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Friday, October 31, 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 killed her, what would be missing from society? She can only take, like an infant, and not give. In fact she was unwanted and given up for adoption. Does she think? Not apparently. I believe she has human rights because she is a human made in the image of God. What about the unfeeling? Why do we keep people alive who are in a persistent vegetative state? Because they occasionally wake up and return to consciousness. But they may be unresponsive for years. And we have hope that science and medicine might crack the code that locks up their consciousness. You and I know that an embryo will be more independent in only a couple months. All the mother needs to do is wait, not kill. See more links on this below.

3) Human rights are protected by laws. Human rights have been denied humans by evil laws as well. Before Roe v. Wade, most states granted those rights to these babies. But the Supreme Court took them away, just like it did for the slave named Dred Scott who argued that when he traveled with his owner to a free state, he should have the rights accorded blacks in that state. The Court denied that right, overruled the local court, and determined that slaves did not have rights no matter where they were, they would always remain property until their master freed them. This ruling allowed slave owners to parade through free cities with slaves in tow and the appalled abolitionists who had fought for laws enabling protection of the human rights of blacks. Roe imposed a morality across the nation that was illegal in most states. In fact, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has acknowledged this very thing. She said
There would have been an opportunity for dialogue with state legislatures [to] reduce restrictions on access to abortion [had the ruling been written differently]. Of course it has to be the woman’s choice, but the Court should not have done it all, ... It is dangerous to go to the end of the road when all you see in front of you are a few yards.

In fact we already have a Constitutional Amendment, number 14, that says the government can't deny anyone their right to life without due process. The laws were already there, but the court made an immoral and unconstitutional ruling.

4)Helping babies at risk of murder is helping our neighbor in need. When we help the least of these we emulate Christ and affirm the dignity of all humans. Helping them helps ourselves. That's why we share friends who adopted two unwanted mentally disabled babies. Like I said about the rape camps in Congo. Why do you care about those women? Your care for them benefits who, other than them? Does that mean they shouldn't be protected and cared for? Of course not.

5)McCain is a sinful human being. So is Obama. So am I. So are you. But Obama denies that babies in the womb are human and affirms they are not worth any dignity even when aborted alive. He considers teen pregnancy a punishment. He doesn't believe all humans have human rights.

Do you?

I pray that the Holy Spirit will give us soft hearts and wisdom.

God is good
jpu

FWIW, a baby has all the nerve connections it needs to feel things, including pain at 8 weeks, and has brain waves that can be recorded at 40 days.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

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.

We value human life because it is human life whether wanted or not. We value humans because we can't get out of our minds Jesus' parable about the good Samaritan. Our neighbor is anyone in need. We treat other the way we want to be treated, because Jesus' teaching is in our blood. We can't escape it.

If you could make the time, please see the blog i recently pointed to here. He closes with this verse.

Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

If you say, "But we knew nothing about this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? (Proverbs 24:11-12)

If there was a candidate who was exactly like Obama, but pro-life, we wouldn't have these discussions. But there are more babies dying right now than anyone else and I have to pick who will save more lives total. Obama won't, and he wants to loosen any abortion restrictions that we now have, restrictions that have saved some lives. there is nothing more destructive than the execution of 1 million innocent babies every year for the past 35 years. Every Republican administration has done a little bit to end this atrocity. Why can't Democrats be pro-life? Well they can but they aren't listened to by the powerful Democrats. See this post. And this one.

The babies may be unwanted, but they are humans created by God. They are endowed with the right of any human, life. Why would I, as a Christian, as a human, vote to take that right away from any human? No soldier in this war was drafted. They are all volunteers. they exercised their right to choose. At least they had an opportunity to live and choose. I think all humans should have the same.
God is good
jpu

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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 human rights to babies. They've voted for racists in the past too. They vote that way because they themselves are racist and natalist. My calling in this time is to convince my church family that denying human rights to babies is always wrong.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

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 it cast abortion in a negative moral light.

So that means the Christians couldn't even hold onto the status quo of the Democratic platform. This resulted in even more Democratic rear-end kissing from these Democrat Christians.

"Obama's campaign and the Democratic Party have taken a historic and courageous step toward empowering women for an expanded range of choices and saving babies' lives by supporting mothers whose will and conscience tell them to carry their babies to term," said Northland Church senior pastor Joel Hunter. "Pro-lifers of both parties can now support Sen. Obama on the basis that more lives will be saved than if they had just taken a moral stance hoping to overturn Roe v. Wade."
Has anyone read 1984? Even the reporters listening to this conference call wanted to know when up became the new "down" and down, the new "up."
The reporters on the press conference call were incredulous and kept pointing out that pro-life Democrats had lost. But Hunter and the others were insistent. They hadn't lost. They had been included.
If Democrats for Life aren't heard, why should a bunch of born-again wing nuts be? Because, they'll go back and tell their congregations that up is the new "down" and down the new "up." And the sheep nod their heads. Anyone read Animal Farm? George Orwell is the patron saint of us cynical observers of political history and human rights. No population believes they are dumb enough to be duped by a despot.

