Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Tyranny of 'Reproductive Justice'

The Tyranny of 'Reproductive Justice'

All Things Examined

sandra-flukeEver since Sandra Fluke made a splash at the congressional hearings on the Affordable Care Act, we’ve been hearing a lot about “reproductive justice.” Not so surprising, perhaps, given that Fluke is a past president of the Georgetown chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

But what is “reproductive justice”?

It strikes me as a rather strange pairing of words, for what does justice have to do with a basic biological function? And if reproductive justice exists, why not respirative, digestive, or cardio-vascular justice? If you find yourself similarly puzzled, SisterSonga self-described “women of color” advocacy group, explains,
“Reproductive justice [is] the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments . . . based on the human right to make personal decisions about one’s life.”
And where is the right to have children, or not, a problem, outside of China with its “one-child” policy? Certainly not in the United States, where a 40 percent birth rate to unwed mothers is evidence that neither marital status, church teaching, nor social stigma is a barrier to those “personal decisions about one’s life.”
What’s more, with over 1 million abortions per year, even a woman who is carrying a child doesn’t have to bear it if she doesn’t want to—and that includes pregnant minors who can so decide, free from parental permission or notification.
Considering the recently passed legislation in New York City to restrict the sale of sugary drinks, maybe a bigger threat is to “dietary justice”—that is, “the right to drink, not to drink, and to enjoy the beverages of our choice.”
What about . . .
Conspicuously absent from the Cause is any mention of the other essential party in reproduction: men. For instance, SisterSong goes on to say that “the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions is important for women of color.” (Emphasis added). But not for men, or at least men of color?
What about the injustice to the man who has no legal recourse to oppose his girlfriend’s or wife’s decision to abort his child? What about the gender bias in a court system that awards child custody preferentially to mothers, even in cases where real differences in parental fitness and ability are documented? What about a health care law that requires women’s, but not men’s, contraception services to be provided for free?
True justice requires that if one party in the reproduction process is owed duty, so is the other. Applying “reproductive justice” exclusively to the “rights” of women is like applying criminal justice only to the rights of plaintiffs and not defendants, or vice versa.
Then there’s that “obligation of government and society” part. What about personal obligation? You know, the responsibility of individuals to control their passions and behaviors for their good and that of society, with particular concern in this case for those born, those waiting to be born, and those who could be born. Again, the Cause is silent.
What it is not silent about is the desire for sexual expression unencumbered by personal consequences and cost.
Consequence-free sex
In Sandra Fluke’s congressional testimony, she defended the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, a requirement under the ACA that unburdens women from the financial costs of consequence-free (via contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization) sex at their employers’ expense, despite any religious objections their employers might have.
Emerging from the hearing as the fresh, new face of the lifestyle left, Fluke so charmed the Democratic National Committee that she was awarded a prime-time speaking slot at their convention, where she extended her 15 minutes of fame for a few minutes more.
But the goal of the Cause goes beyond liberating women from the costs and consequences of their “personal decisions about life”; it aims to free them from shame of those decisions as well.
For instance, A Is For is a reproductive justice movement “challenging the traditional meaning of the scarlet letter by encouraging women, and the men who support them, to wear the A proudly.” (Men, it will be noted, are referenced only in the context of supporting the decisions of the women in their lives.) Their inspiration comes from “Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fictional heroine . . . Hester Prynne,” a woman who, as they put it, was “branded by her fellows for daring to live a life according to her own conscience.”
So, a married woman who commits adultery and has another man’s child is not immoral, impious, or even imprudent; she's heroic for following her own moral lights. That takes calling good evil and evil good to a whole new level.
A Is For parallels the tasteless “I had an abortion” T-shirt drive started by Jennifer Baumgardner, promoted by Planned Parenthood, and currently causing quite a stir at one college campus.
According to Glora Feldt of PP, the purpose of the T-shirt is “to challenge the silence and shame” surrounding abortion. I’m sure the effect that shame has on the balance sheet of the nation’s top abortion provider is of no concern to Ms. Feldt.
That shame, Baumgardner tells us, is that:
“We’re called ‘sluts’ and ‘prostitutes.’” [I’m with you here, Jennifer—name-calling, and those who do it, are wrong.]
“We’re told to ‘put an aspirin’ between our legs.” [Well, if you’re unmarried or not ready for children or other “consequences,” it’s a surefire method—in fact, the surest.]
“We’re made to believe that it’s our ignorance, and not our experience, that drives our desire for autonomy and freedom from forced procreation.” [Now, just who is it that’s forcing you to procreate? I’m ready to take names.]
“We’re lectured that we shouldn’t have had sex in the first place, as if sex were not a natural aspect of our humanity that we have every right to express.” [You’re right, sex is a natural part of our humanness—but more than that, it is essential, not because it serves to satisfy our sensual desires, but because without it, the human race would quickly join the ranks of endangered species.]
“We’re told we must face the ‘consequences’ of our sexual actions, as if we weren’t already painfully aware of the consequences of life without contraception, having lived, and died, without it for centuries.” [You want freedom from personal consequences, not by restricting your sexual behaviors, but by “protections” paid for by others. Got it.]
In lockstep with Baumgardner, A Is For urges followers to proudly wear the A against the “aggressive legislative assault” on women’s health and freedom by, among other things, “personhood bills.” Granted, legislation aimed at protecting the unborn is an inconvenience to a woman seeking total sexual freedom, but an “assault” on her health? Really?
If you’ve been wondering what the A stands for? “The A is for Autonomy. It’s for Allegiance. It’s for Action” or whatever strikes your fancy. A is for . . . you fill in the blank.
A few words that occur to me are “arrogant,” “autocratic,” “appalling,” and “abominable.” Too harsh? I don’t think so.
When others are forced to pay for protecting me against consequences I find undesirable for behaviors I’ve willingly chosen, it’s robbery.
When my “right” to free sexual expression overrides someone else’s right to free religious exercise, it’s religious oppression.
When a mother’s autonomy over her body trumps the right to life of the child in her body, it’s pedicide.
And when such things are done in the name of “justice,” it is not justice at all, but tyranny.

