Archive for November, 2011
A “Choose Life” banner hanging from the entrance gate at Seton Hall University is causing some controversy on the Catholic campus.
The banner which was put up midway through October in honor of Respect for Life month shows a picture of a mother kissing a newborn baby with the words “Choose Life” followed by the phone number 1-800-848-Life for a pro-life help hot line. Father Stanley Gomes, director of Campus Ministry, told the Cardinal Newman Society he intends to keep the banner up for two more weeks.
But the student newspaper The Setonian says the banner has elicited “mixed reviews,” even quoting one student who said, “We are a college whose primary focus should be about providing a quality education to its students, not making a bold political statement before prospective students and families can even drive inside the gates and see what we have to offer.”
In an interview with the Cardinal Newman Society, Fr. Gomes said he is aware of the controversy. “You see, even at a Catholic university like this one, students and even some intellectuals are not clear why we would put something like this up,” he said. “They think it’s a political statement. That’s how the world sees it but our idea is to celebrate life.”
Fr. Gomes said, “Some of the negative comments are that it’s an institution of learning, and they’re asking why are you making a political statement. But some students say it’s about time that we should celebrate our identity as a Catholic university and we should do this stuff more.”
Fr. Gomes said he expects more negative responses but he is undeterred. “I’m not afraid. We’re Catholic people. God loving. People loving people,” he said. “Even those who oppose us, we embrace them all.”
The University began honoring this month on the first Sunday of October with a special prayer during the day’s masses.
Fr. Gomes said he sees he believes good will come of the banner for those who support it and even those who don’t. “This is a very pro-woman, pro-motherhood banner,” he said. “As an institution of higher learning we need to face complicated matters. We need to face touchy matters. Students need to be given the chance to deal with life’s difficult issues, to face challenges of the world. Bringing our faith and reason together helps us act as an intellectual and faithful member of the church.”
NJRPLC recently purchased Choose Life banners for the Students for Life chapters at The College of New Jersey and Princeton University.
The ProLife banners are a statewide effort by NJ Life Education Council and NJ Family Policy Council (see article below). The banners include a hotline for use by women facing a crisis pregnancy.
In September, Princeton University students displayed the banner at a protest outside of a Planned Parenthood fundraiser hosted by abortion advocate Gloria Steinem.
It started as a simple way to commemorate Respect Life Month. Now, it has turned into the most popular ProLife effort since the March for Life. The Choose Life banners and lawn signs, sponsored by Life Education Council and NJ Family Policy Council, are showing up in the farthest reaches of New Jersey and beyond. With distribution having begun in September, there are now over 60 banners and 90 lawn signs on display at churches, schools, meeting halls, and at prayer vigils outside abortion mills.
The 6 x 9 ft, professionally designed and constructed banners appear at 40 Days for Life demonstrations and have become a fixture at student forums at such universities as Fordham, Seton Hall, Felician College and The College of NJ. When Students for Life of America rallied Princeton students to protest a Planned Parenthood fundraiser featuring Gloria Steinem, the Princeton students showed up waving the Choose Life banner. On October 29th, when the Diocese of Metuchen held its Life Issues Conference, hundreds of attendees were greeted with the Choose Life banner. The Diocese is encouraging its parishes to display the banner.
The banners and lawn signs are seen in every county in NJ, with some showing up in New York City and as far away as Zionsville, Indiana.
“The enthusiasm for the banners and lawn signs blew us away,” explains NJRPLC Vice-Chairwoman Betty LaRosa, who is also a LEC Trustee. “Grassroots pro-lifers have been waiting for something they could personally do to stop abortions. It’s not abstract. It’s concrete. And it’s now.”
It’s “now” because on the banners and lawn signs is an 800 help line number that directs pregnant women to the nearest crisis pregnancy center.
The hotline is receiving dozens of calls every month from women in need,” explains LaRosa. “With the banners and lawn signs showing up and staying up, every month will be Respect Life Month.” For more information about obtaining a banner or lawn sign at little or no cost, contact Betty LaRosa at email@example.com or visit LEC’s website: www.lifeeducationcouncil.org.