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 South's Confederate past and encouraging a racist future. That during the war white southerners had "cursed the Southern Confederacy," that they had fought each other "harder than we ever fought the enemy," all mattered little in the post-war era. What did matter was that the fiction of kind masters, contented farmers, and happy slaves in an idyllic Old south justified the Confederacy, bolstered white supremacy, and fit perfectly with post-war planter politics. p.248
It was this mythology coupled with the practice of lynching that was used to terrorize whites during the war that enabled the rich planters to continue as they had before and during the war.
Southern blacks and white Unionists found themselves besieged by a resurgent planter power structure, which proceeded to disenfranchise blacks and many poor whites. Largely abandoned by the federal government within a decade of the war's end, blacks and white Republicans were terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan, a guerrilla arm of the Democratic Party. The oppression was economic as well as political. In urban centers, the structure of company towns, company stores, and payment in scrip rather than cash made virtual debt slaves of workers. Rural folk, many of whom had lost their land to larger landholding creditors during the war, found themselves forced into tenancy and sharecropping. Dependent on landholders for lodging and/or credit, poor whites were virtual debt slaves as well. Even those who held a bit of land were kept indebted with liens against their crops and interest rates that averaged 50 percent or more. pp.248-9
But the God of justice had his way. "Significant change began only in the 1920s after the boll weevil wiped out most of the South's cotton crop...In a way, the tiny boll weevil freed more slaves in a few seasons of pestilence than Lincoln and the Union army did in four years of war." p. 250 Thank God for the boll weevil. Thank you David Williams for the wealth of anecdotes from the South to show the complexity of a nation.

Monday, October 27, 2008

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 clear. Washington had abandoned them, and the Confederacy offered better terms. Already Indian Territory was bounded on three sides by the Confederacy, and hundreds of Cherokees under Watie were serving in the Confederate army. John Ross himself bowed to what seemed inevitable, pointing out that "the Indian Nations about us have severed their connection with the United States and joined the Confederate States. Our general interest is inseparable from theirs and it is not desirable that we should stand alone. " His overriding objective was unity among the Cherokees as well as the Nations. "Union is strength," he wrote, "dissension is weakness, misery, ruin." pp.215-6 Unfortunately, the Confederates were as honorable as most Americans, not at all. Confederate representative Albert Pike wrote to Jefferson Davis about
the Indian Territory's agricultural fertility and its mineral resources, and of how the Confederacy could use them to its advantage with or without Indian consent. The "concessions" made to the Indians, Pike wrote, "are really far more for our benefit than for theirs; and that it is we...who are interested to have this country...opened to settlement and made into a State" - a state to be populated mainly by free whites and enslaved blacks. p.213
As within the Confederacy, so in Indian Territory, there were many who did not support the alliance and secession, so they tried to secede and head North to Kansas as refugees. A Creek leader named Opothleyahola tried to lead 9,000 Indians who were not interested in the war out of Oklahoma. But Confederate Colonel Douglas Cooper ambushed them. Less than half made it across the border in January, naked, frost bitten, starving, without shelter, traumatized. Even in Union territory, exploitation was the norm. Lincoln's cronies were rewarded jobs in Indian Affairs where they enriched themselves. One of Lincoln's friends, William Dole was appointed by Lincoln commissioner of Indian Affairs. Dole
lined his own pockets by speculating in Indian land. During he war, he arranged to be held in trust by the government, then sold them at inflated prices. Other Lincoln appointees, like Secretary of the Interior John Usher and Comptroller of the Currency Hugh McCulloch, also profited from corrupt Indian land deals. So did John G. Nicolay, Lincoln's personal secretary. p.230
Information like this always takes the shine off Lincoln. It also takes the shine off politicians. Are there any that are thouroughly honest and do not have a shade of corruption? Why are our elections mostly about the least of two evils?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

