Archive for April, 2010
The University of Calgary is moving ahead with proceedings against eight pro-life students who are being charged with tresspassing on their own campus. Despite the fact that these proceedings could deprive these students of the same rights enjoyed by every other student on campus, they are being denied even the most basic right of legal representation.
It should be emphasized that if any public university in the USA were to attempt such blatant censorship and discrimination, they would be immediately be defending themselves in a Federal civil rights action. And that university would lose. As you pray for these students, you might also thank God that you live in a country where your most basic rights are protected by law, including the right of free speech and assembly. Let’s work and sacrifice to keep it that way. Here is the latest from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform:
UNIVERSITY PROCEEDS TODAY WITH INDIVIDUAL, CLOSED-DOOR HEARINGS FOR PRO-LIFE STUDENTS, DISALLOWS LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES
The University of Calgary is proceeding with individual non-academic misconduct hearings, which include the possibility of expulsion, for eight members of the Campus Pro-Life (CPL) student group regarding a pro-life display held earlier this month. The University administration notified students that “legal representatives are not suitable Advisors and are not welcome” at the individual, closed-door hearings, scheduled for April 28th and April 30th.
“This feels like a show trial where they’ve already convicted us unjustly and now want to punish us unjustly,” said Alanna Campbell, CPL President.
Earlier this month, after having set up a pro-life display on campus for the ninth time since 2006, members of the group were notified that they were being charged with a ‘Major Violation’ under Section 4.10 of the University of Calgary’s Non-Academic Misconduct Policy for “failure to comply with a Campus Security officer or University official in legitimate pursuit of his/her duties.” In 2006 and 2007, during the first four displays of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on campus, the University defended the students’ right to expression under the Charter, but in 2008 the University reversed its policy without explanation.
Two hearings will be held on April 28th, at 1:00pm and 1:30pm. The remaining six are scheduled throughout the day on Friday, April 30th with the first at 9:30am.
“We’ve never received an explanation for why the University reversed their position, nor have we received any explanation as to what a security official’s legitimate duties actually include,” stated Vice-President Peter Csillag.
The group’s pro-life display, called the Genocide Awareness Project, has been held on the University of Calgary grounds without incident eight times since 2006. The display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
“In exercising our freedom of expression rights, there is not a single University of Calgary bylaw or regulation broken,” said CPL Secretary Cristina Perri, “Obviously we’re going to challenge or appeal any adverse decision that comes from these or future hearings.”
In 2009, the University charged six students with trespassing in relation to the display, but the Crown Prosecutor stayed these charges prior to a trial scheduled for November of 2009.
In a statement to media on April 18th following notification of the Non-Academic Misconduct charges, CPL Vice-President (External) Cameron Wilson stated the Club’s position, “Our message to the University is this: do unto us whatever you desire, punish us however you wish; but our convictions shall not change, and we shall not alter our actions based on intimidation.”
For further information, contact Club President Alanna Campbell at (403) 690-5217, Vice-President (Internal) Peter Csillag at (403) 465-1777, or lawyer John Carpay of the Canadian Constitution Foundation at (403) 619-8014.
CBR recently took our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to the University of Delaware. This was our second visit to this campus. Click here to read the story in the student newspaper.
We are so grateful that we live in a country that respects freedom of speech. Not so in some other places. Like Canada!
We salute the pro-life students at the University of Calgary for their courageous stand against the heavy hand of censorship. Story here. It’s been widely covered in the popular press locally. You can Google for the latest news.
Here is a press release issued by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform:
CALGARY. April 19th, 2010 – The University of Calgary has notified eight of its own students that they are being charged with non-academic misconduct, with a possibility of expulsion, for having set up a pro-life display on campus earlier this month.
Campus Pro-Life (CPL) Club President Leah Hallman stated, “We understand the severity of the charges, but our consciences could not contemplate silence, therefore we must stand by our convictions to fight for the lives of unborn children.”
The group’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display has been held on the University of Calgary grounds without incident eight times since 2006. The GAP display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
“They failed to convince the crown that we were trespassing on our own campus last year so now they want to charge us with ‘non-academic misconduct’ for exercising our right to express our views,” said Peter Csillag, CPL’s Vice-president. “We condemn and will challenge these charges, as we have with all previous attempts at censoring and intimidating us.”
In 2009, the University charged six students with trespassing in relation to the display, but the crown prosecutor stayed these charges prior to a trial scheduled for November of 2009. The University has threatened participating students with non-academic misconduct charges on the occasion of each display, but this is the first time they are following through with their threat.
“Quite frankly, I can’t help but feel like we’re living parts of the novel One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich,” stated Vice-president Cameron Wilson, “it feels almost surreal that we still have to fight this battle on our own campus.”
Campus Pro-Life will be holding a press conference at 10:00am on Monday, April 19th, 2010 outside of the MacKimmie Library Building on the University of Calgary campus to make a formal statement and answer questions pertaining to new developments.
I just got this note from Kristen Giesler, the president of Students for Life at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the group that recently hosted GAP on that campus.
The most poignant thing about my recent GAP experience at UNC-Charlotte is how every facet of the event exceeded my expectations and was nothing like I imagined. Assuredly, I did not anticipate having an unfettered debate with a history professor. Said professor was a prime example of how ideology and emotion prevent logical thinking. He threw at me the usual litany of pro-abortion fodder. After giving him a logical (non-aggressive and non-emotional) response to every argument, the professor found himself talking in circles and moving on to ponder the logic of life. This, just by itself, elated my spirits; but fate had a further dainty in store for me. Just a few weeks later, we were again displaying abortion photos on the UNCC campus, and who should approach me but this same professor! Unlike our first meeting, his demeanor had changed. He wasn’t angry anymore. More importantly, he no longer tried to defend the pro-abortion position. I do not believe his heart has changed yet, but it was obvious that the seeds of life are growing in his heart and mind; change is inevitable!
