Not your ordinary nutritional supplement

May 8, 2012 on 6:58 pm | In abortion, children, China, death, diplomacy, ethics, human rights, made in China, politics, right to life | No Comments

C. S. Lewis once wrote, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”

The people of China are just that, immortal individuals. They are capable of acts of individual bravery.

They are also capable of acts of unthinkable depravity.

Since last August, customs officials in South Korea say they have intercepted between 17,000 and 17,500 pills filled with finely-ground human baby flesh, which is said to be both a stamina-enhancer and medical panacea in parts of Asia.

The Daily Mail explains:

The grim trade is being run from China where corrupt medical staff are said to be tipping off medical companies when babies are aborted or delivered still-born.

The tiny corpses are then bought, stored in household refrigerators in homes of those involved in the trade before they are removed and taken to clinics where they are placed in medical drying microwaves.

Once the skin is tinder dry, it is pummeled into powder and then processed into capsules along with herbs to disguise the true ingredients from health investigators and customs officers.

…Even more horrifying, if possible, some are reporting that it may not have only been aborted or stillborn babies used in the pills– it‘s possible that some were born and left to die in China’s “dying rooms” before being ground for the capsules, because they were born into families that already had one child.

Of course, Chinese officials are not responding to media questions, and they are not publicly decrying the situation (nor will they be pressed to do so by South Korea, due to concern over a potential “diplomatic rift”).

God forbid we should cause a diplomatic rift over something as trite as 21st century Soylent Green.

God forbid anyone should question why China retains “most favored nation” status despite Tiananmen Square, its one-child policy and forced abortion. We are urged to accept that tainted milk and melamine-laced pet food are isolated incidents, not examples of a prevailing ethos that scorns fundamental human rights. I’m sure the “stamina capsules” filled with powdered human flesh are just an isolated situation, and not a flagrant in-your-face example of how little the Chinese government and Chinese businesses value ethics and human life in general.

Including the lives of their own people, and especially the lives of Chinese children. Illegal babies (i.e. conceived without the permission of the government and disposed of in the millions each year) are of more value as a “stamina pill” than they are as living breathing human beings.

I submit that the Chinese government does not believe that its citizens are capable of individual splendors, nor does it care about the individual horrors in its midst (it is individuals who are making the decision to produce and market such an abomination, and individuals who are processing the dead infants into powder). As long as money is to be made and power is to be held onto, officially there is nothing untoward occurring in China.

And pay no attention to the Chinese who dare to speak out against their own government. Surely if a flagrant violation of human rights were occuring our own government would intervene…wouldn’t it?

If there’s enough outcry over human flesh sold as a nutritional supplement, the Chinese government will just find some hapless mid level official, execute him, and the “problem” will be solved.

Nope, nothing to see there. Carry on.

Is “Medical Ethics” an oxymoron?

January 17, 2012 on 10:11 pm | In abortion, children, disability, ethics, family, health, medical ethics, morality, motherhood, parenting, right to life | No Comments

On this day twenty five years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was (and still is) an amazing, precious gift from God. For a quarter of a century she has brought measureless love and joy to our lives. She also happened to be born with Spina Bifida.

I remember within a week of her birth being given the “Gerber Baby talk” (that’s what other moms in the NICU of the “Famous Big City Hospital” called  it) by a social worker, who told me that I was no doubt disappointed because I did not give birth to a “perfect baby,” and that being depressed and miserable would be understandable. That my daughter would probably never walk, nor talk, and her eyesight would undoubtedly be compromised along with her intellect. That it would be “normal” were I to grieve the loss of the perfect baby I’d undoubtedly wanted. That it would be understandable if I did not want this baby.

None of that was true. Not my feelings about my baby–I absolutely adored her from the minute I first held her–nor her projected development. She learned to talk just fine, to walk with the assistance of leg braces, her eyesight is a hawklike 20/10 in both eyes, and she can beat me at Scrabble.

