McMaster LifeLine is a campus club that began in October 2004. The current president and vice-president are Johanna Miller and Elaine Zettel, respectively. They, along with other enthusiastic pro-life students, started the club. What has followed has been a spectacular group that has brought life issues to the forefront at the McMaster campus community.
They have built up their club membership through bi-weekly apologetics training meetings, along with having information tables in the student centre. They have hosted speakers, such as Rebecca Kiessling on her story as a child of rape, Dr. Clem Persaud on stem cells, Dr. Deborah Zeni on abortion and women’s health and Natalie Hudson on euthanasia. A debate was organized with Stephanie Gray from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform against the Debate Society. Closing up the latest term, the club had a memorial for the unborn.
A major accomplishment for LifeLine was on March 14, 2006 when it had an Unmasking Choice Campaign (UCC). The UCC display is a one-day event consisting of four large graphic photos depicting aborted babies. These photos were displayed in the centre of campus. Members of LifeLine stood by the signs and engaged passersby in discussion, questioning their understanding of the word “choice.” They also handed out over 1,600 pamphlets explaining pro-life arguments. (See lifesite.net’s daily news for March 15, 2006 for full details).
Members of LifeLine have also been working on their presentation skills in order to present the life messages to high schools. They routinely present what is known as Pro-Life 101 at local high schools, pro-life youth conferences, and church events. As time goes on, they will certainly be adding more experiences to their quickly growing list.
It was the efforts of LifeLine that allowed 54 university students to travel together to attend the ninth annual national March For Life in Ottawa last May. Students from across the region arrived on the Parliament Hill to join thousands of other pro-lifers defending the right to life in the “human rights movement of the 21st century.” Father Frank Pavone was a major highlight for many, as was the opportunity to have a section at the march for university students the following day. Led by the National Campus Life Network (NCLN), this was the first year of having a separate university forum. It proved very beneficial, as leaders from campuses across Canada were able to share experiences and network.
When asked what is the hardest obstacle to promoting the life message throughout a campus, Miller responded: “Keeping our posters up, stopping the spread of untruths about our mission and moral relativism.” Zettel added, “We are overcoming these obstacles by our persistence and dedication … because we’ve done so many events and been so visible, people are beginning to take sides. They respect us and are engaging in the discussion, even if they don’t agree with us.”
The issue of embryonic stem cell research is very pertinent to the McMaster campus, since the university has just built the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning which, among other things, has new lab facilities. One of the labs is under the direction of Dr. Mick Bhatia, who is a world-renowned scientist and defender of the right to use embryos in research. LifeLine has plans in the works to protest the MDCL lab and bring awareness to the campus about embryonic stem cell research with posters and articles.
Miller’s advice to other pro-life students and clubs is to “remain convicted.” Also very important is: “Know the rules for clubs and abide by them, but do not allow yourselves to be lied to or mistreated by administration.” Without a doubt, Zettel affirms that “it is essential to learn apologetics and be confident in our position as we introduce our generation to pro-life.” For any clubs that may be struggling, trying new ideas and approaches could be the solution. A good resource is NCLN (ncln.ca), to get connected with other pro-life students across Canada.
Zettel remains motivated by stories from women who have had abortions and suffered from them, pictures of aborted babies and other students who work together to expose the truth about life issues. Miller loves seeing the look in people’s eyes when they come to look at fetal models and literature on information tables. As well, the knowledge that she and others are planting seeds, and that truth does change minds, allows Miller to fight for the vulnerable.
McMaster LifeLine is just one of many campus clubs that are creating a culture of life among their peers. Its members are convinced that this is the human rights movement of the 21st Century and they are ready to see an end to the denigration of human life. Students across Canada are rising to the challenge of presenting the truth with a refreshing passion that motivates them to remain convicted and active.
For more information on McMaster LifeLine, visit it online at www.mcmasterlifeline.com.