MFC Team Blog

A Storm of Pro-Life Perseverance

By Marla Helseth, Writing Consultant, Minnesota Family Council

What better thing to do during blizzard conditions than to gather inside a beautiful, historic building to stand for life! That’s what hundreds of Minnesotans did last Monday at the Capitol Building in St. Paul to participate in Minnesota’s annual March For Life on January 22nd!

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Every year on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) holds a march and rally at the Minnesota Capitol Building. Due to the raging blizzard this year, the event was moved inside the Capitol building. It was wonderful to see so many people brave the storm and come to support the cause of the unborn! I was impressed by how many parents came bringing their small children! I take this as a sign that, after decades of speaking out, there continues to exist a strong will to fight for the issues surrounding the life and rights of the unborn.

Each speaker at the event had encouraging words for the crowd and I noticed one theme: perseverance.

Senator Paul Gazelka reminded those gathered that 45 years have passed since the Roe v. Wade decision and noted that real change may be on the horizon.

Perhaps change significant enough to overturn Roe v. Wade? It may sound impossible, but who knows what can be accomplished when like-minded people persevere?

Congressman Jason Lewis said, “Much has been accomplished…but there is still much work to be done.”

“Minnesota is a pro-life state. We must be the voice for vulnerable lives…” said Speaker of the House, Representative Kurt Daudt.

Acting Lieutenant Governor and Senate President, Michelle Fischbach, made it clear she will continue to work to make Minnesota “safer for unborn children.”

Along with a message of perseverance, it was announced that a bill will be introduced this session requiring women who have chosen abortion to be shown their ultrasound. Currently abortion clinics refrain from showing the mother the ultrasound at all. Minnesota Family Council will join MCCL in working with legislators to pass this important piece of pro-life legislation!

Overall it was an exhilarating event! It was wonderful to see so many people who care deeply about life in the womb. One speaker’s words summarized the day’s rally especially well, “we will not quit and we will not be silent.”

Minnesotans made it clear -amidst blizzard conditions- that they will not quit or be silenced when it comes to prayer and advocacy for the unborn!

 

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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HOPE Amidst Horrific Numbers

By Marla Helseth, Writing Consultant for Minnesota Family Council

In the forty-five years that have passed since the Roe v. Wade decision, on January 22, 1973, over 60 million babies have been aborted in this country. Planned Parenthood performed 7.6 million of those abortions since 1973. Approximately 18 million of the 60 million children destroyed were African American. There is little doubt that the Roe v. Wade decision has had a murderous effect on the lives of babies in this country.

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Despite these horrific numbers, there are numerous reasons for optimism in the year ahead for those who believe in the reality and dignity of human life in utero. Below are three reasons among many:

After 100 Years, Planned Parenthood is Under Federal Investigation

For the first time in its 100-year history, Planned Parenthood is being investigated by the Department of Justice! After the release of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress in 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee began an investigation into Planned Parenthood, it’s affiliates and other related organizations. The undercover videos reveal that entities associated with Planned Parenthood violated a law that bans the buying and selling of human fetal tissue. Additionally, the investigation may prove that Planned Parenthood conspired with it’s own affiliates to aid them in violating the fetal tissue law.

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Americans on both sides of the life debate agree that this investigation should be taking place. A recent Rasmussen poll showed that forty-six percent of Americans are in favor of the FBI looking into the sale and profiting from aborted baby parts while only thirty-eight percent are opposed. The majority of those polled had a favorable view of Planned Parenthood! It is time to investigate and prosecute Planned Parenthood!

Minnesota Case to Resurface?

Another case having to do with fetal tissue research violations hits much closer to home. Readers may remember when October of 2015 our own University of Minnesota was charged with illegally obtaining aborted baby body parts from a Minnesota abortion clinic, which is against state law, and illegally using the remains for fetal tissue research.