Image copyright CNN.
Regis Nicoll is a freelance writer and a BreakPoint Centurion. Serving as a men’s ministry leader and worldview teacher in his community, Regis publishes a free weekly commentary to stimulate thought on current issues from a Christian perspective. To be placed on this free e-mail distribution list, e-mail him at

Friday, November 23, 2012

Forgetting the Holy; The Feast of the Intransitive Verb

The Washington Times
Forgetting the holy; The Feast of the Intransitive Verb
Published Thursday, November 25, 1999.
By Kevin "Seamus" Hasson
Every fourth Thursday in November work and school are canceled so that families can gather together for the day and thank - well, we'll get to just who it is they may be thanking in a minute. They also enjoy good food, good company and good football. The holiday is currently called Thanksgiving, although there is reason to think that may have to change.
Just about every other religious holiday has been stripped of its original meaning and transformed into a more secular version of its former self. Why should Thanksgiving be any different? In Pittsburgh, Christmas and Hanukkah morphed into "Sparkle Season" and then disintegrated further into "Downtown Pittsburgh Sparkles." Public school systems across the country are renaming the Easter Bunny the "Special Bunny." Even Halloween is being transformed out of concern for its rampant religiosity. In many places it is now the "Fall Festival Celebration." Surely Thanksgiving, a state-sanctioned holiday that purports to give the nation a day to thank God, cannot withstand the small, furious army of radical secularists determined to take the "holy" out of our holidays. A day set aside to thank God can hardly be appropriate when the celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah and even Halloween has become taboo. Something will have to be done.
So I have a modest proposal: Let's practice truth-in-labeling and call the November holiday that was formerly Thanksgiving, "The Feast of the Intransitive Verb." Intransitive verbs, as we all remember from those unpleasant days of diagramming sentences in grammar school, are verbs that do not require an object. Verbs in sentences like "The horse ran" and "The wind blows" are intransitive because the horse doesn't have to run anything or the wind blow anything. They can simply run and blow without any object at all. Well, what about the verb "to thank"? It's supposed to have an object. You can't just sit there and "thank." You have to thank someone. Which is why secularists don't use that word much in late November anymore. Their creed requires them to celebrate the day by being grateful while thanking no one. And it's embarrassing to have to choose between being politically and grammatically correct. So secularists prefer the circumlocution "to give thanks." It doesn't require an object. You can get away with "giving thanks" without having to be grateful to anyone in particular. It's much more comfortable that way. Thank whomever you want. Or, don't thank anyone; it's entirely up to you. Either way you can still "give thanks." That's the beauty of using an intransitive verb; it doesn't need any object.
Of course, once the object of our gratitude is out of the way it's all downhill. The rest of the day is uncommonly easy to secularize. It has none of the outward trappings of a religious holiday. There are no babes in mangers or symbolic candles to remove from courthouse steps. No one is ringing church bells that require silencing or allowing children to hunt for eggs that must be renamed. The staples of Thanksgiving - turkeys, cornucopias and pumpkin pies - in and of themselves present no real threat to the secularist ascendancy. And the football games are an absolute godsend (so to speak) for secularists. After all, the more distracted we all are the easier it is to forget about the one to whom we owe gratitude.
So let's hear it for the Feast of the Intransitive Verb. It's a worthy companion to "Sparkle Season" (formerly known as Christmas), "Special Person Day" (previously St. Valentine's Day), and the "Spring Festival," which was once Easter. Of course, if all this isn't agreeable to you, if it all seems just a little bit extreme, or even if you're just worried that turkey and cranberries may never taste the same again, you could always
be a thumb in the eye of the radical secularists. You could insist on thanking God, and not settle for
generically "giving thanks." You could tell your neighbors that you're grateful to God for all He's done for
you. You could even go so far as to tell your children to do the same - to make sure that amidst all the
construction paper turkeys they fashion in school they get the message across that they, too, are thanking
Defending the public integrity of our holidays is not just petulance. Cultures are built, and eroded, by a
succession of public acts both great and small. Everything from the arts we exhibit to the table manners we
display makes a difference in building up or wearing down our culture. Public holiday celebrations are
particularly potent engines of culture - which is why the secularists have poured so much energy into
changing ours. Pittsburgh's "sparkle season," for example, has done great damage, not only to Christmas in
Pennsylvania, but to our culture nationally. But the fight is far from over. So this weekend enlist in the
culture war and thank God.
Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson is the president emeritus of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Where, Oh Where has America Gone?

