Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All over America, in every public school, teachers should lead students in prayer for the kids wounded and killed at Chardon High.

From Todd Starnes at Fox News:

Why is school prayer only allowed during tragedies?

By Todd Starnes

Published February 27, 2012

It was supposed to be a fairly quiet week at Chardon High School.

The boys basketball team, the Hilltoppers, was scheduled to play a game Monday night. Parent-Teacher conferences were set for Thursday.

It was just a normal day in Chardon, Ohio.

But normal changed at approximately 7:30 Monday morning.

Gunfire. Screams. Chaos.

A teenager – an outcast – armed with a gun – walked into the school cafeteria. In a matter of moments, five students were gunned down. At least one child died.

Terrified students huddled in classrooms. They called 911. They texted and tweeted. Teachers locked doors and implemented emergency procedures.

And at least one teacher chased the gunman out of the school – an act of bravery that possibly saved lives.

As police try to make sense of the senseless, the school superintendent called on people to pray.

It was a wise decision.

But perhaps lost in the chaos is the irony that in American public schools – people are not allowed to pray.

Liberals have successfully banished God from the classroom, replacing Him with the manmade god of secularism.

Yet in times of great tragedy, school leaders inevitably seek guidance and solace from the same God they’ve expelled. I’ve often wondered – if God is good enough for the bad times, shouldn’t He be good enough for the good times?

It’s a lesson I sadly suspect our nation’s educators will never learn.

Questions for atheists:

Is the superintendent's call for prayer unconstitutional?

Is a teacher leading kids at Chardon High in a prayer for the victims unconstitutional?

Would a sign at the school saying "Pray for our classmates" be a crime?

Do prayers for the kids who were killed and injured make atheists feel "ostracized and excluded"?

Are atheists gonna call the ACLU on these people?

Should the police stop teachers and school officials at Chardon High from leading students in prayer?

If not, why not? Isn't organized prayer in school unconstitutional?

My suggestion:

All over America, in every public school, teachers should lead students in prayer for the kids wounded and killed at Chardon High. 

Let the atheists sue us. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Payday for Jessica

From the L.A. Times:

Jessica Ahlquist (smiling, center) with supporters during
school committee meeting in Cranford, Rhode Island
By Rene Lynch

February 22, 2012, 11:41 a.m.
A Rhode Island teen is learning that it pays to deny the existence of God: Prominent atheists plan to present Jessica Ahlquist with a scholarship of at least $44,000 -- and possibly more.
It seems they were impressed with the way Ahlquist, 16, handled herself amid a roiling controversy that began in July 2010, when she complained about a prayer banner hanging in the auditorium at Cranston High School West that referred to "Our Heavenly Father."
School authorities brushed off her complaint, saying the banner was artistic and historic, as it had been hanging there for decades. Ahlquist later joined the American Civil Liberties Union in a suit alleging that the banner made her feel "ostracized and out of place."
After much legal wrangling, a court ruled that the banner needed to be removed -- and an uproar ensued.
The controversy helped Ahlquist, an atheist, collect thousands of friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.
But it also sparked outrage on behalf of many others who embraced the banner and wanted the school district to stand firm. A state legislator called Ahlquist an "evil little thing." There were death threats. The financially strapped school district spent tens of thousands on legal fees. And recall threats were lodged against the school board.
Those school board jobs are still in jeopardy; the district voted last week to end the appeals process to save money.
Blogger Hemant Mehta who writes the Friendly Atheist started a campaign to raise scholarship money for Ahlquist, and the American Humanist Assn. is also helping to oversee the fund-raising effort, which runs through the end of the month.
"The way she has handled herself throughout this whole ordeal is admirable far beyond anything most people would expect from a high school student," Mehta wrote.
So far, the fund has raised $44,000 for Ahlquist. Mehta and the association say she earned the scholarship by standing up to critics "with class and style."

Note the execrable tactic of atheists playing to the vanity of a 16 year-old schoolgirl to use her as a pawn in their lawsuit.

The battle we face against the unconstitutional cleansing of free religious expression from civic life is not merely against foes who hate our faith. It is a battle against foes who lack rudimentary ethics-- in this case, they use a schoolchild to censor her Christian friends and neighbors and to expropriate a large legal settlement from her school district as a warning to others who would speak of God in civic life.

They hide behind children, enticing them to lie in court-- Jessica obviously was not harmed in any way by the prayer mural-- and they use her as a pawn to enforce civic atheism.

An uncommonly clear example of political atheism. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Seat-12" and Pius XII

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Soviet bloc, in a 2007 essay in National review:

... [W]hen I was at the center of Moscow’s foreign-intelligence wars, I myself was caught up in a deliberate Kremlin effort to smear the Vatican, by portraying Pope Pius XII as a coldhearted Nazi sympathizer...
In February 1960, Nikita Khrushchev approved a super-secret plan for destroying the Vatican’s moral authority in Western Europe. The idea was the brainchild of KGB chairman Aleksandr Shelepin and Aleksey Kirichenko, the Soviet Politburo member responsible for international policies. Up until that time, the KGB had fought its “mortal enemy” in Eastern Europe, where the Holy See had been crudely attacked as a cesspool of espionage in the pay of American imperialism, and its representatives had been summarily jailed as spies. Now Moscow wanted the Vatican discredited by its own priests, on its home territory, as a bastion of Nazism.
Eugenio Pacelli, by then Pope Pius XII, was selected as the KGB’s main target, its incarnation of evil, because he had departed this world in 1958. “Dead men cannot defend themselves” was the KGB’s latest slogan. 
Because Pius XII had served as the papal nuncio in Munich and Berlin when the Nazis were beginning their bid for power, the KGB wanted to depict him as an anti-Semite who had encouraged Hitler’s Holocaust... “Seat-12” was the code name given to this operation against Pius XII, and I became its Romanian point man...
[S]oon three young [Romanian intelligence] undercover officers posing as Romanian priests were digging around in the papal archives... [They] succeeded in pilfering hundreds of documents connected in any way with Pope Pius XII out of the Vatican Archives and the Apostolic Library. Everything was immediately sent to the KGB via special courier. In actual fact, no incriminating material against the pontiff ever turned up in all those secretly photographed documents. Mostly they were copies of personal letters and transcripts of meetings and speeches, all couched in the routine kind of diplomatic language one would expect to find. Nevertheless, the KGB kept asking for more documents. And we sent more...
In 1963, General Ivan Agayants, the famous chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, landed in Bucharest to thank us for our help. He told us that “Seat-12” had materialized into a powerful play attacking Pope Pius XII, entitled The Deputy, an oblique reference to the pope as Christ’s representative on earth. Agayants took credit for the outline of the play, and he told us that it had voluminous appendices of background documents put together by his experts with help from the documents we had purloined from the Vatican. Agayants also told us that The Deputy’s producer,Erwin Piscator, was a devoted Communist who had a longstanding relationship with Moscow. In 1929 he had founded the Proletarian Theater in Berlin, then sought political asylum in the Soviet Union when Hitler came to power, and a few years later had “emigrated” to the United States. In 1962 Piscator had returned to West Berlin to produce The Deputy...

