Bloody Treasure and Hardened Hearts

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”  ~ Thomas Jefferson

The drama that is currently being played out between the state of Indiana and the federal government over its decision to defund Planned Parenthood is rich in subtext.

The issues of state sovereignty and the federal government's violation of the Tenth Amendment alone make this a compelling story, but there is another, darker revelation as well, one which should trouble all Americans of good conscience.

Most of us would agree with Thomas Jefferson's declaration above, and each of us would have our own list of federal projects, policies or actions to which we personally object. His statement, however, goes deeper than opposing earmarks or raising the debt ceiling. He is speaking to moral issues that transcend mere policy and speak to who we are as a people.

The issue of abortion has divided this country for nearly four decades, but recent polls, to include a Gallup poll on abortion done one month ago, suggest that a significant majority of Americans, 61 percent, now believe practically all abortions should be illegal, and a majority of Americans believe it is morally wrong.

By Jefferson's standard, it should be clear, even to those who are confused about the unalienable right to life, or who disavow the existence of such a right altogether, that it is "sinful and tyrannical" to use our money, confiscated from us through the force of government authority, to subsidize a practice most Americans find morally abhorrent.

Yet it has been going on for years, with Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions, receiving millions of taxpayer dollars annually.

In the interest of casting light onto darkness, let me make a couple of points to illuminate the discussion.

Don't let the lies about where the money goes deceive you. Saying that the money is used only to fund services or operations outside of abortion is a shell game. Those who manage the funds oversee all of the organization's operations, and subsidies for one function frees them to use other money elsewhere. Those taxpayer millions protect the millions they spend on their abortuaries.

Don't let them downplay the significance of abortion services to their bottom line. They like to claim that only 3% of the services they provide are abortions. Every single family planning procedure, however, is counted as a service, while abortion-related visits are bundled together as one. It creates a false narrative, which is precisely their intent. What they aren't saying is that about a fifth of their annual revenue comes from abortions alone.

The last point of illumination is the canard that women will be denied valuable family planning services should Planned Parenthood be defunded. Although they are difficult to count because they are usually independent operations, there are, at a minimum, an estimated 2,300 pregnancy care centers across the nation, compared to 820 Planned Parenthood clinics. These pregnancy care centers offer the same family planning services at little or no cost, and do not perform abortions.

Given Planned Parenthood's professed concern for women, you would think they'd welcome these pregnancy care clinics as partners in advancing women's health.

Instead, they fight them tooth and claw because they aren't really as invested in women's health as they are in abortion, and any woman who goes to a pregnancy care center is one less to offer their unborn child to the abortuaries and the killers who operate them.

In fact, their barely disguised hostility toward pregnancy care centers, and the actions they take to try and shut them down, is all the evidence you need of who they really are. That same unit of measure - "By their fruits you shall know them" - can be used to determine where the federal government stands on the issue of taxpayer funding of abortions.

When the federal government approached its first budget deadline earlier this year, and a continuing resolution proposal was put forward to the White House which included the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the administration rejected it out of hand. President Obama was more than willing to shut down the government, and deny pay to our men and women in the armed forces, to preserve federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The federal government's response to the Indiana law was equally revealing. Obama's Department of Health and Human Services essentially threatened to cut off all federal funds to the state's Medicaid program unless they rescinded the law and restored Planned Parenthood's funding.

Medicaid is the federal government's health insurance program for low-income people and families, and it is funded jointly by the states and the federal government. By linking their share of the funds to the funding for Planned Parenthood, the federal government is essentially threatening to throw health care for the poor under the bus in favor of Planned Parenthood.

If that is their stated policy, they will then have to take the same stand against Kansas and North Carolina, whose legislature overrode the governor's veto to implement their state budget, which included defunding Planned Parenthood. The state of Texas is considering a similar measure.

As proud as I am to see the states reassert their rightful place in the design of our republic, I'm equally disturbed at the stridence of the federal government on abortion, which is more sacrosanct to them than the daily operations of government, the armed forces, or medical care for the poor. It is written, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." They are hell-bent on spending our treasure on the blood sacrifice of children yet to be born, and I shudder to think how hardened their hearts must be.

Barack and Me: Revised Edition

As a student of history and politics, I've learned that criticism of our elected officials is as American as apple pie.

People who think we are somehow more divided and antagonistic than ever before when it comes to politics should read about the presidential campaign of 1828 between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, or the account of South Carolina congressman Preston Brooks nearly beating Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts to death in the Senate chamber. The technology has changed the speed and volume of the debate, but human nature remains the same.

