PP Says They Will Stop Taking Money for Aborted Baby Body Parts. Do You Believe Them?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by  Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards, published a letter yesterday stating that Big Pink won’t take direct monies for selling the body parts of babies it has killed during abortions. Do you believe them?

I talk about this, from the viewpoint of someone who once allied with Planned Parenthood as a pro choice advocate in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register. 

Here’s part of what I said:

Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, posted a letter yesterday. She announced that Planned Parenthood would no longer accept money for supplying the body parts of aborted babies to researchers, research facilities and their middlemen.

Personally, I’m not convinced. The reason I’m not convinced is my personal experience with Planned Parenthood and the impressions I formed of them during the time I was their political ally run counter to this action.

The truth is, Planned Parenthood cares about money. Planned Parenthood really cares about money.

I was a naive, true-believing 22-year-old from the wrong side of the river when I first encountered Planned Parenthood’s leadership. My piece of the situation was an ardent belief that (and I’m explaining this beyond what I would have said at that time) the sexual double standard and misogyny were such that abortion was absolutely necessary to save women’s lives and allow them to function as full human beings. I had a friend who almost died from an illegal abortion. I well remember the terror of this situation and how hard it was to get medical care to save her life.

That was a watershed event for me. The horror of it trumped every other consideration in my thinking about abortion for a long, long time. That’s how I came to advocate for legal abortion, how I came to be the Oklahoma Director for NARAL, and how I came to sit across the table with Planned Parenthood muckety-mucks from around the country at various banquets, seminars and such. Without exception, the first thing a member of Planned Parenthood’s governing boards would ask me was “How are you funded?” Meaning, how was Oklahoma NARAL funded.

This wasn’t something that came up casually, later in the conversation, and it didn’t happen once in a while. Every single conversation I ever remember having with them began with an introduction, followed by the question “How are you funded?”

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/planned-parenthood-really-really-cares-about-its-money/#ixzz3oZHaRcDB

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Here’s Why Euthanasia is Wrong: You Do Not Kill Innocent People.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

The post I wrote for the National Catholic Register about California’s new euthanasia law attracted a few “death with dignity” trolls. As these people always do, they quickly descended to the non-argument of attacking me personally.

Frankly,  I have no big problem with that. It’s an honor to be drubbed for standing against the murder of innocents. They can bring it on.

However, it seemed that other readers were having trouble finding a response to these bullies. That happens a lot. Christians are overawed by the sheer emotional violence of those who want to legalize killing. There’s no surprise in that. People who support these things are often crazy mean, and dealing with them, even on the internet, can be a bit of a shock.

So, I wrote a second post. I wrote it for the specific purpose of sharpening the abilities of my Catholic Register readers to respond to these trolls. It’s important that we do not allow them to stun us into silence in our own houses, and the National Catholic Register is definitely an internet home for those who believe in the sanctity of human life.

The specific combox snipe I chose to respond to was one that sniped at me over my misspent and sinful past. I chose it because it struck at the heart of what it means to be a Christian, which is to say that it struck at the heart of the meaning of the cross.

Here’s part of what I said:

Here is the reason why euthanasia is wrong:

You do not kill innocent people.

Notice what I put at the end of that statement? I put a period, as in complete thought, finished, over and through.

You. Do. Not. Kill. Innocent. People.

If you are a lawmaker, you do not pass or sign laws that kill innocent people. Because if you do, that makes you a murderer. I know all about this, up close and personal. As one commenter on my post concerning Governor Jerry Brown and his mighty death-dealing gubernatorial pen somewhat inaccurately noted, I am the former director of the Oklahoma chapter of NARAL.

Not only that, but I helped open the first abortion clinic in Oklahoma, and I referred women for abortions. Then, during my first years in elected office, I used my abilities and the powers granted to me by the people of my district to kill pro life legislation. I also set up the system whereby pro life bills continued to be killed long after I left office.

So. Does that disqualify me to take the gubernator to task? If you think it does, then you should stop reading this post right now, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Again.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/euthanasia-is-always-wrong-you-do-not-kill-innocent-people/#ixzz3o55AHLIq

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Deep-Sixing the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Story.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent  http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

I know more about the Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument story than my sense of responsibility to the people I worked with will allow me to say.

