Inauguration week civics lesson

From Martin Luther King Jr. to his followers in Congress, the rights movement has changed.

In a providential alignment of historic dates on the national calendar, Monday of ‘Inauguration Week’ was the annual celebration of the great civil rights leader Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr., news reports circulated that early civil rights activist and now senior Representative John Lewis and a growing company of protesters would not attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, which shared attention with reports that a Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration would bring hundreds of thousands of protesters to DC to repudiate the new president and what they expected would be the damage wrought by his perceived policies.

Dr. Martin Luther King delivered one of his lesser known talks, ‘Our God Is Marching On’, in 1965 to encourage engagement in public policy and the political process, with a timeless message.

Let us march on ballot boxes until we send to our city councils, state legislatures, and the United States Congress, men who will not fear to do justly love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.

Let us march on ballot boxes until brotherhood becomes more than a meaningless word in an opening prayer, but the order of the day on every legislative agenda.

Let us march on ballot boxes until all…God’s children will be able to walk the earth in decency and honor…

And yet, this week is a snapshot in a ‘what’s wrong with this picture?’ look at the setbacks King’s aspirations have suffered in the modern day splintering of the movement into diverse ‘rights’ groups, many based on identity with redefined terms and redirected energies.

Here’s one, based on the new activism of Congressman John Lewis against President-elect Trump, with Lewis leading a boycott of the inauguration by members of Congress who don’t see the incoming president as ‘legitimate’.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Tuesday accused Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) of resting on his status as a civil rights icon, arguing he has done little in Congress.

“I have long contemplated the idea of just going to the [House] floor and saying, ‘John Lewis, thank you for your contribution to civil rights during the Civil Rights era. I would appreciate it if you would contribute something since then…

King also criticized Lewis and other Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members for sharpening divisions in Congress.

“When they formed the Congressional Black Caucus back years ago in the aftermath of or in the immediate beginning of the civil rights movement, the shape of that, I looked at it even then and said, ‘How can you form a caucus that’s established on race?’” he asked. “And now, the Congressional Black Caucus, I just openly say it – they’re the self-segregating caucus.”

“I mean, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. – as [this week] we celebrated his birthday – wasn’t about segregation, it was about de-segregation,” King added, citing Monday’s holiday for the civil rights leader.

“But now, they self-segregate and use the vehicle created as the self-segregating caucus in order to advance a leftist political agenda that is not at all reflective of Martin Luther King [Jr.’s] memory.”

This is all a shame. Dr. King and his family who continue his work today have long referred to ‘the Beloved Community’ based on ‘love and mercy, peace and brotherhood, decency and honor’. That’s pretty much gone in this post-election transition time, as it was through the campaign and election season.

And about “God’s children”, not only does this week fall within a week of the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court law legalizing abortion on demand – which King’s niece Alveda never stops reminding the country is the new civil rights movement – this year the annual March for Life in DC is preceded by a Women’s March on Washington to protest the presidency of Donald Trump and the perceived harm his administration will do to women’s rights.

But can’t they walk together, as Dr. King asked in his day, especially of fellow clergy in Letter from Birmingham Jail? Isn’t there some common ground?

The stated goal of the March for Life is “a world where every human life is valued and protected.

The vision statement…of the Women’s March pledges a commitment to nonviolent solutions, noting that there is “no true peace without justice and equity for all.

Furthermore, even though the women who are organizing the Women’s March had only two months to put their event together, they have created a diverse, enthusiastic and eager community.

Since those words were written in that article, the women planning this event narrowed their community to those who shared the core belief in abortion as a woman’s right. So the Women’s March grew less diverse, when organizers disinvited New Wave Feminists and other pro-life organizations. Though some enthusiastic and eager pro-life women plan to go anyway.

But that’s January 21st, a full news day away from all the planned protests in DC of the inauguration, the parade and celebrations scheduled for those historic events. If only those who celebrate King’s legacy actually tried to live it, we would have more decency and honor.