I have found, however, that racial politics complicates that nugget of conventional wisdom.

One would expect a conservative constituent to disagree with a liberal politician and vice versa, and they have the right to openly express their disagreements in our land of liberty. I am proud of the free flow of information and commentary in our nation, and I willingly wore our country's uniform, as did my father before me, to protect that freedom.

I am also a proponent of modern technology and communications as a democratizing force, and an alternative to a mainstream media that has become increasingly inaccessible to certain points of view.

Add race to that mix, however, and it becomes much more volatile.

Somehow, a black conservative is performing an act of unspeakable evil by criticizing President Obama, the nation's first black president. Moreover, black conservatives are fair game for mean-spirited, racially charged comments from black and white liberals alike. Only in these circumstances is a white person allowed to call a black person a "house Negro" and be cheered for the comment.

I don't mention this to complain. It was my choice to stride boldly into the arena, and the criticism comes with the territory. Also, as I indicated in my book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch, there is great certainty and serenity in having the courage of your convictions:

You may not like or accept what I have to say, but I am certain of my right to say it because it’s not a privilege to be granted or revoked by the black orthodoxy, their white enablers or anyone else. I was conceived in the image of God, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I am a free man in the Creator’s universe with a view of the world that is uniquely mine and mine to express as I think best.

Jesus Christ says, “[Y]ou will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” I didn’t fully grasp what that meant until after more than 50 years of living. The knowledge of the truth instills in a person clarity, confidence and serenity, allowing one to stand firm against the lies and attacks of the world without fear.

Courage is true freedom and I came to that place because of Jesus Christ. Only in Him, the Eternal Word and Truth Incarnate, am I free to be a contrarian black man.

A little more than a year ago, I wrote a piece for American Thinker that spoke directly to this aberrant behavior, and I present it here with a few additions from my book to reflect my thinking today. My intent was to strip away race as a reason for either defending or criticizing the president, and focus the reader's attention on the fundamental differences between conservatives and liberals, regardless of race. I hope you find it illuminating.

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I've been a committed conservative and, with the exception of one year where I listed myself as an independent, a registered Republican since 1978. What makes that rather unremarkable statement more intriguing is that I'm an American who happens to be black.

Anyone who follows politics knows that puts me in rare and sometimes lonely company. Black voting percentages for the Republican nominee for President since 1964 are typically in the single digits, reaching 11% nationwide in 2004 and, perhaps more significantly, 16% in Ohio, helping George W. Bush take that state and the Presidency for a second term. There is no single demographic group in the nation that is more loyal and, in my opinion, more taken for granted by the beneficiaries of their votes than blacks.

Until February 10, 2007, most of my black friends and associates tolerated my status as a conservative and Republican, dismissing me as a novelty or something less flattering but essentially harmless. After that date, and especially after the Iowa caucuses in the 2008 Presidential election, I became an enemy and someone who needed to be silenced at all costs.

What changed? The emergence of Barack Hussein Obama as the first viable black candidate for the Presidency, an occasion that called for racial solidarity over ideological purity or party loyalty.

I know I didn't change. I saw in Barack Obama not a black man but another liberal Democrat out to convince Americans to surrender their liberty for the benevolent dictatorship of government. To me, he was no different than Al Gore in 2000 or John Kerry in 2004.

That said, the first time I wrote about him was after reading his book, The Audacity of Hope, and I was indeed hopeful that he might be different:

Yes, we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but his words suggest he seeks to understand and doesn't instantly dismiss people like me in the self-righteous and condescending way liberals have adopted when addressing their conservative counterparts.

I was further impressed with his efforts to transcend the racial politics of past Democratic presidential contenders, especially the man who preceded him as the most successful black candidate for President, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In a subsequent article, I wrote:

As a leader and manager in the military, the business world, government and the non-profit sector, I've learned that if we want people to follow us, we need to find a common goal toward which to strive, and we need to extend to them the presumption of good faith in the tone and tenor of our words and deeds. I think this is why Senator Barack Obama's campaign for President of the United States is making history.

As the campaign wore on, however, I began to realize that he was as much a prisoner of the Democratic Party as so many other black politicians before him, and I didn't disguise my disappointment:

How, then, do I square my generally positive feelings about Barack Obama the man, and the significance of his run for the Presidency to black Americans like me, with the fact that we agree on almost nothing when it comes to policy?

From that point forward, I was increasingly critical of Barack Obama and publicly declared my intention to vote for John McCain over him.

