Archive for May 2008
I have read a fair number of arguments for abortion, but rarely do I see such a vitriolic stump against life as I did with Bettijaine Burger’s article (Gazette/Mail, 5/18/08, “Situations Justify Abortions”) last week.
Those of us who advocate for life do so because we believe that no one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless. It was my thought that those calling themselves “pro-choice” were at least impliedly committed to life every once in a while. But, if Ms. Burger is any indication, it seems that they are increasingly becoming outright proponents of death.
Ms. Burger spends the majority of her article lamenting the stagnating lines of children waiting to be adopted, the false lack of concern pro-lifers have toward starvation and child abuse, while punting the documented racial motivations of groups like Planned Parenthood altogether.
But such emotionally charged arguments do not concern me nearly as much as her proposed solution – indeed, the solution for which she leads the cheers! According to Ms. Burger, how do we prevent starvation, abuse, and the dreaded inexperienced mom?
In a word: kill.
Rather than risk a teen-mother defy all odds and prove all detractors of her maturity wrong, Ms. Burger advocates killing the child within her.
Rather than risk potential starvation and the increased strain on welfare, Ms. Burger suggests we remove life from the lips of those who have been fed only via an umbilical cord.
Rather than risk post-partum depression, our teen girls should be, she says, encouraged to delete any life within them with impunity.
It strains credulity! What Ms. Burger has done has been to remove the politically palatable moniker of “pro-choice” from those who are actually proponents of death.
Madam, taking one life because you think it might improve another life is never justified.
Two articles came to our attention today that make an intriguing juxtaposition. By linking to and discussing these stories, we intend only to highlight the philosophical issues found in each and do not intend to endorse or detract from any political figure.
Story 1: Michelle Obama backs partial-birth abortion in a 2004 letter in support of her husband’s Senate bid. From the article:
The letter contends the federal ban on partial-birth abortions “is clearly unconstitutional” and “a flawed law.”
Though the three-day-long partial-birth abortion procedure involves the partial birth of a baby during the middle trimester of pregnancy and the jamming of scissors into the back of her head to kill her, Obama’s wife describes it as “legitimate” medicine.
“The fact remains, with no provision to protect the heath of the mother, this ban on a legitimate medical procedure is clearly unconstitutional and must be overturned,” Michelle Obama writes in the letter.
Story 2: Late-term aborted babies left to die slowly in UK. From the article:
The venerable Spectator, a leading British magazine of political news and commentary, has published excerpts from a letter from a British nurse who, in 2005, described babies surviving late-term abortions who are left to “gasp for breath for ten minutes on the side of a sink” until they die.
The nurse, identified only as “Kay” in a newspaper column, said, “I know of two nurses who went off work with stress as a result of their experience with late terminations. I suffered horrendous nightmares and guilt for months. The guilt comes from the fact that you as a nurse cut the umbilical cord and, as dramatic as it sounds, we felt like murderers.” In Britain, late term is defined as those abortions committed after 20 weeks gestation
In her letter, Kay said, “It is all too easy for people to picture a clump of cells or mush. People don’t want to picture perfectly-formed miniature babies and I don’t blame them, I was once the same.”
Is there really any need for additional commentary?
By now, you may have heard that the Family Policy Council of WV and the Alliance Defense Fund issued a letter to the Charles Town City Council earlier this week. (If you have not, visit our website where you can download both the letter and accompanying model policy.)
Our letter was far from condemnatory of the council’s action to insert a moment of silence, rather than their traditional opening prayer. Instead, it is our intent to provide city councils and county commissions throughout West Virginia with a model policy that we believe will survive constitutional scrutiny, while allowing our leader to acknowledge West Virginia’s religious history.
While it appears that the ACLU or Americans United for the Separation of Church and State were not involved in this situation, their regular letters of intimidation addressed to local leaders nationwide is becoming more and more regular. We can be sure that such plans are afoot. Rather than wait for the inevitable, we recommend that our local leaders be prepared by adopting policies like the one sent to the Charles Town City Council this week.
Just because a Christian prays it does not mean prayers in public violate the Constitution. On the contrary, the First Amendment allows our leaders to encourage public expressions of faith.
Letter sent to city officials proposes policy that will allow officials
to continue opening public meetings with prayer
CHARLES TOWN, W.V. — The Family Policy Council of West Virginia mailed a model prayer policy designed by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys to Charles Town officials Friday in the wake of a recent complaint over the city council’s tradition of starting its meetings with an invocation. Numerous communities across the nation have adopted the model policy.