Why Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched

Human dignity and human rights, “for all God’s children.”

How ironic that the day set aside to honor Dr. King is only a few days before the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade anniversary. What would he say?

Alveda King, the niece of MLK and a dedicated pro-life advocate, notes her uncle was strongly pro-life.

“Were he alive today, he would be working to secure peace and justice for those in the womb and healing for a nation that is still pained by over 53 million missing lives,” King says. The toll abortion has taken on the African American community is enough to shock the conscience of every American.

According to the US Census Bureau, African Americans comprise 12.4% of the American population; however, over 30% of the nation’s abortions are done on black women. Recently released data from the New York City Department of Health shows the Big Apple hitting a 40% abortion rate. As if that number wasn’t appalling enough, when the data is broken down all racial lines, around 60% percent of New York City’s abortions are done on black women. In other words, 1,448 African American babies are aborted for every 1,000 born. Among black teens in New York City, that number jumps to a staggering 72% abortion rate or 2,360 abortions for every 1,000 babies born.

Read that. Engage this issue.

Center for Disease Control data shows that since Roe vs. Wade (1973) abortion has been the leading cause of death among African Americans. More African Americans have lost their lives to abortion than to heart disease, cancer, accidents, violent crimes or AIDS- combined.

Let that sink in. It’s not a coincidence.

African Americans are a prime target of the abortion industry. In analyzing the location of the nation’s abortion centers, some have found a disproportionate number situated in majority-black neighborhoods. One such center was that of Kermit Gosnell, the disgraced abortionist from Philadelphia who is now charged with murder after the deaths of at least two women and seven newborn infants at his facility.

According to the Grand Jury report, the Gosnell abortion business preyed upon low-income black women. These women were subjected to absolutely deplorable conditions. Basic health considerations were ignored and abortions were being performed by unlicensed and even untrained staff using unsanitary surgical instruments.

That trial should have made a huge difference, one that’s bee overdue for decades.

The Gosnell case made national headlines but his business strategy of targeting low-income black women is not an anomaly in the abortion industry. This goes back to the beginning of the modern pro-abortion movement with Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger, an unabashed eugenicist.

Despite its claims otherwise, the pro-abortion movement does a grave disservice to African American women and the greater African American community. Abortion advocates fail black women when they rally against common sense clinic regulations, which could have prevented the Gosnell tragedy. They fail black women when they work to undermine crisis pregnancy centers, which are an invaluable resource for so many low-income black women. And they fail the African American community by denying basic humanity to black babies in the womb.

Martin Luther King, Jr. boldly envisioned an America in which everyone would be free to share in the same opportunities as everyone else.


In legalizing abortion-on-demand, the Court ruled that a group of people, namely unborn children, did not deserve any legal protection whatsoever. For this reason, Roe vs. Wade is completely antithetical to King’s Dream.

Abortion has not made our society more equitable. In fact, it has done the opposite. Abortion has allowed society to arbitrarily decide whose lives are valuable and whose are expendable. True equality treats all human life the same, regardless of race, stage of development or condition of dependency. Abortion prevents millions of African Americans from sharing in King’s Dream and it must be ended.

That’s why they march, the pro-life movement who began giving voice to the voiceless on the first anniversary of Roe. Like King, they never gave up and never will. In fact, their ranks are only growing larger and younger and more determined. They’ve spread from the annual Washington DC rally and March for Life throughout the country to the West Coast Walk for Life.

The Chicago March for Life held last Sunday had a tenfold increase in participants over last year, and they were loud, joyful, exuberant, determined, happy, hopeful, positive, and very supportive. The plaza erupted at just about everything any speaker said, starting with the young African-American woman who was pressured to have an abortion but looked into a pregnancy help center where she found support and everything she needed to keep her baby, which wound up being babies when she learned she had twins. The beautiful little girls, Amelia and Olivia, were with her on stage as she spoke of hope and life and aid for women.

