Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rae interprets Goya's "The Sleep of Reason"




The full quote, by Goya, is
"Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels."

Let three become two... let two become one...


Very sad story about "fetal reduction" from the Washington Post. Heart-breaking, really, even more so than stories of women who abort unwanted pregnancies. This is why I choose the gospel of life over compromises and concessions to "common sense" and "practicality". Let my sorrows stem, as far as possible, from innocence rather than flawed exercise of free will.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dr. Moreau would be so proud!



How fitting that H.G. Wells' birth country is taking the lead in the legalization of human-animal hybrids.

Money quote, from Professor John Burn, head of the human genetics institute at Newcastle University:

"I'm delighted that common sense has prevailed. I fully understand the knee-jerk reaction that creating human-animal embryos is worrying," he said.

"But what we're talking about here are cells on a dish not a foetus. [No, we're talking about an in-vitro embryo of an unclassifiable species - Rae] We're talking about something that looks like sago under the microscope. And it's illegal to ever turn these cells into a living being."


Oh, it's illegal to turn these cells into a living being.

Yep, that'll stop 'em.

Tip of the hat to Oak Leaves.

Heresy boot camp. St. Ignatius would have loved it!

Oh my gosh, this is HILARIOUS! And it just goes to show you need lots of blogging in the world. I passed over it on Catholic Light but then Gordon on I'm Gordon Zaft, Why Isn't Everybody? slapped me up the side of the face with it. I haven't laughed so hard in a loooonnnnngggg time.

Mmmmm.... Delaware fish


Delaware Issues New Fish Consumption Advisories for 2007 The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health issued new fish consumption advisories today for fish caught in Delaware waterways.

The 2007 advisories are the result of ongoing sampling and
detailed laboratory analysis for the presence and concentrations of chemical contaminants in fish taken statewide from fresh, estuarine and marine waters.

The general statewide health advisory is:
  • Eat no more than one meal per week of any fish caught in Delaware’s fresh, estuarine and marine waters. This advisory applies to all waters and fish species not otherwise explicitly covered by an advisory.
The new advisories for fish from Prime Hook Creek, Waples Pond and
Slaughter Creek are:
  • Prime Hook Creek and Waples Pond: For women who are pregnant or may become pregnant and young children, eat no more than one meal of fish from these waters per month. All other people can eat up to two meals of fish from these waters per month.
The chemical contaminant of concern found in fish in these waters is mercury. Mercury consumed above certain levels can damage the nervous system, particularly in unborn and young children, resulting in learning and developmental delays.
  • Slaughter Creek: Eat no more than six meals per year. This advisory applies to the general population, including women of childbearing age and children.
The chemical contaminants of concern detected in fish in Slaughter Creek included PCBs and dioxins. Both are considered probable human carcinogens and long-term exposure to these chemicals can affect the nervous system, the immune system and the reproductive system.

Okay. Glad I'm eating canned tuna ...

Tip of the hat to Green Delaware

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm in a pissy mood....



People of Faith, a national group that promotes the use of human embryos as research material and the cloning of humans for research purposes, is recruiting heavily in Delaware. Trying to get pro-cloners from the various churches. Which is fine, although Stemcellgo has made the religious beliefs of A Rose and a Prayer a political issue.

The discouraging part is that I got a copy of a list of signers of the People of Faith petition and found the names of three Catholic colleagues of mine at work. I like all three of them. I'm surprised to find one name on the list, and wonder if she knew what she was signing. The other two, I'm not surprised but am disappointed.

What hurts is that all three women are willing to go on public record as Catholics who oppose Catholic teaching.

I was at a departmental cocktail party last night speaking to a prof we hired about a year ago to teach Arabic. He was drinking lemonade while I was looking for wine. He is an observant Muslim, he said, and abstains from alcohol. I told him I knew at least one observant Muslim who drank, and he said yeah, you'll find that. We talked a bit about belonging to a religion while picking and choosing from its teachings. He is like me, he doesn't see the sense in embracing a faith without embracing all of its teachings.