So much for those medical prognostications.

Today, on the anniversary of her birth, I happened across this news story: Mom says mentally disabled tot heartlessly denied transplant.

Amelia “Mia” Rivera has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a complex genetic disorder that causes mental and physical impairments, and her family said that the 3-year-old will die if she does not get a kidney in the next six months to a year.

Mia’s mother Chrissy Rivera has said the family is willing to donate a live organ, but Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has reportedly told her that they will not recommend transplantation for the toddler because of her disabilities.

Rivera blogged about her daughter’s plight last Friday, and now more than 20,000 online supporters from 15 states are petitioning the hospital to give the toddler the kidney they say she needs to survive.

“I didn’t think it was going to be an issue,” said Rivera, a 35-year-old high school English teacher from southern New Jersey who has two other children, aged 11 and 6.

When the family went to CHOP last week to discuss the transplant, Rivera said she “thought we were just finding out how transplant works and how we could be a donor.”

“But then, I was told we couldn’t because she was mentally retarded,” she said. “Those were the exact words on a piece of paper.”

Chrissy Rivera shares the entire experience on the Wolf-Hirschorn website.

I say the words and ask the questions I have been avoiding.

“So you mean to tell me that as a doctor, you are not recommending the transplant, and when her kidneys fail in six months to a year, you want me to let her die because she is mentally retarded? There is no other medical reason for her not to have this transplant other than she is MENTALLY RETARDED!”

“Yes. This is hard for me, you know.”

My eyes burn through his soul as if I could set him on fire right there. “Ok, so now what? This is not acceptable to me. Who do I talk to next?”

“I will take this back to the team. We meet once a month. I will tell them I do not recommend Amelia for a transplant because she is mentally retarded and we will vote.”

“And then who do I see?”

“Well, you can then take it to the ethics committee but as a team we have the final say. Feel free to go somewhere else. But it won’t be done here.”

They both get up and leave the room.

As I read Crissy’s words, 25 years rolled away, and I saw again the expression on the face of the young intern determined to do a spinal tap on my baby out of sheer curiosity, his arrogant certainty shifting to baffled dismay when I adamantly refused to allow it. I heard again the voice of the neurosurgeon who led a troop of medical students into an exam room with no warning, callously displaying my daughter as case study, speaking as though I were not present at all. I vividly remembered all the times I demanded explanations, insisted upon access to medical charts, and fought to get the best possible treatment for my baby.

In reading her words,  felt the anger and the tears and the determination of Chrissy Rivera as though I were experiencing them first hand. And my heart hurts for her now, even as I am cheering  on her determination to advocate for her daughter. Chrissy Rivera is a strong woman, and I have no doubt she is an amazing advocate for her daughter.

It is ugly, cruel and wrong though that the Riveras should have to mount such a fight. It’s horrible that Mia should be judged unworthy of a transplant because she’s not “normal,” because her disability poses challenges in the future.

But it’s not surprising. We are living in a time when getting rid of those who are less than perfect is a socially acceptable goal.

God help the Riveras as they seek treatment for their beloved daughter.

God help us all.

Amelia "Mia" Rivera

If you want to speak out on behalf of Mia, you can sign the online petition begun here: Change.org. At the very least, share her story. The more notice this story gets the more likely such obscene medical “standards” will be challenged and ultimately changed.

To be silent is to accept the unacceptable.

What a Human Being Is

June 25, 2011 on 2:58 pm | In abortion, Catholicism, daily life, education, employment, ethics, faith, family, Homosexuality, morality, motherhood, parenting, right to life | No Comments

Best blog I’ve just come across (H/T Brutally Honest): One Cosmos. This really hit home for me:

I am now resigned to the fact that it will take the rest of my life to eradicate the secular indoctrination I assimilated through osmosis just by virtue of living in this time and place, but greatly exacerbated by my passage through the upper reaches — or darkest depths — of academia.