The Deputy saw the light in 1963 as the work of an unknown West German named Rolf Hochhuth, under the title Der Stellvertreter. Ein christliches Trauerspiel (The Deputy, a Christian Tragedy). Its central thesis was that Pius XII had supported Hitler and encouraged him to go ahead with the Jewish Holocaust. It immediately ignited a huge controversy around Pius XII, who was depicted as a cold, heartless man more concerned about Vatican properties than about the fate of Hitler’s victims. The original text presents an eight-hour play, backed by some 40 to 80 pages (depending on the edition) of what Hochhuth called “historical documentation.” In a newspaper article published in Germany in 1963, Hochhuth defends his portrayal of Pius XII, saying: “The facts are there — forty crowded pages of documentation in the appendix to my play.” In a radio interview given in New York in 1964, when The Deputy opened there, Hochhuth said, “I considered it necessary to add to the play a historical appendix, fifty to eighty pages (depending on the size of the print).” In the original edition, the appendix is entitled “Historische Streiflichter” (historical sidelights). The Deputy has been translated into some 20 languages, drastically cut and with the appendix usually omitted...
Today, many people who have never heard of The Deputy are sincerely convinced that Pius XII was a cold and evil man who hated the Jews and helped Hitler do away with them. As KGB chairman Yury Andropov, the unparalleled master of Soviet deception, used to tell me, people are more ready to believe smut than holiness.
Toward the mid 1970s, The Deputy started running out of steam. In 1974 [KGB chairman] Andropov conceded to us that, had we known then what we know today, we would never have gone after Pope Pius XII. What now made the difference was newly released information showing that Hitler, far from being friendly with Pius XII, had in fact been plotting against him.
Just a few days before Andropov’s admission, the former supreme commander of the German SS (Schutzstaffel) squadron in Italy during World War II, General Friedrich Otto Wolff, had been released from jail and confessed that in 1943 Hitler had ordered him to abduct Pope Pius XII from the Vatican. That order had been so hush-hush that it never turned up after the war in any Nazi archive. Nor had it come out at any of the many debriefings of Gestapo and SS officers conducted by the victorious Allies. In his confession Wolff claimed that he had replied to Hitler that his order would take six weeks to carry out. Hitler, who blamed the pope for the overthrow of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, wanted it done immediately. Eventually Wolff persuaded Hitler that there would be a great negative response if the plan were implemented, and the F├╝hrer dropped it.
A few years later, Pope John Paul II started the process of sanctifying Pius XII, and witnesses from all over the world have compellingly proved that Pius XII was an enemy, not a friend, of Hitler. Israel Zoller, the chief rabbi of Rome between 1943-44, when Hitler took over that city, devoted an entire chapter of his memoirs to praising the leadership of Pius XII. “The Holy Father sent by hand a letter to the bishops instructing them to lift the enclosure from convents and monasteries, so that they could become refuges for the Jews. I know of one convent where the Sisters slept in the basement, giving up their beds to Jewish refugees.” On July 25, 1944, Zoller was received by Pope Pius XII. Notes taken by Vatican secretary of state Giovanni Battista Montini (who would become Pope Paul VI) show that Rabbi Zoller thanked the Holy Father for all he had done to save the Jewish community of Rome — and his thanks were transmitted over the radio. On February 13, 1945, Rabbi Zoller was baptized by Rome’s auxiliary bishop Luigi Traglia in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. In gratitude to Pius XII, Zoller took the Christian name of Eugenio (the pope’s name). A year later Zoller’s wife and daughter were also baptized.
David G. Dalin, in The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews From the Nazis, published a few months ago, has compiled further overwhelming proof of Eugenio Pacelli’s friendship for the Jews beginning long before he became pope. At the start of World War II, Pope Pius XII’s first encyclical was so anti-Hitler that the Royal Air Force and the French air force dropped 88,000 copies of it over Germany

The discrediting of the Church's moral authority is a recurring tactic in the war against Christianity. The smear against Pius XII and the denial of the well-documented widespread and extraordinarily heroic efforts of Catholics and many other Christians to oppose Hitler and save Jews is being carried on by political atheism's modern water-carriers.

Please read the whole essay. It's fascinating, and it puts the modern slanders against the Church's courageous opposition to Hitler-- and the morally corrupt tactics of the Church's atheist despisers-- in context.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

David Klinghoffer on Judaism

My friend David Klinghoffer has a great post on ignorance and the New Atheists. David does a wonderful job condensing such a massive topic. What really caught my eye was his comment about Jerry Coyne's abject ignorance of his own Jewish intellectual heritage.


Judaism is a faith with a vast and profound tradition in which it expects Jews to school themselves. I don't think there's a faith in the world that assumes more in the way of self-education by its adherents -- knowledge of texts, interpretation, law, philosophy, mysticism, and much else. It's for precisely this reason that Judaism is so susceptible to lampooning by the shamelessly ignorant. It remains, as my wife likes to say, the world's most unknown religion. Unknown by most Jews too! Not that this has stopped many an ignorant Jew from lecturing others about the laughable deficiencies of his ancestors' faith.
For a Christian, I've had what I think is an ample personal acquaintance with Judaism. My best friend when I was a kid was Jewish, and I was invited regularly to Temple, to celebrations of Jewish holidays, and to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. In college, most of my friends were Jewish, and in my job now perhaps half of my closest friends are Jewish. My wife's side of the family (her father) are Jewish and frequently invite us for celebrations.

I love Jewish culture. Don't get me wrong-- I'm a passionate Catholic (as you may have noticed!), but Judaism has always fascinated me. There is a respect for learning, an intellectual rigor, and a fundamental decency and humor that I much admire.

Last spring I attended a family Bat Mitzvah. The temple service was long-- two had a half hours-- but it was beautiful and fascinating. My niece did a wonderful job learning Hebrew and reciting her part of the service, and I was fascinated by the meticulous analysis of Torah. My non-Jewish family felt the same way.

David is right to tout Judaism's passion for texts and deep learning. So much of what we value in modern Western culture has its roots in the uniquely Jewish understanding of the world. Some of that understanding is transmitted through Jewish culture, and much of it is transmitted through Christian culture, which is deeply rooted in Judaism.

I have no tolerance for anti-Semitism. None. The calumny and outright murder perpetrated against these good people over centuries-- and particularly in this century-- is one of the great shames of mankind. On a proportionate basis, no faith has done such good for mankind, and suffered so much for it, as Judaism.

Of course there are criticisms to be made of individuals who are Jewish-- anti-Christian bias and atheism are all too common in some sectors of the Jewish community-- but it's worth noting that the propensity to such wrongs is related closely not to Judaism itself but to the renunciation of Judaism. Faithful Jews and Christians share so much in common, including our common adversaries.

The rightful attitude of Christians to Jews in one of respect, admiration, gratitude, and even love, as in the love of a child for a parent.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The story of the two pacts...

Commentor anonymous on the claim (the slander, actually) that the Catholic Church was pro-Nazi:

[Nazis] made no bones about the religious nature of their crusade - Hitler likened his regimes attacks against Bolsheviks to the Teutonic crusaders stamping out Russian heresy. You may not like the fact that they called themselves Christians, but the historical record says that they did. And the Catholic church made it official: In 1933 the Vatican and the Nazi government signed their Concordat, putting the official Vatican stamp on the alliance of the German church and the Nazi state. Article 16, reproduced below, required that Catholic bishops swear to honor the Nazi government, to make their subordinates honor it, and to hunt for and prevent action that might endanger it. The following translation of the very important Article 16 of the Reichskonkordat was authorized by the Vatican: Article 16 “Before bishops take possession of their dioceses they are to take an oath of fealty either to the Reich Representative of the State concerned, or to the President of the Reich, according to the following formula: “‘Before God and on the Holy Gospels I swear and promise as becomes a bishop, loyalty to the German Reich and to the [regional - EC] State of . . . I swear and promise to honor the legally constituted Government and to cause the clergy of my diocese to honor it. In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interests of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it.’”
The 1933 Concordant was one of many that the Church signed with various governments in an effort to secure religious freedom for Catholics. Then, as today, such freedom is under continuous attack.

