a special Christmas message from President and CEO Mike Fichter

Things I Don’t Understand About Christmas

It’s sort of funny the way life works out.  As a younger man I went through multiple phases during which I thought I had it all figured out.  But the longer I journey down life’s path, the more I realize just how much I really don’t understand.

I don’t understand why some people speed up, then slow down, then speed up again on interstates.

I don’t understand why so many people consider turn signals to be optional.

I don’t understand why homebuyers on HGTV feel compelled to renovate every room in a newly-purchased home, as opposed to buying a few gallons of paint and renting a carpet cleaner at Kroger.

I don’t understand the psychology of the incessant piano music in the background of Hallmark Christmas movies.

I don’t understand why so many people will go through life without ever visiting Montana.

I don’t understand why I have three hundred channels on TV and can’t find a single thing worth watching.

I don’t understand pickleball.

I don’t understand why, regardless of what I purchase at Kohl’s, I am always ten dollars away from the next Kohl’s Cash award.

When it comes to Christmas, there’s a whole lot I don’t understand as well.

I don’t understand why I can buy virtually anything in the world through eBay or Amazon, yet both of them combined pale in comparison to the appeal of the old Sears catalogue.  If you’re under 50, just trust me on this one.

I don’t understand why the 30-foot strands of lights that worked perfectly before being packed in the box after last Christmas didn’t work when taken out of that same box this year.

I don’t understand why Charlie Brown, Rudolph and Frosty are shown more than once per season.  Back in the day, if you missed those shows, you missed them. Tough luck until next year.

I don’t understand why Frosty Returns was ever made. Borderline criminal.

I don’t understand why I miss Ronco commercials so much.

I don’t understand why the opening riff of Jingle Bell Rock becomes more irritating each year.

I don’t understand the depth of disdain for fruitcake and eggnog.

I don’t understand the allure of figgy pudding.

I don’t understand why the Christmas mornings I remember the most are the ones on which we had the least amount of gifts under the tree.

I don’t understand why I didn’t spend more time at Christmas asking my grandparents about their lives, instead of engaging in so much small talk that barely scratched the surface. Those special opportunities are now gone forever.

I don’t understand why I can still remember so clearly what it felt like to fall asleep as a child in a candlelit church at midnight.

I can’t understand why Christmas Eve feels more peaceful than any other night of the year.

So many things that I just don’t understand.

I don’t understand why God chose a virgin teenage girl, from a remote village of no reputation, to bear the baby destined to turn the world upside down.

I don’t understand what Mary must have felt in her heart when she felt the Messiah’s tiny legs kick for the first time within her womb.

I don’t understand how Joseph had the strength to bear up under the laughter, gossip and scorn surrounding the surprise pregnancy of his betrothed.

I don’t understand how grueling it must have been for a mother nearing birth to journey over 70 miles of rough terrain from Nazareth to Bethlehem, even if there really was a donkey.

I don’t understand how there could be no room for them in the inn.

I don’t understand how a king who had it all would leave His throne to be born in the filth of a stable that was likely little more than a damp cave.

I don’t understand what it must have been like to hear God cry.

I don’t understand what it must have been like to see a pitch-black sky come alive with angelic hosts.

I don’t understand how beautiful the Star must have truly been.

I don’t understand the depth of worship the shepherds must have experienced as they fell to their knees in adoration of the newborn Christ.

I don’t understand the trembling that gripped Mary’s heart when Simeon looked deep into her eyes and prophesied of a coming sword that would pierce her very soul.

I don’t understand how the baby grew up to love, heal and forgive, only to be despised and rejected by the very ones He came to seek and to save.

I don’t understand how 33 years after that first Christmas Eve, the beautiful Lamb of God willingly gave Himself to be scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross, all while the mother who bore Him in her womb, and nursed Him in that Bethlehem stable, surely sank to her knees in unspeakable grief.

I don’t understand how He could say, “Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” The baby born in Bethlehem, the baby born to die, had completed His mission.  It was finished.

No, I don’t understand these things, for they are too deep for me.

But I am thankful that I do understand this: the baby whose birth we celebrate on Christmas was the one, the only one, who could, and did, pay the penalty for our sin.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”.  He truly is the greatest Christmas gift of all time to all who will receive Him.

This is what I understand about Christmas.

May you have a blessed and joyous holiday season.

Mike Fichter
President and CEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next to the Eugenics Marker

When the weather throws you a curve, you have to adjust.  That’s what happened recently as my wife and I took to the road for some kayaking in southern Indiana.  No sooner did we arrive in Worthington than a slowly gathering bank of clouds to the north evolved into a deep blue wall.  Steering into the city park, I pulled up the radar and confirmed we had a real mess heading our way.  That was the bad news.  The good news is that I had been meaning for years to stop at the park because of the legend of a massive sycamore that once grew near the town.

With just a few minutes to spare before turning south to outrun the storm, I jumped out of our truck and strolled over to the mammoth limb section preserved from the 500-year-old tree when it finally died. It truly is a sight to see.  And it reminds me of how our state is dotted by little historical signs just waiting for someone to stop, someone to remember.

South of Crawfordsville you can stop where Chief Cornstalk’s Village once stood.  Near Scottsburg you can visit the site of the Pigeon Roost massacre, all but forgotten in history books.  In Corydon you can stand where Indiana’s only Civil War skirmish was fought.  Just south of Indy you can stop and toss a quarter onto the grave of General George Washington’s drummer boy.  In Bruceville you can stand where Lincoln spoke. History is everywhere, but in the age of smartphones and instant everything, all of these places are slowly fading into obscurity.

