Pro-Life Movies: Staff Picks!

By: Maria McCann, NCLN Intern

Though summer is fast coming to a close, we students still have some long lazy days left with no schoolwork to take up our evenings! Why not spend that free time having a pro-life movie night with your friends? We asked our staff to suggest their favourite pro-life movies, and we got everything from a 1960’s drama to an animated comedy. Although some of these movies may not seem “pro-life” in the traditional vein of Bella or October Baby, they all proclaim the value of human life and the importance of fighting injustice. Enjoy watching one of these movies on a summer evening, and keep them in mind for a club social during the school year!

Michelle’s Pick: Horton Hears A Who (2008)

The children’s comedy Horton Hears a Who is an animated adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss story. Horton the elephant is amazed to discover the microscopic town of Whoville living on a speck. However, the rest of his community refuses to believe that the Whos exist, and Horton must protect Whoville from the wrath of his neighbours.

Michelle Caluag: “Not only funny and entertaining, this movie also presents a very basic but crucial pro-life message (though not intended) to everyone: ‘A person is a person no matter how small.’ Horton shows us that every life deserves to be protected and cared for. He stands up against the antagonists to protect the people of Whoville, showing us that every life is valuable and worth fighting for.”

movie night picKathleen and Christine’s Pick: The Giver (2014)

Both Kathleen and Christine praised The Giver for its pro-life themes and for its inspirational protagonist, Jonas. The Giver depicts a seemingly-Utopian community where the citizens have traded emotions, memory and family for stability. However, dark secrets lurk behind the community’s idyllic facade. When Jonas is chosen to become the town’s new “Receiver of Memory” and becomes capable of emotion, he discovers these secrets and wrestles with how to respond.

Kathleen LeBlanc: “Watching The Giver was very powerful for me. I was surprised to see a mainstream movie portray the fight for life in a culture of death so accurately. I felt such a connection to the main character, Jonas, who finds himself in a culture that is blind to the preciousness of human life. He takes such great risks to protect the life of another, and acts with such urgency and confidence, even though he is alone in the fight. The Giver was such a strong reminder to me of how we must respond to the culture of death that we are living in: with determination and with haste.”

Christine Helferty: “The Giver is one of my favourite movies with a pro-life message because it beautifully demonstrates three truths. Firstly, it shows that great injustices can be very widely accepted practices hidden behind deceiving language. Secondly, it clearly portrays the horrors of injustice and the beauties and joys of life and love. Finally, and most importantly, this movie demonstrates the indispensable importance of each individual. Our role in ending the injustices of our time is no less important than Jonas’s role in ending the injustice of his time.”

Maria’s Pick: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Maria: “A film-adaptation of a book does not usually do justice to its source. To Kill A Mockingbird is the exception. This movie depicts Harper Lee’s classic novel, in which ‘Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice’ (IMDb). It is also a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Scout, Atticus’ young daughter.

This movie inspires because it shows the importance of speaking the truth and standing up for human beings who are being dehumanized. Atticus Finch, in particular, gives a moving example of justice and love in the face of bigotry and hatred. Gregory Peck, who won an Oscar for playing Atticus, has become the voice of my conscience: ‘In the name of God, do your duty’. I’m not the only one who was inspired by the character: the American Film Institute voted Peck’s portrayal of Atticus as the Number 1 Screen Hero of the last 100 years.”

Anastasia’s Pick: Les Intouchables (2011)

Anastasia Pearse: “The French movie Les Intouchables does a beautiful job of narrating the true story of a paraplegic man, Philippe, who hires and befriends an ex-convict, Driss. This unlikely duo prove to be a perfect match who bring joy, laughter, and meaning into each other’s lives. It affirms the necessity of looking past other’s apparent disabilities, making the best of our current situations, and being open and vulnerable enough to realize that each of us needs to rely on others. As Philippe says in the movie, ‘Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now. Otherwise, you’ll run out of time.’

Philippe is further quoted in the movie as saying ‘It doesn’t matter who you are on the outside, the main thing is who you are on the inside.’ From my experience, this is a statement that the majority of people in our society would agree with! However, so many of our actions run counter to this, specifically in regards to the current euthanasia issue. It’s sad that our society is not aware of this incongruency – that our advocating for euthanasia is emphasizing that we are placing our value as humans on external more than internal qualities. This well acted and entertaining movie certainly puts a face to this issue and shows that we find joy when we connect with and support others from the inside out.”