Cardinal Pacelli (Vatican diplomat and future Pius XII), on return to Rome following negotiation of the Concordant, told the British Ambassador that "I had to choose between an agreement and the virtual elimination of the Catholic Church in the Reich. He described the negotiations with the German government as akin to "negotiating with the devil himself".

The Concordant, of course, was violated massively and immediately by the Nazis, who had no intention of permitting religious freedom.

The Church spoke out repeatedly and emphatically over the next 12 years against Nazi anti-Semitism and brutality.

Here are just a few of countless documents establishing the Church's strong opposition to Nazism:

New York Times headline October 28 1939:

 "Pope Condemns Dictators, Treaty Violators, Racism: Urges Restoring of Poland."

New York Times headline January 23, 1940 

"Vatican Denounces Atrocities in Poland; Germans Called Even Worse Than Russians." 

New York Times headline March 14, 1940: 

"Pope Is Emphatic About Just Peace: Jews' Rights Defended"

Now you might ask: why was the Pope in 1939 condemning 'Dictators, Treaty Violations, and Racism' and 'Urging the Restoration of Poland'?

That has to do with another concordant, this time between atheists and Nazis.

Surely commentor Anonymous didn't forget that atheists signed a pact with Nazi Germany. The pact was not an attempt to secure religious freedom, which of course was precisely what the first atheist government of the 20th century was devoted to exterminating. It was a pact to cooperate and share conquest:

Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with Secret Protocols 
August 23, 1939 
In August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression pact that publicly renounced warfare between the two totalitarian states. Secretly, the two nations divided Poland, parts of Northern Europe, and Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. Two years later, Adolf Hitler broke the pact when he ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union. 
Main Agreement 
The Government of the German Reich and The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R., and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April, 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following Agreement: 

Article I. Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other Powers. 
Article II. Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third Power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third Power. 
Article III. The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests. 
Article IV. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of Powers whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party. 
Article V. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of arbitration commissions. 
Article VI. The present Treaty is concluded for a period of ten years, with the proviso that, in so far as one of the High Contracting Parties does not advance it one year prior to the expiration of this period, the validity of this Treaty shall automatically be extended for another five years. 
Article VII. The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The Agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed. 
Secret Additional Protocol. 
Article I. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party. 
Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San. The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments. 
In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement. 
Article III. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinteredness in these areas. 
Article IV. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly secret.

Compare the Soviet atheist concordant with the Nazis and the Vatican's concordant with the Nazis. One concordant was a successful attempt (for a couple of years) to expand totalitarianism. The other was an unsuccessful attempt to secure religious freedom.

That same struggle continues to this day.

A victory for the First Amendment

From World Magazine:

Church’s authority ‘alone’

SUPREME COURT | An unexpectedly unanimous high court decision protects church hiring decisions | Emily Belz


WASHINGTON—In one of the clearest rulings for religious freedom in years, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided that courts may not intervene in church hiring decisions, protecting the “ministerial exception” that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sought to eliminate inHosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC.

“[T]he authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful is the church’s alone,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Elena Kagan wrote separate concurring opinions that said the ministerial exception should be even broader than Roberts allowed in his opinion.

“It was a strong rebuke to the extreme position taken by the Obama administration,” said Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who served as counsel to the church in the case. “One of the biggest things is it’s unanimously decided, which nobody was predicting and is a really big deal. … It’s a great day for religious liberty.”

Assistant Solicitor General Leondra Kruger had argued before the court that the church school should only have the protection of freedom of association, the same protection that a labor group has. The court in its opinion characterized that argument as both “remarkable” and “extreme,” noting that the Constitution outlines specific protections for religion beyond those for a labor organization. Religious cases before the Supreme Court often center on the tension between the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution and the Establishment Clause, but Roberts wrote that in this case, both clauses protect the Lutheran school from government interference. 

The high court has never ruled on the ministerial exception before, a standard created in the lower courts, and the opinion shied away from defining who qualifies as a “minister,” saying simply that the teacher in question, a commissioned minister at the Lutheran church school, qualified.

“We are reluctant … to adopt a rigid formula for deciding when an employee qualifies as a minister,” Roberts wrote in the decision. Kagan and Alito, in their concurring opinion, wrote that the “title” of minister “is neither necessary nor sufficient,” given the variety of religions in the United States, but rather courts must defer to the religious organization’s evaluation of the employee’s role. 

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of the teacher, saying she did not qualify as a minister because she spent more minutes of the day teaching secular subjects than religious subjects. The Supreme Court scoffed at that idea. “The issue before us … is not one that can be resolved by a stopwatch,” Roberts wrote.

During the oral arguments, some of the justices seemed bothered by the facts of the case. The Hosanna-Tabor teacher, Cheryl Perich, had narcolepsy and took leave from the Redford, Mich.-based school, which is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Perich eventually returned to work but the school didn’t think she was ready to teach, and Perich threatened a lawsuit if the school did not reinstate her. The school revoked her commission as a minister and then fired her, on the grounds that she had circumvented the church tribunals that handle such disputes. (Alito, perhaps dryly, added 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 in the notes of his concurring opinion, verses that tell believers not to go before “the ungodly for judgment.”) 

“She was fired simply for asking for a hearing,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in the arguments. But the court’s unanimous opinion said the question of whether the church used religious reasons as a pretext for firing Perich “misses the point of the ministerial exception,” which requires courts to preserve churches’ autonomy in selecting leaders.

The EEOC argued that a broad application of the ministerial exception would allow abuse by religious groups, like the hiring of children or undocumented immigrants. Roberts responded that churches are still subject to criminal prosecution, and that courts could consider other types of lawsuits regarding breaches of contracts, for example, “if and when they arise.” But Roberts concluded, “The church must be free to choose those who will guide it on its way.”

Enlightened decision, unlike so much of the gibberish from the Court on the religion clauses of the First Amendment. This is an obvious victory for the Free Exercise Clause, but it is a victory for the Establishment Clause as well. The government must have no role in the doctrinal, administrative, or educational decisions of any church, except in matters of criminal law.

Note the difference between this Constitutionally mandated separation of church and government and the faux "separation" championed by anti-Christian bigots.

Genuine Establishment Clause jurisprudence forbids the use of legal force to entangle action of an institutional church with actions of government. A church can't control government, nor can government control a church.

Faux-Establishment Clause jurisprudence forbids civic religious expression, despite the fact that all religious expression is protected by the Free Exercise Clause. Such "separation of church and state" ideology isn't Constitutional jurisprudence of any sort, but mere anti-Christian bigotry, plainly aimed at establishment of Civic Atheism.

It's a delight that the Court seems to understand what genuine Constitutional freedom of religion really means. It means freedom from government force, both in church administration and in civic religious expression.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eugenics:" Does the past matter?"

"Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution"
Second International Congress of Eugenics. 1921
Held at the American Museum of Natural History.
Leonard Darwin, son of Charles, was the keynote speaker. 

