Dear friends of Vital Signs Ministries,                                              June 2023

            With a tightly packed schedule this week, this is going to be a quick “write and run” newsletter this time around. For, in addition to this task, there are several speaking engagements to study for, this month’s “When Swing Was King” yet to create, the upcoming Book Brunch and quarterly letter-writing party to prepare, and making our latest additions to the new VSM website. There are also the ongoing responsibilities of Vital Signs Blog, the Aksarben Village church services, the pastoral visits to friends in hospital and rehab, compiling each Saturday’s Top 5, the prayers and pro-life witness outside the abortion business, networking with other pro-life groups, and all the work that summer brings around our house and lawn. Finally, there are our prayers together, personal correspondence, and the times we set aside for walking, biking, and other exercises as I try to be as ready as I can for the next chapter in my mountain adventures come July. Of course, for all of these things, we would seriously appreciate your prayers.

            There is one item, however, that I particularly wanted to address in this month’s LifeSharer letter and that is our evaluation of and response to the Nebraska Unicameral’s passage (and Governor Pillen’s immediate signing) of LB 574, the Let Them Grow Act which had the addition of Amendment 1568. That amendment protects most of the preborn babies who make it to 12-weeks of uterine age. Are we pleased that this bill passed — with the very minimum votes required, by the way? Certainly. But are we content with this law? Certainly not!  Indeed, joining us in this discontent are Governor Pillen himself, the genuine pro-life advocates in the Unicameral, and all other Nebraskans who earnestly desire, pray for, and work toward the protection of all preborn boys and girls. Therefore, our work will go forward for tighter legislation as well as more energetic enforcement of the laws that are enacted. Nevertheless, given the very nature of politics, we receive with thanksgiving every action which will save a baby’s life, keep people from the grievous sin of abortion, and promote the teaching that all human lives are sacred and worthy of our full respect and protection.

            Let me also explain a few important details of the intense fight it took to get pro-life legislation passed this session. LB 626, the Heartbeat Act, would have been among the strongest pro-life legislation in the nation, prohibiting surgical abortions before 6 weeks. It was an excellent bill but, from the beginning, it was always in a precarious position. Why? Because many Nebraska districts had sent legislators to the Capitol who are either unprincipled, cowardly posers when it comes to issues touching on life, family, and morality OR legislators who, like 5 or 6 from this session, are outright zealots for the abortion industry. With this situation, the magic number of 33 votes necessary to get LB 626 to the Governor’s desk was extremely tough to reach. And so when, after the 2nd round, State Senator Merv Riepe inexplicably (and treacherously) changed his mind and declared he wouldn’t vote for the bill without a new amendment he had crafted (one which he knew would torpedo the primary purpose of the Heartbeat Act), he handed the abortion lobby exactly what it wanted.

            Pro-life Nebraskans were grieved, angered, and deeply frustrated by Senator Riepe’s betrayal and how he had broken his promises and ended up serving the interests of the raucous, blasphemous, and intimidating leftists in the Unicameral who were demanding more abortion — not to mention, more transgender manipulation, including the provision of barbaric drugs and surgery to minors.

            With the Heartbeat Act’s defeat, it certainly looked like the loony left was going to win very big in this session in keeping a conservative state like Nebraska from benefitting at all from the opportunity opened up by the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade last summer. However, they had a surprise coming. For Nebraska’s genuine pro-life state senators (greatly encouraged and assisted by Governor Pillen, the Attorney General, Nebraska Right to Life, Nebraska Family Alliance, the Nebraska Catholic Conference, and other heroes) stepped up both their courage and their creativity in order to pass a pro-life measure before the legislative session broke up. Yes, it was too late to try again for the Heartbeat Act, but they found a way to introduce a 12-week limit as an amendment to LB 574, a bill seeking to defend Nebraska minors targeted by the new “woke lunacy” of transgender propaganda, chemicals, and surgeries. Even that bill was in grave danger because of the number of weak-kneed politicians sitting in the rotunda. But, thank the Lord, that 33 number was reached. LB 574 passed, Governor Pillen signed it, and immediately the abortion limitations were put in place. A victory? Well, to repeat myself, it wasn’t what we wanted, but it is a critically important life-saving law in itself and a momentum builder for the next campaign. And listening to the opposition’s response to the bill’s passing (screaming expletives and curses, throwing used tampons from the rotunda balcony, punching a policeman, crude and clownish chanting on the legislature floor from a state senator herself, etc.) was a pretty telling way to evaluate just which cause had won a victory.

            So, what’s next? Well, let’s start by thanking God for the ground won by LB 574. And then let’s send thank-yous (maybe even flowers and donuts!) to the state senators who voted for LB 574 and to the pro-life groups and individuals who fought so wisely and well in these battles. But then let’s make a pact with God and one another to make the Unicameral more responsive to the biblical standards regarding life and liberty, family health and values, scientific truths regarding sexuality, and the just protection of the innocent preborn. And among other key tasks, that means urging our clergy to start taking a more principled, relevant, courageous, and spiritually-responsible leadership in these crucial matters.

            To encourage and help you in these objectives, please check out the sample letters I’ve written to state senators, pro-life groups, and pastors. You’ll find them on Vital Signs Blog (which nowadays you can find on the VSM website, and on my Twitter feed.

            Okay, that’s it for this month’s letter except that I’ll close with details about a couple of upcoming events which we would love to have be a part of.

            * On June 20 there will be 2 letter-writing parties held at our home. One meeting is a morning brunch from 10-11:30. And then our regular evening P.A.L. Night will be from 7-8:30. And, of course, your RSVPs are very important.

            * The next Vital Signs Book Brunch will be at our home on Saturday morning, June 24 at 10. The book under discussion is the classic by C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength.  Trust me, the relevance of this novel is greater than ever before and a discussion of it (by thoughtful people who actually read the book) will undoubtedly prove to be of significant value. Please let us know soon if you’re interested.

            May the Lord bless you all abundantly. And thanks so much for your support.

But be doers of the word,
and not hearers only.