Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Government's New Weight-Loss Plan

I have been going nuts this week thinking about this subject.  Here is an excerpt from a Washington Times article:

WASHINGTON, DC, July 20, 2011 — Controversy erupted this week over the article State Intervention in Life-Threatening Childhood Obesity published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The article, written by Harvard childhood obesity expert David Ludwig, MD, PhD and Lindsey Murtagh, JD, MPH, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health, suggests that the government intervene and take over custody of obese children.  
Huh?  So, the government, the same guys that run things down at the DMV can do a better job with the kids than their parents?  Oh so many questions...First of all, What constitutes as severely obese?  The examples used in the JAMA article were of a 555 lb. 14-year-old and a 440 lb. 16-year-old.  These are examples of kids that have already been taken from their parents.  What happens if these kids fail to lose weight in a foster home?  Will they blame the foster parents?

I'm certainly not saying that the parents of such severely obese children are faultless--that would be impossible.  But there are other factors that influence what kids choose to eat and how physically active (or inactive) they are.  According to a Yahoo News articleUniversity of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan thinks that more criticism should be placed on advertising, marketing, peer pressure and bullying--all things that parents have no control over.  

Think of the implications of placing a child in foster care--taking the child out of their home, away from their parents.  These actions could cause serious emotional trauma to any child, especially an overweight child already prone to low self-esteem and depression.  

Is childhood obesity a form of child abuse?  Is it the government's place to step into a potentially otherwise loving family to "fix" them?  Is the family to blame for obesity in such a way that the child should be actually removed from the home?  Should other measures be taken to train and equip the families about better nutrition and exercise?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Our Generation's Battle Cry"

The following is an article written by a good friend of mine, Amy Gerwing.  Amy is an amazing wife and mother to 7 sweet children.  She and her husband are deeply involved with Online for Life, and she has quickly become someone whom I respect and admire.  I hope you are as encouraged by her words as I was and that your resolve is renewed as we cry, "Life for all!"

July 9, 2011, Amy Gerwing
Now that I'm a week removed from our family trip to the great historical sites of Philadelphia, I've had some time to reflect on our tour of some of the most historically profound sites in the world.  Although I came away with many thoughts - thankfulness, enlightenment, wonder- especially after standing in the room where the 55 courageous and in some cases nervous men signed our Declaration of Independence, the one overwhelming thought I left with was that of encouragement. 
These men were not perfect nor were they always united.  However they did unite to sign a perfect document which stated, for the very. first. time. in world history, that a people, endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, were to rule themselves.  A decade later this Declaration would inspire a Constitution making us a nation of laws not men.
There was one glaring contradiction in this document declaring all men free and that was that not all men in the colonies were free.  Slavery had been introduced in the 1620's and was now a firm institution in this land.  The debate over slavery among our Founding Fathers nearly tore the Continental Congress apart.  Not because they believed slavery was right.  In fact many of them went on to free their slaves after signing the Declaration of Independence.  The debate over slavery nearly dissolved the Congress because for so many years slavery had been an integral part of the colonies' economy.  The colonists for many years had been fed the lie that a man from Africa was not even a full human being and therefore not created with the same inalienable rights as a white man.  The colonists were fed the lie that if slavery were abolished, our economy would go down in flames and the freed slaves would suffer and die in poverty and hopelessness.  They were fed the lie that slaves were better off as slaves than free men as they would surely never survive outside the lands of their masters. They were fed the lie that their individual right to posses a slave superseded that slave's right to be free.  And finally they were fed the lie that the state not our Creator could grant rights such as life and freedom to individuals.
We look at these arguments now and we find them absurd.  But compare them to the lies being fed to us today.  An unborn child is not a full human being and therefore not given the inalienable right to life.  An unwanted child is better off aborted as he will merely be born into poverty and hopelessness.  A woman's individual right to destroy her child's life supersedes the child's right to be born.  The state (meaning any government) can grant rights to individuals that elevate the right to murder over the right to life.
When drawing up the Constitution during the hot summer months of 1787, there were men who argued that slavery would never be abolished in their lifetime as it was too engrained in the culture. But in their desire to see the spirit of the Declaration of Independence lived out in the new nation - that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - they set in place the means for the Constitution to be amended in the hope that one day the right of one man to posses another would be abolished.
In the same way today, there are many who say abortion will never be abolished in our lifetime.  That it is too engrained in our culture.  However, if we look to our Founding Fathers for inspiration, we will not give up the fight to extend Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness to all persons, both born and unborn.  And just as the abolition of slavery did not happen in a vacuum but came as a convergence of legislation, education and prayer, so too will the end of abortion be brought on by these same actions.   The Founder's battle cry was freedom for all.  Our generation's battle cry is life for all 
"I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil."-- Patrick Henry, letter to Robert Pleasants, January 18, 1773

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Raising Little Conservatives - Part 2 - Social Conservatives

Children who are raised to be social conservatives are raised to value life.  To value marriage and family.  To love their neighbors as themselves.  It is challenging in today's world.  Our children are being constantly battered with political correctness, with worldly values, and with the notion that absolute truth is non-existent.  How do we, as parents, combat this?

