Canadian author Jonathon van Maren shares an insight on abortion and the hook-up culture.
It’s not that people have rejected the traditional Christian morality on sexuality, it’s that this generation has never even heard of it.
And this is the thing–it’s not like we have this rebellious generation of millenials who are rejecting what their parents taught them. They never even had an opportunity to choose one lifestyle or the other.
This morning I did my first talk, at a Caritas school in Tuen Mun, the Caritas Tuen Mun Marden Foundation Secondary School (明愛屯門馬登基金中學, also known as CTM). It was a class of eight Form 1 male students, all from the Middle East, from Catholic, Christian, and Muslim backgrounds.
The school’s social worker said that she had never seen the class so interested and engaged in a visiting speaker’s talk before. Thanks be to God!
Below is an email that I wrote to the school’s social worker, who organised this workshop:
It was so good to share at your school today about this very important topic. My hope is that what the discussion will help the students 1) increase awareness of the dignity of all human life, 2) strengthen their ability to have healthy relationships, and 3) establish a deeper understanding of their own dignity and rights.
My organisation is called Asia for Life (愛惜生命), a Christian pro-life organisation in Hong Kong. I give pro-life talks in partnership with the Family Value Foundation (維護家庭基金). You can see more about this project at www.asiaforlife.com/youth.
Also, if you have a chance, please let the students know I enjoyed giving the presentation to them today. They were thoughtful and they really engaged with the questions, which made the discussion much more meaningful.
Again, thank you for this opportunity!
Asia for Life
Update, Monday, May 14: Today, I returned to the school for a second talk. The talk went well, but the weather was unbearable. It is already summer in Hong Kong, and it was so sunny I couldn’t even open my eyes for a photo. The temperature hit 33 C (91 F), not counting the humidity!
In partnership with the Family Value Foundation of Hong Kong, Asia for Life is starting the Youth Pro-Life Education Initiative!
Talks are designed for youth and young adult groups, especially for school classrooms, church youth groups, and university clubs and interest groups. The main goal is to increase awareness of the dignity of human life, and to offer tools that will help young people to respect and protect life–from the moment of conception until natural death.
Topics may include:
- Dignity: Why we should respect the rights of the preborn child, the disabled person, and the elderly person.
- Empathy: How to understand and relate to people who are different from you.
- Disabled and Differently-Abled: A discussion on the unique difficulties and opportunities of disabled people. (Talk can discuss ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome, or other physical disabilities or learning disabilities.)
- Human Trafficking, Pornography, and Abortion: How one injustice leads to another, and what we can do about it.
- The Value of Respect & The Cost of Harassment: The importance of respecting physical boundaries, and how pornography and promiscuity can damage your relationships–or even put you in prison.
- How to Win a Fight: A talk designed for guys, on respect, boundaries, and self-defense.
- Life Before Birth: The humanity and dignity of the pre-born child, and how to talk about abortion with friends and family.
- Proliferation: The story of the pro-life youth movement, and testimonies of lives saved from abortion.
The pro-life movement is led mainly by youth and young adults. Image from March for Life D.C.
Are you interested in inviting a speaker to share with English-speaking youth, about pro-life and other relevant issues? Please contact email@example.com.
Schedule: Date should be confirmed at least 2 weeks prior to talk.
Age: Form 1 to Form 6 and university student age groups.
Speaking and Travel Fees: Free.
(If you are outside Hong Kong, then please contact to discuss fees.)
The Asia for Life Youth Pro-Life Education Initiative operates in partnership with the Family Value Foundation of Hong Kong.
(Reprinted from Live Action News)
According to certain activists, women need abortion. They need it so they can go to college or keep their jobs. They need abortion to be equal to men. They need it to be successful or healthy or happy. To hear them tell it, abortion saves women. But the reality is, abortion is a sign of just how much our society fails women.
Read more at liveaction.org/news/abortion-society-failed-women
“Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women deserve better than abortion.”
Image from feministsforlife.org.
