Supreme Court (cropped)

Roe v. Wade turns 42 — what other “moral decline” milestones come to mind?

Supreme Court (cropped)
January 22, 1973. Not the U.S. Supreme Court’s finest day…

Today is he 42nd anniversary of the horrific 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which created a constitutionally-protected “right” to murder human life in the womb.

I was listening to Mr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, talk about it today in his podcast (worth considering) and his comment than many mainstream Christians of the day — including, in his opinion, the Southern Baptist Convention — sort of shrugged about the matter at the time, with even some arguing that it might be a “lesser of two evils” in some circumstances. Few saw it as the issue it really was: A question of whether the choice to murder innocents, fashioned in the image of God, would be enshrined as a constitutional right. It is now understood to be one of the great turning points in the moral degradation of our country — a point where human life came to be seen as no more meaningful than that of the animals and certainly not something sacred.

I am happy to see that Mr. Armstrong spoke about it years earlier in the March 1969 issue of the Plain Truth, where he noted (with comments where I can’t resist myself):

“Right now pressures arc being more and more exerted in the Western world
to make abortions legal. Under certain conditions, of course. [Note: How sad the “of course” is now no longer an “of course” in our world. — WGS]  Such as requiring the assent of two or three doctors. [Wow. Compared to today? I mean — wow. — WGS]

“The pressures are primarily one-sided. I haven’t heard many indignant, emotionally aroused well-organized protests to prevent it.

“This is in line with the toboggan-slide in morals. Fornication and adultery are fast gaining public acceptance. For several years outright profanity has been accepted on the stage. And now the question of whether legal abortion amounts to legal permission to commit murder does not seem to raise many eyebrows, let alone ignite flames of spontaneous protest.”

Also, the year of Roe v. Wade, 1973, the Plain Truth carried an article titled, “Abortion Now Legal…But Is Abortion Murder?” by Mr. Armstrong. He updated many of the same comments he had written four years before, and he answers the question posed in the title unequivocally: Yes, it is. Just as those of us begotten of God’s Spirit are now His children though not yet born into the fulness of life He intends for us in His Family, the child in the womb is just that: the child of his mother and father. As he puts it in his article, at the moment of conception, mother and father have given that new human being all the “life” they can and, from now it, it is not a matter of “more” human life being added; rather it is simply a matter of that new human life growing and maturing.

As Mr. Armstrong said in that May 1973 article:

“It didn’t get the BIG headlines. It was overshadowed in the news by the ending of the Vietnam war (so far as direct U. S. participation is concerned) and by the death of a former President. Yet the U. S. Supreme Court ruling handed down January 22 may have even a more important and lasting effect on the future of America and the world.”

I believe time has validated that speculation.

Where are we today? Well, according to National Right to Life, 52 million babies have been aborted in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade, and every single day an additional 3,300 lives are destroyed — more human beings than were killed in the September 11 attacks. That’s like 9/11 happening every single day. Sadly, the Tomorrow’s World from 2005 “Abortion: A Modern Holocaust?” is still as relevant today as it was a decade ago. And I take a special sort of pride, hopefully not a carnal pride (let me know–I can repent!), that my very first telecast was banned by WGN because of the manner in which I described abortion.

(Side note: That TW article made a difference, which I note in a later “Letter to the Editor” from someone named E. G. Oromiya in Ethiopia (emphasis mine): “I was sure I would gain a lot when I requested your free literature from the Internet. And it really happened when I received a booklet and the magazine with the cover article ‘Abortion: A Modern Holocaust?’ [March-April 2005]. It didn’t take me more than a day to read the magazine and write you this letter. I am a medical student in Ethiopia, where abortion is not yet legalized. I had been having the view that abortion should be legalized. But now I have changed my mind after reading your magazine. The biblical evidence and the figures for the ‘reasons’ for abortion have changed me much. Thank you very much, and God bless you!” Thank God for the opportunity we have to preach His truth!)

It seems to me that while that wasn’t the event that created the abortion problem in the U.S., it was very much a watershed moment or, to mix my metaphors, a significant milestone in our common cultural decent into moral morass.

That brings me to a question. If we were to create a timeline of such milestones concerning society’s modern decent into moral depravity, it seems to me that January 22, 1973 and the Roe v. Wade decision would be a milestone on that list. But what other milestones would we place there? Concerning homosexual “marriage,” for instance, would there be one, significant milestone? Such as President Obama’s public endorsement of such “marriages” on May 6, 2012? Perhaps another, more significant day? Certainly, if the Supreme Court “discovers” a constitutional “right” to such “marriages” (that’s a lot of “scare quotes” in one sentence!), that would surely qualify as a milestone.