I know I should be all sympathetic and full of understanding for why these folks, two of whom I count as work friends, give scandal by publicly opposing Catholic moral teaching. But I'm not. I'm just pissed off and pissy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Planned Parenthood Smokescreen Exposed! -- part 2

Hey out there. If your 13-year old daughter gets pregnant by a 22-year old guy, don't worry. Planned Parenthood will tell her how to get an abortion without notifying authorities of possible sexual predation. She can keep that cool older guy who no doubt treats her like the princess she is.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is the smokescreen beginning to diffuse?


From the Time Reporter in Zanesville, Ohio, comes this report of folks finally paying attention to the ugliest underbelly of Planned Parenthood's crazily-skewed view of the world. (I continue to think of it as that, I cannot believe that money alone would account for their rabid support of All Things Abortion.)

The ugliest underbelly of the abortion industry is sexual predation and worse (as in this case) of teenage girls by older men who then erase their tracks with abortion should anything "go wrong".

The pro-life press has been running stories for years about this kind of thing, but up to now Planned Parenthood has succeeded, with smoke and mirrors, in "disappearing the story" by judicious legal settlements and appeals to pro-choice folks for solidarity in agreeing to look the other way, so as not to give their pro-life enemies fodder for the war. And so case after case is buried.

In many ways, what has happened is similar to what happened with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. To many feminists and liberals, the sacrament of abortion is so highly revered and so "necessary" that reports of wrongdoings in the abortion industry are regularly hushed up and trivialized. Victims of wrongdoings are paid off with settlements that require an agreement of silence.

What's happened in the Catholic Church is instructive. The bishops buried their heads in the sand until the sand shifted out from under them and revealed a rottenness that the Church had been unable or unwilling to deal with.

Pro-choice true believers bury their heads in the sand when it comes to abortion. In their minds, the right to abortion is as sacred as the rite of the Mass is to Catholics.

I'm glad to see the curtain being lifted.

One thing, though. It should be noted that although Mass is intrinsically good, and abortion is intrinsically bad, neither has a magic ability to keep sinners from sinning.

That's something we should all remember, when we demonize "the abortion industry" as if it were ONLY about money. It's not. It's about belief also, and there are many who ply the abortion trade who believe in the goodness of what they are doing. Screwtape told his disciple that putting over a Big Lie (as is the sacrament of abortion) on a large segment of society is one of the most effective and pleasurable tools of the devils' trade.

St. Joseph, my old friend, pray for us!


I am less than a month away from retirement from the University of Delaware after 28 years. I am like a kid approaching summer vacation, so antsy and so eager for freedom that I can barely concentrate at work at all these days!

I stumbled across this prayer to St. Joseph on Franciscan Focus, a blog of a Secular Franciscan named Lisa who herself has a devotion to St. Joseph.

I prayed this prayer to start my day off, and hope for a better concentration at work these last few weeks.

As I was saying this prayer, I was flooded with gratefulness that I am not alone in loving and living the piety of the past centuries of Catholic culture. It was so difficult, when I came back to the Church, to see all of the effusive, open-hearted older prayers and devotions banished from the landscape, and to see the hip, with-it prayers that tried so hard to be relevant to modern sensibilities. When I was a young Catholic revert, I used to buy the saints' writings and the prayer books from Tan Publishers, who were just about the only people putting out any of the old stuff. The quality of the books was not great, and I felt like a Catholic nerd just embracing the older forms of piety that were so completely out of vogue during the 70's, 80's and 90's.

I remember doing novenas in my home, praying the rosary, having a crucifix, and feeling sad that I would never do those things again with others. I devoured the modern theology, loved David Tracy and Karl Rahner and the German Protestant biblical guys like Bultmann and Jeremias. But I was SO SAD that the pious practices I loved as a child were not only completely gone but were made fun of, trivialized, and otherwise consigned to the dustbin of "ignorant pre-Vatican II Catholicism."

I am glad I lived long enough to see a revival of Catholic culture and piety.

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who
devote their lives to labor,

Obtain for me the grace to work
in the spirit of penance
in order thereby to atone
for my many sins.

To work conscientiously,
setting devotion to duty
in preference to my own whims.