Two congressmen, Democrat Dan Lipinski and Republican Peter Roskam, spoke of bipartisan support for the protection of all human life and women’s health in Congress. They were brief but powerfully moving, invoking predecessors in the cause of human rights, including the drafters of the Declaration of Independence.

Dr. Martin Luther King invoked that, too. On many occasions. Because the majority of Americans still hold those truths as self-evident.

In one of his lesser known addresses, ‘Our God Is Marching On’, King explained why he and his movement marched.

He said “it is not an accident that one of the great marches of American history should terminate in Montgomery, Alabama.” In that city, “a new philosophy was born” of the struggle of the oppressed, one that united an entire community to squarely face the oppressors. And out of that struggle, he said, a powerful new idea was born, one “that electrified the nation and the world.”

And then “the conscience of America began to bleed.” And as a result “of this democratic spirit,” the nation finally forced Congress  to write legislation in the hope that it would eradicate “the stain of Birmingham”, of discrimination of a whole class of human beings by another class. And that legislation gave them some degree of “their rightful dignity”.

Once more the method of nonviolent resistance was unsheathed from its scabbard, and once again an entire community was mobilized to confront the adversary. And again the brutality of a dying order shrieks across the land. Yet, Selma, Alabama, became a shining moment in the conscience of man. If the worst in American life lurked in its dark streets, the best of American instincts arose passionately from across the nation to overcome it. There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger  at the side of its embattled [Blacks].

At the side of its embattled, oppressed fellow human beings discriminated against and denied human rights by a class of human beings who had the legal right to do so, until those laws changed.

That’s why they marched then, said Dr. King. That’s why they march today.


Gosnell convicted, Castro charged: murder of babies

Mother’s Day just passed with fair weather and loving celebrations in much of the country. But it was surrounded by a perfect storm.

I was already saying that about the five week trial of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell and the grisly details of his ‘house of horrors’ revealed in the grand jury report, along with the Live Action undercover videos of other abortion clinics doing late-term abortions, together with the president’s untimely and ill-advised address embracing Planned Parenthood and pledging his fidelity to the abortion giant.

But that was before the three young women held captive for a decade were discovered and rescued, and the horrific details of their captivity became known. So while the Gosnell jury was in the second week of deliberation over such inhumane treatment of women and their babies, the facts about Cleveland abductor/captor Ariel Castro and his own house of horrors started coming out and we learned about his inhumane treatment of young women and the babies they conceived by him, and it was all more than any civilized person could get their mind around.

Which pushed the idea of brutality against innocent human life to the front of our minds and the front page of the news. It’s about time. And especially timely in the week leading up to the celebration of Motherhood.

The CNN report that Ariel Castro repeatedly punched one of his pregnant victims in the stomach to force the miscarriage of an ‘aborted fetus’, and that this happened over several different pregnancies, was breathtakingly shocking. That it would lead to murder charges was jaw-dropping. Such a charge meant the declaration, much less recognition, that  ‘terminating a fetus’ is murder. Even though it hinged on the will of the mother, or maybe especially so. Because it focused the attention on what it means to end a human life, and it was a watershed moment.

As we awaited the jury’s verdict in the Gosnell trial, the newly incarcerated Castro faced aggravated murder charges for terminating pregnancies.

Based on the facts of the case, authorities said they intend to seek charges not only for the sexual assaults endured by the victims, but also “each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies.”

That alone is a startling statement. Think about what “each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies” means.

We were already thinking about the idea of murdering babies in the Gosnell trial before this news broke. Monday, the Gosnell trial jury returned their verdict.  Guilty, of murdering babies.

A 72-year-old doctor whose abortion clinic was described by prosecutors as a “house of horrors” was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was acquitted of killing a fourth baby during a late-term abortion in a dirty clinic that served mostly low-income women and teens, and went years without a state inspection.