So, what milestone events and dates do you think should be listed on such a timeline of societal moral decline? And while I’m U.S.-centric in my considerations, I would like to consider society on a broader scale, so if there are some outside America, feel free to suggest those, as well.

I’d love to know what you think — just let me know in the comments below.

Britain’s modern Molech revival

The Bible contains many warnings to ancient Israel concerning an abhorrent practice of the Canaanites, who had previously possessed the land God had given them. We see one such example in Leviticus 18:21, “You shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech…” It was an abominable practice, in which people sought to appease the heathen god Molech and influence him to their benefit by sacrificing their own children in fire. Who would have thought that this ancient heathen god would so plainly rear his head in the modern Britain? A Channel 4 “Dispatches” episode in the United Kingdom–“Exposing Hospital Heartache,” aired Monday, March 24, 2014–revealed that many British hospitals are not only incinerating the remains of aborted and miscarried babies as “clinical waste” but are also burning some of those bodies as a means of heating their buildings in “waste-to-energy” programs. The television program was preceded that day by a number of reports in the news providing the grisly and tragic details. In one such article–titled “Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals” –the Telegraph’s Sarah Knapton reported:

“Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning fetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat…

“At least 15,500 fetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.”

More than 15,000. As Ms. Knapton reported, some families who experienced the trauma of losing a child early in pregnancy were not even consulted on what they wanted to do with their child’s body. Grieved and bereft parents were in some cases told that their child’s body would be “cremated” when, in actuality, the bodies were added to “waste-to-energy” plants where they could be burned to aid in heating the hospital. The concept of using the human remains of children as a fuel source, let alone equating it with “clinical waste,” has created a row to which the UK Department of Health has felt compelled to respond. As the article reports, Dr. Dan Poulter, health minister for the department, made a public statement, saying, “This practice is totally unacceptable.” No. Having your hotel reservation mishandled may be “totally unacceptable.” Being served a meal you did not order in a restaurant may be “totally unacceptable.” Having the parcel you sent to your grandmother lost in the mail may be “totally unacceptable.” Burning the remains of children to heat a building is an abomination. It is a travesty–a heart-wrenching tragedy and a nauseating violation of any sense of God-given human value. And the fact that it has been an institutionalized practice in place for years without protest by its practitioners is a sign of cancerous rot in the soul of a nation. The tepid response by officials is telling. One one hand, they must publicly recognize the outrage many are feeling. It can’t be ignored. The act of using the bodies of children as mere fuel to heat hospitals violates basic sensibilities. It prompts many to ask, “How could such a thing be allowed?” And yet, the widespread practice exposes a horrific public pretense. The policies that allow abortion on demand–and the arguments at the heart of such policies–consider the pre-born child to be no more than “tissue.” Yet, no one complains about burning fingernail clippings. There is no outrage when a hospital discards and incinerates a removed appendix. There are no public apologies or excuses or promises of reform forthcoming from the UK’s General Dental Council about the manner in which excised molars are thrown away. But, as much as effort as our “modern” societies and our societies’ governments pour into their philosophies and arguments defending the practice of treating abortion as nothing more than the removal of “tissue” from a pregnant woman, public outcries like this one demonstrate that deep down, our society still knows better–it still knows what it will no longer publicly admit. It isn’t “tissue.” It’s a child. Tissue hasn’t been burned in an “eco-conscious” solution to heating hospitals. Babies have been burned to heat hospitals. Molech would be pleased.

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Ethicists argue: Abortion is OK, so infanticide should be, also

English: Newborn infant, 4 hours after birth D...
"Here's your baby, ma'am! Are you pleased with it, or would you like us to kill it for you?" (Image via Wikipedia)

A recent WSJ “Best of the Web Today” entry led me to a Telegraph article on a recent academic paper that would shock many, though sadly it shouldn’t. I wish I had more time to write about it, but I did want to mention it here so that you could read it for yourself.

Quite a brouhaha was stirred this past week when the Journal of Medical Ethics published a paper titled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” (The Telegraph article was titled “Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say”.) The paper essentially argued that there would be nothing morally wrong at all with killing a newborn for whatever reason the parents should choose. While there is a focus on children born with deformities and other challenges, the authors make clear that the reason it would not be morally problematic to kill such infants is because killing any infant, in general, is not morally problematic. The key element in the argument is that infants are only “potentially morally relevant people” — potentially being the important word. The position of the paper is that there is not real distinction in terms of moral choices between killing an child soon after birth and killing a child in the womb.