To work with thankfulness and joy,
deeming it an honor to employ and
to develop by my labor
the gifts I have received from God.

To work with order, peace,
moderation, and patience,
without ever shrinking from
weariness and difficulties.

To work above all with a pure intention
and with detachment from self,
having always before my eyes
the hour of death and the accounting
which I must then render
of time ill spent, of talents wasted,
of good omitted, and
of vain complacency in success,
which is so fatal to the work of God.

All for Jesus, all through Mary,
all in imitation of you,
O Patriarch Joseph!

This shall be my motto in life
and in death. AMEN.

Friday, May 11, 2007

political correctness: an educational tool

Money quote of the week, from a News Journal article about conservative professor Alan Charles Kors who came to the UD campus to debate the topic, "Are modern universities a threat to liberty in America?" (Kors took the affirmative).
"In a sense, he said, many faculty members truly believe that their students are the progeny of a homophobic, sexist, racist, ultra-patriotic society, and for $40,000 a year they will cure them of it."
How true. Now that I have kids in college, I understand the betrayal my mother felt when I was in college during the Vietnam War days. She was of the opinion that the professors turned her children against the values of her generation. "We sent you to college to get the education we didn't have," she told me once, "and they taught you to hate America."



Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Three Hour Tour... The Professor's Story

Bob Denver would roll over in his grave... from laughing. I wonder if Russell Johnson has seen this.

First, hire all the lawyers...


This Chicago law office sign generated so much public response that the alderman from that district had it taken down.

Chad Mitchell Trio on Bell Telephone Hour --

-- wow, does this bring back memories. Be sure to watch the whole thing, there's a Princess phone ad at the end. It's like a whole different world!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Stephen Crane afternoon


I love Stephen Crane's poetry. Here's one of my favorites:
War is kind

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them,
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom --
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.
Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*
Apropos of absolutely nothing: his birthday is the same as mine, November 1.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

time travelin' on the Net

I am not a Bush-hater. Nor am I a Bush-lover. Debra Murphy's essay before the last election, "Bush vs. Kerry, or Holding My Nose in November", expressed my own feelings better than I could have done myself.

This morning I heard that there had been arrests made in the area near Delaware of folks alleged to have been plotting a terrorist attack on Fort Dix. Just for fun, I threw "Fort Dix" and "evil" into Google to see if there were any traces of this plot on the web, besides the news stuff. Instead I stumbled over an article from the Fort Dix Post dated January 29, 2003, before we went into Iraq.

This is to remind myself of the temper of the times back in 2003. How we got into the war seems to be shaping up as an issue for the 2008 election.

*** Time traveling on the Internet: a blast from the past.***

"Bush says trusting Saddam 'not a strategy,' 'not an option'

by Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2003 -- "Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option," President George W. Bush told Congress and the nation Jan. 28 during his State of the Union speech.

The president answered questions about why Iraq is a crisis now. He said the Iraqi dictator has weapons of mass destruction and will share them with terror groups.

"Before Sept. 11, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained," he said. "But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy networks are not easily contained."

The president asked Americans to imagine the suicide terrorists who attacked the United States if they had been armed by Iraq. He said terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction could "bring a day of horror like one we have never known."

The president said the United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on Feb. 5 to consider Iraq's continuing defiance. He said Secretary of State Colin Powell would present information and intelligence about Iraq's illegal weapons of mass destruction programs, its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors and its links to terrorist groups. Bush stated that the United States will consult with allies and the United Nations, but he said if Saddam Hussein does not disarm, "for the safety of our people and the safety of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."

Bush also spoke directly to the members of the armed forces. "Some crucial hours may lay ahead," he said. "In those hours, the success of our cause will depend on you. Your training has prepared you, your honor will guide you, you believe in America, and America believes in you."

Bush also attempted to reassure the Iraqi people that the United States separates the regime from the population. "I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: The enemy is not surrounding your country; the enemy is ruling your country," he said. "And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation."

As is fitting in a State of the Union address, Bush spoke about many other programs and proposals. He also reported on the global war on terrorism. "There are days that our fellow citizens do not hear news of the war on terror," he said. "There is never a day that I do not learn of another threat or receive reports of operations in progress or give an order in this global war against a scattered network of killers. The war goes on, and we are winning."

