Showing posts from October, 2008

a letter in response to 5 objections to the pro-life vote

Dear _____
I appreciate you trying to talk to me and listen to my defense of human rights for small humans. I see 5 issues you bring up 1) are fetuses equal to women? 2) even if they are unthinking or unfeeling? 3) who has the authority to determine morals? 4) is it worth the effort? 5) McCain is a jerk. I will answer in 5 parts.

1) I feel like an abolitionist trying to convince people that slaves have human rights in the 1850s. Why did African slaves have human rights? Because they had the same type of DNA that sets them apart from every animal. Today I ask you, what is an embryo? It shares similar but different DNA from its host, the mother. Similar means it's human and not an animal parasite. Different means its not a tumor. So that embryo is a human. This isn't an issue of belief, this is accepting or rejecting facts.

2) You and I already believe that "unthinking, unfeeling" humans have human rights. Remember the blind, mentally disabled woman at our church? If you …

a letter to my friend regarding the war and abortion

Hi ______,
I am so sorry to hear about your friend who committed suicide after an Iraq tour of duty.

Assuming intervention hasn't brought the numbers down, about 800 veterans have committed suicide since 2001. This is absolutely horrible. Unfortunately, after watching the debates, i don't think Obama will get soldiers out of the war theater any sooner than McCain. Since the surge is working, McCain will have them out on a similar schedule to Obama. Both of them want to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. All this to say, I don't think Obama will do more for the next depressed soldier than McCain, but McCain, as a veteran, would like more funding for the VA, for those damaged like he was.

If there is little distinction on the war issue, then i say look at the abortion issue where there is a big distinction. 3000 babies a day are killed. So in one week, more babies are killed than soldiers have committed suicide in this entire conflict. i posted a similar topic to this here.


The acceptable discrimination: natalism

Francis Beckwith wrote Politically Correct Death in the 90's. He is a Christian Philosopher who teaches at Baylor University. Up through the election, I'll be pulling quotes from this book. Here is his take on natalism, which is not the same kind of natalism described here) and political correctness. Political correctness tolerates natalism: the denial of the fundamental human right to lie to a segment of human beings simply because they are not post-uterine. Just as skin color (racism), ethnic origin (ethnocentrism), gender (sexism), nation power (imperialism), and birth date (ageism) are irrelevant to one's possession of fundamental human rights, so is one's degree of development and location inside or outside the womb (natalism). Unfortunately, this politically correct prejudice, manifested in the practice of abortion, nearly always results in the death of its victim. p. 12 It's no surprise so many Christians in America are willing to vote for someone who denies…

repeating the mistakes of the Christian right

CT has a new editorial up showing that the Christian left, who was rightfully critical of the Republican exploitation of the church in the past, has fallen hard for the Democrats with the same results. Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo loved being invited to the Democratic Platform Committee to talk about abortion.
"The platform committee reached out to us deliberately," said Jim Wallis. "They were really seeking what evangelicals and Catholic leaders felt about this.""There was a sense that both the policy people with the Obama campaign and the platform committee draft people took seriously and responsibly what Catholics and evangelicals had to say," said Tony Campolo, who served on the committee. "They listened. They took us seriously."And they came up with the most pro-abortion plank in the party's history, calling abortion a need and eliminating language that "abortion should be safe, legal, and rare," because abortion lobbyists felt …

book report: Bitterly Divided (5) by David Williams

This is the last one, I think. David Williams in his book Bitterly Divided about the secession of the South and the divided loyalties of Southerners concludes with observations and predictions. Southerners had shown their displeasure at the polls in 1863 but is it that simple to agree with the speculation that if there were 1865 elections in the South, the bums would have been kicked out of office? (p.247) If fraudulent politics were needed to get some states to secede, would honest election results have been released that sought reunion?