Unlike Gagdad Bob, as much time as I’ve spent in academia for the most part I’ve managed to spurn its far left liberalism. I consider my degrees two pieces of paper earned through enduring years of indoctrination with my mental fingers shoved in my ears in a struggle to stay sane. As far as attaining an “education,” 98% of that came from my own efforts outside the classroom.

However, I do agree with Bob. Society has to a great extent indoctrinated me. I find myself recognizing the politically correct impulses I have when I read certain news stories, and I catch myself thinking in ways that reveal to me just how much I’ve become a creation of this time and place. It’s almost impossible not to be. I was raised by conservative parents, but I grew up thinking that I ought to have a career, to accomplish something in terms of jobs leading to better jobs, leading to…what? Some sort of economic and social status, something that provided an impressive response to the question “What do you do?” Spending my entire adulthood in Southern California has only made it worse. Here it’s expected that a woman, particularly a white middle class one, has some sort of career.  And if she doesn’t, she is doing something time consuming outside of the home (charity, social activities, etc.).

The problem for me was, once I began having and raising my children, that was what I wanted to do. To raise them. I married a man whose own mother always worked; for that and other reasons (some economic, some psychological) he expected me to have a career as well. Parenting apparently is not a career. You are certainly not going to get props when you answer “What do you do?” with “I’m a mom.”

For decades I’ve struggled with the instinctive, God-given drive to create a home (the kind where meals are made from scratch, and I’m there when the kids get home from school each day), while trying to find jobs that approximated a career enough to satisfy my relatives and society. “I’m a writer/editor/systems administrator/teacher…I work for a non-profit/with a small business/in a winery/for ____ school district.” All the while resenting the time those jobs took away from my life at home, and hating that I can’t–don’t–feel confident in boldly asserting “I’m a Mom.”

Our society has made being a mom only “cool” if you are a single celebrity, or better yet, a single lesbian celebrity. Being a mom married to the father of your children before they were conceived, and staying married to him afterward is not cool. Cleaning your own house and your family’s laundry, preparing meals everyday, and being there for your kids isn’t “cool” either. And it’s definitely not “a career.”

As the LA Times trumpets that families are evolving, “open[ing] up new possibilities that can only be good for our society — to have more diversity, more examples of what life can be,”  and the NY Times cheers the passage of a gay marriage act, I feel the intentional marginalization from society. And I completely agree with Gagdad Bob’s assessment:

…the most important idea of culture is its idea of what a human being is. In other words, in a way, everything follows from one’s anthropology. Get that wrong and your life is doomed, i.e., drained of its objective meaning (and if that is all that happens, consider yourself lucky).

If a culture’s notion of man is flawed, then one of two things follows. Either the culture in question will “give birth to destructive aspirations,” and/or it will become “incapable of realizing its fondest hopes,” irrespective of how “nobly” and humanistically they are expressed (Weigel). Good intentions, road to hell, unintended consequences, Murphy’s Law, New Deal, Great Society, Change You Can Believe In, blah blah.

For example, places such as Cuba, China, North Korea, and the vast majority of the Muslim world are laboring under a deeply false understanding of what man is. Likewise, we should all be able to agree, illiberal leftist and conservative liberal alike, that our battle for civilization — the culture war — may be reduced without oversimplification to a dispute over the nature of man.

Clearly, we are dealing with two anthropologies that are absolutely irreconcilable. One embodies the traditional American view that man’s life and liberty are rooted in the Creator and all this implies.

Conversely, the secular leftist view insists that man is but the residue of random Darwinian accidents, with no essential being and therefore no intrinsic rights or duties but a whole lotta gimme. In this world view, everything is necessarily relative, which makes its adherents all the more dangerous, for their metaphysic prevents them from seeing how authoritarian dogma creeps in through the back door — such as the absolute right to kill one’s unborn child, or the absolute duty for you to pay for the healthcare of irresponsible slackers.

