Saturday, 21 February 2009

Empty red envelope campaign: to President Obama at the White House

Readers might be interested in a campaign launched in the US: the Red Envelope Project. Brad Mattes, the chief executive of Life Issues Institute, wrote to me about it. In view of the worldwide implications of Barack Obama's pro-abortion policies (see my post: The party's over: Obama signs order to abort the world's poor), this is a campaign in which citizens of other countries may wish to become involved.

Dear Mr Smeaton,

If you’re not familiar with the Red Envelope Project, allow me to fill you in. It’s catching on like wildfire.

The idea is to send an empty red envelope to President Obama at the White House. On the back is this simple message: "This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world."

The red color represents the blood of over 50 million unborn babies who have been sacrificed on the altar of "choice". The goal is to have a tidal wave of red envelopes flood the mailroom of the White House.

The brainchild behind this project is Christ (rhymes with mist) Otto. The idea came to him during a time of prayer. He wants to send President Obama a message of moral outrage regarding his support of abortion-on-demand throughout pregnancy. Mr. Otto says the red envelope message would be "quiet but clear".

Life Issues Institute is proud to partner with Christ Otto to assist him in this noble and moving effort. Our goal is to streamline the process and make a terrific idea even more successful.We’re printing huge quantities of these red envelopes, complete with the President’s address on one side and the pro-life message on the other.

Purchasing them in large quantities affords everyone a better price; it eliminates the need to locate and shop for red envelopes; and they come preprinted and ready to be mailed. All participants need to do is seal the envelope, stick on a first-class stamp and mail. It’s easy!

This nonpolitical message makes it a great fit for churches. Imagine the number of red envelopes that can be inserted into Sunday bulletins in churches throughout the nation. It’s an excellent opportunity for the pastor to speak on the issue of abortion, remember the unborn and their mothers in prayer, and have the congregation participate in standing up for life. Those who don’t already know the President’s position on abortion soon will, and they can pray for his pro-life conversion.

The appeal of the Red Envelope Project is that it’s so easy and inexpensive to do!Ideas for getting others to participate are endless. In addition to churches, pro-life groups can include an envelope with newsletter and other mailings to its membership. Red envelopes can be given to neighbors, friends and coworkers.

Anyone and everyone who wants to send a message to President Obama that unborn babies should be protected from abortion should be given the opportunity to send in their envelope. Join a rapidly growing number of people who are sending an unmistakable message to President Obama.

It’s simple to order your preprinted red envelopes. Click on https://www.lifeissues.org/red/order.html and follow the easy directions. I’ve also posted various ideas on how you can get others to help send more envelopes to the White House at http://www.lifeissues.org/red/ideas.htm share this message with others in your email address book. Link our ordering page with your own website, Facebook page or other presence on the Internet. Include your friends around the world. We want everyone to participate.

Be a part of this new tidal wave of individuals who are standing up for America’s unborn babies!

Sincerely for the little ones,

Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Purdy verdict welcome but judges' comments disturbing

Today the Court of Appeal rejected Debbie Purdy's case against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the subject of assisted suicide and prosecution. SPUC was an intervener before the court and readers may be interested in SPUC's comments (below) on today's judgment:

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary (pictured), said: "While the dismissal of the appeal is to be welcomed, we are disturbed about the court's approach to disabled people. The dismissal of the appeal in the Purdy case is the result that all the parties must have expected. M/s Purdy was asking the DPP to issue a policy, which, as he points out, he does not have. The legal arguments against M/s Purdy's request were conclusive.

"Today's judgment, however, is disturbing in that the judges seem to have shown support for the idea that some (disabled) people are right to want to die (see §§6-7). The judgment acknowledges the wrongfulness of giving practical assistance to people who want to die (§22), but asserts that it may be "inexpedient to take action against relatives for assisting a disabled person's suicide" (§24). The presumption underlying this thinking is that the lives of people who are enduring long-term disabilities are of low value, and should not be protected in the same way as other people.

"We have great sympathy for Mrs Purdy because of her medical condition, but her legal case is misguided and dangerous. Suicide is a course of action which every right-thinking person naturally discourages. If we favour suicide for some individuals who are suffering, we send a message to all those who are sick or disabled that their lives are not worthwhile.

"This case is not about people with terminal illness. Both M/s Purdy and the late Daniel James, whose case is also discussed extensively in the judgment, are instances of people with long-term disabilities (M/s Purdy herself - disabled through disease, and the late Mr James - disabled by an injury). They are not terminally ill people. The implications of the judges' comments may affect disabled people widely.

SPUC, which is a member of the Care not Killing alliance for promoting palliative care and upholding the right to life of the disabled and terminally ill, shares the concerns expressed by disability activists like Jane Campbell, in Community Care (15 January 2009): "Jane Campbell, chair of the disability committee at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, believes the [Daniel James] case sends out a dangerous signal. She says that while it may seem like a personal matter the drip, drip effect of letting such cases go has big implications for society. 'While I completely understand the family have to live with the consequences of their actions, [the Crown Prosecution Service] has got to start prosecuting otherwise it sends out a message that it's OK to help people die,' she says."