I did enjoy the short summary of how the rich planters restored their esteem by those who fought on their behalf by creating the myth of the Lost Cause. The Old Order moved to shore up its image as well through a post-war pop-culture movement that came to be known as the Lost Cause. With white supremacy its creed and Robert E. Lee its Christ, the mythological Lost Cause became something of a religion for most white southerners, romanticizing the Sout…

book report: Bitterly Divided (4) by David Williams

In my penultimate installment of this book report on David Williams' Bitterly Divided , about the rebellions in the rebellious South, I'm happy to report his coverage of the involvement of native Americans in the Civil War conflict. November is national American Indian Heritage Month. Please click the link if you never knew that. The tag at the bottom of this post will bring you to the posts I made last November with a focus on Native American history. I have a few books in the queue already focused on Native-American/Anglo conflict in the 17th century. By the start of the Civil War, most tribes had been kicked out of the South and were told to live in Oklahoma. Nevertheless, the Union focused all their energy on the war and stopped promised funding and support for the tribes. This provided opportunity for the Confederacy to come and seek treaties. The tribes wanted to be neutral but that wasn't an option. To most Cherokees assembled at Tahlequah, the path of wisdom seemed…

book report: Bitterly Divided (3) by David Williams

As David Williams in the book Bitterly Divided tells over and over again, a Confederacy based on secession will struggle with ever smaller secessions. A big issue was desertion in the Confederate army. In April 1863, a brigade commander in the Army of Northern Virginia told General Lee that his regiments were being reduced by desertion far more quickly than they ad ever been by combat...By late 1863, close to half the Confederate army had deserted and, according to one soldier, half those desertions were caused by depressing letters from home. Less than a year later, President Jefferson Davis publicly admitted that "two-thirds of our men are absent...most of them without leave." p.106
In response to resistance within the Confederacy, the supporters resorted to terror, lynching and kangaroo courts that turned out executions. In February 1863, pro-Confederates slaughtered 180 peace men in central Texas for no other crime, wrote one Texan, than "loving the flag of Washingto…

book report: Bitterly Divided (2) by David Williams

Proclamations of secession were not roundly well-received in the Southern slave holding states, as noted by David Williams in the book Bitterly Divided. Some in the Alabama hill country pushed for annexation by Tennessee, where secession had been voted down. Others thought the region should form its own state and ask for admission to the Union. James Bell of Winston County reasoned that north Alabama counties could certainly leave the state, "for they have the same Right as the state had to secede from the united states." After a Union rally in Huntsville, one worried secessionist wrote that the possibility of a new "state of Nickajack to be formed by the counties of North alabama and possibly by adjacent counties of Georgia and eastern Tennessee, looms large." p.38The secessionists did not like seeing their logic brought to its conclusion. Hence, they forced secession on southerners by back handed tactics, force, and intimidation. In fact, existing records from th…

book report: Bitterly Divided (1) by David Williams

This book report is a little different for me as a blogger. I'm pulling quotes before I've finished the book. There is such a wealth of anecdotes that put to death the "Lost Cause" mystique of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Bitterly Divided: The South's Inner Civil War by David Williams wants those who think the Lost Causers make a legitimate case to hear the whole story from the letters and newspaper accounts of those who lived and suffered under secession.

Even before secession, some Southerners saw the writing on the wall regarding slavery and its effects on the South. In The Impending Crisis of the South, published in 1857, [Hinton Rowan] Helper argued vigorously that the "lords of the lash are not only absolute masters of the blacks...but they are also the oracles and arbiters of all non-slaveholding whites, whose freedom is merely nominal." Slavery, Helper pointed out, existed for the benefit of only a very few. Its existence kept most white…

cinema review: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles is a great film. It was made in 2005 by Chinese director, Yimou Zhang.

I have a fondness for foreign films. I find comfort in the familiarity of our common humanity across cultures. The theme in this movie is the broken relationships between fathers and sons and the redemption sought for that brokenness. The title is also the name of a Chinese folk mask opera about a hero who travels 1000 miles to rejoin a close friend. The opera serves as the metaphor for the movie. As a Japanese father tries to soften his dying son's heart, he travels to China to finish a project of his son, who filmed the folk operas. The man he wants to film is also separated from his son, only a child. The Japanese father connects with the Chinese man's son in a way he never did with his own son. He also softens the heart of the boy's father, who had never seen him and languished in prison. The Japanese son, when he learns of his father's endeavor, also warms to …

for those who are thinking of not voting pro-life

Gerard Bradley addresses, briefly, three common reasons my brothers and sisters look past their pro-choice candidate's position on abortion.
Attack the root cause of abortionHe's better on other issuesWomen's equalityHe boils it down to, How does these fit with the Golden Rule?