Some wisdom from Jonathan Freeland at the Guardian:
Eugenics: the skeleton that rattles loudest in the left's closet
Socialism's one-time interest in eugenics is dismissed as an accident of history. But the truth is far more unpalatable
Jonathan Freedland, Friday 17 February 2012 13.59 EST
Does the past matter? When confronted by facts that are uncomfortable, but which relate to people long dead, should we put them aside and, to use a phrase very much of our time, move on? And there's a separate, but related, question: how should we treat the otherwise admirable thought or writings of people when we discover that those same people also held views we find repugnant?
Those questions are triggered in part by the early responses toPantheon, my new novel published this week under the pseudonym Sam Bourne. The book is a thriller, set in the Oxford and Yale of 1940, but it rests on several true stories. Among those is one of the grisliest skeletons in the cupboard of the British intellectual elite, a skeleton that rattles especially loudly inside the closet of the left.
It is eugenics, the belief that society's fate rested on its ability to breed more of the strong and fewer of the weak. So-called positive eugenics meant encouraging those of greater intellectual ability and "moral worth" to have more children, while negative eugenics sought to urge, or even force, those deemed inferior to reproduce less often or not at all. The aim was to increase the overall quality of the national herd, multiplying the thoroughbreds and weeding out the runts.
Such talk repels us now, but in the prewar era it was the common sense of the age. Most alarming, many of its leading advocates were found among the luminaries of the Fabian and socialist left, men and women revered to this day. Thus George Bernard Shaw could insist that "the only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man", even suggesting, in a phrase that chills the blood, that defectives be dealt with by means of a "lethal chamber".
Such thinking was not alien to the great Liberal titan and mastermind of the welfare state, William Beveridge, who argued that those with "general defects" should be denied not only the vote, but "civil freedom and fatherhood". Indeed, a desire to limit the numbers of the inferior was written into modern notions of birth control from the start. That great pioneer of contraception, Marie Stopes – honoured with a postage stamp in 2008 – was a hardline eugenicist, determined that the "hordes of defectives" be reduced in number, thereby placing less of a burden on "the fit". Stopes later disinherited her son because he had married a short-sighted woman, thereby risking a less-than-perfect grandchild.
Yet what looks kooky or sinister in 2012 struck the prewar British left as solid and sensible. Harold Laski, stellar LSE professor, co-founder of the Left Book Club and one-time chairman of the Labour party, cautioned that: "The time is surely coming … when society will look upon the production of a weakling as a crime against itself." Meanwhile, JBS Haldane, admired scientist and socialist, warned that: "Civilisation stands in real danger from over-production of 'undermen'." That'sUntermenschen in German.
I'm afraid even the Manchester Guardian was not immune. When a parliamentary report in 1934 backed voluntary sterilisation of the unfit, a Guardian editorial offered warm support, endorsing the sterilisation campaign "the eugenists soundly urge". If it's any comfort, the New Statesman was in the same camp.
According to Dennis Sewell, whose book The Political Gene charts the impact of Darwinian ideas on politics, the eugenics movement's definition of "unfit" was not limited to the physically or mentally impaired. It held, he writes, "that most of the behavioural traits that led to poverty were inherited. In short, that the poor were genetically inferior to the educated middle class." It was not poverty that had to be reduced or even eliminated: it was the poor.
Hence the enthusiasm of John Maynard Keynes, director of the Eugenics Society from 1937 to 1944, for contraception, essential because the working class was too "drunken and ignorant" to keep its numbers down.
We could respond to all this the way we react when reading of Churchill's dismissal of Gandhi as a "half-naked fakir" or indeed of his own attraction to eugenics, by saying it was all a long time ago, when different norms applied. That is a common response when today's left-liberals are confronted by the eugenicist record of their forebears, reacting as if it were all an accident of time, a slip-up by creatures of their era who should not be judged by today's standards.
Except this was no accident. The Fabians, Sidney and Beatrice Webb and their ilk were not attracted to eugenics because they briefly forgot their leftwing principles. The harder truth is that they were drawn to eugenics for what were then good, leftwing reasons.
They believed in science and progress, and nothing was more cutting edge and modern than social Darwinism. Man now had the ability to intervene in his own evolution. Instead of natural selection and the law of the jungle, there would be planned selection. And what could be more socialist than planning, the Fabian faith that the gentlemen in Whitehall really did know best? If the state was going to plan the production of motor cars in the national interest, why should it not do the same for the production of babies? The aim was to do what was best for society, and society would clearly be better off if there were more of the strong to carry fewer of the weak.
What was missing was any value placed on individual freedom, even the most basic freedom of a human being to have a child. The middle class and privileged felt quite ready to remove that right from those they deemed unworthy of it.
Eugenics went into steep decline after 1945. Most recoiled from it once they saw where it led – to the gates of Auschwitz. The infatuation with an idea horribly close to nazism was steadily forgotten. But we need a reckoning with this shaming past. Such a reckoning would focus less on today's advances in selective embryology, and the ability to screen out genetic diseases, than on the kind of loose talk about the "underclass" that recently enabled the prime minister to speak of "neighbours from hell" and the poor as if the two groups were synonymous.
Progressives face a particular challenge, to cast off a mentality that can too easily regard people as means rather than ends. For in this respect a movement is just like a person: it never entirely escapes its roots.

Ideology has, needless to say, an internal logic. There is no "past" for ideology, in the sense that there is no part of an ideology that can be separated completely from the whole.  We embrace different parts of an ideology over time, but the body of thought remains.

Eugenics is a foundation of the birth control movement. Birth control. It was much of the original reason for controlling births, as explicitly and emphatically pronounced by its founders. The same intimate ties link eugenics and Darwinism. Darwin's cousin-- Francis Galton-- coined the term 'eugenics', and Darwin's Origin of Species was subtitled "... the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." Darwin's application of this theory to human beings-- "The Descent of Man-- Selection in Relation to Sex"-- is grossly eugenic and racist. Darwin's cousin (Galton) and son (Leonard) were the first two presidents of the British Eugenics Society.

And eugenics is not a perversion of Darwin's theory. It is a natural consequence of Darwin's theory, even an 'enlightened' consequence of his theory. If man is evolved by the fierce struggle of natural selection, then care for the weak will degrade the human race, which owes its strengths to the survival of the fittest. If we are to be merciful but not degrade the human race, we must prevent the weak from breeding. Only with eugenics can we be merciful to the weak without committing race suicide.

Eugenics is "the self-direction of human evolution." Eugenics is based explicitly on Darwin's understanding of man.

Many of the ideologies competing for ascendency today-- socialism (democratic, national and international), contraception and population control, and Darwinism, to name a few-- have a sordid past. A eugenic past.

But it's not past. It's just not discussed.

So we must discuss it. 

Fakegate: global warming alarmists can't hide their moral decline

Dr. Peter Gleick

There's a huge scandal in the works in Dr. Peter Gleick's fraud in the Heartland Institute email theft. From John Hinderacher at Powerline:

We are remiss in not having written about the Peter Gleick scandal. Gleick is a founder of the liberal Pacific Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is an expert on water resources, not climate; like many left-wingers in irrelevant fields of study, he has irrationally strong feelings about global warming. So, as Gleick has now admitted, he obtained documents from the Heartland Institute under false pretenses–that is, by lying–and published them in hopes of discrediting the Institute...

Of course the headline "Global Warming Alarmists Resort to Hoax" is as shocking as "New York Giants Play Football". This is what these guys do. Gleick admits that he lied to a staffer at the Institute in order to obtain the emails, which is a serious breach of ethics (a crime, I believe) especially troubling for a leading scientist. Although some of the (innocent) emails appear to be genuine, one of the documents-- a "Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy" appears to an amateurish forgery, probably forged by Gleick himself.

... I think it is obvious that Peter Gleick fabricated this document–the only one he posted that makes the Heartland Institute look bad–because the real ones he stole from Heartland didn’t serve his partisan purpose. Or, if he didn’t make it up himself, he got it from an ally who fabricated it. No knowledgeable person could mistake Gleick’s hoax for a legitimate top-secret Heartland memo...

It's important to realize that Gleick is in the highest tier of scientists. He was (until a couple of days ago) the chairman of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Integrity (!) and was slated to serve on the board of the National Center for Science Education (he has since withdrawn).  He is President of the Pacific Institute (an environmental advocacy organization) and has been a recipient of a McArthur "genius" grant. Judging by the amateurish forgery of the "Strategy Memo", the Nobel Prize in Literature will continue to elude him.

