The Health and Human Services Department’s Attack on Faith-Based Organizations

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The United States Department of Health and Human Services mandated that employers offer health care insurance to employees that includes payments not only for standard birth control, but also for abortificants. Faith-based organizations are not exempt from this mandate. The Roman Catholic Church is resisting this mandate, as well they should, and since abortificants are also paid for, all faith-based groups who oppose abortion are being forced to violate their beliefs. I have no doubt that the social democrats and socialists who read this post will disagree, which is their right. What about the right of a faith-based organization to establish employment benefits in line with its beliefs? H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., a bioethicist and physician at the Baylor College of Medicine, has argued for ideological pluralism in health care choices. That is, if someone accepts abortion, she can buy insurance through a company that accepts abortion. Roman Catholic groups could have what Engelhardt calls “Vaticare” or something like that. Now Engelhardt is a Classical Liberal who is consistent that pluralism be respected. What the government is doing is the equivalent of telling “Vaticare” or similar organizations that their beliefs be damned. The government will now tell you what to do, and if you don’t like it, suck it up. The result, if this rule is not overturned, will be a mass closing of faith-based organizations that help a significant number of people.

Although Mr. Obama has tended to be a friend of Wall Street and warmongers, his ideological roots are strongly Marxist, and, I would claim, totalitarian. The fact that he is no more totalitarian than Dubya does not change the fact that Obama desires as much power as did Mr. Bush. Regulatory agencies have been one way that government can gain power without legislative approval. Congress should establish a conscience clause in the health care bill in order to allow for faith-based organizations to offer insurance to their employees consistent with their own beliefs. To do otherwise would be another step toward a “social democratic benevolent” dictatorship that the most radical on the left wing desire. Although this is by now a tired cliche, it remains true that freedom of religion was never construed by the founding fathers to mean freedom from religion. I am pleased that Eastern Orthodox Bishops (The Council of Canonical Orthodox Bishops) as well as conservative Protestants have joined the effort to reverse this rule change. I hope they succeed.

Newspapers and Stillborns

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Before I read Robert Kastenbaum’s textbook on death and dying, I was not aware that some U. S. newspapers refuse to print the obituaries of stillborn infants. I had to read the statement twice to believe it was there–to be fair to Kastembaum, he does not like that fact any more than I. Although my fraternal twin brother, Jeffrey, was not stillborn, he died two hours after birth of severe bilateral pulmonary hemorrhage. The tendency in society is to downplay the import of such losses and downplay the parents’ grief. “The child really didn’t get a chance to live.” Granted, the child’s life was short, but what follows from that? Is a mother or father’s love somehow missing because a baby was stillborn or died shortly after birth? What gives a newspaper a moral right to deny the existence of such infants to the point of refusing to print their obituaries? I wonder if a society that allows abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy (provided, during that last trimester, that a woman has a doctor certify that the fetus is a threat to her physical and/or “mental” health) can properly value stillbirths or infants dying shortly after birth. Those newspapers that forbid such obituaries are reflecting the values of moral liberals in the wider society, liberals who do not admit the intrinsic value of human life from conception onward. Such an attitude is reflected in bioethicist Peter Singer’s statement that “An adult chimpanzee is of more moral worth than a newborn human infant.” He would go as far as to deny personhood to a newborn until the baby is a week old, and even then Singer does not believe that true moral personhood is present until the child is several years old. American society may not be quite that radical, but when children are considered to be burdens rather than gifts, a stillborn infant can be relegated to secondary status–or perhaps to tertiary status, lower on the scale of value than nonhuman animals.

Recent research on grief suggests that parents, especially mothers, mourn deeply over stillbirths and over infants who die shortly after birth. The least a newspaper can do is to acknowledge their loss by printing their child’s obituary. To do otherwise is to exhibit a fundamental lack of respect for the dignity of the stillborn infant or of the infant who dies shortly after birth. To do otherwise says that the severe grief felt by parents over the infant’s death is misguided. I suggest that it is not the parents who are misguided; it is newspaper editors who refuse to respect the dignity of all human persons, born, stillborn, or unborn.

