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Archive for the ‘Pro-life’ Category

I am sitting here, listening to yet another pounding rain, watching election returns.

I have been praying for weeks that God would please not give us what we deserve, which would be another four years of Obama, the continued acceleration of the destruction of the unborn, disastrous overseas policy, lies, cozying up to Comrade Putin (who seems increasingly oblivious to the end of the Cold War), the ruin of the economy, the spreading persecution and villification of anyone who dares say homosexual behavior is wrong, the vast expansion of the GIMME GIMME GIMME welfare/entitlement state, etc., etc.

On Facebook, where my husband maintains a very limited personal account, a number of acquaintances have come up with such gems as, “The Republicans’ support is all stupid, white men; doesn’t that explain a lot?”  Wow… let me sit and ponder that one.  With all those degrees, that’s really all the logic she could muster?  My opinion of advanced degrees and certain “prestigious” universities continues to plummet as I meet women with lots of framed paper on their walls and not one ounce of sense, but an overarching fear of being called our for it, masked by an obnoxiously loud and strident proclamation of how smart they are for not being like one of those stupid pro-lifers and/or conservatives.  A complaint about the Republican platform would be fine, but this is just middle school name calling.

Of course, Facebook has also hosted its share of general rants about how Romney should ask women what they think about contraception.  Well, I’m a woman, last I checked (I know, I know: “She’s not a woman!  She’s a Republican!” as the line went about Palin), and I think contraception is about the stupidest thing we’ve done with technology.  We managed to strangle our future generations while wrecking havoc in the stability of our own (divorce rates follow the availability of contraception, and it doesn’t go down, like contraceptives’ proponents say), all in one fell swoop.  How’s that for scientific efficiency?  And then, even though Hugh Hefner embraced contraceptives as the greatest gift to lust-ridden, irresponsible misogynist pigs everywhere… somehow, women still were convinced that they had to have contraceptives for their own good.

America, the Jesuit magazine for “thinking” (which is code for “dissenting”) Catholics, and the Huffington Post (almost equally useless in their ability to identify or promulgate sound Catholic doctrine) apparently both ran articles explaining to Catholics why Obama (since all Democrats are better for the economy, and abortion is really just about financial inability to raise a child) is really the more pro-life choice than Romney (who hates women and wouldn’t really have anything to do with the legality of abortion, you know).  Scarily, some people actually reposted these articles as a “something to make you think” kind of thing.  Yes, it makes me think we’re pretty stupid to accept that “financial hardship” is the real reason for the abortion, and not actually a symptom of the disappearing father, embarassed or coercive parents, unfeeling school administrators, etc. who all made it painfully clear to the pregnant mother that they would abandon her, penniless and homeless, unless she got the abortion and stopped making demands on them.  And yeah, it makes me think… that catechesis in the Catholic Church in this country has absolutely and almost universally stunk, quite literally, to high heaven for decades, so that we’ve turned out a bunch of religiously illiterate adults who can’t perceive the moral difference between government handouts being somewhat decreased and government-funded murder.

And then we promoted some of those adults to the head of CCD programs and parishes, where they spout about the unfairness of working conditions in Nike factories in Asia and the evil, hard-hearted, poor-hating jerks who argued against Obamacare… but NEVER utter one word about the millions dying every year around the globe and around the corner because of the evil of abortion.

Of course, these people were shocked- absolutely flabergasted!- to find out that those crazy, extremist pro-lifers were right about Obamacare being doomed to bring with it mandatory abortions and contraception for everyone, religious objections be damned.  (I’m not holding my breath for an apology.  Apparently, being liberal means never having to admit you were wrong about the actual long-term consequences of your ill-considered idealistic actions.  At least the bishops finally realized the danger they were in and sued the government over the HHS mandate.)

This morning, I spent two and a half hours in line to vote down here in southeastern Virginia.  Our polling place made the local news, and, sadly, we weren’t the worst of it.  (Four years ago, the line was outside for the first hour, and the wait took more like 3.5 hours.)  Two extra computers for checking voter registration finally showed up after we’d been in line for two hours and had only finally made it to the far end of the school cafeteria from the voting booths.  (Yes, I had all four of my kids with me.  They were remarkably good, something I was very thankful for.)

The polls tell us that many people only made up their minds about who they’d vote for in the last few weeks.

It would seem more people have solid opinions about who they root for on “Jersey Shore” or in the “Twilight” series than in politics.

It sure looks like a huge chunk of the U.S. population thinks the government owes them and/or others, not that they have the responsibility to work to provide for themselves, their families, and the poor in their own communities.  (Yes, Vice President Biden, I’m talking to you.  Crap, I give away more money in a month than you did in a year as a senator, and I know my household makes a heck of a lot less than yours.  No, Catholic social teaching does NOT support the idea that voting to give away other people’s tax money to programs for the poor is the same as tithing, the CCHD notwithstanding.)