That such a position would be published in a prestigious medical journal should not be shocking. As the Telegraph reports, this is not necessarily a new development but one that has been bandied about for a time, though perhaps in more raw forms.

And at the heart of the vile conclusion is a truth: There truly is no moral difference between abortion before birth and “abortion” after birth. As Dr. Trevor Stammer of St. Mary’s University College points out in the Telegraph article, rather than turning on the word “abortion” we could link the two terms with “infanticide,” calling abortion an “antenatal infanticide.”

There is a cold logic that runs throughout the argument which only turns in the direction of hauntingly repulsive due to the moral flow. Rather than move from the general immorality of elective infanticide to the immorality of abortion, the flow is in the other direction, with the presumed moral acceptability of abortion leading to the acceptability of elective infanticide. It’s OK to kill our babies in the womb, so it’s OK to kill them after birth, as well.

It is the argument that pro-life individuals have tried to make for years: That abortion represents a disrespect for life made in God’s image, and that the “culture of death” represented by such positions will inevitably grow and spread. This is the spread. The professional ethicists fail to see that by unmooring morality from the will of God, all substitute moorings are illusory. They pat themselves on the back for their enlightenment and the belief that they are establishing new anchors of a reasoned morality, all the while they are drifting and truly unmoored in any way.

These may seem like “high falutin'” journals that “real people” do not read, but don’t make that mistake. Those who establish medical and political policy do read such journals, and they do have their impact. The abominable work of men like “ethicist” Dr. Peter Singer don’t always stay on the outskirts or fringes. They do, slowly, come in from the edges and take seats among us.

The authors of the article and the editor of the JME have apparently received death threats over the matter, and that is wrong. And they, editor Dr. Julian Savulescu in particular, have decried such threats come from people who are “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.” I think James Taranto responds well:

He’s half right. People who issue death threats in response to an academic article are indeed “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.” But so are people who write or publish academic articles arguing in favor of the murder of children.

In such matters it seems clearer and clearer that we are living off of the remaining “principal” of a “moral investment” made earlier in our culture, and we are no longer making deposits into that account. And like any fund from which withdrawals are made without deposits to replenish the account, eventually the account zeros out.

That our academic community and professional ethicists are making recommendations that should be vomitous to a civilized society is a symptom of a society in horrific state or moral decline. That the logical groundwork for those recommendations have been present for decades–at least since Roe v. Wade–and solidly accepted by vast swaths of our society shows how systemic the problem is. Some would argue that a position like this paper represents does not reflect the sentiment of most of society, and this would be true. Yet there are sentiments now held by most of society that once only existed in academic papers. These things start somewhere. Today’s papers sometimes turn into tomorrow’s policies, if only by degrees.

The authors make a solid point in their ties between infanticide and abortion: the only difference between the two is legality, and the current state of the law is irrational and inconsistent in what it forbids and allows. Without God in the picture, though, I fear for how that irrational and inconsistent state would eventually be resolved over time.

We are increasingly losing the ability to distinguish between the clean and the unclean, the holy and the unholy. That our leading thinkers should consider the murder of children a small thing of no moral consequence is a travesty and a demonstration that the educational system that produced such “thinkers” is an abomination.

Large Family portrait 1900-1910 (pub domain)

The Duggars and attitudes about large families

English: Family posing for a portrait, 1900-19...
Look--a large family! Better call the cops... (Image via Wikipedia)

The recent miscarriage experienced by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar is making a great deal of news headlines these days, as are thoughts about whether or not it was appropriate for photos of the child to have been taken by the family or for some of those photos to have become public (perhaps inadvertently) through social media. (It should be said that this was done by a nonprofit organization that specializes in such photos for grieving families and that they were used in a family ceremony to commemorate the baby’s life–context is important!)

I actually don’t want to speak to the photo “controversy” and simply add my words to the cacophony. They are a family in the public eye, and when private tragedy happens to such public individuals and families, the results are often awkward. I sympathize with the Duggars and I hope that they are able to find comfort in the days ahead.

I would rather use the opportunity to address something I have seen here and there that does bother me, and that is the growing attitude of many–in the media, as well–that large families are somehow, in and of themselves, wrong or that the desire to have a large family is somehow immoral. Our family isn’t even that large (the two of us and four boys), and yet we’ve experienced a bit of that attitude, ourselves. What’s wrong with a large family? If children are a blessing and we’re able to have them, then why is that somehow unethical? When did “big family” become a pair of dirty words?

Before I get to my thoughts on that, let me add some qualifying comments.

