Friday, April 29, 2005

Curtailing the Evading of Parental Consent Laws

The Washington Post is featuring an article on the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act that will make it a crime "for doctors or other adults to help patients under 18 evade parental-notification requirements by crossing state lines for an abortion" if passed by the U.S. Senate.

Here's a nay-sayer:

Warren M. Siegel, director of adolescent medicine and chair of pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., said in an interview that the law could lead minors to have later-term abortions because they might be more hesitant to consult an adult. "It's an unreasonable burden to have physicians know all the legal loopholes and laws in the 49 states that they don't practice in," he said.

I wonder if Siegel actually believes that children from Michigan will be transported to California for abortions or that children from Florida might be transported to Illinois. This intent of this act is obviously to curb the transportation of minors to nearby states where there isn't a parental consent law.

Also, is it really that hard for an abortionist to have a sheet of paper that says which states have parental consent or parental notification laws? All an abortionist would have to do is print off this sheet from National Right to Life that describes the particular features of state parental consent laws and consult it every time a minor from another state seeks an abortion from them. So much for "unreasonable burden."

By the way who are the "extremists" on this issue?

Pro-choice Rally in Lansing

On Wednesday, Michigan's pro-choice organizations got together and threw a rally at the Capitol. I was somehow completely unaware of this event. They even step up a web site and a blog for the event.

One post in their blog asks commenters to share why they are pro-choice.

Here are some interesting quotes.

I'm pro-choice because I believe that it is a woman's choice to determine whether or not it is the right time to have a child.... Also, abortion is not a form of birth control, society needs to prevent unintended pregnancies so that the need for abortions will decrease.

I don't believe abortion should be a form of birth control, and I do feel that people need to take action for their sexual decisions and make those decisions responsibly instead of relying on abortion to avoid unwanted children....Abortion will always be a necessity in some cases...

I felt as if an abortion was the only option to save my sanity.

I'm pro-choice because there are certain circumstances in which bringing a new child into the world is a mistake (i.e. rape, complications in relation to the health of the mother.

I wonder if they ever thought of the poor women who cannot fed another baby, the women who are addicted to substances that will harm the developing fetus.
(emphasis mine)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Pope, Nazis, and Babies Going Diaper Free

I just came across Mark Roberts' two part evaluation (here and here) of an op-ed in the LA Times by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen which backhandedly assures us that Pope Benedict XVI beliefs aren't identical to the beliefs of the Nazis. These posts by Pastor Roberts do an extremely good job of discussing relativism, Goldhagen's illogical leaps, and the intolerance of supposed religious tolerance.

I also think this is an incredibly amusing post about the diaper-free society movement.

The Sudan

Christianity Today has an editorial on the genocide in Sudan and is calling on Christians to help stop the violence.

Starting in 2003, Janjaweed Arabs, a Sudan-backed militia, have driven 2 million villagers from their homes in ethnic-cleansing attacks designed to suppress local rebels. Satellite imaging has documented hundreds of burned-out villages. In remote border camps, displaced families live under plastic sheeting with grossly inadequate food and water. They have just enough food to starve—slowly. Already 20 children a day may die in these camps, where 70 people sometimes share one pit latrine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Dawn Eden goes to town on this horrid piece by Planned Parenthood's blogger.

Naaman has a post on the claims of theocracy and hijacking religion.

Patricia Beninato of I'm Not Sorry laments on how pro-choice groups and people describe abortion as a painful or difficult choice.

Planned Parenthood is still on a Karen Hughes rampage a year later. Here's an old piece by Ramesh Ponnuru that has the much maligned Hughes' quote.

The Lions on Draft Day

With the tenth pick in the NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected USC wide receiver Mike Williams. I sat in the Fort Lauderdale airport stunned and somewhat excited as my professional football team of choice selected a tall receiver for the third straight year with a top ten pick. This pick after the Lions signed a fairly good receiver in Kevin Johnson less than a week ago.

Mike Williams is an awesome talent. His forty time wasn't as good as it could be (4.7) but ESPN's draft guru Mel Kiper rated him the #1 overall prospect regardless of position. He scored 30 touchdowns in his first 2 years at USC. He's spent the last year working out with receiving great Cris Carter. He probably would have gone very early in the first round in last year's draft if he was eligible. Even with all of this I cannot escape the fact that the Lions have already spent two early first round draft picks on wide receivers in the last two years and spending another top 10 pick on a wide receiver regardless of his talent level doesn't make sense especially when there are numerous other needs on this team (safety and offensive line for example).

One sports writer of my hometown paper, the Grand Rapids Press disagrees.

One quote that especially stuck in my head for its lack of logic was this:

Passing on him would have been like passing on Michael Jordan because you don't need a shooting guard.

This assertion has hindsight bias written all over it. The fact is that no one on draft day knew Michael Jordan would become the greatest basketball player of his generation. Just like no one knows for sure if Mike Williams will have a productive 10 year career with the Lions or be playing Arena Football in 3 years.

Plus, it's absurd to compare a guy who's never played a professional football game with a man who was the face of professional basketball for a decade. It also misses the reality that Michael Jordan would have been an all-star regardless of the team he was on while in football Mike Williams needs someone to get him the ball. Michael Jordan could get his own shot. Mike Williams can't throw the ball to himself even though his arm isn't bad as Michigan fans will remember from the 2004 Rose Bowl.

For every Barry Sanders there is a Blair Thomas. For every Peyton Manning there is an Akili Smith. For every Orlando Pace there is a Tony Mandarich. There are no sure things especially when it comes to the NFL Draft. Picking three receivers early in the first round three years in a row when your team has other needs is a mistake.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Blogging Hiatus

Tomorrow my wife and I head out on a weeklong vacation to Florida so the blogging will be extremely light if any until next Monday. That is unless there is an internet cafe in the near vicinity of our hotel or our hotel offers free internet access.

How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

I’m writing this in the vague that some day, someone out there will save themselves money and/or hassle if their garbage disposal breaks down and they think that it would be too hard or complicated for them to replace the disposal themselves. Replacing a garbage disposal is one of the simplest things in the world to do. Anybody with a screwdriver and some type of wrench can do it.

