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Anti-Abortion Display Church's Belief, Member Says

Crosses, banner up for third year commemorating Respect for Life Month.

The sign reads "In the USA 144 Abortions An Hour" and stands behind 144 miniature crosses.

While stances on the issue may be complex, it’s one way or the other when it comes to views on abortion, according to Bob Hull, member of St. Lawrence the Martyr Church in Chester.

For Holl, the display on the church’s front lawn is just a stronger way of explaining the Catholic Church’s stance on the issue. Holl is the church's Respect for Life Ministries director.

The display, which is now in its third year during the month of October, also known as the Respect for Life Month, has not been met with opposition this year so far.

But that’s a different story from what took place in 2011.

The sign, Holl says, was taken down twice while it was displayed last year, and the anonymous opposition didn’t end there.

“We had a few parishioners last year–anonymously–tell us they disagreed with the display,” Holl said. “We received a few emails from people in town who said they were dismayed with the religious beliefs.”

That beliefs, which states abortion of any kind, at any term in the pregnancy is prohibited, is the be-all for someone practicing Catholicism, Holl said.

“It is our belief in the Catholic Church,” Holl said. “If you’re a parishioner or a Catholic and are unhappy with the display, you need to reevaluate. This is what the Catholic Church teaches and is our belief.”

Holl, a parishioner since moving to the area in 1977, said despite this being an election year, the display holds no political significance whatsoever.

“We receive letters from the diocese reminding us the importance of voting and to go out and vote,” Holl said, “but this display has no political ties at all.”

St. Lawrence is one of many Catholic churches in the western Morris County region, but the only one with such a prominent anti-abortion message.

Members of the church, including Holl, learned parishes outside the area and in other states were displaying anti-abortion messages and decided to have its own version.

Located at 375 Main Street in Chester, St. Lawrence owns its property, which rests directly on the roadway–a high-traffic area less than a mile from Rt. 206.

In addition to the display, St. Lawrence will be holding a candlelight vigil Tuesday night at 7 p.m. for the unborn, Holl said. Members and non-members are invited to attend.