For one, I know that there are families out there who actually use a growing family as an opportunity to capitalize on public welfare. There are, as well, related but (IMHO) less-offensive-but-still-very-wrong cases where couples continue actively pursuing making their families larger and larger despite the fact that they know that they do not have the means to support their family as is and despite the fact that they expect the government (which means, of course, taxpayers) to support their family. Yes, I believe this is wrong and, frankly, immoral. (Note: I’m not speaking of a large family that has fallen temporarily on hard times, but, rather, a couple that is deliberately continuing to make their family larger and larger despite knowing that they cannot support the children they have already.)  If a man can’t support a larger family, he should not create a larger family. (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8).

Also, I know that there are so-called Christian movements out there (e.g., some “Quiverfull” folks) who believe that it is a sin to plan your family in any way and that any sort of contraception (not abortive birth control, which is wrong, but true contraception) or “natural family planning” techniques involving timing, etc. are against God’s will. While it would be beyond the scope of this post to discuss the matter in depth, let me simply say that this is not what the Bible says. The fact is that God, Himself, is carefully planning His family and not just going about it “willy nilly” (e.g., John 6:44, 1 Cor. 1:26-29), and lovingly planning a family is not the same as being anti-family. (It is a terrible shame that the satanic abortion industry has co-opted the words “family planning” and “planned parenthood” as they are actually in the business of “family destroying” and “corrupted parenthood.”)  The Bible is NOT against the wise use of contraception, nor is the Church of God that teaches from that Bible.

On this point, since we’ve been talking about Herbert W. Armstrong, it might be good to point out that he was very forcefully clear on this matter, as well, and that he taught very straightforwardly: “To PLAN a family in an intelligent manner, as to the time of the first arrival, and the time-spacing of other children–this is a different matter [versus purposefully avoiding family altogether]. Nothing in the Bible forbids this. MUCH in the Bible, in principle, supports it!” (The Missing Dimension in Sex, p.232). He then recommends to married couples some secular books on contraception and birth control (p.233) that could satisfy their need for contraceptive information to help plan their families. As he says (back on p.232), failing to apply principles of what he called “planned parenthood” (not the evil, pro-abortion “Planned Parenthood” but the principle of actively planning your family) actually meant missing out on an element of God’s “supreme purpose of character building.” Mr. Armstrong was right about this then, and he’s still right, today.

And–one more point–it is true that some can make an idol of “family” and an idol of “procreation.” They worship the idea of family instead of the God who created the family. That, too, is wrong.

From what I understand of them, I do not agree with the Duggars concerning their beliefs about what it means to “trust God” concerning the having children. Trusting God with such things does not entail adopting such attitudes about family planning any more than trusting God with your family’s protection means that you have to leave the doors to your house unlocked and open while you sleep–or any more than trusting God with providing for your family means that you don’t try to do your best at your job or career and be the best provider you can be.

However, much of the criticism they seem to receive comes more from those who seem absolutely against big families.  Yes, some of the criticism comes from those who aren’t against big families, per se, but against certain choices they’ve made concerning their family (are they exploiting their children on television, etc.) — I understand that, and I’m not addressing that.  I don’t watch them on TV enough to speak intelligibly on that. And, yes, some may criticize whether or not families of that size are wise or may question if they are really doing right by their kids — I understand that, too, and I’m not addressing that. If you decide to allow your family choices to be the centerpiece of a television series, you open yourself up for those sorts of discussions. And they can be good discussions.

But then there are those critics who seem to be against the idea of big families, at all, where “big” in their minds, varies but isn’t necessarily truly “big” at all. If a husband can truly support a large family, and his wife’s health is not unreasonably at risk, and they are able to give those children the love they owe them, then what’s wrong with a large family?

It seems such criticism is grounded in a few different things. Some feel that it is an additional burden on the earth’s resources–global warming, overpopulation and all that–that is immoral to allow at this stage in human history. Others seem to be offended at the need such a large family has for customary, biblical husband/father & wife/mother roles–outdated, oppressive, yadda, yadda, yadda, and all that rot.  Still others seem affronted by the focus such families generate on traditional family structure versus, say, homosexual “marriage”, etc.

Each of those criticisms is misplaced.  As for the environment, a rightly raised generation can do wonders for the world.  The burden of proof would be on those who so loosely

connect large families with environmental degradation, and I don’t know that this would be the easiest argument to make (see entry on “China”)–nor that it would even be relevant if it could be made.  God is the source of moral law, and it would be in the laws of God that the case for “immorality” would have to be made.  As for traditional roles for parents and the traditional family structure, well God is for both. Those with issues about such things are invited to take it up with Him. 🙂

(I’ll add that my wife makes a good observation at this point. Though we disagree with them on what God expects of a husband and wife with regard to family planning, my wife believes that some of the criticism they receive comes fro those who believe that God has no place in telling you what to do with your family at all. I think she’s right about that.)