I’m far from the handiest guy in the world. I’ve improved a little bit since I bought an older home and have been forced to try to fix a few things instead of hiring a repairman. About a year ago my garbage disposal quit working because one of my old roommates stuffed an absurdly large amount of spaghetti down the sink instead of throwing it away. Though I’m not sure who because neither one of the suspects would fess up. Anyways, I didn’t know how to replace the disposal and figured it might be difficult and take the professional skills of a plumber. Being fairly cheap and somewhat of a procrastinator I didn’t really do anything with the disposal for about a year. The spaghetti was removed so the sink could be used but no disposal.

In March, I finally made a deal with my wife that if she took care of a household chore I would get a new disposal. So at first I call a plumber to try to figure out how easy replacing (not installing) a disposal would be. I asked how much it would be to replace a disposal. The guy on the phone asks what kind of disposal. I tell him that I’m not certain probably something lower to middle of line. He then claims that someone would have to do an inspection first (cost tag $60) to see what “size” of disposal I needed and give me an estimate. I said “no thanks” and did a little internet research. From what I read it seemed easy enough but I still wasn’t sure of myself and my lackluster handyman abilities.

I decide to first see if I can take the disposal off and figure out from there if I could put a new one on. All I had to do was unplug the disposal, use a wrench to disconnect the disposal from the pipe under the sink and then turn the whole disposal until it came off. The pipe to my other sink won’t stay straight unless the pipe to the disposal is connected to the disposal so I realize that I have to go to Home Depot for a new disposal. I check which kind I had (Badger 1) and head off. At Home Depot they had 5 or so kinds of disposal but as I’m looking at them I realize that they would all fit the same sink. The “size issue” that the guy from the plumbing company had given me was complete bunk. It didn’t matter. They would all fit. He could have easily told me that a bottom to middle of the line disposal would cost me between $50 and $100 and that replacing a disposal is a job any 6th grader could do.

So I pick out a Badger 5 (a step up from the bottom of the line Badger 1) disposal for about $65 and look at the vague instructions on the outside of the box to make sure I’m good. From the instructions it seems like I need something called Plumber’s putty (I didn’t) so I pick that up to on my way out.

When I get home I take the disposal and all the accessories out of the box. After looking at the more in depth instructions inside the box I realize that my task will be quite simple. I take the electric cord out of the old disposal by removing a screw and untwisting the wires (make sure the cord isn’t plugged in). I then attach the cord to the new disposal by twisting the electric wires - black to black, white to white, and putting the green wires around the green screw (ground). Next I install the unplugged disposal by twisting the whole disposal onto the frame. I reattached the pipes to the disposal and plug the disposal cord in and wah-la! A working garbage disposal and a happy wife.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Eric Rudolph - Not a Prolifer

The Macon Telegraph has the full text of bomber Eric Rudolph's written statement. In his statements, he offers his skewed reasoning behind his deadly attacks.

He claims that he was given a plea bargain because prosecutors would have a hard time convicting him in Northern Alabama if someone who was strongly against abortion was on the jury and that the agents of government (basically any law enforcement) are agents of mass murder because the government made abortion legal and therefore anyone who works for the government is working to protect abortion.

He calls prolifers who don't use force "cowards standing idly by in the face of the worst massacre in human history."

Rudolph claims that his bombing during the 1996 Olympic games, which killed an innocent woman named Alice Hawthorne and injured 100 others, was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand.

Does that make any sense? Endanger the lives of innocent people in the hopes that U.S. government would be embarassed?

Rudolph later admits that he knew his bomb could possible kill bystanders.

"However, I knew that the weapons used (highly uncontrollable timed explosives) and the choice of tactics (placing them in areas frequented by large numbers of civilians) could potentially lead to a disaster wherein many civilians could be killed or wounded. There is no excuse for this, and I accept full responsibility for the consequences of using this dangerous tactic."

The whole statement shows Rudolph's strong dislike for government, especially law enforcement, and just about anyone who disagrees with his views or violent tactics. He planned to kill FBI agents in 2000 but didn't do it because "perhaps after watching them for so many months their individual humanity shown through the hated unifonn. It was not that I had lost my resolve to fight in the defense of the unborn, but rather an individual decision about these individual agents. I had worn the uniform of their legions, served in their ranks, I had no hatred for them as individuals. Even though they served a morally bankrupt government, underneath their FBI rags, they were essentially fellow countrymen."

Rudolph's thinking is so whacked that he thought killing some random FBI agents would somehow help the unborn.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Did Kimberly Think it was a Choice?

I know I shouldn't get almost all of my posts via After Abortion but Emily is linking to some sites and stories that I can't help but throw my 2 cents at.

The American Prospect has a story called "The Woman's View" by Jodi Enda.

Enda shares the story of a woman named Kimberly, a mother of 2, who was raped by her estranged husband, wanted an abortion but struggled to come up with the money and eventually had an abortion at around 20 weeks.

Here's how Kimberly's "choice" is described:

She wanted an abortion, but she couldn’t afford one. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “There was no way I could have had that baby. My ex would have killed me. That was never an option.” Adoption wasn’t, either.

Later on, Enda says this:

While the right has appealed to our sentiments, the left has relied on dry legal arguments, abandoning the 1960s-style speak-outs that so successfully demonstrated why women like Kimberly need choices.

Does it sound like Kimberly thought she had a choice? Much less choices? From what Kimberly says it sounds like she felt she had absolutely no choice. There was only one option. She felt she had to have an abortion.

More from Kimberly:

“I felt guilty,” Kimberly said, more so as the fetus grew and she felt familiar tummy flutters. “I felt I was going to be killing a baby. And there was a baby. ... I had two kids. I knew what I was feeling. ... It was a matter of choosing my children or this person. My children’s lives would have been turned upside down. We might not be safe; we would have been worse off financially. They were already there. I had to take care of them … . I just had to choose.”

Doesn't sound like freedom of choice, does it? Or a great civil or political right? Notice how Kimberly calls her unborn child a "baby" and "this person." She knows what abortion is and does yet her concerns for her born children override any concerns for her unborn child's life. She feels that she couldn't have the child. The last sentence sounds like she really should have said, "I just had to have an abortion."

