For additional information on this topic visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Rally for Religious Freedom in Scranton, PA on June 8, 2012.
Americans Rally Nationwide, Demand Obama HHS Mandate Reversal
by Steven Ertelt | | 6/8/12

Tens of thousands of Americans rallied today in more than 160 cities against the Obama HHS mandate that requires religious groups to pay for birth control and abortion -causing drugs for their employees. In the nation’s capital, they demanded that the Obama administration roll back the controversial mandate.

The rallies are intended to send a message to the federal administration that the mandate is over-reaching, is an attack on the First Amendment rights of American religious institutions and significantly damaging to religious freedom and rights of conscience. Citizens across the country, national and regional rally organizers are concerned about closure of services to the poor, the sick, the elderly, the most vulnerable in society, because the Mandate would distinctly violate religious charitable institutions’ belief systems.

Facing Life TV which is produced by Life Issues Institute discusses several personal stories of abortion and the trauma it caused, as well as the opportunities for ministry to men and women suffering post-abortion trauma. To watch this program on your computer visit: Abortion Awareness in the Black Church.

The Value of Human Life
By Pastor Joe Galimi, M.Div.

In January of 2007, I visited Israel for the first time; it was a wonderful and safe trip. I want to stress safe because contrary to negative TV programming it is safe. But this article is not about the safety of tourists in Israel, it is about the value of human life. This truth was brought home to me once again by our Jewish guide during our trip to Masada. Masada is located on the southwest coast of the dead sea; it stands 1,424 feet above the dead sea. The top of this small mountain is about 18 acres of relatively flat land. This site was developed by Jonathan Maccabeus in about 142 BC. Later King Herod, yes the same one who tried to kill the infant Jesus, turned it into an impenetrable fortress. He stocked it with enough weapons, food and water to maintain an army of 10,000 men.

In about 72 AD the Sicarii or Zealots as they are called in the Gospels occupied Masada in their last rebellious battle with the Romans. There were only about 1,000 of them to fight off the Romans. It took the Romans 2 years to defeat them. But the reason for their defeat, according to our guide was their respect for Human life. In order to conquer the fortress of Masada the Romans had to build a road up to it. A ramp had to be built rising over 1,000 feet. This is tedious work under normal circumstances let alone when men are hurling things at you from 1,000 feet above you.

After many Roman soldiers lost their lives in this enterprise, Flavious Silva, the leader of the Roman Army decided to round up Jews to do the labor. The Jewish rebels safely perched on their fortress decided not to take the lives of their Jewish brothers forced into labor below even though it meant their own death. This value of life was not shared by the Romans as history does show. Whether the Zealots at Masada had this value is historically questionable, but our guide believed it. It is a present belief in modern day Israel at any rate. Human life does have value, our own United States Constitution guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It has been argued in modern times that human life is not considered viable until that life can survive on its own outside of his/her mother’s womb. Much of the argument centers around time measured in weeks or months. However even a two year old child could not survive without the care of a loving mature person. Young life takes care and nurture from day one.

The citizens of the Roman Empire were self indulgent and selfish, they cared about their own lives and those that they loved. But value was not placed on human life beyond this. They enslaved other humans, killed for sport and entertainment. The Roman Empire is said to have collapsed because of its own decadency. The fact that they did not value human life was part of its decadency.

I am surprised that many modern day clergy who are seminary graduates have embraced the devaluing of human life, “a women’s right to choose.” I am surprised because of our study of Church History. In the late first century or early part of the 2nd century a document called the “Didache” or “The teaching of the twelve Apostles” was written. I had to study it in Seminary and I assume that all seminary students had to study it. It is, after all, one of the earliest Christian documents. From it we gain knowledge of what the earliest Christians believed and practiced in their lives. In Point number 2 in the Didache it states “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born.” 2 This is a direct quote from a 2000 year old Christian document.

It does use the word murder and the word abortion just as I have quoted it here. Abortion is not a new concept, it has been around for thousands of years. I believe that it is a mark of a decadent society, one that is destined to decline just as the Roman Empire did. Every society that stopped valuing human life gave up its own life in time. It is clear to me that we are becoming a selfish, self-absorbed hedonist society. It is also clear to me that another sign of this is that men and women are choosing not to enter religious vocations, the priesthood or clergy in both Protestant and Catholic denominations. It is sad but true: the world seems to be converting Christendom to its value system. Abortion is just one of the signs. Both Christian and Jews need to stand up for the value of human life. We share the same roots of values for human life; let’s stand together. Perhaps together we can prevent the decay of our society.