I got an e-mail from a friend of mine. I’ll call him Josh, because … well … that’s his real name. Anyway, Josh was preparing for a presentation and he wanted to confirm that abortions exceeded live births in Washington, DC. Josh is a great guy, but he needed me to tell him why abortion statistics, even if correctly remembered and dutifully repeated, do nothing to change anybody’s mind. Here’s my reply:
Thanks for being in touch. This answer to your question is that I don’t know. I just don’t latch onto that kind of data because I’m not really sure it matters. If you were able to get somebody to learn that fact (the ratio of abortions to births inside the DC city limits is greater than 1.0), I doubt it would change anybody’s behavior very much. You’d get a few nods from people in the room, but that’s about it. When we get all worked up about explaining the sheer numbers of abortions (1.2 million a year, 3300 a day, 1 of every 3 or 4, etc), we start to sound like anti-tax/anti-deficit activists who talk about stacking dollar bills to the moon and back. That stuff gets nods from people who are already care, but it doesn’t change their level of participation and it makes everyone else’s eyes glaze over.
Think about it this way. If “only” 5 million Jews had been killed in the death camps, would it have been any less horrifying? For the million who didn’t die, I suppose it would be. But for most of us, the fact that death camps existed pegs our horror meter already, and the statistic (whether 6 million or 5 million or 7 million) makes no difference in our response to it.
The problem with most people’s response to abortion is not that they are insufficiently horrified about millions of abortion. The problem is that most people are insufficiently horrified about every single abortion. In the minds of most people, abortion is a nominal evil, or the lesser of evils, or a necessary evil, or an evil that is so entrenched in society that nothing can be done about it anyway. Many Christians think it’s just another “cause” or “mission activity” among many, all of which cry out for their attention. Until this changes, we have no hope of winning.
To give you an idea of how the lack of horror about abortion affects our response to it, consider the budgeting of money, staff time, and volunteer time at almost every “pro-life” church. They spend vastly more resources on professional music presentations every Sunday (led by paid staff), church-run sports programs (organized by paid staff), etc., than they spend on stopping the killing of our own children. They might send a couple of thousand dollars (out of a multi-million dollar budget) to a Pregnancy Resourc Center (PRC)—money well-spent, to be sure—but not much else. People who attend those churches are having abortions in astonishing numbers. And why are the members so complicit and/or complacent? Because nobody has ever shown them the truth of abortion. So they rationalize their way over to the clinic and hope the memory of it goes away. Or they just do nothing. They give a little money to a PRC and think nothing more about it. What would happen if these “pro-life” churches started acting like they believe abortion really is killing a baby? What if they were horrified? What if they assembled as many people to pray in front of the abortion clinics every week as they assemble for choir practice? (What if they held their choir practice at the clinic? … Now there’s an idea.) They will never do this until they are sufficiently horrified about every single abortion that takes place. Pictures are more important than statistics.
I can tell you that if the average “pro-life” church were as dedicated to stopping abortion as they are to promoting their church choir, this would have been over long ago. That is why it is so important to force Christians and others to look at a picture of a single abortion. When people get a grasp of how horrifying each single abortion truly is, only then will the statistics start to mean anything.
Every day’s a great day when you’re doing God’s work. We took our ProLifeOnCampus display to UNC Charlotte (UNCC) earlier this month. A grandmother taking classes at UNCC asked our White House volunteer Kathy Hardin for some extra brochures. (Kathy is from White House in 10EC, not DC, for all you people in Rio Linda.) She said her granddaughter had gotten pregnant and considered abortion but the grandmother told her not to do it if she expected any help from her. The granddaughter is now 5 months along and keeps asking if she did the wrong thing by keeping the baby. The grandmother said, “I want some pictures to show her what the wrong thing is!” The next day the grandmother came back and asked for more brochures to show to the teens at her church, because she said everyone else pretends like none of them ever have abortions. She said she wished she could bring everyone to see the pictures.
While the GAP display was set up at the Belk Tower in the middle of campus, our Truth Trucks, “Choice” signs, and educational brochure helped us project pro-life power (the power of the pictures) far beyond the display itself. Both days during lunchtime, the Students for Life and the Hardin children (Caleb and Abigail) took four “Choice” signs and a hundreds of our “How can you compare abortion to genocide?” brochures down to the UNCC Student Center. At the same time, our Truth Truck was circling the campus. One student walked out of the Student Center, saw the signs and the trucks and the brochures and exclaimed, with a mixture of disgust and admiration, “They’re everywhere!” Which is exactly where we want to be, by God’s grace and with your help.
We recently returned from taking our ProLifeOnCampus display in North Carolina. We were invited to Western Carolina University (WCU) by the WCU College Republicans. There’s currently no pro-life group on campus, but we’ll be working to start one.
Knoxville volunteer Debbie Picarello was able to share the love of Christ with many post-abortive women. She also spoke with many nominally pro-life Christian students who became committed pro-lifers after being shocked and awed by our huge abortion photos. They had never seen abortion in their pro-life churches, which explains why 1 in 5 women who abort their babies identifies herself as a “born-again” or “evangelical” Christian.
We also spoke with a number of pro-life students who are now interested in starting a new pro-life student group on campus. Such groups can have a huge impact on public opinion among their fellow students.
Western Carolina is a major university, but it’s in a rural part of Western North Carolina. We found few pro-lifers who were able to help us defray the costs of this visit. Please consider a special gift of $50, $100, or $500 to help defray the costs of this campus visit. Thanks.
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