Ireland pulls plug on some "Power to Change" evangelism
Campus Crusade's multimedia "Power to Change" campaigns have run throughout Canada since 1998, and have recently branched overseas. In the last two years, for example, Jerusalem and Bolivia were focuses. This year Campus Crusade has targeted Ireland, and it has been quite a feat. Organizers are targeting both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (the websites are the same, but given different addresses for political reasons), and the program is backed by both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
It's basically an ad campaign. Local celebrities (golfer Bernhard Langer, singer Maire Brennan, etc.) pitch Jesus through ads at movie theaters, billboards, public transportation ads, and—perhaps most crucially—television.
And that's where the trouble comes in. A Republic of Ireland law passed last year bans the national broadcaster RTE from airing any religious promotion (though promoting "spirituality" is okay). The station originally said it would accept the ads, but rejected them based on final scripts because they included the words "Jesus Christ" and "God."
The campaign organizers yesterday lost their appeal for a High Court injunction ordering RTE to air the commercials.
Still, the commercials will air on UTV, Sky Television, and Channel 4—and now that the organizers don't have to worry about violating RTE guidelines, they've made them more explicitly evangelistic.
A similar ban happened last year in Germany with the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation's Power for Living evangelistic campaign.
California approves embryonic stem-cell research
The good news first: California Gov. Gray Davis banned reproductive human cloning yesterday (which is more than the U.S. Senate has done). Now the bad news: he also approved embryonic stem-cell research.
"We are going to be the only state in the nation to say it is appropriate for the state to embark on stem-cell research and not limit it to adult stem cells," said state Senator Deborah Ortiz. To her, that's a good thing—she sponsored the bill.
Of course, this being California, the main spokespeople at the signing were Hollywood celebrities: quadriplegic Christopher Reeve and Jerry Zucker (whose daughter has diabetes).
The White House's first reaction was somewhat supportive: "The president has always said states have authority within their states," Bush spokesman Ari Fleisher said. Later, says the Associated Press, he committed a bit more: "The president thinks that all policies—state or federal—need to promote a culture that respects life and, in that, he does differ from what California and the governor there have done."
Family Research Council President Ken Connor sees it as just a financial ploy: "Doubtless some politicians are salivating over the economic windfall this decision could bring to the state—at the expense of innocent human life," he says on the organization's website. "Scientists speculate the law will attract big research money to California." The Washington Times rounds up other responses.
In other prolife news …
The Department of Justice yesterday asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law. "The attorney general has permissibly concluded that suicide is not a legitimate medical purpose," the department said in papers it filed.
Kevin Neely, spokesman for Oregon's attorney general, replies, "The federal government doesn't have authority to say what is a legitimate medical purpose."
More articles on life ethics:
- Anti-abortion lobbyists tying up bankruptcy-overhaul bill | Two powerful lobbying groups that usually have no issue in common, credit card companies and anti-abortion campaigners, have collided over the fate of a bill (The New York Times)
- S.C. official: 'Choose Life' is government, not private, speech | Attorney general makes claim in documents filed in Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenging state's license plates (Associated Press)
- 'Abortion pill' shows promise for diseases | Mifepristone has failed to live up to predictions that it would transform the nation's bitter abortion debate, but is showing promise as a treatment for diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to cancer (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- 'Settled' or 'unsettling,' abortion issue won't fade | Roe vs. Wade should be upheld by the lower courts and overturned by the Supreme Court (Terry Eastland, The Dallas Morning News)
- EMS chief linked to abortions retires | Samanthia Robinson told a class of emergency medical technician trainees in March 2001 they could be fired if they got pregnant during their first year on the job—prompting three rookie medics to get abortions last year (The Washington Times)
- U.N. plan would ban cloning to create human baby | U.N. has never before had any kind of a treaty covering a bioethics issue (USA Today)
- Renewed push for right-to-die law | The husband of Diane Pretty, who failed to win the right to be helped to die, is continuing his late wife's campaign for a change in the law (BBC)
- The Transhumanists | The next great threat to human dignity (Wesley J. Smith, National Review Online)
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