You would think I had donned a white robe and hood based on the reactions of my black friends. One even went so far as to say that Obama's blackness was reason enough for me and other blacks to vote for him. I shot back that when I ran against a long-time white incumbent for a state Senate seat in 2006, she and other blacks voted against me in droves so racial solidarity apparently only works one way.

I went on to evoke the old Zora Neale Hurston quote, "my skinfolk ain't necessarily my kinfolk," a phrase used often as a pejorative against blacks who don't toe the party line. In this case, I used it to shine the light on the naked hypocrisy of blacks who want unquestioned loyalty to Obama because he's black but call Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, the first black chairman of the GOP, a "house Negro."

Since his inauguration, the scope of President Obama's agenda and the speed with which he's attempting to implement it have brought out some of my most pointed criticism. I've come to realize his perception of America as an arrogant nation in need of forgiveness for its sins, his contempt for free enterprise, and his faith in government over individuals are irreconcilable differences, and we are destined to be permanently at odds barring some epiphany on his part or mine.

What usually follows my critiques is a chorus of angry questions and comments from other blacks who are quick to come to his defense and impugn my motives, intelligence, and even my ability to think independently. The latter point is ironic given that I'm not the one who's following the herd here, but I'm not writing this to defend myself.

Rather, I want to challenge these critics who seem to think I owe Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt because he's the first black President and I need to support him on that basis alone.

I believe with every fiber of my being that abortion is as great a moral stain on the consciousness of this nation as were slavery and institutionalized discrimination. The fact that, since 1973, it has killed more black people than all other causes of death in the black community combined is the cruelest of ironies.

Despite the fact most blacks agree with me, they are somehow able to overlook the legalized murder of voiceless, helpless children for convenience. I can't.

What do you expect me to say to a President who, regardless of color, is dedicated to removing all restrictions on abortion and considers it a right?

I believe that government is designed to defend our nation from foreign attack, provide for public safety, enforce the law and deliver equal justice for all. Beyond that, I do not want government to dictate to me how to raise my children, how much I can or can't earn, or the causes to which I can contribute.

I don't believe in enforced charity and I believe a government that does too much not only takes our freedom, but also our will to achieve and our desire to give, rendering us morally indolent.

Government says it will provide for us and we no longer have to provide for one another. This mindset has done great damage to the black community because government is a poor substitute for a father in the home, a neighbor with a helping hand, and the church down the street.

What do you expect me to say to a President who, regardless of color, believes in "spreading the wealth" and thinks people who work hard, play by the rules and are successful don't deserve to make more than what he thinks is "fair"?

I believe that America has done more to bring liberty and prosperity to the world than any other great nation in history, and all we ever asked for was the land to bury the more than 100,000 men and women who never made it home. I am a proud veteran who loves my country not because she is great but because she strives to be good.

What do you expect me to say to a President who travels the world apologizing not just for the perceived sins of the past eight years, but also for American wrongs that pale in comparison to the autocratic regimes to which he's apologizing?

I am a conservative. He is not.

I believe all human life is sacred and worthy of our protection. He does not.

I believe in individuals over government. He does not.

I believe America is a force for good in the world and has nothing for which to apologize. He does not.

I believe there is great wisdom in the lessons of history and I believe in prudence before making radical changes. Obama does not.

I believe there are truths which are eternal and not derived from man; therefore, they cannot be revoked, nor should they be ignored. He does not.

I believe the power of our nation is in its people exercising their liberties and not in government imposing its will on them. He does not.

President Obama is a typical Democrat. I cannot abide by the policies he and his fellow Democrats support.

What do you expect me to say?

Ron Miller is a conservative writer and commentator, author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch, and the president of Regular Folks United, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty, free markets and our nation's founding principles. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, TeamRonMiller.com. Join him on Facebook and Twitter.

The Liberals' Deadly Obsession

Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-MI) retirement yesterday made him the first political casualty of the historic health care vote last month. His capitulation on the abortion issue, which made possible the Democrats' force feeding of Obamacare to the American people, will go down as one of the great betrayals of principle in modern American politics. His strident attacks on his former allies in the pro-life community are pathetic and despicable. His political career benefited from their support, and his stand on the abortion funding issue made him a household name. He deserves the enmity of the people he strung along for so long.

The debate on Obamacare has largely centered around the Democrats committing political suicide to enact it. I'm not surprised; this was less about health care, a fact more of us are learning every day, and more about expanding government control over our lives and decisions. This bill is full of mandates, taxes and restrictions, and does nothing to control costs or increase the availability or quality of care.