It would also seem that most women, especially “educated” women, are dumb enough to believe that they have to vote Democratic, or else they’ll be seen as stupid.  Or not worthy of their “lady parts”.  Or that they’ll be chained to the kitchen sink, barefoot, and forced to have babies until they die, while being deprived of proper reading material, like the HuffPo.

I’d like to think we were smarter than this, that a clear explanation of things would open eyes, that we would not fall to what John Adams said could ruin our country: lack of morals and the realization that we could vote ourselves money out of the public treasury.  The election should be obvious and not close at all, if we still remembered those things that made our nation great (faith, the rule of law equally for all, civic involvement, personal as well as group responsibility and charity, etc.).  No matter who wins tonight, this election is too close to be excusable.  Everything in our history says we should be smarter than this.

Thank God, I am solidly aware that my true citizenship is not here, that my deepest loyalties are not to the United States of America, and that all man-made kingdoms will fall and fade, otherwise, I would despair.  (Besides, I learned more than what my pitiful CCD program bothered to teach me, so I also know that despair is expressly forbidden; it is a sin against God’s goodness.  I have thanked God and blessed the Archdiocese for the Military Services repeatedly over the years for those marvelous, holy chaplains assigned to the Naval Academy.)

But I am losing heart in the power of words, logic, and even personal example to change most peoples’ minds.

Kinda a problem for someone trying to keep up a blog.

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I’m in the middle of moving my in-laws into a new apartment, so the homeschool conference summaries aren’t going to happen tonight.  Sorry.

Instead, I’d like to point out a sobering article from someone who had an abortion.

I was still convinced they were there…somewhere. Hiding in the bushes, perhaps. Or sitting in their parked cars, reading the Bible, waiting for people to pull up, and then they would jump out of their cars and swarm around mine like a pitchfork-wielding mob. I waited five minutes. And I prayed the whole time that they were there. Then I waited five more minutes. Maybe they were just running late.

Nothing.

And you know the rest of the story. No one was there. Not a single living soul told me I didn’t have to do this. No one in the clinic told me otherwise, either, of course.

It’s a thought-provoking article.  It will make you think again about finding some time to stand outside the local abortion clinic to pray.

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I have an irrate commenter who is very good at verbosely rattling off President Obama’s talking points.  In short:

  • nobody is forcing religious employers to pay for contraceptives; the insurance companies will pay for them
  • it isn’t true that anybody is forcing anyone to buy contraceptives at all: you could just pay the fine/assessment/tax/whatever Obama is calling it this week
  • you people need to stop believing everything the bishops tell you

Hmmm.  I could make snarky comments about him, but I’ll just make a lazy post by copying my reply.

Ok, so here’s the HHS statement on its final ruling.  Yeah, that’s what I said it said, thanks.

You may note that it clearly states that all health insurance plans that do not qualify for an exemption must provide contraceptive services.  Even those who qualify for an examption and don’t provide contraceptives will probably be required, the statement says, to inform their employees about where to get contraceptives for free.

So, every Catholic school, hospital and charity will be required to provide contraception (because they don’t fit under the new, narrow definition of a “religious” entity).  Even parishes and convents that fit under the definition should be aware that HHS is already contemplating how to force them to promote contraception to their employees.  The so-called compromise only means that these institutions will be forced to buy insurance that, for “free”, provides contraceptives.  NEWS FLASH: when the hotel says the wi-fi and breakfast are “free”, they aren’t; you’re paying for it, they just add it to the room price.  When the insurance company says, “Sure, we provide contraceptives for free,” um, no, YOU’RE PAYING FOR THAT.

(And you’re happy that dioceses will be forced to buy insurance from someone else?  Why?  Adding the bureaucracy of an insurance company won’t make health insurance cheaper for the employees.  Is it because the government can bully the insurance companies more easily?  Or are you just anti-Catholic and want Catholics to please keep their unauthorized opinions to themselves, unless they’re standing in a church?)

And, holy crap!  how generous!, HHS has allowed that those institutions that do not fit under the definition but have objections can have an extra year to, as Cardinal Dolan put it, “Figure out how to violate our consciences,” as long as they prove that they even qualify for the extension.

The last time I checked, in this country, we do not generally give out rights only to those who can PAY THE FINES FOR THEM.  If you have to pay a fine for it, it ISN’T RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.  I am not interested in being a dhimmi in my own country, thank you very much.

Yes, I’m yelling.  Here’s my short version:

The federal government has a definition of what constituted a religious institution; this administration chose to use a definition that excludes most religious institutions.  Why?  Are they trying to drive religious institutions out of the public square?

