Court Blocks Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Tuesday, August 24, AD 2010

3 Responses to Court Blocks Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this article as of 8:31pm CDT AD 9-30-2009 shows alternatives  –other than Komen– for fundraising activities related to Breast Cancer research that are Pro-Life in their outlook]

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen) is an organization that funds breast cancer research.  This noble effort by Komen to save the lives of both women and men who are afflicted with breast cancer is tainted by their funding of abortion via Planned Parenthood.

Each year Catholics and most other Christians raise their concerns about supporting Komen specifically because Komen donates money to Planned Parenthood.  Catholics and most other Christians unknowingly assist Komen in their fundraising efforts which goes against the teachings of Jesus as stated in the Fifth Commandment of “You shall not kill”.

Due to this criticism attributed to Komen in funding abortion, Komen released an open letter in March 2009 concerning their relationship with Planned Parenthood.  In this open letter they defended their donations to Planned Parenthood raising three (3) reasons why it is acceptable to continue to donate money to Komen even though they provide funding to abort innocent unborn children.

I will address their open letter with their three (3) reasons here:

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39 Responses to Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

  • It might be worth pointing out that their argument you summarize in 1) seems to be not that they do other good things and so funding abortion is okay, but rather that the funds they are giving to Planned Parenthood are specifically and only for cancer screenings, not for abortions or “family planning services”. Their claim is that only Planned Parenthood has a large enough network of locations in rural and low income areas for their screenings to be available to everyone.

    Now, I think there are two legitimate questions in regards to this:

    1) Does Komen’s funding of these programs free up other funds at PP for use on abortions and birth control?

    2) Is it simply unacceptable to work with PP for any cause, given how morally reprehensible their primary line of work is?

    I’m not sure if 1) is a problem in this case or not, but I do think that 2) is a problem, and it strikes me as a good reason not to support the Komen foundation. If we’re serious about how bad we think Planned Parenthood’s main business is, using them as a handy provider network for some other service is kind of like using the mafia to deliver packages — the fact that your particular activity is innocent doesn’t excuse providing business to such a reprehensible organization.

  • Even the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic (hardly pro-life institutions) recognize the synthetic hormones used in the Pill and hormone replacement therapies as human carcinogens.

  • Darwin,

    Excellent points.

    Komen uses PP because of their network, but nowhere do they (or PP) say how those funds are used. Though any support to PP is wrong to begin with.

    I think your two point are intertwined to the threshold that regardless of how you argue point 1, it is negated by the simple fact that they are PP, ipso facto, provide abortions is never a good thing.

    I like your analogy about the mafia, no matter how effective they are, using the mafia is never a good thing.

    Christina,

    Thank you for your points.

    I wanted to post this as soon as possible. The more I researched on my post the more links I was able to find so I had to stop somewhere or I would be posting a dissertation paper in the end! 😉

  • I’m glad you mentioned #3. While many doctors unfortunately seem to still cling to the “there’s no evidence” reasoning, there is much reason to suspect otherwise.

    The clinical upshot is that the Komen foundation may be shooting themselves in the foot through these contributions. And there are other organizations that support breast cancer research that do not make such contributions. Why the rush to promote this organization when others exist that do the same good work without the baggage?

    A side note: My youngest child was born in Germany. When I made contact with the doctor who provided my care for that birth, I observed that during my initial health questionnaire I was asked if I had ever terminated a pregnancy. The question, which was subsequently repeated over the next three years each time I visited for well care, intrigued me as no health care practitioner in the U. S. had ever asked me that question (or has, since.) I’m sure it wasn’t an idle question; had I answered yes it might have made a difference in my treatment (more or earlier testing, maybe?) Unfortunately, I never got up the nerve to ask why it was a concern.

  • DarwinCatholic,
    It might be worth pointing out that their argument you summarize in 1) seems to be not that they do other good things and so funding abortion is okay, but rather that the funds they are giving to Planned Parenthood are specifically and only for cancer screenings, not for abortions or “family planning services”. Their claim is that only Planned Parenthood has a large enough network of locations in rural and low income areas for their screenings to be available to everyone.

    We’re actually responding to the “Catholic ethicist” claim here, not their defense of using PP:
    “The good that Komen does and the harm that would come to so many women if Komen ceased to exist
    or ceased to be funded would seem to be a sufficiently proportionate reason”

  • This is a timely post for me.

    The principal of my children’s parochial school asked my wife and I to come with an alternative to Komen when we informed her about the link between Komen and PP. The children have had fundraisers in the past with proceeds going to Komen. I have not had any luck so far finding a suitable pro-life breast cancer research charity that I can recommend. Any ideas?

  • Nick,
    While not a perfect substitute, you might consider researching this option: http://www.bcpinstitute.org/home.htm
    Cheers,
    Mike

  • Nick,

    I just got off the phone with the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer and they recommended the following:

    Breast Cancer Prevention Institute:
    http://www.bcpinstitute.org/home.htm

    The Polycarp Research Institute:
    http://www.polycarp.org/

    Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer:
    http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/abc.html

    The first two actually do research to prevent breast cancer and the last one analyzes and dissects the information of all research done on breast cancer and disseminates the information (even the information suppressed by Komen and Planned Parenthood).

    I’ve also updated the article to show these links.

    Mike,

    Excellent link!

  • Thanks for drawing attention to this.

    The absurdity of the argument is glaring. I saved 10 men from drowning last week, so it must be OK for me to drown one this week.

    I feed hundreds of poor people out of my own stores so it must be OK if I want to starve one child to death in my basement for amusement.

    What kind of warped thinking makes this irrationality seem plausible?

    I notice the Shirner’s (freemasons) have hospitals for children, while they promote a Luciferian agenda. So is it OK for them promote Satan becuase they have hospitals for kids?

    Is it OK for me to support the Shriner hospitals knowing that frees-up resources to promote Satan’s agenda?

    I guess there’s nothing wrong with a teeny, little compromise with evil along as everything else I do is good right?

    No wonder Glenn Beck has blood shooting out of his eyes!

  • No wonder Glenn Beck has blood shooting out of his eyes!

    Exorcism?

  • I am so glad you mentioned the link to breast cancer. You said, “note that hormone therapy for the treatment of menopause has been banned because of the breast cancer link, it seems a short leap to birth control pills…” It is a very short leap. Research on synthetic hormones, specifically progestin, is directly related to an increase of breast cancer. Planned Parenthood and even the Mayo Clinic do not share any of the research findings on this subject. If I were a researcher, I’d search for statistical data linking the increase of breast cancer to the advent of the birth control pill.

  • Excosrcism?

    :rofl:

  • The letter itself only says the studies have not shown there is a conlcusive link between abortion and breast cancer – typical weasel words. Very few, if any, studies show a conclusive link between anything. In fact, even lung cancer studies don’t claim a “conclusive” link between smoking and lung cancer. That is such BS.

    Anyway, I am glad they came up front about their involvement with PP. I was always suspicious of a link, and now we know.

    As for the mafia analogy, I suppose it would be like donating to a “feed the hungry” organization that pays rent to mafia owned/run brothel network to use as a soup kitchen during the day. And every dollar of rent from the hunger organization frees up a dollar for running the brothel.

  • and the Catholic ethicist argument is a joke.

  • Tito:

    At least as I read it, argument 3 is not that there is no evidence of link, but that there is no conclusive evidence. In fact, they concede there is some evidence since they refer to the “bulk” of studies, though not clearly defining what a “bulk” is – 55%, 60%, 70%? Even if it was 80%, that means 20% of the studies showed a link, hardly a factor any prudent person would ignore. Do you think if 20% of studies showed high caffeine intake was linked to breast cancer, that the Foundation wouldn’t be screaming it from every corner?

    So while their claim may be literally true (bulk of studies show no conclusive link) it is completely misleading when talking about risks. It just shows they are more concerned about maintaining ties to PP than to actually exploring ways to reduce breast cancer.

  • Great article and thanks especially for the links to organizations that Catholics can donate to…

    When you get a chance, see if you can figure out where to donate money to fight Parkinson’s disease that doesn’t fund ESCR.

  • Based on what I’ve read, interpretation of some of those study results is kinda subjective. In any case, there’s often a disconnect between what the paper reports and what the press says about it. If you recall that far back, C. Everett Koop’s public remarks about why he didn’t think a new study on post-abortion syndrome would be useful was widely interpreted by the media as “Koop says there ain’t no such!”

  • CMinor, C Matt, et al,

    Thank you for vetting my article.

    I believe we can all agree that organizations such as Komen and Planned Parenthood have done for more to hurt women than to help (if any).

    They continue to block most research that shows connections between abortion and breast cancer (as well as birth control pills).

    What they do reeks of impropriety when they stonewall this research (and petty to say the least).

  • Thanks to everyone for the various leads!

  • You exposed the Komen Hypocrisy. They LOVE abortion, and they fund it PERIOD! There has been a new film about Planned Parenthood, called Maafa21. You need to see it http://www.maafa21.com

  • Its okay if they support Abortion. Really, Its the choice of the person who gets the abortion. Not everyone else. Abortion can be a good thing. Because if the person doesn’t have any money to support the baby then the baby will die of a diease due to lack of healthcare. Cause now a days doctors could careless about you if you don’t have healthcare. So why not support abortion??? Let it be done right instead of being done half assed. Donate money into doing an abortion the right way.

  • There is so much one could say here, but I will restrain myself. The handle ‘the one who knows’ could not be more ironic. I think it requires great intellectual confusion to think that abortion can ever be done “right.”

  • The Komen letter points out that some affiliates grant money to PP (not all affiliates). Do you know which ones? I’ve reveiwed the grants that my local Komen affiliate has donated and none of it goes to any organization associated with abortion.

    The national organization only funds research. It’s the local affiliates that fund breast health and screening programs. If you want to stop Komen from funding PP then identify the affiliates fund Planned Parenthood and put pressure on them.

    I will support my local Komen affiliate because I know where their funds are spent.

  • Dave,

    so you would fund your local KKK as long as none of the money went specifically to fund lynchings?

    Beyond the specific funding aspect, this is a matter of not affiliating with organizations which support evil. Komen supports evil (fetal stem cell research, and abortion), they also suppress information which would save women from breast cancer (abortion and contraceptive links) in order to appease their evil associates at PP.