More from Enda:

Babies crying. Unborn children. The opposition has done a lot to humanize fetuses.

Done a lot to humanize organisms that are human? The better statement would be that pro-choice organizations and pro-choice stories did and do a lot to dehumanize unborn human beings.

The choice itself -- the opportunity to decide -- is essential to women’s lives.

But did Kimberly "decide?" Or did she think that the decision was already made for her?

Frances Kissling from Catholics for a Free Choice describes women who have abortions:

"They come in fully aware that the life that is developing within them has value. To me that doesn’t give it rights, that doesn’t make it a person. Its developing humanity still comes into conflict with women’s lives and aspirations.”

What if an infant's developing humanity comes into conflict with a woman's life or aspirations? It seems that pieces like Enda's which can't admit the unborn are human will be continually harder to write as more people on the pro-choice side admit the reality of the unborn's life and humanity.


George Will has a column on eugenics and abortion which includes information on his own son Jon and legislation that co-sponsored by Sam Brownback and Ted Kennedy to "increase the provision of scientifically sound information and support services to patients receiving a positive test diagnosis for Down syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed conditions."

My good buddy Glen Stassen was interviewed regarding Terri Schiavo and her death by starvation and dehydration.

Stassen said he trusts that the court's diagnosis of Schiavo is correct. Thus, there is no ethical obligation to do extraordinary medical treatment that carries a financial cost or will not benefit the patient, he said.

"In this case, after 15 years of persistent vegetative state it looks like it's not going to benefit the patient,' Stassen said.

Hmmm... Since when is providing food and water extraordinary medical treatment? How will providing food and water not benefit Terri?

Here's an interesting idea on how to make money off animal rights activists.

Patricia Beninato - Definitely Not Silent

Patricia Beninato, founder of I'm Not has just started her own blog.

She explains her personality and how she comes off with the following statement:

I had someone fairly high up on the food chain in NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia tell me once that I'd go far in the movement if I just "tempered" myself. In other words, be nice and polite and don't ruffle feathers. It looks to me that in the current climate, nice and polite and non-feather-ruffling DOESN'T. FREAKING. WORK.

Her second post then goes after Georgette Forney and Silent No More, Georgette's organization that wants to make the public aware that abortion can be emotionally harmful. Beninato thinks Silent No More is a "hugely exploitative group, trotting out damaged women who weep seemingly on cue and then crowing ‘See, see? Look what abortion did!'" and

Abortion is such an intensely personal decision that it makes me furious when people like Denise Mountenay and Georgette Forney say that we should outlaw abortion because it's obvious that it's a bad experience

Talk about an obvious strawman. Prolife organizations don't want to outlaw abortion because it's a bad experience. Prolife organizations want to outlaw abortion because it intentionally takes the life of an innocent human being.

She then compares abortion to her root canal. If they're so comparable, I'm wondering why Beninato doesn't start a site where people can say, "I'm not sorry about my root canal."

"But weeping women bring the ratings and the money because everyone enjoys watching other people's misery, and that's what it's all about."

Is this how Beninato really sees prolife people? We enjoy watching the misery of others and that's why women who are post-abortive sometimes speak at prolife events? That's what it's all about? Can you see us now just hoping and praying that the post-abortive woman on stage will shed a tear? That will get our adrenaline pumping - that will bring us joy - that will open up our pocketbooks.

In the comments section Beninato adds, "As for fear? Please. Sure, I would have done things differently, but I would have much rather had my abortions than have been forced to birth children that I didn't want and wasn't remotely able to care for. And spare me the adoption crap--that reduces a woman to the level of an organic incubator. It is not any woman's job to provide anyone with a child. I hope someday that you find peace, because you won't get it through SNM. I found mine many years ago, and I live a joyful life every day because I accept the choices that I've made and don't beat myself up over the past--a concept which is alien to SNM."

Adoption crap? I'll have to remember that women who let their child be adopted by loving families are "organic incubators." Beninato claims to have found peace but she spends an inordinate amount of time talking about abortion and being mean-spirited for someone who is at "peace" and lives a "joyful life."

HT: After Abortion

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Who do you want talking to your kids about sex?

Because Planned Parenthood doesn't want you talking to them especially if you have values that differ from the "values" that Planned Parenthood holds.

The main page of Planned Parenthood's website is featuring this article by the editor of Planned Parenthood's teen sex site, Susan Yudt is up in arms over a new government website,, which hopes to guide parents, grandparents, mentors, and guardians "discuss important, yet difficult, issues about healthy choices, sex and relationships" with teens.

The article starts off by taking a cheap shot at abstinence education and even cites the fact-checking work of Henry Waxman's staff which needed its own fact-checking.

Yudt then pulls an Andrew Golota on the National Physicians Center for Family Resources by saying they have "ties" to Dr. Laura and that Dr. Laura has said some mean things about homosexuals. I guess we can't trust anything from them anymore. What a way to try to discredit an organization - vaguely mention one person they have to and then supply a couple things that person said without providing any context.

Yudt also discusses abortion and infertility. " has additional anti-choice overtones, stating that "abortion complications" is one of the major causes of infertility — when, in fact, less than one percent of women who have an abortion experience a major complication, and there is no evidence of infertility among the vast majority of women who've had abortions."

Yudt pulls a switch-a-roo. Instead of proving that abortion isn't a major cause of infertility, she asserts that most women who have abortions don't become infertile but that in no way proves that abortion isn't a major cause of infertility. For example, if only .5% of women become infertile after an abortion that's still 6,500 women a year who become infertile because of abortion.

I think the real reason Ms. Yudt is upset is because her site may have some competition. A web site that encourages parents to talk to their children about sex and doesn't espouse Planned Parenthood's ideology about sex is a definite downer for Ms. Yudt. Planned Parenthood's guide for talking to your child about sex tells me in the three to five year old section that, "Most kids touch their sex organs for pleasure. Masturbation is very common during this time. We must reassure kids that it is normal to masturbate — but only in private."