The “Good Ole’ Days” Really Were the Good Ole’ Days

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This side of eternity, change is a constant in life. Some change is for the better–I think of the wonderful advance in medicine, advances that saved both my parents‘ lives. The computer on which I am typing has been a useful tool, speeding communication, research, and writing–I remember the days when I typed on a manual typewriter, then moved up to an electric–and stayed up all night two times in my undergrad days typing term papers. With a computer I might have gotten eight hours of sleep.

Change, however, can be for the worst. Despite recent drops in violent crime, the overall trend since the 1950s has been upward. Religion plays less and less a role in American society, and it seems that the U. S. is moving toward a European style secularism with a few New Age attempts to rescue some measure of spirituality from the maelstrom of materialism. The South used to be one of the few areas (outside Italian-American communities in cities) in which people lived together in extended families. The system was imperfect, but overall there was less loneliness and more social support in times of trouble–and the grandparents could babysit the children in case the parents had to work to make ends meet. When I was a child, the legalization of abortion, homosexual marriage, and (in three states) physician assisted suicide was in the future. A person was attacked for defending immoral practices, not attacked for criticizing them. Discipline was practiced, both in homes and in schools. Of course the world in which I was a child was imperfect–I was happily oblivious to the destruction of society from 1964-70, although I felt the effects in my teenaged years in the mid and late 1970s. I remember my childhood as a happy one–but I remember what happened in detail, I can discover some unhappy times–but I choose not to dwell on them. Overall I was blessed, and memories of a childhood that was filled with the joy of exploring new worlds every day outweigh memories of spankings and being picked on by other children. If those memories of the “good ole days” are unrealistic, I will live in their unreality to help give me a picture of Paradise–a world in which people live without the flaws that mar life today.

The “good ole’ days,” like all times in human history, were marred by sickness, death, and mourning–the universals of humanity before the eschaton. People sinned in the past just as they sin in the present, and usually in the same ways. There were murders, assaults, rapes, and robberies fifty years ago just as there are today. The difference is that Christianity was respected then and was part of the public square, and today it has been removed from the public square, as if Christians live in a two-tiered world, one totally secular and the other sacred, and never the twain shall meet. Basic Christian morality was respected–in 1960, both Jews and Christians understood that abortion is not the kind a thing a person should do. Abstinence until marriage was the standard position before the Pill changed everything in and after the early 1960s. If a child screamed, “Shut up!” to his parents (as I heard one scream in a store), the parents would remove the child from any place of business and discipline that child. Today bad behavior by children in public is tolerated by many parents, to the chagrin of other people who must put up with hearing unruly children.

It may be that the eighteenth century Enlightenment, with its radical secularism and denial of tradition, helped lead to the present poor state of society. While history reveals periods of chaos and moral turpitude in society, what is unique about the current age is the combination of such bad behavior with a denial of the transcendent. I do not believe that I am an “old fogey” in saying these things–in some significant ways, apart from technological advances, earlier times really are “the good ‘ole days.”

What can be done to restore society? A blind nostalgia will not do. Restoration of community begins not only with encouraging families to remain together, but with encouraging people to understand that there is transcendent meaning in life. When people render aid to others who are in need and establish a personal relationship with them, this draws them out of themselves to understand that their needs are not the only ones important in life. A relationship with the Transcendent also draws a person out of the self–and it is only in this way that the radical individualism of the last fifty years can be overcome and society can start to recover from its moral and religious lapses.