Please read the Powerline post above, and follow its links. The evidence that the "Strategy Memo" is a forgery is compelling. It's a fascinating story. It brings home quite nicely that inevitable impression an honest person must draw from observation of the global warming movement:

The global warming movement is a crime syndicate, run by actual criminals, with a large cadre of opportunistic amoral scientists, politicians and far left ideologues who have hopped on the train, hoping to cash in on the fraud. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Global warming cranks jump the shark eat the polar bear cub

Global warming nuts will go to astonishing lengths to dupe the public. Hysteria over endangered polar bears appears to be based on junk science, so the hysterics are now touting... filial polar bear cannibalism...

At long last, do these frauds have no shame?

Justice Scalia on the Lemon Test

Supreme Court Justice Scalia on the Lemon Test that forms the basis for much judicial censorship of civic religious expression, quoted by attorney Donald McClarey on American Catholic:

[McCleary] In few areas of the law has the Constitution been more twisted and deformed than in the area of First Amendment allowance of religious expression in schools. Justice Scalia gave a useful summary in 1993 in the Lamb’s Chapel v. Moriches Union Free School District case:

[Scalia] As to the Court’s invocation of the Lemon test: Like some ghoul in a late night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening thelittle children and school attorneys of Center Moriches Union Free School District. Its most recent burial, only last Term, was, to be sure, not fully six feet under: our decision inLee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. —-, —- (1992) (slip op., at 7), conspicuously avoided using the supposed “test” but also declined the invitation to repudiate it. Over the years, however, no fewer than five of the currently sitting Justices have, in their own opinions, personally driven pencils through the creature’s heart (the author of today’s opinion repeatedly), and a sixth has joined an opinion doing so. See, e. g., Weisman, supra, at —- (slip op., at 14) (Scalia, J., joined by, inter alios, Thomas, J., dissenting); Allegheny County v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 492 U.S. 573, 655-657 (1989) (Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part); Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327, 346-349 (1987) (O’Connor, J., concurring); Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 107-113 (1985) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting); id., at 90-91 (White, J., dissenting); School Dist. of Grand Rapids v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373, 400 (1985) (White, J., dissenting); Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 282 (1981) (White, J., dissenting); New York v. Cathedral Academy, 434 U.S. 125, 134-135 (1977) (White, J., dissenting); Roemer v. Maryland Bd. of Public Works, 426 U.S. 736, 768 (1976) (White, J., concurring in judgment); Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 820 (1973) (White, J., dissenting).

The secret of the Lemon test’s survival, I think, is that it is so easy to kill. It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will. See, e. g., Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 679 (1984) (noting instances in which Court has not applied Lemon test). When we wish to strike down a practice it forbids, we invoke it, see, e. g., Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U.S. 402 (1985) (striking downstate remedial education program administered in part in parochial schools); when we wish to uphold a practice it forbids, we ignore it entirely, see Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983) (upholding state legislative chaplains). Sometimes, we take a middle course, calling its three prongs “no more than helpful signposts,” Hunt v. McNair, 413 U.S. 734, 741 (1973). Such a docile and useful monster is worth keeping around, at least in a somnolent state; one never knows when one might need him.

The Lemon Test is a fine tool for slashing religious freedom when it is needed. Yet it is easily sheathed when discretion, rather than censorship, is the prudent course. Highly adaptable. Kind of a juridical Swiss Army knife, for anti-Christian bigots.

[Scalia] For my part, I agree with the long list of constitutional scholars who have criticized Lemon and bemoaned the strange Establishment Clause geometry of crooked lines and wavering shapes its intermittent use has produced. See, e. g., Choper, The Establishment Clause and Aid to Parochial Schools–An Update, 75 Cal. L. Rev. 5 (1987); Marshall, “We Know It When We See It”: The Supreme Court and Establishment, 59 S. Cal. L. Rev. 495 (1986); McConnell, Accommodation of Religion, 1985 S. Ct. Rev. 1; Kurland, The Religion Clauses and the Burger Court, 34 Cath. U. L. Rev. 1 (1984); R. Cord, Separation of Church and State (1982); Choper, The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment: Reconciling the Conflict, 41 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 673 (1980). I will decline to applyLemon–whether it validates or invalidates the government action in question–and therefore cannot join the opinion of the Court today. [n.*]

I cannot join for yet another reason: the Court’s statement that the proposed use of the school’s facilities is constitutional because (among other things) it would not signal endorsement of religion in general. Ante, at 10. What a strange notion, that a Constitution which itself gives “religion in general” preferential treatment (I refer to the Free Exercise Clause) forbids endorsement of religion in general.

Scalia makes an excellent point. How can endorsement of religion be unconstitutional, when the first two clauses of the Bill of Rights explicitly single out religious freedom and free exercise for Constitutional protection. Would the First Amendment itself be ruled unconstitutional in today's "separation of church and state" show trials?  It does after all explicitly endorse religious expression as a fundamental right of prime importance, with pride of place before freedom of speech and of the press and of assembly.  

[Scalia] The Attorney General of New York not only agrees with that strange notion, he has an explanation for it: “Religious advocacy,” he writes, “serves the community only in the eyes of its adherents and yields a benefit only to those who already believe.” Brief for Respondent Attorney General 24. That was not the view of those who adopted our Constitution, who believed that the public virtues inculcated by religion are a public good. It suffices to point out that during the summer of 1789, when it was in the process of drafting the First Amendment, Congress enacted the famous Northwest Territory Ordinance of 1789, Article III of which provides, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” 1 Stat. 52 (emphasis added). Unsurprisingly, then, indifference to “religion in general” is not what our cases, both old and recent, demand. See, e. g., Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313-314 (1952) (“When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions”); Walzv. Tax Comm’n of New York City, 397 U.S. 664 (1970) (upholding property tax exemption for church property); Lynch, 465 U. S., at 673 (the Constitution “affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions . . . . Anything less would require the `callous indifference’ we have said was never intended” (citations omitted)); id., at 683 (“our precedents plainly contemplate that on occasion some advancement of religion will result from governmental action”); Marsh, supra; Presiding Bishop, supra (exemption for religious organizations from certain provisions of Civil Rights Act).

For the reasons given by the Court, I agree that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment forbids what respondents have done here. As for the asserted Establishment Clause justification, I would hold, simply and clearly, that giving Lamb’s Chapel nondiscriminatory access to school facilities cannot violate that provision because it does not signify state or local embrace of a particular religious sect

McCleary concludes:

[McCleary] One of the things that I have always detested about my profession is that too often the law is used to accomplish what cannot be accomplished at the ballot box. A significant faction among American elites wish to drive religion from the public square. A solid majority of the American people disagree. Therefore the Constitution is contorted, by such judicial contrivances as the Lemon test, and twisted to arrive at an end that would never receive popular approval in elections. Our most precious civil right is our right to govern ourselves and cases like the Cranston mural case chip away at that civil right each and every day and transform government by the consent of the governed into government by the consent of judges. The Founding Fathers, who viewed the Judiciary as “the least dangerous branch” to liberty, would be flabbergasted at this development.

The Founding Fathers would be mortified at judicial suppression of Christianity, but I'm not so sure they would be flabbergasted. They understood tyranny quite well, in a very personal way, which is why they failed to grant the judicial branch the absolute Constitutional power of judicial review.

They did, however, underestimate the resourcefulness and deliberate malignity of anti-Christian bigots.  The Founders composed the Constitution in the years just before the Cult of Reason introduced the world to the fruits of civic atheism, imposed by law.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

... "Although it sounds funny, it is very, very, very insulting to women," "shocking," "out of touch" and "moronic." "Going back centuries here. It's astonishing,"...