abortion at the Jesus Creed

Scot McKnight writesSo, humans are Eikons once they are conceived (RCs push this back to the sperm and egg more than to just conception so they are against birth control practices) because this is the “process” God has created for us to become co-creators with God in this wonderful world. We are fruitful and multiply — Genesis 1 again, that is we extend God’s creation when we reproduce. So, the very act of reproduction is part of the Eikon-forming process. Eikons are sacred.Abortion is therefore an act of irretrievable violence against the sacredness of Eikons whom God has made.The Bible doesn’t say “Abortion is wrong.” The Bible gives us the raw materials to discern how to live out the gospel in our day.

African-Americans and abortion

Useful information at about the effect of abortion on the African-American community.

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme (6) by Faragher

John Mack Faragher mentions my former hometown, New London, a couple times in his book A Great and Noble Scheme. When the English commenced the ethnic cleansing of L'Acadie/Nova Scotia of its French Catholic inhabitants, they didn't have a place to send them except anywhere but there. Hence, they decided to force them on the lower 13 colonies, including Connecticut.
The exiles on the Edward reportedly came down with malaria, and by the time the vessel docked at New London, Connecticut, in May 1756, nearly one hundred had died. Dove, one of the vessels assigned to pick up the last contingent of inhabitants from Minas in December 1755, was apparently lost at sea - at least there is no record of its arrival in Connecticut. Out of the nearly seven thousand Acadians who boarded transports at Chignecto, Minas, and Annapolis Royal in 1755, the best estimate is that roughly one thousand died in transit. p. 372Of course the colonies were not excited about receiving unwanted refugees. Th…

Abortion and the right to choose

Helpful thoughts from Probe Ministries

Every woman has a right to control her own body. "Every woman" At least half of aborted fetuses are female; some females are aborted because they are female. They don't mean "every" woman, they mean powerful women. "Has a right" No one has absolute legal right over his/her own body: e.g., drunk driver/car; child with chicken pox/classroom; streaker/public; suicide, drugs. "To control" Control can and should be exerted before conception occurs. Abstinence is 100 percent effective. "Her own body" Pregnancy means there are two bodies, one within the other. To an extent, the unborn baby controls the mother's body. The fetus would be rejected as foreign tissue from the womb if it weren't for the placenta, which is a fetal organ that the baby's very existence places in the mother's body to protect itself!

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme (5) by Faragher

Faragher argues in his book, A Great and Noble Scheme, than part of the motivation for New Englanders to enlist to invade Acadia/Nova Scotia was the call to rid the peninsula of the Catholics.
As a group the recruits were mostly unemployed young men from seafaring towns along the Massachusetts coast...The recruits were formed into companies and sent off to Boston to the accompaniment of shrill ani-Catholic cant. "Are we willing to give up our Religion, the Religion of Jesus, which we now enjoy in its Purity, and which should be more dear to us than our Lives?" Reverend Isaac Morrill of Wilmington asked the young men of Captain Phineas Osgood's company. p. 300Maybe Morrill is an obscure name, but Jonathan Edwards, the greatest philosopher in the history of the U.S., also participated in the anti-Catholic cheerleading. Hatred of French Catholics was rampant in New England. In a sermon delivered in 1755, Jonathan Edwards quoted a passage from the book of Samuel: "Then D…

addressing the source of crime instead of the crime

Should we decriminalize murder and focus our efforts on preventing the cause of murder? That is the frequent refrain I've heard from Christian supporters of Obama in regards to abortion. Let's be clear, abortion kills a defenseless child, hence, it's the murder of a child. Why do people murder their children by abortion? Less than 5% of the time it is due to rape or incest. If murder of any human was decriminalized, we'd see a huge jump in the number of murders. This is exactly what happened when abortion was decriminalized. What is so difficult in seeing that the murder of children needs to delegalized? Are the hearts of my brothers and sisters so hard?

