before Congress, Ms. Fluke reports, “Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that's practically an entire summer's salary. Forty percent of female students at Georgetown Law report struggling financially as a result of this policy.”

For a woman who has lead the Georgetown Chapter of Reproductive Rights, she certainly has a non-egalitarian view of her reproductive responsibilities.  Why not ask the men with whom she’s involved to pay half of these contraceptive costs?  Why is it her first inclination to go before Congress and play a victim who is incapable of coming up with an additional $1000 year (Although that number has been debunked by various sources).  

What has happened to the modern woman who, in her effort to progress through life, has become so dependent on Mr. Government that she has no inclination to work for her own needs, provide for her own path in life, and live out the feminist cry of the liberation movement?  In her effort to advance women’s liberation she has inadvertently and ironically chained herself to the greatest oppressor, Mr. Government.  He has proven himself time and again to be a hard master, expecting complete loyalty but never promising long term commitment.

While many feminists are heralding Ms. Fluke as the poster child for the “War on Women”, most of us are left scratching our heads wondering how and why an intelligent, educated woman feels she must go before Congress and grovel for one of the cheapest and most accessible forms of healthcare.

Like thousands of other feminist-wannabes, Ms. Fluke has abandoned the spirit of early 19th century suffragists who embraced motherhood (yes, they were very anti-abortion), pursued virtue, and strived for moral order in exchange for a new brand of feminism that is hostile to authority, to men in particular, and to women who would dare to disagree with them.  

Yet when the dust has settled and the highly-charged debate has cooled, there remains a real disconnect between the 1960’s hostile feminism and the Sandra Fluke who pitifully claims before Congress, “When I look around my campus, I see the faces of the women affected, and I have heard more and more of their stories. On a daily basis, I hear from yet another woman from Georgetown or other schools or who works for a religiously affiliated employer who has suffered financial, emotional, and medical burdens because of this lack of contraceptive coverage. And so, I am here to share their voices and I thank you for allowing them to be heard.”  

Am I supposed to believe these “independent” women are smart enough to get into an elite university like Georgetown, but are unable to come up with $9 a month to purchase birth control pills at the local Walmart?  Are they so shameless in their quest for yet more freebies from their sugar daddy, Mr. Government, that they have to put their personal life on display for the entire country to witness?  Are they pleased that as a result of their overt attack on private institutions – which by the way, they have every right NOT to attend - they’ve allowed women to once again be defined by what they do in the bedroom rather than what they do in the boardroom?

Ms. Fluke and her allies in the media may wish to believe that they are advancing the cause of women.  But truth be told, from the perspective of a woman in the real world, they have done nothing but set the image of women back about 50 years to a time when we were completely dependent on a man for our present and future circumstances; only this time that man’s name is Mr. Government.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Susan G. Komen Foundation's Noble Decision to De-Fund Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, it was announced that the Susan G. Komen Foundation will be defunding Planned Parenthood.  Last year they donated roughly $680,000.  The public response to this decision has baffled me.  People who formerly supported SGKF are now backing away from the organization because they believe the decision was politically motivated.


I just don't get it.

It offends me that SGKF would back an organization like PP.  It offends others that they wouldn't.  Why?  My reasons are moral--I am opposed to the practice of abortion.  Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading abortion provider and in NO WAY do I want to support their activities.  There are plenty of other free or low-cost options out there for women to go get breast cancer screenings and other healthcare.  Why does SGKF have to give money to the most controversial if, as the people who are outraged by the foundation's decision claim, this is all about breast cancer screenings and not about abortion?  Why do they have to give their money to PP?  Would it satisfy if they gave the $680K to a different medical outfit that provided breast cancer screenings?  One that is not under congressional investigation?  Again, why does it have to be PP?