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 Washington." A Hays County refugee recalled that vigilantes would shoot "Union men to see which way they would fall," slice open the throats "of loyal men, that they might listen to the music of the death rattle," and lynch "crowds of faithful citizens just to observe the varieties of the death gasp." The man compared what he had witnessed to France's Reign of Terror after the French Revolution...Such was the split between slaveholders and nonslaveholders in parts of the state that the violence amounted to open class warfare. pp. 138-9
Desertion did more for the union army than weaken the opposing army, they were strengthened by loyal Southerners. "In total, about three hundred thousand southern whites joined the Union armies, a number almost equaling that of all of the Federals killed during the war." pp.150-151. Additionally, escaped slaves were more than willing to assist the Federals in the Union army or by hampering efforts on the plantations. As the Rebels had no tolerance for dissent in their own lands they had none for turncoats of slaves either and were opportunity for war-time atrocities.
In Arkansas, at the battle of Poison Springs, eyewitnesses reported black prisoners of war being "murdered on the spot." The same occurred at the Battle of Saltville in Virginia. When Fort Williams fell to the Rebels in North Carolina, a Union lieutenant recalled that "the negro soldiers who had surrendered were drawn up in line at the breastworks and shot down as the stood." During the Battle of the Crater outside Petersburg, Virginia, attacking Confederates ran their bayonets through wounded black soldiers. p. 203
He also mentions the battle of Fort Pillow, which got its own book report by me here. Things were bad for anyone in the POW camp, Andersonville, but worse for blacks.
An inmate at Andersonville witnessed the treatment of one black captive who fell into Rebel hands after the Battle of Olustee: "One fellow had a hand shot off and some deranged brutes had cut off his ears and nose. The doctors refused to dress his woulnds or even amputate his shattered arm; he was naked in the prison and finally died from his numerous wounds." Blacks held in Confederate prison camps died at a rate of 35 percent, more than twice the average for white captives. p.205
Like the white deserters from the South, blacks made significant contributions in manpower to the Union armies, "over two hundred thousand blacks had joined Union forces by March 1865." p.208

In light of anecdotes like these, it doesn't seem that the secession was about state's rights, but my reading has never supported that.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

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.38
The 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 the time suggest that the secession was probably defeated by just over a thousand votes [in Georgia].
When Texas governor Sam Houston, in accordance with his state's two-thirds vote against secession, refused to calla convention, an unofficial cabal of secessionists in Austin organized one for themselves. Houston was able to get the convention's secession ordinance submitted to the voters for ratification in what was a "free election" in name only. But in the other six seceding states, ratification was never placed in the hands of voters. pp.38-39
It makes sense that no one would vote for secession because they knew secession would mean war and their own blood for a privilege only a few of their citizens had, slaves. but it also went against what their own ancestors had fought for against the British, which goes against the "Lost Cause" argument that southerners viewed their state in higher priority than the Union.
It was hard for many to forget their ties to the Union, especially those like John Bell, who carried long memories of family sacrifice. Alabama farmer Jacob Albright, whose father had fought in the Revolution, recalled after the war: "I told [the local pro-Confederate vigilance committee] that my father fought for the Union and I could not go against it...and that sooner than turn over [to the Confederacy] I would die right there." A fellow Alabamian, John Phillips, insisted that he "would never go back on 'Old Glory.' I had heard too much from my old grandparents about the sufferings and privation they had to endure during the Revolutionary War ever to engage against the 'Stars and Stripes.'" p.47
The Revolutionary War was perceived to be about freedom from an oppressive government, yet the Lincoln administration had done nothing oppressive to the South which had started secession before he was even sworn into office. Over and over again through the book, Williams reiterates the slogan, "Rich man's war, poor man's fight."

Friday, October 24, 2008

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 southerners in ignorance and poverty. The region's economic development was so retarded that it was little more than a colony of the North, providing raw materials and buying back manufactured goods. p. 23
Helper was from North Carolina. I appreciated the background on slavery and racism before the Civil War that Williams provides. It's not thorough but sufficient to provide context for the dissenting opinions expressed by felow southerners.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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 his father. The movie ends tragically, but peacefully. The reconciliation never happens physically, only spiritually, but the redemption is found.

The scenery is epic. The cinematography is superb. The acting is from the heart. The story brings hope.

Here is the trailer.


More info and a different trailer at the studio website.

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.
  1. Attack the root cause of abortion
  2. He's better on other issues
  3. Women's equality
He boils it down to, How does these fit with the Golden Rule?