This makes me realize that my struggle for identity as a woman, and my lack of security in my role as a mother, is part of a much bigger struggle. It’s part of a struggle to define what humanity is, and what it ought to be. A struggle between accepting or rejecting the idea that each human being has been created with a purpose by a divine Creator. That we are given free will, but that the choices we make are not neutral. That we are all responsible for the effects of our choices.

“…to be human is to be a moral agent” (ibid.). In other words, freedom is ineluctably tied in with good and evil, otherwise it is a kind of blind nothing floating atop an absolutely opaque nothingness.

Good stuff, and there’s more here.

Sparing him the awful life she was so sure he’d have

June 15, 2011 on 12:57 pm | In abortion, children, daily life, disability, ethics, morality, parenting, right to life, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

At my new job, one of the employees hired to assist the cashiers has a disability. I’m not sure of the specifics, except that “Debbie” is clearly mentally challenged, and has some physical issues as well. She’s a hard worker though, and generally cheerful. She remembers peoples names better than I do, and makes a point of greeting the other employees by name as soon as she sees them. Debbie enjoys life. She enjoys her cat, and her drawing, and eating strawberries, and sunny days. She enjoys helping others at work, and she expresses her enjoyment simply and clearly.

Thus far I have never seen a customer respond to “Debbie” with anything other than pleasant acceptance. Not so one of my colleagues, who apparently has never spent time around anyone with a mental disability. She initially asked me, “What is wrong with her?” (a question loaded with assumptions; nothing is “wrong” about a person with a disability). She is obviously uncomfortable around Debbie and avoids her when not required to work directly with her. She gets easily frustrated by Debbie’s self-focused conversation, and her single-minded pursuit of tasks. She expects Debbie to behave like everyone else, instead of recognizing that yes, Debbie is different, but she is also capably performing a job which some of our “normal” young employees are performing far less ably.

When I work with Debbie, I am constantly reminded that attitude is everything, and a cheerful smile and patient manner are a blessing. I’m also mindful that my workplace, and the world in general, is a richer place because of the Debbies in it.

I can’t imagine a world without people like Debbie, but I fear that is where we are headed. Chelsea Zimmerman (herself a paraplegic) reflects upon the winnowing out of babies with disabilities:

…I read with great sadness this column by “Sara Carpenter” (a pseudonym) in the UK Daily Mail about the decision she made to kill her unborn child after it was determined that he would be born with spina bifida. It’s not that it was news to me that children pre-natally diagnosed with various diseases and disabilities are killed in untero. But the description she gave of how she pictured her son’s life with a disability cut me to the core:

“I pictured him watching from the sofa, frustrated and immobile, as his sisters turned cartwheels and somersaults in the living room. I envisaged trips to the park, where he would sit on the sidelines as other children clambered over climbing frames and kicked footballs. … “I tried to shake away the image I conjured in my head of a little boy, lonely and friendless, robbed of the most basic human functions. The prospect of watching a child I’d love just as much as his sisters suffer in this way made me howl. I hugged my stomach, as if I could in some way shield him from the misery that lay ahead.”

What is even more upsetting about her account is that Sara and her husband both acknowledged that they were in fact killing their son – not vaguely “terminating a pregnancy.” They named him, held him after he was delivered via induced labor abortion and gave him a proper burial. Sara even talks about the abortion being, “completely at odds with my instincts as a mother.” And yet she did it and she justified it because she thought she was sparing him the awful life she was so sure he would have.

You would think that with all the advances in medicine, and the laws which have made Great Britain, Canada and America more accessible and inclusive to those with disabilities, that there would be less willingness to eliminate babies with disabilities, not more. There’s a disconnect at play here; on one hand we promote equal opportunity for children and adults with disabilities. On the other, there is a push to diagnose and eliminate babies with disabilities before they are born.