There’s a saga contained within those two sentences. The horribly filthy clinic required that the grand jury visiting it prior to the trial wear Hazmat suits. How was it not shut down by authorities a long time ago? Because a long time ago state authorities stopped inspecting it, a nationwide problem with abortion clinics. And note that this ‘house of horrors’ served mostly low-income women, minorities and minors. It was far worse than despicable.

Prosecutors said Gosnell delivered the babies alive and killed them by cutting their spines with scissors.

He was also convicted of manslaughter for the death of one of the women who suffered terribly at the hands of this abortionist.

The verdict does not satisfy all critics. Some time before the decision was announced, Pastor Luke Robinson, who was keynote speaker at the 2012 March for Life, told The Washington Times, “The whole health department of Pennsylvania should be on trial for allowing these atrocities.”

Law enforcement officials raided Gosnell’s abortion business in 2010, believing he merely ran a “pill mill,” dispensing prescriptions for narcotics to make a quick buck. What they found shocked and nauseated them.

Inside his “house or horrors,”…they found unsanitized equipment that transmitted STDs between patients, urine- and blood-soaked recliners for post-abortion “recovery,” and dismembered fetal body parts…

The violations filled a 250-page Grand Jury Report.

During his closing argument, Cameron dramatically asked Gosnell, “Are you human?”

The atrocities unfolded with the tacit permission of numerous levels of authority in the government, as well as within the health care and abortion industries.

It has caused some prominent or high-profile ‘pro-choice’ advocates to reconsider their beliefs, starting from their very premise, and the idea of what abortion is.

And then there are entrenched abortion defenders, as this CNN piece reveals. They admit the Gosnell case is terrible…

But that doesn’t mean it sets a precedent, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said.

“The testimony in this case was so graphic and so horrific. It was described literally as a house of horrors taking place in this Philadelphia clinic,” Callan said. “So I think that most objective observers will say that ultimately this will be an isolated case, hopefully, and that it’s simply a case where prosecutors had to act. It had nothing to do with being pro- or anti-abortion.”

Yes, it did. And no, it wasn’t an isolated case. The two are related, as the recent Live Action undercover videos from several abortion clinics reveal. Gosnell was no aberration.

We have arrived at a point where we’re not only reconsidering the reality and terminology of abortion, but the realities of human life itself. And the importance of maternity to a woman’s identity.

Some mothers have become used to apologizing for “just” being stay-at-home moms. At social gatherings, a woman can be introduced as a mother only to receive the stunningly obtuse follow-up question, “Do you work?”

Women representing different strands of feminist thought, including those who distance themselves from any type of feminism, struggle with this tension. I had a unique experience of this several years ago, attending a conference on maternal feminism at Barnard College in New York. Participants were challenged to see if they could agree that, for many women, maternity is a defining part of their identity.

We are at a defining moment. The civil rights movement has extended into today’s pro-life movement and it just gained more ground by fate or providence than it could have by addresses and marches and witnesses, as much as they have continued to advance the cause of human life and dignity. That it happened by horrible high profile crimes against humanity was astonishing and unforeseen. But not unimaginable after forty years of experiencing the logic of abortion carried out, and what it really was all along.

“Anti-Abortion Forces” and the “Fetal Heartbeat Bill”

That’s the issue dividing pro-life groups, in other words. 

Not the words of the New York Times, which prominently featured this story on the front page above the fold in Monday’s edition. Let’s look at what they said and how they said it.

A widening and emotional rift over legal tactics has split the anti-abortion movement, with its longtime leaders facing a Tea Party-like insurrection from many grass-roots activists who are impatient with the pace of change.


Now that they’ve changed their style-books to refer to pro-life people only as “anti-abortion”, what does the NYT and other big media call the pro-abortion movement (just for parity of language, we should assume that’s what they are as the opposite of anti-abortion forces)?

They’re usually called “pro-choice.” As if that has any defining properties.