abortion at the Jesus Creed

Scot McKnight writes
So, 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 abortionfacts.com 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. 372
Of course the colonies were not excited about receiving unwanted refugees. They showed a small measure of compassion. In Massachusetts they passed a law regarding the Acadians,
...that the exiles must be self-supporting by the spring of 1756. If any proved unable or unwilling to work, local justices of the peace were empowered "to employ, bind out, or support said Inhabitants." Neighboring Connecticut passed a comparable law shortly after the first of approximately 630 Acadians arrived at New London. The exile families were dispersed among all the towns of the province, with local officials responsible for providing assistance to the sick and indigent and maintaining strict control over the able-bodied, preventing them from wandering from their designated locations or congregating in potentially dangerous groups. pp.374-5
The English had to recruit settlers to the land purged of Acadians. People from New London were interested in moving up there, perhaps they were intrigued by the stories told by the Acadians sent there.
The greatest interest in emigration indeed did come from southern New England, where land was in short supply and where numerous residents had direct experience in l'Acadie, either as sailors or soldiers. Numerous public meetings took place over the winter and early spring of 1759, and in April a group of leaders from New London, representing potential settlers in Connecticut and Rhode Island, sailed to Halifax to meet with Lawrence and the council. p.408
It wasn't hard refusing prepared land recently stolen from its successful owners. The new settlers did not know how to tend the dikes to keep the marshlands-turned-fields dry and productive. The diking was the innovation of the Acadians that turned the peninsula into a successful agricultural region. The terrible irony of that arrangement is that Acadians were forced to help maintain the dikes for the invaders.

I recommend this book to Americans seeking context for the French-Indian War and the views and behaviors of New Englanders before the Revolution. It was a good read, well told, well researched, and well informed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Abortion and the right to choose

Helpful thoughts from Probe Ministries

Every woman has a right to control her own body.

  1. "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.

  2. "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.

  3. "To control"

    Control can and should be exerted before conception occurs. Abstinence is 100 percent effective.

  4. "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. 300
Maybe 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 David said to the Philistine...I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee...for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands." New England's fightingmen were embarked on a religious crusade, he argued, and "how happy they are that have God on their side!" p. 352
The sermon can be found here. The notes introducing this sermon do not agree that Edwards used this sermon for troops heading off to Nova Scotia but against the French in general. Nevertheless, the issue of hatred against "papists" as a general motivation for war mongering is a shameful blot on the church and Edwards' legacy in particular. One of Edwards' applications in this sermon's notes is
Third. The religion of the Papists, that they are of, is contrary to God's word, and what he hates.3 The Pope [is an impostor; Papists] pray to images, [and] pray to [the] Virgin Mary. [They] pray to dead men. [The] Pope contrived for his4 people to get away money from the people [by selling them] pardon [for] sin. [They] pretend that in another world there is a fire that is on this side hell, where their people lie a great while, [until they are released by the church's intervention]. [They] won't let the people have the Bible.
I don't see how this has anything to do with defense of a country in response to an attack.

Monday, October 20, 2008

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 to go to England to live, what would we be told, if not that we should withdraw?" The Míkmaq felt the same way about the British invaders. "We are masters, and dependents of no one," they concluded. "We wish to have our country free."

This remarkable letter expressed sentiments widely shared by native people throughout the region. In 1714, Paul Mascarene had negotiated a treaty with the Abenakis, Maliseets, and Míkmaq of the Wabanaki Confederacy which obligated both sides to live peacefully. But in the intervening years the British had fortified sites on tribal land in Maine, just as the fortified Canso, and soon thereafter settlers crowded in, cutting forests and samming rivers. In the summer of 1721 Abenaki leaders sent a warning to the governor of Massachusetts. "Is it living peacefully with me to take my land away from me against my will?" Their lands had been given to them by God, and no one could take them without the collective agreement of the nation. "The king of France, sayst thou, gave thee it. Could a few savages who thou caughtest by surprise by getting them drunk give thee it to the detriment of their entire nation?" If the British did not pull back in Maine, they would be burned out, just as they had been at Canso. pp. 158-9
This "method" of legal land sales was perpetrated in the United States for the next 150 years. First settle the lands as squatters until the native owners are fed up and raise an outcry. Then find any member who will declare himself a leader, coerce or entice him or his party to "sell" the nation's land, then evict the entire nation, which never agreed to it collectively. That's how the Cherokee ended up evicted from the Southeast and sent on the deadly "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma. See my blog post on that atrocity. The United States is an Anglo nation started by unethical, expansionist Brits and retained those characteristics long after it's own rebellion from England. The Spanish who invaded further south didn't even try to maintain a pretense of rightful transfer of real property, see my book reports on their invasions.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

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 their cattle that they could catch, although a treaty of Neutrality had been signed between the poor people and the Governors of Boston."

Where were the Míkmaq? Church demanded. According to the major's account, Bourgeois "shaked his head and said he durst not tell, for if he did they would take and opportunity and kill him and his." Frustrated in his hunt for scalps, Church made it clear that he held the inhabitants themselves accountable for Míkmaw attacks...If the raids on New England continued, Church vowed, he would return to "kill, scalp, and carry away every French person." p. 100-101
It seems Benjamin Church learned more from Moseley who preferred a scorched earth policy with the Naragansetts. Perhaps Church also bore prejudice against the Catholicism of the Acadians as well. He also knew an easy target to bully when he saw one.