No, there are those who would turn their nose up at a large family whether they were on television or not. Seeing them at the mall or grocery store would be just as offensive as seeing them on TV. And that’s a shame.

If the husband and wife can truly love them, if their health is up to the task, and they can actually, physically support them, what’s wrong with having a large family? Nothing that I can see. And aside from all the legitimate and helpful discussion that a public family like the Duggars’ might generate, there is an element that derides them purely for the fact that they believe that children are a blessing, that big families can be a wonder thing, and/or that religious beliefs should actively guide our decisions regardless of convenience. Having a large family definitely means that one will have to give up focusing on yourself and your own wants and desires and sacrifice for the sake of others. And, frankly, that goes against the “Religion of Me” that so saturates this world.

I do hope that the Duggars grow in their understanding of God’s true desires and purposes. (I know a television program I could recommend they watch!) I do hope that they are able to see that trusting God with your family does not mean abdicating responsibility for planning that family. I do hope that they are able to see that just because children are a blessing and a heritage from the Lord (and they are: Psalm 127:3), that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a role in prudently planning the timing and spacing of such blessings, any more than the fact that a prudent wife’s being a blessing and gift from God (and she is: Proverbs 19:14) means that we should “get one” as soon as possible whether we’re ready or not (nor does it mean that we should try to obtain as many wives as possible 🙂 ). Blessings such as these are also stewardships–something I am sure they understand but something I believe they could understand more fully.

But when it comes to those who seem to look at their family in disgust simply for the fact that they are a large family, I’m on their side. It’s true that when it’s done wrong it can be a disaster. But when it’s done right, a big family can be a very beautiful thing, indeed, and something to be celebrated.

Sacrificing a child on the altar of Personal Preference and Convenience

Deleting a Twin
Deleting a twin for convenience... How wretchedly sad. (Image edited from an image of a beautiful set of twins by We El at nl.wikipedia, click for original and license.)

This article is rather popular on the website of Canada’s National Post, today: “When is twins too many?”

For those who have never heard of selective abortion as a procedure to voluntarily reduce unexpected multiple pregnancies, it may be an eye-opener. I have stated before (beginning here, I think, and in a Tomorrows World commentary here) that I think the pro-life crowd in America should consider whether it is being hypocritical, in that it frequently attacks abortion but seems to turn a blind eye to the practices of fertility clinics, which routinely create multiple pregnancies in which several of the developing babies are killed so as to reduce the pregancies to only one or two (not to mention leaving many in a frozen state of “limbo,” pretending that this is some sort of moral alternative to destroying them).

From the article:

“The very notion of a procedure that selectively eliminates fetuses, letting others live, is little known and almost never debated in the broader community, said Maxwell Smith, a University of Toronto doctoral student.

“‘While there is a lot of discussion in academic circles and lay circles about abortion, you don’t have these discussions happening so much around pregnancy reduction,’ said Mr. Smith, who spoke about the issues at a major U.S. bio-ethics conference recently.

“‘That puts a lot of patients and health-care workers in a situation where there might be a lot of moral distress, because they’re not sure what the ethical considerations are.'”

Also:

“There seems to be little ethical debate around reduction for triplets or more, when the technique clearly curbs the chances of a pregnancy being lost entirely or the babies born with serious health problems. Some experts, however, call even those cases a largely hidden symptom of a fertility industry whose work has helped increase the number of multiple births by over 40% in the past 20 years.

“Often, those multiples are conceived because clinics transfer a number of embryos into a woman undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment, boosting the chances of pregnancy.

“‘It troubles me a lot because it’s avoidable,’ Dr. Jon Barrett, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. ‘We are forcing people to make a terrible choice because we haven’t been sensible.'”

Dr. Barrett’s comments should be enlightening.

If killing a baby because one does not want it is wrong, then what makes it OK to seek medical help to have one baby if it will mean killing three others?

I know that life-or-death choices when there are real dangers is truly heartbreaking. And the effects of such choices are deep and long lasting. Also from the article:

“Medical professionals often do not recognize that fetal reduction can be traumatic, said Ms. Haddon. She knows of one mother who years after a reduction still watches her children in the playground, thinking ‘there should have been more.’

“‘These poor parents are caught between a rock and a hard place,’ she said. ‘They tried so hard to get pregnant and probably spent a lot of time, energy, emotion, money and now they have to kill some of them, now they have to reduce. Even though the child was lost through reduction, it lives on, in mind and fantasy.'”