Clarissa’s Pick: The Island (2005)

In the sci-fi thriller The Island, the protagonist Lincoln and other residents live in an isolated, rigidly governed compound. They believe that the outside world is too contaminated to sustain human life. Their only hope of escape is to win a weekly lottery that will let them go to “the island”, the last remaining paradise. However, Lincoln soon learns the horrible truth that he and his friends are clones, created for organ harvesting and other uses.

Clarissa Canaria: “This movie – perhaps without meaning to – shows the true destruction of embryonic stem cell research. An issue that oftentimes falls off the radar of even the keenest of pro-life activists, it is good to be aware of the sad inclinations of our society to treat human beings at their earliest beginnings as a commodity. It is powerful in depicting the wrongness of this use, and it is a great reminder to us all of everyone’s inherent dignity and value. If you’re into dystopian thrillers in general, that’s an added bonus!”

Chad’s Pick: Zathura (2005)

In this spiritual sequel to 1995’s Jumanji, two squabbling brothers, Danny and Walter, find a mysterious board game in their basement and begin playing it. They soon realize that the game affects reality: their home has been transported to outer space, and they must contend with the hazards of space, aliens, and a robot gone amok. Joined by their sister and an astronaut, Danny and Walter must get over their differences and learn to work together, if they are ever to reach Zathura and return home.

Chad Hagel: “While Zathura is particularly notable in encouraging the spirit of cooperation, somewhat less visible is its encouragement of the central pro-life tenet: every human being has value and can contribute in some way to the greater whole, by virtue of being human. At the beginning of the movie, Walter is particularly hostile towards Danny: he belittles him, and doesn’t show particular regard for Danny’s feelings. As the movie wears on, Walter begins to care for his brother, and even goes out of his way to save him at the film’s climax. Just as Walter grows to become a brother to Danny, so to does this film encourage us to become better humans, respecting other humans for their humanity and inherent value to our society. If you loved Jumanji, appreciate good acting by Kirsten Stewart or love science fiction in general, I would highly encourage you to sink your teeth into this film!”

Josh’s Pick: Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (2005) 

This historical drama retells onscreen the story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, an anti-Nazi student group based in Munich, Germany during the Second World War. Persecuted for their beliefs and bold tactics, Sophie and her friends refuse to give in to pressure and compromise their beliefs. For that, they pay the ultimate price.

Josh MacMillan: “Sometimes pursuing truth comes at a price. For Sophie Scholl and the members of the White Rose, that meant exposing the lies and censorship of the Nazis at their university, despite the consequences. On our campuses, we are called to do exactly the same thing for the vulnerable. We know the lies that our culture is spinning to dehumanize the weak, and must respond in whatever way we can to proclaim the rights of every human being. While there may also be a price for us, the example of the students in this film should spur us to take courage and boldly stand up for what we know to be true, good, and beautiful.”

Joanna’s Pick: Les Miserables (2012)

Joanna Krawczynski: “First, I have to challenge you – take time to read the book. We read an abridged version in French class, and I keep this close for inspiration. Also, having the context provided by the book fleshes out the story,  as the rich background plot is not always given in the movie.

What sticks out to me about this film: how characters illustrate what real relationship should look like, that is, laying down your life for the good of another. Also, the prominent theme of mercy hits home for me, how difficult but desperately needed it is to give and to receive mercy.

This film also brings home some very sad history. The film is at times hard to watch, depicting the dangers of dehumanization and the resulting violence and exploitation. However, the film also depicts how vital and truly beautiful it is to choose life instead of death, love instead of hatred, forgiveness over bitterness. The world of Les Miz is one that is dark and shattered, yet love remains not only possible but imperative. This world and mission sound familiar to anyone?”

We hope we’ve given you some inspiration for your next movie night! Comment to let us know your thoughts on these movies, or let us know if we missed any hidden gems!

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NCLN Condemns Assault on Pro-Life Student, Grateful for Her Safety

bench meme 3

A campus pro-life student was assaulted earlier this week while walking home from campus, but thankfully escaped unharmed.  The male assailant concealed his face and pushed her against a fence, threatening her saying, “Would you still be anti-choice if YOU had to make the choice?” The student hit her attacker and ran. She reported the incident right away to campus and local authorities.