...in February 1704, a party composed of Abenaki fighters and Canadien militia hit the western Massachusetts community of Deerfield, destroying much of the town and killing or capturing more than half of its 291 residents. It was the most destructive raid in memory, and New Englanders were shocked and outraged. Governor Joseph Dudley of Massachusetts declared a day of fasting and his council raised the bounty on native scalps to an astounding £100. That drew the attention of Benjamin Church, who volunteered "to put an end to those barbarities" by returning to l'Acadie and punishing the inhabitants. Massachusetts authorities knew full well that the Acadians had nothing to do with the attack on Deerfield. But it was not possible to strike at Canada, and Acadia was a vulnerable target. Dudley quickly authorized an expedition of destruction and terror. "Use all possible methods for the burning and destroying of the enemies houses and breaking the dams of their corn grounds," he instructed Church, "and make what other spoil you can upon them, and bring away the prisoners." It was hoped that Acadian prisoners might be exchanged for those taken at Deerfield. p.109
Church fulfilled the order in spades contradicting any sort of myth as a noble warrior he might have cultivated during King Philip's War.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

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 the English. In the words of a contemporary account, the seamen conducted themselves in a "rue and indiscreet" manner with the woman, and when she attempted to avoid their advances they began rocking her canoe, finally overturning it and sending her infant son into the river. As the men watched impassively, the desperate mother dove to the bottom and rescued her baby, but several days later he died. when asked to explain their conduct, the seamen declared they merely had been trying "to see if young Indians could swim naturally like animals of the brute creation, as some had reported." With the murder of his son, Squando became an implacable foe of the English, leading his fellow Abenakis into war. They burned Saco and other towns along the coast, and settlers fled back to Massachusetts Bay in panic. These attacks coincided with King Philips' War (1675-77) in southern New England, a conflict that cost the lives of hundreds of colonists and natives. In Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island the tribes were eventually crushed, but in New Hampshire and Maine, where colonial settlement was scattered, the Abenakis prevailed, and in 1678 Massachusetts found it necessary to sign a treaty acknowledging Abenaki sovereignty over their homeland in order to obtain peace. pp.82-83
Hatred of tribes to the south was extended to any tribe anywhere. Tribes were, foolishly, not understood as separate nations. So foolish New Englanders helped the Naragansetts, their enemies, by starting war with a powerful tribe in the north, who, otherwise, would not have joined the war. Hatred goes hand in hand with dehumanization. Anglo New Englanders practiced it with the Natives and with the French further north.

Friday, October 17, 2008

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." The dark is the great terror of Ember's inhabitants. When the generator fails, the lights go out and the citizens freeze in horror. When the protagonist trusted the instructions of the Builders she didn't expect to see more darkness, but she was unaware of the diurnal nature of the surface. All too quickly in the movie, though, dawn comes. And the happy climax arrives.

What a miss on such a poignant moment. Part of my enjoyment of dystopia stories like this one and the Matrix, is the minority opinion that there exists another reality. It's not the unique claim of Christianity, but as a Christian, I see the analogy to my experience. I try to tell people that this world is not all there is. I have friends who feel the instructions from outside our dimension, the Bible, are inadequate. Nevertheless, I assert, it's still true, we just haven't seen the whole story yet. This movie provides a useful analogy to speak to your children about the unseen kingdom we are a part of.

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 is explained by demographic realities. The emigrations of unmarried Frenchmen, as well as the maintenance of a small French garrison, meant that colonist men outnumbered colonist women by about three to two throughout the seventeenth century, while among the Míkmaq, perhaps because of the toll of intertribal warfare, marriageable women outnumbered marriageable men. Compare that with New England, where the number of men and women was much closer to parity. But demographics alone cannot explain the sympathy and sociability that prevailed among newcomers and natives in l'Acadie. The French colonists, writes the historian Emile Lauvrière, established amiable relations withe the Míkmaq, "approaching them with sympathetic curiosity, pleasing them by the gentleness of their manner, conquering them through good nature and trust, justice and religion, in brief, making of them loyal friends and good neighbors." This description is a bit romantic, but certainly the record of friendly interethnic relations is l'Acadie contrast sharply with the dismal history of violence and dispossession in neighboring New England. p.47
I have many quotes to pull from this book, so this will be a blog-a-book series.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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 promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, legislation that would overturn informed consent requirements at the state and national level. Second, the proposed Pregnant Women Support Act would enhance health care coverage by allowing states to extend medical care coverage to an unborn child. When the same proposal was offered as separate legislation, Senator Obama voted against it.