Foster Friess, high-profile donor for Rick Santorum:

"back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. ... The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly."
It's an old quip-- I heard it when I was in high school (in the 90's-- ha-ha). It's not exactly a joke, but it's clever. Makes a great point. Nice aphorism.

 A bevy of self-appointed professionally offended people are... offended:
Dem lawmakers rip Santorum backer over 'aspirin' birth control joke
By Geneva Sands-Sadowitz - 02/17/12 06:20 PM ET
Foster Friess, a top financial supporter of Rick Santorum, generated a storm by using an old joke suggesting women control pregnancies by keeping their knees together.
Democratic lawmakers ripped Friess on Friday for his remarks on contraception, calling his aspirin comment, "shocking," "out of touch" and "moronic." 
"It's an affirmation of the fact that intelligence is not uniform across the board. Mr. Friess is obviously very good at some things that have made him very rich, but he also appears to have moronic tendencies," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." 
Foster Friess, referencing an old joke about closed knees when discussing the controversy over mandatory access to contraception, told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Thursday, "back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception ... The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly." 
"Although it sounds funny, it is very, very, very insulting to women," said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), also appearing on MSNBC. 
The conservative donor asked for forgiveness Friday in a statement that read, "I can understand how I confused people with the way I worded the joke and their taking offense is very understandable. To all those who took my joke as [a] modern-day approach, I deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness."
"I'm glad he at least apologized," added Cummings. 
Santorum responded to the controversy Friday, telling CBS News that while his supporter's remark may have been in bad taste, it was not "reflective of me or my record on this issue." 
He accused the media of a "double standard" for creating a furor over Friess's comments and ignoring controversies surrounding President Obama.
Friess is the top financial contributor to a super-PAC supporting the former Pennsylvania senator and presidential hopeful. 
Ire towards Friess made it's way onto the Senate floor Friday during testimony where mostly female Democratic senators blasted their GOP colleagues for what they called a "war on women." 
"It seems that yesterday on national television one of the chief financial backers for Rick Santorum, the Republican candidate that's now surging towards the nomination suggested that contraception was once as simple as a woman putting aspirin between her knees. Really? Shocking, appalling, an insult," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Friday. 
A House hearing Thursday that featured a panel consisting of entirely of male religious figures opposed to Obama's contraception policy, also sparked outrage and gave Democrats a political talking point this week. 
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing was held to examine whether the administration's birth control mandate intrudes on religious freedom. 
Murray told MSNBC that the combination of the all-male House panel and Friess's remarks made her feel like she was "waking up on a set of the Mad Men," an AMC television show about advertising executives in the nineteen-sixties. 
"Going back centuries here. It's astonishing," she added.
 "... it is very, very, very insulting to women". No. What's insulting to women is the contraceptive ideology that women are incapable of chastity and are so addicted to rutting that the only way to keep them from getting knocked-up is to give 'em free no-baby pills.

As a priest told me a few years ago, contraceptive ideology is a deep insult to men and women. It is the assertion that we so lack integrity and continence that we have to be chemically treated to prevent the natural consequence of our acts. Contraceptive ideology treats us like barnyard animals.

It is easy to dismiss the idiot brouhaha about this clever quip by pointing out that the flacks who fake offense are slimy pols, pandering to the base, stoking contributions, etc.

But there's a deeper tactic at work here. It has long been a weapon in the leftist arsenal in liberal democracies, and it's surprisingly effective, given its banality.

Fake offense-- political correctness-- is a form of soft censorship. Histrionics shut people up-- it's not worth being called ... "very, very, very insulting to women," "shocking," "out of touch" and "moronic." "Going back centuries here... astonishing,".

The reason for using soft censorship here is obvious: the quip about aspirin between the knees makes a very good point. The best contraception is chastity. It's a point for which the contraceptive cult has no good answer. To answer it requires impugnment of chastity, which would of course be an admission of cognitive dissonance for the "safe sex" claque. Not worth the candor.

Chastity, not pharmacology, is the key to sexual health-- physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The mystery deepens

This is not a parody.

From The Washington Post:
Motive of shooter who targeted military sites is unclear
Yonathan Melaku was sneaking through Fort Myer and Arlington National Cemetery, his backpack filled with plastic bags of ammonium nitrate, a notebook containing jihadist messages, and a can of black spray paint. The 23-year-old former Marine was heading to the graves of the nation’s most recent heroes, aiming to desecrate the stones with Arabic statements and leave handfuls of explosive material nearby as a message.
Before police foiled the plan in June, the vandalism was to be Melaku’s sixth attack, months after he went on a mysterious shooting spree that targeted the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and two other military buildings in Northern Virginia. A video found after Melaku’s arrest showed him wearing a black mask and shooting a 9mm handgun out of his Acura’s passenger window as he drove along Interstate 95, shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
It was all part of a solitary campaign of “fear and terror,” federal prosecutors said. But authorities and Melaku’s defense attorney said no one knows for sure what led Melaku — a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ethi o pia, local high school graduate and former Marine Corps Reservist — down that path or what message he was trying to send...
Quite the mystery. What could possibly have motivated a guy caught yelling "Allau Akbar" and spray-painting American soldiers' graves with Arabic messages and shooting at the Pentagon?

The Washington Post needs a crack investigative team-- maybe Woodward and Bernstein-- on this stumper. And a Deep Throat.

I'll betcha Yonathan is a... a... Tea Partier... and Sarah Palin surely had something to do with this...

George Orwell, call your office.

(HT- the Daily Caller)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vichy Catholicism

From  George Neumayr  at the American Spectator: The Little Sisters of Limousine Liberalism.

I called up the Catholic Health Association (CHA) yesterday. I wanted to nail down the exact compensation figures for some of its executives, including the salary and benefits of Sister Obamacare, also known as Daughter of Charity nun Carol Keehan, who last week helped Barack Obama engineer his latest con job -- the bogus conscience "compromise" designed to hoodwink Catholics into voting for his reelection.

As it has been widely reported, Obama conferred with Sister Keehan before his announcement last Friday. Then, lo and behold, she praised his revision as an inspiring resolution to the thorny issue of "religious freedom" soon after the sham event concluded.

So let's get down to brass tacks. How much is Sister Keehan worth for such political interventions? The checkered Catholic hospitals Keehan represents as chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association stand to receive gobs and gobs of cash from the federal government if Obamacare holds up past 2012. Consequently, the members of the association are more than happy to pony up huge salaries to executives skilled at manipulating the Catholic electorate for Obama...
Collaboration from the CHA was essential in Obama's push for Obamacare and for government control of healthcare. Obama's political allies in the private sector are paid handsomely, as befits socialism.

Collaborating with statism is good work, if you can get it.

"The Sanger racism smear is totally irrelevant..."

Commentor KW:

The Sanger racism smear is totally irrelevant unless you’re suggesting that there is an ongoing eugenics conspiracy being perpetrated by some shadowy operatives at the highest levels of PP, which is of course exactly what the right wants you to believe. The entire “You think conservatives are racist, well the liberals are secretly trying to exterminate black people” bullshit conspiracy theory relies on dubious quotes by one woman some 70 or 80 years ago. That’s it, That’s all they’ve got.

This is perplexing: why are Planned Parenthood defenders so passionate about discounting Margaret Sanger's obvious eugenic ideology and racism?

After all, if modern contraceptive and abortive ideology shared nothing in common with Sanger and her eugenic/racist ideology, one would expect that modern defenders of PP would merely assert "Sanger was a eugenic racist who we utterly repudiate. PP has nothing to do with her or her ideas, except for a regrettable organizational continuity."

Yet the defense of Sanger by defenders of PP is emphatic. It understandably leads many people in the pro-life movement to conclude that many of Sanger's precepts still inform Planned Parenthood. Why else would they be so solicitous of Sanger?