Thanks be to God! The 3rd Annual Hong Kong March for Life was a success. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Group photo before the March for Life.
When we gathered, we began with prayer. I prayed at 3:33 PM because I was thinking of Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
I did not share this at the March for Life, but it is a part of the story. On June 1, 2012, I was living in Mainland China, but I was preparing to move to Hong Kong. June 1 is Children’s Day in Mainland China.
I wept for hours that day, for the hundreds of millions of preborn Chinese children who have been killed by abortion. And I wept for the silence of most Chinese churches on abortion. I called to God, but I heard nothing.
During this year’s March for Life, a Mainland Chinese speaker shared that on June 1, 2012, a nationwide pro-life campaign started. He now leads this very smart and effective ministry that has inspired pro-life education and prayer in many churches.
If we call to God, He will answer! And He will speak through the next generation in East Asia!
The Hong Kong speaker was Dominic Chan, Hong Kong’s Vicar General, who spoke about a current pro-life project in Hong Kong that has gained a lot of support in the last year. Because miscarried fetuses are considered “medical waste”, they are typically not allowed to be buried by the parents. During the past year, a focus group has lobbied for a change to this policy. This is only one small battle in building a culture of life, but it is raising awareness and changing attitudes about the rights of parents, and the dignity of the preborn child.
The Japanese speaker was Kenzo Tsujioka, founder of Pro-Life Japan. He came from Tokyo, and we were honoured to have him here!
The Mainland Chinese speakers were two young couples. They shared about their cutting-edge work in pro-life education and pregnancy resource care. Please pray for their ministries to be very fruitful!
Jonny and his wife Xiang Meng. Image from WORLD Magazine article, “Still taking the narrow path“.
Pro-life speakers from Mainland China and Japan sharing their testimonies over breakfast.
Watch our closing event at the end of the March for Life.
I want to share again why I decided to invest so deeply into this year’s March for Life.
80 years ago, eugenic abortion laws were implemented in Japan, and 40 years ago, China implemented its Family Planning Policy. I did not want to see another 40 years pass, and see another generation of innocent human lives sacrificed. So this year’s March for Life was a declaration that we will stand for life, in Hong Kong and in East Asia.
If you are willing to stand for life in this way, please sign and keep this declaration.
For those who attended the March for Life, please take a minute to give your feedback: Your Experience of the March for Life.
Christina Perri’s song “A Thousand Years” was made into a wildly popular music video by 50 British mothers and their children with Down Syndrome.
50 Mums | 50 Kids | 1 Extra Chromosome was released last month, for this year’s World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. Their video now has nearly 4 million views on YouTube.
And get out your tissues…you probably will cry!
After the Spring 2018 March for Life events in Hong Kong, people have been asking “What’s next?”, and I want to quickly give at least some of the answer here.
(SORRY for the shaky camera. And if you’re curious, there is a fish net hanging on the wall behind me.)
If you want to read more updates and adventures, make sure you’re receiving my updates from firstname.lastname@example.org (if it’s not in your Contacts list, then it will eventually go to your Spam folder!
Sign up: http://eepurl.com/dpUTrL
This post first appeared at chinajoe.blogspot.hk/2018/04/hey-joe-whats-next.html.
The reporter and I didn’t have time to finish our interview, so I answered some questions by email (below). You can see the news article at oclarim.com.mo/en/2018/04/13/third-year-of-march-for-life-in-hong-kong-joe-woodard-calls-for-praying-and-fasting-to-end-abortion/
1. Can you explain a bit about Asia for Life?
I needed a name for all the pro-life projects I was trying to do, and other cool names like “Joy of Life” were already taken. So, I chose “Asia for Life”, to focus on building on strengthening the pro-life network in East Asia. I also plan on being in Asia for life : )
2. Can you explain the situation, of the awareness of abortion, and pro-life efforts in Hong Kong?
It’s hard to talk about abortion. It’s terrible–like talking about rape, or domestic violence. Really, who wants to talk about abortion? But, if church communities can provide ideas and vocabulary, it will help Christians feel like they can have a real conversation about abortion, and not just feel angry or ashamed. Yeah, if we can talk about abortion with more honesty and less shame, I think churches will actually have more compassion, and also more conviction and clarity on questions about abortion.
