McConnell Calls on Dems to End Abortion Filibuster Against Human Trafficking Bill

Photo Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain

Photo Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain

The boys and girls in the United States Senate are doing nothing again.

However, it must be admitted that they are doing their nothing with real flair.

The reason?

It seems that most of the Ds are all in a snit over a proposed bill that would help agencies that oppose human trafficking. The bill contains a prohibition on any of the funds in the bill going to pay for abortions.

Legislation has often contained this kind of rider since the 1970s. It doesn’t prohibit anyone from getting an abortion. The debate is not about “choice.” It’s about doh-reh-me. In this case, it’s a question of whether or not to put the abortionist on the government dole by sidelining money that could be used in other ways to pay for abortions.

The Ds were all for the bill until one them read it. That’s when they discovered that it contained the language that would not allow monies to be used to pay for abortions. It’s been rock n roll, ever since. Now, all but four of the Ds (Senators Bob Casey, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Keitkamp, and Joe Manchin) are doing their level best to kill the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell retaliated against the Ds’ filibuster of the bill by saying that the Senate would not vote on President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General until the bill passed. In the meantime, proponents for the prostitution/porn industries, or as they like to call themselves, advocates for “reproductive rights,” have tossed their unselfish and humanitarian thoughts into the ring and come out against the bill.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has weighed in again. “This needs to stop,” he says.

Good point, Mr Leader.

From LifeNews.com:

The top Republican in the Senate is challenging Democrats to stop filibustering a bill to help victims of sex trafficking over their desire to force Americans to pay for abortions.

Senate Democrats have voted a total of five times against ending debate on the bill and allowing a vote to help women because they are insistent on making Americans fund abortions. Now, pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is challenging them this week to end their filibuster and allow the bill to pass.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that voting will take place this week on the Senate Bill 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, before President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, will be considered.

“This needs to stop,” McConnell said of Democrats blocking the bill. “This ridiculous fight over language that they’ve already voted for frequently in the past really needs to stop so we can move forward with this very important human trafficking bill.

“This is no minor issue, and once we do that, then we’ll move on to consider the president’s nominee for Attorney General,” McConnell said.

In the last two of the five votes, Democrats voted 56-42 and 57-42 against motions to allow a vote on the bill to help human trafficking victims because they are not happy that funds meant to help women won’t be used to pay for abortions. The only Democrats to join Senate Republicans in supporting sex trafficking victims over abortion funding were Sens. Bob Casey, Pa.; Joe Donnelly, Ind.; Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.; and Joe Manchin, WV.

“They all voted for the very same language in a bill in December,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNN on Sunday. “This is boilerplate language that has been in the law for almost 40 years that they all voted for three months ago in another bill.”

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Pope Francis Calls Human Trafficking a Shameful Wound Unworthy of Human Society.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

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Vatican Announces Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by A Campaign to Drop Sales https://www.flickr.com/photos/humantrafficking/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by A Campaign to Drop Sales https://www.flickr.com/photos/humantrafficking/

Public Catholic reader Ken gave me the link to this story.

According to Crux, the Vatican has announced an International Day of Prayer and Recollection Against Human Trafficking on February 8.

Slavery is on the rise, and a lot of people who think they oppose slavery are aiding and abetting it. I could write a series of posts on the ways in which those of us who oppose slavery with our words end up buying products made by slaves, hiring people who are slaves and, yes, using prostitutes who are slaves.

One of the things I’ve heard from human trafficking victims who have been sold as prostitutes is that they fear going to church because they will see men who have bought them there. This is a startling example of how low we can go.

Don’t buy other people, and that means, among other things, do not use prostitutes. Also, do not hire people’s services when they are sold to you on street corners.

We like to rant and rave about “illegal immigration” in this country. It comes up every four years in every off election, just like clockwork. Then, after the election passes, so does the concern. Remember last fall and all the carrying on about the invasion at the border? Where is that now?

But don’t worry, it’ll be back in four years for the next off-year election.