I’ve put off writing about it because, to be honest, I get angry every time I think about it.

But I finally chased myself around my house a few times and wrestled myself into my chair and wrote a post for Catholic Vote. I didn’t tell all. Not even close. But I think I told more than you’ll find elsewhere.

I. Am. So. Glad. I’m. Not. In. Office.

Here, from Catholic Vote, is part of what I said:

Ten Commandments monuments stand outside courthouses and statehouses all across the USA. They go back to the beginning of our country. This is fitting, since the legal structure of the Western world is built on those ten commandments.

For the first two hundred years of our republic, the only controversy was an occasional argument about whether the monument would be made of marble or granite. But for the past 30 years pressure groups have been working to drive religious expression from the public sphere.

The United States Supreme Court stopped them from acting as an American Taliban, blowing up historic monuments and statues because they had religious meaning attached to them. Otherwise, I suppose they would have kept going until they demanded that we burn the Declaration of Independence for its allusion to “Our Creator.”

Federal courts have upheld the placement of Ten Commandments monuments in states such as Texas. Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze assumed that a Ten Commandments monument that was identical to one that passed court muster in Texas would be allowed in Oklahoma.

Rep Ritz is the primary author of the legislation authorizing the monument. Rep Ritz was passionate about this bill. He was so committed to it that he even paid for the monument with his own money and donated it to the state as a gift.

I was a member of the Oklahoma House when we voted on it. Rep Ryan Kiesel, who is now the executive director of the Oklahoma ACLU, led the debate against the bill.

Without Rep Kiesel, I don’t think there would have been any debate at all. But he successfully convinced a number of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus that this bill was unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America. They followed him in opposing the monument, and several of them were defeated because of it in the next election. Rep Kiesel did not run for re-election.

It turned out that Rep Kiesel was wrong. The monument was not unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America.

That’s why the same Rep Kiesel chose another line of attack in his new position as Executive Director of the Oklahoma ACLU.

Read the rest here.

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All the Christians Stand Up

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jo Naylor https://www.flickr.com/photos/pandora_6666/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jo Naylor https://www.flickr.com/photos/pandora_6666/

If a shooter said All the Christians stand up to you, what would you do?

Sadly, this is not a hypothetical. It happened yesterday in Oregon.

What would you do, if this happened to you?

I wrote about this for CatholicVote. Here’s part of what I said.

shooter says, All the Christians stand up. 

Would you stand? Would I?

I’ve lived long enough to learn a few things about myself. One of them is that when I am under physical attack, I tend to freeze. I do really well if the situation requires moral courage. But physical courage, not so much.

I’ve had a couple of life-threatening experiences in my life where I was attacked from out of nowhere. Every single time, I froze.

So … would I stand if a shooter walked into a room in which I sat with other people and said, All the Christians stand up?

I honestly don’t know. I do know that this happened to real people yesterday in Oregon and a number of them did stand up. The gunman told them Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second. Then, he shot and killed them.

The irony in this is that he didn’t lie. These brave Christians went directly to God. They are martyrs, and their blood cries out from the ground the same as Abel’s, with the distinct difference that theirs is a cry of victory.

I cannot imagine what demon-possessed hatred inspires people to kill other human beings. But I do know that Christians are subjected to an extraordinary amount of hate speech and bashing in these United States. Read the rest here.

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Sign the Petition for Mandatory Euthanasia for Senior Citizens

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Miran Rijavec https://www.flickr.com/photos/miran/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Miran Rijavec https://www.flickr.com/photos/miran/

How many of these people understood what they were signing?

By the way folks, this “petition” is a ruse. The man getting signatures is a comedian. However, the fact is, quite a few people signed the thing. Did they understand what they were doing????

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6 Things I Saw in Cecile Richard’s Testimony Before Congress

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

I watched several hours of Cecile Richards’ testimony before Congress last night.

Here are six take-aways that pro life people need to understand.