I know better than to expect logic in our legislation (legally, school nurses can’t dispense aspirin without parental approval but can arrange for a 14 year old’s abortion without her parent’s knowledge–check your own school district and you’ll find this is true). Despite the illogic of the law, I do think that we ought to acknowledge the inherent hypocrisy of proclaiming that people with disabilities can have fulfilling, inclusive lives while we simultaneously encourage parents to abort babies with disabilities. Either their lives are worth living, or they aren’t; which is it?

As Chelsea points out,

…the parents and those advising them in these cases are confusing love with pity which often stems from a kind of selfish empathy. One sees a child in a wheelchair and thinks that he would rather be dead than have to live in such a situation himself, so he decides that it is much more merciful to never allow a child like that to be born. These people are so blinded by fear of the “otherness” of such conditions that they cannot see what is still good and beautiful. What’s more, in many ways, they are trying to save themselves from the emotional stress of having to care for someone suffering so terribly as much as they are trying to save the child from his own suffering, if not more so.

Bolding mine. That right there, I firmly believe, is at the core of the push to abort babies with disabilities. Far too many people do not want the “burden” of anything that might be challenging or difficult. They don’t want anything other than “perfection.”

When it comes to adults like Debbie, people like my cranky colleague do not want to deal with anything other than what they are used to: “normal” behavior. They don’t want to adjust their own behavior, their own expectations. They can’t (or won’t) see the beauty in different lives that–to them–aren’t “perfect.”

I can’t imagine a world without people like Debbie, or Helen Keller, Joni Eareckson Tada, Chris Fonseca, Hu Yizhou and Chelsea Zimmerman in it.

And I believe that promoting the deliberate elimination of such people before they can even begin to demonstrate their unique contribution to our world is, in a word, evil.

Not Much of a Choice

January 22, 2011 on 1:10 am | In abortion, children, Christianity, death, ethics, morality, motherhood, racism, right to life | 6 Comments

I don’t often blog about abortion, not because I don’t care about the issue. I do. I care very, very much.

As I have mentioned previously, Eldest Daughter was born with spina bifida. Shortly after her birth, the on-call pediatrician visited my room, to tell me I should have had prenatal testing done (I deliberately did not), and that I certainly should have testing with any subsequent pregnancies, so that “you won’t have to have another like this.”

His meaning was crystal clear. By his reckoning, I ought to have aborted Eldest Daughter. He was asked to leave my room shortly thereafter, and thankfully I never saw him again.

When my Ob/Gyn (an outstanding physician with a strong pro-life perspective) retired, I wanted to find a new one who did not perform abortions and who would not encourage prenatal testing with a view to aborting any less than perfect child.

It was not easy.

I personally  interviewed more than a dozen physicians in my community. Invariably, my carefully structured questions centering around the possibility of  spina bifida in an unborn child elicited the response that I certainly ought to have testing and that I would be wise to terminate any such pregnancy. I truly wasn’t trying to trick these physicians, I was trying to find one who would honestly tell me, “That’s not how I roll as a doctor,” even if he or she thought abortion was what I might want.

One doctor went so far as to explicitly state that abortion would be the “best” alternative,” that there would be no point to continuing a “less than optimum pregnancy” as the results would certainly be tragic. I showed him a photo of one year-old Eldest Daughter. I told him that she was the hypothetical baby with spina bifida. He looked at the photo for a moment, then quietly said, “Well, that blows a hole in my theory.”

Eventually I did find a great doctor, a devout Orthodox Jew whose only drawback was that he did not deliver babies on the Sabbath. I figured the odds were in my favor, and they were; Youngest Son came into the world (albeit prematurely) early one Friday morning.

So, my interest in the abortion debate is deeply personal.

And I put my efforts and money where my heart is. I served as a trained counselor in a local Crisis Pregnancy Center for three years, and on their Board of Directors for nine years, and I have financially supported that organization and others like it for over a quarter century.