So back to the story…

For decades, established anti-abortion leaders like National Right to Life and Catholic bishops have pushed for gradually chipping away at the edges of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, with state laws to impose limits on late-term abortions, to require women to view sonograms or to prohibit insurance coverage for the procedure.

But now many activists and evangelical Christian groups are pressing for an all-out legal assault on Roe. v. Wade in the hope — others call it a reckless dream — that the Supreme Court is ready to consider a radical change in the ruling.

Such combative language. An “all-out assault on Roe v. Wade” in what may be “a reckless dream” that…what?…”the Supreme Court is ready to consider a radical change in the ruling.”

Roe was a radical ruling, to set the record straight. but back to that in a moment…

The rift widened last month over a so-called personhood amendment in Mississippi that would have barred virtually all abortions by giving legal rights to embryos. It was voted down but is still being pursued in several states.

By calling the growing human life in the womb of the pregnant mother an “embryo” the aim is to dehumanize the human being. And the cynical reference to the legislation as the “so-called personhood amendment”…what’s that about? Diminishing its validity, for starters.

Now, in Ohio, a bill before the state legislature that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, usually six to eight weeks into pregnancy, is the latest effort by activists to force a legal showdown. The so-called heartbeat bill is tearing apart the state’s powerful anti-abortion forces.

Why aren’t pro-abortion forces ever called “activists”? And why is the heartbeat bill “so-called”, when it’s a medical and biological reality that there’s a detectable heartbeat in the baby?

Because words are important in forming public opinion, and there’s an agenda working here that has worked for decades by distorting the language.

I will get back to the point the Times makes, accurately, about the rift in the pro-life movement. They need to get their act together, and there’s plenty to say about that, another time.

But for now, remember the impressive list of pro-choice legal experts who declared Roe to be bad law. It was a radical ruling, and it is indefensible. It should be challenged on all levels.

And btw…I heard a reference in an unusual news report the other day that made simple common sense. If the media must refer to the pro-life movement as ‘anti-abortion,’ the obvious label for the other side is the ‘anti-pro-life movement.’ That’s calling it what it is.

Appalling animal cruelty

Graphic images on news shows and television commercials rightly rouse us to horror and indignation. Imagine if those tortured and disfigured creatures were helpless humans.

That’s the thought that occurs every time I see this new ad for an anti-cruelty organization, filled with closeup photos or videos showing the ravages of harsh treatment by their owners. These commercials assault our sensibilities, but that makes them effective.

Accompanying these images, the voiceover says “no animal should be treated cruelly, abusively or inhumanely”…And then adds: ‘but they don’t have to, with our efforts to save the animals at (website plug)’.

For crying out loud. No human should be treated that way. Let’s start there.

I love animals. Really, really love nature and animals and that means just about everything except skunks and snakes, rats and other rodents, and some insects like spiders (I just wish they hadn’t made the ark). I love our dogs as part of our family. I get it, I really do.

But do the animal activists get human cruelty? I’m not a proponent of pro-life demonstrations of graphic images of aborted babies. I understand the belief that ‘Americans won’t reject abortion until Americans see abortion’, as one prominent leader (and friend) frequently states. Maybe true. But I don’t go about promoting human rights and dignity in quite that manner.

However, this new television ad campaign is provoking the instinct that if graphic images of brutalized cats and dogs should stir up outrage and the rush to send relief, how much more so the cause of rescuing brutalized human beings who are even more vulnerable…and more brutalized, being tortured as they’re put to death. In abortion.

Really. It’s just that stark.

Pro-choice atheist to pro-life activist

It takes an open and intelligent mind that always seeks truth, willing to go wherever that leads. Becoming a parent also helps.

One of the things I love about this book I’ve been reading, The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God, is its high-level of reasoning and engagement of critical thinking. I wasn’t exactly prepared for that when starting what I already knew was a touching biography about an exceptional life, the one Michael Pakaluk wrote about his wife Ruth after she died.