The siting of Planned Parenthood clinics in minority neighborhoods and the overtly racist response of Planned Parenthood employees to telephone stings would certainly support the pro-life view that Sanger's odious ideology still permeates the pro-choice movement.

Consider this 1992 letter by Roe v. Wade co-counsel Ron Weddington, who wrote President Clinton to urge the president to rush RU-486 (the morning-after pill) to market as soon as possible:
"[Y]ou can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I’m not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can’t afford to have babies. There, I’ve said it. It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged as discriminatory, mean-spirited and… well… so Republican.
[G]overnment is also going to have to provide vasectomies, tubal ligations and abortions. . , . There have been about 30 million abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade. Think of all the poverty, crime and misery . . . and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario. We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don’t have a lot of time left."
Cliff note version:

 'Think how many human weeds we have exterminated, and think how much dead weight of human waste we still need to prevent'

Pure Sanger.

Faulkner understood. The past is never dead. It's not even past.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chesterton: Why I am a Catholic

G.K. Chesterton, from The Catholic Thing:

Why I am a Catholic

Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. The Catholic Church has for one of her chief duties that of preventing people from making those old mistakes; from making them over and over again forever, as people always do if they are left to themselves. The truth about the Catholic attitude towards heresy, or as some would say, towards liberty, can best be expressed perhaps by the metaphor of a map. The Catholic Church carries a sort of map of the mind which looks like the map of a maze, but which is in fact a guide to the maze. It has been compiled from knowledge which, even considered as human knowledge, is quite without any human parallel.

One of the things that drew me to the Church is the depth of the wisdom of its Magisterium. The sublimity of its teachings is astonishing. It is a tapestry of wisdom-- the sacramental nature of marriage, the unalienable worth of every human being, the mystery of the Incarnation, the sagacity of its ethical teachings.

The Church is a map to a maze, a map to life, and a way through life to genuine freedom. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"How many Unitarians does it take..."

From Clean Humor:

How many Unitarians does it take to change a lightbulb?
"We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Was Margaret Sanger misquoted?

Commentor RickK on my post about Lloyd Marcus' essay at American Thinker:

[Crus]- you did what Michael did - just take a website with an agenda and treat it as truth. Crus, while we disagree on much, I think we can agree on what constitutes truth. Regardless of what Sanger may have said or written, it still matters whether she actually wrote those specific words. If Michael is free to put words in her mouth, or to pass along as truth the fabrications of others, then I am free to put words in your mouth based on my understanding of your worldview. I don't think I have that right, and so neither does Michael. It's not a quibble - it's about the difference between truth and falsehood.

Here is the excerpt from Marcus' essay that I posted:

[Marcus] Abortion is the thread which joins each wacko anti-America patch of the secular-progressive quilt. Why? Why is the left so fanatical about killing human babies? If it is about "choice," as they claim, why are they infuriated when a woman "chooses" to have her baby? Case in point: the left's hysterical outrage over the Super Bowl ad in which Tim Tebow thanked his mom for not aborting him.
"Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated." So said Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Seventy-eight percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in black neighborhoods. Blacks make up only 12% of the population, but 35% of America's aborted babies are black. Half of black pregnancies end in abortion...
[emphasis added now by me]

On RickK's advice, I checked to see of I could find a specific reference for that quote from Sanger. It is referred to on many websites, but I could not find a clear attribution for those words to her published writings or statements.

I think it is reasonable to retract that part of my post, and I do so.

Sanger-- the founder of Planned Parenthood-- wrote and spoke enough hate to keep those of us who detest eugenics busy for a lifetime, and there is no need or place for fabricating her quotes. My gratitude to RickK for pointing out the apparent misquotation.

That said, the misquotation seems to reflect genuine sentiments that she unambigiously expressed about people who failed to meet her eugenic standards.

Eugenics was utterly and usually explicitly racist. Sanger had a "Negro Project" in which she devoted considerable attention to contraception in the black community and she courted black leaders to support the application of her contraceptive ideology. She also spoke to the Ku Klux Klan on a number of occassions about her contraceptive ideology, and although she did not recount the content of her speeches, it's safe to assume that she did not champion greater "Negro" fertility.

Sanger was a close ally of overt racists. She frequently featured essays by racists and eugenicists in her magazine, the Birth Control Review, of which she was founder and editor. Lothrop Stoddard, who was appointed by Sanger to the board of directors of the Birth Control League, which was later renamed Planned Parenthood, also contributed to Sanger's Birth Control Review. Stoddard wrote in his own book "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy" that
"We must resolutely oppose both Asiatic permeation of white race-areas and Asiatic inundation of those non-white, but equally non-Asiatic regions inhabited by the really inferior races."
Here is a well-attested quote from Sanger herself, from her December 10, 1939 letter to eugenics leader Dr. Clarence Gamble:
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
Sanger was very interested in the black community. As you might surmise, Sanger's interest in a race was not necessarily a consequence of her admiration for it.

The freedom not to provide birth control

An editorial from the New York Times, with my commentary.

The Freedom to Choose Birth Control
Published: February 10, 2012
In response to a phony crisis over “religious liberty” engendered by the right,
The whole point of the first two clauses of the First Amendment is to remove sneer quotes from religious liberty.
President Obama seems to have stood his ground on an essential principle — free access to birth control for any woman.
All men and women have legal access to contraception. Mostly free or damn cheap. New York City a year ago (on Valentines' Day!) announced the world's first Condom App for your smartphone, which will provide walking directions to the nearest 5 of the 3000 venues that give out free rubbers-- so "it's unlikely that a person would ever be very far from a gratis prophylactic." Now that's affordable healthcare! If you have a cardiac arrest on Second Avenue, odds are against a nearby defibrillator, but they can put a free condom on you while they're waiting for EMS.
That access, along with the ability to receive family planning and preventive health services, was at the foundation of health care reform.
Birth control access was "the foundation of health care reform"? Are they kidding? Birth control isn't even health care. Pregnancy isn't a disease.

The ostensible foundation of health care reform was to provide affordable health care to all. The actual foundation of health care reform was to expand government power, as this power grab makes clear.
Mr. Obama’s new rule on birth control coverage lets institutions affiliated with a religion shift the cost of coverage to their insurance companies,
Oh. So it's not free.
but Mr. Obama assured Americans it would not result in other women, or the rest of the country, subsidizing that shift.
 The whole health care boondoggle is about making people subsidize people.
By refusing to back down on Friday,Mr. Obama took an action that will help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, abortions and medical complications from pregnancy.
What about chastity? Always works. It's actually free.
Nonetheless, it was dismaying to see the president lend any credence to the misbegotten notion that providing access to contraceptives violated the freedom of any religious institution.
"Free exercise" doesn't mean just free talk. Exercise means living in accordance with your religious beliefs.
Churches are given complete freedom by the Constitution to preach that birth control is immoral, but they have not been given the right to laws that would deprive their followers or employees of the right to disagree with that teaching.
What a stupid assertion. Vile really.

People have the Constitutional right to live in accordance with their religious beliefs-- free exercise. That right is corporate as well-- it applies to Churches as well as to parishioners. It applies as well to people who have irreligious beliefs and practices.

The is no right to force anyone to pay for the beliefs or practices of another. If people who believe in contraception want to use it, they are free to buy it. They have no right to use government to force the Catholic Church to buy it for them, directly or indirectly.
If a religious body does not like a public policy that affects its members, it is free to try to change it, but it cannot simply opt out of society or claim a special exemption from the law.
The law is unconstitutional, so of course "a religious body" can opt out.

Note the liberal hypocrisy: a voluntary prayer in a school is a Constitutional crisis, requiring immediate federal court injunction to protect some atheist who claims harm from merely seeing a prayer.