Under the 5 to 7 category - "Sexual fantasies about family members of both genders are common, too. Kids may find these thoughts upsetting. We must reassure them that just dreaming or thinking about things doesn't make them happen."

Under the 8 to 12 section - "Kids are fascinated with the way their bodies change. It's common for them to look at and touch each other's sex organs. This is one of the ways they learn that they are normal. They do this with friends of both genders. This kind of sex play does not make a child gay or straight."

Needless to say, I don't want Planned Parenthood and their advice anywhere near any of my future children. Honestly, is Michael Jackson writing this stuff?

Is a Dead Fetus a Human Body?

There was an interesting story in the Washington Post on Saturday about an abortion protestor who was charged with a misdemeanor for holding a jar that contained the body of dead fetus at a protest outside a Planned Parenthood clinic almost a year.

Jeff White was acquitted from the century-old crime of displaying dead body or a part of a dead body.

But even if he interpreted the law as covering an act such as White's, Doyle said, he could not find that White's brief grasp of the jar would qualify as "keeping" the body for the purpose of displaying it. And that, he noted, would assume that the fetus was in fact a human body.

It was a question that hung over the case until it was raised yesterday, first by the defense attorney and then by the judge. In the end, however, Doyle decided he did not need to address the broader legal issue.

I wonder if Planned Parenthood wanted White to be convicted. Would they want the court to rule that a fetus is dead human body?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Send Mommy to her Room

Joe Carter has posted a round up of some thoughts regarding Naturalism and the Center for Naturalism's web site.

Under guiding philosophy CFN's web site says, "Practically speaking, naturalism holds that an individual's development and behavior are entirely the result of prior and surrounding conditions, both genetic and environmental. Naturalism, therefore, denies that persons have traditional, contra-causal free will - that something within them is capable of acting as a first cause. But this isn't a problem, it's just how things are."

After reading this I wonder how or if naturalists discipline their children. If our actions are entirely the result of our surrounding conditions that we can't control then how can children be held accountable for having a messy room, hitting their kid brother on the head, or torturing the family pet? Wouldn't their "wrong" or "inappropriate" actions be the fault of their surroundings - genetic and environmental? If this is the case then aren't the parents solely to blame since they're controlling the small child's environment and supplied the genetic information?

If I was a child who was capable of understanding the position of naturalism, why would any punishment handed down by my naturalist parents be accepted? I could merely assert that my environment/genetics supplied by my parents forced me to disobey curfew or go to that kegger. They would be the ones to blame not me. "No Mom! You go to your room." But then again they couldn't be blamed because the environment created by their parents forced them to raise me the way they did. It's merely a never ending cycle of not accepting blame.

Could a naturalist wife be logically upset at her naturalist husband for having an affair?

When watching a sports event do naturalists yell at a wide receiver's inability to make an easy catch that would have won the game or do they calmly sit back knowing that the wide receiver doesn't have "butterfingers" but his surrounding conditions made it impossible for him to catch the ball.

Or if a kicker misses a 25 yard field goal? It's not that he "choked" but his genetics and environment forced him to mess up.

Stupid Spam

At my work e-mail I've been getting a fair amount of spam lately. What is always entertaining is the "names" of the senders. These "names" which usually just end up being two random words (often times misspelled) put together with a middle initial. I thought I'd share some of the funnier ones.

Ascetic P. Oceanographic
Bucksaw H. Pole
Conveyer Q. Unlearn
Daydreaming E. Legrooms
Inconstant J. Nuke
Interpersonal Q. Pimpernel
Windowskills H. Skylab
Skills G. Accepting

Who's going to open an e-mail from Skills or Mr. Unlearn? Why can't spammers design computer programs to send out e-mails with actual names and not just random words?


Blogs for Terri has a bunch of information on MaeMagouirk, the woman in Georgia who was being denied food and water at a Georgia hospice but is now safe in a hospital. Keep scrolling down. Here's a story in the Birmingham News.

JT at Between Two Worlds has informed InterVarsity Press that a chapter of one of their books was written by a pastor named Judith Brown who is currently serving time for trying to kill the husband of her love interest. InterVarsity has pulled the book until a new edition without Brown's chapter is made. This is one of the strangest stories I've ever read. A fuller version is here.

Emily at After Abortion links to two posts by a Michigan resident named Kari who feels depressed from her abortion 5 years ago.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Terror in Egypt

One of women in my Bible study group sent this e-mail out to everyone in our group.

I have an emergency prayer request. One of my former staff's son was
traveling overseas with friends and was the target of a suicide bomb in
Egypt. One of his friends was killed and Michiel, and his two friends
have sustained serious injuries. One will probably lose both eyes,
Michiel has sustained a great deal of damage to his arms and legs (the
bomb was filled with nails and shrapnel) and the third (who is also the
brother of the one that was killed) has severe internal injuries and is
in very critical condition. Please pray for their recovery, for their
families (who are on their way to Egypt as I type this), for their
families' safety overseas and for finances. Each ticket for the five
family members that went were $1300 plus hotel stays and other costs.

Here's a story about the attack in USA Today.

WebIndia has more on this tragic event.

Zogby poll on Terri Schiavo

Zogby has finally posted information about the poll they did for the Christian Defense Coalition regarding Terri Schiavo and similar situations.

A poll completed after the controversial death of Terri Schiavo finds that eight-in-ten (80%) likely voters say that a disabled person who is not terminally ill or in a coma, and not being kept alive by life support should not, in the absence of a written directive to the contrary, be denied food and water.

The answers to poll also point to a few things that aren't the greatest. 1.) It appears many people in our country have put judges and their rulings on a type of pedestal and 2.) Denying basic rights to the disabled is more accepted than denying basic rights to minorities (neither should be accepted).

Almost all the questions show a fairly deep reservation in this country for the reversal or intervening of legislatures after judicial orders and rulings. A fifth of the respondents thought that the federal government shouldn't intervene "when basic civil rights are denied." A third of the respondents thought that judges who appear to deny basic rights to minorities didn't warrant the intervention of representative government and close to half when it the disabled appear to be denied basic rights.