1. When a grown man, who is a member of Congress, begins a Congressional hearing by making random statements about his family members’ health in order  to “prove” his own sincere intentions, and then this guy cries on cue, he’s acting. Either that, or he’s crazy. Or both. American politics has become wacko. The men get on the mic and blubber to prove how sincere they are, and the women dare not shed a tear for fear of being labeled emotional girls. I wouldn’t trust any man, of either party, who behaves like that.

2. These hearings are not about defunding Planned Parenthood. They are partly about the upcoming 2016 elections, but they are mostly about how much the members of Congress hate one another. The committee members I watched were so full of mutual hatred and spite that they could not conduct a public hearing on a serious matter without constantly ramming verbal sticks in each other’s eyes. They hate each other.

3. Speaker Boehner was kicked out of the Speaker’s office by members of his own party. The Ds on the committee, who hate the Rs just as much as the Rs hate them, made that clear. That violates every bit of the legislative courtesy that allows people of differing backgrounds and ideas to come together in Congress and govern this nation. The Ds, as we say here in Okieland, “talked out of school.” They publicly proclaimed inside goings-on, and they did it in a Congressional hearing. They said it, and the Rs didn’t argue. It was true.

4. Congress does not have to “prove” anything to defund Planned Parenthood. They can fund — or defund — Planned Parenthood if they want. I know and understand the legislative hoops they have to jump through to achieve this, and I know it would be a tough boogie to get it done the way things are configured right now. I also, after watching them in action, question whether our pro life advocates in Congress possess the legislative skill to get it done. But it is possible. Or it would be if members of Congress cared as much about governance as they do their mutual hatred. These people aren’t going to reason together to find a way to govern, much less defund Planned Parenthood. I think they’d let the whole country go down the tubes, rather than work together.

5. I had originally thought that these hearings would be a dog and pony show, aimed at the next election. But from what I saw, the inmates are in charge of the asylum in the United States House of Representatives. What I witnessed wasn’t a hearing, and it wasn’t a dog and pony show. It was a bull and bear baiting contest, a real blood fight. These people couldn’t agree on what to order for lunch, much less how to govern this country.  They are — all of them — narcissists in the grip of their own narcissistic rage.

6. I said this is a bull and bear baiting contest, a blood fight. Let’s be clear about what that means. I am talking about real blood. The blood of the unborn. The blood of the American people. The blood of women and children. From what I saw, there is no hope — zero — that Congress is going to function for quite a while. They are in the throes of a Speaker’s race of some unruly sort, and Speaker’s races are usually ugly and divisive beasts. A faction of the Republican caucus just did a coup on a sitting Speaker. Now, the whole caucus is fighting over who will be next to sit in that office. This isn’t about the unborn or the common good. It’s about committee chairmanships and such. It’s about power. We have a Republican caucus that is in disarray and at war with itself. We have Rs and Ds who hate one another to the point of visible pathology. That sounds like all the wheels have come off the wagon in the House of Representatives. That buggy won’t roll.

I think We the People need to consider how much of this behavior we are willing to allow. We can pull the plug on these people. We can also, if we demand it, make them sit up straight, eat their vegetables and play nice with one another. We can do that because We the People, and our power of the vote, always has the real last word with Congress.

 

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Is Speaker Boehner Going Home, or Is He Going to be a Millionaire?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Is John Boehner going home, or is he going to be a millionaire?

Speaker Boehner stands on the edge of a new beginning in his life. He can turn the page, leave Washington and begin a different life than the one he has known. Or, he can accept one of the mega-lucrative opportunities lying there in front of him, just waiting for him to pick up and make his own.

He possesses high dollar skills that can only be acquired one way: By suiting up and playing the game of full-speed, contact politics. What Speaker Boehner knows can’t be taught in a classroom. The only way to learn it is to get elected and then spend time slugging it out in the political trenches; winning and getting beat, strategizing and knocking heads.

Speaker Boehner will be a millionaire if he wants it. All he has to do is sign on as a hired gun for one of the many special interests that are strangling our government. He could, if he’s feeling called to it, offer his services to a low-dollar, people-oriented enterprise, such as the Catholic bishops, or the movement to end violence against women. Those lobbying jobs are far more challenging than pushing the plans of big-money power brokers, and the work has intrinsic benefits that are priceless.