If I pay for insurance that provides contraceptives, I am directly complicit in something I hold to be sinful, no matter how the accounting is done (this has nothing to do with paying taxes; that is a much more remote connection between my money and behavior I may hold to be immoral).  So, no, the latest “compromise” isn’t worth anything.

If I have to pay a fine to exercise my religious freedom, then my “right” has been reduced to a calculation of how much money the government can get out of me, money that the government will directly use to fund something I object strongly to.  And once I’m out of money, my right to religious freedom is gone.  Somehow, I seem to remember from high school government class that that is not how our Bill of Rights is supposed to work.  (But Obama was a Constitutional law prof; I’m sure he’ll tell us that, since he sees the Constitution as a living document, “bill” must be reinterpreted in the modern way, so it now means, “You get rights, and the government will send you a bill.”)

And if you think, “Well, I don’t care about contraception; I want it covered,” then please consider what else is legal that you or your church might object to funding: abortion, sex-change operations, and euthanasia.  If they force the Catholics to bow (and we are the largest single denomination in this country and our hospitals care for 1/6 of American patients), do you think they are going to stop here?

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“My country, right or wrong,” is a thing no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case.  It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”  — G.K. Chesterton

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  – First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

As Christians aware of our history (and I’m not at all sure that most of us are), we have frequently had cause to love the countries we live in while fighting their current stupidities or evils.  If we are aware of the histories of official government persecution or blind eyes to persecution (for Catholics, this would include Elizabeth I’s police state, the invasion of Maryland while it was still a colony, and repeated instances of the destruction of Catholic institutions and murder of Catholics in the U.S.); we certainly have grounds to expect the future might hold problems in a similar vein, prompting a pre-emptive promise to love our country, in spite of its failings.

And so, we come to the current “desperate case”:

In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences. 

— Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City

I am honestly horrified that the nation I have always loved has come to this hateful and radical step in religious intolerance.

– Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria

In spite of a “compromise” that still meant everyone would be paying for contraceptives and abortions (we’d just hide the accounting, and, no, really, this time we’ll put it into law, unlike that last promise we made to the pro-life Democrats who voted for the health care bill in the first place.  Really!), the HHS mandate is still a violation of religious liberty.

The Amish, who have religious objections to insurance, get an exemption from the plan.  They also, we learned while on vacation in the area around Lancaster, PA, get an exemption from Social Security taxes, since they don’t take the payouts, relying instead on their children and their own savings when they retire, which they don’t do very early.  (Gee, I’m not expecting to get a payout from Social Security, can I opt out of that tax and invest my own money, too?)

Catholics, however, do not get an exemption from the new health care law.  The only religious organizations exempt from paying for contraceptives they believe to be sinful are actual churches.  The definition specifies that the religious exemption is only for those organizations who employ and serve almost exclusively their co-religionists.  The school the church runs will have to pay for contraceptives.  The diocese that runs soup kitchens and counseling services will have to pay for contraceptives.  Heck, if your parish is considered a mission parish and is evangelizing a less-Catholic area and has a lot of non-Catholic participants at mass, you might not really be “religious” enough under the definition the Obama administration has chosen to use.  (Remember the howling about all the “the secretary shall define”, “the secretary shall decide”, etc. vagueness in the massive health care bill?  If it’s that huge, and still contains all this leeway, what are they hiding?  Well, here’s where it comes to bite us.  Just like the pro-lifers were saying all along.)

The lawsuits against the federal government are piling up.  Several major Protestant leaders have stepped up to support the Catholic Church (and I should note that Catholics aren’t the only church that has objections to contraception, although all the major Protestant denominations abandonned their bans on contraception by the mid-1900’s, starting with the Anglicans in 1930 at their regular Lambeth Conference).  There are multiple websites up to collect signatures against the government mandate, including StopHHS.

I seriously hope the U.S. government gets trounced in court… except that my tax dollars are being spent to attack my church and to defend this idiotic law.

And right now, while I love my country and am very proud of our troops, especially this Memorial Day weekend, I still feel about like some poor daughter having to haul her drunk mother home from the bar, yet again, to the jeers of the neighbors.  This is when you say, “My country, right or wrong,” and it makes your eyes sting with tears to think of how horribly, desperately astray my dear country has gone.

You grit your teeth, say it anyways, and pray that your mother and your country sober up and straighten out again, knowing that you’ll probably have to say it again under similar circumstances, even as you pray you don’t.

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Strange New World

In the latest “strange things that happen thanks to IVF” category, a widow has tried to claim Social Security survivor benefits for her twin children.  The problem?  The children were conceived from banked sperm after their father died.

Yes, parents die.  However, intentionally creating children who were never alive at the same time as their father… I don’t know what to call it.  Selfish?  Short—sighted?  Over-entitled?  There’s a vast difference between a pregnant mom who loses her husband to accident or disease and intentionally creating a difficult situation that wasn’t already there.