There's one discussion topic I haven't seen, however, and Rep. Stupak's retirement spurred me to address it.

The Democrats had an opportunity to enact a fundamental transformation of the American health care system, and one would surmise this bill represented the crown jewel of liberalism, the Holy Grail that liberals prize above all else.

And you'd almost be right.

If the Democrats wanted universal, government-controlled health care above all else, they would have long ago accepted the language in the House version of the health bill that expressly prohibits federal funding of abortions.

The truth is they were willing to risk their best chance in decades to enact the lodestone of their liberal agenda, all because they place a higher priority on a woman's choice to kill her own baby if she desires.

As Rep. Stupak and his coalition of alleged pro-life Democrats - a category of politician that's officially an endangered species - held out for guarantees in the legislation to prevent federal dollars from being spent on abortion services, a sickening drama was playing out between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the pro-abortion women's caucus in the House.

The members of the caucus were swarming around the House Majority Whip, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Speaker Pelosi like angry bees, insisting they would kill the bill without a single thought if the tougher language authored by Rep. Stupak and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), prohibiting government funding of abortion, was included in the bill.

I found their opposition revolting, to be honest with you. Some would argue that men are capable of understanding the abortion issues only in the abstract because they can't get pregnant and, therefore, can't grasp the realities of an unplanned pregnancy. Because of this, I always thought women were less strident on the issue than men.

I should've known better. After all, the most virulent attacks on Sarah Palin's pro-life stance came from women. Her personal decision not to abort her Down Syndrome baby, unlike 90 percent of other woman in similar circumstances, led to some cruel commentary about mother and child from women threatened by her selflessness.

This gang of militants was determined that, if Stupak and crew got their way, they would submarine the health care bill, perhaps dooming the signature goal of American statists for years to come.

To me, that's noteworthy; even the first installment on a permanent restructuring of the relationship between Americans and their government wasn't as important to them as ensuring abortion remained eligible for federal funds.

Incidentally, don't deceive yourself into thinking President Obama's executive order has any teeth when it comes to preventing federal funds from ever being used to pay for abortion services. The pro-abortion groups themselves dismissed the executive order as window dressing. This was an exercise in political cover in which they underestimated the discernment of the American people.

The executive order has no foundation in law to sustain it, and no advocates in the current administration to enforce it. This was a sham; the pro-abortion groups know it, the pro-life community knows it and, in the early hours of the day when he's alone with his thoughts, Bart Stupak knows it, too.

Ultimately, the Democrats' obsession with being the party of abortion brought them to the precipice of scuttling one of liberalism's biggest goals, and the biggest agenda item of the new President's term to date.

Rail against the health care bill if you must - and we must - but consider how the issue of abortion has totally consumed the Democratic Party.

I can almost predict someone protesting my characterization of the Democratic Party as "pro-abortion," bleating about how they want to make abortion safe, legal and rare, and how they're really for personal choice, whatever that choice may be. To that I say, balderdash.

The same party that wants to restrict and regulate our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms to the point of irrelevance, citing the potential of guns to be used in acts of violence against another human being, will fight and claw like a trapped wolverine to prevent any restriction or regulation on abortion, a guaranteed act of violence against a mother and her unborn child.

Parental notification? Fine if it applies to the school nurse giving medicine to your sick child, but not if she wants an abortion, which is slightly more invasive than swallowing an aspirin. Full disclosure? Only about the abortion procedure itself, alternatives like adoption be damned. Mandatory ultrasounds and waiting periods so the mother fully grasps the gravity of her decision? No way; she might see a beating heart, arms and legs, torso and head and mistake it for a human being.

Celebrate Pam Tebow's choice to have her child despite a doctor's advice to abort, resulting in her son Tim, the most celebrated college football player of our generation and an impressive human being? No; "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning" is how they choose to characterize her decision to share her testimony with the world.

I've already mentioned how they attacked Sarah Palin's decision to bring her son Trig into the world. The Democrats go after prominent pro-life women with the same intensity reserved for rapists and wife beaters.

Do these sound like "pro-choice" people to you?

Sally Jenkins, a sports columnist for the Washington Post, a feminist and a proclaimed pro-choice advocate, said of these strident women's groups, "They aren't actually 'pro-choice' so much as they are pro-abortion."

Precisely my point. Spare me the tepid defense that they're anything but sold out, locked down, unrepentant abortion advocates who, like their pro-abortion President, don't want women to be "punished with a baby."