  • This month I was inital taken aback by seeing my favorite NFL players decked in pink! I understand that this was support in breast cancer awareness month. Actually after the NFL unofficially told Rush Limbuagh to take a hike this week I think they should adopt pink as the official color of the NFL. Apparently welcoming the Susan Komen foundation is OK. Giving international recognition to this organization that lies to women about the logical risk relationship between terminated pregnancies through abortion and breat cancer is OK but welcoming a conservative businessman whose character was lied about in the media is not OK. But I am sure that the $805,000 given to Planned Parenthood by SBK affiliates will only be used for breast screening.

  • Somehow, I managed to miss this article and only found it via google…. Very timely, since they also just disinvited all Israeli doctors from the international conference SGK is having in Egypt.

    I think you might appreciate my mom’s response: “There is no disease I could possibly have that would make it alright to chop up babies.”
    (She ends up using many variations on it, since folks folks tend to make set assumptions. Bonus, she’s got a BS in animal husbandry, so generally knows more about fetal development than the ESCR supporters.)

  • Hey Foxfier,
    Ever watched your mom suffer in intensive care for three months and die a horrible death from breast cancer ? Very insensitive comment. I have and until you live threw this stop pissing on Komen people. What is the Catholic church doing to help out? Hopefully one day one of your family members will be cured due to research from the Komen foundation. I bet you will not refuse treatment.

  • Hey, Unbelievable, you have a child?

    You want insensitive?
    Try insisting that chopping up babies is a valid cure for suffering to someone holding their baby…which is what you just did.

    Apparently, you flunk at basic reading comprehension, too, because you failed to realize: I quoted my mother. Who has breast cancer.

    All that aside, “insensitive” is no reason for someone to fail to state a needful truth: embryonic stem cell research requires the deaths of thousand upon thousands of children, on the off chance that there may, some day, be some sort of a cure.

    As a bonus, those pushing for ESCR routinely attack adult stem cell research, which is not only a proven science that dodges the killing people issue, but which can be done with body fat in some cases.

  • Unbelievable I watched my mom die a painful death from breast cancer. She would have preferred a thousand such deaths rather than have an innocent child sacrificed to save her life.

  • I am very pro-life, and I send an angry e-mail asking what exactly they do to support abortion. Somebody e-mailed me back saying they gave money to abortion centers that gave cheap mammograms for poor women who couldn’t get proper check-ups. I think that they can tell them to not put any of the money they donate to abortions, but Susan G. Komen decides not to do that. The money goes to the abortion centers in general.

  • I have no idea what SGK does or does not do vis-a-vis PP. But I do know that Sierra is correct that SGK certainly can make earmarked contributions if it wishes. Whether such earmarked gifts would actually solve the moral question is less clear to me given the fungibility of money. While I would probably refrain from making contributions even under this scenario, I would not be confident in asserting the existence of a moral problem. Moral rules must be applied to facts, and often the rules are easier to come by.

  • Mike & Sierra,

    It’s called compromising with evil.

  • Darkly amusing: a run for SGK this week in the Tacoma area is using a tagline something like “because everyone deserves a life.”

  • Please don’t speak for “most other Christians” without citing references. I can’t speak for “most other Christians,” but I can speak for myself as a Christian and tell you that I appreciate discussions that are both moral and factual at the same time rather than opinions through a megaphone. Saying something louder or attributing an opinion to a larger group doesn’t make it right.

  • Just found out no PP has any breast imaging equipment. The vans are scheduled and it cost $220.00. It’s $60.00 for a manual exam and that is not by a Dr. There might be a sliding scale but like was written earlier, do you have to be without anything? I don’t know.
    A few years ago $475,000.00 was given to one of the Dallas PP facilities so that it would not close down. That is just one of many donations…there are many in each state. So, with no imaging equipment…it makes no sense.
    Nancy Brinker (Brinker International—Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border etc.) started SGK when her sister Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer. I am sure this was very tragic for her. Her husband Norman Brinker helped fund the start-up of Komen. Nancy Brinker was and maybe still on the PP board. She is a card carrying member of PP. She is a believer in PP and all that it stands for. The monies will continue to flow from this cash cow for contraception, Embryonic stem research and PP.
    There is a reason Komen exists…watch Maafa 21.
    Ever wonder why so many Proctor and Gamble products have the “pink”? Dr. Gamble worked with Sanger in the early 1900’s is what my search revealed.
    Folks walk, feel good and think they are doing good. The PP part does not matter—-what matters is how I feel right???
    As far as I am concerned Nancy Brinker and her organization Susan Komen has made pink a very ugly color.
    My mother had breast cancer.

  • Just found out no PP has any breast imaging equipment. The vans are scheduled and it cost $220.00. It’s $60.00 for a manual exam and that is not by a Dr. There might be a sliding scale but like was written earlier, do you have to be without anything? I don’t know.
    A few years ago Komen org. gave $475,000.00 to one of the Dallas PP facilities so that it would not close down. That is just one of many donations. There are many in each state. So, with no imaging equipment at the PP facilities for the Komen org. to say their donations to PP are for breast exams, it really makes no sense.
    Nancy Brinker (Brinker International—Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border etc.) started SGK when her sister Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer. I am sure this was very tragic for her. Her husband Norman Brinker helped fund the start-up of Komen. Nancy Brinker was and maybe still be on the PP board. She is a card carrying member of PP. She is a believer in PP and all that it stands for. The monies will continue to flow from this cash cow for contraception, Embryonic stem research and PP.
    After watching Maafa 21 I realized the reason Komen exists. I firmly believe that if Komen was legit it would not be as big.
    Ever wonder why so many Proctor and Gamble products have the “pink”? Dr. Gamble worked with Sanger way back when is what my search revealed.
    Folks walk, feel good and think they are doing good for breast cancer via the Komen org. The PP part does not matter—-what matters is how I feel right???
    As far as I am concerned Nancy Brinker and her organization Susan Komen has made pink a very ugly color.
    By the way my mother had breast cancer.

    Oh and the European interest in terminated abortions. They acknowledge the link and tie abortions to insurance rates. The more abortions the higher the premium. You can do a search of Great Britain/abortion/breast cancer. An actuary figured all of this out around 1967.

  • “Oh and the European interest…They acknowledge the link and tie abortions to insurance rates.”
    Thanks for the info, RLDP. I’ve read that some countries with longer histories of legal abortion than ours have data to that effect. Wonder if women going in for legal abortions in those countries are told their decision will result in their premiums being jacked up? Or if taxpayers there realize how those abortions raise their tax burden?

  • PB, if it’s the original post you’re referring to, please reread. It’s pretty clear that the statement refers to that group of Catholics and Christians whose concerns about SGK’s relationship with PP is leading them to drop support; it’s not a reference to everybody on earth who self-identifies as a Christian. Oh, and another good reason to reread is that there are actually a number of facts there (complete with linked references) that you seem to suggest were not. Might learn something.

Pope and President

Friday, July 10, AD 2009

VATICAN OBAMA

During the 30 minute meet and greet audience today at the Vatican, the Pope pressed Obama on abortion and embryonic stem cells.  The Pope gave Obama a copy of Dignitatis Personae, which I hope he will read.  He indicated that he would.

“Oh, what we discussed earlier,” said Obama, referring to their closed-door discussions. “I will have some reading to do on the plane.”

Here is the statement of the Vatican on the meeting, hattip to Catholic Key Blog.

“This afternoon, Friday 10 July 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in Audience the President of the United States of America, His Excellency Mr. Barack H. Obama. Prior to the Audience, the President met His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, and also His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

In the course of their cordial exchanges the conversation turned first of all to questions which are in the interests of all and which constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the true progress of peoples, such as the defence and promotion of life and the right to abide by one’s conscience.

Reference was also made to immigration with particular attention to the matter of reuniting families.

The meeting focused as well upon matters of international politics, especially in light of the outcome of the G8 Summit. The conversation also dealt with the peace process in the Middle East, on which there was general agreement, and with other regional situations. Certain current issues were then considered, such as dialogue between cultures and religions, the global economic crisis and its ethical implications, food security, development aid especially for Africa and Latin America, and the problem of drug trafficking. Finally, the importance of educating young people everywhere in the value of tolerance was highlighted.”

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5 Responses to Pope and President

  • I pray that the President reads the document on bioethics and it plants a seed, not just to break his commitment to the pro-choice movement and false-scientific research. But — in his search for a church — that he may hear his call to the Church.

    I know cynicism, perhaps, even human experience tells us that it is improbable. But my own conversion itself was just that, a seemingly infinite impossibility. I pray the same for the President. I wish him the best.

  • I join you in that prayer Eric. Grace has fallen on more unlikely fields than President Obama.

  • I had dinner with a woman last night. Three years ago she was a radical feminist marxist. She told me she was living a lifestyle steeped in forms of depravity that we would not believe. She had previously worked in an abortion clinic and said she had a deep hatred for pro-lifers and the Church.

    On the verge of suicide, she turned to the Bible. Deciding that Evangelical Christianity was not for her, she asked a friend to tell her where she could go to Mass. Her conversion was swift and immediate. She entered the Church and has been a committed Catholic since. She was almost reluctant to discuss her conversion because she felt so unworthy of the grace and mercy she received after a life of sin.

    I tell this story because I often become cynical of the ability of prayer to lead to radical Paul-like conversion. Yet this woman told a story I had heard before–but only in the biographies of saints. Let us keep the president in prayer.

  • Perhaps prayers should also be said on behalf of those purportedly Catholic, as well, who in spite of being knowledgeable about such things still continue to choose to promote the prevalently pernicious Pro-choice platform or remain remarkably lukewarm to issues of life due to the typical “personally against it but do not want to impose personal beliefs on others” spiel.

  • e.

    pro-choice platform or remain remarkably lukewarm to issues of life due to the typical “personally against it but do not want to impose personal beliefs on others” spiel.

    I think that’s the definition of pro-choice. Really there is just pro-life and pro-abortion, the “pro-choice” moniker is intellectually dishonest as is any claim to being “personally opposed”.

Tortured Credibility

Friday, May 22, AD 2009

It has become an oft repeated trope of Catholics who are on the left or the self-consciously-unclassifiable portions of the American political spectrum that the pro-life movement has suffered a catastrophic loss of credibility because of its association with the Republican Party, and thence with the Iraq War and the use of torture on Al Qaeda detainees. Until the pro-life movement distances itself from the Republican Party and all of the pro-life leadership who have defended the Iraq War and/or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on detainees, the argument goes, the pro-life movement will have no moral authority and will be the laughing stock of enlightened Catholics everywhere.

Regardless of what one thinks about the Iraq War and torture (myself, I continue to support the former but oppose the latter) I’m not sure that this claim works very well. Further, I think that those who make it often fail to recognize the extent to which it cuts both ways.