Although still in shock, the student is doing well. Two days after the incident, she joined her club members in doing pro-life outreach on campus. She shared with our staff: “This is the work I’ve been called to do. I’m not going to let some politically-charged moron scare me off.”

National Campus Life Network’s staff has worked closely with this student throughout the school year and will continue to ensure that she feels safe and supported. We are profoundly grateful that she was unharmed. In our organization’s experience, this is the first time such an incident has occurred. NCLN will continue to stress its safety policies, including doing campus activism in a group setting.

“NCLN is disgusted and appalled by the contemptible behaviour of this man,” states Anastasia Pearse, NCLN’s Executive Director.  “Women should not be threatened in any way, shape or form because of the opinion they peacefully and respectfully address on campus. If this man believes in women’s rights, why is he threatening hers? No student should ever have to experience this.”

The Pro-Life Student Movement continues to work in solidarity to bring the pro-life message to Canadian campuses. The male assailant’s actions truly demonstrate how the message needs to be shared all the more persistently.  Pro-life students are witnessing to a broken, wounded culture, defending not only the value and dignity of pre-born children, but of their peers as well. We may never know exactly why this man reacted out of anger and with violence, but he is a reminder of our duty to share the truth with love and mercy, so that he and others like him may be given the opportunity to heal from their wounds.

We encourage students and supporters to pray for everyone involved. The pro-life student’s relentless courage to defend pre-born children and support women in crisis is an inspiration to the NCLN team.

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NCLN is hiring!

University campuses are in dire need of the pro-life message. Pro-Life students on these campuses need support and mentorship as they seek to bring this message to a hostile culture.

Are you willing to serve alongside these students as they seek to change hearts and minds?

NCLN is accepting applications for our Summer Internship Program, based out of our Langley and Toronto offices! If you’re a post-secondary student who is passionate about bringing the pro-life message to your campus and eager to grow as a leader, this opportunity is for you!

NCLN Internship details and application.

We are also hiring a new Campus Coordinator to join us in our Toronto office. If you’re interested in an exciting, challenging and fulfilling career that is dedicated to ending abortion and upholding the value of all human life, from conception to natural death, please consider the difference you could make through a position with NCLN!

Campus Coordinator details and application.

Application deadlines: March 15th.

For more information, contact Anastasia Pearse.

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Slacktivism

Written by Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator

2 Person Challenge banner

Have you fallen prey to the slacktivist mentality?

Wikipedia tells us that the term slacktivism “describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed.”

Examples? Signing an online petition, ‘liking’ a Facebook post, re-tweeting an article, or sharing a video or an article on your page. These are all activities that, although they may be well intentioned evolve around good causes, cannot substitute old-fashioned, real-world active participation in a cause. These “actions” may ease our guilt of being inactive in a cause, but one cannot simply “like” a Facebook post and then wipe our hands and say our work is done. However: this could be a good first step.

Can we use this slacktivist mentality for the greater good?

We need to meet people where they are at right now. Given our technology-saturated culture, most people are probably currently on their computers or smartphones. So let’s start where they are, and move them to action with a touch of their screen or a click of a mouse. But I know that human beings are capable of much more than moving their fingers.

Don’t get me wrong – keep liking and sharing our NCLN Facebook posts and re-tweeting our tweets! Your social media feed may be the first and only place that someone in your network hears the pro-life message. But don’t stop there. Talk face to face with someone about what you have heard or learned.

My challenge to you:

READ this post. LIKE it on our National Campus Life Network page. SHARE it on your page. But don’t stop there. I challenge you to speak to TWO PEOPLE this week about abortion. They could be friends or classmates who you’ve never spoken to about the issue, or even the person next to you on the bus.  Share your truth-sharing conversations with the hashtag #2PersonChallenge – you’ll be surprised as to what a difference one conversation can make in someone’s attitude towards abortion. Share these stories on social media and in the comments below!

Your story can be a simple impacting moment, such as this student’s story:

After telling my classmate that I was headed to a pro-life club meeting, I asked her what she thought about abortion. After I discussed the humanity of the pre-born with her, she was amazed at their development so early in the pregnancy, and couldn’t believe that there are no abortion laws in Canada! #2PersonChallenge

Move your club members to action, as well as those two people you reach out to, by encouraging them to take up the #2PersonChallenge as well! If each of us takes on this challenge, think of how our efforts will multiply!

