Conservative Jews

Montreal. In December 1991 the Canadian Council for Conservative Judaism (CCCJ) passed resolutions on Quebec, AIDS, firearms, rape, social services, nuclear weapons, war and abortion.

The Conservative movement claims 50,000 members in Canada.

The abortion resolution states the Council’s opposition to “any attempt by the federal and provincial governments to legislate control of abortion, leaving all decisions in this area to the conscience of the individuals involved, in consultation with their medical advisers.”

The CCCJ says, under certain circumstances, such as risk to the woman’s health or life, Judaism “sanctions, even mandates, abortion.”

The resolution continues: “The premise that personhood begins with conception is founded on a religious position which is not identical with Jewish tradition.

“Therefore, under special circumstances, Judaism chooses and requires abortion as an act which affirms and protects the life, well-being and health of the mother. To deny a Jewish woman and her family the ability to obtain a safe, legal abortion when so mandated by Jewish tradition, is to deprive Jews of their fundamental right of religious freedom.”

(Canadian Jewish News, December 19, 1992)

Liberal or Reform Jews generally support legalized violence against the unborn. Abortionist Henry Morgentaler’s “Defense Fund” advertisements occasionally appear in the Canadian Jewish News and the B’nai B’rith Covenant (in November 1991, for example).

Conservative Judaism originated in Germany, in 1845, as a mediating force between “liberal” and orthodox Jews. Conservative Judaism is the largest branch of observant, synagogue-attending Jews in North America. As for the Reform movement, it is so “liberal” that some adherents are not quite certain whether belief in God is necessary.

Neither Conservative nor Reform Jews are recognized by Orthodox Jews as truly representative of the Judaic religion.

Conservative Lutherans

Minneapolis. Seeking to distance themselves from Lutherans who support abortion, the presidents of three small U.S. Lutheran denominations totaling some 50,000 members issued a joint pastoral letter in defense of the sanctity y of human life.

Their objective, the Lutheran leaders said, was to make clear that “historically and currently, confessional Lutherans have always agreed that abortion is sin; that is, contrary to God’s will.”

The three denominations are the American Association of Lutheran Congregations, the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations and the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.

In the press release, the three presidents hinted that pro-life Lutherans are preparing a larger coalition with four other American Lutheran denominations. The additional four are the 2.6 million-member Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, the 420,000-member Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the 21,000-member Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and the 3,500-member Fellowship of Lutheran congregations.

The purpose of the statement was to distance themselves from the stand of the largest Lutheran body in the U.S., the 5.2 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In September, 1991, the ELC in America adopted a statement opposing restrictive laws on abortion, adding, “We are unsure whether abortion is sin.” (RNS, Wanderer, Jan. 16, 1992). The church’s Canadian counterpart followed suit about the same time.

Evangelicals and pregnancy

Willowdale, Ontario. The Ontario Bible College and Ontario Theological Seminary, both Evangelical Protestant institutions, will support unmarried students involved in pregnancy, while maintaining adherence “to biblical standards of moral conduct.”

The policy, arrived at after two years of discussion, is meant to provide pregnant students with a support system in order to carry their babies to term, rather than abandoning them to pressures in favor of abortion.

College personnel see the “Pregnancy Outside of Marriage” policy as more than just another policy on the books.

“It is another deep expression,” said a member of the drafting committee, “of a community committed to demonstrating professionalism, compassion and faithfulness as it addresses the most problematic issues of the ‘90s.” (Christian Week, Jan. 12, 1992)

New RC Secretary

Ottawa, Ont. Bede Hubbard, 47, has been appointed Assistant General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mr. Hubbard is a former Benedictine monk of St. Peter’s Abbey at Muenster, Saskatchewan, where he was librarian, then editor from 1976 to 1981 of the Catholic weekly, the Prairie Messenger, published there.

In 1981, Mr. Hubbard moved to Edmonton where he worked as information officer for the Alberta Ministry of Energy till 1984. In that year he became senior editor of Novalis, the “progressive” Catholic publishing firm in Ottawa, now based in Montreal.

Mr. Hubbard is the third Saskatchewan native to fill a CCCB position in recent times. The others are Father – now Monsignor – James Weisgerber, English General Secretary, and Mr. Dennis Gruending, English information officer.

An earlier appointment was that of Saskatchewan-born Jennifer Leddy. All four are strong on economic issues, but weak on pro-life ones.

Mr. Hubbard compiled and edited B.C. Bishop Remi De Roo’s views on economic justice published in 1986 as Cries of Victims.

He will oversee the drafting of CCCB documents and correspondence.