Of all the high-minded principles around which to rally a political party, the right to kill your unborn child seems grotesquely out of place.

Unalienable rights, those accorded to everyone by virtue of their humanity, and which place obligations on no one save that of non-interference, honor our dignity and worth as individuals.

Not so the killing of unborn children, the "right" so controversial that its proponents dare not speak its name, instead coining euphemisms like "reproductive rights," "preventive services," or "right to choose."

Exercising this right results in the ultimate infringement upon another human being, the taking of their life.

Regrettably for Bart Stupak, his esteemed record as a defender of unborn life is forever forgotten. He will always be remembered as the man who compromised his pro-life principles because he believed more in government-controlled health care. His pro-abortion adversaries would never have done the same, because they believe in something else altogether.

The Tim Tebow Tempest in a Teapot

Now that the controversial Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad featuring Pam and Tim Tebow has aired, the general reaction from most people is, “What was the fuss all about?” I know that was my thinking after watching it. If you missed it because you got up to go to the bathroom or get a snack or – gasp! – you weren’t watching the  Super Bowl, check it out and draw your own conclusions.

The answer to that question reveals more about the individuals and organizations who opposed it than they may like. When liberal allies in the press, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, are critical of your reaction to a television ad, it’s a sure sign you’ve miscalculated pretty badly.

Groups like the Women's Media Center, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Organization for Women – or, as sports columnist Sally Jenkins refers to them in her scathing opinion piece in the Post, the “National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time" - were strident in their insistence that CBS pull the ad, using phrases like “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning”  to describe something they’d never seen and for which they’d never read the script. They suggested the Super Bowl broadcast was an inappropriate venue for such a controversial topic.

Let’s put this into perspective, shall we?

There is no rule, written or otherwise, that says the Super Bowl is off limits for politics or controversial social issues, like some kind of “no free speech” zone.

While watching the pre-game show yesterday, the network aired a lengthy live interview featuring news anchor Katie Couric with President Obama. I thought perhaps since the pre-game host referred to him as the “First Fan,” they were going to talk about the game.

Instead, the interview was all about the President’s political agenda and would have been perfectly at home on 60 Minutes or the CBS Evening News. I don’t know if they ever actually discussed the game – after several minutes of policy discussion, I asked my son to switch to the NFL Network.

Now, did I like the fact the network and the President intruded on my Super Bowl Sunday with a lot of policy palaver with which I disagree? No. Would I have campaigned against such an appearance? No.

You see, there’s this inconvenient addendum to the U.S. Constitution called The Bill of Rights, and one of its amendments, the very first one, in fact, states:

“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.”

No wiggle room in there that I can see. Rights are inconvenient things, especially when they are extended to people or ideas we don’t like. If anything, that is when our commitment to these rights is truly tested.

I wouldn’t deny those Super Bowl fans who dig President Obama the opportunity to get their “hope and change” fix. President Obama is perfectly entitled to speak his piece to the American people, even on Super Bowl Sunday. I am equally entitled to prefer Rich Eisen, and express my preference with my universal remote control.

The more disturbing aspect of this episode, however, involves the selective outrage of these organizations, who consider themselves “pro-woman,” over a commercial about a woman who chose to give birth to her child despite her doctor’s recommendation that she abort.

Her son grows up to be the most celebrated college football player of our generation, a young man with high moral standards in an age where athletes consider women one of the indulgences to which they are entitled because of their fame and prowess on the playing field.

The “women’s groups,” however, claim this is not the kind of topic a commercial should be addressing during the Super Bowl.

On the other hand, ads about beer-swilling guys partying with bikini-clad women in hot tubs, or making out in an astronomical observatory because they think an earth-destroying meteorite is headed their way, are perfectly acceptable.

The promotions of an Internet domain service provider, in which another famous sports figure, Danica Patrick, plays on her sexuality while other women stage impromptu “auditions” for her by ripping off their blouses to reveal their ample cleavage, are A-OK with them.

Yet they have the nerve to excoriate an ad about a mother who acts on her faith in God and her love for her unborn child, making a decision which gave life to an extraordinary young man who neither swills beer nor has sex with women at will, who declares without shame that he’s still a virgin and intends to remain so until marriage?

Ms. Jenkins of the Post declares:

I'll spit this out quick, before the armies of feminism try to gag me and strap electrodes to my forehead: Tim Tebow is one of the better things to happen to young women in some time.

