Speaker chosen for 6th Annual Spring Banquet

We are pleased to announce that our speaker for the upcoming banquet will be Heather Surovik. Heather is the mother of Brady Surovik, the unborn baby that was killed by a drunk driver after one of her last prenatal visits on July 5th, 2012.
The proposed Brady ammendment was named after her unborn son Brady.

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April Newsletter

April 2012

Spring is here! A time of new life and new beginnings. As pro-lifers, we are known for our celebration of life. This is the season when we celebrate the biggest victory of all – the victory of life over death in the dying and rising of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It certainly has been a time of new beginnings for MCRTL president, Kate Johnson and her husband. If you attended the Candlelight Vigil, you’ll remember that Kate was trying to allow her son, Bradley Alexander Johnson, to make a grand entrance that day. He was actually born a few hours after the vigil ended – at 1:37am on January 20th. Her doctor, Dr. Kevin Howell, was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the vigil. Some people will use any excuse to get out of public speaking! Our newest member happily attends every MCRTL meeting and event alongside his mom.

On March 23, Grand Junction joined with cities across the country to hold a Religious Freedom Rally in front of the Federal Courthouse. The purpose of the rally was to stand up for religious freedom and to pray for a reversal of the Health and Human Service mandate. This mandate requires all employer health plans to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections from the employer. This is a direct assault on our country’s First Amendment and our cherished freedom of religion. For more information about the mandate and how to join in the effort to overturn it, visit http://www.StandUpForReligiousFreedom.com.

The Grand Junction Teens for Life group will be conducting a Maternity Clothes Drive on Friday, April 13th. The maternity clothes will go to pregnant teens at the R-5 High School as well as teens who visit the Pregnancy Center. If you would like to help, just drop off hip, new maternity clothes (they are for teens, after all) at the Four Winds Café (12th and Bookcliff) between 4pm and 8pm on April 13th. Please spread the word!

Thanks to all of you who fasted and prayed during the semi-annual 40 Days for Life Campaign! There was at least one prayer warrior designated to pray on each of the 40 days. Many Grand Valley residents even made the trek to Glenwood Springs to support them with their campaign. Though official numbers are not yet available, we know that at least 644 babies have been saved during this campaign worldwide. Praise God for that!

We’ve got big news for our 5th Annual Spring Banquet sponsored by the Hope Haven Foundation. We are thrilled to have Shawn Carney as our keynote speaker for the event. Shawn is known worldwide for his efforts in the pro-life movement. Not only is he the co-founder of 40 Days for Life and host of a pro-life TV series called being HUMAN on EWTN, he has also inspired audiences across America with his passion for helping women and the unborn. The banquet will be on Friday, May 4th at 6pm at Victory Life Church (2066 Hwy 6 &50). Tickets are $20 per person, $50 per family, and $10 for teens. To purchase tickets, use the enclosed envelope to mail a check and a note with type/number of tickets desired or contact Kate (information below).

Personhood Colorado is making another attempt to get a Personhood Amendment on Colorado’s November ballot. If you would like to assist in gathering signatures for this effort, please contact Colleen (information below).

Thank you for your continued support of Mesa County Right to Life, both in prayer and with your generous donations. We each have different gifts to be used to reach the goal of ending abortion. In John17:22, Jesus prays to His Father, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.” As the Body of Christ, we are all called to be one. What better issue to unify the Body of Christ, than the issue of LIFE? During this beautiful Easter season, remember that life, not death, has the last word!

God bless you and thank you for standing up for life!

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Religious Freedom Rally

On March 23, thousands of faithful citizens will gather
in prayer and public witness in cities and towns all
across the United States to oppose the HHS Mandate.

Let’s make our voices heard right here in Grand Junction for the
Rally for Religious Freedom

Friday, March 23, Noon to 1 p.m. on the sidewalk in front of the
Federal Courthouse (4th and Rood).Image

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Being Human in an Age of Unbelief

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/11/4256

by Charles J. Chaput
November 8, 2011
Four points in defense of human dignity. Adapted from an address delivered last night at the University of Pennsylvania.

Most of my sources in this essay are not Catholic. That shouldn’t be surprising. Catholics have no monopoly on respect for human dignity. Catholics do have a very long tradition of thinking about the nature of the human person and society, but I’d like to begin by setting the proper framework for our discussion.