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For Immediate Release: THEFT AND VANDALISM AGAINST PRO-LIFERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA

For Immediate Release

THEFT AND VANDALISM AGAINST PRO-LIFERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA

Victoria, B.C. (September 11, 2014): On September 10th, two women rushed a pro-life club table at the University of Victoria, snatching the fetal models on display and dumping used cat litter all over the table. Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) was participating in the university’s Clubs Days event and had a recruitment table to sign up new members and engage with other students on the pro-life issues.IMG_20140910_095529035

Although the fetal models were recovered, club members arrived back this morning to find that the vandals had broken into the closed clubs room and that more filthy litter had been dumped on the table and the fetal models – valued at several hundred dollars – had been stolen.

“This kind of behaviour calls into question whether UVic is an environment where people can express their opinions and beliefs without such disrespectful opposition,” stated Adrian Canagasuriam, co-president of the club. “Other clubs and the student body need to be reminded that this kind of criminal behaviour has no place on a Canadian university campus.”

After speaking with campus security, club members made a police report with local authorities.

received_m_mid_1410383571133_ffb87cd4fbfb4a2319_0The club demanded that the University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) formally condemn the actions of the vandals, and the UVSS has agreed to issue a statement doing so.

“In previous years the UVSS has attempted to ban and censure the club and was sued by the club in 2010,” stated Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, a national organization that supports pro-life students. “It’s reassuring to see that student society representatives were helpful and apologetic in the wake of this incident and we look forward to a strong statement from the UVSS condemning this theft and vandalism.”

“This incident has not prevented us from continuing our outreach,” commented Kimberley Van Der Pijl, who witnessed yesterday’s attack and serves as co-president of the club. “We’ve had very positive conversations with so many students and many have signed up for the club.”
The members of YPY hope that the fetal models will be recovered, and that students who disagree with their message will learn to voice their disagreement in a mature, respectful manner.

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For additional information or comments, please contact:

Anastasia Pearse,
Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network,
westerncanada@ncln.ca  604-365-3484 (tel: 604-365-3484)

Adrian Canagasuriam
President, Youth Protecting Youth, UVic
youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com

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Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator

This summer, do yourself a favour: on a sunny day, go find a quiet place in a park or by a lake or ocean, take a notebook with you, and spend 30 min reflecting on this. I can guarantee the time you put into it now will benefit you ten times more in the long run!
become the kind
The following excerpts are taken from the article Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow. This article provides great insights into how we can grow as the leaders we are called to be. Reflect on the quotes and the questions to see where you can improve yourself so you can better lead others in sharing the pro-life message on your campus.

Leadership is an expression of your heart and soul. To become a leader, you need to know your higher purpose and believe in it passionately.

• What would you say your higher purpose is? Do you live a consistent life where your actions are in line with this purpose?
• Does your role in the pro-life club help you achieve this purpose?

Leaders need to feel comfortable in their own skin. It begins with the ability to explore and share one’s life story by helping people understand how we all mesh together for a meaningful journey. You intentionally begin to discover your authentic self by connecting with who you really are. Authentic leaders are not power driven but meaning driven people.

• What brings meaning to your life? How would you articulate this to others?
• How does your role in the pro-life club bring more meaning to your life?

As a leader you need to be fully committed to nurturing the well-being and commanding the trust of the people around you. Only in the context of a meaningful relationship can people feel empowered and inspired to demonstrate their greatest potential.

• Identify 2 students who you will meet up with for coffee this summer, taking the time to get to know them more so you can better work together in the pro-life club this upcoming year.
• What potential do you see in these students? Help them see how they can develop this by participating in the club.

The vision and direction of a team [is] about the ability of the leader to capture the big WHY in the hearts and minds of others. People rally behind a strong vision when they know WHY they doing what they doing.

• Why do you do what you do with the pro-life club? How do you articulate this to others?
• Do you truly believe in the vision of your club? “If you don’t get goose bumps telling others where our life is heading, your vision isn’t compelling enough to shape your behaviour.”* Is your vision compelling enough to inspire others to action?
As you start to look at the upcoming school year, keep these reflection points in mind. Are you approaching your leadership position in the pro-life club with the right heart? Are you the kind of person others want to follow?