In the meantime, corporations bring people into this country illicitly to work on their farms and similar low-skilled jobs. No one is actually going to do anything about illegal immigration because there is money to be made from it.

Human trafficking gets lost in this political demagoguery and the corporatism that drives it. Slave labor is used on a massive scale around the globe. There is a distinction between free illegal immigrants who cross the Rio Grande to work in this country and people who are brought here and used as slaves. We tend to lump them together, but the difference is that one is a slave and the other is a free human being. This difference eludes a lot of people.

I’m not going to get into the question of hiring illegal immigrants in this post. All I will say is that I know — know — that we will never pass meaningful laws against the practice. The money interests don’t want such laws, and the money interests control our government. I doubt that we can even stop money interests from knowingly using slave labor.

What is possible is for you and I to make an effort to do so. Small business people out there who hire day laborers, are oftentimes employing slaves without being aware of it. They don’t have to commit this crime against humanity, if they are willing to work to avoid it.

The easy way to avoid using slaves is to simply refuse to hire people off street corners and through shady agencies. You might also look into the lives of the people you hire. If they go home to their own home, with their own family, if they go to church and sit out in the yard on Saturday night, trading stories with their friends and knocking back a few brews, chances are good that they are not slaves.

Human trafficking, which means slavery, is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. According to many news reports I’ve read, groups like ISIS finance their operations at least in part by taking civilian populations, including large parts of the local Christian populations, captive and then selling them as slaves.

Of course, they could not do this if other people didn’t buy these slaves.

That’s the equation with slavery. Someone must sell the slaves. And someone else must buy them.

We need to join with Pope Francis on February 8 in the International Day of Prayer and Recollection Against Human Trafficking.

We also need to do everything we can to make sure that we do not buy products made by slaves, and do not unwittingly use slaves in our businesses.

And oh yes, men should stop buying women and children off street corners to use for sex. When you buy a human being, that does not make them your date. It makes them your slave, and being a deliberate user of slave labor makes you a monster.

 

 

 

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Vatican: World Faith Leaders Pledge to Work to Stamp Out Human Trafficking

REUTERS594883 Articolo

Photo source: Reuters, via Vatican Radio

We call it “modern slavery.” 

“It” is the business of buying and selling people. 

Pope Francis hosted a group of religious leaders from many faiths who signed a pledge against modern slavery. Signatories included representatives from the Shai and Sunni Muslims, Buddhism, Orthodox, Jewish and Anglican faith traditions. 

I once did something similar to this. I hosted a luncheon for Oklahoma’s faith leaders, including many Protestant denominations, Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist, and Muslim. 

I think that something like this could really change things, but it takes going forward. One event, one signing or one document, won’t do it. 

I am proud of Pope Francis for taking this first great step and for uniting the leaders of these faiths in this call for an end to human trafficking It is the essential first step to this change. 

From Vatican Radio;

(Vatican Radio) An unprecedented gathering of religious leaders from all corners of the globe took place in the Vatican on Tuesday for the signing of a joint declaration against modern slavery. Pope Francis joined Anglican, Orthodox, Jewish, Shia and Sunni Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist representatives in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, together with two young trafficking victims from Mexico and Ghana. Philippa Hitchen reports…..

No-one knows the exact number of men and women, boys and girls who are trafficked into prostitution, forced labour or the trade in human body parts. Some estimates put the figure as high as 35 million, but as one participant pointed out, it’s not the numbers that matter as much as the fact that every single one of those people could be your brother or sister, my son or daughter.

When the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby first met Pope Francis in 2013, they identified the scourge of human trafficking as one of the most urgent priorities for both of their Churches today. Less than a year later, the ecumenical Global Freedom Network was set up to try and harness the commitment of believers around the world for practical action to eradicate this modern slavery by the year 2020.

This gathering of religious leaders in the Vatican today represents around 90 percent of the world’s population and the declaration they signed commits their communities to working together for the freedom of all people and an end to this lucrative trade in human life. In his words to the group, Pope Francis called it an absurd evil and a crime against humanity….