But if he wants the doh-reg-meh, he will have to sell his skills to a higher bidder. There are intrinsics to that choice to. But they are costs, not benefits. If Speaker Boehner takes a position as a hired gun, he will be told.

His moral reservations about the issues he lobbies for will be entirely non-sequitur.  Hired guns do what they’re told. He  will earn his millions by using the skills he acquired through long years in public office to accomplish what those who pay him want accomplished.

If that’s an unfair advantage over competitors, if that’s the use of American troops to support a private company’s bid for power in another country, if that’s raising taxes on wage earners while lowering them on the rich, then so be it. Hired guns do what they’re told.

This isn’t such a large jump for many politicians. They’ve been dancing to the tune of party discipline and those who used campaign donations to buy them since they first filed for their first office. They already do what they’re told.

They may have spent their careers speaking piously about following God’s will. Human nature being what it is, they may even have convinced themselves that this is what they actually are doing God’s will. But in practice and in fact, God’s will as they choose to see it has coincided in an almost perfect one-to-one correlation with the will of their political party and the puppet masters who pull their strings.

John Boehner has spent many years of his life as one of the two most powerful legislators in the world. As Speaker of the House, he actually has had a greater latitude than the Senate Majority leader, who is hemmed in by Senate rules and the reality of the Vice President as the Constitutional head of the Senate. The Senate wields power that the House does not in a number of areas, and each Senator represents an entire state rather than a district within a state. But the House is the more independent body. That gives the Speaker greater freedom of action, with the power that goes with it.

If he wants to be an independent person who can continue to exercise personal latitude in what he does, Speaker Boehner will have to say no to the vast wealth that is his for the taking. He is staring at a future carpeted by the realization of all the dreams of avarice. But nothing in life is free except a mother’s love and salvation before God. Everything else has a price. Hiring on as a hired gun in Washington DC exacts a sobering moral cost.

Speaker Boehner has a future of great wealth and little independence, working as a hired gun for one of the many special interests who have bought our government. It’s his, if he wants it. He will, if he takes such a position, forfeit the opportunity to use what he knows for the common good. But he will also become a wealthy man.

What do you think he’s going to do?

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Pope Francis Visits 9/11 Memorial

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by brkinhrt2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/66179962@N00/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by brkinhrt2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/66179962@N00/

This is what I wrote about Pope Francis’ attendance at the prayer service at the 9/11 Memorial today.

From Catholic Vote:

I don’t like writing about man-made mass atrocity. Every time I do, I access memories and emotions of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Pope Francis stood at the monument for the Twin Towers. He spoke with and touched the families of those who died there. We, the grieving American people, have built a beautiful memorial on those hallowed grounds. I watched a service there in which clergy of many faiths prayed at this place where so many Americans died.

Pope Francis joined them in their prayers, then followed with a beautiful speech in which he pointed out that the light does indeed shine through the darkness, even the darkness of such things as what happened at the Twin Towers, or a few years before that, at Oklahoma City. He asked us to join him in prayer for the cause of peace, peace in our homes, our communities, our families, peace in all those places in which war never seems to end; peace for those who have known nothing but pain; peace throughout this world which God has given us as home for all.

9/11 began a decade of war, which has been followed by another half-decade of more war. While Pope Francis spoke, people in the Middle East and Africa are dying at the hands of those who follow the same philosophy as the men who flew the planes into the Twin Towers.

Here in America, we have the luxury of grief, of building monuments and holding beautiful interfaith services with choirs of young people singing of peace. We can dignify our grief, our loss and our suffering with memory and memorials.

But even as I type these words, people in other parts of the world … Read the rest here.

 

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Address to Joint Session: Our Pope Channeled Jesus in a Present-Day Sermon on the Mount

pope-francis.jpgThis is my reaction to Pope Francis’ address to the joint session of  Congress today.

From the National Catholic Register:

Pope Francis channeled Jesus this morning with a contemporary Sermon on the Mount, and it got just about the same results it did 2,000 years ago.