In sum, assuming that Senator Obama as president would balance out his increasingly aggressive pro-choice message, administrative proposals, and legislative initiatives with support for programs that might incidentally reduce abortion is a thin reed upon which to justify support by a faithful pro-life voter.

I don't think his feelings are fond for the DfLA bill. If DfLA can't influence Obama regarding human rights for babies from within the party, what hope is there in his self-proclaimed bipartisan skills? Update: It's worse than I thought.

FOCA will negate parental notification laws. PWSA seeks them in all states. What effect does parental notification laws have on abortion? 13% reduction in abortions.

PWSA also wants to expand support for pregnant women through insurance and W.I.C. The proven effects of such proposals are a 37% lower abortion rate.

Great ideas. I hope the Democrat controlled Congress passes this bill instead of FOCA.



Monday, October 13, 2008

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.

Uggh.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

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 part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions." In a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, Obama said, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

-- Obama advocates the nullification of state laws requiring parental notification or consent for a minor daughter's abortion, which would be one of the effects of the FOCA. Moreover, since entering the U.S. Senate, Obama has had two opportunities to vote directly on the question of parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, and he voted "no" on both occasions.

-- Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the law that since 1976 has blocked almost all federal funding of abortion, even though both pro-life and pro-abortion analysts agree that this law has prevented many abortions. By even the most conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. "Because the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, a new president hostile to the Hyde Amendment could quickly place it in jeopardy," Johnson observed. The FOCA would also nullify all state laws restricting state funding of elective abortion.

-- In a written response to a pro-abortion advocacy group, the Obama campaign said that Obama is opposed to continuing current federal funding for "crisis pregnancy centers," which provide needed assistance to many thousands of pregnant women.

-- NRLC has thoroughly documented that in the Illinois state Senate, Obama led the opposition to legislation to protect babies who are born alive during abortions, and persisted in his opposition even after Congress had enacted a virtually identical federal bill without a single dissenting vote.
This information is found here.

Even Bill Clinton added to the Democratic plank the language of making abortion rare. The party this year removed that language. It's the church's prophetic role to cry out together the evil of this. I agree that the atrocities and human rights violations that the current administration participates in are abhorrent. I do not endorse nor do i plan to vote for McCain nor do I plan to vote for Obama. I will vote for the protector of children and their mothers. When abortion is delegalized we know children will be 10 times safer in poverty than now, rather than any incremental decease by economic gain.


I responded before to Schaeffer's article here.
God is good
jpu

Friday, October 10, 2008

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 Constitution—the equality of all human beings. As the Declaration of Independence says, all human beings are created equal. It would be perilous to abandon this point of view and to adopt a philosophy that puts into the hands of some human beings (the powerful) the right to decide whether other human beings (the weak, the unpopular, the defenseless) are to be counted as members of the human family.

footnotes
48 “Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (or spermatozoon) from a male,” Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th edition (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1998); “The Development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote,” Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology, 3rd edition ( Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975): 3; “The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual,” Carlson, Bruce M. Pattern’s Foundations of Embryology, 6th edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996): 3.49 Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th edition (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co. 1998): 77, 350.50 England, Marjorie A., Life Before Birth, 2nd edition (London: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996).51 Anand, K. J, “Pain and Its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus,” New England Journal of Medicine 317 (November1987): 1321-9.

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 pattern of psychological problems, known collectively as Post- Abortion Syndrome, in which women may experience depression, anxiety, anger, flashbacks, guilt, grief, denial, and relationship problems. Post-Abortion Syndrome has been identified in research as a subset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.[13]

Further, studies analyzing the effects of induced abortion in adolescents have shown that those who abort reported more frequent problems sleeping, more frequent marijuana use, and an increased need for psychological counseling, when compared to adolescents who give birth.[14]

Moira Gaul is director of women's and reproductive health at the Family Research Council. She has a Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in maternal and child health.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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 instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I think it is also safe to assume my friends would agree that it is wrong and illegal for Warren Jeffs and his sect to practice polygamous marriages with child brides. Biologically, there is nothing wrong, and young brides are nothing new to history, but our culture has imposed a lower limit on the age of consent to marriage.

The examples of a moral decision turned into law are multiple. There is abundant precedence in our culture of its practice. There is nothing controversial about making and enforcing laws to stop people from harming others.

That may be a sticking point, "others." Are babies in the womb other? Are they fellow humans? Are they more than a growing tissue like a tumor? Why is tumor removal never a difficult moral decision? Why are morals involved at all? What is the difference between a benign tumor and a growing baby? Potential. Guilt. Memories. Associations. Relations. Are babies in the womb human beings with human rights? If one finds this question above their pay grade, perhaps its safe to assume, Yes, rather than, No. Babies are small dependent human beings with all the DNA that makes them human both in and out of the womb. Outside the womb they are still dependent and helpless and voiceless.

