Tag Archives: abortion

It’s all in context

Sometimes I wonder why politicians ever open their month. The last couple of weeks have been crazy.

First, you have Congressman Todd Akin choking on his own foot over the issue of rape and pregnancy. Now the guy actually thinks he still has a chance to win. That alone shows a degree of political dementia that should disqualify him from the race. And the sad thing, or good thing — depending on your political orientation, is the idiot may cost his own party the White House and control of the Senate.

If you don’t say something stupid yourself, there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to tell the world that you did. The latest involves Paul Ryan, who, a slew of liberal political bloggers would tell you, described rape as “just another method of conception.”

Shock! Horror! Won’t these Republicans ever learn?

However, when you look at the context of his entire sentence and his entire answer, you can see that his statement was not shocking, and actually wasn’t addressing rape anyway. His statement addressed the question of the “life-status” of an embryo.

 “I’m very proud of my pro-life record. I’ve always adopted the idea that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life…”

He could have just as easily have said something like “…regardless of how the insemination occurred…”

If you are “pro-choice”, there is plenty in that statement for you to contest. You may disagree with his view on the start of human life, but, in context, it’s difficult to classify that as an unbelievably offensive statement.

Being an equal opportunity critic, let me jump in on the President’s side. He has been famously taken to task for saying that “…if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

How many people who have expressed shock and dismay have actually read the entire statement and understood what he was trying to say? In context, he was saying that no one works in a vacuum, and that we need to work together to accomplish great things. Not very controversial, is it?

I don’t want to take anything away from someone who has built a successful business. They deserve acclaim. But the President has a point. How many of them benefited from the support offered by society, in general terms like infrastructure and education, but also in specific terms, like tax-breaks, low interest loans, employment services, even the generous commercial lending climate encouraged by the Federal Reserve in the pre-2007 years, and so on.

You can agree or disagree with the President, but again, in context, that is not really a totally outrageous statement.

And we still have two and a half months until the November election. Oh my!

On choice

On the way to work this morning, I started thinking about the concept of “choice.”  What prompted this was a report I heard on NPR on the death of a very conservative Georgia state legislator. They had a comment from a more liberal legislator who said that she liked and respected the deceased although they had very different ideas about the role of choice in government and society.

There was no question the legislator was referring to the abortion debate when she mentioned “choice.” The deceased legislator was famous among his colleagues for trying to attach an anti-abortion amendment to every bill he came across, whether it had anything to do with abortion or not.

I started thinking about the different ways liberals and conservatives view the role and importance of choice. It appears that both sides have multiple views.

Liberals promote the value of a pregnant woman’s right to make a choice whether to deliver or have an abortion.  Conservatives disagree.

Conservatives promote the value of a person’s right to choose to purchase and carry a gun without many restrictions. Liberals sincerely wish that choice was not an option.

Many conservatives think people should have the right to choose what public schools their children will attend. Most liberals believe that would be a detriment to public school systems.

The value of choice, it seems, depends on whether you agree with the choice or not.

Not surprising when you think about it.

Another good class with “my kids”

It’s been a busy week. Let’s see if I can catch up.

We had another really fantastic CCD class on Wednesday.

Advancing from last week’s lesson on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our class this week was on rules, evolving into a discussion of the Ten Commandments.

Not surprisingly, the students were quite familiar with the concept of rules and were able to cite numerous examples of rules they need to follow in school and in their family.

We discussed briefly the story behind the commandments and read a passage from Exodus that outlined them. We discussed them in generalities and pointed out how the first three pertain to giving offense to God, while the last seven address offenses and behavior pertaining to our fellow man.

We also distributed a chart indicating how the various Christian and Jewish religions count the commandments. The same material is arranged slightly differently. For example, most Protestant faiths spread the God-related commandments into four while Catholics summarize them into three. We explained how this can be confusing when they may hear public discussion of a Protestant’s FIFTH commandment “Honor thy father and mother” when that is a Catholic’s FOURTH.