But I got a clue from the endorsement of scholar Michael Novak:

I have never read a more beautiful and touching book – a book about a joyous life and overpowering death, and grief and joy. Michael and Ruth Pakaluk’s account of love and grief towers head and shoulders above the justly acclaimed accounts of C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed and Sheldon Vanauken in A Severe Mercy.

Wow. High praise. And more from Dr. Peter Kreeft, a brilliant philosopher who knew Ruth Pakaluk well. Early into the book, I saw why.

Ruth Pakaluk entered Harvard an atheist and “enthusiastically pro-choice”, according to her husband Michael in his narrative that opens the book. They met and married while at Harvard, and together made their way through an eager intellectual and spiritual journey to the Christian and then Catholic Christian faith and the reasoned belief in the sanctity of all human life. Which was a rare journey in the higher echelons of academia, they discovered.

Ruth and I were astonished to witness this discourtesy and hostility to free discussion. We couldn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t immediately agree with [a] very reasonable proposal [for revising a state law]. But what most disturbed us was that on a university campus – supposedly dedicated to learning – those who disagreed with the speaker weren’t interested in arguing with him but instead tried to drown out intelligent discussion.

And this is only one snip from this compelling narrative. Ruth became a powerful pro-life activist and an even more powerful public speaker, and this really caught my imagination:

In debate she was so effective that abortion rights activists often refused to go up against her.

She was a force to be reckoned with, and the reckoning meant resorting to reason, and opponents in the debate wouldn’t or couldn’t do that. But she kept on.

When the Supreme Court came down with the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision in July 1992, Ruth decided in light of it that the pro-life movement needed to change its strategy…Before Casey, the chief pro-life strategy had been to change public opinion sufficiently so that a pro-life president would be elected who, it was thought, would appoint justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade

After Casey, then, Ruth changed her efforts in the direction of influencing the culture, especially influencing individual hearts and minds through education.

Without drama or emotion, Michael weaves the straight-line narrative of Ruth’s journey that was loaded enough with both, the emotion of becoming the mother of seven children with all the drama of a dynamo managing home and family, while also managing political campaigns and educational initiatives and pro-life movement strategies.

It was actually having a child that converted her to the view that her highest calling was to be a homemaker – and from her descriptions of her first child it is evident that she was deeply in love with him and that therefore the central question of her daily life became how she might make life best for him.

That struck home, in the heart, as the same thing happened to me, and hapened again with my second son.

This is a powerful story. In the Introduction, Dr. Peter Kreeft says:

I have read and debated much about abortion, but I have never seen a clearer and stronger pro-life argument than Ruth’s.

And that’s intriguing, coming from Kreeft especially.

Here’s how Michael summarizes it:

The core of Ruth’s argument about abortion and human rights may be summarized in this way: Human rights are rights that pertain to us simply in virtue of the fact that we are human, not for any reason above and beyond that; the fundamental human right is the right to life, and so, if that right is denied, then all human rights are in effect denied; the thing growing in the mother’s womb is surely alive (otherwise it would not need to be killed by an abortion), and it is human; thus, to deny that the thing growing in the mother’s womb has the right to life is to deny that anyone has any human rights whatsoever.

Once, an interviewer of a student newspaper at a university where she was debating asked her, “So, it’s not a legal argument you are making but a humanistic argument?” Ruth replied, “It comes from this idea: either you think all human beings are equal, and you don’t kill each other, or you don’t. I have always seen abortion as an issue where you should not need to believe in God in order to be against it. If anyone wants to say human rights exist or that all human beings are equal, those statements are tautologous with ‘Abortion is wrong.'”

There it is. The clarity of logic and reason, and the beauty of truth.

Ruth came to a turning point in her search for the truth about abortion “in the used book section in the basement of Harvard Book Store,” when she came across one particular book by “a firm advocate of tax-funded abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy,” as Michael writes.