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Since then, Pro-Life Action Ministries and graduate student, Bridget Busaker filed a lawsuit against the University saying it had broken state law and misused public funds by procuring aborted fetal tissue for medical research. While the lawsuit was dismissed, attorneys for PLAM and Busaker filed a request to reopen the case citing new evidence. This case may take on greater weight as the investigation into Planned Parenthood and its affiliates continues!

November: Open Seats for Pro-Life Champions

Yet another reason for hope: We are entering a significant election season in Minnesota in which outcomes will climax on November 6, 2018. Minnesotans have an opportunity to fill two U.S. Senate seats and a gubernatorial seat with candidates who will champion the dignity of and protections for the unborn. Minnesota thrives when elected officials zealously advocate for the dignity of Image-bearing life at all stages – from conception to natural death.

How To Make a Difference:

What can you do to make a difference for the unborn on this dismal Roe vs. Wade anniversary? Below are several opportunities you and I have to SHINE as lights:

  • Pray that Christian men and women who will champion LIFE will run and win both Senate and gubernatorial races in Minnesota on November 6th!

  • Attend Pro-Life Action Ministries Prayer Rally at the third largest abortion clinic in the nation: Planned Parenthood of St. Paul from 8:00 am to 9:00 am on January 22!

  • Attend the MCCL March For Life the same day, January 22 beginning at noon on the Capitol Mall south of the Capitol building!

We must persevere every year to shine a light on the evil and pain of abortion. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5) Darkness can never overcome light. Abortion won’t win!

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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5 Highlights: Man, Woman, Order of Creation

By Emily Zinos, Coordinator, Ask Me First MN

On December 11th, the St. Paul Seminary and School of Divinity held a symposium entitled, “Man, Woman, and the Order of Creation” at the University of St. Thomas, which included a line-up of speakers impressively positioned to take on the issue of sexual identity in a world confused by gender ideology. I was delighted to join more than 400 attendees, including clergy, parents, students and academics, who were gathered to hear Walt Heyer, Dr. Michelle Cretella, and Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, among others, offer their reflections on an authentic vision of the human person. With a goal of equipping “clergy, religious, pastoral ministers, educators and lay leaders with the pastoral insights and language they need to reach out to those they serve – in love and in truth,” the symposium melded scientific observation of the human body and behavior with a Christian anthropology. There was a lot of information packed into the daylong event and the evening presentations that followed, but I’d like to share my top five takeaways with you here in the hopes that you will also feel prepared to respond in love and truth:

1. Affirming Lies Reinforces Confusion

Walt Heyer started the symposium with a deeply personal account of why he chose to live as a woman for nearly a decade of his life. Dissociating from a body that had been dressed as a girl by his grandmother, sexually abused by an uncle, and beaten by his father, Walt looked to become a woman as a means of escape. He warned that the popular treatment of gender dysphoria ignores the reasons many come to suffer sexual identity confusion in the first place, using puberty blockers, hormones and surgery to treat a condition that would more appropriately be resolved through psychological therapy and patience. For Walt, acceptance of his biological sex wasn’t merely the product of a therapeutic approach, though. His eventual acceptance of a male sexual identity coincided with a spiritual revelation that God’s forgiveness and love were inviting him to start over again as a child of God. We can embody God’s love when we keep open the doors to relationship with those who struggle to accept their sexual identity.

2. The Transgender “Moment” is Rife With Contradictions

Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, spoke with great clarity about the underlying worldview LGBT activists, which he argued uses the psychological struggles of a few to campaign for sweeping changes to laws and policies that reference biological sex. Dr. Anderson made a strong case for interpreting the activism of the transgender movement as a direct attack on the reality and meaning of who we are as men and women with its assumption that a poorly defined “gender identity” alone determines our sex. He went on to detail some of the contradictions that undermine the premises of transgender ideology, asking why it is that gender identity can be determined by feelings, while age, height, or race cannot. He pointed out that gender identity is essentially a belief being used to determine a personal reality, which is in direct opposition to the way belief is meant to function. We are tasked with conforming our beliefs to reality, instead of conforming reality to our beliefs. Gender ideology is a deep misunderstanding of the human person, and it’s only the church that can offer the fullness of truth as an antidote.

