Author Topic: Orthodox Participation in the March for Life  (Read 519 times)

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Offline Saxon

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Orthodox Participation in the March for Life
« on: January 31, 2018, 04:55:06 PM »
I have been involved with pro-life organizations long before I came to Orthodoxy, and noticed that during the March for Life in Washington earlier this month, an OCA delegation was present (as it seems they are annually). My church recently had a council meeting in which we discussed ways to get our youth more involved in church and faith activities. Canada's National March for Life is held in May in Ottawa, and I suggested that perhaps our parish or diocese could send a delegation. My priest immediately shot down the suggesting as "politicizing" Orthodoxy, and when I pointed out the fact that the OCA participates in the march, was told that the OCA is "laughed at" by other Orthodox jurisdictions and that they're a hodgepodge of different liturgical practices and aren't taken seriously. I don't care for these remarks but I'm not going to get into an argument with my spiritual father and friends at the church. I also don't consider this to be politicizing Orthodoxy, as we aren't advocating for a party or specific ideological cause, and given the aggressive pro-abortion climate Trudeau is currently cultivating in Canada, I think now is particularly the time to speak up.

ROCOR is frustrating from a youth standpoint as the church offers little by way of youth engagement other than the St. Herman's Conferences, which are rather insular (Orthodox youth listening to Orthodox speakers regurgitate Orthodox lessons) and seem to be used by the church hierarchy for matchmaking purposes. One of the attendees at my church said they spent a good deal of it sitting around a hotel in New York smoking marijuana. Means of actually getting out and living the faith, such as advocating for the pro-life movement, aren't wanted.

What is your take on the matter?

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Orthodox Participation in the March for Life
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2018, 05:07:51 PM »
I have been involved with pro-life organizations long before I came to Orthodoxy, and noticed that during the March for Life in Washington earlier this month, an OCA delegation was present (as it seems they are annually). My church recently had a council meeting in which we discussed ways to get our youth more involved in church and faith activities. Canada's National March for Life is held in May in Ottawa, and I suggested that perhaps our parish or diocese could send a delegation. My priest immediately shot down the suggesting as "politicizing" Orthodoxy, and when I pointed out the fact that the OCA participates in the march, was told that the OCA is "laughed at" by other Orthodox jurisdictions and that they're a hodgepodge of different liturgical practices and aren't taken seriously. I don't care for these remarks but I'm not going to get into an argument with my spiritual father and friends at the church. I also don't consider this to be politicizing Orthodoxy, as we aren't advocating for a party or specific ideological cause, and given the aggressive pro-abortion climate Trudeau is currently cultivating in Canada, I think now is particularly the time to speak up.

ROCOR is frustrating from a youth standpoint as the church offers little by way of youth engagement other than the St. Herman's Conferences, which are rather insular (Orthodox youth listening to Orthodox speakers regurgitate Orthodox lessons) and seem to be used by the church hierarchy for matchmaking purposes. One of the attendees at my church said they spent a good deal of it sitting around a hotel in New York smoking marijuana. Means of actually getting out and living the faith, such as advocating for the pro-life movement, aren't wanted.

What is your take on the matter?

To the actual question (i.e. participating in March for Life): IMO it's only a meaningful gesture if you & the parish are actively engaged in doing things to reduce the need for abortion the other 364 days.

Marching is fine if you're helping women in crisis pregnancy, assisting with support during pregnancy (crisis counseling, financial support, education, medical care, welcoming them into your community, etc.), providing ongoing support for them if they choose to raise the children (especially if they are first-time parents and/or single parents, economically disadvantaged, etc.), provide assistance for those who wish to offer the children for adoption, etc.

If the March is all that's done, then it's an empty gesture, and we become no better than the caricatures offered by those who don't understand us (e.g. "they don't really care about life, they just care about fetuses").

