Pastors support Measure 1
God declares in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” God’s Word is our authority in all ethical and moral matters. Therefore believing that God is the author and giver of all life, we seek to respect human life at all stages of development.
In a letter to the editor dated Sept. 6, several clergy from Grand Forks area voiced concerns about end-of-life issues if Measure 1 is passed into law. These claims reflect a misunderstanding of both state and federal laws concerning constitutional amendments, patient autonomy and end-of-life care – misunderstandings that, if not corrected, could confuse or mislead North Dakotans and their families, discouraging the use of advance health care directives and ultimately disrespecting the dignity of patients facing the end of their lives.
The proposed amendment states: “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” The Human Life Amendment does not create a constitutional right to life. The Human Life Amendment only clarifies the right to life that already exists in the North Dakota Constitution.
It does not, and cannot, negate a person’s right to direct their own health care during that life. Article I, section 1 states: “All individuals are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life . . .”
Even if the Human Life Amendment was self-executing – which it is not – and even if the provisions patently conflicted with the existing statutes so much as to implicitly repeal them – which they do not – the right of North Dakotans to determine their own health care, as well as the difference between killing and natural death, is recognized by the United States Supreme Court. No act by the State of North Dakota can trump these rights recognized under the federal constitution.
The Human Life Amendment would not conflict with a family’s way of dealing with end-of-life circumstances.
The pursuit of life, liberty and justice are noble ideals that need to be reinforced. Measure 1 supports and upholds the basic right to life in a manner that leaves no room for misunderstanding. In fact, it is not in any way vague.
The effort to pass Measure 1 is being led by a coalition of pro-life, pro-family, women’s and religious organizations. The measure was placed on the ballot by the Legislative Assembly with bipartisan support. We join this broad array of faith leaders from North Dakota who have signed on as supporters!
As Christians and pastors we stand in strong support of Measure 1, knowing life is ordained by God. The protection of human life is rooted in Scripture. Join us. Thank God for the inalienable right to life and vote YES on Measure 1, the Human Life Amendment.
Rev. Kirk Thorson, Living Faith Free Lutheran, Larimore; Middle Grove Lutheran, Mekinock
Rev. Mark Antal, Victory Free Lutheran, Park River; Grace Free Lutheran, Edinburg
Rev. Lee Hoops, West Prairie Free Lutheran, Kindred
Rev. Craig Wentzel, Living Word Lutheran Church, Edmore; Zoar Lutheran Church, Hampden
Rev. Rob Buechler, Trinity Bergen, Starkweather; Lakeview Lutheran, Egeland
Rev. Kent Sperry, Ebenezer Lutheran, Northwood
Rev. Nate Nash, Ebenzer Lutheran, Northwood
Rev. Denny Neels, St. Andrew Lutheran, Niagara
Rev. Byron Cox, Bethel Baptist Church, Park River
Rev. Lynn Kinneberg, New Luther Valley, McVille and Bethany Free Lutheran, Binford
Rev. Wayne Olson, Edinburg
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