What the book made clear to Ruth is that people directly involved with abortion are well aware that they are killing human persons – because that’s how they themselves describe abortion…

We perhaps resist recogizing this because it is so shocking. But it was this recognition that led Ruth to reconceive the abortion controversy, not as a difference of opinion as regards some philosophical thesis – “Is the fetus a person?” as people often say – but rather as a difference in two cultures: given that (as everyone really knows) the thing in the woman’s womb is a living human, do we act on the principle that all human beings are fundamentally equal, or do we proceed as if we believe that it is permissible to kill some human beings to solve our problems? The first is the Culture of Life, the second the Culture of Death. These two cultures, she thought, were vyinig for the allegiance of the young people she was addressing, and her concern was to teach them what they should know in order that they might choose life.”

The entire rest of the book is in Ruth’s own words, in the letters she wrote to many people over the years. Providentially preserved, and eloquently spoken. As Peter Kreeft says of the book:

I invite you to meet a warrior for life whose pen is truly mightier than death’s sword.


‘How should we talk about abortion?’

That was the subject of discussion on an hour of radio dedicated to changing the terms of debate between people who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice. Or even starting one….since both groups have been largely talking to themselves for decades.

For pro-life media people to even concede to use the term ‘pro-choice’….and hopefully vice-versa….is a start. Style books have been changed over the years to write off the terminology of the ‘other’ as to render it invalid as a thought.

I had the benefit of hosting two guests on radio Monday who brought the freshest thinking to the table of discussion about how to uphold human dignity that I’ve heard in a while. Eric Scheidler said he had a passion for fostering “the right spirit of patient listening and peaceful dialogue” to advance the cause of respecting life. Dr. Christopher Kaczor devoted his latest book to that dialogue, and its foundation.

‘The Ethics of Abortion’ provokes.

What reproductive rights do women have? Who decides? Is abortion the intentional killing of an innocent human person? Is abortion just the termination of a mass of cells with no more significance than a guppy? Does affirmation of female equality lead to abortion rights? does personhood begin after birth? Does personhood begin with birth? Does personhood begin with conception? Is abortion permissible even if the fetus is a person?

And that’s just from page 2 of the Introduction. From page 5:

One could be 100 percent committed to a strong pro-choice view, and not judge as evil those who work to oppose abortion. Similarly, one could be 100 percent committed to a strong pro-life view, and not judge as evil those tho have had abortions. Whatever one’s view of abortion itself, refraining from making judgments about the character of those touched by abortion (in whatever way) is helpful in treating the topic properly, and more importantly…that it is an essential part of being a decent human being.

Good place to start. Next up, the language to use in this discussion…

Build a culture of life. Be a martyr if necessary.

“If we’re uncomfortable being Christians in a public debate, then we’ve already lost the war.”

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said that recently, speaking to a gathering in Fargo, North Dakota.

The aim of the pro-life movement, the archbishop stressed, is nothing less than ending abortion.  “If we really believe that abortion is an intimate act of violence, then we can’t aim at anything less than ending abortion.  It doesn’t matter that some abortions have always occurred, or that some abortions will always occur.  If we really believe that abortion kills a developing, unborn human life, then we can never be satisfied with mere ‘reductions’ in the body count.”

In order to succeed in the goal, pro-lifers must be willing to become martyrs, he said.  “In the America of our lifetimes, we may never be asked to shed our blood in witnessing for our faith. But we do see character assassinations, mud-slinging and lies used against good people every day in the public media. And we should be ready to pay the same price.  Nothing, not even our good name, should stop us from doing what we know to be right,” emphasized Chaput.

And don’t worry about how much money the pro-life movement doesn’t have, he said. Use whatever you’ve got to renew the culture.

“Culture is everything. Culture is our ‘human ecology.’ Getting political influence has obvious and important short-term value.  But it’s not what pro-lifers are finally about.”…

“Your character, your faith and your dedication to the sanctity of the human person matter. Your commitment to human life matters eternally.”