As the years have passed, I find it more and more painful to consider the way abortion has become entrenched in our society as a “right,” a supposedly constitutionally protected right, no less. We decry violence in our communities, and yet we are unfazed by the legalized killing of over 50 million babies.

It’s hard to wrap my head around that number. An estimated 14 million people were murdered during the Holocaust. That’s less than a third of the number of children selectively destroyed by abortion in the US alone. My heart literally aches when I try to consider how many unique individuals we’ve lost.

And then I see stories like this, and I just. Can’t. Fathom. It.

An abortion doctor killed hundreds of babies by cutting their spinal cords with scissors after removing them from mothers late in their pregnancies, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams charged Dr. Kermitt Gosnell, 69, and nine associates with eight counts of murder, following a year-long investigation by a grand jury, whose report was unveiled on Wednesday.

The defendants are charged with first-degree murder in the cases of seven babies for which there is substantial evidence, Williams said.

Hundreds of other babies are likely to have died in Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, which he operated from 1979 to 2010, Williams said.

A third-degree murder charge stemmed from the death of a mother who died from an overdose of anesthetics, he said.

Worst of all, this went on for four decades, utterly unchecked though certainly not unobserved:

…a parade of government health bureaucrats and advocates protecting the abortion racket looked the other way – until, that is, a Philadelphia grand jury finally exposed the infanticide factory run by abortionist Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., and a crew of unlicensed, untrained butchers masquerading as noble providers of women’s “choice.”

Dr. Gosnell, abortionist

Oh God, what monsters walk among us. So much for the rhetoric that legalizing abortion would save women from butchery.

On the heels of this uncovered horror comes (ironically) NARAL’s “Blogging for Choice Day.” Because nothing celebrates the concept of “choice” like killing your own baby. Sorry, sorry, I’ll try to stuff the sarcasm down enough to get through this post.

The point of “Blogging for Choice Day” as they put it, is to:

…get even more people writing about choice through Facebook and Twitter. …Blog for Choice Day still gets more people reading and talking about reproductive rights online on one of the most important days surrounding a woman’s right to choose: the Roe anniversary.

Basically it’s an online celebration of abortion. Okay. Swell. Why not be honest then, and post the reality of that choice. Post pictures too, there are lots of them (warning, that link is the real deal, and it’s not the pretty side of “choice”).  Why not Twitter about the reality that every woman who has an abortion is now the mother of a dead baby. The surgery doesn’t undo the fact that she conceived a baby. Nothing can undo that. She’s just paying someone else to destroy the baby before she has to care for it outside of her womb. And if she was unlucky enough to be one of the thousands treated by Kermitt Gosnell, she actually ended up giving birth to a live baby, and paying to have it killed after it was born.

What a wonderful choice.

What a horrific victimization of women, especially minority women, who are the primary target of this billion dollar industry.

Reading Gerald Nadal’s recent blog entry made me realize it was past time I comment on the ultimate incivility in our midst. Never mind how we talk to one another, how do we act toward the most vulnerable in our society? How have we sunk so low? Nadal explains it clearly:

Large scale atrocities, such as the NAZI Holocaust, which killed 14 million Jews, Catholics, and other undesirables, are NOT, I repeat, NOT solely the results of the will of a tyrannical dictator such as Hitler. One deranged art school flunkie can’t murder that many people on his own. He needs help.

Atrocities grow in proportion to the number of individuals who CHOOSE to participate in them. When the body count climbs into the millions, an entire nation as been complicit. Germany was a great example, the gold standard, actually.

Judges, physicians, nurses, police, the military, teachers, all played a part through their respective roles. Each CHOSE to do so. Many chose not to, and became a part of the body count. And so, a few questions for NARAL. So how many such choices are the difference between bad policy and human atrocity?

How are the eugenic physicians of the Third Reich different from the eugenic obstetricians today who screen genetic differences, label them as “imperfections”, and then categorize such perceived imperfection as so severe as to make the human individual unworthy of continued life?