Last year I had the good fortune to read Eric Metaxas’s wonderful book, Bonhoeffer. It’s a biography of the great Lutheran theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I’ve quoted Bonhoeffer’s work many times over the years. The reason is simple. I admire him. He could have been a professor. Instead he chose to be a pastor. He could have had a sterling academic career of lecturing about his ideas and his faith. Instead he chose to put them into action and to immerse himself in people’s lives. He was a man not of “values” in the meager modern sense, but of virtues in the classical and religious sense—the virtues of justice, courage, and love, all grounded in the deep virtue of faith in a loving God.

The Third Reich hanged Bonhoeffer for his resistance activities just a few weeks before the end of the Second World War. Today we see him—rightly—as one of the great moral witnesses of the last century; a man who fought for the good, in the face of very grave evil, at the cost of his life.

Another great moral witness of the twentieth century was the writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who began as an atheist but ended Russian Orthodox. His history of The Gulag Archipelago, in its indictment of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and the brutality of Soviet repression that grew naturally from their thought, is a masterpiece of modern literature. Like Bonhoeffer, Solzhenitsyn wrote from direct experience of imprisonment and organized inhumanity. Unlike Bonhoeffer, Solzhenitsyn survived the war, survived years in prison camps, and was eventually exiled to the West.

In 1978, four years after Solzhenitsyn left Russia, Harvard University asked him to speak to its graduating students. What Harvard may have expected was praise for Western abundance, freedom, and diversity. What it got was very different.

Solzhenitsyn began by noting that Harvard’s motto is Veritas. This is the Latin word for “truth.” Then he added that “truth is seldom pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter.”

Then he spent the next 6,000 words saying what nobody wanted to hear. He methodically criticized Western cowardice and self-indulgence; the vanity and weakness of America’s intellectual classes; the “tilt of freedom in the direction of evil;” the right of people “not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense [and] vain talk” by the mass media; a pervasive Western atmosphere of legalism and moral mediocrity; and the rise of a destructive individualism that now forces decent people “to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.”

Some of Solzhenitsyn’s hard words came from his suffering. Some flowed from loneliness for his own country. But while Solzhenitsyn was harsh in his comments at Harvard, he also was accurate in at least some of what he said. Speaking of his Russian homeland he said, “After suffering decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer and purer” than anything offered by the practical atheism now common in the West.

The reason for the problems of the West, said Solzhenitsyn, is found “at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past [several] centuries.” Our culture has fallen away from our own biblically informed heritage. We’ve lost the foundation for our moral vocabulary. This loss has starved our spirit, debased our sense of any higher purpose to life, and destroyed our ability to defend or even to explain any special dignity we assigned to the human person in the past.

Now I’ve said all of this to give a context for four simple points I’d like to share. I’ll be brief.

Here’s my first point. We remember Bonhoeffer, Solzhenitsyn, and other men and women like them because of their moral witness. But the whole idea of “moral witness” comes from the assumption that good and evil are real, and that certain basic truths about humanity don’t change. These truths are knowable and worth defending. One of these truths is the notion of man’s special dignity as a creature of reason and will. Man is part of nature, but also distinct from it.

The philosopher Hans Jonas said that three things have distinguished human life from other animal experience since early prehistory: the tool, the image, and the grave. The tool imposes man’s knowledge and will onto nature. The image—man’s paintings and other art—projects his imagination. It implies a sense of beauty and memory, and a desire to express them. But the greatest difference between humans and other animals is the grave. Only man buries his dead. Only man knows his own mortality. And knowing that he will die, only man can ask where he came from, what his life means, and what comes after it.

The grave then is an expression of reverence and hope. When Christians and other people of good will talk about “the dignity of the human person” and “the sanctity of human life,” they’re putting into words what we all instinctively know—and have known for a very long time. Something elevated and sacred in men and women demands our special respect. When we violate that human dignity, we do evil. When we serve it, we do good. And therein lies one of many ironies. We live in a society that speaks persuasively about protecting the environment and rescuing species on the brink of extinction. But then it tolerates the killing of unborn children and the abuse of human fetal tissue as lab material.

This leads me to my second point. The University of Pennsylvania is one our country’s premier research universities. That’s a great gift to the Philadelphia community. It’s also a great privilege for all of you as students, especially those specializing in the sciences. Science and technology have expanded human horizons and improved human life in vital ways over the last century. They’ve also, at times, done the opposite.