3. What makes you want to give yourself in the pro-life movement?
Usually, I try to be really positive with my pro-life messages, and not simply talk about abortion all the time. But I’ll be direct with you. There are 70,000 abortions in East Asia every day. I’m convinced there is no good reason for this, and that abortion is the worst long-term solution to social problems. I also believe that every human being–no matter what size–has inherent dignity. And we shouldn’t kill innocent humans. Actually, when people ask me why I care about abortion, my first thought is: “Have you ever seen an abortion?” But I don’t usually say that, because it might be a conversation-stopper. I don’t know…maybe I should try it.
Since high school, I’ve believed that abortion is a human rights issue. This is an issue of justice for unborn children, and also of just treatment for women by their families and societies. We can do better than abortion.
I don’t have a personal experience with abortion. But my wife is an abortion survivor. Her mother had already given birth 9 times, and after she got pregnant the 10th time, she was convinced that a medical abortion was her best choice. But it didn’t work, my wife survived without any harm. And because of her, her family is blessed, and the world is a better place.
4. What is your vision of pro-life movement in Hong Kong? And is there any possibilities for bringing it to Macau, or even other parts in China?
“This kind can only come out by prayer and fasting.” Jesus said this about a demon who was afflicting a child, and making him harm himself by falling into fire and water. Abortion is a reflex, like the reflex of the boy to throw himself into water or fire. The idea that abortion will cure our problems is madness. But it is deeply ingrained into society. But it causes more problems than it produces, and destroys the next generation in the process. My vision is to call people to pray and fast for an end to abortion. There are many other important aspects to ending abortion, but I don’t think we can be successful without prayer and fasting.
As far as pro-life efforts in other regions–yes, it’s totally possible. I’m happy to encourage and counsel–but only a local facilitator can create an effective ministry. But if someone wants to do something–it is possible to do something. I’d be happy to discuss ideas!
5. What do you think the government should do, in order to protect the unborn babies?
I’m from America, and I don’t know what the government should do about abortion there. I certainly don’t know what the government should do here. But I will say, even though the Hong Kong government facilitates over 9,000 abortions each year (through funding of hospitals and the Family Planning Association), they didn’t start abortion. Originally, it was foreign medical doctors who persuaded the medical community and the government to make it normal and “necessary” in society. I think doctors and pro-life medical professionals will also help to end abortion. A lot of people’s ideas about life and death depend on what doctors say. Their attitudes are so powerful.
So, my priority is not politics. I want to get a clear pro-life message into churches, because God works through churches to bless the community and the society. Throughout history, most of the work to end infanticide, child slavery, and foot-binding, has been done by Christians. And despite different traditions and theologies, we can also work together today to respond to the injustice of abortion.
In the photo below, a mother is being separated from her daughter during a slave auction. 300 years ago, this scene could have happened, legally, almost anywhere in the world. For people at that time, today’s legal protections against enslavement would have seemed like an impossible dream! Very few imagined it was possible to make slavery illegal in every country.
Slavery still exists, and it is still a horrible scourge on our humanity. In fact, the world still has roughly 45,000,000 victims of human trafficking. There is no acceptable justification for this, and it must stop.
But despite this unconscionably high number, the number of slaves per capita is lower than it has been in millenia. This is due largely to Christian abolitionists, who have prayed and worked hard for hundreds of years. Without their continuous efforts, slavery would be far more common and acceptable than it is.
Despite many victories, slavery has never ended. So abolitionists have continuously found new ways to influence education and law, which have in turn radically reduced global slavery. We still have a lot of work to do, but the abolition movement has made incredible progress over the past few hundred years.
My goal is to persuade people that abortion is as unnecessary and unacceptable as slavery. I just hope it doesn’t take hundreds of years.
