Letter: Local Church Group Opposes Proposition 5 | Letters

Local church group opposes Proposition 5

To the Editor: We are writing this letter in response to a letter posted on the Bennington Banner website on April 3, 2021, titled “Faith Leaders Stand With Vermont Women.” We write as members of a local faith community that does not support Proposition 5. Although amendments to this proposition were offered during debate, our Vermont government rejected all amendments. Thus, Proposition 5 proposes unrestricted approval of abortion for any reason at any time during pregnancy.

The signatories of the letter published on your website believe that our decision not to support this proposal is based on “misogyny and inequality” and is “in stark contrast to [their] religious beliefs.” We, the signatories of this letter, have framed our response with the purpose of demonstrating that our opinion on this matter is based on our interpretation of the Bible and our high scientific value of all human life, whether male or female, born or unborn.. In particular, we appreciate the human being, alive at conception, who has no say in the decision to end his or her life.

The signatories to the letter published on April 3 argue that a woman has a fundamental right to terminate the unborn life of her child as it is her “legal right to have control over [her] clean [body].” It has often been said that one person’s rights end where another’s begin. To make such statements, the writers of this published opinion must therefore consider that the unborn child has no rights. We, the signatories of this letter, as religious leaders in Vermont, hold that life begins at conception, when an unborn child receives all of human DNA. In fact, all embryology and fetology textbooks in use today claim that life begins the instant the sperm and egg fuse. For example, Essentials of Embryology states, “The zygote, formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.” And Langman’s Medical Embryology states: “Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote. This unborn human being has a fundamental right to life.

As religious leaders in Vermont, we feel an intense obligation to declare that we do not believe that abortion rights are a health issue, a social justice issue, or the result of misogyny and inequality. Like many Christian believers before us, we take a stand on the clear words of Scripture and the age-old belief that all human life is created in the image of God and is precious. We cannot do better than recall the words of Martin Luther in 1521, when he stood before the Emperor at Worms, and spoke these words:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the scriptures…I am bound by the scriptures…and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and do not want to abjure anything, because it is neither safe nor just to go against conscience. God help me. Amen.”

Sincerely,

Lee Williams, Ph.D., sr. Vice President, Dean of Academics, Professor of History, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Mark Ballard, Ph.D., President, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Ed Lucas, Disaster Relief Coordinator for Southern Vermont, Bennington

Phil Steadman, pastor, Capstone Baptist Church, Bennington

Jayson Dominey, pastor, Faith Church, Pownal

David Scott Lee, PhD, pastor/former teacher, Newbury Bible Church, Newbury

Deborah Woodcock, Professor, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Jared August, PhD, Professor, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Allen D. Ingalls, ThD., professor. Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Russell J. Rathier, Vermont Regional Coordinator, Baptist Convention of New England, Washington

J. James Mancuso, Vice President of Library Services, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Michael Carrol, pastor, North Pownal Congregational Church, North Pownal

Ralph Gerlach, Pastor, Hunger Mountain Christian Assembly, Waterbury Center

Charles Hurdle, disaster relief coordinator in northern Vermont, Washington

Dan Molind, pastor, Enough Ministries, Barre

Sean Odem, pastor, Journey Fellowship, Plainfield

Michael McDill, PhD, Professor, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Mykayla Ballard, administrative assistant, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Joe Ferguson, Professor, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington

Brian Fetcher, pastor, Websterville Baptist Church, Websterville