Social Security denied the claim.  The Supreme Court upheld their decision unanimously, saying that the children were never dependent on their father monetarily and were, therefore, ineligible to claim “survivor” status.

The author of the Lifenews article I cited at the top lamented that the Court didn’t rule in favor of the kids (aren’t they people, too?), partially because she seems to think if taxpayers are paying for weird IVF consequences that they’d pay more attention.

Um, Octomom, anyone?  She’s still on public assistance, except for posing for nude photos, last I saw on the tabloid headlines at the grocery store.  So, no, I really doubt that taxpayers footing the bill for one more piece of stupid behavior would wake anyone up to the morals-free, money-reigns world of IVF and all the strange possibilities it opens up.

Unfortunately, we have lost our capacity for shock.

Yes, the twins are people; that doesn’t entitle them to Social Security benefits.  Actually, as people, the twins deserved better than to be manipulated in a lab to create a living memorial to their dead father.  (At least they actually have a father, as opposed to all the children with anonymous sperm donors as fathers.)  Whether it’s a “savior sibling”, bred for donor tissue for a sick older brother or sister, or a memorial child, these children do not deserve to be treated as things for other’s purposes.

G.K. Chesterton, who died well before things got this weird, commented, “We have learned to do a great many clever things.  The next thing will be to learn not to do them.”

I’m not sure we’ll ever learn that.

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At long last, Chen Guangcheng and his immediate family are safe in America.

The Chinese government, of course, has now sentenced his nephew to death for defending his family during a nighttime raid by police.  (He is accused of murder.)  Other family members and friends of Chen have been arrested, detained, and harrassed.  Without outside pressure, this is likely to continue, in an effort to discredit Chen and his message.

The U.S., ever eager in this administration to bow to all the wrong people, didn’t jump to Chen’s aid when he escaped his years-long house arrest and arrived at the U.S. embassy several weeks ago.  Instead, the embassy officials told Chen to go ahead and leave to get medical attention.  (And, right now, anyone who ever received any training on standing inport deck watch in the Navy is groaning; once someone has taken refuge on board, you do NOT LET THEM LEAVE.  Even if the threat seems to have passed and they’re saying, “Oh, it’s ok now, that’s my brother come to take me home,” once you have given them haven on U.S. territory (a Navy ship or an embassy), you can’t make them leave nor let them leave until you are sure they are safe and have authorization from higher authority.  And you certainly don’t encourage them to voluntarily walk off.)

But what did we expect from a State Department that gave the Russians a mis-translated gag gift that said “overcharge” instead of “reset”?  (A gag gift?  In international politics?!?)

Chen devoted his life and sacrificed his safety to document abuses of China’s One Child Policy.  At first, he may have thought he was only bringing to light abuses of the policy (although the policy itself is abusive).  Eventually, it became obvious that the abuses were part and parcel of any coercive, government-mandated birth control program.  And, no, Beijing was not interested in what a self-taught lawyer was telling them about how the policy was being implemented.  Instead of going after officials grossly overstepping the bounds of the law, the government went after Chen, trying him on trumped-up charges and placing him and his family under house arrest.

The U.S. has long made it a policy that we take seriously our responsibilities to support and encourage freedom and democracy and those who fight for them around the world.

Do we love our money so much that we’d rather compromise our principles than offend our lenders?

Fortunately, Chen has supporters in the U.S., too.  This is not the end of his fight to end the One Child Policy, it is a new beginning.

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The problem with pre-natal testing is that many people (maybe most) don’t use it to prepare for the birth of a child with disabilities, they use it to kill the child before he or she can be born.  This is particularly well documented with children diagnosed in utero with Downs Syndrome; around 90% of children with this diagnosis will be aborted, often under heavy pressure from doctors overplaying the severity of the condition.  (Unlike some diagnoses that are clear cut, Downs is a range.  Someone with mild Downs can function fairly normally, while those with more severe cases will need life-long help.  I would also note that many tests give false positives; I have heard several stories of dire warnings and harrassment to abort from doctors, only to have the child test perfectly normal after birth.)  I’d like to think the March of Dimes and such are trying to help, but promoting pre-natal testing isn’t the way to help, unless by “help” you simply mean decreasing the number of Downs Syndrome children who make it to birth, not the number conceived.

So, a new internet campaign is trying to bring attention to this appalling statistic.  Maybe, if more people understood Downs, fewer would cave into the pressure from the “experts” telling them that their baby would be better off dead.

And, yet again, we have to ask ourselves how many of these children would be allowed to live if our culture didn’t push the idea of one or two “perfect” children and absolutely no more.  If we had space in our hearts for three or four children (or more), would we be more accepting of the less-than-perfect, too?

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