Advocates of human rights, such as myself, use whatever platform we have to advocate for the basic human rights of those without a platform. All human rights violations are awful but they are even worse when perpetrated against the most vulnerable. So I will write here to persuade and I will advocate to protect them with our nation's legal system. I will also not vote for those who promise to continue and expand these human rights violations. I sympathize with those who can't vote for those who ignore human rights, but not with those who then conclude that they must vote for someone who wants to expand violations on another part of our population.

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 for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does.

Do the two issues — economy and abortion — bear the same moral weight? The bishop, standing on the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church, says no. One moral evil, that of abortion, is intrinsically gravely evil. An economic crisis — even one of the current magnitude — is simply not an intrinsic evil. In fact, the sense in which it even constitutes a genuine “crisis” sorely demands further examination.
........
An economic crisis like the present means that millions of Americans will experience negative, discomforting and, in many cases, dire consequences. But no expert I know of is suggesting the crisis will reach bread-line proportions. And even it if did, the suffering of such consequences comes nowhere close to the moral gravity of human beings directly targeting and destroying the lives of 50 million unborn babies as has been the case under America’s abortion-on-demand regime.

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 keeps the payrolls rolling. McCain was against regulation so it's his fault, while Obama was for more regulation before the feces hit the fan.
subtopic: Is the worst yet to come?
McCain - Depends. Housing market needs to be stabilized. McCain sounded an alarm as well with a letter that Obama didn't sign.
Obama - No. We need new regulations and international coordination.
3rd topic: Can we trust you with our money?
McCain - It's the special interest groups' fault. It's Obama's liberal spending votes that are to blame.
Obama - It's Bush's fault. He will invest in energy independence and college.
subtopic: How will you prioritize these pressing needs; health care, energy, and entitlement programs.
McCain: Can do all simultaneously, but cuts are coming to the entitlement programs.
Obama - 1)energy 2) health care 3) education [he didn't mention entitlements at all]
4th topic: What sacrifices will Americans have to make?
McCain - Good earmark projects. A government spending freeze across the board.
Obama - Save energy. Offer energy saving tax incentives. Double the size of Americorps. Freeze only some programs.
subtopic: How can America recover from its economic drunkeness?
McCain - Not with Obama's ever changing economic plans. Hoover was last president to raise taxes in an economic crisis. Obama will tax half of all small businesses.
Obama - Need to reign in Government spending, eliminate earmarks, and tax the rich.
5th topic: What will you do about the entitlements economic timebomb?
McCain - With a can-do bipartisan attitude. Medicare needs a smart team to give Congress a plan they can only vote up or down. Obama never fulfilled his state campaign pledge to lower taxes.
Obama - He won't attempt it in the next two years. He'll only tax those making over 250K. McCain will ease tax burden of CEOs and big business.
6th topic: How fast will you move on environmental issues?
McCain - He was ahead of Congress with the first greenhouse gases bill. Time for more nuclear plants and America is the best.
Obama - Green tech tax incentives will creat 5 million new jobs. McCain voted 23 times against alternative energy. Domestic oil drilling is not enough.
subtopic: Should green tech be developed by the government, ala Manhattan project, or by private sector?
McCain - Manhattan project. Drilling now bridges gap to green future.
Obama - ? [Perhaps they should consider the Pickens plan]
7th topic: Is health care a commodity?
McCain - Put medical records on line. [!!!!!!!] Provide more community clinics. Obama will fine businesses without health insurance for their employees. 95% of taxpayers are left with more money now with his $5000 tax credit
Obama - Central storage of medical records. [!!!!!!!!!] Keep your current plan but with lower premiums. Invest in prevention. If you don't have a plan get the federal plan.
subtopic: Is health care a privilege, right, or responsibility?
McCain - Responsibility
Obama - Right. In his plan small businesses get 50% tax credit to provide health care. McCain voted against a recent child health insurance bill (SChIP). Need to crack down on insurance company fraud. In McCain's plan insurance companies will move to states with loosest regulations in the same way that financial companies move to Delaware. [The worst self-defeating statement of the night since his VP nominee represents Delaware.]
8th topic: How does the financial crisis affect our role as international peacekeeper?
McCain - ?
Obama - Iraq is bleeding us dry to the tune of $10 billion a month. He will make it possible to assist in Darfur.
subtopic: How will you respond to a humanitarian crisis that is not in our national security interest (e.g. Rwanda)
McCain - Withdrawal deadline of Obama's was a bad idea. Somalia and Lebanon were disasters he warned about at the time.
Obama - Shouldn't we be involved in Holocausts? [??????] Ignoring issues diminishes us. We need to involve our allies.
9th topic: Should we respect Pakistan's border or will we treat it like Cambodia during hte Vietnam war?
McCain - Teddy Roosevelt said to Speak softly and carry a big stick. Obama talks loudly. He won't telegraph his punches. We need a good relationship with Pakistan and we need to win the hearts of its citizens.
Obama - Cross the border. If Pakistan won't get Bin Laden then we need to.
subtopic: Response to British despair over current Afghanistan war methods.
McCain - Double size of Afghani army. Streamline command structure. Make Afghan citizens feel secure.
Obama - Get out of Iraw and redeploy to Afghanistan. Exhort Karzai to be responsive to his citizens.
10th topic: How will you pressure Russia on its humanitarian issues?
McCain - Show moral support to oppressed border states and invite them into NATO.
Obama - Show moral support and give financial support [Aren't we on the verge of a depression?] Anticipate 21st century problems. Energy independence [The U.S. is not a major consumer of Russian fossil fuels]
subtopic: Is Russia the evil empire again?
McCain - Maybe, our response could force their hand.
Obama - They do evil things.
11th topic: If Iran attacks Israel will you act unilaterally?
McCain - Yes. In order to prevent that we need to impose tough sanctions. We will not allow a 2nd Holocaust.
Obama - He won't allow Iran to attain a nuclear weapon. He will do everything in his power to prevent an attack. He will have direct talks with Iran or any enemy.
Last topic: What don't you know and how will you know it?
McCain - Doesn't know the future.
Obama - Has courage to move in different direction.