He assembled a list of “do’s and don’ts”, and delivered it with strong encouragement to get out there and stay busy.

It reminds me of a remark Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George made to pro-life citizens about this very thing, and he urged them to encourage members of elected government. “Pray for them, and tell them you’ve got their back.” Struck me as a good reminder for people on the frontlines of a very big battle.

Justin Bieber’s every word

I cannot explain the pop cult phenomenon of this young man and his meteroric rise to fame and his sensational following. But if he suddenly drops off the velocity meter or falls off the bubble…..I can probably tell you why.

Justin Bieber is pro-life. We know, because he was asked.

Teen singing sensation Justin Bieber made national waves this week by expressing his pro-life views on abortion, but Rolling Stone magazine has admitted it withheld a portion of the comment that makes Bieber’s pro-life views more firm.

Asked [about] abortion, Rolling Stone magazine initially reported Bieber said: “I really don’t believe in abortion … It’s like killing a baby.”

And asked about whether he supported abortion in cases of rape or incest, the music journal indicated Bieber said,  “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

But Rolling Stone issued a “correction” after initially publishing the quote and the correction makes it clear Bieber doesn’t really believe rape constitutes a reason to have an abortion:

“Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that,” is what Bieber actually said.

Now, the magazine has issued another update of the quote — one that makes it clear Bieber believes the unborn child is a human being.

They called it an “editing error.” Maybe they wanted to spare Biber the backlash his views would launch?

In the wake of Justin Bieber’s pro-life remarks in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, pro-life leaders are urging widespread support for the young pop superstar, saying its only a matter of time before he comes under attack for his defense of the unborn.

It’s already being spun.

“Justin Bieber’s unfortunate comments reflect entrenched anti-abortion rights messaging that presents one view of morality, hereby declaring anyone with another view immoral,” said NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson…

No they didn’t. They were just, simple, remarks. Reactions like that are projecting the real entrenched message.

Marking Roe

The Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion in America turns 38 today. It’s getting old.

The argument for “choice” is losing a significant amount of whatever credibility it had, and it had that as a result of a concerted marketing campaign of deception, truth be told. The cumulative effect of abortion leaders, providers and survivors coming over to the pro-life movement with the gravity of their experience and awareness and witness has been a reversal of public acceptance of abortion laws in recent years.

So did the pro-abortion American president keep a low profile on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade? Not exactly.

President Barack Obama is marking the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on abortion by calling the procedure a constitutional right he’s committed to protecting.

Obama also said in a statement Saturday that he remains committed to policies designed to prevent unintended pregnancies. And he called on Americans to recommit themselves to ensuring that, in the president’s words, “our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

Obama said the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion affirmed what he called a “fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.”

What semantic gymnastics, to borrow a phrase from that 1970 California Medical Association editorial. Our sons and daughters have no rights, freedoms or opportunities at all until they’ve made it past the moment of full-term, completed live birth, because of radical laws instituted through tortured logic by the most ardent abortion supporters. Who fight to protect the right to kill a baby in the middle of the birth canal in the process of being born, otherwise known as partial-birth abortion. Which the abortion movement refers to as “so-called” ‘partial-birth abortion’, which they prefer to simply call “late term abortion.” You don’t get any later than birth to still kill the child and claim the mantle of ‘abortion rights.’

Let’s be honest. The truth about abortion is becoming clearer.

There is an obvious tension between thinking that unborn children are in some sense human lives worth saving, and also thinking that these human beings should have no formal right not to be harmed.

The Associated Press notes at the end of that little piece:

Anti-abortion activists will participate in an annual “March for Life” in Washington on Monday.

The secular media changed their style books to help that linguistic engineering of public opinion a while back. Better stated, the pro-life movement will hold the annual “March for Life” in Washington on Monday. If the media can’t get around to covering it, they’ll have lots of help this time from the armies of young people ready to text and tweet live updates.