The fact that SGKF gave money to PP has been an issue for me in the past.  It has caused me not to support their cause because they were aligned with an organization that I am morally opposed to.  BUT, I am not opposed to fighting breast cancer.  I don't know anyone who is morally opposed to fighting breast cancer.  My moral misgivings about PP outweighed my conviction to support SGKF.  I know I'm not the only one here.  So now people are up in arms saying that they will be unsupportive of SGKF because of their decision.  This is crazy.  These are the same people who say that it's "just about breast screenings".  If that is the truth, then this decision shouldn't matter to them!  By their actions, we can deduce that it isn't about women's healthcare or breast cancer detection, because if it were, they would continue to be supportive of the SGKF, regardless of their ties (or lack thereof) to Planned Parenthood.  Sure, they could be bummed out about it, but if it were truly NOT political to them, but only about women's health, they would continue to stand behind what the SGKF is doing.

I think it is noble of the SGKF organization to distance themselves from organizations like PP that are currently under congressional investigation, and that have had some particularly horrible reports come out recently with regard to covering up sex abuse.  The travesty is not that PP won't be getting money from SGKF--I am sure that they will send their money to other organizations that exist to truly help women.  The real travesty is that the SGKF is being demonized for this decision despite all of the good that they have done for women in the fight against breast cancer.  They exist to combat breast cancer--to "Fight for the Cure."  They can do this with a far greater reach, and across more political boundaries because they chose to defund PP.  After all, no matter where any of us stand with regard to PP's practices, we would all like to see a cure to breast cancer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Abortion and the Church in America - Amy Gerwing

Once again, I'm happy to welcome my dear friend, Amy Gerwing, to my blog.  Amy has written this very bold, very honest piece about the roll of the church as it pertains to abortion.  As the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade approaches this weekend, let us all consider what our roll, specifically as Christians,  in this battle should be.  Should we stand up and fight for the unborn?  Shall we be the voice to those who cannot speak for themselves?  Should we stand up for the hurting woman who feels she has no other options?  I believe the answer is a resounding "YES" and I believe that it should start with the church...please read Amy's article and consider these things as you do.  

With abortion, "The politics surrounding this issue may ebb and flow, but the call to the Christian never changes."

For life!

Abortion and the Church in America - Amy Gerwing

According to Merrian-Webster dictionary, the definition of the word Abdicate is  "to give up a position with no possibility of resuming it".  In a broader sense it means the evading of  responsibility, such as that of a parent.  Although used most commonly in the context of political power, I cannot think of a more appropriate word to describe the church’s lack of leadership to defend unborn life.   

For my entire adult life I have in varying degrees been part of a church body.  And although I’ve heard volumes of sermons regarding loving God and loving my neighbor, only a handful of times have I had the pleasure to hear a courageous pastor speak about loving my unborn neighbor.  Even less frequently have I been challenged from the pulpit to actively engage in the defense of the unborn.  Granted, these efforts are not exactly discouraged, but as far as being actively promoted from the pulpits of our churches, the silence has been deafening.  

Now that my husband and I are professionally involved in a life-affirming ministry, the chasm between the mainstream American church and the pro-life movement is even more apparent:
I’ve learned not to use the term “pro-life” when describing our ministry efforts to fellow Christians, as this term, having been so politicized by both the left and right, causes many to bristle in fear of engaging in a political argument.  We may support political means to save lives, but we most certainly don’t consider abortion a political issue.

I’ve concluded that church leaders, protective of their 503c status and lacking in understanding of their 1st amendment rights at the pulpit, have had their silence on the issue of life bought and sold by the government for the cheap price of tax exemption.  

I’ve discovered that the American church views abortion as one of its many “causes” to support, equating it to the local food bank and homeless shelter rather than acknowledging the reality that it is a silent holocaust which has killed 52 millions innocent lives.  

I’ve been challenged by church leaders to give and act missionally to spread the gospel “to the ends of the earth” but it’s rarely if ever mentioned that every year, just down the street from our churches, the gospel of Jesus Christ is being shared hundreds of thousands of times to men and women seeking counsel at a Pregnancy Resource Centers.  The harvest is plenty, and it’s right here in our very town.