How “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning” are this ad and its athletic young champion, especially when compared to beer and bikinis!

There is a word for that kind of twisted logic.

The term “hypocrisy” is incorrectly used in American society today. Hypocrisy is not, as we tend to think, believing in one thing and doing another. Call it sin because that’s what it is, and we are all guilty of it, but it’s not hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is when someone pretends to hold a particular set of beliefs when, in fact, they don’t embrace them at all. The nuance is difficult to explain, but I’ll try.

A man who believes that cheating on his wife is morally wrong yet succumbs to temptation is not a hypocrite.

A man who pays lip service to his marriage vows but doesn’t genuinely embrace fidelity in belief or action is a hypocrite.

The word is a derivative of a Greek word which means “play acting,” “to play a part,” or “act out.” Hypocrites are pretenders – they don’t believe in what they’re promoting and never did. They’re putting on an act.

In reacting as they did to this ad, the so-called “women’s groups” may have revealed more to the world than they intended.

Before seeing the ad myself, I thought they were wrong on First Amendment grounds, and I suspected they were hypocrites who pretend to be pro-choice but whose actions suggest choice is really an act to fool the public. After seeing it, in the immortal words of football coach Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were!”

With their reaction to this ad, and their undisguised contempt for pro-life women like Sarah Palin, supermodel Kathy Ireland, actress Patricia Heaton of I Love Raymond fame, and others who buck the radical feminist orthodoxy, they have effectively removed their mask and revealed to the world that, in the words of Ms. Jenkins, “They aren't actually ‘pro-choice’ so much as they are pro-abortion.”

Ms. Jenkins, a self-proclaimed pro-choice advocate, states “If the pro-choice stance is so precarious that a story about someone who chose to carry a risky pregnancy to term undermines it, then CBS is not the problem.”

No, the problem is “women’s groups” who have tried for decades to disguise their contempt for women who believe they have a special, even sacred, obligation to the human life inside of them, that don’t consider their unborn child “a clump of cells” because they know the truth – there is no other “clump of cells” on the planet that possesses the entire blueprint for the fully developed human being they are destined to become, a blueprint that is distinct from that of the father or even themselves.

These women, who refuse to refer to their unborn child as a baby when they’re wanted and a fetus when they’re not, despite the fact nothing in the child’s makeup has changed, are consistent in word and deed.

“Women’s groups,” on the other hand, must now figure out how to retreat back to the innocuous language of choice, which sounds so right and proper in a democratic republic, when it’s clear the only choice that is acceptable to them is one that demands a woman have their unborn child dismembered in the sanctuary of its mother’s body, and the body parts reassembled outside the womb so they’re sure none are left behind to cause an infection.

Oh, forgive me – there is another choice. Extract the baby in its late second trimester or early third trimester, as if the woman is giving birth, so its skull can be punctured and its brain suctioned out.

As a student of history, it was incomprehensible to me that nations like Germany and Russia, which pride themselves on their culture and have given the world some of its most beautiful art, literature and architecture, could also be capable of the world’s greatest barbarisms like the Holocaust and the Great Purge. I now understand that barbarism is intrinsic to man’s sinful nature, and no culture, no matter how sophisticated, is immune to it.

Dehumanization, whether to justify slavery, genocide or abortion, is a narcotic for our consciences, and once ingested, there is no atrocity outside the bounds of our imagination, values or will.

Was my expression of free speech “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning”? No more so than these “women’s groups” who find repulsive the thought that many women like Pam Tebow, whether they decide to raise their child or surrender them for adoption, choose life over death.

The False Morality of Obamacare

Every time I think the audacity of President Obama has reached its peak and could never be exceeded, he leaps to heretofore unseen heights of effrontery. Having determined his unprecedented assault from the presidential podium on the authenticity and credibility of ordinary American citizens isn’t having the desired effect, he is now wrapping himself in the cloak of morality, exhorting religious leaders and reports on a conference call on August 19th to stand against “some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness” regarding his hostile takeover of America’s health sector.

Any devout Christian or Jew would immediately recognize the President’s invocation of the Ninth Commandment from Exodus 20:16, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." I suppose he thinks that by using Biblical language, he is somehow resonating with people of faith and winning us over to his side. Frankly, I find it patronizing and more than a little cynical.

The Bible’s celebration of human life from the moment we are “knit together” in our mother’s womb doesn’t seem to influence his  decisions regarding the availability of abortion services; thus far, he has compiled a record on this defining moral issue that journalist Quin Hillyer describes as “monstrously anti-life.”