How is the concept of the “Master Race” in Germany seventy years ago at all different from our eugenic screening of babies in the womb, sex-selective abortions, and desire for genetic engineering and human cloning?

The choice to terminate a life ought to carry with it some set of grave criteria. What constitutes sufficient criteria to literally pull a baby apart, limb by limb?

The criteria? Simple:  Because the mother wants it done. And Planned Parenthood’s eugenics-based industry makes it oh so attractive for her. It’s all about “her choice.”

Not much of a choice, though, is it, when you’re not given a balanced look at alternatives nor shown any of the real, lasting consequences.

An entire generation is alive today only because their mothers chose not to legally kill them. What a fragile sense of worth that assigns to humanity.

Blog Recommendations for 2011

December 30, 2010 on 3:46 pm | In abortion, Catholicism, children, Christianity, cooking, daily life, ethics, faith, morality, motherhood, parenting, religion, right to life | 3 Comments

My blogroll (on the right) is pretty short as such things go. I don’t provide links to blogs unless I actively read the blogs myself, am supportive of their contents, and the bloggers actively post. This means that–sadly–I sometimes drop names off my blogroll; if a writer has not posted anything new in at least three months, I figure they’re no longer active and there’s no point in sending traffic their way.

As we head into a new year, I have some new names to add to my blogroll, and I heartily recommend you bookmark and read them in 2011:

The Art of Manliness

I have two sons. One is already a man, one is on his way there. It’s not easy to raise manly men nowadays; the metrosexualization of western society conspires against it. This blog celebrates with humor and insight the “art of manliness.” Packed with helpful posts such as “3 Knots Every Fisherman Should Know” and “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa,” it’s a treasure trove for any guy wanting to live a manly life. (H/T Brutally Honest).

Bryan Allain

I think I came across him when he was guest blogging on Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like blog. Or maybe it was because of Bryan’s Living With the Amish series. At any rate, Bryan is multitalented; he does podcasts, animated videos, and he’s a clever, inspired writer.

La Shawn Barber’s Corner

Both eloquent and down to earth, in her own words, “Southern-born and raised, repentant and Reformed, La Shawn writes about politics, faith, and culture.” Check out her “Thrill of the Chaste” article at Townhall.com.

Home on the Range

Guns and gourmet cooking?! Sign me up! Down home humor + excellent recipes x great photographs = a  winner in all regards. Good grief, did I just use a mathematics metaphor? Where’s the eggnog…

Quivering Daughters

This is a blog that speaks to those affected by “paternalistic” Christian legalism. I’ve never directly experienced that sort of religion (they’d throw the likes of me out before you could spell “exegesis”) but I have seen its damaging effects upon others. Hillary McFarland and her guest bloggers offer grace and healing, and profound insight into the damage authoritarianism inflicts upon women.

Coming Home

A blog where science and faith intersect. Gerald Nadal is a molecular biologist and microbiologist as well as a devout Roman Catholic. With logic, clarity and compassion he explores fundamental life issues such as abortion, euthanasia and eugenics.

The Internet Monk

Begun by the late Michael Spencer and continued by his friend Michael Mercer, this blog focuses on “Jesus shaped spirituality.” Known variously as the “emergent church movement,” the “urban monastic movement,” the “resurgence,” and a return to reformation theology, essentially this is Christianity in its most pure form: a belief that the Kingdom of God looks like Jesus and that the heart of Christianity is simply imitating him. If you long for a life of Christianity, not religion, this is the blog you want to read.

Eric Pazdziora

As someone without a musical bone in my body, I am in awe of those God has gifted with musicality. Eric Pazdziora is a young Christians classical* pianist and composer whose music is hauntingly beautiful, stirring and most definitely inspired. And he writes wonderfully as well.

* (It’s probably not technically  “classical” music, but what do I know–I’m not musical. Eric writes hymns and worship songs that hearken back to classical roots)

As I look at that handful of blogs, I’m struck by the randomness of their selection. Which seems perfectly apropos for someone whose own blog is Random Thoughts!