These choices are sometimes faced even by those who are not seeking artificial help for their infertility. If this were the norm, then the discussion over these practices would be totally different. But as the article points out, this case is sadly not the norm in these situations:

“The classic twin-reduction case, however, involves a couple on their second marriage who have children and want just one more addition — and might end the whole pregnancy otherwise, Dr. Evans said. ‘In North America, couples can choose to have an abortion for any reason,’ he noted.”

That kind of reasoning is highlighted by one couple from Burlington, Ontario, featured in the article in more detail (emphasis mine):

“Like so many other couples these days, the Toronto-area business executive and her husband put off having children for years as they built successful careers. Both parents were in their 40s — and their first son just over a year old — when this spring the woman became pregnant a second time. Seven weeks in, an ultrasound revealed the Burlington, Ont., resident was carrying twins. ‘It came as a complete shock,’ said the mother, who asked not to be named. “We’re both career people. If we were going to have three children two years apart, someone else was going to be raising our kids. … All of a sudden our lives as we know them and as we like to lead them, are not going to happen.’

“…The Burlington woman, however, says she has no regrets, and believes the option should be openly available to all parents expecting twins.

“‘I’m absolutely sure I did the right thing,’ she said. ‘I had read some online forums, people were speaking of grieving, feeling a sense of loss. I didn’t feel any of that. Not that I’m a cruel, bitter person … I just didn’t feel I would be able to care for (twins) in a way that I wanted to.‘”

Another child sacrificed on the altar of Personal Preference and Convenience.

What happens if a child develops a condition two years later which prevents his or her parents from living life as they “like to lead them” or which prevents them from caring for the child in the way they “wanted to”?

Just how close are we to a culture in which a newborn child can be legally killed a month after birth, as envisioned by controversial (though not controversial enough) bioethicist Peter Singer? After all, some conditions do not develop until after birth — if mere convenience, socio-economic considerations, or even simple personal preferences are the chief deciding factors, why stop at “reducing” fetuses? If only the law prevents us, what prevents the law from being changed?

What a horrific mentality this society is developing towards human life, and the God who forms us in the womb (Psalm 139:13) is watching. More than that, He will bring a reckoning.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
(I’ve quoted the article profusely, but it does have much more. Give them some well-earned traffic and click on through to read the whole article: “When is twins too many?” I appreciate that they have covered the negative side of an industry that does not receive enough attention and a practice that is talked about too little.)

Health care passes and God watches

Well, the deed is done.  President Obama’s progressive health care plan is passed.

There are many givens in all of this.  The plan is incredibly expensive, and among those things that are theoretically going to reduce its cost is a previously imaginary beast: government efficiency.  It isn’t partisan to say that the idea that our government will actually be able to add efficiency and reduce waste is a dubious one at best.  The most honest of minds that I have read recognize that the plan is going to be terribly, terribly expensive — and at a time when we our debt is reaching truly frightening levels.  Those nations to whom we owe money will certainly be paying attention.

There are also a number of questions.  While individual positions differed (as they always will), much more of the American people felt the health care bill was a bad idea than a good one.  Even many of those who wanted to change the status quo didn’t like this bill.  Many were disgusted with the legislative bribes in the bill and with the catering to those with political connection in opposition to the will of the “unconnected” populous.  Many were also frustrated with the lack of transparency of the process.  For many others, the fact that this is the way government generally works made it nothing new, but they were awakened to interest and action by the sheer size of this particular act of political will.

Also, the constitutionality of some of the provisions is surely going to be attacked.  For instance, the Constitution of the United States — which defines the powers of federal authority — nowhere gives Congress the authority to require Americans to purchase a product, such as, in this case, insurance.  The States have long enjoyed that authority — for instance, requiring drivers to purchase auto insurance — but the Federal government does not have that right (not enumerated in the Constitution, it is reserved to the States).  Congress has the power to tax, but it cannot use that power to “create” ad hoc new powers for itself through punitive taxation.  However, the Constitution is always at the mercy of how it is interpreted by the current U.S. Supreme Court (since the vows to uphold the Constitution has long become a trivial consideration), so the final shape of all of this remains to be seen.

For anyone who would like a blow-by-blow account of how nauseating the final moments of approval process actually was, feel free to read the Wall Street Journal’s opinion piece “Inside the Pelosi Sausage Factory” by Kimberley A. Strassel.  If you can hold your lunch down long enough to read through it and realize that this represents how the leadership of our nation conducts its business, perhaps you will pray all the more passionately that God’s Kingdom will come soon!  (And I do not pretend that those politicians on the other side of the aisle are somehow blessed with more godliness and nobility.  Switch out the names and issues with other names whose D’s and R’s are reversed and change the issues appropriately and I would find the process equally nauseating and ungodly.)