Why I am not a Democrat

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My granddaddy loved the Democratic Party. He always said “it is the party of the poor man while the Republicans are the party of the rich man.” He thought that FDR was the best president the U. S. ever had, appealing to WPA and Social Security as evidence. For many years in the South, the Democratic Party was the conservative party, and while it held some positions (on segregation, for instance) that were wrong, it also defended the Tenth Amendment regarding state’s rights–and I must agree with their view on that. Sending federal troops to the South, putting school boards under dictatorial federal judges who imposed asinine social engineering schemes such as forced busing, were abuses of power by the federal government. Better to use persuasion in a grassroots movement to encourage a change in people’s attitudes than to send in the 101st Airborne. Those in power could have been pressured by a grassroots movement to end segregation from within the individual states–with enough pressure, they would probably have given in, segregation laws abolished, and race relations would have been better than they are today.

Republicans had no problem abusing federal power, especially liberal Republicans in the North. The Republican Party had historically been the party of corporate welfare, and had formed an unholy alliance with railroads and with banks in the nineteenth century. It was the Republicans who forced states, which would have been almost universally considered to be sovereign just a few decades before, into the federal fold using U. S. military forces, with the attendant loss of over 600,000 lives.

There were some liberal democrats in the South in the 1950s–Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee is a good example–but even the liberals of that time period accepted the Judeo-Christian ethic that had been dominant in the United States since the Second Great Awakening. Except for a few radicals, abortion was wrong, and no one would have dreamed of supporting same-sex marriage. Even with the expansion of federal power and the government’s use of the military against the states, the federal budget was relatively small as well as the number of federal employees. The budget was balanced three times during the Eisenhower administration.

Then came the 1960s with the spoiled baby boomers calling for a radical transformation of society. These radicals gained control of the Democratic National Convention when it nominated Senator George McGovern (who seems almost moderate by today’s standards) for president. The Democratic Party became the party of radical social change, advocating abortion rights, looser rules concerning the family unit, and, more recently, same-sex marriage. It also extended the federal welfare system immensely, especially during Lyndon Johnson’s administration. This in turn helped to expand a permanent underclass, leading to more money being spent on welfare, leading more people to become dependent on the system. It became a vicious cycle.

The Democratic and Republican parties “switched” in the South, especially after the old George Wallace voters voted for Ronald Reagan in the 1976 presidential primaries. He almost the Republican nomination from Gerald Ford that year. In 1980, the trend continued, and over time, the Republican Party moved to the right at the same time the Democratic Party shifted radically to the left. Republicans were not always true to their promises, unfortunately, but to many voters, including me, they were the “lesser evil” to voting for a liberal Democrat. There are a few conservative Democrats around, and I will vote for one from time to time. Now, though, almost all my votes are for Republicans, with an occasional foray into voting for a Libertarian.

Why am I not a Democrat? Because:

(1) Most Democrats believe in nearly unlimited abortion rights–and I believe abortion to be murder. It is difficult for me to vote for someone who believes that it is morally acceptable for a mother, with the help of her “doctor,” to murder her own unborn child (and to someone who claims Catholic identity who told me an unborn child was not a child, my message is, “You are an utter hypocrite to call yourself Catholic).

(2) Democrats have generally supported radical social changes such as same-sex marriage, something I believe to be an affront to natural law and something that will be, long term, destructive to society.

(3) Democrats have, for the most part, supported social engineering schemes such as forced busing of schoolchildren.

(4) Most Democrats continue to support an overly large welfare system. They also have the idea that they can spend themselves out of any economic crisis. The United States will never recover from its debt given the amount of money the Democratic Obama Administration has spent.

(5)  The Democratic Party engages in race, sex, and class warfare. Many Democrats falsely accuse those who oppose the party’s policies on welfare, for example, of racism. Many Democrats love to stir up racial strife it can help the party with the minority groups in its voting base. The Party supports the most radical measures of certain feminists, supporting unlimited abortion and the continual disempowerment of men. The Party seems to think that “taxing the rich” will solve all our problems, although if the government seized all money from the rich it would only make a drop in the deficit.

(6) When Democrats could do some good and stand up to the warmongering Neoconservatives in both parties, the majority of Democrats  fail and end up supporting unnecessary wars just as much as Republicans (this is my biggest beef with the Republican Party).

