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Calvin College Chimes

Letters to the editor: Feb. 28

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Dear Editor,

After reading Jon Hielkema’s article “Pro-choice at Calvin” published Feb. 20 several times now, I am baffled at the incoherence of the article. Putting the abortion argument aside, its purpose and audience changed about every other sentence.

While it doesn’t seem like the article is intended to persuade anyone to believe differently, many of the statements seem like a waste of text in a piece meant only for pro-choice advocates. If persuasion was a goal, it includes blunt and insensitive overgeneralizations of the opposing viewpoint — a terribly ineffective move.

The great irony is that the author tries to present himself as an expert on argumentation at the beginning of the article. He said the purpose of the article is to tell the reader “what to do and what not to do when agitating for safe and legal abortions” and decided to include a largely irrelevant paragraph on argumentation theory near the beginning.

Based on the response online, I don’t think any pro-choice advocate would want to take persuasion advice from the author.

Finally, while I’m not sure everything in the article should have been published, I am proud that Chimes leadership decided to err on the side of letting students freely have their say in publishing the piece. Chimes leadership should never censor a story because a student’s position is in the minority or because their position is not the same as Calvin’s. Thank you for standing for that.

Ryan Struyk, editor in chief emeritus

Dear Editor,

I congratulate Connor Sterchi for his report “Historical Genesis foundational to Christian faith” (Feb. 14). As a life-long science teacher of  the literal Genesis account of creation, I believe it took great courage and insight on his part to share his views in light of the fact that our denominational and educational leaders have for years promoted a “God used evolution” interpretation of God’s Word. He spoke the truth in love, he supported his comments with specific examples and he clearly articulated the belief, by survey, of almost half of the members of the evangelical community which includes the CRC. The Church does have a variety of views on this topic, and his writing helped the move toward a much-needed balance in forming and expressing those views.

– Michael DuMez

Dear Editor,

While Mr. Hielkema’s argument for abortion rights contained several flaws in reasoning, perhaps his biggest “straw man” was his portrayal of pro-life supporters as unsympathetic, sexist and racist, which is the basis for several of his arguments. Being pro-life encompasses more than abortion; many who are against abortion also support initiatives that help mothers afford and care for their children. For example, I am generally opposed to abortion, but I support comprehensive sex education, insurance coverage for contraception and affordable health care in order to effectively decrease the number of abortions. Pro-life supporters are concerned with more than “saving unborn babies”; many of us want to ensure that all children have the opportunities and support system to thrive. Mr. Hielkema and I share a common goal in reducing the number of children born into poverty, but legal abortion should not be considered a moral solution. I would encourage Mr. Hielkema to engage in respectful, thoughtful discussion with those who consider themselves pro-life instead of reducing his opponents to sensationalized sound bites.

Amy Schepers ‘14

Dear Editor, 

I would guess that much of the uproar over Jonathan Hielkema’s editorial, “Pro-choice at Calvin,” arose from the fact that many people assumed that Hielkema was attempting to approach the issue of abortion from a Christian perspective (given that this is a Christian college). But one need only observe the complete lack of any mention of God or Scripture to realize that his article is not based on a biblical worldview. Many of Hielkema’s defenders were upset about the vigorous backlash that he received. But when people insist that we have a “civil and respectful dialogue” about this issue, they are minimizing the horror and wickedness of abortion, because they would not grant that same courtesy and benevolence to someone who supports slavery, Holocaust denial, ethnic cleansing or genocide. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. Sure, there are many issues that Christians do, in good faith, take differing stances on while still operating within the framework of a biblical worldview. But when it comes to this issue, Scripture is unequivocally and indisputably pro-life (Jer. 1:5). Let’s not wave the “tolerance and unity” flag and pretend that it’s okay for a Christian to support the murder of unborn children created in God’s image. We should have righteous indignation at the things that make God angry (Eph. 4:26), which includes abortion (Prov. 6:17). Jesus was angry with the moneychangers in the temple. We should also be angry at a “church” that supports and collects funds for abortion.

Connor Sterchi ’14

Dear Editor, 

For a piece with over 2,400 facebook likes, I suspect people who might agree with Hielkema’s op-ed are scared away from commenting by the vitriolic response dominating the comment section online. Whether it be calls for taking down the article, “firing” the author, chastising the editors or questioning why there should be any kind of discussion in the first place, the various assertions for Chimes and Calvin to restrict dialogue on campus are repugnant, and reflect poorly on those that wrote them.

Jacqueline Ristola ‘13

To the editor of the Chimes,

In response to the editorial, “Pro-choice at Calvin,” I am disturbed that such an editorial would be allowed to be published. It directly contradicts the mission and the teaching of Calvin College and the Christian Reformed Church. While I am a proponent of free speech, Chimes represents Calvin College and should not be a voice for someone to directly oppose its teachings. As Christians in this world, we submit to the sovereignty of God as Creator and giver of life. We also are called to engage the current culture, not endorse (as this editorial does) it or escape from it. Who are we as mankind to choose to take a life of another human being? As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not one square inch in the whole human domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry Mine!”

Regards, Bruce Meyer ’89

Dear Editor, 

It is with a heavy heart I read “Pro-choice at Calvin” recently. I understand AP style wants pro-life to be referred to as anti-choice, but we are all pro-choice, we just differ on when that choice is made.

The fact that the writer believes killing an unborn baby (abortion) is okay because the baby only exists with permission of the parent is astounding. A 4-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 2-day-old exist because the parents allow it to. A child may have special needs that requires a parent to quit their job; does that mean the child should be sacrificed? A kid certainly brings pressure to one’s social life, so perhaps we should extend the right to murder a child up until what, 18 years old?

Pro-abortion folks miss something very key in this debate. The unborn child is a person. I’ve never heard of a fetus shower or someone exclaiming, “we’re having a fetus!” Reminder: our Creator endows us with the unalienable right to life.

We have allowed the murder of 56 million unborn babies in this country since Roe v. Wade. Nearly 4,000 unborn babies are being murdered each day in the name of choice.

We are told what you did for the least of these you did for Christ. If you can find someone lesser than an unborn baby, I’d like to meet them. We must pray for the unborn, mothers and our leaders to abolish abortion in this country.

-Jacob Hall

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