The representative branch of governments should intervene when the judicial branch appears to deny basic rights to minorities? 57% Agree 33% Disagree 10% Undecided

Later in the poll the exact same question is asked but "minorities" is replaced with "disabled" and you get a 15 point swing. Only 42% agree, 48% disagree and 10% are still undecided.

I find both responses to be frightening in how many people think it is okay for judges to apparently deny basic rights to individuals (almost "The Judge knows best" kind of thinking) but I also find it telling that such a large gap exists between how people view minorities and the disabled.

It seems that certain people (15%) think that it ok to deny basic rights to the disabled solely because they are disabled. The thought that people who are disabled are somehow less worthy of basic rights because of they happen to have a disability seems outlandish to me. Should I lose my right to life if I become paralyzed? Should I no longer be allowed to pursue happiness if am stricken with MS?

V. Gene Robinson: #1 Reason not to be an Episcopalian

Well, not really but his recent interview with Planned Parenthood gives me the chills.

We'll start with Robinson's closing thoughts:

Planned Parenthood is an organization that I have always admired and respected. It does such extraordinarily fine work, and I'm very happy to be associated with it.

Extraordinarily fine work? Is he referring to the close to a quarter of a million abortions they performed in 2003? Or their child sex site

Your predecessor called you "a symbol of unity." What do you think he was referring to?

The church — or any organization — can't speak for the world unless all voices are represented. And because there were no openly gay voices in the House of Bishops, for instance — just as, a number of years ago, there were no women — the church had a big blind spot. Unity is actually facilitated by having all the voices present.

This is some great logic. All voices need to be represented? Then why hasn't the Episcopalian Church ordained an openly bisexual polygamist? I guess they can't speak for the world and are lacking a little bit of unity.

Little has been written about your stance on reproductive rights. Are you pro-choice?

Absolutely. The reason I love the Episcopal Church is that it actually trusts us to be adults. In a world where everyone tries to paint things as black or white, Episcopalians feel pretty comfortable in the gray areas.

I'm sure there must be individual congregations, and certainly individuals, who are off the deep end about this issue, but for the most part, the stance that we have taken speaks to our people as a mature and adult way of dealing with this — that we protect a woman's right to choose but also say that obviously there are very deep things involved here.

"We Episcopalians don't need black and white, right and wrong, true and not true. Moral relativism will do very fine for us. Thank you very much." My guess is that long ago Robinson decided that the Bible was a grey ball of goo which he could mold to his liking, accepting the verses that coincide with his beliefs while ignoring the verses that plainly speak against some of his beliefs and actions.

The "adult way" (notice he doesn't say Christian way) of dealing with abortion is openly accepting the 1.3 million abortions that are occurring every year in this country? What are the "very deep things" that are involved? The life of an innocent human being, perhaps? The emotional scars a woman may carry from consenting to the death of her child?

You've said, "We have allowed the conservative religious right to take our Bible hostage, and I think it's time we took it back." How can people who are both religious and progressive reclaim religion?

It's time that we re-familiarize ourselves with our sacred text, so that we can interpret it for the world, and not let the only voice that Americans hear from a Christian standpoint be those wildly conservative voices.

Re-familiarize? Now that's ironic coming from Robinson. My guess is he actually means "readjust" our sacred text so that we can take the things we like and disregard or change the verses that don't work with our world view.

Throughout his interview, Robinson takes numerous cheap shots at prolifers, calling them "off the deep end," "wild-eyed conservatives," and "the so-called ‘prolife' movement."

I'd like to finish with the words of someone who hit the nail on the head with regards to Robinson's interview with Planned Parenthood. V. Gene Robinson himself:

I am both weeds and wheat. When I convince myself that I'm all wheat and no weeds, I am arrogant. When I make my enemies into all weeds, and no wheat, I am arrogant. But when I remember that I am both wheat and weeds, good and evil, then I am more humble about my own life and not so judgmental of others. When I remember how complex I am, how mixed my own motives, then I can better avoid stereotyping or caricaturing those with whom I disagree. When I remember the weeds and faults and shortcomings in my own life, I'm less likely to project my evil onto others, and more likely to seek and serve Christ in them, as I have promised in my baptismal vows.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Parental Consent Law for Tanning?

Blue State Conservative has a post by Phil of Red Guy in a Blue State which links to this story which says that, "Nassau County is expected to pass a teen-ager tanning law. The law would require that nobody under age 14 be allowed in a tanning salon. Kids age 14 to 16 would need a parent with them to get a tan. And teen-agers age 16 to 18 would need signed parental approval.

The Nassau bill has been approved in various committees and is expected to be voted on by the full county legislature in two week. A similar bill is moving through the Suffolk County Legislature.

And in Albany, the state legislature are considering a state-wide bill that was introduced by two Long Island legislators."

I wonder if the ACLU will sue to keep these laws of the books like they did with Michigan's informed consent for abortion law.

Using the thought process of the ACLU henceforth: Don't teens have a right to get rid of that farmer's tan before summer or get a "base" tan before for spring break? Isn't their skin part of their body? Shouldn't they have full control over these bodies and not have local governments restricting their rights to look like they've been in Cancun for a week and not lodged up in snowy New York. Come to think of it - this is also a blatant discrimination of equal rights based on location. All those teens in Florida can just sit out in their back yards to get tan. Not so in northern states. Shouldn't all teens have equal rights to darken their skin?

According to the ACLU's website:

Governmental Intrusion into Family Relationships Doesn't Create Stronger Families

For teens who feel they cannot safely turn to their parents, government coercion doesn't change anything. There is no evidence that mandating parental involvement actually increases the rate at which teens tell their parents about their pregnancies and planned abortions.

Same with tanning. Coercion isn't going to change anything. Soon these teens will spending hours under dangerous high wattage light bulbs in their basements instead of the safe environment of a tanning salon. Plus, I've yet to see any evidence that mandating teens to tell their parents about their tanning will actually increase the rate at which teens inform their parents of their sun light bulb-soaking habit.

Aren't the civil liberties of these teens being violated by these local governments? Shouldn't these teens be free to get a "glow" at tanning salons to their heart's content without their parents' supervision or consent? Should parents really be allowed to know what their children are doing? These New York legislators have gone to far. There should be at least some kind of judicial waiver where a teen can go to a judge and prove that she is mature enough to be able to decide if tanning is right for her.