Not only have his policy decisions, the inevitable outcome of which will be the expansion of abortion, contradicted his expressed desire to lessen the number of and need for abortions, his selection of advisors, when their past words and deeds are reviewed collectively, reflects a calculating and frightening worldview on life issues.

Their protestations of being taken out of context or of engaging in purely academic scenarios aside, these advisors have never declared their unequivocal commitment to the American moral imperative that all life is sacred regardless of stage of development or condition and worthy of government protection. They have never embraced, in language or action, Thomas Jefferson’s admonition, “The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

The President further insulted our intelligence during the conference call by declaring the end-of-life counseling provision in the proposed legislation as nothing more than estate planning. He claims the provision is there to authorize Medicare reimbursement for the preparation of legal documents such as living wills or advance health care directives.

The President and the people drafting this legislation are lawyers and they know how to use words to either clarify or obfuscate. If their intent was simply to authorize reimbursement of estate planning services under Medicare, why didn’t they just word it that way?

I recently completed a course on estate planning and “end of life counseling” isn’t a phrase any of the lawyers instructing us ever used. 

The President recently stated in an interview, “The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health-care bill out here.” If he has no intention of having government insert itself into “end of life” decisions, why allude to the cost issue at all? Who is the one bearing “false witness?”

While the President characterized opposition to his health care proposals as “an extraordinary lie” being promoted by right-wing opponents, he would do well not to ignore the thunder from the left. Nat Hentoff, a left-leaning libertarian, atheist Jew and renowned authority on the Bill of Rights, declares “I am finally scared of a White House administration.” Why?

“President Obama's desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) — as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill — decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill.”

Camille Paglia, an iconoclastic, politically incorrect feminist, author and social critic, rejects the notion of some vast right-wing conspiracy to undermine the President’s health care plan:

“How is it possible that Democrats, through their own clumsiness and arrogance, have sabotaged healthcare reform yet again? Blaming obstructionist Republicans is nonsensical, because Democrats control the White House and both Houses of Congress. It isn't conservative rumors or lies that are stopping healthcare legislation; it's the justifiable alarm of an electorate that has been cut out of the loop and is watching its representatives construct a tangled labyrinth for others but not for themselves. No, the airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan -- it's the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves.”

Paglia also criticizes the President’s “vague and slippery promises” on health care reform and bluntly states, “Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.” I guess that means she thinks the President is bearing “false witness.”

His refusal to acknowledge the broad-based nature of the opposition to his plan and his continuing attempts to marginalize his critics is a moral failing in and of itself. His pride won’t allow him to acknowledge that he could be wrong either on the substance of his proposal or his reading of the American people on this issue. His lack of humility leads, in turn, to the leveling of false accusations against the very people he is sworn to serve as President. If that isn’t bearing “false witness against your neighbor,” then nothing else qualifies.

Perhaps the most galling statement the President made on the conference call involved another Biblical refrain. He accused his opponents of lying “in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation: that is, that we look out for one another; that is, I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. And in the wealthiest nation in the world right now we are neglecting to live up to that call."

Speak for yourself, Mr. President. Your insistence that the federal government is the only viable avenue through which Americans can show compassion toward their fellow human beings turns the entire notion of being one’s “brother’s keeper” upside down. If anything, we have witnessed an alarming diminution of personal commitment to the well-being of others because we have rationalized that “letting government do it” is equal in moral weight to personally giving of our time, talent and treasure to our neighbors.

The principle of subsidiarity in the Catholic social teaching emphasizes the priority of family, the church and voluntary associations over central government in meeting the needs of society, and Christian doctrine teaches the value of personal engagement in the lives of the poor, the ill, the imprisoned and the lonely. In fact, Americans of faith are the most generous people on the planet whether it’s giving of their money, their skills and abilities, their time or even their blood.

Moreover, numerous studies affirm the generosity of the conservative Americans President Obama routinely denigrates for their heartlessness on health care reform.  The World Values Survey, General Social Survey, the “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy, a joint study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and Google, and a study by Professor Arthur C. Brooks based on 10 years of data and which culminated in his book on American charitable giving, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism,” are just a few of the references which support liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff’s observation that “conservatives are more generous than liberals even to secular causes.”

Mr. President, if you believe the state taking responsibility for the care of its people so we as individuals are no longer responsible for one another represents the moral high ground, then you are entitled to your opinion.