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Pope Francis: Peace Depends on Human Dignity

 

Following the teachings of the Catholic Church means that you will always be on the right side of history, which is the side of human dignity.

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2013 Favs: Amazing Grace: A Former Prostitute Tells Her Story

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Linda Cavanah is the founder and Director of All Things New, a ministry for women coming out of prostitution and trafficking. In what I regard as a singular act of courage, she volunteered to write a guest post for Public Catholic telling the truth of what “sex-work” really is. The result is a first-hand, no-holds-barred witness to the reality of prostitution. Here, in her own words, is her story

.… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, and a new life has begun.

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My name is Linda Cavanah, and I am the founder of All Things New Inc., a faith-based organization providing residential services for victims of sex trafficking.

All Things New exists because of the healing power of Jesus Christ in my own life many years ago when I was one of the women we are now serving.

My cycle of sexual abuse began at the age of 14 when an uncle raped me in my parent’s home.  I was too frightened to tell my parents what had happened and held everything inside for many years.  At that time, I did not realize how devastating that event was to become in my life, leading to a succession of problems emotionally and spiritually. Eventually, the things that were hidden deep within me escalated into a dual addiction of alcohol and cocaine.

My first marriage lasted two years and ended in divorce. I then promptly entered into a common law marriage, and it was during this union that my ex-husband and I began dealing drugs. The drug addiction increased over the next couple of years until I was drinking approximately 13 alcoholic beverages and snorting several lines of cocaine on a daily basis. This marriage also ended in divorce.

I do need to say that both of these unions were not true marriages because we were all addicts and they were not ordained of God.

I moved to New Orleans in 1980 and lived there for several years.  I managed a restaurant and hotel on the outskirts of the French Quarter, and continued the downward spiral in my life.  it was during this time that I became involved with the owners of the hotel, and my addictions had increased to the point of having delirium tremors if I did not get up and have a drink at 2am every morning.

One night we had a party at the hotel, and I went and had sex with one of the owners.  The next morning I woke up and there was a pile of money beside my bed. In the prostitution world, this is similar to being “jumped” into a gang.

There were six men involved in the operation. They each had their own business and then had one together. All of the men each had a woman, and one had control over me.  I was sold to cops in New Orleans (used as hush money) to keep them quiet.  I had to watch pornographic films and then perform those same acts, all the while enduring painful sexual acts behind closed doors.

I wanted to run but there was no way to escape. We were not allowed to use a phone and I was trapped, both physically and emotionally. I was being “groomed” to be a madame for them, and I wanted out so badly. They told me they would kill me if I ever said anything, and they meant it.

 Even though I did not know Jesus at the time, I know He had his hand on me. I was able to leave the situation through the help of another person, and I am still here to tell this story today! I was a single mother to two children, and decided to go to nursing school.  I had a Christian nursing instructor and within a few months I came to know Jesus.

I was immediately delivered from alcohol and drugs, and have had a continual healing from the emotional wounds of my past. Last Easter I was confirmed in the Catholic Church.

God has changed my life and I am eternally grateful. However, there are hundreds of thousands of young women and girls who are trapped in the horrible world of sex trafficking/prostitution.  Anyone who is forced to have sex with other people, is severely beaten and/or has to turn the money over to someone who has control of them is a victim of sex trafficking. Prostitution and sex trafficking are the same thing.

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Sex trafficking is slavery. Young women and girls are made to stand on street corners, or in a room in front of a potential john, and they feel like they are on an auction block, sold to the highest bidder. They endure eyes full of lust staring at their bodies, up and down, up and down, men sizing them up like a horse, not caring anything about them, just looking for their next sexual fix. Inside, the girl is slowly dying emotionally, and probably physically.

I want you to understand that prostitution/sex trafficking is the rape of the body and the soul. Pimps, traffickers and johns are rapists.  Some of them are also murderers.

