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2009 Conversations

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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

The value of life

(January 21, 2001)

Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., is director of Research and Education for the National Right to Life Trust Fund, a partner organization of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington, D.C. He is a member of Manassas Assembly of God (Charles Nestor, pastor) in Manassas, Va. He spoke recently with Scott Harrup, general editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Evangel: How did you become involved in the right-to-life movement?

O’Bannon: My Christian family constantly showed me life’s wonder and sacredness. My father is a science professor at the Church of God’s Lee University. Moral and theological issues were discussed at our table. For years, my parents invited college students home after church on Sunday nights to examine those same issues.

I came to Washington in 1988 to enter Georgetown University’s doctoral program in philosophy to study ethics. While at Georgetown, I worked part-time for National Right to Life. My involvement grew until I was offered this position in 1994.

Evangel: Polls reveal conflicting attitudes toward abortion in our nation. Which way do you see the pendulum swinging?

O’Bannon: Polls tell us more people identify abortion as murder, and others say they support abortion in fewer circumstances. In 1990, there were 1.6 million U.S. abortions. By 1996, that had dropped to around 1.35 million.

Education is making a difference, whether it is resources offered by pro-life groups or advances in ultrasound and other monitoring technologies during pregnancy. Anyone who sees an ultrasound photo or listens to a fetal heartbeat knows this is a baby and not just "tissue." People are recognizing that what the pro-life movement has said about children in the womb is true.

Another factor, I believe, has been the campaign to ban partial-birth abortions. With children being pulled from the womb and killed, I think many people began to recognize that this is what abortion is all about. And the Christian community has started promoting pregnancy care centers, showing women that there are other options.

Evangel: If a majority of Americans oppose abortion, why are more than a million children still aborted every year?

O’Bannon: Even people who are uncomfortable with abortion (including some Christians who profess pro-life ideals) may have an abortion or urge a loved one to have an abortion to avoid the stigma of a pregnancy out of wedlock. I remember reading of one woman who said, "If I have an abortion, I’m the only one who will know I’ve sinned. If I have the baby, everyone will know I’ve sinned." Believers should voice concern and respect for the dignity of life. But they also need, like Christ, to open their arms to those who sin and actively seek their restoration.

Evangel: Does a culture that is ambivalent to, or supportive of, abortion become a "culture of death" in other areas?

O’Bannon: Once you devalue human life, everything becomes negotiable. Some people are astounded that body parts from aborted babies are sold. But if some human beings are not viewed with inherent worth, then they can become just another commodity. Moving from abortion to euthanasia, people are evaluated solely on what they are perceived to offer society. This has repercussions to other issues like violent crime. Once society decides that human life is cheap, then killing another human being is not significantly different from any other human activity.

Evangel: How has the right-to-life movement responded to the legalization of euthanasia in Oregon?

O’Bannon: We challenged that referendum in court and have fought the pro-death attitude in the court of public opinion. People should understand it is a violation of basic constitutional positions and is fraught with dangers for manipulation. "Freedom to die" quickly becomes a "duty to die." Studies tell us people who try to commit suicide are calling for help. They want to know if anyone cares. Endorsing assisted suicide tells that person no one cares. We in the pro-life movement and Christian community must say to that person, "You are valuable."

Evangel: Human life is eternal and its earthly limits are in God’s hands. How can believers promote this truth?

O’Bannon: We should treat life as one of God’s greatest gifts. People need to see our joy in serving Christ and living in this beautiful world He has made. A Christian who only sees life’s tribulations can’t convince anyone of the value of life. We need to celebrate births, weddings and other milestones with great joy. And we can even celebrate the value of life when faced with the death of believers. The Bible tells us that the death of those who have lived a godly life is precious in God’s sight. People must see the joy of our transformed life, the joy of our eternal hope, and that we have divine purpose in all that we do.

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