These laws also unfairly single out teens who want to get tan. No local government requires parental consent for a child who wants to become as pale as possible is there? No parental consent is required for teens who want to completely cover their skin from the sun. The real interest here must be to keep our teens as white or light as possible. Could this measure be based almost solely on discreet racism?

Miracle Child

The Las Vegas Sun has a story on a child named Clanton Crumbley who recently celebrated his 9th birthday. Before he was born one doctor suggested abortion because of a rare genetic disorder and others suggested that Crumbleys leave Clanton at the hospital to die after his birth.

Along with hearing and sight and heart and kidney problems, Clanton has severe scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and is working on improving his speech. He's still a happy-go-lucky kid who loves wrestling with his father and brother and walks down the hall at school high-fiving classmates.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I am Sorry

World Magazine has a story on the post-abortion ministry Silent No More which profiles Georgette Forney and Jennifer O'Neil.

It also contains what I would describe as an especially eerie interview with the Patricia Beninato, founder of the I'm Not Sorry

Some excerpts:

WORLD: There is no longer a debate about whether a fetus is a living baby. Yet, a September 2004 Salon article notes that "most abortions in America are about convenience." Morally speaking, what do you think about that?

Beninato: It doesn't bother me. I believe in the Planned Parenthood axiom "every child a wanted child." We see all too often what happens to an unwanted child, the horrors that are inflicted upon them. Yes, a fetus is alive. But weeds are life and mold is life and bugs are life and we destroy those on a regular basis. Pro-lifers want to give the impression that abortion is someone ripping a full-term baby out of a woman's womb and dashing its brains out against the nearest wall, when in actuality the average abortion—nearly 90 percent—is done within the first trimester.

Living human beings are now being compared to weeds, mold, and bugs. To Ms. Beninato the unborn if unwanted by their mother are pests that should be routinely destroyed without a second thought.

WORLD: Do you think women who tell stories of pain and regret over their abortions are telling the truth?

Beninato: I have no doubt that there are women who regret their abortions. . . . But when you read the stories on the regretful sites, a theme starts popping up—"I didn't want to abort, but. . . ." And they start the blame game. . . . "My boyfriend said he'd leave me." "My parents said they'd stop paying for school." Never is it said that they made the decision. Until someone can show me a case where a woman was tied up, stuffed in the trunk of a car, brought to a clinic and tied down onto a table, I will always believe that a woman knew exactly what she was doing. —•

The interesting thing here is that same "theme" pops up with post-abortive women who say they "aren't sorry." They also do what Beninato calls "the blame game." On Beninato's web site - Melissa says, "Now, I know that I could never have raised a child at that time in my life. I don't have to justify my decision to anyone; I don't have to have excuses why I did it." She first feels the need to justify her decision (I could have never raised the child) and then claims she doesn't have to justify her decision.

After discussing her former abusive husband, Keri says, "I took a pregnancy test, and cried when I saw the results. My life was hard enough: being on active duty and up for promotion, in the middle of divorce proceedings, and the Universe was making me a mother to the child of a man who had just run out on me? There was never any debate, no "what if?", no questions. There was only a brief moment of utter horror, then a firm resolve to undo this." She then discusses how her current husband wouldn't have dated her much less married her if she had a child.

Greta says, "Having the baby wasn�t an option for me, but even the cost of an abortion would send me packing my bags and heading home to Mom and Dad just when I had finally begun to live independently. I was disappointed in myself- I had (expletive) up royally. The man I was seeing offered no support, financially or emotionally. He was a marginally employed heroin user who alternated between imploring me to have the child and not speaking to me."

In all these stories (the first 3 I picked at random from Beninato's web site) a post-abortive woman on one hand is saying, "I'm not sorry for my abortion" but on the other hand is saying, "This is why I had to have the abortion" and trying to explain why she had no other choice. If abortion is this free and/or empowering choice why do post-abortive women who say they aren't sorry for their decision feel the need to explain why they had to make this choice?

My prayers go out to Beninato and the women who visit her site and post their stories.

HT: Naaman

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


The Weekly Standard has a not so flattering piece on Jim Wallis.

Mark Levin responds to a detractor of his book on the Supreme Court at David Limbaugh's blog.

Michael Schiavo has a blog! No, not that Michael Schiavo.

UPDATE:Serge has taken up my request in two parts here and here.

Who's Afraid?

Common Dreams, a web site for the "Progressive Community" is posting this essay by Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which claims that the "culture of life" is really a culture of fear. It is an interesting read to see how some view the prolife movement and it is filled with many notable assertions and arguments.

"Culture of LIFE?" we ask, with justified outrage. These same people who claim to be the guardians of life are the first to demand the death penalty for murderers, indiscriminate bombing for Afghanis, Iraqis, and anyone else they don't like, etc., etc. The hypocrisy is so blatant, it hardly seems worth spelling out the details.

He then doesn't spell it out. Chernus just asserts that prolifers are hypocrites and make no effort at an argument. He makes no effort to distinguish between deaths that may or may not be justified. Plus, I'm unaware of people who are in favor of "indiscriminate" bombings. This is clearly a strawman.

When they talk about a "culture of life," though, the right-wingers are trying to tell us that we're missing the point. The debate is not about life, it's about CULTURE. Everyone agrees that life is good. But the United States is split by a deep cultural divide about what makes a life good. Once we bring that divide into focus, the "culture of life" side begins to look a bit more logically consistent.

Culture may be one of the underlying reasons why some people are prolife and others are not but that's not the central reason for being prolife. Prolifers believe that it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.

Everyone agrees that life is good? Chernus refutes his one sentence assertion with his next sentence. He doesn't believe that every life is good. He clearly says that life is good if there is something to make it good. So life in itself is not good but sometimes contains some property which makes it good. This property would then be what is good, not life.