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Ninety percent of the prostituted women we have helped have had a forced abortion. They are physically held down in the place they are trapped in, and an abortion is performed on them. Included in this statistic are those women who are beaten until their babies die.  These monsters are murderers!  The traffickers starve the women, tell them when they can eat, what they can eat and if they don’t bring in a certain quota, they don’t eat at all.

About a year ago I was called to talk to a young woman who had been severely beaten by a john.  She was black and blue from the top of her head to her feet, and was eating bowl after bowl of food. She said the john had thrown her against a wall and her pimp got mad at HER, so he had not let her eat for several days. Her pimp found out through one of his other girls where she was at, and I found out later that day he drug her by the hair down a street. The next day she was unrecognizable and the pimp had her out on  the street.  Men were still buying her.

Another girl was trapped in a house.  Her trafficker put her in a bathtub of cold water, poured several pitchers of ice on her, held her down until she started bleeding, then threw her against a wall and beat her until she passed out.

We have women who were forced underground and sold twenty to twenty five times a day.  One woman had been trapped for 16 days in an apartment with her tormentors and they had sold her 400 times.  Four hundred times she had been raped!

Women who are victims of sex trafficking feel like a piece of meat.  They are so degraded and traumatized that they sometimes never recover. Their souls and their lives have been stolen. They are dead inside. Multiple personalities abound.  How else can they survive? Despair runs deep and hopelessness abounds.  These victims have a tendency to blame everything on themselves and they don’t realize it is not their fault.  They feel they are falling into a dark, deep bottomless pit.

At the bottom of it all is the pornography that fuels the fire for the demand side of sex trafficking and prostitution.

     Can you hear the cries of the human beings who are being sold?

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Muslim War On Christians: It’s Women and Girls First

What kind of “men” kidnap young girls as a means of waging a “holy” war?

The video below is difficult to watch, but then the reality of what is happening to Christians in Egypt and elsewhere is far more difficult.

The practice of kidnapping Christian girls, raping them and forcing them to “convert” to Islam appears to be widespread throughout the Middle East. There’s not much to say about men who do cowardly things like this to women and young girls except that their “manhood” isn’t all that manly.

One of the more disgusting things about this is the silence from feminists. Where is the outrage about this outrage?

On a side note, I repeat Ravi Zacharias’ reaction when he heard Dr. Richard Dawkins’ incitement of his followers concerning people of faith to “mock them; ridicule them; in public; with contempt.” Dr Dawkins and his crowd should book flights to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc, and try this there.

They could also do similar experiments with the Hindus of India. I’ve got videos of what can happen.  Or, they might try ridiculing the faux religion of statism that is practiced in the various atheist paradises.

In truth and in fact, the only societies in the world where they have the freedom to behave like this are those that are informed by Christian values. You know: The terrible, horrible Christian morality that says that all human beings matter, no matter their stage of life or level of health, and that every person has certain inherent rights that come from God.

God help us all if the Christian bashers of the world succeed in wiping that morality out of public discourse and civil society.

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Nuns and Sisters: To Inhabit the Habit, or Not?

The old-fashioned habit that was worn by women religious for several hundred years is a romantic garb.

It is, in its own way, more high fashion than anything coming out of Paris, Italy or New York today. It harkens back to the days when Europe was going through a prolonged cold streak, when buildings where the common folk lived went mostly unheated.The habit began as the fashion of the day and, as time moved onward and the fashions of the days changed, it became an icon of religious identity for the women who wore it and those who saw them.

The habit meant something rather grand, speaking as it did of the mysteries of the sealed-off world of the convent and lives lived according to vows of lifetime commitment to Christ and His Church. The habit, when worn by Ingrid Bergman or Audrey Hepburn, was not only living religious icon, and high fashion; it was high Hollywood, as well.

No wonder the laity longs to see its return and many young girls like to wear it. But given that it is bound to be a rather uncomfortable and hot dress for today’s climate and an altogether unwieldy one for much of today’s work, no wonder so many other nuns were only too happy to shed it.