jpu analysis...
I'm disturbed that they want centralized medical records.
As usual Democratic plans sound better but they never seem affordable which results in either lame programs or programs that start out fast and hot and die quickly.
I'm disturbed that they feel free to spend any money in our current economic climate. I wish they'd wake up and smell the napalm.
Make sure you read the fact check articles including this one.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

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 voted against separating the tax break bill from the alternative energy bill

Palin stays on her talking points. but she does it in a stilted way. let's get energy independent.

Ifill channels Katie Couric and asks Palin about global warming and its cause. Palin doesn't deem the assignment of blame a useful avenue to pursue, but thinks we need to get energy independent.
Biden says it is manmade so we should invest in clean coal and building more nuclear power plants and wonders why McCain votes against alternative energy

Palin says drilling is essential to energy independence. accuses Biden and Obama of opposing drilling and calling it "raping" the continental shelf and wonders about Biden's opposition to clean coal on a rope line

i can't believe McCain is for capping carbon emissions

Biden supports giving same sex couples equal rights as married couples. Palin opposes a further erosion of the distinction of the traditional definition of marriage. but Biden does not support gay marriage, nor does Obama.

Palin accuses the Obama Iraq of being a "white flag of surrender"

everyone loves Israel

Palin doesn't want to talk about Bush, no guilt by being Republican

Biden says the "past is prologue" and claims McCain has not distinguished his policies from Bush's

Palin slams Biden's characterization of American policy in Afghanistan. Biden quotes commander in Afghanistan who says an Iraqi-style surge won't work in Afghanistan.

Biden admits he was the first to propose intervention in Bosnia...he predicted 10 years in Iraq and billions of dollars...but he thinks perhaps the country should intervene into Darfur...Palin thinks Sudan could be influenced by disinvestments

Palin says McCain knows how to win a war

how would a Biden administration differ if the need so arose...no difference and restates the planks of Obama's campaign
if Palin had to step up...has disagreements with McCain over ANWR...but agrees with his vision to root out corruption...wants to restore Main Street Wasilla views to Washington, D.C. ....Biden wants to bring the views from his neighborhood Home Depot, where he spends a lot of time, who don't think Bush did anything for them nor will McCain..."doggone it there you go again Joe," so Palin channels Reagan...

what is the role of the vice president? Biden says its not what Dick Cheney did with that office

Biden pulls the old interview trick, his biggest weakness is his "passion"

Biden shoots down the Maverick.

When have you switched positions?
Biden wants to know a judicial nominee's philosophy now
Palin compromised on tax cuts but never in her philosophy

Can you change the tone in D.C.?
Biden doesn't question people's motives just their judgments
Palin counts as friends anyone who joins her in working for the greater good

Palin concludes that she enjoys talking directly to Americans without the filter of the Mainstream Media© then proceeded to hit the McCain talking points
Biden concludes with a "May God Bless you and our troops"

conclusion: Biden prevails

update 1: apparently i fell for Biden's strong assertions of facts that weren't facts.

update 2: great parody from SNL