(7) Many Democrats are hostile to traditional Christianity. They do all they can to remove traditional Christianity from the “public square.”

I get frustrated with both parties. I do not remember who wrote in Chronicles magazine that politics in the United States consists of the “Stupid Party” (Republicans) and the “Evil Party” (Democratic). He went on to say when they compromise one gets “stupid evil.” Given my choice between the alternatives, I would rather support stupidity rather than support evil. That is why in the presidential election between Bush and Kerry, I voted Libertarian, since I believe that both the Iraq War and the U. S. use of torture was evil. I am not duty-bound to the Republican Party–but I cannot be a Democrat unless the party makes a 180 degree turn to the Right–and that is not going to happen.

Academics and Closed-Mindedness

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Acadèmia (iii)

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There is a thin line between open-mindedness and giving up reason, but closed-mindedness is always a threat to reason. College and university education should be the ideal place where open-minded but rational professors help students to think. This implies that professors love truth above professional success, fame, and other temptations. There are many professors who do place truth above finite goods–thank God for their presence in the academy. From my experience, other professors are locked into their world views and refuse to think outside the box, placing acceptance by their colleagues above seeking the truth.

One area in which such narrowness is found is politics. The vast majority of humanities professors are liberal Democrats; some are Marxists. Although some of these professors are “true liberals,” allowing students to express contrary opinions, others are intolerant of difference. Those who oppose liberals position on entitlement programs, for example, are labeled as “racist” by these professors, who obviously have no idea what the term “racist” really means. The situation is worse concerning moral issues: opposition to abortion can get a student labeled as a “pro-life nutcase.” Opposing practicing homosexuality automatically gets a student labeled as a bigot, and the student may be punished. Some faculty members have been fired for even bringing up arguments opposing homosexuality, although one such case was overturned by a court and the professor was rehired. Professors who count themselves as “trendy” are really the most conformist people of all. They are more predictable than religious Fundamentalists, and emotionally they have the same mindset.

Speaking of religion, there is a bias among many academics against traditional religious beliefs. Academics may have no problem with a watered-down liberal Protestantism or liberal Roman Catholicism, but may detest traditional Christian beliefs and morality. And even though Muslims hold traditional moral values, the academic left is not as critical of them because they are non-Christians. Religion is considered to be a crutch, an opiate (to use Karl Marx’s term), an excuse for persecuting the poor,  a denial of reality, and an enemy to society in general. What religious expression there is is relegated to the private realm–woe be to the faculty member who mentions his Christianity in class, and the same often applies to students, especially to traditional Evangelicals and to traditional Roman Catholics.

Some professors are guilty of other kinds of prejudice. Psi phenomena, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis are well-documented to the point that parapsychologists mainly do process studies to show how psi works rather than proving that psi exists. Yet many professors dismiss a student or colleague who accepts the reality of psi as a “new-aged nut.” “I don’t know what happened to him, but somewhere along the line he went nuts.” Such conclusions are reached without an open and honest examination of the evidence for and against psi phenomena. The sciences have been the most closed-minded disciplines concerning psi. And although there was a period in the 1970s in which the humanities were more open to psi, today the situation has reverted to the same kinds of prejudice found in the sciences. Papers that accept the existence of psi  are usually only accepted by psi journals and at psi conferences, although recently there have been a few exceptions among psychology journals. Opinions contrary to the establishment are silenced by lack of publication, a death-knell to any instructor seeking tenure.