Once we got to #5, “Thou shall not kill,” it opened the door to a wide ranging discussion of all the permutations of that rule. The discussion included war, comparative evils, accidents, acts of the mentally ill or young children, capital punishment and abortion. Although just 10 or 11 years old, this is a pretty quick group. The discussion was lively and engaged. Lots of fun. We ran out of time long before we ran out of material.  I guess that’s a good thing.

Tebow and Toyota

So what was all the fuss?

Someone at Focus on the Family deserves a raise. As I mentioned before, I am not a fan of that group, but I do have to take my hat off to their semi-brilliant publicity move over the past two weeks.

Some women’s groups went rabid-squirrel crazy over the very idea that Tim Tebow would do a Superbowl ad, supposedly opposing abortion. Of course, none of the screaming harpies had ever seen the ad, but why let that be a problem? If you saw the Tim and Pam Tebow Superbowl ad, you might ask yourself, “So what’s the big deal?” Good question.

The ad was as harmless as can be, which is pretty much what I expected.

If you missed it, here it is:

The ad was so mild that some “pundits” are saying the group didn’t get it’s money’s worth for the $2.5 million they spent. Wrongo!  They got two weeks of free, headline publicity, provided by the very people who hate them.

They got their money’s worth and more before the game ever began. Slick move!

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Speaking of ads, 183 Toyota dealers around the Southeast have cancelled their advertising schedule with local ABC station as punishment for ABC’s coverage of the automakers recall problem.

That’s really a stupid move by the dealer’s association. It makes them look petty and vindictive.  Nice job focusing on your customer, guys!

They are also aiming their anger in the wrong direction. They should be focusing their anger at Toyota corporate headquarters in Japan, not at ABC News headquarters in New York.

Even as retribution, the move doesn’t make much sense. In fact, they aren’t even aiming at ABC News; their action is against local ABC stations, who have absolutely ZERO influence on Brian Ross, Diane Sawyer and the producers who call the shots on World News Tonight. On top of that, all but one (WTVD Durham, NC) ABC station in the affected region are affiliates. That means, with the one exception, none of that cancelled advertising money would have benefited the ABC network anyway.

The only way I see this move as making sense is to put the stations on stand-by that they are serious for the next time there is an issue. Is there going to be another issue?

On the other hand, if all the cars on your lot are under recall and you can’t sell them, what’s the point in spending money on advertising?

I’m glad we are driving Hondas.

French burkas, racial profiling and the Tebow-Super Bowl flap

Listening to the news on the radio while I drive to work is a great source of inspiration for blog material.

As a sign I saw in a gift shop recently said, “Everyone is entitled to my own opinion.”

They are fighting over burkas in France these days. Those are the robes for Muslim women that cover their entire body including their face. France is considering banning them in public buildings, citing subjugation of women and security as the reasons. Naturally, those on the other sides are yelling about freedom of religion and France’s national identity. It’s interesting how Muslim leaders will cry for religious freedom when they are in the minority. However, try to wear a tee-shirt with “What would Jesus do?” written on it and see how far you get in the streets of Saudi Arabia or Iran. I suspect the mullahs would be singing another tune.

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A bill is scheduled to be introduced into the Georgia General Assembly today that would outlaw racial profiling. I am ambivalent about this issue.

On one hand, I don’t think someone should be arrested or harassed because of the color of their skin. ie: driving while black, etc.

On the other hand, crime is a serious issue in Savannah. Even out in our little suburban enclave, it is something to be concerned with. And at least here in Savannah, the vast, overwhelming majority of street crimes (assault, robbery, burglary, etc.) are committed by African Americans, primarily young, male African Americans. A story in yesterday’s local newspaper described arrest activity from the weekend and showed the mugs of the 12 people arrested. Ten of the twelve were black men. Unfortunately, this is not an anomaly. This brings me back to the initial question:  Do I want to take away from the police one tool that might help them keep myself, my home and my family safe?  I don’t know.

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Our favorite-son quarterback, Tim Tebow, is taking hits this week, and not just at the Senior Bowl practice in Mobile. He and his mom are going to appear in a anti-abortion Super Bowl commercial paid for by the Christian advocacy group “Focus on the Family.” Supposedly, the ad will have Tim and his mom talking about her experience when pregnant with Tim. As the story goes, she had a difficult pregnancy and was advised to terminate the pregnancy for her health. She refused to do so, and the end result is Tim, a remarkable young man by any standard.