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42 Responses to Tortured Credibility

  • I don’t think being “pro-life” will lose credibility because the position is True, but “pro-lifers” who associate with other violations against human dignity might.

    Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    The decision was not only an act of aggression, it was unconstitutional and a strategic blunder. It put us on the road to bankruptcy and rather than secure our safety I believe it to be contributing to an environment for further violent conflict. The truth is, almost a decade out from 9/11 and we were given Saddam Hussein on a platter instead of Osama bin Laden.

    The fact of this occurring under a Republican administration is rather irrelevant. If party actually mattered the war funds would have been taken away by the Democratic congress at any time after 2006. Now, half a year into Obama’s tenure and the line on withdraw is “give us three years”.

    The fact that this messy war has tainted other Republican “values” is not surprising. Look at everyone suddenly crying out that capitalism has failed!

    I would expect that if Obama does not end the war in a satisfactory way by the next election, or if there is a new conflict in Pakistan or Africa… leftist values too will begin to be dragged down. Voters will become sick of everything he says, just like Bush. The anti-war left would likely be as deflated and the pro-life right.

    If you ask me its the insanity of tribalism at work. If you take the “us vs. them” two party system and combine it with the general ignorance… well what do you expect? And besides, its not as if people on the genuine left and the genuine right really make it into power, is it?

    The war was never about securing the American people. It was however, about securing the American federal government; it dominance and control. Thats something both center-left and center-right can agree on. Ironically, they are losing both bit by bit, British-style.

    To this day I believe that the path to regain power is within Republican hands: all they have to do is repudiate the war. Maybe change their name, too. 🙂

    As far as the pro-Life movement is concerned… I do indeed think it is in their best interest to grow beyond the party. I think they have to if they are looking to build majorities that can withstand the back-and-forth of American politics.

    Most libertarians seem to be pro-choice, which is mind-boggling. There’s room there to grow a little bit.

    Pro-lifers do not need a majority of Democrats on their side. Just enough to make the larger party think twice when it comes to abortion legislation. They have to consider which piper they are going to pay. If abortion were more often argued in terms of the civil rights movement, perhaps left-leaning politicians could be persuaded.

    I guess, Darwin, my broader point is – none of it matters. Its tit-for-tat politics and none of the influential players are interested in moral consistency, just majority-building. By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    Or, perhaps I made no sense, even to myself.

  • Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    Well, I think I can at least claim to have been sober, in that I’d supported forcibly removing Hussein from power ever since 1991. I considered it profoundly immoral for Bush Sr. to have called on the people of Iraq to rise up against their dictator, with the implicit promise that the US would support them, and then leave them to die in the hundreds of thousands instead. I would have supported an invasion at any time since then, and I considered it to be justified, given that Iraq had never satisfactorily obeyed the 1991 cease fire anyway. If Clinton had been willing to get rid of Hussein at any point during his term, I would have supported that.

    I do think that the WMD justification was poor at best. Yes, there was a general belief (even among Iraq’s military) that they had chemical weapons. But they were not a great threat to us. However, given that I’d been in support of deposing Hussein for over ten years already, I didn’t consider the punitive justification a major obstacle to what seemed long overdue already.

    But, I can certainly understand why other Catholics would believe differently.

    By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    I don’t know that I’m so much defending the status who as pointing out that it’s hardly surprising to anyone. There are parts of the GOP platform that I absolutely disagree with (I’d support open borders) but I don’t think anyone does himself any favor by getting all worked up over where the current alignments are. It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. All are known to be highly partisan agendas with established bases of support, and pretending that’s news to anyone does not strike me as doing one credit. Even if one would appreciate realignment.

  • “It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. ”

    I suppose it would depend on how you see credibility. The movement is philosophically credible by being moral and constitutionally correct. But politically I can see how some would say they’ve lost credibility in terms of their ability to win elections, win court cases and influence legislation. If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues. Only the thick-headed would exclusively equate political success to intellectual legitimacy.

  • Anthony,

    If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues

    the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?

    The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

  • The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

    This is due to american historical amnesia, of course.

  • Rather a reaction to the coming Obama Crash. Unless there is a major terrorist attack, and I wouldn’t rule that out, the economy will be the overriding issue in 2010 and 2012 and the signs are not good currently for Obamanomics.

  • Michael I,

    what Donald said. But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well. Their disatisfaction was almost entirely due to the poor state of affairs until it was rectified by the surge which President Bush (R) ordered at the recommendation of General Petreus (R?), and the urging of Senator McCain (R), and the majority of the Republican party. The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over, or that Obama snapped defeat from the jaws of victory, very unlikely since he kept on the Robert Gates(R) to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.

    Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.”

    I think the point is not whether or not the choices, in the short-term, of what seemed best for the survival of the movement is correct. After Roe v. Wade, the Democrats became increasingly dominated by pro-choice politicians, supported by the abortion-minded groups, etc. The GOP was very welcoming.

    I think the point of the criticism (right or wrong) is that possibly unforeseen affects are what we’re experiencing now.

    I think he is saying that the pro-life movement by making itself dependent solely on the success of a single party has made its own success contingent on that party. If positions predominantly accepted by that party are, largely down-the-list, against one’s best judgments of what better achieves justice then despite their pro-life convictions, some will feel disenfranchised and/or uncomfortable or even alienated by the rest of pro-lifers, some, not all, of which give a blind stamp of approval to the platform because of the party’s stance on life issues.

    And because this issue has divided itself across party lines, it appears to be a partisan issue when it really should not be.

    I posted a link from a story in the Human Life Review a while back talking about trouble pro-life Democratic candidates had in receiving funds, despite their records, from pro-life groups; other problems included Republican candidates being endorsed over pro-life Democrats with untainted abortion records — though, as far as I know, this hasn’t happened so much on the federal, rather than, state level. It’s why people — rightly or wrongly — say that some pro-life groups might as well be Republican PACs.

    Another problematic case is the fact that pro-life Democrats are so “diaspora” and not collectively organized at the local levels that it makes it rather difficult, even for principled, pro-life Democrats to actually launch a campaign. They don’t have the resources, even for those who are unequivocally pro-life. Some settle and work in the trenches for pro-life groups or other justice causes. Others simply — and I imagine this happened during the Reagan years — became Republicans.

    As a result, it is very very difficult for the pro-life movement to enter the realm of the Left because fellow pro-lifers are suspicious, perhaps with valid reason, to suspect “double talk” or false pro-life credentials.

    However, this very reality, I think makes the pro-life movement a house divided against itself while the pro-choice movements is moving in lock-step and that’s the source of their temporal victories.

    Now, I’m sure no one is saying that a one-party pro-life party is the way to go to. Some are hesitant, I’m sure for valid reasons, that it is difficult, or even counter-productive, to support self-described “pro-life Democrats.” Perhaps they’re right.

    However, here are my criticisms — some valid, perhaps some not. Everyone will have to judge for themselves.

    When Reagan was the president, the pro-life movement gained quite a bit of ground. Yet, the Clinton Administration quickly turned the direction of abortion and bioethical policies the other way. The Bush Administration was eight years of undoing the damage done by the Clinton Administration and restoring and adding new pro-life policies. Now we’re in another reversal.

    This tit-for-tat can keep going, or the other party can be infiltrated from within. There has not been much ground on this made, necessarily, but the organization Republicans for Choice (http://www.republicansforchoice.com/) are all but invisible. After the election, I’ve read a many articles and seen many people claiming that it was the “values-sector” of the party driving out moderates with their alleged extremism and litmus tests. I’m not making their argument; I am simply stating their assertions. The GOP, as seen, has no problem recruiting pro-choice Republicans to run for office (more than likely in liberal districts) to win office. I suppose the thinking is that it’s better to have someone with you 90% of the time then 0%.

    This reality tried to manifest itself in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries. The pro-life movement responded forcefully — not for the best candidate in my view — but responded nonetheless. Yet, I cannot help but wonder: what if?

    What would happen if the GOP with its new RNC Chair, Mr. Steele, so committed to “inclusion” and diversity and non-application of litmus tests went in a different direction? What if, God forbid, at some point, the pro-life movement split between viable candidates and all pro-choice and socially moderate Republicans concerned with fiscal conservatism, not cultural values, line up behind a single, less-than-pro-life candidate?

    I think that’s the bind. What is a pro-life person to do in this situation? Surely, a hypothetical, cynical GOP strategist might ask: would they really go to the other party? If this did occur: what would you do? Some I imagine would put a protest vote and not vote at all. Others would vote for the GOP, take what they can, and work to change the case next time. But it would surely be a source of division and debate: a house divided against itself. It seems that if voting is a moral obligation, then, one can’t simply sit at home and let good pro-life Republicans lose their seats and more pro-choice seats be taken in Congress by the Democratic party. What about pro-life Governors? What about the Presidency? The latter of two who appoint judges (depending on the State) and can realistically set a judicial seat in the pro-choice camp for perhaps a generation. Right now, that’s the scare with Obama’s SC nominee coming. Surely it would be better — and on this no one disagrees — that power can exchange between the parties and there would be little concern over nominee’s abortion positions.

    It seems that the success of the pro-life movement rises and falls with the GOP. I think it’s problematic.

    I don’t think it’s nonsense per se to envision Republican strategists, pure pragmatists, to realize that abortion is a potent electoral tool and not so much a human rights issue. This isn’t to say that there are several candid and sincere pro-life Republicans serving in public office.

    In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    This goes back to the question of pro-life Democrats. I think many Democrats who are pro-life cannot garner the resources or support to make it to office. The Democratic party won’t fund pro-life candidates, but rather would search for pro-choice candidates — anyone — to run in opposition to such candidates in primaries. That’s the key. A pro-life Democrat might do fine in a general elections against a Republican. In recent decades, they usually win. But rather it is the Democratic primary is an incredible challenge because of a lack of resources to compete against their fellow party-members who are singling them out surely over abortion. The GOP doesn’t hesitate to fund it’s pro-choice candidates: primaries are fair game. Let the voters decide.

    The list of pro-life Democrats who had high political ambitions who realized this reality is growing. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, and many more were all at one point pro-life.

    Now certainly there change of conviction is morally incorrect and a reflection of poor character and courage. Many of such candidates do so for political expediency; others remain “pro-life,” but compromise their position and “moderate themselves” to win some base votes that they otherwise cannot win office without. Some later become explicitly pro-choice; others try to uphold the pro-life facade. Surely, the cooperation in evil doesn’t justify such actions. However, I think the fact that this occurs reflects a support that is not there, not just for cowards who will compromise, but for those who genuinely will seek office and never win it because they aren’t willing to sell out their principles.