Don’t challenge or impugn our morality, however, because we believe solidarity and love of neighbor begin with individuals reaching out to their fellow citizens for the common good. In the case of national health care reform, I trust a caring family member, friend, or neighbor with my life – or death - before I would trust a panel of so-called experts that lack any personal connection to me or my loved ones and who evaluate life in terms of policy rather than sanctity.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver: A Real Profile in Courage

Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away on August 11, 2009 at the age of 88. Her death was noteworthy for many reasons, one of which I was unaware until reading one of the tributes that came her way.

For one thing, she was a Kennedy, a member of the quintessential American political dynasty, the oldest of the three surviving children of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Kennedy.

Her husband, Sargent Shriver, was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1972. One of her five children, Maria Shriver, is the first lady of the state of California, the wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

She is widely known as an advocate for children’s health and people with special needs, and her most enduring public legacy is the Special Olympics, which she founded in 1962.

Her lifelong devotion to the mentally and physically challenged was inspired in part by her sister Rosemary, born into a intellectually intimidating and highly competitive family. Because she couldn’t keep up with her brothers and sisters and her frustration manifested itself in mood swings and sometimes erratic behavior, what was probably mental illness was mistaken for mental retardation.

With her father’s approval, doctors performed a frontal lobotomy on Rosemary, ostensibly to control her violent behavior but, tragically, the operation left her incapacitated for life. A woman who could read, write heartfelt letters, dance, do arithmetic and partake of the arts had her productive years stolen from her by a father who was apparently embarrassed by her.

When she was permanently institutionalized, her only consistent and reliable connection to her family was her sister Eunice, who visited her regularly until her death in 2005.

Eunice was a devout Catholic in the truest sense of the word. Her commitment to special needs people was simply one manifestation of her faith. The other is one I wouldn’t have suspected given the political bent of her family, and this is the one that surprised me.

Eunice Shriver was unequivocally pro-life despite being a Kennedy and a lifelong Democrat. She criticized a pro-abortion group in a letter to the New York Times for misusing a quote from her brother, the late President John F. Kennedy, to attack Catholic bishops for organizing to defend unborn life. In 1992, she was a prominent signatory to a letter published in the New York Times protesting the pro-abortion plank in the Democratic Party’s platform.

She was a member of several pro-life groups, including Feminists for Life of America (FFLA), Democrats for Life of America and the Susan B. Anthony List, where her husband was also a member. Her membership with FFLA, the nation’s largest and most visible pro-life feminist organization, placed her in the company of celebrities such as Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond fame, Kate Mulgrew, who played the first female starship captain in a Star Trek series, Star Trek: Voyager, and Margaret Colin, who played the White House communications director in the movie Independence Day. Another prominent member of FFLA? Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

While other members of her family, even her only daughter Maria, a self-professed “cafeteria Catholic,” and her beloved Democratic Party elevated abortion to the level of a sacrament, she stayed true to her conviction that all human life, regardless of stage or state of development, is valuable and worthy of dignity, respect and protection.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of articles written about her death, while they praised her work with special needs people and her signature role with the Special Olympics, made no mention whatsoever of her pro-life convictions, reinforcing my strongly-held opinion that the mainstream media have an agenda and a script they follow when reporting the news. Were it not for alternative news outlets like LifeNews.com and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, I would not have known about her staunch pro-life views.

I was more saddened by the fact her official website, while offering effusive praise for her work with the Special Olympics, never once mentioned her commitment to the pro-life cause.

Her biography lists her numerous honors but the "Remarkable Pro-Life Woman” award she received from FFLA  in 1998 went unmentioned. At the time, Sargent Shriver was so excited about the award that, according to FFLA president Serrin Foster, "her husband phoned the office and asked us to send over a stack of copies for his family and friends. He was delighted that we recognized her in this meaningful way."

Regrettably, Sargent Shriver suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and isn’t able to express his pride for his wife’s pro-life convictions. The family’s official statement about her death made a nebulous reference to “her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of every human life.” It’s almost as if her family was ashamed of her pro-life views which were the foundation of her life’s work:

"How do you equate the life of an unborn infant with the social well-being of a mother, a father or a family? If it is thought that the social well-being of the mother outweighs the rights of fetuses with congenital abnormalities, we do well to remember that more than 99 percent of abortions are done on normal fetuses."

Rest in peace, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Thank you for your courage and commitment to the least of us in society, especially the most voiceless and helpless of all human beings, the unborn person. While society and even your own family failed to acknowledge your devotion to all human life, the greatest reward of all is yours, that of our Lord and Savior declaring, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”