Fifty years on in this experiment of habit-less nuns and sisters, the question remains: To inhabit the habit, or not? Should nuns and sisters wear this garb as it always has been, or should they wear a modified version of it, or, should they abandon it altogether?

I am not a nun or a sister. I don’t, as we say here in Oklahoma, have a dog in this fight.

What I want from sisters and nuns is the same thing I want from priests: Authenticity of purpose and fidelity to Jesus.

I do think that it serves an important purpose for God’s vowed ones to be identifiable in public. Priests wear the collar. But they don’t wear it on the basketball court or the swimming pool. They take it off to go out for dinner with their friends and family.

From what I’ve seen, sisters and nuns try to wear their habits at all times, even when they are engaged in physical enterprises which make it clumsy or even dangerous. I think that is kind of extreme.

Maybe the question should be more along the lines of what should nuns who are active in the world wear for a habit, rather than if they should dress like civilians. As I said, this isn’t my fight. The only reason I’m writing about it is because I see a crying need for sisters who will engage in ministries such as human trafficking, prostitution, and other crimes of violence against women. 

The truth is, many of the women who escape from these things are unable to relate to any man in a healthy way, and that includes priests. They are deeply wounded, maimed even, on a spiritual and emotional level. They need people of God to work with them, and it would be very helpful if at least some of these people had the authority of religious vows.

It can’t be men; not in the early stages. It has to be women. That, to me, means sisters. The reason I bring up the habit is that I can see that a full-bore, head-to-toe habit might be a barrier between a sister and the people they are ministering to. Victims of this kind of terrible violence have enough survival barriers they’ve created inside themselves without adding more with something like the clothing you wear.

To me — and I’m going to say for the third time that I’m out of my depth here — but to me the question about whether or not to wear a habit should revolve around what purpose it serves. I think women religious should wear something that is uniform to their calling and that distinguishes them from the laity. But I also think that transporting middle ages fashion to the 21st century may not always be the best way to go.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to wear this type of habit. It’s fine. But for certain kinds of ministry, it would interfere with the sister’s ability to minister. On the other hand, dressing like just anybody who walked in off the street would hamper that ministry, as well.

I mentioned the collar and black and white clothes that priests wear because I think they are a good solution. It is a distinctive and uniform look that anyone who sees it recognizes as clerical garb. At the same time, it does not inhibit a priest’s ability to walk, run, sit or drive a car. Priests even wear short-sleeved shirts in summer, which seems kinder than wearing a full habit to me.

Priests also take their clericals off when they want to play golf or go jogging. They even take them off for private social occasions.

Why can’t sisters and nuns exercise the same common sense in their clothing?

I’ve read that the orders which use the full habit are growing while those that don’t wear a habit are declining. I don’t know if that has to do with the habit or with the spiritual practices and mission of these orders or what. I would like to think that young women are joining religious orders for much more important reasons that what habit they wear.

As I said, my interest in this comes from what I see as a crying need to have women religious in certain ministries. The lack of women religious to help in the fight against violence against women is a sadness to me. I know that they could make a profound difference for the good, but there are not women religious to do this work, at least none that I know of.

This is a rambling post that goes off in several directions and doesn’t come around to any conclusion. That’s because I’m thinking this through as I type.

What do you think about all this?

Also, do you know of an order of sisters who might be interested in the kind of work I’m talking about?

The Church needs nuns and sisters. It has to have them to do the work of evangelization that it has set for itself.

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Newly Professed Nuns and Brothers: Mature, Educated, Devout

Nuns and brothers who took their perpetual vows in 2012 are mature adults with work experience who come from Catholic families. 

That’s the basic result of a survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. 

The survey shows that today’s newly professed religious are well-educated, individuals who have had to overcome discouragement from others in seeking a vocation to religious life. 