Part of a good education is learning the skill of appropriate skepticism. And that skepticism, that healthy wariness, should apply even to the methods and claims of science and technology. When a distinguished and thoroughly secular scholar like Neil Postman writes that “the uncontrolled growth of technology destroys the vital sources of our humanity. It creates a culture without a moral foundation. It undermines certain mental processes and social relations that make human life worth living” —then we need to be concerned.

There’s a proverb worth remembering here: “To a man with a hammer, every problem is a nail.” If modern man is scientific man, technology is his hammer. But every problem isn’t a nail. Knowledge without the virtues of wisdom, prudence, and, above all, humility to guide it is not just unhelpful. It’s dangerous. Goethe’s poem, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice—which some of us probably know from the Mickey Mouse cartoon based on it—sticks in our memories for a reason. We’re never as smart as we think we are, and we have a bad track record when it comes to preventing the worst uses of our own best discoveries.

Science involves the study of the material world. But human beings are more than the sum of their material processes. Trying to explain the human person with thinking that excludes the reality of the spiritual, the dignity of the religious, and the possibility of God simply cripples both the scientist and the subject being studied—man himself. To put it another way, we can destroy what we mean by humanity while claiming, and even intending, to serve it.

We might wisely remember one other fact about science. Eric Cohen observed that “From the beginning, science was driven both by democratic pity and aristocratic guile, by the promise to help humanity and the desire to be free from the constraints of the common man, with his many myths and superstitions and taboos.” In other words, scientists too often have a divided heart: a sincere desire to serve man’s knowledge, and a sincere disdain for what they see as the moral and religious delusions of real men and women. If this doesn’t make us just a little bit uneasy, it should. Both faith and science claim to teach with a special kind of authority. One of the differences is this. Most religious believers accept, at least in theory, that they’ll be judged by the God of justice for their actions. For science, God is absent from the courtroom.

This leads to my third point. God also is absent from the U.S. Constitution—but not because he’s unwelcome. In effect, God suffused the whole constitutional enterprise. Nearly all the Founders were religious believers, and some were quite devout. Their writings are heavily influenced by biblical language, morality, and thought.

America could afford to be secular in the best sense, precisely because its people were so religious. The Founders saw religious faith as something separate from government but vital to the nation’s survival. In his Farewell Address, Washington famously stressed that “religion and morality are indispensable supports” for political prosperity. He added that “reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” For John Adams, John Jay, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Charles Carroll, George Washington, and most of the other Founders—including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin—religion created virtuous citizens. And only virtuous citizens could sustain a country as delicately balanced in its institutions, moral instincts, and laws as the United States.

Here’s my purpose in mentioning this. The American Founders presumed the existence of natural law and natural rights. These rights are inalienable and guaranteed by a Creator; by “nature’s God,” to use the words of the Declaration of Independence. Such ideas may be out of fashion in much of legal theory today. But these same ideas are very much alive in the way we actually reason and behave in our daily lives.

Most of us here tonight believe that we have basic rights that come with the special dignity of being human. These rights are inherent to human nature. They’re part of who we are. Nobody can take them away. But if there is no Creator, and nothing fundamental and unchangeable about human nature, and if “nature’s God” is kicked out of the conversation, then our rights become the product of social convention. And social conventions can change. So can the definition of who is and who isn’t “human.”

The irony is that modern liberal democracy needs religion more than religion needs modern liberal democracy. American public life needs a framework friendly to religious belief because it can’t support its moral claims about freedom and rights with secular arguments alone. In fact, to the degree that it encourages a culture of unbelief, liberal democracy undermines its own grounding. It causes its own decline by destroying the public square’s moral coherence.

That leads to my fourth and final point. The pro-life movement needs to be understood and respected for what it is: part of a much larger, consistent, and morally worthy vision of the dignity of the human person. You don’t need to be Christian or even religious to be “pro-life.” Common sense alone is enough to make a reasonable person uneasy about what actually happens in an abortion. The natural reaction, the sane and healthy response, is repugnance.

What makes abortion so grievous is the intimacy of the violence and the innocence of the victim. Dietrich Bonhoeffer—and remember this is the same Lutheran pastor who helped smuggle Jews out of Germany and gave his life trying to overthrow Hitler—wrote that the “destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”

Bonhoeffer’s words embody Christian belief about the sanctity of human life present from the earliest years of the Church. Rejection of abortion and infanticide was one of the key factors that set the early Christians apart from the pagan world. From the Didache in the First Century through the Early Fathers of the Church, down to our own day, Catholics—and until well into the twentieth century all other Christians—have always seen abortion as gravely evil. As Bonhoeffer points out, arguing about whether abortion is homicide or only something close to homicide is irrelevant. In the Christian view of human dignity, intentionally killing a developing human life is always inexcusable and always gravely wrong.