A third area in which there is closed-mindedness in academia is medical ethics. It is more and more difficult to find an article in a mainstream bioethics journal from a traditional moral perspective. One major exception is the UK-based Journal of Medical Ethics which has published articles from many different points of view, including morally conservative ones. Looking over issues of the Hastings Center Report, the premier bioethics journal in the United States, the articles in the 1070s reflected far more balance between traditionalists and nontraditionalists in ethics than the articles today. There was a greater role for theological ethicists, such as the late Paul Ramsey, to have their say. On the issue of health care allocation, The New England Journal of Medicine has served more as an apologetics journal for Mr. Obama’s health care program rather than a journal that presents a balanced point of view. From the point of view of the university professor, it is easier to get articles published in mainstream journals if one is in favor of abortion rights, embryonic stem cell research, physician assisted suicide, and even, as Jonathan Hardwig, in favor of a “duty to die,” including a duty to commit suicide if one’s illness is financially and emotionally harming one’s family. Would a pro-life professor have any chance to become department head at a major state university? I doubt it. Traditionalists are forced to take jobs at the few Roman Catholic institutions that affirm traditional morality or at an Evangelical Protestant school, and even the latter are moving to the left on moral issues. I am not opposed to a moral liberal, a religious liberal, and/or a political liberal being in academia. But there are other positions out there that need to be heard so that students have a more balanced perspective. Maybe one day the legacy of the 1960s closed-minded radicals who ruined much of academia may change–the sooner the better.

Dr. Gosnell’s Alleged Actions and Abortion

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The story at http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news%2Flocal&id=7906881 is horrifying, but it illustrates the inconsistency of U. S. law on abortion. Dr. Gosnell’s alleged actions were no different in any morally relevant way from doctors who legally perform late-term abortions on viable fetuses. Such late term abortions are legal for “health” reasons, which include both physical and mental health considerations. De facto, any woman can find a doctor to sign off that she cannot mentally deal with bearing a child, and abortion is legal up to the ninth month. Thus have court rulings since Roe v. Wade limited the power of the states to regulate abortion.

Why does the law permit a late term fetus to be killed inside the mother’s womb, but when the fetus is outside the mother’s womb the doctor is charged with murder? Does being inside the mother’s body somehow entail a different ontological status for the fetus than the baby outside the womb? Or is it more likely that a “fetus” is a living human person and that whether inside or outside the womb, killing that person is murder. The sheer hypocrisy of American law is revealed by this inconsistency. The sheer evil of the most rabid abortion advocates is shown by their support of abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy. To me, this issue is a no-brainer–human life is a continuum from conception to death, and there is no non-arbitrary point apart from conception to identify the origin of the living human person. Abortion at any stage of pregnancy is outright murder, murder of the most vulnerable human persons who cannot defend themselves. Americans are seeing more and more that this is the case, but the dictatorial federal courts insist on forcing liberal abortion laws on the states. Thank God the Supreme Court allowed a ban on “partial-birth abortion,” but even if an abortion is not “partial-birth,” it is still murder. It is sad that the United States, which has much good in it, is capable of making such evil laws–laws that are inconsistent with other laws concerning murder. And make no mistake–abortion is an evil act.  If Dr. Gosnell is guilty of what he is accused, he will have done acts acknowledged by any reasonable person to be evil. Why not extend such outrage to oppose murdering human persons while they remain in the womb? Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but inconsistency is the mark of a fool–and one can be culpable for pushing beliefs that support the murder of the unborn.

I Pray for a Better 2011

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New year - which direction?

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Another year has passed, and the older I get, the faster time seems to pass. I pray that the world will be a better place in 2011 than it was in 2010. As a Christian, I am thrilled by the rapid spread of Christianity in Africa–and African Christians, unlike American Christians, can pay a steep price for their faith. Their dedication in facing persecution, in walking twenty or more miles in the mud to get to church, is a model for all of us to follow.

I pray that there will be fewer wars and that the American people will wake up to the power of what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.”

I pray for the unborn, that God would protect them from the scourge of abortion. I pray for marriage–that it will continue as a permanent union between one man and one woman. I pray for parents to be good fathers and mothers, to be affectionate for their children, to praise them when they do well, and discipline them when they do wrong. I pray that the trend toward physician-assisted suicide and toward active euthanasia will be reversed. I pray that Americans realize that older people have just as much intrinsic value as young people–and they often have more wisdom.