Lucretia G. October 21, 2012 at 06:41 PM
“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7) Rather than erecting macabre little displays condemning the actions of others, it might be more spiritually productive for the RC Church to put its own house of horrors in order.
Mark Lipinski October 21, 2012 at 07:14 PM
1. And this topic needed to be approached . . . Why? If the writers really want to be reporters, then find an interesting hook to the story -- i.e. Why a church run entirely by men still invokes shame, reproductive control, and second class status to women in such a public way? A much more interesting story than the predictable abortion pro and con. 2. As a Catholic born and educated kid, I have personally known FAR more Catholics who have chosen abortion than any other denomination. And I absolutely believe that in spite of Roman doctrine, American Catholics do what they want, when they want, regarding everything -- from attending Mass, to divorce, to confession, and abortion -- and no silly crosses on the lawn seem to be changing that. 3. In all of the time I've been reading the LV Patch it is my experience that the Long Valley Patch seems to have an awful lot of Christian, evangelical, very right wing, conservative leaning sensibilities. One might think without churches there is no Long Valley there . . . My point is, if you're a regular reader, you can see through this article like Saran Wrap!
Mom123 October 22, 2012 at 12:24 AM
I was stuck in traffic today on Main St today and spent a VERY uncomfortable 10 minutes stuck inside my car with my 4 and 7 year old, the oldest of whom can now read and sounded out the word 'abortion', then asked what it is. I'm disgusted. What miniscule shred of respect I had for the Catholic Church is gone. Save your preaching for INSIDE your church walls, not three feet from the curb. It's MY job to teach my daughter, at the appropriate age, what that is, not yours.
Russ Crespolini (Editor) October 22, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Hello everyone, thanks so much for the comments. This post brought up a lot of interesting points, and we would like you to weigh in our poll and continue the discussion there if you are so inclined. http://patch.com/A-yMyX Thanks again.
deb knobelman October 22, 2012 at 10:31 AM
agree...l.v. is very right wing, conservative. btw: have you noticed the "welcome" signs for long valley include a church?
Barbara October 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Russ- now that you have chosen to do this "poll" I am starting to think that Mark Lipinski is more accurate than not in his assessment of your story. Last week you argued that the story was "news", so are you saying that the poll is also news? Isn't it time to let this "non story" go so as to not (further) offend a large segment of your readers?
Hookerman October 22, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I hope you’re joking Mom. You expect the rest of the world to quash any controversial subject because of your discomfort answering honest questions from your own kids??? You better get used to fielding questions like this and learn how to provide age appropriate answers, because the fun is just beginning.
Holly smith October 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Even if you are pro-choice, shouldn't we be worried about 144 an hour? What is wrong with our society that people are having 144 abortions per hour?
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) October 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Hey Mark, Thanks so much for the comment. You've made an interesting statement, and I'd like to ask you to support it with evidence. Patch, company-wide, strives to be the most objective news source available (case in point: no endorsements of elected officials). That being said, can you point to some of the stories written by Patch staff that is "Christian, evangelical, very right wing, conservative leaning" as you've described here? Thanks!
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 01:21 PM
OMG--a church on the welcome sign-we better burn that down! There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, D.C. James Madison, the fourth president, known as "The Father of Our Constitution" made the following statement "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians...not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher...whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777. The 10 Commandments appear in 3 places on the Supreme Court building.
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Once again--It's freedom of speech, it's on their own property and it's not illegal. Welcome to the real world! If that's the "worst" thing your kids have seen so far, you must be living in a cave.
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I think that's the point....
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Don't speak for me. I'm not offended by the first article or the one stemming from it. You can't assume to know if a "large segment" were offended. For those who do find it offensive--choose not to read it! Pro-choice and all...
Barbara October 22, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Holly- can you provide a link to the source of the number 144? I looked online and can't find it anywhere. Liberty- I'm not speaking for you, but for many others who ARE offended, and have shared that first hand.
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 03:44 PM
From NRLC: Abortion in the United States - Statistics There have been over 48 million abortions since 1973. The annual number of abortions went from 744,600 in the first year of legalization, to a high of over 1.6 million in 1990. In 2003, there were 1,287,000. There were over 3,500 abortions per day in 2003, 146 per hour, about one every 25 seconds. For every 1,000 live births, there were 312 abortions in 2003. There were more than 148,000 second and third trimester abortions in 2003. In 2003, more children died from abortion than Americans died in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars combined. A 2004 survey of women seeking abortions indicated that only about 7% of women cited typical “hard cases” (rape, incest, or some health concern with either the baby or the mother) as the primary reason they were seeking abortion. An April 2004 Zogby Poll found that 56% of respondents support legal abortion in only three or fewer circumstances: when the pregnancy results from rape or incest, or when it threatens the life of the mother. Nearly half of all abortions are obtained by women who have already had at least one abortion. Documentation and further details available on request from education@nrlc.org. It took me 30 seconds to find this. And there's a difference between disagreeing and being offended.
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 03:48 PM
More data: Abortions in the United States Total number of abortions in the U.S. 1973-2011: 54.5 million+ 234 abortions per 1,000 live births (according to the Centers for Disease Control) Abortions per year: 1.2 million Abortions per day: 3,288 Abortions per hour: 137 9 abortions every 4 minutes 1 abortion every 26 seconds These statistics include only surgical and medical abortions. Because many contraceptive measures are abortifacients (drugs that induce or cause abortions), it is important not to overlook the number of children killed by chemical abortions. Since 1965, an average of 11 million women have used abortifacient methods of birth control in the United States at any given time. Using formulas based on the way the birth control pill works, pharmacy experts project that about 14 million chemical abortions occur in the United States each year, providing a projected total of well in excess of 610 million chemical abortions between 1965 and 2009. The Guttmacher Institute totals are actually the more accurate since the Institute conducts private research on abortion providers throughout the country and because not all states are required to report to the CDC. In fact, California and New York, where high numbers of abortions occur, are not included in CDC figures.
Barbara October 22, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Liberty- maybe you didn't understand the question. Where does the #144 come from?
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I just put abortion statistics in the last 2 posts. Abortions per hour is in there, from the Centers for Disease Control and the NRLC. Do you think they made it up?
Liberty October 22, 2012 at 04:30 PM
From the NRLC and the Centers for Disease Control.
Barbara October 22, 2012 at 04:49 PM
One of your sources says 146 and the other says 137. I'm asking for the source of the "144" displayed on the sign.
Nolan October 22, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Mom 123, are you disgusted because a group exercised their right of free speech, or are you disgusted because your child asked what it was and you were forced to explain it? If there are no moral, ethical or legal issues with abortion, it should be easy to explain. If those issues do exist in your mind, it might not be so easy to explain. It appears the Church's statement is "in the USA, 144 abortions an hour" with 144 crosses on the lawn. Certainly a powerful statement, but not preaching. There does not appeear any assignation of good or bad to the statement on the part of the church, just the statement that this exits. If you think that the topic of abortion is disturbing, you should look at the message and not become irate with the messenger.
Patrice Schaffer October 24, 2012 at 06:41 AM
I had to stop reading... Sorry... All I can say is all of your mother's choose life for each and every one of you... You are here... these babies are not. Think about that.
Jersey October 24, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Here's the difference between me and you, Patrice. If my being carried and born would have caused death, heartache or suffering to my mother, I'd hope she would have had the option to not have me. I'd never have known the difference anyway.
biff_roughneck October 25, 2012 at 12:06 AM
That's very cavalier of you, five decades later. Maybe you haven't been a parent long enough to know that "heartache" and "suffering" kind of comes with the territory. Sorry, not sufficient to justify taking a life. If you were born before Roe V. Wade, your mom certainly would have had the option, if her demise were a possibility. I find it very disingenuous when a supposedly intelligent person would play the "maternal death" card, which makes up <1% of abortions. Then again, you're an attorney, so there you have it.
biff_roughneck October 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Holly, I think that sums it up, very succintly and intelligently.
biff_roughneck October 25, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Mom - you are a sad case, indeed.
Jersey October 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I was born after Roe. I don't need you preaching to me about heartache and suffering - don't you dare patronize me in that way as you have no idea what I've been through in life. As a mother, I am selfless in my live for my children. I feel the same for my parents, and I would certainly choose non-existence over the ruination of their lives. I didn't just "play the death card" (talk about cavalier, wow, glad that matters to you). I would rather my mother have had the option to abort if she didn't want me. Period. Here's the other thing I know: My mom knew 2 women (girls, really) who nearly died at the hands of back alley "doctors" wielding coat hangers. I know you don't care about the women who will die if Roe is overturned as you only care about fetuses. Or, perhaps you dont care because those women "made their beds" (regardless of whether raped, or of their fathers will beat the crap out of them for getting pregnant, but I digress). Must be nice to live in such a simple, black and white world.
biff_roughneck October 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Mark - YOUR personal experiences do not constitute a significant sociologic study. As far as Christians go, most are NOT evangelical; please learn the definition of evangelical before tying the Catholic Church to that moniker.
biff_roughneck October 25, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Lucretia, Are you of the opinion that the RC Church has not moved to "put its (affairs) in order?"
biff_roughneck October 25, 2012 at 12:17 AM
AMS - very well thought-out post, and I appreciate your non-religious take on the horrors of late-term abortions. If you're opposed to having your rights infringed upon by others, what of the rights of the developing human? Who speaks on their behalf?

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