 

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3. Sexual Difference Goes Deep

Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians, gave an in-depth presentation of the physiological differences medicine has uncovered between the sexes. Dr. Cretella explained that our sex is determined at conception, with every cell in our bodies marked by our male or female chromosomes. Using a wide variety of scientific evidence showing intrinsic differences in anatomy and the manifestation of disease between the sexes as evidence, she argued that medical doctors must treat their patients according to their biological sex instead of a subjective gender identity. We differ biologically, but in dignity men and women are equals.

4. Men and Women Complement Each Other

Dr. Deborah Savage, professor of Theology and Philosophy at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, concentrated her remarks on the complementarity of men and women, which is the understanding that men and women are equal in dignity and while still retaining significant differences from one another. Dr. Savage used the two creation accounts in Genesis to show that, though women and men are equally endowed with intellect, will, freedom, we are also equal in the ways we are different. Men and women are not interchangeable.

5. Our Lord’s Conversation with the Samaritan Woman

Fr. Paul Check, Rector of the St. John Fisher Seminary, explained that the example of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well can serve as our guide in communicating the truth in charity. Our Lord doesn’t begin this dialog with judgement, but instead allows the woman to lead the conversation, took the time to get to know her, and, finally, shares the fullness of truth. Fr. Check also made the very practical suggestion that we all commit ourselves to using the phrase “sexual identity” when referring to our bodily reality, instead of a “gender identity” which is based purely on feelings. A pastoral approach necessitates kindness and gentleness, but not neutrality.

Though this transgender “moment” is a collection of human tragedies, there is a positive effect already manifesting itself in our midst: the renewed focus within the Christian church on celebrating the true nature of man and woman as a reflection of the image of God in the world. May we redouble our efforts to create a culture in which, as Dr. Deborah Savage says, “Every child is given an opportunity to become the beautiful person God created them to be.”

 

Learn more:

American College of Pediatricians position statement on gender ideology:

https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, by Ryan T. Anderson

https://www.amazon.com/When-Harry-Became-Sally-Transgender-ebook/dp/B06Y39GXWF

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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Just the Way They Are

By Emily Zinos, Grassroots Coordinator for Ask Me First MN

More and more often, I’m hearing stories of children and young adults wrestling with their sexual identity. Moms reach out to tell me that their teen daughter wants to be addressed with gender neutral pronouns, fathers want to know why three of his daughter’s friends have announced they’re transgender, and grandmothers tell me of grandsons that have been enrolled in school as girls. With the trans trend becoming widespread, it’s more and more likely that you will either encounter someone struggling to accept their sex or have to answer hard questions on the subject from your kids. Are you ready for those challenges?

As a man who lived as a transgender woman for nearly a decade, Walt Heyer can help answer those challenging questions with the sort of perspective only personal struggle can grant. Walt knows all too well that gender confusion is often a symptom of much deeper troubles. His own gender dysphoria was first prompted by his grandmother, who sewed a dress for him to wear in secret when he visited her house. Walt confessed in an article that, “My grandmother withheld affirmations of me as a boy, but she lavished delighted praise upon me when I was dressed as a girl. Her actions planted the idea in me that I was born in the wrong body. She nourished and encouraged the idea, and over time it took on a life of its own.”

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When Walt was in his thirties, he was cross-dressing in public, drinking and abusing drugs, which prompted his wife to file for divorce. Looking for a cure, Walt decided to seek out help from a prominent gender psychologist. The psychologist diagnosed Walt with gender dysphoria and recommended sex change surgery, but ignored the impact childhood abuse and alcoholism had inflicted on Walt’s mental health. Surgery turned out to be a devastating “treatment” suggestion. Walt later recalled that “the reprieve provided by surgery and life as a woman was only temporary. Hidden deep underneath the make-up and female clothing was the little boy carrying the hurts from traumatic childhood events, and he was making himself known. Being a female turned out to be only a cover-up, not healing.”