    Yet, it just makes me wonder, if a pro-life Democrat launched an exploratory committee to seek the presidency and actually made it onto the ballot for the Democratic primary, how many pro-life groups or pro-life Americans, might actually extend help in resources for such a candidate to survive the assaults of NARAL, Emily’s List, and Planned Parenthood which is without a doubt the most organized, financed political movement in the U.S.? I’m skeptical of the number of people who would cross over from the GOP and cast their vote to ensure the pro-life candidate wins. I’m sure they have their reasons for it as well.

    I’m not sure anything I’ve said is valid or just my jumbled, ramblings.

    Perhaps, my most controversial thought is this…

    I won’t say it is a double standard.

    I just will say I dislike the reality. It seems that to be authentically a pro-life Democrat you must support Republican candidates, even with the most strident conviction that these candidates will not work fervently, or even with passion, to curtail the horror of abortion — but are rather giving you lip service. Right or wrong, I believe this to be the case. Yet, if you vote for or support pro-life Democratic candidates, some, again, not all, will see this as a moral compromise and support for “pseudo-pro-life” candidates. To such candidates, much scrutiny is given; but this same critical eye is not extended to the pro-life politicians in the GOP; it seems to me, perhaps, I’m wrong, they get quite a bypass. Nor do such individuals see any sort of necessity in helping such candidates win and defeat pro-choice candidates in a party direly in need of pro-life presence.

    Pro-life Democrats can never achieve leaders seats on committees and roles of leadership if they aren’t greater in number to be a force not to be thrown around.

    So, at the end of the day, pro-life Democrats seem to have a responsibility to ensure that Republican candidates beat pro-choice Democrats; yet, the issue of pushing their party in a more pro-life direction, seems to be an issue that is sort of “their problem” — and I cannot see how this current reality doesn’t lend itself to helping the Republican party politically. It maintains its hold on a crucial voting bloc.

    So, not so surprisingly, I agree, at least, in part with critics that the pro-life movement in some respects behaves like a Republican PAC.

    As it so happens, two parties that are pro-life forces competition, competition produces results. It seems then that pro-life Democrats are a potent tool for pro-life success. Even from 2000 to 2006, not a piece of pro-life legislation could pass through Congress without the remaining pro-life Democrats to neutralize and overcome pro-choice Republican votes.

  • But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well.

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?”

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    There has to also be a way that makes the pro-life cause and Democratic political interests better partners. Recall that after 2004, some Democrats began to wonder aloud (perhaps not seriously, but still) of becoming more friendly to the pro-life side of things. I had hoped the “Blue Dog” Democrats might be a moderating force, but not so it seems..

    Though, a third party would always be welcome in my view, however unlikely. It will never happen until enough disillusioned but still caring individuals decided to organize and work to breakdown election rules.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    And in the not-to-distant future they will see that Obama is carrying on that proud tradition, just in a lefty, Oprah-y way with nice posters and logos. Whether they have the courage to see past it remains to be seen.

    “The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.”

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Don’t get me wrong… the Democrats are guilty of all that too!

    “Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).”

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008”, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Will inflation be the issue? Of course, thanks to the billions spent, borrowed or created at the start of Bush’s term and exponentially increased under Obama.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

  • Anthony, I agree. Despite my own previous assumptions, I’m not so sure I’ll be crossing over and helping the GOP in 2010; maybe not in 2012.

    I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.

  • “I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.”

    My mind is being tragically torn into a million pieces that the very thought of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome… and POTUS!

    Thomas Jefferson would be very, VERY disappointed!

  • If you say you won’t support pro-life Republicans in 2010 or 2012 for office against pro-abortion Democrats… what’s the logical conclusion?

    If you say you don’t want the Republicans back in power any time soon, and you’re not insane enough to think that somehow a magical third party will take sweep the congress in 2010 and the presidency in 2012, then the only conclusion is you prefer the RADICALLY pro-abortion Democrats.

    If you don’t see the strategy of supporting the Republican party straight ticket, then vote your conscience on each legitimate candidate on his own merits. That’s the ONLY moral option.

  • I said I’d write in candidates.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

    Of course it’s true, 70% of the population supported the invasion, and both parties with a very few exceptions.

    Relevence? It’s relevent to the point of what will happen in 2010/2012.

    Anthony,

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    I agree, we should patiently pursuade the luke-warm to be on fire for pro-life, and for the pro-abortion to be pro-life or at least luke-warm. THis applies to either party of course. Franly though, you can have a much greater influence on Republican platforms that you like or don’t like than you will on dropping abortion from the Democrat platform. THere is just a lot more tolerence for dissenting views in the Republican party.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    I don’t think most people really have as short a memory as you do about the invasion (bipartisan and popular support), if their memory is short they’ll probably only remember that we won (unless Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, and that they’ll REALLY remember. Expensive? In 2003-2008 terms perhaps, but it is so small compared to Obama’s spending sprees it will not really factor on the decision.

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue. 40 million murdered innocents and counting… no comparison.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Shame on you.

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008?, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    That’s my point, Iraq war, initiated under popular support, waged by the Republicans (poorly at times, but later brilliantly and successfully) from 2003-2008. The wrap-up is Obama’s to screw-up, it will not help him if he lets the job be finished properly, but it will devastate him if he screws it up.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

    are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.

  • Eric Brown,

    I said I’d write in candidates.

    let me get this straight. You consider your objections to the Republican platform to be on such a morally equal level to abortion, even when balanced against the alternative’s incredibly immoral policies… that you would vote AGAINST a viable and authentically pro-life candidate in your congressional district, or for president?

    Think about your position here, it’s untennable. If there is a viable and authentically pro-life candidate you have a moral obligation to support him. In the case of two less than authentically pro-life candidates the Church leaves your conscience to measure the best course, but not when one of them is authentically pro-life.

  • Well, I voted for quite a few Republicans in 2008 and not without a lot of hesitation.

    However, the problem is, that I don’t take at face value that the GOP and Republicans are “authentically” pro-life. Better on abortion than Democrats by far, but not per se…

    And I am not sure if it is a Catholic moral obligation to vote straight ticket Republican.

    I might have reservations to cooperate in the scheme, but I’m not opposed to doing it.

    Read my earlier post.

  • “Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue.”

    Killing is killing. Maybe you’re capable of making value distinctions between innocent, unborn children and innocent Iraqi lives (unless you’re convinced none are innocent), but I’m not.

    The “bigger picture” you refer to is only a numbers game. But the result is the same: death, unintended consequences and damage to human dignity.

    “Shame on you.”

    I’m going to explain myself rather than take that personally. This is the internet after all.

    Our intervention in Japan and Germany is not over. We’re still there, in one capacity or another. And we shouldn’t be, regardless of whether the Germans or the Japanese wish us to be. Here it is 60 years after a terrible and bloody war and American treasure is still being sent abroad to places in which the native peoples are more than capable of taking responsibility for themselves.

    Oh yeah, and dropping two atomic bombs? Morally reprehensible. Nothing to be proud of about that. I can’t imagine Christ doing anything other than weeping.

    So sorry, I’m not going to take The History Channel view of American “victory”.

    “Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.”

    Its a trillion dollar war now, Matt. Plus untold losses on the Iraqi side and an incalculable amount lost in terms of productivity. Who cares about percentages at that point?

    If that money had to be spent, it would have been better but towards meeting our burdensome domestic obligations. The bills are adding up…

    By other “foreign policy” spending… do you mean wasted things like… diplomats?! Linguists?! Negotiators?! You know, the guys that try to resolve problems without killing someone. 🙂

    I’ll give you one thing, if you’d get us out of the U.N. I’d back you up. Thats some prime property here in Manhattan I’d love to see sold off.

    “are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.”

    I don’t consider myself a pacifist. I do however, believe that the threshold for a just war is extremely high and rarely reached. Additionally, in cases where it is justly reached rarely is it justly executed. I have the same attitude towards the death penalty.

    The American Revolution and The Southern War for Independence to my mind were justified. (I also want to include The Texas Revolution, but my memory is a bit faded on it) Our involvement in WWII was justified, but I think we should have no delusions about the politics that lead up to our entering the war. I also believe portions of how WWII was executed were unjust.

    The Spanish-American War, WWI (a special shout-out here), the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War I and II etc. are unjust wars in my view.

    The current war in Afghanistan should have been formally declared after 9-11, with victory clearly defined. My opinion has been that it should have been declared specifically against Al-Qaeda, since they did the same to us in the late 90s. War against the state of Afghanistan should only have been declared if they chose to continue material support to Al-Qaeda.

  • I think the issue is less guilt by association than it is the fact that association can draw you into defending things that really shouldn’t be defended. Over the past month, for example, folks at EWTN, First Things, Inside Catholic and the American Life League have defended the use of torture (or enhanced interrogation, or whatever they’re calling it these days). They didn’t have to do that, and I suspect that if the sides had been reversed (with Dems largely supporting these methods and Repubs opposed) that they wouldn’t have done so. But there’s something about politics that makes people feel that they need to “defend their team” regardless of the system.

    To some extent this may be inherent in the nature of politics (if it weren’t for this political ‘team spirit’ I doubt you could get very many people to participate in the political process or even vote). And it certainly applies on the left as well as on the right. But the danger is real.

  • Blackadder is correct.

  • In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    In the interests of precision it should be that George Bush – pere made just two appointments to the Court, one of which worked out badly. Please also note that Republican presidents have had to maneuver eight of their last 12 court appointments past a legislature controlled by the political opposition. This reality has been salient with regard to the tenure of Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. One might also note the list of registered Democrats who have sat on the Court since 1969 (one of which was nominated by Gen. Eisenhower):

    1. William O. Douglas
    2. William J. Brennan, Jr.
    3. Byron White
    4. Thurgood Marshall
    5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    6. Steven Breyer

    Not one of them had to run an obstacle course erected by a Republican Senate. Only one of these (White) ever showed much resistance to enactment by judicial ukase of whatever the prevailing ethos was in Georgetown (and it is doubtful that Mr. Justice White’s most controversial acts of refusal would have been regarded as remarkable either in the legal professoriate or among politicians at the time he was appointed in 1962). Seven of the twelve Republican appointments have been failures, in part because of negligence (Gerald Ford’s and George Bush-pere’s), incompetence (that of Richard Nixon, John Mitchell, and John Dean), and in part because (it is reasonable to surmise) of successful deception by the candidate in question (Sandra Day O’Connor).