Working against abortion doesn’t license us to ignore the needs of the homeless or the poor, the elderly or the immigrant. It doesn’t absolve us from supporting women who find themselves pregnant or abandoned. All human life, no matter how wounded, flawed, young or old, is sacred because it comes from God. The dignity of a human life and its right to exist are guaranteed by God. Catholic teaching on abortion and sexuality is part of the same integral vision of the human person that fuels Catholic teaching on economic justice, racism, war, and peace.

These issues don’t all have the same content. They don’t all have the same weight. All of them are important, but some are more foundational than others. Without a right to life, all other rights are contingent. The heart of the matter is what Solzhenitsyn implied in his Harvard comments. Society is not just a collection of sovereign individuals with appetites moderated by the state. It’s a community of interdependent persons and communities of persons; persons who have human obligations to one another, along with their human rights. One of those obligations is to not intentionally kill the innocent. The two pillars of Catholic social teaching are respect for the sanctity of the individual and service to the common good. Abortion violates both.

In the American tradition, people have a right to bring their beliefs to bear on every social, economic, and political problem facing their community. For Christians, that’s not just a privilege. It’s not just a right. It’s a demand of the Gospel. Obviously, we have an obligation to respect the dignity of other people. We’re always bound to treat other people with charity and justice. But that good will can never be an excuse for our own silence.

Believers can’t be silent in public life and be faithful to Jesus Christ at the same time. Actively witnessing to our convictions and advancing what we believe about key moral issues in public life is not “coercion.” It’s honesty. It’s an act of truth-telling. It’s vital to the health of every democracy. And again, it’s also a duty—not only of our religious faith, but also of our citizenship.

The University of Pennsylvania’s motto is Leges sine moribus vanae. It means “Laws without morals are useless.” All law has moral content. It’s an expression of what we “ought” to do. Therefore law teaches as well as regulates. Law always involves the imposition of somebody’s judgments about morality on everyone else. That’s the nature of law. But I think the meaning of Penn’s motto goes deeper than just trying to translate beliefs into legislation. Good laws can help make a nation more human; more just; more noble. But ultimately even good laws are useless if they govern a people who, by their choices, make themselves venal and callous, foolish and self-absorbed.

It’s important for our own integrity and the integrity of our country to fight for our pro-life convictions in the public square. Anything less is a kind of cowardice. But it’s even more important to live what it means to be genuinely human and “pro-life” by our actions—fidelity to God; love for spouse and children; loyalty to friends; generosity to the poor; honesty and mercy in dealing with others; trust in the goodness of people; discipline and humility in demanding the most from ourselves.

These things sound like pieties, and that’s all they are—until we try to live them. Then their cost and their difficulty remind us that we create a culture of life to the extent that we give our lives to others. The deepest kind of revolution never comes from violence. Even politics, important as it is, is a poor tool for changing human hearts. Nations change when people change. And people change through the witness of other people—people like each of you reading this. You make the future. You build it stone by stone with the choices you make. So choose life. Defend its dignity and witness its meaning and hope to others. And if you do, you’ll discover in your own life what it means to be fully human.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, is the author of Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life. This essay is adapted from a lecture Archbishop Chaput delivered last night at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Abortion Facts (from our Northern Colorado friends)

http://www.nocodefendinglife.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=152