It was Christ who finally brought healing to Walt. Still living as a woman, he had difficulty finding a church that would accept him and was once even asked to leave by a pastor who discovered that he was transgender. He eventually found a church that welcomed him, identity struggles and all. The pastor of that church told him, "Our job is to love you and it's God's job to transform you." And transformation did happen: Walt began his journey back to wholeness as a man created by God. Today, Walt devotes his time to speaking and writing, and is especially passionate about stopping what he calls “the madness of gender change for kids.” 

Walt is bringing his message of hope and healing to the Twin Cities on November 4th, as the keynote speaker at the daylong "Gender Matters!" event, hosted by Outpost Ministries and Minnesota Family Council.

With sessions throughout the day that will bring clarity to the transgender issue through Biblical truth, legal realities, and Walt’s moving story, you’ll be well-prepared to shine a light in the darkness. Too many young people today are being led down the same path that Walt stumbled along, a path that rushes the vulnerable into confusion and irreversible medical procedures. Register now for "Gender Matters!" here and gather the tools you’ll need to witness to the truth of God’s creation and to show compassion toward those who struggle with gender identity issues.

As Walt says, “Let’s affirm and love our young people just the way they are.”

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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It Wasn't "Just Another Week of Summer Camp"

By Josiah Young, SSI-MN Program Administrator

Here we are on the other side of year FOUR of SSI Minnesota! What a success! With the exception of a spontaneous zombie apocalypse and the first successful student petition in 3 years, the week sailed along smoothly. Fifty-two students arrived at the University of Northwestern on Sunday night to a welcoming crowd of orange t-shirts and smiling faces to kick off an awesome week of summer camp!

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But SSI isn’t just another week of summer camp.

Sure, students have the chance to get away from home for a few days, change up their schedules, and have a ton of fun with new friends and old, but that’s not all. At SSI, many students experience the most condensed week of growth of their entire year. What did it look like? We’ll let the students speak for themselves.

“Jam-packed, fun, challenging, fulfilling.” -Jonathan, 14

“A whirlwind of learning and strategizing and making friends.” -Britte, 15

“It was an amazing experience with new and old friends alike, learning about Jesus and government.” Joshua, 16

“Fun, intensive learning but surrounded by friends and adults who want to see you succeed.” -Jake, 16

“It was so fruitful and welcoming. I enjoyed every minute of it.” -Selma, 16

To give you a better sense of what students are talking about, here are a few highlights from each of the tracks.

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House

Students visited the Capitol three times during the week as they learned the legislative process first hand. Furthering the democratic experience was the successful submission of a talent show petition, spear-headed by mock-Representatives Voit and Summers, which garnered signatures from over two-thirds of the student body.

Senate

This year, SSI mock Senators had a steep hill to climb: a 15 page bill and the amendment process. They persevered and conquered Recreational Marijuana and Real ID bills!

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Their achievement was crowned at the end of the week when they stood on the House floor to debate their bills, an experience that was not possible in past years while the Capitol was under renovation.

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Print Media

Powering through six papers in six days was quite an accomplishment by the SSI Print Media reporters. Based on their smiling faces and glowing reports, their trips to the Star Tribune headquarters and KSTP studio were definitely highlights for them.

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Broadcast

Broadcast reporters may have had a little too much fun during the week, judging by rumors of dance breaks that interrupted work sessions. But mostly, we’re just thankful they made it through the week alive after catching a sudden zombie attack live on camera! Thursday’s broadcast showed it all.

 

There you have it! A lot of work, fun, and friends as they learned about leadership and faith. So is it “just another summer camp”? We will let you answer that one.

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Published on by Christiana Nunez.

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