On Tuesday of this week I was asked by the Family Leader to testify at a subcommittee hearing on Wednesday regarding support for Senate Joint Resolution 9, a bill that would amend the Iowa Constitution by adding a section (sec. 26) that says, “The Constitution of the State of Iowa does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
As most of you know, I believe this is the issue of our time. To “pass” on opportunities to possibly affect change in this arena seems, to me, to be irresponsible. So though I’m no politician or statesmen, I accepted, with the prayer that the few words I would bring would be used by God in ways beyond my understanding.
Here are my comments (though when delivered them I did some on-the-fly editing).
Good afternoon. My name is Todd Stiles, I live in Ankeny IA, and I support SJR 9. I’m Lead Pastor at First Family Church, also in Ankeny. I speak to you today as exactly that – a pastor, or, as Scripture calls us, shepherds. I’m not just a shepherd of our spiritual family, but I’m also a shepherd of my physical family, which is my wife, our four children, and currently our seven grandkids.
Fundamental to a shepherd’s role is the valuing of life. We feed hungry sheep. We lead wandering sheep. We care for hurting sheep. We search for lost sheep. We protect vulnerable sheep. Essentially, nurturing the life sheep, in one way or another, forms the bulk of what we do everyday as shepherds. Both spiritually in our church and physically in my home, I, as a shepherd, do all I can to nurture life.
What’s not fundamental to a shepherd’s role and task is death, the opposite of life. And so, to you members of the legislature who comprise this subcommittee, you who are shepherds of this “We, the People” government, I urge you to embrace your fundamental role as nurturers of life and support this amendment which would push back against judicial tyranny and help end the culture of death so prevalent in our society. It’s life, not abortion, that’s the fundamental right for citizens in Iowa.
These are not just words. Personally and congregationally, we value both babies and their mothers. Which is why our church supports the Alpha Women’s Center in Ankeny, offers training for our people in foster care, is actively engaged in promoting and encouraging adoption, and supported a children’s home that once existed in Ankeny. Sheep matter, and shepherds stand against the wolves that want to destroy them, whether that wolf is disguised as Planned Parenthood or activist judges who dismiss the will of the people expressed repeatedly through the votes of their representatives.
So from one shepherd of the church to you shepherds of our state, I urge you to support this amendment and fulfill your role as a shepherd. Exhibit the backbone to care for the vulnerable sheep, the women, and unborn—yet living—babies who need a compassionate, selfless shepherd, not a calloused, selfish hireling. Say yes to life with your support for this amendment. Thank you.
Incidentally, there is a lot of background to this bill and the move to amend the Iowa Constitution, and Greg Baker and the Family Leader are pivotal players. I encourage you to check their Web site for videos, updates, and articles about this situation so you, too, can actively and effectively pray and work for sake of unborn babies in Iowa.