But liberals claim that the federal government can force the Catholic Church to violate the basic precepts of its faith.
Besides, contraceptive access is already in place in 28 states, and has been the law in New York for a decade, without inflicting the slightest blow to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which has complied.
Liberal jurisprudence: 'a series of unconstitutional state laws makes an unconstitutional federal law constitutional.'
Mr. Obama had already gone too far out of his way to exempt churches and their religious employees from the preventative care mandate. It was not necessary to carve out a further exception for their nonreligious arms, like Catholic hospitals and universities, which employ thousands of people of other faiths.
An obvious purpose of the contraception mandate is to drive the Catholic church out of healthcare.
But Republican candidates and lawmakers know a good wedge issue, and they used this one to portray Mr. Obama as anti-religion and pro-government oppression.
It was also a good excuse to take another whack at the health care reform law. The White House’s failure to foresee this mischief produced several days of stammering.
The Obama White House understood exactly what they were doing. They didn't capture the presidency by being stupid.
If the president had simply made today’s announcement two weeks ago — explaining that the savings from expanded birth control access means no additional cost to any employer — he might have avoided the political grief.
Playing a shell game with cost won't make the issue go away. The Bishops have made that clear.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States, which represents Catholic hospitals, said it was “very pleased” with the announcement, while the bishops conference said it was still studying the new rule.
The CHA is a tool. They have shamelessly sold themselves to the left.
The president’s solution, however, demonstrates that those still angry about the mandate aren’t really concerned about religious freedom; they simply don’t like birth control and want to reduce access to it.
I am very much concerned about religious freedom. And I don't like birth control and I want to reduce it.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican of Florida, has introduced a bill that would allow any employer to refuse to cover birth control by claiming to have a religious objection. The House speaker, John Boehner, also supports the concept.
Let's pray the bill passes.
Rick Santorum said Friday that no insurance policy should cover it, apparently unaware that many doctors prescribe birth control pills for medical reasons other than contraception.
Santorum knows that. He also knows that many perscriptions for "non-birth-control" birth control are for birth control.
The White House promise that free birth control pays for itself will still have to be tested.
If it "pays for itself" it isn't free. Revenue-neutral isn't free. The moral issue depends not at all on revenue neutrality.
The rule announced Friday would be objectionable if it turns out that nonreligious employers are subsidizing the exemption of religious employers, in effect paying more for their insurance because they have to cover birth control.
That's how insurance works. You pay more for coverage you want.
For women, and for society at large, the principle of keeping open access to birth control is a major step forward.
If women (and men) want contraception, they are free to pay for it. Contraception isn't healthcare, and forcing people to pay for other people's lifestyle is wrong.

Forcing religious institutions to pay for contraception is unconstitutional and immoral, and is a major new salient in the left's war on Christianity.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Defining killing down

From my hero Wesley J. Smith.

Wesley is the most dedicated defender of human life I know. He brings attention to a terrifying shift in bioethics. I see it happening as well in my own practice. There is a rapid shift from traditional understandings of the ethics of organ donation and of care for the disabled to the new paradigm: bring severely disabled people into the organ donor pool and end their lives with organ donation in mind.

Wesley Smith:

The killing-for-organs pushers 
By Wesley J. Smith
If you want to see where our culture may next go off the rails, read professional journals. There, in often eye-crossing and passive arcane prose of the medical intelligentsia, you will discover an astonishing level of antipathy to the sanctity of human life — to the point now that some advocate killing the profoundly disabled for their organs.
Case in point: “What Makes Killing Wrong?” an article published in the January 19, 2012 edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics. The authors argue that death and total disability are morally indistinguishable, and therefore harvesting organs from living disabled patients is not morally wrong. Bioethicists Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, of Duke University, and Franklin G. Miller, from the National Institutes of Health’s Department of Bioethics (which should really get the alarm bells ringing!) arrive at their shocking (for most of us) conclusion by claiming that murdering the hypothetical “Betty” isn’t wrong because it kills her, but rather, because it “makes her unable to do anything, including walking, talking, and even thinking and feeling.”
How do they get from deconstructing the definition of death to harvesting the disabled? First, they change the scenario so that Betty is not killed but severely brain damaged to the point that she is “totally disabled.” But their definition of that term encompasses hundreds of thousands of living Americans who are our mothers, fathers, children, aunts and siblings, uncles, friends and cousins — people with profound disabilities like that experienced by Terri Schiavo and my late Uncle Bruno as he lived through the late stages of his Alzheimer’s disease:
Betty has mental states, at least intermittently and temporarily, so she is not dead by any standard or plausible criterion. Still, she is universally disabled because she has no control over anything that goes on in her body or mind.
Since Betty “is no worse off being dead than totally disabled,” they opine, it is no worse “to kill Betty than to totally disable her.” Not only that, but according to the authors, “there is nothing bad about death or killing other than disability or disabling,” and since she is already so debilitated, then nothing wrong is done by harvesting her organs and thus ending her biological existence. And thus, in the space of not quite five pages, killing the innocent ceases to be wrong and the intrinsic dignity of human life is thrown out the window, transforming vulnerable human beings into objectified and exploitable human resources.
Alas, Sinnott-Armstrong and Miller are not on the fringe. And while they certainly don’t represent the unanimous view, they can hardly be called radical — at least by the standards of the medical/bioethical intelligentsia. Indeed, for more than a decade articles have been published in the world’s most notable medical and bioethics journals arguing in favor of killing profoundly disabled patients for their organs. Here is just a sampling:

● Bioethics: “If a patient opts for VAE [voluntary active euthanasia] in a society that permits it, and then chooses termination via RVO [removing vital organs], it seems clear that no more harm is done to others than if he were terminated by any other means.”
● Journal of Medical Ethics: “In the longer run, the medical profession and society … should be prepared to accept the reality and justifiability of life terminating acts in medicine in the context of stopping life sustaining treatment and performing vital organ transplantation.”
● Nature: “Few things are as sensitive as death. But concerns about the legal details of declaring death in someone who will never again be the person he or she was should be weighed against the value of giving a full and healthy life to someone who will die without a transplant.”
● New England Journal of Medicine: “Whether death occurs as the result of ventilator withdrawal or organ procurement, the ethically relevant precondition is valid consent by the patient or surrogate. With such consent, there is no harm or wrong done in retrieving vital organs before death, provided that anesthesia is administered.”
● The Lancet: “If the legal definition of death were to be changed to include comprehensive irreversible loss of higher brain function, it would be possible to take the life of a patient (or more accurately stop the heart since the patient would be defined as dead) by a lethal injection and then to remove the organs for transplantation …”
● Critical Care Medicine: “We propose that individuals who desire to donate their organs and who are either neurologically devastated or imminently dying should be able to donate their organs without first being declared dead.”

It is important to note here that transplant medicine remains an ethical enterprise and that doctors are not yet doing the deed. But if we want to keep it that way, it is important that these proposals not be allowed to germinate.
Here’s the good news. Sunlight is the great disinfectant. Most people will oppose killing for organs. Thus, the best way to prevent this dark agenda from ever becoming the legal public policy is to expose it in popular media every time it is proposed.

This is a surprisingly rapid shift taking place in bioethics. The trend is to narrow the gap between severe disability and death. It's most recent iteration began with the creation of a faux diagnosis-- Persistent Vegetative State-- and more recently with the creation of Minimally Conscious State, to be applied to those PVS folks who didn't get the memo that they weren't supposed to be aware.

The overall goal seems to be to certify severely disabled people unworthy of resources to keep them alive so that their lives can be intentionally ended, and to make them organ donors.

This is real, and it is coming.