    What is a more interesting question is why Mr. Brown would have more than a laconic interest in the competition between the two parties with regard to any other nexus of issues. Both parties are promoters of some version of the mixed economy. The Democratic Party is a reliable ally (the Republicans merely acquiescent) in the promotion of the designs of the social work industry, the organized appetite of academia, the teacher’s colleges, and the public employee unions. Certain subcultures within the population appear to be tribal Democrats). Why should these distinctions excite Mr. Brown’s loyalty?

  • Anthony, I think a lot of it depends on whose ox is being gored. Being partly of Cuban ancestry, I would take issue with your statement that the Spanish American war was unjustified–or at least, that element within it that consisted of Cuban citizens fighting to rout their foreign rulers. And while my Southern creds are impeccable, I confess that I remain deeply divided about the legitimacy of the Wah of Nawthun Agression–particularly the nasty little bit of Confederate adventuring in Charleston Harbor that set off the whole powder keg.

    I am glad to see, however, that you have no false illusions about WWII. Though there is no doubt in my mind that it was justified, I have often reflected recently that the brutality inflicted by all sides–Allies included–in that conflict, makes the sturm und drang about the Iraq War seem doubly ridiculous.

  • Art,

    Then it seems then that more careful vetting would be something GOP presidents should work on and pro-life advocates should strongly affirm that they desire anti-Roe judges and won’t settle for compromises.

    Even in the 1980s, the Democratic party was markedly pro-choice, but there were still a few pro-life Democratic votes in the Senate and I don’t think it was filibuster proof. I’d have to look into that; I’m not so sure if compromise and “moderate” candidates was so necessary.

    Agreed, however, that O’Connor was successful. I must say that I’ve been disappointed with the most recent women firsts — Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, to be particular. They were all pro-choice…so sad.

    On another note —

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform. And I feel that I simply wouldn’t fit in with the GOP. I practically diverge away on every issue.

    In regard to competition, my only point was that if the Democratic Party had a pro-life plank, the GOP couldn’t half-ass deliver on its promises or fail to give abortion the priority it deserves because pro-life advocates could find a home and place in the Democratic Party. Therefore, competition would increase and the party’s would try to out do each other — but the effect of that is real progress in stopping abortion.

    In other words, the tit-for-tat of pro-choice vs. pro-life means one Administration puts in place pro-abortion policies, another Administration rolls it back, then again, and again. Progress is very slow; if this were not the case, then progress would quicken.

    My feeling on this is that the pro-life movement because of the grave evil of legalized murder doesn’t have the luxury to make up strategy as it goes. I happen to think our current strategy is too tied up in one party. People can disagree; but I think my reasons are valid. Thanks.

  • cminor – Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    What I object to in my list of unjust wars is the element of military intervention. Its one thing to philosophically support foreigners, or offer them peaceful-oriented material support (food, medical aide, etc. – mostly for civilians). Violent intervention is a bridge too far. I’m one of those guys who think neutrality is a legitimate and respectable response to foreign wars, especially ones at great geographical distance.

    Eric –

    I’m of the personal view that if the Democrats did have a pro-life bench they would be wildly successful and almost impossible to defeat.

    Granted I’m not a Democrat and never will be. The concerns that their platform addresses I might have heart for, but their solutions more often than not have unintended or misunderstood consequences. LBJ’s Great Society, for example, was anything but. FDR’s social security has contributed ironically to making us less financially secure. These policies, sold to the American public as being in line with liberty, over time make the population dependent – and I would even say pawns or slaves – to the state.

    The Democrats are in essence the party of social and economic intervention. The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism. When politically convenient or necessary, both parties will swap philosophies.

  • Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    Interesting. In most ways, I think I would tend to say the exact opposite.

    Indeed, one of the American wars I have more difficulty justifying is the Revolution. And my sympathies in the Civil War are definitely with the North.

  • The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism.

    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.

    Eric,

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform.

    Wow. That’s quite a statement since many of their platform items are contrary to Catholic teaching.

    – abortion
    – contraception
    – secularism
    – limiting the rights of parents to educate their children

  • Matt,

    Last time I checked, party platforms are quite long lists.

    National security policies (which covers an array of issues), foreign policy (again an array of issues), health care, public funding of education, energy, taxes, fighting poverty through private and public sector solutions, and the list goes on.

    If you consider the whole of the platform, I agree with the vast majority of the points.

    Lastly, I don’t think anywhere in the party platform does it state we support “secularism.”

    I’m not saying that many Democrats have a wonderful understanding of the idea of separation of Church and State, but that’s flat out not in the platform.

    I didn’t say I agree with every point of the platform.

    If we had a point list and went down the party platform of each party and I had to respond ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ — the Democrats would win. Ask me to vote between candidates and probably not.

    Matt, could you really work on not being so overly aggressive and condescending as a commenter? Seriously. It’s not really in this post, but there are more charitable and engaging ways to address people.

    You could have said quoted my comment and asked:

    “Eric, could you clarify what you mean here? A few tenets of the Democratic platform contradict Catholic teaching.”

    That’s very charitable and not so assuming.

    I’m sure we’re all guilty, but we argue on this blog so much about “good” Catholics and “bad” Catholics, let’s strive to actually imitate Jesus.

  • Darwin –

    Perhaps living in Texas will influence your outlook. Certainly myself having been born and raised in Houston I experienced a subculture in America that took pride in its republican sovereignty as a historical footnote. However, Texas by and large is mostly just ‘bark and no bite’ when it comes to independence. Post-Civil War they’ve been properly beaten into submission and made to feel guilty (like the rest of the South) for ever daring to give Washington the screw.

    In the case of both The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy but merely her expulsion. If the South succeeded in gaining independence, perhaps the war would have been known as ‘The Southern Revolution’ or ‘The Second American Revolution’. Had both the above conflicts been genuine ‘civil wars’ I would think the endgame would involve usurping power in London and Washington D.C.

    Thats all I’ll say… I’m already too far off topic.

  • The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy

    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.

  • ****
    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.
    ****

    Matt,

    Maybe I’m being dimwitted, but I think you just responded to my ‘talking points’ with your own set.

    The Republican record is atrocious, especially when it comes to the litmus test of a strict reading of the Constitution and following what I can only presume are Jeffersonian principles. On matters of free speech, spending, declarations of war, states rights and social/government programs they have not lived up to their speeches. They pick and choose which rights and which liberties and which kind of justice just as much as Democrats.

    Our politicians are ‘Cafeteria Constitutionalists’ if I can paraphrase.

    Clinton might indeed have more military interventions (Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq immediately spring to mind), but the cost was no where near that of Bush II. My ‘militarism’ reference is more geared toward the current state of the party and the cultural attitudes attracted to it.

    Like I said above, those described philosophies are also quickly swapped depending on the political weather. Right now, for instance, the Republicans have become much better on a variety of issues. The problem is they have zero credibility.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.
    *****

    I’d love to debate all these points, but it is another topic thread. Unless we have permission to go free-for-all. 🙂

  • Anthony,

    Following the self-indulgent principle of “it’s my thread so I’ll take if off topic if I feel like it”, because this strikes me as an interesting topic:

    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good. In the case of the American Revolution, it strikes me that the injustices being imposed by the British were arguably very small compared to the evils of a drawn out war. Though the political philosophy of the American founding fathers strikes me as sufficiently far superior to that of the British empire that I an strongly tempted to say it was worth it anyway.

    In the case of the Civil War, I’m mildly sympathetic to states rights, but the stand was only being taken over states rights in order to insist on slavery. In that regard, I would happily have carried a rifle for the Union.

    Still, interesting conversation. I hope you’ll be around next week when I post my review (possibly multi part) of Empires of Trust. That should generate some interesting conversation.

    Blackadder,

    I think you’re right on tribalism. The temptation seems to have been too strong for some pro-life advocates to defend what they should not. Though at the same time — I don’t necessarily see the mistakes of those people as discrediting the movement as a whole. Or at least, it should not do so in the eyes of people who have long been used to swallowing the bitter pill of abortion support in the leaders they look up to on various “social justice” issues.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.
    *****

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone argue that the British crown was illegitimate, just tyrannical. The grievance, as I remember, was basically that a.) the crown’s actions were unjust and economically destructive, and b.) there was not sufficient representation in Parliament for the American colonies to voluntarily submit if they wanted to.

    Had those matters been better negotiated I would not have seen much cause for political separation. But they weren’t, so in my view it was justifiable to expel the threat to life, liberty and property and replace it with a better suited form of governance. It was time, as they say, to ‘appeal to heaven’.

    With regard to the war between the states its messier and more complicated, but similar to the situation with Britain.

    Let me first say that slavery is as reprehensible as abortion, contrary to any conception of liberty and should be rejected at all times and by all peoples. Were I living in America circa the 1850s, 1860s I would have been anti-slavery, but at peace with Southern secession.

    I often wonder if perhaps by allowing the South to secede, in time slavery could still have been done away with; particularly if Southern states sought to rejoin the Union at a later date. That way we could avoid the half million American deaths and a century of racial and and cultural resentment that is the Civil War’s sad legacy.

    I do not believe that slavery was the exclusive issue at stake in the Civil War. Not every individual fought for the same reason. If truly the war was one of liberation and not one of radically changing our Union’s understanding simultaneously, then permitting secession followed by an invasive mission to free slaves would have made more sense. Abolishing slavery in those states that did not secede would also have been more consistent on the part of the Union. Buying slaves and freeing them would also have made more sense. But both sides dug in… there had to be more to it than the lone moral debate over slavery.

    The South, in my view had a natural and popular desire to dissolve a political arrangement; no matter how imperfect or disgusting their own house could be. (Slavery, if I recall rightly, was enshrined in the CSA Constitution).

    Also I believe there to be legitimate historical and philosophical arguments over Lincoln’s goals at the war’s outset and the role tariffs and taxation played in further aggravating the conflict. Pro-Union historians who concede certain points about Lincoln usually argue that the president grew into being ‘The Great Emancipator’ over the course of the war thus legitimizing the “it was all about slavery” view. But if that is to be allowed then it could also be allowed that for the South what began as a wrong-headed defense of slavery grew into a larger and legitimate cause for political liberty.

    Its a real historical shame that the principle of ‘state’s rights’ – or rather a deference to local government – is tainted by the stench of slavery. Perhaps its only fitting that large, federal government is duly being connected to the stink of abortion, euthanasia, war and economic foolishness.

    *****
    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good.
    *****

    I’m not certain there is much to say from the Church’s perspective and I only have a few, sketchy thoughts here.