I’ve sat through message upon message encouraging me to consider the orphan crisis in Africa without ever mentioning the 3500 unwanted children who are murdered every day here in America.

I’ve noticed that Christians can become very passionate about providing Christmas toys and shoes for impoverished children throughout the world  but fail to demonstrate that same passion when challenged to fight for the life of innocent children in their own backyard.

I’ve been asked why I don’t engage in helping real people.  What could be more “real” than a woman in a crisis pregnancy, who needs compassion, love and Jesus?  What could bring more joy than counseling this woman to choose life for her child and eternal life for herself through Jesus?  If ever there was a neglected mission post, it’s the 2000 plus pregnancy resource centers scattered throughout this country that, with the good news of Jesus Christ, break cycles of generational abuse and sin.  

Ultimately, I’ve learned that the church, as a whole, will rise to fight for justice when challenged by her leaders.  But as long as church leaders remain silent on the issue of life and deny this holocaust, which has brutally killed 52,000,000 babies since 1972, the church body will continue to shirk its responsibility to “deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter” Proverbs 24:11
And even as the church promotes countless other very legitimate causes, many in which I participate, I can’t help but ask:

  • How do we think that we can please God by serving our fellow man when we fail to protect the life of our unborn fellow man?
  • How does the church expect the word of God to powerfully go out to all the earth, when the blood of unwanted babies is being shed within a few miles of our church and we remain silent?
  • How can we expect our efforts to save children in foreign countries across the globe to be blessed by God when we remain silent to the savage murder of the children here in America?
There is a distinct disconnect between what the church says she believes and how she has responded to the abortion crisis in America.  
  • Do we really believe life is sacred at all stages and that it begins in the womb?  
  • Do we really believe we are called to love “the least of these”?  
  • Do we truly desire God’s justice to be poured out on those who have innocently suffered at the hands of others? 40 years, 52 million dead babies and thousands of hurting post-abortive women later, the answers to those questions appear to be a resounding “no”.
As we approach the 39th anniversary of the legalization of abortion, it’s time for the American church to do a gut check and ask herself if the death of 52 million lives, the eradication of 52 million destinies, the destruction of 52 million families is tolerable in a nation where 80% of the population claims to be Christian. And if it’s not tolerable, then what are we going to do about it?   

The politics surrounding this issue may ebb and flow, but the call to the Christian never changes.  Volunteer at a pregnancy resource center where you can do anything from counseling a scared pregnant women to helping in the filing department.  Organize an adopt-a-mom program through your church as you materially bless a mom, who despite the cultural pressure, has chosen life.  Mentor at a MOPS program designed to help single moms figure out this mothering thing.  You can pray, give, share, foster, adopt.  But to do nothing is to abdicate your God-given responsibility to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” Proverbs 31:8

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
William Wilberforce

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Mommy, Is Obama a Tax Collector?"

That is the question my 4-year-old asked me last week.  He and his little sister were playing Chutes and Ladders, minding their own business, while I was making dinner, and something made him think of this question--maybe it was his Sunday school lesson from the previous week?  My first reaction would have been to blurt out, "No, son, he's worse than a tax collector!"  But, I don't think that would be the best parenting choice.  In the span of about ten seconds, my mind processed several different things before I answered him.

1.  Do I want my child to like Barack Obama?  That's a tough one, but I have to honestly say, no.  I don't agree with the majority of his policies or his views, in fact I consider many of them to be outright unconstitutional and immoral, so, no I don't want my children to "like" him.

2. Do I want my child to respect the position of Barack Obama?  Yes.  I want my children to respect the authority of the President of the United States.  I also want them to understand that the President is put in position by the people and is supposed to work for the people of this country.

3.  Do I want my children to know how I feel about Barack Obama?  Sure.  My husband and I are pretty vocal around the house about our political views, so I don't have a problem with them knowing that I disagree with Obama and his policies.

So, all of that considered (in ten seconds), I answered my sweet boy, "Well, not exactly.  He is our president...but...he sure does like collecting our taxes!"  How would you have answered?