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme (4) by Faragher

Any history of the Americas that touches on the Indians cannot ignore the issue of land ownership. It comes up over and over again as Europeans overtake lands that, in their view, are not properly subdued and, therefore, not properly managed, thus, not properly owned. After a French capitulation to England in Europe, England asserted it's new "ownership" of Acadia. J. M. Faragher records the subsequent Anglo-Míkmaq interaction in A Great and Noble Scheme.

They presented a letter from two men identifying themselves as the Míkmaw chiefs of Minas. "We believe that this land God gave us," the chiefs declared, and "on it we reckon we have lived since before the trees were born." Why had they attacked the British? "We tell you that you are teh cause. It is you who have taken Canso." Before the British came, there had been peace. Now there was war because the British threatened to seize lands bequeathed to them by their fathers. "If we wished t…

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme (3) by Faragher

In a previous book report on Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick, I noted his partial admiration for Benjamin Church's tactics against the Narragansetts in King Philip's War, coercion instead of slaughter. J. M. Farager's book on the French Acadians who were victims of English ethnic cleansing, A Great and Noble Scheme, offers another view of Church's tactics as he engaged the Acadians and the Míkmaq.
Bourgeois invited the major into his home to meet his parents and take refreshment. But as Church sat drinking, his lieutenants were outside supervising the slaughter of livestock, the plunder of homes, the burning of houses and barns. After a short time Church joined them and personally ordered the torching of the chapel of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Secours. The men "carried off and pillaged all the moveables belonging to several settlers," Commandant Joseph Robineau de Villebon reported, "burning the houses of those that had fled into the woods, and killing all thei…

is the war an equal evil as abortion?

The worst statistic I've been quoted is that the war cost 1 million Iraqi lives. I can concede this. Since the occupation approximately 90,000 have died due to violence. These are not mostly US caused but intertribal and interfaith, Iraqi on Iraqi. In 2008 about 27 die per day. About 4000 Americans have died in this occupation. About 20 Americans a month are now dying in Iraq. Grand total for the stupid and wrong war, about 1.1 MM lives over 5 years.

In contrast, 1.1 MM babies are killed in the womb in America every year, 100,000 a month, 3,000 a day.

Human rights are violated in both places every day. It's like 2 buildings are on fire and you have to pick one to put out. The nursery with 3000 babies in it or the apartment complex with 50 people in it. Between the 2 major party candidates, only one wants to put out the fire in the nursery.

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme (2) by Faragher

From the beginning of their colonization, Anglo New Englanders seemed to habitually neglect any concept of tribal ownership of land they coveted. The French Acadians did and avoided almost any altercations with the tribes they lived with. New Englanders only brought down violence on themselves. John Mack Faragher points to one example in his history, A Great and Noble Scheme.
"We are owners of this country, and it is wide and full of Indians, and we can drive you out," a group of Abenaki leaders wrote the governor of Massachusetts, "but our desire is to be quiet." Massachusetts authorities, however, ignored their complaints and the settlers treated them with utter contempt.

The breaking point came, as it so often did, with an act of despicable brutality. In 1675, two New England seamen in a dory on the Saco River overtook the canoe of a native woman, the wife of Squando, sachem of the Abenakis of Saco, a leader who long had counseled patience and negotiations with th…

cinema review: City of Ember

My oldest daughter read this book recently, and could not wait for the film. Unfortunately, it was not promoted much or well according to the review at CT. I brought all 3 children out on a Tuesday evening and enjoyed City of Ember with 9 others spread throughout the theater. I admit, I have a weakness for sci-fi and dystopias. Ember was built during a great catastrophe on the earth. It was built far beneath the earth but only to last 200 years. It's at the end of its planned life that we enter the story. The city's generator is failing, food is running short, and society is degenerating. The mayor is exploiting his power and privilege but a descendant of an earlier mayor has the information left by the "builders" for liberation. The movie is fast paced and directed to a young audience, but I wished for another minute or two when the protagonists reached the surface, at night. The young woman mournfully says, "They were right, it is dark on the surface." Th…