A long time ago, a lot of people believed that slaves were not really members of society, and that slavery was needed for the economy. It was common for slave children to be violently taken from their mothers.
The lies that have enabled slavery are the same as the lies that have enabled abortion.
The idea that the world is overpopulated is not new. Throughout history, people have always fought over resources. There has always been greed, hoarding, and injustice. And so there have always been wars, as well as fears about having “too many people” to share the resources.
Even though the world is still mostly empty, we now have 100 times more people on the planet than we did 3,000 years ago. The global population has grown at a fairly steady rate, for many thousands of years (with some drops due to war and disease). But in the past few centuries, because of medical and agricultural breakthroughs, the global population has been growing more quickly, And at the same time, people are progressively living longer, healthier, and safer lives.
The main culprits for poverty have always been injustice, corruption, and greed. And there is little evidence for a correlation between global population growth and poverty. Perhaps it’s because humans are always finding ways to make natural resources work more efficiently.
There really is no such thing as a human carrying capacity. We are nothing at all like
bacteria in a petri dish.
Why is it that highly trained natural scientists don’t understand this? My experience is likely
to be illustrative. Trained as a biologist, I learned the classic mathematics of population
growth — that populations must have their limits and must ultimately reach a balance with
their environments. Not to think so would be to misunderstand physics: there is only one
earth, of course!
It was only after years of research into the ecology of agriculture in China that I reached the
point where my observations forced me to see beyond my biologists’s blinders. Unable to
explain how populations grew for millenniums while increasing the productivity of the same
land, I discovered the agricultural economist Ester Boserup, the antidote to the
demographer and economist Thomas Malthus and his theory that population growth tends
to outrun the food supply. Her theories of population growth as a driver of land productivity
explained the data I was gathering in ways that Malthus could never do.
(See the full piece in the New York Times here: Overpopulation Is Not The Problem)
But for most people, the experience of being in a big, crowded, uncomfortable city feels like overpopulation. And that feeling is more powerful than legitimate demographic and sociological data.
Of course, most people in the world don’t live or work in big cities–but influential decision-makers do. And after their influential ideas about overpopulation became popular in the 20th century, it was impossible to stop them.
“We must speak more clearly about sexuality, contraception, about abortion, about values that control population, because the ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren’t enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.”
–Mikhail Gorbachev, former U.S.S.R. president
“I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.” Prince Philip, implying that human population needed to be reduced to preserve the Amazon rainforest, while in fact, the Amazon was decimated to create cheap beef exports to Europe, not because of overpopulation in South America
“I hate Indians… The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.” –Winston Churchill, whose military policies in India created the Bengali Famine of 1943, killing 2 million people, while other British policies killed many millions more
Saying that overpopulation causes poverty is a classic example of victim-blaming. Don’t blame victims. Blame injustice.
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” broke its own rules, when discussing pro-life pregnancy resource centers in America.
Pregnancy resource centers (PRC’s, also called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”) give care, resources, and various forms of assistance to women in a difficult pregnancy situation. They are often criticized because they do not provide or refer for abortion. This video reviews some of the common misperceptions about PRC’s.
See more about Care Net’s work here.
Update, April 21, 2018: The Equal Rights Institute (ERI) also has an in-depth analysis of what happened during the show. ERI sets an example for pro-life organisations, in seeking to assume the best possible intentions and interpretations of what pro-choice people say. Their charitable and considerate attitude has facilitated meaningful conversations about abortion with thousands of pro-choice people. For example, here’s a quote from their perspective on how Ben Shapiro’s anti-abortion rhetoric, while very logical and compelling for pro-life people, isn’t the best way to persuade pro-choice people.
If we want to persuade pro-choice people to become pro-life, we need to balance logic with compassion, and, in most cases, we need to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re asking a reasonable question. If your general strategy in a conversation about abortion is to just assume the worst of everyone, you won’t have productive dialogues, and you will miss out on opportunities to persuade people.
But in the case of John Oliver’s show–even from the most charitable perspective–there was no conceivable justification for what he said.
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