    For one, after life, liberty is a natural and necessary condition in order for mankind to pursue good. I tend to think that if liberty is abridged (either by a state or individual) it further complicates pursuing a moral good via moral means. An individual or a people placed in a desperate situation they’re likely going to react desperately I’d imagine. The slave is legitimate in his revolt against the master, just as the South had legitimacy in its desire to no longer be under Washington’s growing power.

    Second, and perhaps more telling, concerns the general attitude towards ‘the State’. Where as I see the Church as a ‘higher’ form of institution that teaches and loves (however imperfectly some times), the State is considerably lower or lowest in my estimation. Indeed, I find it positively parasitical and unproductive.

    I would note that this does not mean I am not patriotic. I love my country. I love its peoples, my family, my friends, its lands, its culture and even its intellectual traditions. I cannot transfer that love to the State, indeed I find love of state to be dangerous and inescapably competitive with the things I ought to love (my neighbor, my God, etc.).

    Were I to run for office, my platform would likely be to tie the federal government’s hands as much as possible and follow the Constitution to the letter – even when inconvenient.

  • As has been remarked, parliamentary representation in Britain prior to 1832 was quite haphazard – – rotten boroughs, pocket boroughs, dominacy of Lords over Commons, &c. The lack of assignment of representation to the colonies was an aspect of that. (To this day, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the residuum of overseas colonies do not have such representation). Why a series of excise taxes should spark a territorial revolt is an interesting question, from a sociological standpoint. Excises on paint and paper and tea may be good or bad policy. Such does not ‘tyranny’ make.

    Lincoln’s original motivations are an historical question. My purpose was to make a rough and ready statement as to why I would conceive of the use of force in that circumstance as legitimate.

    Personally, I think the U.S. Constitution is manifestly defective and should be scrapped.

  • I did not know about the sketchy representation in Parliament. Huh… the more you know!

  • Anthony

    As to Lincoln and the Civil War

    As a Southern one hears that often the Victors write hisotry. However as to the Civil War I often find the losers(we southerners) have often wrote it or “rewrote it” with amazing success. This was whiched one of its climaxes when Woodrow Wilson was elected and suddenly that horrid film he screened became the offical line

    First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away. It seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds in Texas. That was once a Catholic NO SLAVE STATE. It is without a doubt that SOuthern Leadership wanted a slave empire. Their constant designs on Cuba and Central America a prime example. In fact a slave Manifest Destiny with desgins on California. I suspect if things had gone differently if DC had been captured and even Philly I am not so sure that areas like New Mexico and Arizona to say the least would have been given back. There was consideravle Confederate action in New Mexico for example and the COnfederate recognized a Arizona Seccesionist Govt

    As to the “growing Federal Power” if you look at the Seccession Declarations of the States SLAVERY was the issue. While a few threw in talk of light houses and the occasional tariff this was the prime concern

    Southerners had used Federal Power quite a bit. They imposed a gag rule on Slavery in Congress, the mails could be censured of anti slavery things. Also what they wanted in the end was a Federal Slave Code. That would have been the largest exapnsion of Federal Power ever. In fact it was largely on this that the SOutherners broke with the Democrat party on that fateful day in Charleston at the Democrat Convention

  • First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away.

    Counter-factual speculation is somewhat idle. However, it ought be noted that the abolition of slavery in the United States was appended to the abolition of hereditary subjection all over Europe and Russia over the period running from 1789 through 1864. (Admittedly, serfdom is a qualitatively different institution). Also, I believe that the abolition of slavery in Brazil was enacted just a few years after the close of the American Civil War.

  • Well, the boll weevil would have done in the cotton industry one way or another, so retaining large quantities of slave labor would have become considerably less profitable for one major export at least. Importing new slave labor would also have become increasingly difficult and unprofitable, considering that standard practice on the big plantations in immediately antebellum Georgia and the deep South was to work slaves more or less to death over several years and then replace them. Slave escapes would likely have largely emptied border states (maybe we’d have a wall down the middle of the continent!) There might still be slavery, but not to the same extent as before; likely the system would have gotten extremely draconian before finally starting to fizzle, however.

    Currently I live in a South that, all things considered, is in pretty good shape. If a war (that we started) is what it took to bring the abomination that was slavery to an earlier close and my Confederate forefathers had to lose it so that this corner of the country wouldn’t degenerate into a demagogue-ridden third world state, though they haunt me for saying it, it’s just as well.

    For the record, I got the full Southern version of history in grade school. The victors didn’t write it all.

  • BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.

  • My favorite history of the Civil War was written by Shelby Foote, and the best study of command in the Civil War, Lee’s Lieutenants, was written by Douglas Southall Freeman. When it comes to the Civil War, the Southern viewpoint has produced myriad first class histories.

  • “BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.”

    I never said slavery was not part of it. My view has always been that the debate over slavery poured into a lager crisis over the meaning of the Union.

    I merely reject the argument that the Civil War was exclusively over that acute issue. The question of both liberty for slaves, political liberty for the Southern States and the Union’s meaning under the Constitution.

    You can’t disconnect the slave issue from its Constitutional aspects, its economic aspects any more than you can its moral ones. I’d also add that as one who leans rather libertarian the lens through which I’m viewing things is liberty itself. Questions of authority are antithetical. Why can’t one believe that slaves should be free and Southern states free? It seems rather “American” to me.

One Response to Becoming a Father: A Political Manifesto

Worthless Political Hack Says Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Answer To Our Prayers

Saturday, April 18, AD 2009

pelosi

Worthless Political Hack Nancy Pelosi, in defiance of the teaching of the Catholic Church of which she is purportedly a member, said on Friday embryonic stem cell research is the answer to our prayers.  She is quoted as saying , “We need science, science, science, science, science. ” I agree with the  Worthless Political Hack.  She might consider this little factoid:  number of cures and treatments from adult stemcell research:  72;  number of cures and treatments from embryonic stemcell research:  00.00.  If the Worthless Political Hack ever wishes to read the actual science on the subject a good place to start is here.

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11 Responses to Worthless Political Hack Says Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Answer To Our Prayers

Obama's "Ban on Cloning"

Tuesday, March 24, AD 2009

As arguments raged over Obama’s executive order to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research a few weeks ago, the administration’s pro-life defenders emphasized that this was only a small incremental step beyond the Bush administration policy and that the Obama administration would be very careful in examining the ethical issues and most especially would not allow the production of cloned embryos.

The problem is that, as shown by an extended debate between Doug Kmiec and Robert P. George on the US News “God & Country” blog, current policy far from banning cloning, will encourage it. (HT: Mary Meets Dolly, one of the best resources for serious Catholics on genetics related ethical and scientific issues.)

Obama’s statement was:

And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.

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5 Responses to Obama's "Ban on Cloning"

  • Here is the thing; even without ESCR you will have issues of cloning involved with non-ESCR. I think most people neglect that. Indeed, I still find normal stem cell (non-embryonic) to be morally questionable, and we are going too far too quick without reasoning it out.

    Moreover, since both Obama and McCain supported ESCR, it is clear this is a cultural issue, and not just partisan. I think we need to fix the culture, and maybe the candidates will change because of it, don’t you?

  • Here is the thing; even without ESCR you will have issues of cloning involved with non-ESCR. I think most people neglect that. Indeed, I still find normal stem cell (non-embryonic) to be morally questionable, and we are going too far too quick without reasoning it out.

    Actually, to my knowledge, non-embryonic stem cell research does not involve cloning. Cloning is specifically the creation of a new embryo (a new human being) with DNA matching that of another human being by transfering the DNA of the “parent” human being into a fertilized egg cell. The non-embryonic stem cell methodologies out there involve taking stem cells extracting from a living person and culturing those stem cells so that they grow on their own. No egg is used, and no embryo is created.

    Moreover, since both Obama and McCain supported ESCR, it is clear this is a cultural issue, and not just partisan. I think we need to fix the culture, and maybe the candidates will change because of it, don’t you?

    They did both support ESCR to an extent, and that was a very grave problem with both candidates. However, to my knowledge, McCain did not support embryo creation via cloning/SCNT, while Obama supports it. Since the use of cloning allows the creation of large numbers of human embryos with the express purpose of destroying them through use, I think it’s fair to consider Obama’s position on this worse even though McCain’s was bad.

    I do strongly agree that we need to change the culture on this issue, which is why I think it’s important that knowledgeable voices make it clear that SCNT/”theraputic cloning” is in fact cloning, and that we should at a purely humanistic level find the production of human beings for research and “spare parts” to be an offense against human dignity. That is why this should be an important teaching moment, and why I think Robert P. George’s contribution in the linked exchange on a major secular news site was of great help, while Kmiec’s dissembling was clearly not.

  • Obama on Embryonic Stem Cell Research & Cloning (from Mirror of Justice):

    1. Was an original sponsor of the bill to overturn President Bush’s funding policy (http://obama.senate.gov/press/070411-obama_renews_su/).

    2. Was a co-sponsor of the misleadingly named “Human Cloning Ban Act of 2005,” which, if passed, would have protected cloning-for-biomedical research, and would have required the destruction of all human embryos created by cloning, on pain of federal criminal law (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.1520:).

    3. As a member of the Illinois General Assemby, he voted against a ban on all forms of human cloning (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/srollcalls92/920SB0493_03292001_041000T.PDF ).

    4. Most shocking, he voted against a bill in the United States Senate that would have authorized increased funding for recently developed forms of stem cell research that do not require the use and destruction of human embryos, despite the fact that such research has captured the imagination of the scientific community both for its efficacy and moral neutrality, and despite the fact that the bill in no way precluded funding for embryo destructive research (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00128 ).

  • The 2005 movie, The Island is about this very thing, creating human clones for spare parts. Scary stuff, but a great movie.

  • Henry K.,

    normal stem cell (non-embryonic) to be morally questionable

    how so? The Church seems to be supportive of this adult stem cell therapies.

One Response to Stem Cells and Sophistry

  • O’Rourke’s argument is one to value because it doesn’t rely on theology. Of course, we base our beliefs on the teachings of the Church, but that cuts no ice whatsoever with progressive pro-aborts. I’ve argued (in vain) with pro-abortion liberals that a secular case can be made against abortion and embryonic stem cell research and O’Rourke is the man to do it.

    O’Rourke has cancer, and yet he doesn’t mention it once in the article. O’Rourke might have been a wild man in his youth, but he is not one who thinks it’s OK if others die if it might prolong his life by a few years.