Bush cited a number of terrorist plots that have been foiled and terror groups left leaderless. He said more than 3,000 terrorists have been arrested around the world, and many others have been killed.

Within the United States, homeland security has been strengthened and Bush thanked the Congress for its support of fielding a limited ballistic missile defense beginning this year. The president also said he is asking for $6 billion to fund Project BioShield. If approved, the project would be a major research and production effort to guard Americans against bioterrorism. The money would go to make effective vaccines and treatments available quickly against such agents as anthrax, botulinum toxin, ebola and plague.

"We must assume our enemies will use these diseases as weapons, and we must act before the dangers are upon us," he said.

Bush told Congress that he had instructed the leaders of the FBI, the CIA, the new Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location. "Our government must have the very best information possible, and we will use it to make sure the right people are in the right places to protect all our citizens," he said.

The president stressed a number of times that the greatest dangers to freedom are rogue nations possessing weapons of mass murder. He said those countries could use those weapons for blackmail, terror and mass murder. "They could also give those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation," he said.

Last year, the president lumped Iraq, Iran and North Korea together as an "axis of evil." He spoke of U.S. efforts to influence the other two countries of the axis.

He said that different threats require different strategies. "In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction and supports terror," he said. "We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny -- and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom."

The North Korean leaders continue to starve and oppress their people. "Throughout the 1990s, the United States relied on a negotiated framework to keep North Korea from gaining nuclear weapons," Bush said. "We now know that that regime was deceiving the world and developing those weapons all along. And today the North Korean regime is using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek concessions. America and the world will not be blackmailed."

He said the United States would work with South Korea, Japan, China and Russia to find a peaceful solution. "The North Korean regime will find respect in the world and revival for its people only when it turns away from its nuclear ambitions," he said.

Finding the proper place for The Enlightenment

Some Catholic commentators have taken to referring to the period our history books laudingly call "the Enlightenment" as "the Endarkenment". I sympathize with their desire to prick the balloons of intellectual hot air that academics with axes to grind of their own have made of that period of time. But I hesitate to relegate any period of history to intellectual condemnation. Isn't using a term like The Endarkenment akin to calling medieval society and culture The Dark Ages?

Godspy has a nice article called "Philosopher Charles Taylor wins the Templeton Prize for his work on bridging the gap between faith and reason". His approach seems more fruitful than consigning the post-medieval centuries to the lower rings of the Inferno.

It is difficult to condense 300 years of philosophy into a few sentences. But since the Enlightenment in the 18th century, the social sciences have focused almost exclusively on "the individual" as the bearer of truth and dignity. In turn, this has lead to the identification of truth with an abstract domain of objective reason in opposition to history and tradition. As a consequence, moral principles have been recast as a social contract between rationally consenting individuals in a situation of idealised deliberation.

Hence, the ideal Enlightenment man is an isolated individual. He stands sceptically aloof from his church, community, and ancestry. By the same token, state and society are merely service-providers who protect his liberties and rights, manage conflict and competition, and provide various options for individual self-definition and atomistic consumption.

In the past, justice involved a shared conception of the moral good. Today, however, justice is a function of society's ability to provide for the material needs of citizens and safeguard their freedoms. The big questions of religion and the meaning of life have are dismissed as issues in which the state has no interest. The consequence of this excessive individualism, Taylor persistently argues, is that philosophers and social scientists have lost sight of the social and historical dimensions of truth and human personality.

He complains that contemporary moral theories are abstract and bloodless. They divorce the truth of moral principles from a proper understanding of what constitutes a good life for us human beings. Hence, they forget how central for us all is the question of meaning. What is the purpose of existence? From where have we come? Where will we go? What does it mean to live a good life? These are often dismissed as non-issues by contemporary philosophers.

