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Pro-life Christian group defends its public funding

July 29, 2010 - 5:55 pm

Michaelene Fredenburg, the president of Life Perspectives, is defending her pro-life organization’s use of county money to promote its annual “Life Walk” event.

The event, CityBeat revealed, funds the production and distribution of religious materials called the “Whole Life Curriculum,” perhaps in violation of church-state separation.

In the statement sent to Channel 8, Fredenburg writes:

Life Perspectives is incorporated as a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian [501(c)(3)] tax-exempt organization. Life Perspectives’ mission is to empower students and adults to make life-affirming decisions. We do this through education and outreach offered to all regardless of political or religious affiliation. Life Perspectives develops products for a variety of audiences ranging from public high schools to faith-based elementary schools to the public at large. These educational tools are tailored to meet the needs of each individual audience.

That may be how they exist on paper, but that isn’t how they perceived in the community–or even by their spouses.

The organization has been described unequivocally as a “ministry” by Life Perspectives vice president and Whole Life Curriculum writer Linda Noble’s husband. In a blog post summarizing Life Walk 09, Pastor Ed Noble of Journey Community Church (which is in the same strip mall as Life Perspectives) writes:

Life Perspective[s] is a ministry about changing the way our culture thinks. There are other ministries that are working on legislation, but LP is unique in that it is changing the conversation…. They have written a curriculum that helps kids get this big picture called Whole Life Curriculum. Michaalene [sic] Fredenburg has written a whole different book & launched a campaign called Abortion Changes You . These are all different ways to be life affirming, many of which people who are politically “pro-choice” can affirm.

and

The vibe at the Life Walk was & always is love. It’s important to note that although everyone there acknowledges that we have a problem as a culture, that we are not a “life-affirming” culture and the consequences for us as a people are grave, the emphasis is on love. The message is about God’s vision for us. The feel is one of hope.

The Life Walk is largely attended by church groups, who advertise the event’s religious nature to its members. For example, in 2007, here’s how the event was described to recipients of the San Diego Diocese’s regular e-mails:

Life Perspectives’ programs and projects are directed toward informing and educating the community, which is the first component of the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Whole Life Curriculum (www.wholelifecurriculum.com) helps parents and educators instill in their students the knowledge that each individual is valued by God. This transformational approach affirms the value of others and cultivates the desire to positively impact their world.

More recently, the San Diego Diocese Chapter of Knights of Columbus invited Fredenburg to speak at an event in August 2009, where Life Perspectives board member Hugh Largey presented a shirt to the bishop. According to the Knights’ newsletter, Largey said at the meeting that Life Perspectives is “not a Catholic Organization but a Christian Organization.”

And then there’s this video, with religious undertones, produced by a member of the Christian Youth Theater:

Fredenburg claims that Life Perspectives also produces secular lesson plans revolving around a teen pregnancy documentary. If that’s true, she should provide it to the press. So far, the only documentation for that video program has also been religious.

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