Such is the case for a little-known sign in one of the most highly trafficked areas of downtown Indy.   Standing in silent witness between the Statehouse and a government building is a state historical marker shamefully recognizing a 1907 Indiana law legalizing eugenics through forced sterilization, a law ruled unconstitutional in 1921.  It’s right there, a stone’s throw from the Statehouse, and yet I’ve only met one legislator who knows it is there.  What is doubly-remarkable is that Justice Clarence Thomas recently referenced Indiana’s 1907 law in his blistering denunciation of eugenics in relation to Indiana’s protections for unborn children found in the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act.

Indiana’s 1907 eugenics program is a chapter of history we’d all like to forget, which is exactly why it is all the more important that we remember.  History moves in circles, and what was once eugenics through forced sterilization in Indiana is now eugenics by targeting kids for abortion solely because of their race, national origin, sex, potential disability, or Down syndrome.  God help us.  And may God hasten the day when, next to the 1907 eugenics marker, a new one will be placed in sad remembrance of all of the children whose lives were taken during the Indiana eugenics program that began on January 22, 1973.

 

Indiana Abortions Increase for Second Consecutive Year While Ultrasound Law Remains Blocked

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life reviewed new abortion data for 2018 released by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). In 2018 there were 8,037 abortions compared to 7,778 in 2017.

Increase:

For the second consecutive year, the Indiana abortion rate increased. Pro-life leaders expected the increase because a 2016 ultrasound law, which is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, remains blocked by an activist judge.

According to the new data, 65 percent of the abortion numbers increase is attributed to non-Indiana residents, likely a direct result of the ultrasound law blockage. The majority of these abortions are assumed to be a referral from Planned Parenthood in Louisville, Kentucky, to Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, states that women considering abortion be provided with the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound law was blocked because of a lawsuit brought by Indiana’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Indiana’s ultrasound provision was blocked through a preliminary injunction in April 2017. The increase of 496 abortions in 2017 compared to 2016 marked the first upward swing in abortions in Indiana since 2009, according to the ISDH’s 2017 Induced Terminated Pregnancy Report.

From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 3,317 abortions in Indiana. During the same period of July through December 2017, after the ultrasound provision was blocked, abortions spiked to 3,813 in Indiana, a 13 percent increase compared to 2016.

Chemical Abortions:

Chemical abortions, the type now being done in South Bend without oversight, can carry serious complications and risks to the woman. Chemical abortions continue to rise; in 2017 there were 2,805 chemical abortions (36 percent) but in 2018 that number rose to 3,296 making up 41 percent of all abortions.

Dismemberment abortions:

In 2018, there were likely 11 dismemberment abortions (listed in the report as procedure type, “Other e.g D&E”). If these abortions were truly dilation and evacuation abortions, or dismemberment abortions, then a fully-alive unborn child had his or her limbs torn off during the procedure. This spring, Indiana lawmakers voted to outlaw dismemberment abortions, but a federal judge last week blocked Indiana’s law.

Out of State:

In 2018, there were 7,263 abortions (90 percent) on Hoosier residents and 774 abortions (10 percent) on out-of-state residents, for a total of 8,037 abortions. In 2017, there were 606 abortions done on non- residents. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky does not do any abortions in Kentucky, but the abortion giant likely refers Kentucky women to Indiana for the procedure.

Top Abortion Sites:

Planned Parenthood did the most abortions, 5,579 in 2018. In 2018, there were six abortion facilities throughout the state. Planned Parenthood on Georgetown Road in Indianapolis did the most abortions, 3,284 in 2018.

Our Take:

From Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life:

“We mourn the increase in abortions because it means more children who will never have a birthday and more women who were subjected to the lies of the abortion industry. If Indiana’s ultrasound law was still in effect, we would be looking at much different abortion numbers from 2018. We urge the U.S. Supreme Court justices to rule the ultrasound law constitutional in their future session.

“We are hopeful Indiana’s ultrasound law will be found constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court justices gave us hope this spring as they ruled favorably on Indiana’s fetal disposal law, which mandates dignity for every child.

“Next year, Indiana’s abortion numbers could continue to rise if the South Bend abortion facility is allowed to continue aborting children without an abortion license. Women’s health and safety is in grave danger. We continue to oppose the abortion business in South Bend.

Find the Data:

The full state abortion report is available here.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

On Good Friday, There Is Good News

Today, if you are struggling in the aftermath of an abortion, there is good news.

Today, if you are struggling with guilt over paying for an abortion, or coercing a woman to have an abortion, or encouraging an abortion decision, there is good news.

Today, if you are wondering if you can really walk away from a job that you know is leading to the deaths of unborn children, there is good news.

Today, if you have failed to speak for the defenseless, there is good news.

Today, if you are liar, a thief, a mocker, or a hater, there is good news.

Today, if you are like me, there is good news.

Today, no matter who you are and what you have done, there is good news.

Today is Good Friday, a day so easily overlooked or marginalized on our busy schedules. Yet what this day commemorates is the turning point of all human history, the day when the only One who could pay the price for our sin willingly did so, not because he didn’t anguish over what was before Him, but because it was His Father’s will.

Who among us would be willing to be beaten, spit upon, scourged, crowned with thrones, stripped, laughed at, marched through the streets, nailed to a cross, and have insults hurled at us as our life drained away, struggling with excruciating pain at each new breath?

Who among us could take every sin of the world upon our shoulders – every abortion, every hateful word, every selfish thought, every lie, every abuse, every denial of God, every evil we can think of – and bear it to the point of crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Who among us would have the authority to say, “It is finished?”

Who among us? Not one.You may think you have gone too far. You may think you are worthless. You may even think you are fine the way you are and have no need for God.

The cross still remains.

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus, fully man and fully God, took the full punishment of sin on the cross and made forgiveness possible for all who place their trust in Him alone. He is the only One who could. He is the only One who did. He is the One we remember on Good Friday.

There is good news today.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

-Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life