But we cannot ignore spiritual realities in public life, Taylor argues: "A blindness to the spiritual dimension of human life makes us incapable of exploring issues which are vital to our lives. Or to turn it around and state the positive: bringing the spiritual back in opens domains in which important and even exciting discoveries become possible."

theater as a healing art

Actor James Cromwell came to UD with his wife Joan McIntosh to address the graduate students in the UD's Professional Theatre Training Program's Class of 2007. The students, all completing PTTP's three-year graduate curriculum, have already landed summer theatre jobs and will be leaving campus before UD's official Commencement ceremonies on May 26. UDaily published an article about their talk. I was intrigued by the mention of the theater of Epidaurus in ancient Greece. It fired up my old thirst for live theater:

The product of a theatrical family, Cromwell said he went into acting “because I was not equipped to do anything else.” He began his career at the Cleveland Playhouse making $25 a week and it was there that he first heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

“Suddenly everything shifted,” he said, “it was not just fun and games; something had to be done.” He was inspired, he said, by stories of the theatre at Epidaurus, built near the Asklepieion, the most celebrated healing center of the classical world.

“When you got out of the hospital, cured of your physical ills, you went to the theatre to be cured emotionally and psychologically. That's where I first got the idea of theatre as service,” he explained.

Monday, May 07, 2007

no, not the violent kind of non-pacifist...


In my last post I wrote:
I have stopped being a conscientious objector in the war between the "culture of life" vs. the "culture of death." I have committed myself to being on active duty (on the side of life) in this war.

That doesn't mean I'm embracing violence. Just that I am no longer standing on the sidelines, equally sympathetic with both sides. Whether it's my age or my psyche or the fact that my kids have grown and I can look past day to day existence, I have lost faith that any of our world leaders is "in charge" anymore, and I think we're spinning out of control.

This is my high school class' 40th anniversary. Ironically enough, our class song was The Eve of Destruction. But back then, it was a youthful pose.

I'm not pessimistic now, mind you. Even if none of our leaders is in charge, there's the Lamb who has already won the victory. Christ Jesus Victor -- now there's a leader you can take to the bank! But among the temporal powers, it sure does feel like we're on the eve of something... destruction or reconstruction, which will it be?

So I'm no longer a conscientious objector. Not on the sidelines.

False Freedom and the Culture of Death

As I've written in the past months, I have stopped being a conscientious objector in the war between the "culture of life" vs. the "culture of death." I have committed myself to being on active duty (on the side of life) in this war, which both this papacy and the last insists is real and not just the conjecture of pundits. I resisted the concept of such a war for a long time. It goes against the strong strain of Taoist philosophy I have nurtured within me since I first read the Tao Te Ching as a teenager. I also came of age at a time when pacifism was the only acceptable thinking person's solution to the resolution of conflict.

But the line between pacifism and pacification -- in the sense of appeasement -- is thin. For every Gandhi there are dozens of Chamberlains, well-meaning folks like myself who look for peace through the lens of a kind of "cheap grace" as Bonhoeffer (who knew a thing or two about response to conflict) called the living of the gospel at a shallow level that accomodates both Christian ideals and the popular idiocies of the current zeitgeist.

In our case, the zeitgeist accepts death as a solution to social problems. It does not argue that this is right but that it is expedient. It says that the best we can hope for in a pluralistic society is to set ourselves up to judge which human lives are expendable, to set human life itself at the service of those who are able to manipulate it at both ends of the spectrum.

Richard Doerflinger in 2000 put it this way. Seven years later, his observations bear repeating:

False Freedom and the Culture of Death

by Richard M. Doerflinger


In his 1995 encyclical letter The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae), Pope John Paul II sounded an alarm. In the midst of a culture that congratulates itself on being enlightened and progressive on matters of human rights, he said, we are very much in danger of giving in to a "culture of death." Modern debates on abortion and euthanasia are a symptom and leading edge of something more profound and insidious -- an entire view of the world that will lead us to forsake our ideals of human dignity and equality and "revert to a state of barbarism" (EV 14).

What could the Holy Father have meant by that? What is the evidence that some kind of consistent ideology is taking hold of our aspirations for human progress and tainting the discussion of very different issues affecting human life? And what kind of challenge does this pose to us as supporters of social justice, and as believers?


Two challenges

For some answers let us consider recent developments on two issues that at first glance may seem quite different: human embryo research and assisted suicide.