[Paul Tully continued): "The recent case brought before the GMC against Dr Iain Kerr, the Glasgow doctor who gave lethal drugs to a suicidal patient, indicates that rules to protect vulnerable patients can be enforced with effective action.

"In the Purdy case the court is being targeted by the euthanasia lobby as a forum for advancing the arguments for assisted suicide, despite the fact that the judges say that they take no side in the debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide. M/s Purdy's predicament is clearly being used to advance the euthanasia agenda. The fact that the judgment is trimmed with florid expressions about M/s Purdy and her husband (see §§ 8, 81) indicates strong support for the practice of assisted suicide in such cases."

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Papal rebuke to Nancy Pelosi is a message for all anti-life Catholics in public life

Mrs Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, (pictured) has been firmly rebuked by Pope Benedict when she visited him at the Vatican today, albeit in the measured, diplomatic language of the Holy See.

The papal rebuke sends a clear message to Catholics in public life who promote and support anti-life legislation. She has described herself as an ardent, practising Catholic and her views on life issues closely mirror those of Tony Blair, recently received into the Catholic Church, who has refused to repudiate the anti-life laws and policies he steadfastly pursued throughout his political career. Nancy Pelosi's appalling voting record on abortion (including coercive abortion), population control, human embryo research, human cloning and a host of other issues, can be found here.

The following terse statement appeared today on the Holy See website:

Following the General Audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Mrs Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage.

His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.

Monsignor Barreiro told me today: "A Press Release of this importance it is always published at least with the approval of the Secretary of State. "

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Worrying news about teachers' draft code

I am very worried about news from the Christian Institute concerning a new draft code of conduct and practice by the General Teaching Council. The Christian Institute explains:
"The GTC is the professional regulatory body for teaching. No person may teach in a state school unless they are on the GTC’s register of qualified teachers. Those who wish to register must sign the declaration, 'I understand that as a registered teacher I am required to comply with the code of conduct and practice for registered teachers.'"
Colin Hart, the Christian Institute's director, has commented:
“Christians would support most of the code, but many are alarmed by the new diversity rules. Under the code, Christian teachers will be required to ‘proactively combat discrimination’ and ‘value diversity’ based on religious belief and sexual orientation. The code rightly requires that teachers should respect their colleagues and those they teach. But respect for people as people is not the same as respecting or valuing every religious belief or sexual lifestyle. Forcing this on Christian teachers is to force them to go against their conscience.”
Arguably the greatest pro-life thinker and leader of the 20th and 21st century was Pope John Paul II, as people of all faiths and none have acknowledged.

In Evangelium Vitae paragraph 97, Pope John Paul II taught that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.* Yet the GTC's draft code, according to the Christian Institute, could interfere with that authentic education and formation, in the following hypothetical examples:
  • "A university department of education asks all applicants for teacher training courses to affirm their willingness to promote gay rights"
  • "A homosexual group writes to schools claiming that [the code] means all schools must use materials designed to promote acceptance of homosexuality."
You can express your concerns about the GTC's draft code, by responding to the GTC's consultation by 27 February - click here.

*The truth of Pope John Paul II's teaching can be understood in moves to recognize marriage between homosexual couples. The achievement of such an objective necessarily involves changing the understanding of sexual intercourse, so that the conception of children through sexual intercourse becomes all the more clearly an optional add-on. In such a social environment unborn children are certain to become all the more disposable.

Monday, 16 February 2009

SPUC’s general election campaign starts now

SPUC’s general election campaign starts now.

Please see pictured a copy of the Society’s general election flyer.

You’re right. The date of the next general election has not been announced. It might be as late as June 2010. But if we want to make the right to life a voting issue in your local constituency(ies) at the next general election, it’s essential to start work now.

As Cardinal O’Brien, the archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, said in a message to SPUC last week: "I have supported many pro-life causes in recent years, including efforts to eradicate world poverty, opposition to euthanasia and speaking against the possible replacement of the Trident Nuclear System – but I see the most fundamental issue at this present time is that of the basic right to life itself, which must be of basic concern to us all in the next general election".

Cardinal O’Brien is right. With 4,000 babies killed by abortion every week, the right to life the most important issue facing society. There are other issues, of course, but this one is so fundamental, and the scale of the injustice is so huge, it's the top priority political issue for citizens concerned about the common good.

If we are going to convince a growing number of our fellow-citizens that the right to life is the most important issue facing Britain, we need to start work now. If we leave it too late, our last-minute efforts will simply be overwhelmed by media attention to other issues.

Please order flyers, organize a group of local volunteers, and give out the flyers as widely as possible in your local constituency(ies). It’s essential that we begin arousing public concern. You may wish to organize a team to give out leaflets door-to-door. You may wish to go out on the high street. You may have a good relationship with your local clergy. If your local clergy are supportive, ask if you can make an appeal for leafleters at church services.

Please email johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk to order flyers or for more information.