A Greater Obligation

November 30, 2009

Laura returns for this as guest essayist.

This one’s been simmering for several days now, and I wanted to give another, very sincere attempt at responding to the issue – not because I think Matt needs help (he certainly doesn’t!) but because maybe other people deal with these challenges.

For several years, I identified strongly with the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers. They have an expression: “Speaking to That of God in every man,” which means, simply, that we make a deliberate effort to remember that our opponent is a soul created by God, for whom Christ died – or, as C.S. Lewis wrote, I think in <i>Prince Caspian</i>, to be a son of Adam or a daughter of Eve is enough dignity to raise the head of the lowliest beggar, and enough shame to bow the head of the loftiest king.

Our Lord Jesus Christ had another way of addressing this. We call it The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In short, when we engage in discussion with opponents on the abortion issue, or other issues, we have an obligation to treat them with courtesy, dignity, and a fundamental human respect that demonstrates, that models, the basic respect for human life of the unborn we would have them to embrace.

In fact, I believe we have a GREATER obligation to courtesy, good manners, and basic kindness – because we know better, because we have a higher Ideal to cling to.

The Manhattan Declaration

November 26, 2009

A Call of Christian Conscience

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

  1. the sanctity of human life
  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Embryo: a Defense of Human Life

November 25, 2009

The Culture of Life foundation is doing more good work.  As their email header says they “aim to affect public policy by promoting and making available to the public scientific and other factual information relevant to debates about human life and dignity.”

Their latest posting is a book review of Embryo: a Defense of Human Life by Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen

See Part I of the review at:  http://culture-of-life.org//content/view/606/1/

and Part II at: http://culture-of-life.org//content/view/607/95/

“No Way”

November 25, 2009

Top Catholic Cardinal Says ‘No Way’ Catholic Members of Congress Can Support Senate Health Care Bill That Funds Abortion

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
By Karen Schuberg

(CNSNews.com) –  A top Roman Catholic cardinal told CNSNews.com that there is “no way” Catholic members of Congress can support the Senate health care reform bill as long as it includes a provision that allows tax dollars to go to insurance plans that cover abortion.

At the National Press Club on Nov. 20, CNSNews.com asked Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia: “The Senate health care bill that Majority Leader Reid released this week permits tax dollars to go to insurance plans which cover abortion.  And my question is: Would it be a mortal sin for a Catholic member of Congress to vote for this bill knowing that this provision is in it?”

read the entire article at: http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=57615

Conscience clause for Medical Professionals

November 25, 2009

When Religious Beliefs Play a Role in Medical Care

Columbia Law School Hosts Debate on Conscience Objections in the Medical Profession

New York, Nov. 23, 2009 — Under the First Amendment, a healthcare provider’s religious beliefs should be accommodated, but the question remains to what extent.
Steve Aden, senior legal counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, and Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney in the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, tackled this question in a recent debate at Columbia Law School.
The issue of conscience objections in the medical profession gained increased attention when the Bush Administration, in its final days, promulgated a provider refusal rule. It expanded the right of health care workers and institutions to refuse to provide medical care, counseling, and referrals for religious or moral reasons.

Read the entire article at: http://www.law.columbia.edu/media_inquiries/news_events/2009/november2009/medical-conscience

attracting attention

November 25, 2009

OC from Operation Counterstrike has written many comments here.  Several are hostile.  Most don’t reflect a willingness to hear our words but do display their hostility.

After an email where they offered to do violence to my person in reply to my offer to engage in dialog – I have decided to avoid conversation with them.  It’s clearly not helping the topic here.  (In this same email they managed to make an insult that was simultaneously scatological and blasphemous – a crappy little trick if you ask me.) 

I would welcome any comments on a helpful way to proceed.

Legislators who “personally oppose” Abortion

November 25, 2009

A strictly Catholic argument against such a false view.

OC,  I think

1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.


and I think:

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.
1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.
1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.


and I think:

1903 Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good of the group concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it. If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience. In such a case, “authority breaks down completely and results in shameful abuse.”23


and further I think:

1907 First, the common good presupposes respect for the person as such. In the name of the common good, public authorities are bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. Society should permit each of its members to fulfill his vocation. In particular, the common good resides in the conditions for the exercise of the natural freedoms indispensable for the development of the human vocation, such as “the right to act according to a sound norm of conscience and to safeguard . . . privacy, and rightful freedom also in matters of religion.”27