As to the other stuff in your post... Maybe that's for another thread.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, & godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope & glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed & purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. (Titus 2:11-15)

Offline Saxon

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Re: Orthodox Participation in the March for Life
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 05:16:28 PM »
I have been involved with pro-life organizations long before I came to Orthodoxy, and noticed that during the March for Life in Washington earlier this month, an OCA delegation was present (as it seems they are annually). My church recently had a council meeting in which we discussed ways to get our youth more involved in church and faith activities. Canada's National March for Life is held in May in Ottawa, and I suggested that perhaps our parish or diocese could send a delegation. My priest immediately shot down the suggesting as "politicizing" Orthodoxy, and when I pointed out the fact that the OCA participates in the march, was told that the OCA is "laughed at" by other Orthodox jurisdictions and that they're a hodgepodge of different liturgical practices and aren't taken seriously. I don't care for these remarks but I'm not going to get into an argument with my spiritual father and friends at the church. I also don't consider this to be politicizing Orthodoxy, as we aren't advocating for a party or specific ideological cause, and given the aggressive pro-abortion climate Trudeau is currently cultivating in Canada, I think now is particularly the time to speak up.

ROCOR is frustrating from a youth standpoint as the church offers little by way of youth engagement other than the St. Herman's Conferences, which are rather insular (Orthodox youth listening to Orthodox speakers regurgitate Orthodox lessons) and seem to be used by the church hierarchy for matchmaking purposes. One of the attendees at my church said they spent a good deal of it sitting around a hotel in New York smoking marijuana. Means of actually getting out and living the faith, such as advocating for the pro-life movement, aren't wanted.

What is your take on the matter?

To the actual question (i.e. participating in March for Life): IMO it's only a meaningful gesture if you & the parish are actively engaged in doing things to reduce the need for abortion the other 364 days.

Marching is fine if you're helping women in crisis pregnancy, assisting with support during pregnancy (crisis counseling, financial support, education, medical care, welcoming them into your community, etc.), providing ongoing support for them if they choose to raise the children (especially if they are first-time parents and/or single parents, economically disadvantaged, etc.), provide assistance for those who wish to offer the children for adoption, etc.

If the March is all that's done, then it's an empty gesture, and we become no better than the caricatures offered by those who don't understand us (e.g. "they don't really care about life, they just care about fetuses").

As to the other stuff in your post... Maybe that's for another thread.

Thank you for your response, Father.

We have several single mothers and destitute families (one with four children under the age of eight) at our parish who we have been providing all possible assistance to. We have also been providing baby accessories and other necessities to pregnant women in the church. That, coupled with the fact that we have a large proportion of children and young adults created, I thought, the right conditions for living out this aspect of Orthodoxy.

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Re: Orthodox Participation in the March for Life
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2018, 05:44:51 PM »
It's shameful that any Orthodox Priest would in any way discourage, dismiss, or discount any peaceful, nonviolent action that seeks to give voice to the voiceless. I wonder if these same gutless clergymen would argue that feeding the poor is "politicizing Orthodoxy?" And I respectfully reject the notion that unless you are actively doing Pro-Life work every other day of your life then you have no right to march peacefully in an effort to bring attention to the slaughter of the "least of these."

I applaud you for being concerned about this issue. All I can say is don't let these people intimidate you or discourage you from speaking out and speaking up for the unborn. Sometimes it's the laity that needs to speak prophetically to the clergy.

Selam
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Offline Saxon

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Re: Orthodox Participation in the March for Life
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2018, 05:52:15 PM »
It's shameful that any Orthodox Priest would in any way discourage, dismiss, or discount any peaceful, nonviolent action that seeks to give voice to the voiceless. I wonder if these same gutless clergymen would argue that feeding the poor is "politicizing Orthodoxy?" And I respectfully reject the notion that unless you are actively doing Pro-Life work every other day of your life then you have no right to march peacefully in an effort to bring attention to the slaughter of the "least of these."

I applaud you for being concerned about this issue. All I can say is don't let these people intimidate you or discourage you from speaking out and speaking up for the unborn. Sometimes it's the laity that needs to speak prophetically to the clergy.

Selam

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