However, what really interests me is what all of this may mean prophetically and spiritually.

For instance, the heart-stopping levels of debt the United States government is racking up and the increasing dependence on loans from other nations has serious prophetic connection.  God says that a disobedient Israel (including the United States and Great Britain) will suffer from indebtedness to foreign powers: “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43–44).

Even those who don’t agree with the identity of modern Israel must at least be able to look at history, review the fall of great powers of the past, and agree with the truth of Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”  And even though the biblical indications are that Habakkuk 2 is not a direct prophecy of the United States and Great Britain (since the people under discussion are the Chaldeans, not Israel), as Mr. Ames and Mr. Weston kindly pointed out to me, all can see that the pattern God prophesied to come at His appointed time upon the Chaldeans who would become Judah’s oppressors is a pattern that can befall any heavily indebted power: “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, and a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases what is not his–how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’? Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty” (Hab. 2:6-7).

Those interested in a recent Tomorrow’s World article on the economic circumstance of the U.S. and what the Bible has to say about it might read this: “Heading for Economic Catastrophe?” All I will add before moving on is that the decision made this weekend to spend even more money that we don’t have only adds to the insanity and the apparent inevitability of where this nation is headed.

Economics aside, I find it interesting, as well, that the final vote on health care, the final pivot point, was the subject of federal (that is, paid by you and me) funding of the murder of children that is generally called “abortion.”

(The mentality behind the fight to allow, however subtly, abortions to be supported by the health care plan has some nasty overtones, as James Taranto brought out very solidly in a Best of the Web Today several days ago.  A topic for another time, perhaps.)

Those in the know in Congress (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) realize that there was no real protection with teeth in the health care law to prevent Federal (public, tax funded) money from being used to enable abortions.  For those that think there is and don’t understand how such things can be gotten around, let me use the United Way as an example (nothing against the United Way, mind you — just giving an example).  Sometimes, people donate to the United Way without condition, not caring where their money goes.  The United Way then takes that money and divvies it up to various charities according to its predetermined allotments.  Other times, people want to give money to specific causes through United Way or to avoid some of the charities that United Way supports.  Say, for instance, you specifically want to support the Boy Scouts, so you specify that in your United Way donation.  Does this mean that the Boy Scouts get your money, in the Pharisaical sense?  Yes.  But in reality?  No.  Because money specifically donated as going to the Boy Scouts means that the United Way will simply give the Scouts less money from their general, unspecified funds so that, again, the predetermined allotments are maintained.

Too confusing?  Sorry about that.  Let me give a better example: Let’s say that the United Way determines that 50% of their money goes to Boy Scouts and 50% goes to the Kick the Cat Foundation.  If you and your three buddies each donate $2, that becomes $4 to Boy Scouts and $4 to Cat Kickers.  However, let’s say that you don’t like the idea of half of your money supporting the kicking of cats and you specify that ALL of your money is to go to the Boy Scouts.  What that will mean is that your $2 goes to the Boy Scouts, but the unspecified money from your friends (the other $6) will now be divvied up unevenly to make up the difference: $2 to the Boy Scouts and $4 to the Cat Kickers.  Thus, in the end, $4 still goes to the Boy Scouts and $4 still goes to the Kick the Cat Foundation, just as before.  Your specification made no real difference at all.

Now, I use this not to beat up on United Way (in fact, if my description of their system is inaccurate and someone knows this with certainty, please feel free to let me know, as well), but to illustrate how easy it is to get around some “conditions” or “restrictions” with a little accounting maneuvering.  (Reminds me of “renting out” a closet of your home during the Days of Unleavened Bread, but that’s, again, a discussion for another day.)

That the “hold out” representatives were willing to be “satisfied” with a toothless Executive Order saying, essentially, that the status quo is the status quo shows that their “holding out” was, apparently, simply a show.  That the Executive Order is toothless–indeed, meaningless–should be clear to even the most casual observer; today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes an abortion “rights” supporter in the House of Representatives as saying the President’s order “doesn’t change anything.”  And, truly, it doesn’t.  The Wall Street Journal notes that pro-abortion supporters of the health care bill celebrated after the so-called pro-life representatives caved because they knew that the Executive Order was a non-concession that would have no impact, whatsoever.

So, in the end, after all the political bribes and the quid pro quo vote buying, the health care bill was being blocked by a single, solitary, moral issue: abortion.  And rather than being a steady rock against which the health care bill would crack, that issue ended up being merely a political inconvenience that could be ignored when a means of political cover could be figured out.