… With human embryo research, the question that seems to need answering is: Is this really "human life" at all? Even if we can all agree to respect human life, isn't this little product of conception really just a conglomerate of a few cells, too undeveloped to have human status? Can the uncertain status of this entity really outweigh the needs of many persons for the life-saving treatments that embryo research may provide?

… In 1999 the Clinton Administration launched a campaign for federal funding of research requiring destruction of live human embryos… What is truly startling … is that proponents of the funding do not deny that these experiments destroy human lives. President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) acknowledges that the project will involve the government in destroying human embryos. And in transmitting NBAC's report on this issue to the President, chairman Harold Shapiro noted "wide agreement" in our nation that "human embryos deserve respect as a form of human life." In 1994, an earlier panel advising the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said much the same thing: According to the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel, the early embryo "warrants serious moral consideration as a developing form of human life." Yet both groups unanimously favor killing these embryos for research purposes. By anyone's definition, this is an odd way to show "respect."

Why would panels favoring destructive embryo research make such statements? It turns out that they are forced by the facts to do so. The human status of the early embryo has become more and more difficult to deny. Twenty years ago, researchers (and some theologians) tried to claim that the first two weeks of human development involve a "pre-embryo," a largely disorganized mass of cells with no individuality. But the scientific data have caused serious problems for this claim, showing that later landmarks in embryonic development are only manifestations of events occurring much earlier. Scientific testimony to the Human Embryo Research Panel confirmed that human development is a continuum from the one-celled stage onward. Even the Panel's own vice-chairman for scientific issues, a noted abortion practitioner, ended up saying that the term "pre-embryo" is "ridiculous."

But these findings have not slowed down the juggernaut for lethal experiments. Proponents instead resort to arguing that some human lives are not worth valuing or protecting -- especially when the life or health of undoubted "persons" may be at stake.

The Human Embryo Research Panel, for example, endorsed a theory proposed by one of its own members, ethicist Ronald Green of Dartmouth College. Green favors what he calls (in the title of one of his articles) "a Copernican revolution in our thinking about life's beginning and life's end." It is time to realize, he says, that there is nothing "out there" to answer life-and-death questions for us. In short, there is nothing inherent in any human being that requires us to respect him or her as a person. Any decision to recognize a human being's rights as a "person" is a social convention, based on a enlightened self-interest [emphasis mine, Rae]. By denying "personhood" to this being so it can be subjected to deadly experiments, can we benefit people like ourselves without undermining society's willingness to view us as "persons"?

In this way, traditional ethical norms on human experimentation are turned on their head. Society can no longer say that certain things must never be done to fellow human beings, regardless of the possible benefits of the experiment. If those benefits are great enough, they justify claiming that these beings did not have human rights in the first place! Thus the weakest and most dependent human beings are re-defined as mere research material for the benefit of the powerful.


Friday, May 04, 2007

I'm ranting with more brevity

My most recent letter to the News Journal on the S.B. 5 debate:

To the Editor:

The elephant in the living room in the debate over somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is religious belief. Many opponents of Senate Bill 5 (S.B. 5), like me, are members of Delaware churches. We exercise our right of free speech and freedom of religion when we come to Dover to oppose legislation we believe is morally wrong.

The pro-SB5 faction is increasingly willing to show anger and even hatred towards us Christian citizens and our free exercise of religion. Stemcellgo calls us “enemies of SB5”. They have publicly and privately stated that opposition to SB5 based on Christian bioethical principles is inadmissible. Although the First Amendment protects the rights of citizens to bring their religious sensibilities to the public square, these folks mistakenly believe that we violate the separation of church and state when we do so.

If we are ever to have reasoned discourse in our nation again, this notion that what goes on in church stays in church must be challenged. Everyone has a belief system. Everyone. You, me, the guy over at the 7-11, the girl driving next to you on I-95.

We are a pluralistic nation. We are set up so that people of diverse ideologies work together to achieve consensus through their elected representatives. Christian citizens should not be afraid to speak their minds about public issues. Non-Christian citizens should not try to stifle the voices of their Christian neighbors. This is how the democratic experiment works.