One thing that interested me is that age appears to be no impediment for many of these people, since the oldest woman was 66 at the time she professed her perpetual vows and two of the men were over 60. I had always heard that no one who was over 40 could enter religious life. It appears I was wrong.

I think this is great news for people who have come to know Jesus later in life and who feel the call to live out their days as vowed members of a religious community. It is particularly important for women.

In a world where the enslavement and trafficking of women and children is growing apace with rape as an instrument of war and the use of child soldiers, the voice of strong Christian women is badly needed.

The Church needs nuns.

There is a female viewpoint that must be present when dealing with crimes against women and children. Also, many times, women are the only ones who can gain the trust and cooperation of severely victimized people. 

I pray for women religious to step up to this challenge. They are so needed. 

Here are a few facts from the survey that stood out to me. You can read the entire survey here.

The average age of newly professed women is 40, while the average of men is 39. Eighty-give percent of the respondents are cradle Catholics. Seventy-eight percent come from families in which both parents are Catholic. Ninety-six percent of them have at least one brother or sister; 45% have four or more siblings.

This is a highly educated group of people. Twenty-two percent have a graduate level degree with 60% having a bachelor’s degree. Eight-two percent of them had worked before entering religious life. Eighty-eight percent had participated in ministry activities before entering and 95% had regularly participated in private prayer activity. Sixty-nine percent had participated in Eucharistic Adoration.

Seventy-four percent of the respondents said that they were discouraged from entering religious life by one of more persons. Women were more likely than men to report that they had encountered discouragement about considering a vocation. Men were more likely than the women to be encouraged by their parish priests to think of religious life as a life’s vocation.

The youngest sister or nun was 23 at the time of her profession, while the oldest was 66 years of age. Eight women professed perpetual vows at age 60 or older. The youngest brother was 25 and the oldest is 62. Two of the men are age 60 or older.

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Book Review: Joining the Present Day Abolitionists

 

Join the discussion on Refuse To Do Nothing or find a link to buy a copy here

I serve on the board of directors of All Things New. All Things New is dedicated to helping women come out of sex slavery, which ranges from trafficking to prostitution.

That position brings me face to face with the reality of what we are doing to our women and children in the name of “victimless crimes.” It has made me aware of how our culture glorifies pimps, excuses johns and victimizes the women and children these predators use and degrade.

Refuse To Do Nothing was written by two women, Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim, who had heard similar stories and found that they had to “refuse to do nothing” about the suffering present-day slavery wreaks on both the victims and the victimizers.

I recommend this well-researched book. Instead of just telling us how horrible the problem of present-day slavery is, the book gives simple, do-able ideas for actions that ordinary people can take to help in the fight to end it. There is nothing over the top in any of the ideas these women provide. Each of them is simple, easy to do and, if enough of us do them, effective.

Slavery ended in Great Britain and America largely as a result of Christians, particularly Christian women, who understood the Gospel claim that every human being is beloved of God. They could not abide the contradiction of Christian people owning and using other human beings as chattel.

That understanding is just as true today as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries. Then as now, slavery was big business. Avarice and sloth fueled slavery just as avarice, sloth and lust fuel it today.

The idea that prostituted women and children are somehow less than fully human is the basic philosophical underpinning of sex trafficking and prostitution in our world today. The authors of this book rightly identify that sex slavery would go away if men stopped buying women and children. I think that most men would stop buying women and children if they saw what they were really doing.

It is so easy for any one of us to become someone else’s nightmare. All we need to do is subscribe to the world’s opinion that there are human beings who are less than human and we may do to them what we please with no moral harm to ourselves.

However, this idea of the disposable human is entirely opposed to the message of the Gospels. It refutes the meaning of Calvary, when Our Lord died for each one of us. There can be no worthless people to anyone who truly believes the Gospels of Christ.

We have an obligation to the God Who made us to treat one another as fully human. When we do less than this, we separate ourselves from Him in a profound and deeply sinful manner.

I recommend Refuse To Do Nothing to everyone who has a heart for the Gospel value of human life.

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