Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 9.11.13 – My Letter to the Beacon Journal About Life.

On Tuesday I had a letter to the editor published in the Akron Beacon Journal.  Before I get to what worked me up enough to write them, it is important to read their in initial opinion last Friday.  Their opinion was written about a case that is gaining a lot of attention in the area – regarding whether an Amish family has the right to deny their daughter chemo treatments for her cancer. Here’s an excerpt:

From Friday, September 6 editorial page:

The judge points to several “negative effects” the appointment of a guardian would have on the Hershbergers and their daughter. He argues the media attention would compromise their “quiet, dignified life,” even suggests the parents could face jail if they cross the guardian, leaving Sarah in a foster home. He concludes that appointing the guardian would open the door wide to other institutions overriding the objections of parents.

Parental rights deserve, and receive, much respect. Yet, again, the legal standard in this instance is promoting the interests of the child. For all the negatives effects the judge describes, and overstates, none is as negative as Sarah soon dying.

Lohn argues he has never seen the law used against “suitable parents to prevent them from making medical decisions for their child.” The rarity of the circumstances also reinforce that Children’s Hospital hasn’t acted lightly. The Hershbergers say they may return to chemotherapy after trying alternative methods. What the doctors warn is that would be too late, the cancer having spread, the treatment required even rougher. They have first in mind saving a girl’s life.

The entire editorial can be read here.

The reason for my reply

So the editorial board at the Beacon Journal believes the rights of a child outweigh the decisions of the parents.  That matter can be debated another day – it wasn’t my purpose.  What worked me up was the paper’s hypocrisy in its approach to life.  Hence, my reply, which is as follows:

Saving lives

So, the editorial board of the Beacon Journal argues the parents of Sarah Hershberger should be forced to administer chemotherapy to their 10-year-old daughter because the hope of her future should outweigh the freedom of the parents (“To save a life,” Sept. 6).

This is certainly a heart-wrenching case with no clear answers, but I applaud your desire to give the girl the best chance she has to live.

Your stance begs a question: Why does the editorial board consistently advocate for the freedom of parents to kill unborn children, despite the endless possibilities of hope for those children and the futures they may have?

The Rev. Kevin Burkholder



I will probably do a follow up in the future about lessons learned, but I do challenge you to think about your stance on life. I believe God ordains and creates life and that no one with a calendar, pregnancy chart, or any other subjective belief about life is free to define it. I believe life should be valued and that our culture should think about that seriously.

Think: Do you feel strongly about life?

Act: Are you able to raise your voice and share your view in a way that is respectful and polite?

So far, lots of lessons learned in doing this. More to come I’m sure as I reflect on this experience.

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