I am not a big fan of Focus on the Family, for what little I know about them. Nor have I seen the TV spot, but then again, neither had anyone else.

Nonetheless, the Women’s Media Center, with backing from the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups, are throwing the penalty flags in Tim’s and CBS’s direction.

“An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year – an event designed to bring American’s together,” said Jemhu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center.

“…an event designed to bring American’s together”??? I thought it was an event designed to determine the champion of the National Football League, provide an excuse for some Sunday afternoon parties and to make a lot of money for a bunch of people. I never knew it was supposed to be some kind of national unity event. Silly me.

I wonder if Ms. Greene has ever been to a viewing party or a football game where there were decent percentages of fans of both team? (Super Bowl, Florida-Georgia, Texas-Oklahoma, a BCS championship game, etc.)  I suspect she has not. If she had ever actually been to one of those games, she would know that unity is not a concept that comes to mind.

I don’t believe the women’s advocacy group really have much to complain about except that the Tebows’ message will probably be something they will disagree with.

The funniest shot comes from SI.com’s Greg Doyel.

“If you’re a sports fan, and I am, that’s the holiest day of the year,” he wrote. “It’s not a day to discuss abortion. For it, against it, I don’t care what you are. On Super Sunday, I don’t care what I am. Feb. 7 is simply not the day to have that discussion.”

The irony is just pure honey. According to Doyel, Super Bowl Sun“Thou shalt keep holy the Lord’s…” day is too holy to be despoiled by any talk of morals, ethics, or, God forbid, religion. No further comment is necessary.

For myself, it just gives me something to look forward to watching the game.

Some things to think about

I saw two items in the news today that prompted some reaction.

The first was a truly tragic story from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. It seems a woman took some pills to abort her 7 month gestation child. The story raised attention  because, being unable to flush the baby down the toilet, the woman and the father put the baby in a gift box, wrapped it and put it under their Christmas tree. You can check the details here.

Actually, my comment is not about the mother and the father. Clearly, they are seriously disturbed and need psychiatric help. My issue is with the AP and other news sources that consistently referred to the result of the botched effort at a premature delivery as a “fetus.” Supposedly the woman was in her 7th month. That’s 32 weeks, give or take some.

It happens I am very close with a neonatal intensive care nurse. She cares for premature babies every day. She assures me that at 32 weeks, an unborn child is fully formed and typically would weigh in at 2-3 pounds. If born prematurely, the baby would need special care, but barring other complications, a 32 week gestation baby stands an excellent chance of a good outcome.

Memo to the Associated Press and other journalists – That was not a fetus. It was a baby. Get it right. Words matter. You should know that. They are the tools of your trade.

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Meanwhile in Copenhagen, the nations of Africa have been staging a protest at the global warming conference to push the industrialized nations to cough up some big bucks to pay for the effects of climate change on the third world.

In principal, I don’t have a real problem with this. My issue is with the governments that would be getting the money. Here is a quiz. How many African nations can you name that have a stable, democratic government?

Still thinking?

There are a few, but they are greatly outweighed by the countries still ruled by dictators, wracked by civil war or who consider 5 years of peace and stability a new record.

Here are just a few examples:

Zimbabwe – President Robert Mugabe has single handedly destroyed what once was a fairly thriving country. The economy is in shambles and life expectancy has dropped into the 30s for both men and women.

Democratic Republic of the Congo –  The site of 12 years of civil war. Fatalities continue at the rate of  45 K deaths per month.

Nigeria —Plagued by ethnic violence. Run by a military dictatorship for three decades ending in 1999.

Sudan – Darfur, need I say more.

Ivory Coast – Has been plagued by a succession of  wracked by coups and civil wars for decades.

Somalia – Now, there is a poster child for a emerging nation.

Liberia – Two civil wars in the past 20 years.

Rwanda – Known the world over for the massacres that happened there in the 1990s.

What would make anyone think that billions of dollars sent to the people who actually rule most African nations would be used to fight the effects of climate change?

You would be better off trying to help your homeless, alcoholic uncle by giving him an unlimited credit card.