“A prayer in public meetings shouldn’t be banned just because a Christian or religious person delivers it. The First Amendment allows public officials to acknowledge our nation’s religious heritage,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson. “The practice of opening public meetings with prayer has always been lawful. The Constitution protects public officials who choose to invoke divine guidance and blessings upon their work.”
The Charles Town City Council recently moved to allow for a moment of silence instead of a prayer after receipt of a complaint from one resident of the town.
“Just because someone claims they are ‘offended’ by hearing a public prayer does not mean the prayer has to be silenced,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the FPC of West Virginia (www.familypolicywv.com). “Public officials throughout our country need to be encouraged and reminded that such invocations do not violate the Constitution. This policy, which is also available for other communities, equips them to continue the cherished tradition of public invocations in a constitutional manner.”
Because of increasing attacks against the tradition of opening government meetings with a public prayer, ADF attorneys have crafted a model invocations policy that addresses any constitutional concerns regarding such prayers. Versions of this policy have been adopted by government bodies in Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
To download a copy of the letter sent to the Charles Town City Council, along with the model policy for public invocations, visit our website: www.familypolicywv.com.
Statement of Jeremiah G. Dys, President and General Counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, on the California Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Proposition 22:
“There are 36 million people in California. Eight years ago, 4 million of them voted – 61.4% of the vote – to define marriage as, “between a man and a woman.” On Thursday, 4 Californians defied millions of votes and petitions to redefine marriage.
I have not had the opportunity to read all 172 pages of the court’s decision. But, I did find these two sentences from the majority opinion quite telling:
We cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.
Friends, if marriage is not a “compelling interest” for the state, what is?
What is especially troubling to me, as a West Virginian, is to think that the law the people of California voted to be governed by and that was struck down by judges, mirrors the language of the law protecting our marriages in West Virginia. When judges make law instead of abiding by the laws written by those who put them in office, families are put squarely at risk.
The only solution to affirmatively defend marriage is to amend the Constitution of the State of West Virginia to define marriage as between one man and one woman. We must elect leaders – judges included – who will make the family the first priority. Not an afterthought.”
You may not be familiar with the name Phill Kline, but he is quickly becoming the stuff of legends.
While in the Kansas legislature, Kline discovered evidence that George Tiller, infamous Kansan abortionist, was performing abortions in violation of Kansas law. When he presented this evidence to Kansas prosecutors and the Kansas attorney general, they refused to prosecute. So, Kline got himself elected as attorney general. Soon thereafter, he filed suit against Planned Parenthood and George Tiller – indicting them on several grounds ranging from simple violations of record-keeping to obstruction of justice.
Pro-abortion groups outside of Kansas then poured millions of dollars to oust Kline from office and put in his place a county prosecutor. In an odd twist of fate, Kline then ran for and secured the office just vacated by the county prosecutor. They switched places. Not only did they switch places, they switched prosecutions. The new attorney general dismissed the indictments Kline had filed. Kline, newly coiffed
in his county prosecutors office, re-indicted Planned Parenthood and George Tiller. The litigation continues today.
Posted below is part 1 in a series of 3 video interviews of Phill Kline by Focus on the Family news video commentary series, “Turn Signal.” Parts 2 and 3 will be posted here as they are made public.
Take the time to watch and listen to this man’s brave legal battle. You will be moved. (Link takes you to video on Citizenlink.com)
…to attend the Values Voter Summit: 2008. Join thousands of others from around the country who are working to defend life, marriage, and religious freedom. Hear our leaders discuss the future of the family and its role in society.
The Values Voter Summit is sponsored by FRCAction, Focus on the Family Action, the Alliance Defense Fund, American Values, and the High Impact Leadership Coalition. To learn more, visit the Values Voter Summit website. You can also watch a video of highlights from last year.
And, if you hurry, you can get an early bird discount. No, I mean really hurry – you have until May 15 to save $25! If you are serious about making an impact for the family, register to attend this event today! You will not be disappointed.
A story arising out of Charles Town, WV last week is worth keeping a close eye on. As reported in The Journal, the Charles Town City Council decided to replace the “decades-long tradition of reciting the Lord’s prayer” with a moment of silence to begin their meetings from now on.
The decision was made, the story notes, after the City Council’s attorney [incorrectly/incompletely] informed them of potential legal liability if the tradition continued. Reports Edward Marshall of The Journal:
Councilwoman Ann Paonessa, one of the council members who voted for the moment of silent prayer, said it seemed to her that the practice of reciting the Lord’s prayer presented some real legal problems and exposed the city to liability.