I pray that colleges and universities will recover some of the sanity that they once have. I pray that young people will learn the great classics of literature, philosophy, and religion. I pray that more traditional Christians strive for teaching and research careers in higher education.

I pray that the American people will take more responsibility for their actions and not blame others for all their misfortunes. I pray for greater courtesy between people. I pray that mediating institutions that stand between the person and the state–churches, civic organizations, and clubs–will grow and prosper. I pray that Americans realize that there is a life beyond both big government and big business.

I pray that we all stop and enjoy the beauty of nature, that we realize that environmentalism is not contrary to Christianity, but recognizes the goodness of the earth and the plants and animals God created. I pray for less cruelty toward animals, that people realize that humans are not the only animals with intrinsic value, that even if humans have more value than other animals, that does not imply that animals be mistreated. I pray for more free range animals and fewer factory farms. I pray that people treasure their pets, and I pray that God in His mercy will raise them from the dead when He reconstitutes the world in a perfect form.

I pray for the salvation of all people, recognizing that there is a possibility of eternal damnation–I pray, though, that Hell will be empty. I pray that we will forgive without excusing, mete justice but balance it with mercy when mercy is warranted. I pray that Americans will realize that people are more important than material possessions, that the accumulation of riches alone will never make a person happy. I pray that all people will strive to have virtuous characters, and that God will reach down and touch the most damaged of souls, all those with intractable vices or mental illness, all those who suffer from the sin of narcissism, those who suffer from borderline personality disorder, even those who are psychopaths.

I pray that the New Atheism will show forth its shallowness and not convince people that God does not exist.

I pray for the success of Sam Parnia’s study of Near-Death Experiences, that his findings will suggest that a spiritual realm truly does exist.

I pray for my family, my friends, for every person that they will cooperate with God’s grace to become all they are meant to be. And to the readers of this blog, may God’s richest blessings descend on you in 2011.

“Stop all that Negativity”

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I have read a number of online posts on controversial topics such as abortion or the nature of marriage. Almost invariably, when a traditionalist posts against abortion or in favor of marriage being only between a man and a woman, a liberal will protest, “Stop all that negativity!” This is another tactic that social liberals use to cut off rational debate. Instead of taking the time to think through the issue of when human personhood begins or the nature of marriage, these “liberals” attempt to stop debate with a rhetorical ploy. “Negativity” is an emotive word; it has the connotation of opposing everything, even good things. Americans like positive people, and thus the screed, “Stop all that negativity” appeals to emotions and poisons the well against the person allegedly presenting the “negative” message.

Of course any rational person realizes that issues such as abortion and the nature of marriage should be discussed based on the best scientific, philosophical (and in the case of people sharing a religious tradition), theological reasons both sides can present. Such issues are far too important for one side to try to intimidate the other with the “negativity” label. If the social liberal is confident in his position, he would argue based on empirical and rational arguments, and he would avoid using such an emotive and below-the-belt rhetorical tactic to halt debate before it can begin.

This is not to say that conservatives cannot be guilty of the same crime. They also have a duty to rationally and empirically debate issues rather than using only appeals to emotion or attempting to cut off debate. But lately it has been the social liberals who have been most guilty of this particular appeal to emotion by labeling social conservatives “negative” people. And in that respect, they should change their tactics or admit that their positions are irrational, based only on their emotional wants.

 

The Abuse of the Term “Hate”

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As a long-time critic of brain death criteria and the current system of organ transplantation, I sometimes surf the web to check out discussion groups and blogs on these issues. On one blog, a woman wrote a message in the comments section concerning those who oppose organ transplantation: “How can anyone oppose organ transplantation? How can anyone be filled with so much hate?”

The woman’s reaction not only demonstrates a total lack of basic critical thinking skills, it also illustrates what happens when people follow the 1960s mantra, “The political is the personal.” Instead of arguing against her opponents, this woman accused them of being “haters.” That tactic is way too often used in debates over moral issues to avoid the difficult task of argumentation. Argumentation requires thinking, and thinking is hard work. It is easier to set one’s brain aside and appeal to emotion–saying that someone who disagrees with one’s own position is “full of hate” is an appeal to emotion and an abusive ad hominem fallacy.

