All Around Us

.The Evil of Abortions

One hears of the growing murders in abortion. The figures given are almost unbelievable. The Christian News reports of this in its March 16, 1981 issue:

Legal abortions in the United States totaled an estimated 1.5 million in 1979—a new record, reports the Planned Parenthood—affiliated Alan Guttmacher Institute. 

The new total represented 30.2 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. In 1978, some 1.4 million abortions were performed in 2,753 abortion facilities across the nation, a level of 28.2 abortions per 1,000 women. 

In both years, about 30 percent of women who became pregnant chose to end their pregnancy by abortion. Some 31 percent of all abortions were obtained by teenagers, who represent 18 percent of sexually active women of childbearing age. 

Guttmacher researchers said their figures reflected reported abortions. Actual totals may be higher—perhaps 1.5 million in 1978 and 1.6 million in 1979, they said. 

Since 1967, when the first states liberalized abortion laws, about 7.4 million women have obtained some 9.4 million legal abortions, the report said. “Since 1967, 15 percent of women of reproductive age have had legal abortions.” Abortions became legal nationally with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The figures are shocking. No wonder so many Christians are greatly concerned. All of this evil has an inevitable effect on man’s attitude toward human life in general. Many doctors also are deeply concerned—some for spiritual reasons and perhaps some for other reasons. The Christian News of January 26, 1981 reproduces an advertisement which appeared in the Jan. 22, 1981 issue of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. The ad was signed by hundreds of doctors and began: “Jan. 22, 1973 -Jan. 22, 1981. In Memoriam – VIII; ‘Respect for Human Life.’ ” I The ad contained three brief statements: “Did you know that…all medical facts indicate human life begins at conception (and) the supreme court abortion decision allows abortions during the entire nine months of pregnancy—from conception right up to birth.” They also quote from the declaration of Geneva—1948: “…I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.” 

One hears of the growing crime rate in our country—but there can hardly be a greater crime than the legalized murder which still continues. 

One Against the Union

Many states allow, and many businesses have approved, compulsory union membership, sometimes called the “closed shop.” This is, of course, grossly unfair and contrary to the constitution of the United States which allows for freedom of religion. When some, for religious reasons, refuse to join the union, these have usually lost their jobs. Yet there is on record in Michigan at least one case where an individual refused to join the union or pay dues—and kept her job. A report of this is given in the Newsletter of the Michigan Right to Work Association, December 1980. The report states:

In the spring of 1968, Carol Applegate faced a difficult choice. 

She had been a professional educator for almost 20 years, and for the past 16 years, a voluntary member of the Grand Blanc Education Association (GBEA). 

In recent years, however, Mrs. Applegate had noticed that GBEA officials, like their counterparts in the National Education Association (NEA-union), had abandoned selling unionism on its merits. Instead they had adopted the “rule or ruin” ideology of compulsory unionism. 

Deeply troubled by the threat to academic freedom posed by forced unionism, Carol Applegate, after much thought and prayer, resigned from the GBEA. 

“My decision not to belong to the union,” Mrs. Applegate recalls, “was done as a very personal, private, quiet protest against what I considered to be unprofessional actions of the association.” 

And a quiet protest it would have remained, had not GBEA-union officials determined to quash the principle of free choice in the Grand Blanc education community. 

So in September of 1968, the Grand Blanc Board of Education and the local NEA-union hierarchy struck a deal adding a compulsory “agency shop” clause to the teachers’ contracts. 

As a result, Carol Applegate, along with every other teacher who had chosen not to join the so-called “association,” was forced to pay dues to the unwanted union. 

Though well aware of the forces against her, Mrs. Applegate steadfastly refused to meet the compulsory dues demands of the GBEA-union officials. 

“In all the time I have been a teacher,” she later said, “I have never had to answer to anyone except the people of the community through their elected representatives. 

“I was not going to suddenly, at this point in my career, pay tribute to a private organization in order to teach in the public schools, especially when I disagreed with many of the tactics and practices of that organization.” 

The union officials quickly made it clear they would not tolerate such a challenge to their monopoly power. They demanded that the highly respected and highly competent school-teacher be fired from her job. And as so often happens, the school board caved in to the union bosses’ demands. 

Carol Applegate, however had other ideas. The school board may have broken, but she hadn’t even bent. With the aid of the National Bight to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Mrs. Applegate took her case, first to the Michigan Tenure Commission, and then to the Michigan state courts. 

“I vowed to test in any way possible the validity of a system that demands, ‘You either pay dues to the teacher union or you will be fired.’ I did this because I could not in good conscience stand before my classes and say ‘think’ when I was being denied the right to think myself,” said Mrs. Applegate.

The end of the case was that Mrs. Applegate won. She is still teaching. She withstood the union sucessfully. I have often wondered if we ought not also to use the laws of our land to insist on our constitutional right of freedom of religion in connection with work in “closed” shops. 

Pornographic Music

The Christian News, Feb. 23, 1981, quotes an article which warns against the corrupt popular music which is being presented over radio today. The article states:

Where are the strongest influences on our morals today? Time-wise it’s no contest! By age 18 the average teen has been exposed to approximately: 20,000 hours of radio; 18,000 hours of T.V.; 11,000 hours of school; 1,000 hours (or less) of Sunday School. 

The Christian people of America seem to give attention to these influences in the opposite proportion to their effect. 

It is important to check every work of our new hymnal for the implications words might contain, but it is equally important to start checking the words of the songs our youth hear an average of 31/2 hours a day.

The article continues by pointing out some of the corruption which is heard in the songs commonly played on some radio stations. It gives rather shocking examples of words which are clearly pornographic. The article points out that these songs are often far more explicit than the quotes indicate—for the worst of the words the author considers far too shocking even to print. The author then states:

The morals and philosophy of tomorrow’s adults are being molded more by today’s music than by any other single force. Our youth are struggling to establish their own identity and solidify the principles that will guide their life and family style. We are all vulnerable to pressures of friends or “would be” friends and hero figures.

Parents, we ought to give constant thought and care concerning what our children hear. Often, it is true, our children spend more time with radio and television than with Christian school instruction. When the radio and television present purely worldly entertainment, what kind of effect must this surely have on the spiritual lives of the children? Far more damage is being done than we sometimes are willing to admit. 

That Third Option for Women Deacons

The Christian Reformed Church contemplates what action their Synod of 1981 will take with respect to women serving as deacons. Two years ago the earlier decision allowing women to serve in the office of deacon was suspended. This coming June the Synod must consider once more what to do. In the Calvinist Contact, Feb. 27, 1981, Keith Knight proposes three possibilities: refuse to allow women into the office; or, allow women to serve as deacons (which he admits might cause a split in the C.R.C.); or, leave the matter to the individual congregations. Of the latter, he writes:

The local congregation still has the final authority. Synod exists only 10 days but the congregation conceivably lasts for generations. 

Synod would be wise to let each congregation make up its own mind with respect to opening up the office of deacon to women. That, after all, is where ecclesiastical authority lays. Such a decision must ultimately be dealt with at the congregational level anyway.

That last proposal might be the one adopted. As the author pointed out, the synod did this back in 1957 when it allowed individual congregations to permit women to vote in congregational meetings. 

However, this “solution” can only create further divisions in an already grievously divided denomination. If this were done with the office of deacon, what of that of elder and minister? Would this also be decided on the local level? It does not take much imagination to know what kind of problems would then arise in the churches. Rather, the churches ought to abide by the clear teachings of Scripture—and the question would be quickly and easily solved.