. . .
Councilwoman Schmitt, another council member who voted to institute the silent prayer, said her decision was based on legal advice from the city’s attorney.
“Basically we’re at risk of legal action, being sued, if we continue using the Lord’s prayer based on court cases that were cited,” Schmitt said.
So, how did this all get started?
The issue arose after Brown acknowledged last month that there were legal issues regarding the recitation of the prayer after resident Rich Schaffer wrote to Mayor Peggy Smith to tell her he felt offended by the use of the spoken prayer. Schaffer , who is Jewish, previously told The Journal he never had any intention of suing the city. He said he has been attending council meetings because of his concerns about the proposed demolition of a house in the town’s historic district by a local Baptist church.
If you, or someone you know, is familiar with the situation in Charles Town – either the intimidation to remove prayer, or the issue of the Baptist church’s land use rights – the Family Policy Council of West Virginia would like to know more about the situation. Either leave a comment below or send us a message through our website, www.familypolicywv.com.
A story out of Canada ought to frighten – as my father is fond of saying, the “bejeebers out of” – every Christian ministry (Church or lay) in West Virginia. This quote gives the gist of what has happened:
Christian Horizons is an evangelical ministry in Ontario that has cared for more than 1,400 people with developmental disabilities in 180 group homes. The group requires all employees to sign a contract agreeing to abstain from all sexual immorality, including homosexuality. When Christian Horizons fired a female employee who became involved with another woman, she complained to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, which fined the ministry $23,000 and two years back pay.
What is the purpose of “Christan Horizons?” As they define it on their website:
Christian Horizons is a non-profit, Christian charitable organization. We seek to reach out with supports and friendship to persons who have exceptional needs. Our purpose is to contribute to the exceptional person’s quality of life by addressing his/her spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and physical needs. We serve in a manner that considers each person’s intrinsic value as loved by God and bearing His image
Here is a nonprofit ministry that is working with people who have significant disabilities, seeking to treat their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and….gasp….spiritual needs, guided by their Judeo-Christian worldview.
Opposed, apparently, to this ministry is the Canadian government. One would guess that, on some level, the Canadian government appreciates the impact that this ministry has had upon the well-being of the many charges in Christian Horizons’ care, yet it clearly balks when the ministry dares to suppose that, in addition to the physical, emotional, etc., needs their severely disabled patients possess, there is also a spiritual component that must be addressed.
And yet, the spiritual component to this story nearly pales when compared to the legal implications. Certainly, there is a religious liberty argument to be made. No one – corporate or individual – should be punished for doing anything more than abiding by their religious worldview. Clearly, that has happened here.
However, consider the broader corporate and societal implications of Canada’s overreach. Effectively, the Canadian government has inserted itself into the board room of Christian Horizons, defied a majority of the organizations governance and financial supporters, and imposed upon this business restrictions antagonistic to the stated mission and purpose of the organization.
In effect, the Canadian government has intolerably said that it will not tolerate the intolerance of Christian Horizons and that it must tolerate, corporate principles of tolerance, even though such coerced toleration cannot be tolerated by an otherwise tolerant religion, in order to be legally defined as “tolerant.”
Allow me to translate myself: the Canadian government has chosen to pick and choose who is, and who is not, tolerant. In so doing, it has placed itself as the ultimate authority of law and morality over the lives of Canadians.
What will be next? If the Canadian government can reach into the corporate board room, will they then insert themselves at the kitchen table and define family devotions as instances of “coerced indoctrination of intolerance?” Will it fill the pew and censor the sermon for instances of intolerance?
We, as a society, are ill-served when government believes itself to be the end-all-be-all to what ails the world. When government believes there is nothing greater then it, society does not benefit. There must be something greater than government, or all our law is but the meaningless (though pithy) proposals of people. It is empty and lacks any moral authority whatsoever.
But, when government recognizes that there is a law that is higher than itself, when it humbly accepts its duty to ensure some of the justice we lost in the Fall, when it turns to truly understand that righteousness and justice go hand-in-hand, then government can act with a submissive authority that does more than merely change laws. It changes lives.
As Jonathan Edwards, Jr. said in his sermon to public servants in 1794, “The best and perhaps the only remedy for such [social] diseases, is a full belief of the divine universal providence, of the accountableness of all men to God for all their conduct, and of a future equal retribution.”
With the Canadian situation, we see a government entirely devoid of ultimate accountability, revealing that checks and balances are only as good as what they are checked and balanced against.