– Planned Parenthood aborts one baby every 96 seconds.
– Almost 1.4 million abortions are performed in the United States alone each year. Each abortion costs approximately $300.00, roughly $420M a year. This push for high volume and quick turnover ensures an increasing and profitable business; Planned Parenthood dispenses low dose birth control and low grade condoms at low / no costs to customers to guarantee untended pregnancies and potential abortions, http://abortionabout.com/abortionmovement.html.
– Planned Parenthood does not volunteer their services or facilities to support low income women as reflected in their $1B in revenues each year.
– The connection between breast cancer and birth control, caused by high levels of chemical estrogen, is downplayed by Planned Parenthood and ignored by major mainstream media. http://breastcancer.about.com/b/2010/01/08/abortion-birth-control-pills.htm.
– Planned Parenthood receives $11 every second in taxpayer dollars. In 2010, Planned Parenthood received $363M in federally funded taxpayer dollars. In fiscal year 2008, Planned Parenthood reported $1.038B in revenues. In addition, 34% of Planned Parenthood revenues came from taxpayers.
– Planned Parenthood saw 335,838 pregnant women in 2008; performed 324,008 abortions (96%), 2,405 (1%) adoptions, and prenatal care to 9,433 (3%).
– As all doctors know and all biology books teach, a baby’s individual DNA can be determined at conception; at 18 days a baby’s heart begins to beat; at 43 days, brain coordinates movements; at 8 weeks all organs are functioning; at 9 weeks, each baby has permanent and individual fingerprints; at 10 weeks, each baby has a sense of touch , comfort and pain; at 12 weeks, a baby can smile, suck his/her thumb, and make a fist.
– Over 2 million couples wait to adopt babies, including children of all races and those with special needs.
– They receive more than one third of their billion-dollar budget from taxpayer subsidies. And, despite being legally registered as a “non-profit” entity, Planned Parenthood reported $63 million in profits in their last annual report.
– In their latest annual report for 2008-2009, Planned Parenthood has outlined a legislative agenda to ensure that abortion is considered as “health care,” deny conscience protection to health care workers, and to increase the taxpayer funded grants.
– All Planned Parenthood funding is interchangeable; their clinics and affiliates pay dues to Planned Parenthood national, and all monies received by clinics all goes into one pot at the end of the day.
– In 2008, significant Planned Parenthood funds went to The Planned Parenthood Action Fund. This is the corporation’s “nonpartisan advocacy and political arm” that endorsed and mobilized for pro-abortion candidates up and down the ballot in that election year.
– Planned Parenthood’s cash grants through their Action Fund include the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health ($30,000) and Advocates for Youth ($15,284) a group promoting pre- teen sex education.
– Planned Parenthood spent $3,153,843 on overseas activities, the bulk of it devoted to the African region, where the group lists three offices and 14 employees or agents.
– Rape and incest count for less than 1% of all abortions.
– Nearly 7,000 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are scattered throughout the country and provide even more free assistance to underprivileged people than Planned Parenthood, which has only has 800 clinics nationally and turn people away if they can’t pay.
– Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) offer everything that Planned Parenthood does, except abortions. They offer annual exams, STD testing, all birth control methods. They also provide many services Planned Parenthood does not offer including vaccinations, x-rays, vision, dental, prenatal care and primary care to all members of the family.
– By 2011, Planned Parenthood is forcing every one of its 99 affiliates throughout the country to offer abortions by at least one of its clinics.

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40 Days for Life

Starting on September 28th and running for 40 days, until 11/06/2011, will be the annual “40 Days for Life” event. This is a time of prayer and fasting for the end of abortion around the world. All Nations, Denominations and Fellowships of believers will come together in agreement for God to stop the killing of innocent babies.
Locally, we are looking for volunteers to pray and fast with us. 40 days is a long time so we would like everyone to pray daily if possible and fast sometime during the event. What we are specifically looking for are individuals that we can assign a day to fast and pray and join with others to do so. For example, if your assigned day is October 18th, you would fast that day and ask your friends to pray for/with you. If possible, it would be great to then gather with your friends to pray that evening for the ending of abortion.
Please pray about being one of the 40 that desire to see God use their life and contact Mike McFarlane with your availability. The sooner we can get a list of interested people the sooner we can assign days (and swap days if needed) so we can get our friends and family to pray with us on our specific date.
You can contact Mike via email at macjehu@gmail.com or by phone at 970-270-3205.

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Meeting times for the next few months.

Mesa County Right to Life monthly meetings
-Monday, July 11 at 6:30 pm at Miles/Patsy’s home
-Monday, August 29 at 6:30 pm at the Four Wind’s Cafe (12th and Bookcliff) – this will be a combo August/September meeting
-Monday, October 3 at 6:30 pm at Miles/Patsy’s home

Remember – Dr. Alveda King and Fr. Pavone will be at Night Vision on July 8 and 9. It’s a free event in Olathe. Check out http://www.nightvisionphm.com for more info. Also, a reminder that the Life Chain will occur the day before our October meeting (Oct. 2nd). We will discuss it at our 7/11 and 8/29 meetings.

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