This May Explain His Position on Abortion

Friday, March 13, AD 2009

Fertilizing embryos?  You know, I never thought much of the intelligence of ex-President Clinton, although I stood in awe of his political skills, but I did think, based upon his colorful history, that he had the facts of life down pat.  For his future reference, and the edification of anyone who agrees with him about fertilizing embryos, this video might be helpful.  The fellow not correcting Clinton?   Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the nominee of President Obama for Surgeon General until Gupta abruptly withdrew his name from consideration.

Update: Father Z is all over this story.

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3 Responses to This May Explain His Position on Abortion

  • I think that Clinton’s clear message was that the American people will support the killing of human beings for the purpose of harvesting their body parts as long as those human beings are deemed useless. Clinton correctly pointed out that the key to keeping the support of the American people is emphasizing the uselessness of the embryos.

  • Don, I’m sorry to stick this here in the comments section.

    We’ve got huge problems and are desperate for some help getting it out there. Catholic periodicals are refusing to to publish the story because it exposes a Cardinal in a series of lies that will ultimately lead Catholic physicians, nurses and healthcare workers in Massachusetts and eventually other places from losing their conscience protections.

    He has opined that Catholics may speak to women seeking abortions putting abortion in a positive light in a primary healthcare setting, they may provide referrals to abortion hotlines and even provide the woman with transportation. He has agreed to have planned parenthood monitor healthcare workers to be in compliance with this contract. One healthcare worker is suggesting that monitoring be done directly in the examination room with pregnant women. This, the Cardinal says, is completely consistent with Catholic ethics and the Gospel of Life.

    Boston Catholics organized a large contingency of opposition which forced the Cardinal asked for a second opinion from the Bioethics Center but the Bioethics Center’s opinion will remain confidential and with the dishonest tenure of Cardinal O’Malley who has permitted Bryan Hehir to run the diocese, we do not trust that the opinion will be released in a timely manner or the be honest about the the contents of the opinion.

    In response, the Cardinal is circulating communications that are dishonest about the facts and maligning faithful prolifers as people who are doing a disservice to the Church.

    http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/

    To be perfectly clear, Caritas Christi will never do anything to promote abortions, to direct any patients to providers of abortion or in any way to participate in actions that are contrary to Catholic moral teaching and anyone who suggests otherwise is doing a great disservice to the Catholic Church. We are committed to the Gospel of Life and no arrangemt will be entered into unless it is completely in accord with Church teaching.

    Details from the Boston Globe:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/13/mass_regulators_ok_joint_caritas_centene_healthcare_venture/

    The Connector Authority board, which oversees the Commonwealth Care program, voted unanimously in favor of the joint venture proposed by Centene Corp., a St. Louis-based health organization, and Caritas Christi Health Care Network.

    The vote followed several closed-door sessions in which officials from Centene and Caritas, the minority partner in the joint venture, assured regulators that women will have “ready access” to family planning and reproductive services, an issue that sparked concerns from abortion foes and reproductive rights activists.

    Among the written assurances are a pledge that medical staff operating under the Centene-Caritas insurance plan, known as Commonwealth Family Health Plan, will inform women of their healthcare options, including abortion. The insurers will also provide a toll-free customer service line, available around the clock, to inform women about where they can get contraception, sterilization, and other family planning services not offered in the immediate setting. In an emergency, a service representative will arrange transportation to the nearest appropriate facility, officials said.

    The regulators promised to watch closely. “We will certainly monitor their performance,” said Jon Kingsdale, the authority’s executive director. “We will not allow them to start up or continue if they are not in compliance.”

    As a measure of the underlying tensions, four board members emphasized the need for oversight.

    “I remain somewhat concerned about implementation,” said Nonnie Burnes, state commissioner of insurance and a former Planned Parenthood board member. “I am willing to support this as long as we have some way to monitor this” in doctor’s offices and other healthcare facilities.

    When Caritas let the cat out of the bag the plans at the hospital level, he had to cease and desist saying there would be “no abortion referrals”. His most recent statement implies that while he appreciates the opportunity for Caritas employees to serve poor woman by providing her with abortion information, resources, phone numbers and sending her by taxi for the abortion, he’s waiting for the Bioethics Center to render an opinion on whether this is honest to God Catholic credo.

    While I appreciate the opportunity given to Caritas Christi to serve the poor through this agreement, I wish to reaffirm that this agreement can only be realized if the moral obligations for Catholic hospitals as articulated in the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are fulfilled at all times,O’Malley said. “To assure me that this agreement will provide for the integrity of the Catholic identity and practices of Caritas Christi Health Care System, I have asked the National Catholic Bioethics Center to review the agreement and to assure me that it is faithful to Catholic principles.”

    This is a news release from Boston Catholic Action League.

    NEWS RELEASE

    THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2009

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT: C. J. DOYLE

    (781) 251-9739

    CATHOLIC ACTION LEAGUE DENOUNCES CARITAS CHRISTI DEAL WITH COMMONWEALTH CARE

    The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today criticized the Archdiocesan hospital network, Caritas Christi, for accepting a state contract, in conjunction with the Centene Corporation, to provide Commonwealth Care health insurance, which includes abortion coverage. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority Board awarded the contract this morning after Caritas/Centene assured the panel that women will have “ready access” to timely family planning services such as abortion, sterilization and contraception.

    The Catholic Action League called the contract “a significant defeat for the pro-life movement, inflicted not by secular society, but by the Catholic Church in Boston.”

    Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: “What remains of the Catholic character of Caritas Christi has now been fatally compromised. The partnership in which Caritas Christi is one of the two principals will provide ‘ready access’ to abortion, which the Catholic religion condemns as ‘an abominable crime’. ”

    “It is now clear that the Archdiocese of Boston has spent the last week cynically misdirecting Catholics and the general public with empty assurances that Caritas Christi would not collaborate in abortion. If a woman with a Commonwealth Care card walks into a Caritas Christi hospital seeking an abortion, she will be directed back to her health plan — the Caritas/Centene partnership — which will not only arrange for the procedure, but if necessary will provide transportation to the facility which performs it.”

    “With Caritas Christi now thoroughly embedded in the culture of death, we are now facing the end, in Massachusetts at least, of Catholic medical resistance to abortion and contraception. This tragic state of affairs is the personal responsibility of the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who not only failed to stop this contract, but who endorsed it while making unsupportable assertions implausibly denying what everyone else knew — that the contract required participation in the deliberate killing of innocent unborn children.”

    Please help us get it out there – Carol McKinley
    http://votingcatholicin2008.blogspot.com/

  • Never thought I’d see the day Bill Clinton needed to have where babies come from explained. 🙂

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-11-2009

Wednesday, March 11, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1.  There are massive leaks all over the Catholic blogosphere concerning a Papal Letter in regards to the SSPX.  Pope Benedict XVI will release a statement expressing his disenchantment of the reaction among Catholics over the lifting of the excommunications of SSPX.  His Holiness also explains that he will connect the Ecclesia Dei commission to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  He also states clearly that the Church is not frozen in 1962, so the SSPX will need to embrace Vatican II.  In addition Vatican II also “brings with it the the whole doctrinal history of the Church”, ie, the Church didn’t end at Vatican II either.

For the story click here.

2.  The Pope’s trip to Israel will entail a visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque otherwise known as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.  That’ll be interesting.

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Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. There seems to be a growing counter-movement in U.S. politics aligning itself against the Catholic Church.  We see it happening in Connecticut where state legislatures want to control Church property.  We also see it in the higher echelons of government where President Obama are using Catholic pawns such as Douglas Kmiec and Kathleen Sebelius.  It isn’t being orchestrated by anyone, but the common theme seems to be to neutralize the effectiveness of the Church.  Dave Hartline of the Catholic Report wrote an excellent column tieing all these loose ends together and explaining the consequences of this growing counter-movement.

For Dave Hartline’s columnn click on counter-movement above or here.

2. Speaking of Connecticut, Archbishop Charles Chaput has this to say concerning SB 1098 that would remove the bishops authority over each parish:

“legislative coercion directed against the Catholic community in one state has implications for Catholics in every other state. If bigots in one state succeed in coercive laws like SB 1098, bigots in other states will try the same.”

The bigots Archbishop Chaput is referring to are Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Mike Lawlor, who are both homosexual activists that opposed the local Church’s efforts to defend marriage between a man and a woman.

For the article click on SB 1098 above or here.

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One Response to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

  • What Hath Prop 8 Wrought. More annoying little bedbugs like these two will pop up all over the country. Nothing organized as an anti-Catholic conspiracy, but effect is just the same. Much of this stuff bubbling up since November 5. We hope and pray that the sheer ineptitude of these forces allow them to trip up themselves. As King David prayed about ex-advisor Ahithophel, who jumped to rebel side of angry son Absolom. King prayed O Lord turn their counsel against them. We should too.

To Further Divide Us

Monday, March 9, AD 2009

President Obama has signed an executive order lifting restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, as he promised in his campaign speeches.  For anyone who doesn’t see this as yet one more blow in a long string of anti-life policies, consider the chilling words at the end of the article that people are using to justify the research:

“This was already life that was going to be destroyed… The choice is throw them away or use them for research.”

I wonder how long it would take before we use such arguments on, say, criminals sentenced to life in prison (or who are on death row, even). Or the elderly. Or the sick. Or the mentally deficient. Or…

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27 Responses to To Further Divide Us

  • What you’ll get is everything that FOCA contained but chopped up and passed separately. That way those who voted for him can still claim FOCA didn’t happen.

  • The legacy of Bush, who opened the doors to ESCR…

  • Mark D.,

    No that’s the line over at Vox Nova. Here is my comment from there:

    Henry,
    I believe the funding under President Bush was for stem cell lines already established. The rationale for this is that such line continue to divide and grow and new embryos are not destroyed in their production. From your link:
    “Because stem cell lines divide continuously in culture, these lines can be used by hundreds of individual researchers.? One line alone has already resulted in 136 shipments to researchers.”
    That is significantly different than what Obama has done today.

  • It’s painful to see him undoing everything that was done by the previous administration. I am not keen on this stem cell research….

    http://kellenebishop.wordpress.com

  • Well, Bush is not the president. Barack Obama is and contrary to much of what he said on the campaign trail, he is not really playing any sort of “new” politics.

  • Mark D.,

    Mark DeFrancisis Says:
    Monday, March 9, 2009 A.D. at 3:19 pm

    The legacy of Bush, who opened the doors to ESCR…

    Back at it again? A little more of your partisan and empty rhetoric?

    The NIH could have funded ESCR until he banned it for any new lines, thus, perhaps funding immoral research on already dead embryos, he banned any funding which new research, thus discouraging the destruction of new embryos even more than if he had banned any funding at all.

    Bush did not open any doors, even if he failed to close all of the doors that we might have wanted.