*Mike Figliuolo in Let’s make leadership real again. Stanford, CA: Change This. (2012).
 

Be sure to talk to your Campus Coordinator about your leadership goals and plans! We’d love to work with you to help you achieve them!

 

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Saint Paul Students for Life: Icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa in defence of life and family

This post was written for Saint Paul Students for Life by srmarylouisepd. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

gFrom the 18th-19th of March 2014, the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, an icon set aside to travel the world in defence of life and the family, will be present in Ottawa. Many activities are being planned during those two days. Of particular interest to our group are the following:

19th of March 2014, Feast of St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Canada,

6:15 am to 7:00 am – Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill.
Conclusion of the annual St. Joseph Novena, which starts March 10th and takes place every morning at 6:15 am.

7:15 am to 8:30 am – Prayer Vigil across the street from Ottawa’s abortion facility at 65 Bank St.
10:00 am to 1:00 pm – Notre Dame Cathedral, 385 Sussex Dr.
12:15 pm – Mass in Honour of St. Joseph.

The complete schedule is available here: http://www.blackmadonnaottawa.ca/

Saint Paul Students for Life hopes to be present for some of these events. More details soon!

Read the comments at the Saint Paul Students for Life website.

Youth Protecting Youth: The Fetus is NOT a Parasite

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by YPYExec. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

filepicker-Lsw6ycvxTzShnhYb1WFI_fetusBy Angela Beare

This parasitic notion of pregnancy is disconcerting at best, but the fact remains that there have previously been misunderstandings surrounding the distribution of nutrients and energy to the fetus during a pregnancy. The medical definition of parasite is compound, i.e. a definition with two necessary parts. It implies not only that an organism is “living in, with, or on another organism” – a point that would apply in the case of a fetus, but also that that existence entails a degree of harm or is a detriment to the host, i.e. a parasite as a cause of disease.1 The parasitic notion of pregnancy is based on the misconception that the needs of the fetus take precedence over those of the mother, thus putting the mother at risk of inadequate amounts of energy and nutrients. For any human being, an inadequate absorption of nutrients is at the root of many diseases and health complications. If the precedence of the fetus were the mechanism at play during pregnancy, there would be a possibility that the presence of the fetus were causing a degree of harm to the mother, and the argument for a parasitic notion of pregnancy could be re-assessed. However, this phenomenon has been scientifically disproven.

The nutritional status of a pregnant woman is determined first and foremost by the foods and supplements that she ingests. Her needs are fulfilled prior to the allocation of nutrients to the fetus. Some very interesting studies on this topic have been conducted based on the statistics of the Dutch famine of 1944-45. The disruption in the nutritional status of the mothers was, on average, no more severe than that of other non-pregnant women who lived through the famine. However, the adverse effects on the fetuses carried by these pregnant women had long-term consequences which are under study to the present day. Even at critical windows of fetal development, the required nutrients were not delivered to the fetus until the mother’s requirements had been fulfilled. Many consequences have been identified as a result of the allocation of nutrients to the bodies of pregnant mothers before the children in their wombs.2, 3

So what does all this mean to the pro-life cause? Is the fact that the fetus is not a parasite one more set of attestable facts we can add to our reserve of pro-life apologetics? Does it boil down to the reassurance that science is “on our side”? Although these and many other compelling facts about fetal development are invaluable to the movement, the bare truth remains that abortion is not only about facts. It is about people. It is about human beings. Most specifically, it is about two human beings – a woman and the child within her womb. When a woman finds herself in a crisis pregnancy situation, it is not likely Dutch famine statistics and nutrient battles that overwhelm her thoughts. It is the stress of her present situation, the undeniable attachment to her child, and the questions about the future of herself and her child. She may be struggling with very real personal difficulties, to which we may or may not be able to relate. As pro-lifers, we must not judge and condemn, but rather offer our compassion and support. The real and ultimate goal of our efforts is that mother and baby will both make it through those nine months – alive!

Parasite. Merriam-Webster Dictionary online
2 Prenatal nutrition and the human fetus. Nutr Rev. 1971 Sep;29(9):197-9.
3 Effects of prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine on adult disease in later life: an overview. Twin Res. 2001 Oct ;4(5):293-8.

Re-blogged with author’s permission from uOttawa Students For Life


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.