The Holy Father addressed the assembled members of both houses of Congress, the United States Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet and other dignitaries today. In what might very well have been a one-off for a speaker in that situation, he did not speak to them as a politician. He delivered a homily, in fact a re-run of the THE homily, as the shepherd of souls that he is.

If your god resides in the R or the D, there was something to hate and also something to love in this speech. You could, depending on your personality, walk away from it, angry as a snake biting itself. Or, you could, if you’re turned differently, be patting yourself on the back.

The truth of this speech is that it wasn’t a speech, it was a sermon delivered by a Pope who is first of all a priest, who takes the care of souls as his first duty before God. If you listened to what Pope Francis said today with the ear of someone who reads Scripture on a daily basis, the entire speech echoed Jesus, preaching to and teaching us to care for the least of these, Who told us that the measure by which we judge others would be the measure by which God would judge us.

It was clear to me, after my long years of sitting through joint sessions and reading politicians that the assembled body of listeners were as unmoved by the Holy Father’s words as the stone pillars of the building in which they sat. These people do not listen to anyone who stands in that podium — not even the pope — to be instructed. They listen to be affirmed.

When they felt affirmed, they applauded. When the pope said something that differed from their politics, their faces hardened subtly and their eyes filmed over with an “I-won’t-hear-you” glaze.

Pope Francis spoke of the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. He affirmed his life-long opposition to the death penalty, he pled for business practices that provide jobs rather than just suck in wealth for a very few. He spoke against the arms trade that, as he said, sells arms to “those who plan to inflict untold suffering.” He said that this is done “for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.” He called the silence about this arms trade “shameful and culpable.”

Those are strong words from the Vicar of Christ. He told a roomful of elected officials and people of great power that their silence about the arms trade made them “culpable” to the blood-drenched sins of those used those arms to murder innocent people.

The pope spoke of the environment, of immigrants, of the family and of justice and freedom. He couched every word he said in a plea that government be conducted to achieve the common good. He said that working toward the common good was the call of every politician.

As someone who held elective office for 18 years, I absolutely agree with him in this. I would also say that the common good doesn’t get a lot of play in private conversations between elected officials these days. No audience anywhere needed to hear this message more than the one Pope Francis was speaking to this morning.

But they didn’t hear him. Not, at least, as it applied to themselves. Politicians today, as well as many private citizens who have become enthralled with political partisanship, are like the Pharisee who went out to pray at the same time as the tax collector.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/the-sermon-on-the-mount-and-the-sermon-on-the-hill/#ixzz3mgnm706C

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5 Things I Wish Pope Francis Knew About America

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Michael Doughertyhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/md888/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Michael Doughertyhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/md888/

I wish Pope Francis had time to meet the real America instead of spending all his time with politicos.

I wrote about that longing for Catholic Vote, listing 5 things I wish Pope Francis knew about us.

Here’s part of what I said:

I wish Pope Francis could see Oklahoma … and Colorado … and Big Bend. I wish he had time to take a road trip along the long stretches of lonely road that crisscross this country. I wish he could meet the good people who are the real America.

As he noted in his address at St. Matthews this morning, he is from a big country, too. But America is such a sweep of a nation. I am almost as many miles from Pope Francis as London is from Cairo; and yet we are both in the USA.

It’s sad that his entire trip will be confined to a few cities on the East Coast. Not that there is anything wrong with those cities. It’s just that they do not reflect the whole of America; not anymore than a salad, no matter how tasty, reflects the steak that is to come.

Most of Pope Francis’ time here will be spent with priests and politicians. That is not exactly representative of the whole of the American people.

I thought about this early this morning, while I drove my mother to adult day care. I drove part of the way behind a school bus, picking up kids. I passed a woman, walking her dog, and a man out for his morning jog. The flowers were in bloom. The sun peeked over the rim of the prairie with its good morning light.

I saw all this, and I thought, America really is beautiful. The peace and security of this morning drive must seem like an unattainable dream to many people in the world.

Here are 5 things that I hope Pope Francis can somehow understand about us.

Read the rest here.

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