Ben Stein's confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don't think they are s
lighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Time to Consider Separation, Divorce by Joseph Farah

Divorce is an ugly word.
For devout Christians and Jews, it’s a particularly unthinkable term.

The Bible strictly discourages it, even forbids it, except in the most exceptional circumstances.
But for Americans faithful to the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the heritage of sacrifice and liberty that set apart this country from the rest of the world, it’s time to consider separation and divorce from those who have committed adultery.
The election of 2012 provides more stark evidence that we are not really one country, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We are already two peoples – those of us still loyal and faithful to the God-inspired founding American principles and those who have gone awhoring after the idols of government coercion and doing what’s right in their own eyes.
In short, as I have written before, America is flirting with profound judgment. If those of us who disapprove of the same-sex marriage, abortion, tyranny, collectivism, the coerced subversion of religious freedom and forced taxpayer support for the spreading of ungodly, unbiblical values and laws want to avoid that coming judgment, it’s time to separate ourselves wholly from participation.
I don’t pretend to know exactly how this works.
America is a big country that is thoroughly permeated with this treasonous, immoral, adulterous lifestyle.
But I am convinced we’ve got to begin forming new communities of the faithful and declare our separation and independence once again, just as our courageous founders did 236 years ago. Like them, we need to be prepared to defend ourselves, our families, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
Barring a miracle, I don’t believe reconciliation with those who have gone awhoring is a possibility. I’m sorry, I just don’t have much in common with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and George Soros and Bruce Springsteen (even though we are both from New Jersey) and George Clooney and these other looneys.
Barack Obama was right about one thing: Whatever it once was, America is no longer a Christian nation. Our cultural institutions have been taken over by worshippers of other gods. Government at nearly every level has embraced a worldview that denies God. And now it’s clear that more than half the population has turned its back on God and His Commandments.
In another time, we would call what I am talking about “secession.” But secession can only work when there is enough common ground among people in geographic regions or states. That does not seem to be the case today. The division we see is a division largely between city dwellers and those who live in suburban and rural areas of the country.
We have little in common except that those who live in the cities believe they have a right to dictate to those of us who do not. They believe they have the right to exploit us, take our property for their own use and tell us how to live.
This is very much like the situation our founders faced – except our oppressors don’t live on another continent, they live amongst us.
Nevertheless, we’ve got to figure out ways to insulate ourselves from what they are bringing down on all of us. We need to be prepared for the economic calamity they are causing. We need to be prepared for the spiritual judgment they are bringing down on all of us. We need to be prepared for the repression they will inflict on us. And we need to be prepared to rebuild what they are destroying.
I don’t have all the answers. I’m just a journalist and a businessman and a follower of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
But it’s past time to begin talking about how this separation takes place. It’s past time to begin talking about how this divorce takes place. It’s past time to begin talking about how we deal with the increasing judgment that is taking place right now.