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme by Faragher

A Great and Noble Scheme is the ironic title of the history of the expulsion of the French Acadian population from present day Nova Scotia around 1750 by the English and their New England subjects. The author, John Mack Faragher, is a history professor at Yale University, not too far from my home. The subtitle is "The tragic story of the expulsion of the French Acadians from their American homeland." Faragher contends this episode, a great and noble scheme" in the letters of an English subject, follows other English uses of ethnic cleansing in their expansion of the United Kingdom. I've written about examples in Ireland and New England before. The French and English warred more often than they were at peace. So the Acadians were at risk from ethnic hatred by the English. They further complicated their ethnicity by their intermarriage, métissage, with Native Americans, see an earlier blog, which the English did not practice as much in New England.
In part, métissage …

3rd Prez debate who won?

It was less boring this time. In fact, the format and the moderator made it better. Was it a close debate? Yes. Can I pick a winner? I'm leaning to McCain, but I don't know that's enough for his campaign. He had one zinger. He said to Obama, "If you want to campaign against George Bush, you should have run for president 4 years ago."

No debate notes tonight as I'm suffering with shingles on my face. Ouch. Here is a good summary.

Democrats for Life vs. Obama

Democrats for Life of America are trying to change the party from the inside. This is well and good. One of their attempts is the crafting of a bill for Congress, the Pregnant Women Support Act. But it didn't make it very far in the Democrat controlled Congress. In almost direct apposition to the bill is the The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has promised to sign into law if he were elected president. The top of the Democrats for Life homepage actually has a sample letter to oppose this act. How does Obama feel about the Pregnant Women Support Act? The Mirror of Justice blog notes
In fact, Senator Obama has voted against or directly opposed two of the central elements included among the foundational parts of the proposed Pregnant Women Support Act (see here). First, the proposed Pregnant Women Support Act would require health facilities that perform abortions to obtain informed consent from a woman seeking abortion. But Senator Obama has strongly and repeatedly endorsed and pro…

Why I can't vote for the Constitution Party

I'm glad they are strongly pro-life but if they accept endorsements from groups and people unlike Ron Paul but like certain hood wearing fellows of the past then I can't vote for them. One group endorsing the Constitution Party believes While we come from every class and creed, we are united in our pursuit of European American interests including freedom, genetic continuity, social justice, economic nationalism and environmental protection. You have got to be kidding me if they are not ashamed of pursuit of "genetic continuity". The group is called European Americans United. No link for them. I'm German, Irish, Jewish and Cherokee. The last two come from the Arkansas branch of the family.

Also, some of the CP platform is nutty. Nuttiness is OK, but racism isn't. Did Obama reject the Nation of Islam's endorsement? I honestly don't remember.

Now who will I vote for? Maybe I'll write in Huckabee. He was also guilty of idiotic racist gaffes.


The church's prophetic role in culture

I'm in agreement with this article by Christian musician, Justin McRoberts, about the Church's role in politics. The only thing that bothers me is inconsistent stance of endorsing Obama, who disregards the Church's consistent historic stance on abortion. Since my comments are moderated I saved them for here...

Obama's legislative route to deal with abortion is a promise to make into law The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) which isn't a neutral law....
The FOCA is a bill that would make partial-birth abortion legal again, strike down restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, and nullify virtually every state and federal law or policy that would in any way "interfere with" access to abortion, including parental notification laws. In a letter sent to every member of Congress by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on September 19, Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote, "No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be par…

Does abortion take the life of a human being?

From Top 10 Myths about Abortion by the FRC

At the time of fertilization, when a sperm penetrates the ovum or “egg” cell, a new human organism comes into existence, with a complete and unique genetic code.48 This is a scientific fact, not a religious claim. Those who claim not to know “when human life begins” are making a political statement, not a scientific one.Human beings develop at an astonishingly rapid pace. The cardio-vascular system is the first major system to function. The blood is circulating and the heart begins to beat at 21 or 22 days (3 weeks), and can be detected on ultrasound.49 By the end of the eighth week, the unborn child has developed all its organs and biological systems.50 20 weeks after fertilization (5 months), unborn children feel pain.51

Some try to distinguish among human beings, arguing that some are worthy of respect (because they possess certain characteristics), while others are not. This assertion contradicts the basic premise of Western law and of our…

Women's mental health and abortion

If a medical procedure increases the risk of the patient to commit suicide or become a substance abuser, shouldn't that procedure be severely restricted to the most dire circumstances?