God’s partner in matters of life and death

August 21, 2009 on 11:12 am | In abortion, aging, Christianity, health care reform, morality, Obama, right to life | No Comments

This morning I took Youngest Son to his new middle school for the first time. Dropped him off, watched him walk confidently away. The sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky (it’s SoCal and this is normal August weather). I was feeling pretty good about the day.

I got home, checked my email and found that I’d sold another of Youngest Daughter’s last semester textbooks on half.com. Wonderful system, half.com; I’ve saved literally hundreds of dollars each semester in textbook costs and resold most of the books I’ve bought. The day was really looking good.

Then I read this:

In a morning conference call with about 1000 rabbis from across the nation, Obama asked for aid: “I am going to need your help in accomplishing necessary reform,” the President told the group, according to Rabbi Jack Moline, who tweeted his way through the phoner.

“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death,” Obama went on to say, according to Moline’s real-time stream.

Well there went my happy morning. On a certain level the arrogance of Obama’s statement engenders cynical laughter. So, if he’s “God’s partner in matters of life and death,” did God have a vote when it came to Obama’s support of Planned Parenthood, and his refusal to vote against partial birth abortion? Just wondering.

God’s partner in matters of life and death…

Far more than laughter though, Obama’s declaration of partnership with God in “matters of life and death” makes me feel rather ill. That deep-in-the-pit-of-the-stomach something-is-horribly-wrong-here sort of ill. There is no end to the man’s profound arrogance, no limit to the power he presumes, even to take on equality with God in “matters of life and death.” He’s not Jesus Christ, he thinks he’s more powerful than Jesus Christ. Christ himself “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Servanthood eludes this particular public servant though, and Obama calls himself God’s own partner in determining mortality.

At least this clarifies one persistent question about Obamacare: Obama thinks matters of life and death ought to be in the hands of the government. And that speaks volumes about the murky mystery that is his health care reform plan.

For further consideration:

Victor Davis Hansen explains the rather creepy and sudden invocation of religion in the health care debate (H/T The Anchoress).

Neo-Neocon provides an eloquent and thorough examination of the problem with health care reform:

These are some of the very basic problems with any health care reform bill:

(1) Good health care is extremely expensive, and cutting costs will always mean denial of benefits. And even if the rhetoric says that only the unnecessary fat will be cut, medicine is not a good enough science that we can tell in advance what’s a necessary test or procedure and what is not.

(2) People logically assume that insuring everyone will have to cost more money, and they also know that there’s no magic way to get that money. People are also aware that government estimates of the cost of programs are usually underestimates, sometimes by a large factor.

(3) People are especially wary of government control over this particular aspect of their lives because it is so personal and so vital at the same time.

(4) Government-run enterprises are generally distrusted, and considered inefficient and intrusive. People know that from past and present experience.

(5) In this country there is still a widely-held philosophical strain of belief in personal initiative and responsibility rather than nanny-statism. This is in contrast to the belief system of European populations, and so it’s no surprise that European governments have encountered far less resistance to government involvement in health care than is found in this country.

Therefore it’s no surprise that the US has failed to pass universal health care so far, and especially a public option. And it’s also no surprise that there’s been a great deal lot of opposition to Obamacare, since the basic problems presented by the five points above have been compounded by the fact that the rhetoric of those pushing the bill has been entirely unconvincing in its attempts at reassurance.

And Richard Bean sums up the underlying problem with Obama’s entire approach to health care:

This fantasy–that the government will take away all our worries and pay for everything–is the result of years of the entitlement mentality that is sponsored by liberalism. It takes only a few glances at history to see where socialism leads. The shiny allure of handing over your life to be paid for by others has never led a society to greatness or goodness. It has led to a decay in morality, productivity, responsibility, and most importantly a decay in freedom.

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