  • My statement stands. Bush’s legacy is ESCR funding.

  • Mark,

    explain your logic?

    oops… I forgot, partisanship and empty rhetoric needs no logic.

  • Bush was the one who closed the door on ESCR funding. Without him and his vetoes we would have had full blown funding long ago. Blaming him for this is Orwellian.

  • Orwellian. Vox Nova. What’s the difference?

  • Okay, trying to score rhetorical points. But it was fun.

    Anyway. Morally I believe the Vatican has pronounced that using STEM CELL LINES is not per se immoral as it does not involve the ONGOING destruction of embryos. From the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

    “What support is there in Church teaching for this position?

    A statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life issued in 2005 holds that one may use these products, despite their distant association with abortion, at least until such time as new vaccines become available”

    Here’s the link to the Vatican document:

    http://www.ncbcenter.org/vaticanresponse.pdf

  • Phillip,

    That is incorrect, the use of vaccine carries a different level of cooperation with evil than the development of same:

    As regards the preparation, distribution and marketing of vaccines produced as a result of the use of biological material whose origin is connected with cells coming from foetuses voluntarily aborted, such a process is stated, as a matter of principle, morally illicit, because it could contribute in encouraging the performance of other voluntary abortions, with the purpose of the production of such vaccines. Nevertheless, it should be recognized that, within the chain of production-distribution-marketing, the various cooperating agents can have different moral responsibilities

    This would be doubly illicit because the embryos are not voluntarily aborted, but typically created for the purpose of destruction. If this research were restricted to “discarded” embryos (which it is not) then it would still be illicit as noted above.

  • The question of Bush’s funding of ESCR I suppose depends on where you’re looking. I don’t like the fact that he permitted any research at all, for the scandal it causes, but at the same time he did put some limitations on the research. I suppose this goes back to the problem of whether or not the perfect is the enemy of the good. In order to claim that ESCR is Bush’s legacy, one must show that his policies increased in the amount of ESCR, which I don’t believe it did (though I’m open to references to the contrary).

    Nevertheless, regardless of scandal, one’s actions are still one’s own. It was Obama who made an executive order lifting restrictions on ESCR, another in a list of nearly daily events that cater to the culture of death and snubs the pro-life crowd.

  • Ryan,

    by way of clarification, Bush did not ban any sort of research, he only banned Federal funding of such.

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  • Matt,

    Thanks. I need to work on being more precise in my posts and comments. The gist of my argument still stands, though, in terms of the effect. Private funding tends to be slightly more discriminating than federal funding, with the effect of the latter providing opportunities for ventures that would not receive private funding. ESCR is one of those areas, especially as it has led to little success and many gruesome results. Cutting the public funding was effectively a ban, but not technically one.

  • Matt,

    I think what Bush allowed funding of was research on already established cell lines and not on continued production of embryos for subsequent destruction to produce new cell lines. Therefore the analogy with vaccines derived from cell lines. I would agree with the potential for scandal even with this policy as Ryan notes. As I asked on Vox Nova, does anyone have a link to what the Vatican said about Bush’s 2001 policy?

  • Phillip,

    I see the connection you’re making, but I think it needs to be recognized that the Vatican response makes a distinction between consuming of the vaccines and producing them, the latter being immoral which would apply to experimenting on the pre-existing lines.

    I don’t believe the Vatican made comment on the Bush 2001 policy, but I think the Church’s position would be that all ESCR should be banned (not just the funding of them).

  • Ryan,

    especially as it has led to little success and many gruesome results. Cutting the public funding was effectively a ban, but not technically one.

    precisely why we need to vastly shrink the size of the federal government… it has had the double effect of crowding out private investment, and wasting taxpayer dollars on boondoggles that no private person would consider investing.

    That the ban was effective, and not technical is not really an issue.

  • Matt,

    I think I cover your point under the sin of scandal. Scandal being defined ccording to St. Thomas (II-II, Q. liii, a. 1) as:

    “a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another’s spiritual ruin. It is a word or action, that is either an external act—for an internal act can have no influence on the conduct of another—or the omission of an external act, because to omit what one should do is equivalent to doing what is forbidden; it must be evil in itself, or in appearance; this is the interpretation of the words of St. Thomas: minus rectum.”

    The Vatican document seems to see this as the sin involved in the production of cell lines in vaccine production. I continue to wonder what the Vatican take on the Bush policy was.

  • Phillip,

    I wasn’t talking about scandal, I was talking about the moral licitness of ESCR even with existing stem cell lines, it’s pretty clear to me, from the Vatican letter that it is immoral, period.

    That said, Bush’s action was not to allow such, but to ban the most offensive forms (which involve the destruction of human life presently, as opposed to in the past). Such an action is morally good. Whether one is culpable for not taking more action, such as an outright ban, or eliminating all funding is a more involved question, especially since Bush is not Catholic.

    Either way, none of this a defense of Obama’s formally evil action.

  • Actually though, that’s the specific sin that the Vatican is addressing in the question of immunizations. Scandal is a specific sin.

  • It seems Obama may have also cut funding for adult stem cell research:

    http://www.lifenews.com/bio2786.html

  • If the debate about ESCR was really about curing diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes and the like, then the tremendous and overwhelming success that adult stem cells, especially skin cells have had in pursuing goals like these would be widely celebrated. Federal research money for the use of adult stem cells would be poured into research facilities with the kind of reckless abandon.

    Instead, Obama rescinded an executive order President Bush put into place funding adult stem cells and new research with iPS cells. The order was intended to ultimately fund research into alternatives” to destructive embryonic stem cell research such as altered nuclear transfer (ANT), “regression” (reverting differentiated cells into stem cells), and other methods. Bush could be said to have been ahead of his time since regression, also known as direct reprogramming, has taken off and the new induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are the talk of the scientific world. Last November saw that huge advance in stem cell research when scientists announced they had found a way to produce the biological equivalent of embryonic stem cells without creating, using, or destroying any human embryos.

    So given we are able to completely sidestep all of the moral and ethical concerns about destroying human embryos and still have all that “scientific promise” of breakthrough cures, why do people chose to keep on destroying embryos?

  • At least Obama admits it’s life (and surely he knows it is human)…I don’t know if he has admitted this before…when asked by a reporter when life begins, he said he didn’t know…so I guess he knows now.

16 Responses to Let's Get Started!

  • He didn’t support an executive order either… Obama is going to bypass the legislative branch to kill human life….

    yea, now I know I was misinformed about the ONE… no wolf in sheep clothing here.

  • i meant to say that the One is going to support an executive order.

  • Time to organize and fight back against this. Pro-lifers were beaten in a battle last Tuesday, but if the pro-aborts believe they have won the war they are deluded.

  • To use a phrase fron The One/That One, I’m fired up and ready to go!

  • Wow, you can hear crickets in the background.

    Where are Michael I., Mark DeFrancisisis, Radical Catholic Mom, and MZ Forrest now that their ‘pro-life’ candidate is ready to begin the wholesale mass slaughter of humans?

  • Did those who supported Obama somehow not think that things like this (and the Mexico City policy change) would happen, and happen virtually immediately? These are the consequences of an Obama presidency, and they were foreseen, at least by the pro-lifers who opposed Obama’s election.

  • The “Mexico City Policy” denying funding to NGO’s which perform / promote abortion will likely be reversed as well.

    This is hardly a suprise. It was instituted by Reagan, rescinded under Clinton, reaffirmed by Bush Jr., and now will likely be repealed, allowing for taxpayer promotion of abortion overseas.

  • Walter,

    Are you ready to get in their face… to use the language of That One.

  • And in addition to the slaughter, women being exploited as livestock for egg harvesting.

    Some champion of women’s rights.

  • I’m glad to see that our new president — who is ever conscious of a variety of positions, reflective, and inclusive — has mused over the “difficult” issue of embryonic stem cell research and has decided that the best course of “common ground” with pro-life Americans is to make them pay for it.

    We’re off to a very bipartisan start of 4 years of Unity……….

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  • Okay – Obama is our next president, like it or not. Let’s stop whining about and pouting that we lost. Our marching orders are clear: Pray for Obama and our country, work with him where possible to achieve the common good, and fight like a Maccabee when he oversteps his bounds — all the while remembering that November 2010 and 2012 will be here quicker than we think. There is much we have to do.

    What about us supporting at a local level pro-life politicians (democrats and republicans) who are willing to take the abuse from the pro-abortion side? The reason we have few to no strong pro-life politicians on the national scene is because of the lack of local support. Maybe we should be encouraging people to support pro-life PACs to get these candidates some visibility and support. I would love to hear what catholics on doing to to courage pro-life politicans in the cities and states.

    What about praying and fasting for President-elect Obama to have a change of heart (maybe like St. Paul – it is the Year of St. Paul) and courage to stand up to his own party leaders on matters of the sanctity of life (abortion, ESCR, euthanasia and death penalty), of marriage, and of expanding the war in Afghanistan? If he is as reasonable and open to the views of pro-lifers as his Catholic proponents claim him to be, then I’m sure he will appreciate those prayers.

    Let us go into the world and make a difference in our own lives, families, and work. That is the leaven the first century Christians brought to the Roman Empire, with its debauchery and hedonism similar to our modern society, and that changed the world. They put their faith in the concrete reality of Christ’s promises and the example of his life not the promises of any man or the pleasures of the world. We need to do the same!!

  • Katerine,

    I love your enthusiasm.

    “Fight like a Macabee”.

    I’m all the way in on this revolution.

    Maybe we should start with our own churches and purge them of cafeteria Catholics?

  • Thank you, Tito. Yes – praying for and encouraging our priests and bishops to be strong and courageous and being good role models of what the “pro-life” movement can and should be in our own churches is key.

    There is too much to do to waste time being depressed or maudlin or self-righteous. I intended on living my life in obedience to God and each day is filled with choices, many of them having nothing to do with whoever was President.

    I believe our mission as Catholic hasn’t changed–and wouldn’t be any different if McCain had been elected. We have a lot of work ahead of us for the culture of death in all its forms has a strong foot hold in the United States.

  • I dont know why all of you rely on just ‘faith ‘ to decide what is right ffor the human race. i mean come on. if you think about it yeah the whole stem cell thing is sort of wrong but it could save alot of lives. all of those people who have terminal illnesses , think of how they feel. they had no hope whatsoever about living and now they know that they may still have a chance at life. everything happens for a reason and if you want to drag Christ into this then fine. He put us here and created our destiny so what has happened has hapened because He wanted it to. it was bound to happen one way or another.