Such individuals do not listen to claims by their opponents that their position is not a personal matter or that it was arrived at through reason. Debates from abortion to the moral acceptability of homosexual activity have been poisoned by the misuse of the word “hate.” But the supporters of abortion and of homosexuality (and other causes as well) who call their opponents haters are not interested in rational argument–they are interested in power. And if they take away any social capital from their opponents, they gain power at the expense of their opponents. Thus, an academic who opposes abortion, premarital sex, or homosexual practice will be labeled a hater, accused of holding “unacceptable positions,” and terminated, as happened with a professor in the University of Illinois system who presented in class a natural law argument against the morality of homosexual practice. He was later rehired after protests, but it shows the extent to which professors and college and university administrators have abandoned reason in favor of emotional screeds.

Anyone with a minimum of critical thinking skills realizes that just because someone disagrees with another person’s moral actions, this does not imply any hatred. I disagree with people who engage in premarital sex, but if I hated them I would have virtually no friends. I disagree sharply with abortion, but I do not hate women who have abortions. I feel anger toward doctors and nurses who participate in abortions but do not hate them. As for homosexuality, I disagree with people practicing it, but it no more implies that I hate them than my disagreement with premarital sex implies that I hate those who engage in that practice. Of course my opponents know this–they are not interested in honest debate. They are interested in silencing their opponents. The radical left has done well in accusing those who disagree with its agenda of reworking society in its image of being “haters” or “full of hate.” In that way, the radical left puts their opponents on the defensive and eventually silences them, by force (threatening their careers, for example) if they deem it necessary. This is dirty pool, and it is dishonest. When radical leftists accuse their opponents of hating, these radical leftists are liars–and most of them likely realize they are lying.

There are leftists, a few, who will present rational arguments for their positions and who will not stoop to the gutter tactics of hate accusations. I would hope that these honest leftists would encourage other leftists to take the high road in their arguments. And to the extent that conservatives attempt to emulate unfair tactics of the left, they should also be called to task, first of all by other conservatives. I fear that if public discourse does not get out of the gutter, then the culture war will be moving in a disturbing direction that society as a whole will end up regretting.

Are Graphic Ads of Aborted Unborn Children the Way to Present the Pro-Life Message?

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Our Pro-Life Statue Blessed Mother Teresa of C...

In Washington, DC, a candidate for public office has run graphic ads on television showing images of aborted fetuses. Although I understand, as someone who believes abortion to be one of the most morally reprehensible and evil practices of the contemporary era, the frustration of pro-lifers, I do not believe that graphic ads are a good way to present the pro-life message.

One difficulty is that while some people may be persuaded by such images to believe that the fetus is a human person, this approach may harden others against the pro-life cause. The other major difficulty is that when pro-lifers appeal to emotional images, this is no better than pro-abortionists showing images of clothes hangers or of a woman’s physical damage from illegal pre-Roe v. Wade abortions. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander–the pro-abortionists will fight emotion with emotion.

People with a conscience who will listen to reason may be persuaded by a rational pro-life case, along with pro-lifers being engaged with service to women in difficulty pregnancies through crisis pregnancy centers. This approach has worked well thus far; there are 200,000 fewer abortions in the U. S. each year than at the height of the post Roe v. Wade era, abortionists are looked down on by other physicians, and for the first time in many years, more people describe themselves as “pro-life” rather than so-called “pro-choice.” As long as pro-lifers continue to appeal to both empirical and good rational arguments, they will have an impact in reducing the moral outrage of abortion. But graphic images will only inflame emotions, bring out more aggressiveness in an already overly-hostile press, and may, ironically, result in more abortions in the long run. Pro-lifers, for the most part, have taken the high road thus far. They should continue to do so, and with God’s help, more unborn children will be saved every year.

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