On one side are the religious and social (no, they aren't all religious) conservatives who wave the "culture of life" banner. Basically, they are people who are afraid of uncertainty, ambiguity, and change in the realm of moral values. Their position is simple:

* moral values must be universal, timeless, unchanging truths
* we should receive them from religious traditions or authority figures
* once we get fixed truths, we should stick with them, no matter what

I would disagree with Chernus' diagnosis of those of us who aren't moral relativists. It should go something more like this (though I'm sure there are much better explanations around):

1. There exist in this world some things that are morally true regardless of what culture one resides in. For example, it is morally wrong to torture toddlers for fun.

2. Christians and other religions believe that moral truth can be obtained thru the Bible, Torah, etc. Moral truths can also be written on our hearts. For example, I don't need a rational reason to tell me that torturing toddlers for fun or raping women is morally wrong. Most individuals don't believe they have a monopoly on moral truth. They use various things as their guide and are in search of moral truth but hardly believe they have all the answers.

3. We should let these moral truths dictate how we act in certain situations.

Describing people who believe in moral truth primarily as afraid of "uncertainty" and "ambiguity" in moral realms is basically a way of taking a cheap shot on the belief. Chernus isn't making an argument that there are no moral truths. He's merely claiming that those that believe in moral truth are scared of any change when in actuality we believe that some changes to our country's moral code are wrong. He's attempting to say that people who believe in moral truths are irrationally scared of change regardless whether the change is good or bad when in fact we rationally dislike violations in moral truth and the irrational embracement of moral relativism.

Chernus then quotes Richard Land and offers a response. "Basically, it breaks down to this enormous fault line. On one side of this fault line, you have people who have a traditional view of morality: Some things are always right; some things are always wrong; and if you accept a society in which that's not true, then anything becomes possible."

That's just what thrilled those people sitting around in Volkswagen vans, smoking pot with peace symbols. Anything becomes possible -- even a world of peace and love.

For the right-wingers, though, the idea that "anything is possible" is terrifying.

For Chernus, "anything" seems only to mean good things like peace and love. Which kind of helps to understand why he thinks that "anything is possible" isn't terrifying. But he never mentions the horrible things that could happen if "anything is possible" or if some things (rape, torturing toddlers for fun) aren't always wrong. There is no fear that this mantra means torturing toddlers for fun is possible, legalizing rape is possible, genocide is possible, etc., etc. Why can't Chernus honestly take on the view that some things are always wrong? It's easy to think "anything is possible" is great when you're thinking about peace and love but there is another side of the coin that Chernus completely ignores.

But if we trust the free mind to find the truth, we have to consider all points of view -- even the "culture of life." Do they have a persuasive point to make? To figure it out for yourself, you might want to take a college philosophy course, or three or four. You'll have to start way back with Plato and Aristotle. Great minds have been wrestling with this one for thousands of years, and they haven't come to any consensus yet. Either side might be right.

Figure out if the prolife movement has a valid point by taking college philosophy courses? "You don't need to listen to what prolifers say and find out if their objective claims are correct or not. Just take my class at Colorado." Chernus is correct that either side might be right but doesn't this seem to indicate that moral truth exists. If one side is correct, isn't the other side wrong? Isn't one position true and the other position false? Yet Chernus' essay almost continously disparages those that believe in moral truth.

But that's just what the right-wingers can't admit. It's the "might be right" that scares them and drives them nuts. They need a "MUST be right" to feel safe, to feel that their own lives are under even minimal control.

We can't let them inscribe their fear-driven beliefs onto our laws. No compromise on that one. And we ought to encourage them to join us in a civil discussion about the issue. All the while, though, it won't hurt to remember that they are frightened and hurting.

I might be wrong about abortion. I'm not scared to admit that for a second. Someone just needs to show me that either 1. the unborn aren't living human beings or 2. that intentionally killing innocent human beings without justification should be legal.

The odd thing about Chernus is that he seems to be the one who is afraid that his view might not be right. This seems like a classic case of projection. He at first tries to attack the idea that there are certain moral truths. Why? Is he scared that his view could be wrong? He never directly addresses the claims of prolifers but relies on strawmen and claims of hypocrisy.

He then asserts that "we can't let them inscribe their fear-driven belief onto our laws." Doesn't that sound like someone who is afraid of something? He's afraid of the beliefs of prolifers being inscribed in law because his beliefs may be replaced. Chernus seems to claim moral neutrality (either belief may or may not be correct) but then assumes that the prolife belief is incorrect (we can't let them) with almost a complete lack of respect even though he says to encourage prolifers to join "us in a civil discussion."

This is clearly the intolerance of tolerance. "I'll listen to your hare-brained prolife ideas but I won't have you trying to make your beliefs law. Not for a second. My beliefs are law and that's that. I'll pay lip service to the idea that your beliefs could be right but I know with unwavering certainty that my beliefs are correct (even though I don't really believe in moral truth). We'll let ‘em blather on about fetuses and the right to life but there's no compromise if they try to use the government to recognize their beliefs."

I also find it odd to describe the prolife movement as being a movement of fear when leading organizations in the pro-choice movement almost continuously used fear as the primary means of rallying their supporters. "They're going to take away our reproductive rights," "they'll be coming for birth control once abortion is outlawed," "we can't go back to the days of back-alley abortion," and "our lives are in danger" is almost the constant tone of pro-choice rhetoric.


Scott Klusendorf has thrown his hat into the blogging community at the LTI Blog. Scott is currently the best prolife debater/arguer as far as I am aware and his contributions to the blogsphere should be read by prolifers looking to defend their views in the public square. It's nice to see at least some prolife organizations embrace this medium. Will other prolife organizations follow?

The one thing about Scott that is deeply unfortunate is that he is a Lakers fan (or at least used to be when Shaq was in town).

Here's a previous post regarding a speech I attended by Scott at Grand Valley State.

HT: Imago Dei.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Image of God Emerging Slowly?

I'm guessing Serge will eventually be all over this editorial in the Washington Post by Phillip Clayton, especially where he says,

"Some who integrate science and values in this way do so in religious terms, others eschew religious categories and adhere instead to a humanist philosophy. Human life has value and dignity for me, in part, because I believe that it was created and intended by God. But I look for the miraculous in the entire process by which life emerges from nonlife, not in individual miracles at each moment of conception. Similarly, I believe the qualities of personhood -- what religious people call "the image of God" -- emerge slowly during the months leading up to and following birth."