But God has not ignored the issue.  And its indifferent attitude toward ending the life of its most innocent of children will cost this nation greatly.  I’ve written about the repugnant moral stances of some in national leadership before on this topic (see “Death penalty for children” which will also take you to the full Tomorrow’s World commentary), so I won’t go into it again here.  But the manner in which it was treated in this bill’s passage — as a political obstacle to maneuver around as opposed to a matter or right or wrong in the eyes of God — is telling.

For those interested, the Tomorrow’s World magazine and website has published a number of articles explaining the biblical stance on abortion and the prophetic implications of this nation’s vile vice.  Just typing “abortion” in the search box on the Tomorrow’s World home page will take you to them — there’s a lot.  (I did it for you!  Just click here).

There’s more that can be said, to be sure, but I’ve gone on more than enough.  (My apologies for rambling.)  The news over the next few days or weeks will discuss the political and economic ramifications of all of this (at least as the various talking heads understand them) but what will go unchanged is this:  We are a nation that refuses to humble itself and go to its God, its Maker and Benefactor, and seek His healing and His blessings once again — blessings available through humble obedience (2 Chr. 7:14).  And whether the new health care bill sticks, changes, or is repealed, THAT FACT is the only one that truly matters.

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Death penalty for children

I am currently pressed between tasks, but just noticed this and thought I could post it quickly.  It seems that an old commentary I had written for Tomorrow’s World and the Living Church of God has been re-posted today.  Here are the first three paragraphs — for the rest you can click the link at the end:

Most states in the U.S. practice a programmed sequence of events to execute their most violent convicted criminals. There is an injection to anesthetize and take away pain and consciousness, a second injection to paralyze the body, and a third to stop the heart of the unconscious individual –- a process designed very carefully to give the condemned offender an opportunity to die pain-free and with dignity, as one who had died in his sleep.

That said, the efforts are continuous by some to have this method done away. Focusing on the fact that the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, some argue that even if the procedure is performed properly there is a possibility, however slim, that the criminal may still feel pain before he dies. These groups argue, essentially, that if there is even a remote possibility of a sensation of pain or suffering, then the procedure should be declared “cruel and unusual” and be banned.

Yet many of the very same individuals pressing for an end to the death penalty and for absolute guarantees that convicted, violent criminals are able to leave this world pain free show no regard for the life in the womb, and the pain that unborn child may feel in the process of abortion.  [To read the rest, Click Here…]

The commentary is straightforward and a bit graphic, and it may offend some, but I believe it is a point worth making.

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Have we learned the wrong lessons from 9/11? [Rerun]

I know it is lame to post a rerun after having been gone from the blog for so long recently, but with the 9/11 anniversary approaching I find myself thinking the same thoughts.  So why rewrite the same post?

Here it is, originally written last year, September 12, 2008…
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It’s late, and I ought to be in bed.  But I was just watching some History channel stuff about the attacks of 9/11, and it is all just riveting.  As I was about to turn my laptop off, like the junkie I am I just had to check e-mail one more time and I noticed that my 9/11-related commentary is now appearing on the Living Church of God website.  (How did I know?  Because I subscribe to LCG e-mail alerts, and you can too.)

Here is the title and first paragraph:

Have we learned the wrong lessons from 9/11?

Another September 11 anniversary has come and gone. It is a day when our country cannot help but recall the horrific attack we suffered seven years ago. As we all surrounded our television screens watching smoke pouring out of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in attacks that eventually cost some 3,000 lives, we came to the realization that something had changed…

To read the rest, click here: “Have we learned the wrong lessons from 9/11?”.  It may offend some, but the truth always does.

Just hearing it gives me the creeps

Australia 7 News recently reported on the fact that British scientists are making impressive ground in the effort to create artificial blood, eliminating the need for donors.

Sadly, embryos are used for the manufacturing of this product.

Specifically, the embryos being destroyed are “discards” that are created in the course of the in vitro fertilization process.  Ironically, they are being discarded by individuals seeking to be parents and to raise a child.

Just listening to the news report turned my stomach at places.  To hear the word “embryo” used in such a cold manner sent a shiver down my spine.  In particular, the statement made by the reporter about how they hope to improve the process so that only “small numbers of embryos” would be needed to begin the process really got to me.  I wonder if the reaction of viewers would be different if she had said that only a “small number of infants” would be needed.  Amazing the difference a word makes. (Discussed here, too.)

If you’d like to watch the video yourself, you should be able to see it here:
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/index.php?cl=12629524