Abortion is that procedure. Here are some facts.

A "pro-choice" research team in New Zealand, analyzing data from a 25-year period and controlling for multiple factors both pre- and post-abortion, found conclusively that abortion in young women is associated with increased risks of major depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal behaviors, and substance dependence.[10] This is the most comprehensive, long-term study ever conducted on the issue.Other studies also conclude that there is substantial evidence of a causal association between induced abortion and both substance abuse and suicide.[11]A review of over 100 long-term international studies concluded that induced abortion increases risks for mood disorders enough to provoke attempts at self harm.[12] Researchers have also identified a patt…

Imposing pro-life on people

I have some friends who have told me that I or a Supreme Court justice have no business telling people that abortion should be not be legal.
However, I feel free to presume that they believe slavery is an immoral act that is rightly illegal.
But that's old history.
I bet they believe that the practice of female circumcision (genital mutilation) was rightly made illegal in this country although it is not immoral in other, specifically Muslim-African, countries. Why is it illegal? It's a violation of human rights, it is a form of violence against women and girls. In order for this practice to be understood, FGC must be placed within the broader context of discrimination against women across cultures and as a symptom of the greater problem of women's subordination and compromised dignity. The documented complications of FGC constitute a violation of a person's right to physical and mental health. Such fundamental freedoms are protected by several universal human rights instr…

Prez debates and abortion

Here is a great article at NRO, by a Catholic priest Thomas Berg regarding the third rail of American politics, abortion.

Maybe I just don’t get it. As many otherwise pro-life Catholics voting for Obama this time around might want to remind me, “it’s the economy, stupid” — now more than ever, right?

Indeed, the common wisdom appears to be that in election 2008, the economy trumps every other issue in urgency and magnitude — even abortion. If pro-lifers think the pro-choice, pro-Freedom of Choice Act, pro-partial-birth-abortion candidate is more qualified to handle America’s looming economic disaster, why should they hesitate to vote for him?

Catholic bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton responded to this logic in his pastoral letter for Respect Life Sunday (celebrated on October 5th this year in all Catholic parishes in the United States):

This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos…

Prez debate #2 a short review

I actually took notes last night so this will be more detailed than the previous debate blog. I'm not sure anyone came out the winner. No one undermined themselves. But no one made a knockout punch either. As in most debates at this stage, they are trying so hard to be at the center that their differences are not pronounced.
1st topic: Current economic crisis
McCain - Government needs to take on more debt by purchasing bad mortgages as well as moving toward energy independence.
Obama - Take to task CEOs who go on junkets in the midst of the crisis, read AIG.
subtopic: Next Treasury Secretary
McCain - Warren Buffet or Meg Whitman
Obama - Buffet maybe but whoever it is needs to focus on the little guy
2nd topic: What's in the bailout package for the little guy
McCain - Insulted the questioner by telling him he had probably never heard of Fannie Mae before. Stabilized markets help you and buying crummy mortgages could help you and Obama was pwned by Fannie Mae
Obama - The bailout package…

live blogging the VP debate

AP photo credit.
Here are my notes as I listened on the radio, which leaves me less engaged and easily distracted so these notes are far from complete

john's notes on the VP debate:

Biden makes the case that deregulation is the issue and identified McCain as supporting deregulation and Obama warning against it 2 years ago

Palin on taxes. Reduce government. (is that another way to say deregulation?)

Biden points out McCain voting the same way as Obama.

Palin talks straight to the people. She lowered taxes.

Biden says it's fair to raise taxes on those who make over a quarter million. 95% of Americans will get tax break under Obama's plan. Palin counters that the tax burden under Obama shifts to businesses who won't be able to afford employees. Obama proposes a trillion dollars in new expenses. McCain health care plan is budget neutral.

Biden, redistribution is fairness.

Palin had to rein in the oil companies as governor. Obama voted for oil company tax breaks

Biden says McCain vot…