The first principal that we have learned is that we must teach our kids that we (mommy and daddy) are their authority.  We have the last word over teachers, friends, friend's parents, television, other family members, and so on.  Already in their short lives, I have had to correct things they've been told by very well-meaning people multiple times because it went against our family's values and beliefs.  I cringe at the thought of some of the things they will be fed as they enter into their school years.  But I am comforted knowing that my kids respect our authority and trust us.  

Raising social conservatives also begins on a spiritual level.  It isn't just about teaching them that abortion is wrong, it's about teaching them that each life has intrinsic value.  Abortion has been a big one in our household, due mostly to our involvement with Online for Life.  I would encourage all parents to take up a cause and get their children involved with it.  On the 4th, my kids decided to put up a lemonade stand.  My 5 year old spread both his hands and said, "Mom, I'm going to sell this many. These (holding up one hand) I'll give to save babies.  These (holding up the other) will be for me."  

All my children have begun to commit scripture to heart, and one of the first that they learn is Matthew 22:39, "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Most people have heard that verse, but many do not really know what it means. We have tried to instill in our children what it truly means.  It's in the little things, like letting their guests pick the game, helping someone up who has fallen on the soccer field, sharing their favorite toys, and praying for one another.

What about feminism?  Fun one.  We teach our kids that even though we are all equal, girls and boys are different.   This goes for my boys especially.  They are to treat girls differently, more gently.  This is in their actions and in their speech.  No wrestling with Gracie or Mommy.  As they get older, I will tell them that when they go on dates, they had better be gentlemen, opening doors, being polite, no matter what the rest of the world does.  Tim makes sure our children regard me not only as their mother, but also as his wife, and he demands for them to respect me as such (it works in theory...in real life they are 2, 4, and 5...the important thing is that the seeds are planted!).  These seeds will grow as they do and years from now as they are bombarded with political agendas for marriage and feminism and whatever else is thrown at them, the roots will be deep and strong to withstand attacks.

We have a moral responsibility to instill our values and beliefs into our children.  We aren't just their caretakers, but we are tools that the Lord uses to mold and shape our children.  Our task is God-given.  Make no mistake.  And we will be held accountable, not for the choices they make, but for our role in how they came to make them.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taking Care of the Unwanted Mother

With an unwanted pregnancy, there are essentially 3 main people involved.  The baby, the mother, and the father.  In pro-life circles we tend to (with good reason) focus on the baby.  The father is, for the most part, left out of the argument as it's become such a "women's rights" issue.  This shouldn't be the case...I feel a future blog post coming on.  Right now, however, I want to focus on the mother.  I call her the "Unwanted Mother" because whether she knows it, wants to believe it, or even feels it, it doesn't change the fact that she's a mother.  The second the egg is fertilized within her, she becomes a mother.  

Just as the unwanted child is a person, so is the unwanted mother.  It seems obvious, but it is a fact that we tend to lose sight of as we battle abortion.  I think it is my duty as a Christian to remember and pray for and fight for the rights of the unwanted mother as well as her child.  When I say "rights" I don't mean her right to abort her child, but I mean her right to know the whole truth about the child she bears.  I mean the truth about the agony she will experience emotionally for the rest of her life because of her decision.  Truths that Planned Parenthood don't want her to know.  

Many of these unwanted mothers have already aborted their children.  I pray that I would be filled with compassion for these women.  I pray that God would give me opportunities to love on these women and offer them the hope of forgiveness and restoration that is at hand.  So many of these women have been lied to, led to believe that they aren't really mothers, just victims of unfortunate circumstances.  How heart-wrenching would the day be when they find out otherwise?  It would be an honor and a privilege to be there to comfort such a woman, to show her the love and respect that we talk about having for "every" human life.  

My ultimate prayer is that these unwanted mothers would be transformed into warriors for the cause of life. I can think of no greater outcome or victory, apart from a woman choosing life to begin with, than for an unwanted mother to come alongside another to encourage and counsel her as to the truth of her motherhood and the life of her child.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why I'm Mad at Lightning McQueen

I took my 3 kiddos to see "Cars 2" this morning.  They'd been looking forward it for several weeks, and I'd heard nothing but praise for the kid flick.  I was looking forward to some funny "adult" humor from Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy, not in a million years thinking I was going to be subjecting my children to liberal environmentalist indoctrination.

Basically, the movie's political agenda revolves around "big oil" vs. alternative forms of fuel.  Okay.  I love our earth and I teach my children to care for it as best as possible.  I'm all about developing different forms of energy, especially if it creates jobs and encourages competition.  What I am not okay with is Disney/Pixar using my children for their political agenda!  It wasn't like the "green" cars and the "big oil" cars became friends in the end.  The "big oil" cars (they actually used the term, "big oil", in the movie) were evil villains out to destroy the other cars so that the alternative fuel didn't become the standard.  

I felt like I was taking crazy pills about halfway through the film.  At first I thought, "Nah, this is just me being ultra-conservative and sensitive" (when the movie opened with all the evil villains meeting on an oil rig in the middle of the Pacific).  But, as the movie wore on, the agenda became clearer until the only thing they didn't do was have the "big oil" cars killing the cars running on alternative fuels...oh wait, they did do that.  

I'm very disappointed.  I will be careful to read up on the films (even when they're rated G) that I take my children to in the future.