1. The entire process by which life emerges from non-life? Paging Redi, Pasteur, and Spallanzani. What Law of Biogenesis? I'm guessing he's referring to sperm and egg as 'non-life' but that statement could basically mean anything.

2. He asserts that religious people equate being in the image of God with "qualities of personhood." Talk about faulty broad generalizations.

3. According to Clayton (a professor at a school of theology), we're not created in the image of God but that the image of God slowly emerges in us as we begin to gain more cognitive abilities including abilities that emerge months following birth. "That 6 month old baby bears only 60% of the image of God but once it begins to have object permanence then we'll bump it up to 80%."

4. This reasoning and some of Clayton's previous quotes would lead one to believe that he thinks that Terri Schiavo no longer bore the image of God because she lacked certain cognitive abilities or that she bore only a certain percentage (say 40%) of God's image.

Clayton also says, "A permanent vegetative state represents an irreversible brain failure -- the permanent loss of consciousness and cognition -- but not the death of the body."

But Terri wasn't in a permanent vegetative state. She was supposedly in a persistent vegetative state.

Interestingly, Dr. David Reardon has cited a 1991 study and says, "According to a recent medical study of 84 PVS patients, over 52% of the patients recovered within one year. After three years, 58% had regained consciousness. After extensive review of the data, researchers were unable to identify any reliable way to predict who might recover and who might not. In other words, every PVS patient has a chance of recovery.1 " HT: After Abortion

(1. Levin, "Vegetative State After Closed-Head Injury", 48 Archives of Neurology, 580-585 (June 1991) cited in LIFE AT RISK, 1:( 6) Dec. 1991)

Pope John Paul II's Legacy


This cartoon is by Michael Ramirez who I consider to be one of the most thoughtful and talented cartoonists of our time. More of his cartoons are available at the LA times web site.

The National Review has numerous pieces to remember the Pope.

Joe Carter has some good reasons why he admired John Paul II.

John Podhoretz has a short summary of some of the Pope's life and accomplishments.

Sarah Weddington in West Michigan

On March 30, 2005, Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court gave a speech at Grand Valley University. I was thinking of attending but didn't because of the lateness of the event (starting at 9:15 p.m.), the weather (Thunderstorms), and a tragic accident closed part of the highway. And I partly would prefer to watch Lost with my wife as opposed to listen to a pro-abortion speech. I was mostly looking forward to asking some questions to Ms. Weddington. Questions like:

Do you think abortion should be rarer than it currently is? If yes, why?

Do you think that it is a problem that approximately 50% of our nation's abortions are performed on women who've already had at least one abortion and approximately 20% of abortions are performed on women who've had 2 or more abortions?

Is human life intrinsically or instrumentally valuable?

Do you think that an child who survives an abortion attempt deserves the right to life? Or in other words, does the "right to abortion" include the right to a successful abortion?

I missed the Weddington speech but after reading some quotes compiled by the Grand Rapids Press, I realized that I didn't miss much.

For the reporter's synopsis it appears that Ms. Weddington focused a lot on back-alley/coathanger abortions but it also appears that she attempted to address the question of when life begins. Here's her response:

"The law never treated fetuses as persons. The Constitution says 'all persons born or naturalized.' We celebrate birthdays not conception days. We don't have funerals for miscarriages. With child custody laws, it always was birth as the critical moment."

I'm relying solely on the reporter's quotes but this to me shows why the pro-choice establishment is losing the struggle for America's heart over abortion. Ms. Weddington simply cannot answer the question. Instead of talking about when life begins, she immediately talks about personhood and law. She can't say "life begins at birth" because anyone who's felt the kick of unborn child or heard a fetal heartbeat knows that life begins long before birth. Instead, Weddington is forced to rely on ludicrous arguments.

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Weddington seems to intrepret this to mean "All (who became) persons (by being) born or naturalized in the United States...." The problem with this intrepretation is that immigrants who aren't legal citizens wouldn't be constitutional persons and would therefore not have the right to life under our Constitution. It seems that the correct intrepretation of this should be "All persons (who were) born or naturalized in the United States." Which means that neither birth nor naturalization is what makes one a person. It is fairly clear that naturalization doesn't make one a person so why should being born make one a person?

The "celebrate birthdays not conception days" line seems like an argument a middle-schooler would use. How does whether we celebrate birth (an event whose exact time can be easily known) or conception (an event whose exact time is up in the air) determine whether a being is deserving of rights or not? I guess if you get one of these cards your life was valuable before birth?

We don't have funerals for miscarriages? So whether we bury something or have a ceremony when an entity dies determines if that entity is valuable and deserving of protection? Does that mean some goldfish (remember the Cosby show where they had a ceremony for Rudy's goldfish before flushing it) are more valuable than human fetuses? Besides being illogical, Weddington is also factual wrong. There are numerous funerals and other types of memorials for miscarried children. Here are just a few examples.

Maybe it's me but just saying that miscarriage line seems to show a certain level of heartlessness towards miscarried children and the parents who lose a child by miscarriage. Many of these people grieve for extended periods of time for their child yet Weddington is more than happy to depersonize the unborn because a large portion of miscarried children aren't buried.

Friday, April 01, 2005

What's with the throwing?

Someone throws a shoe at Richard Perle.

Someone nails William Kristol with an ice cream pie.

And now a Michigander douses Pat Buchanan with salad dressing?

I think Kristol definitely got the best thing thrown his way. I wonder if he'd of been so gracious if the object launched at him wasn't as tasty.

It's sad that some people feel the need to throw things at others they disagree with or threaten to kill a judge who make poor rulings.

What are these people thinking?

That pie will show him. Everyone in the audience will definitely see what kind of extremist this person if someone like me is willing to propel a dessert at him.

My threat against Greer will change his mind. Knowing that there is a someone who's willing to kill him for ordering Terri's death will make him reconsider his opinion.

I can't express myself verbally very well so I'll rely on hurling inanimate objects at those I disagree with.