The following story appeared in the April 16 issue of the Idaho Catholic Register
Bishop Peter Christensen’s “I Shall Give Half” campaign is being received favorably by the National Right to Life Committee, which is encouraging other bishops to replicate the effort in their own dioceses.
The Diocese of Boise bishop launched the campaign after reading about efforts in Congress to direct taxpayer funding toward abortion. In particular, the America Rescue Plan contained no restrictions on how much funding could go toward abortion or abortion-related services.
In response, Bishop Peter is encouraging Catholics and all people of good will to donate up to half of their stimulus checks to the National Right to Life Committee or other pro-life causes.
“For 45 years, the United States Congress – whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans – has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their consciences to pay for abortions,” Bishop Peter wrote in a letter to Idaho Catholics.
“Abandoning this compromise in a time of national emergency serves only to divide people in the very moment we should be united.”
The I Shall Give Half campaign is inspired by the Gospel story of Zacchaeus’ words to Jesus as recorded in St. Luke where Zacchaeus said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Luke 19:8-9)
The Bishop recently received a letter signed by the president, the executive director and the chief marketing officer for National Right to Life. “Already, National Right to Life has received several generous donations as a result of your campaign,” they wrote to Bishop Peter. National Right to Life passed along Bishop Peter’s idea to Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who in turn distributed it to all the bishops.
Bishop John Michael Sheridan of the Diocese of Colorado Springs contacted the Diocese of Boise directly requesting more information about the campaign.
“We recognize that not all can afford to give a sum of $700,” Bishop Peter, referring to half of the $1,400 most people received in American Rescue Plan (stimulus) funding. “Some may be able to afford very little, and others may be able to give the total amount of $1,400. Whatever gift can be given, a gift of some amount is encouraged to be donated as a charitable almsgiving to protect the lives of our unborn children,” the Bishop wrote.
National Right to Life said the donations received “will help us persevere and will be used to grow our efforts to educate Americans about the humanity of the unborn child and the dangers of abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.”
Donations can be sent to National Right to Life, 1446 Duke Street, Alexandria, Va., 22314, or online at www.nrlc.org/donate or to other pro-life organizations of your choosing.
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