The Parent Makers … Orrrrr … The Handmaid’s Tale Redux

Did I say that the media promotes the creation/selling/buying of babies?

Did I say that the media is misogynist and makes light of the exploitation and degradation of women being committed by commercialized medicine?

I linked to a number of examples of media propaganda for this brutal, dehumanizing exploitation of women and girls; this barbaric practice of creating/selling/buying people. But, as so often happens, I was aiming a bit too high on the food chain. I didn’t know about The Parent Makers.

This show is about an American organization called the British Surrogacy Center. The British Surrogacy Center is in California. So don’t let the accent fool you, this is the good ole USA, the Wild West of reproductive technology.

We are the big dogs in the baby creating/selling/buying junkyard. No one can compete with us in terms of reducing women, babies and human beings to the level of objects. We’ve got the market cornered on medicine’s inhumanity to women and children.

The Parent Makers is trash.

It is, however, highly-publicized trash.

The Parent Makers gets lots of hits on Google:

And it has it’s own very busy and equally trashy Twitter account:

It even has promos on YouTube.

Watch the video below and then ask yourself one question: Do you want your daughter used as a breeder for these guys? Do you want your grandchildren or your children created like widgets in a factory and then sold to the highest bidder?

If you don’t, you’d better start speaking out.

This is the world of the for-real Handmaid’s Tale.

And it ain’t pretty.

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Public Catholic reader Caroline Farrow brought this story to my attention. Thank you Caroline!

“An Unrelated Gestational Carrier.” The Real Handmaid’s Tale

 

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Margaret Atwood wrote a gripping novel back in 1985 called The Handmaid’s Tale.

The main character, Offred, is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States of America.

Handmaids are walking wombs, child bearers for elite couples. Offred services the Commander and his wife Serena Joy, who is a former gospel singer and advocate for “traditional values.”

Every month in her fertile period, Offred is required to have impersonal, wordless sex with the Commander while Serena sits by, holding her hands. The Republic of Gilead is what America has become after the takeover of our nation by the theocrats. Offred, as a former adulteress and the daughter of a feminist, is consigned to the role of Handmaid in this ugly new world.

The Handmaid’s tale was an obvious allegorical critique of the rising influence of the newly-politicized Christian conservatives of that era. It was aimed, in particular, at the pro life/pro family movement. It was also a powerful work of fiction by a talented writer.

Flash forward 30 years, and it appears that the Handmaid’s tale was not so much allegory as it was prophecy, once removed. Women today are being reduced to their bodily functions and used as breeders and most of our society seems to be in support of it. Babies are created to be sold and then they actually are marketed and sold, on-line and through international outlets.

America, which has been termed the “Wild West” of commercialized reproduction, has become a magnet for baby-buyers the world over.

In addition, women are kept in what amounts to baby farms in certain third world countries and used for breeders. The babies are then sold overseas in what, in India alone, is a $2.3 billion dollar industry.

That’s the prophecy part of The Handmaid’s Tale. Women have indeed been reduced to breeders, their human rights held forfeit to rapacious industrialized medicine that operates without conscience. In addition, babies, as well as women, are reduced to chattel in this market as they are created and then sold and bought like any other manufactured product.

The once-removed part of The Handmaid Tale’s prophetic prescience lies in who is committing and promoting this crime against humanity. It is not, as Margaret Atwood wrote, the evil “traditional values” people and Gospel singers who are designing babies for sale by harvesting women’s ovaries, and then using women as wombs to carry these babies which are then sold for astronomical amounts on the open market.

The culprits here are corporatist medicine, wealthy elites and homosexuals who are willing to destroy the basic human rights of women and children to feed the fantasy that they are not what they happen, in fact, to be. Homosexual couples are two men or two women, or for that matter, several men or several women, whose sexual activity takes place between other people of their own sex. Their sexual activity can not create life.

Anyone who condemns this wholesale degradation of half the human race alongside the bartering and selling of human beings, is immediately labeled a religious fanatic, a homophobe, uncaring, cruel and indifferent to the longing for a family that same sex couples experience. There is a phrase to describe this intellectually dishonest bullying: The phrase is emotional blackmail.

Let’s take the debate about those accusations — at least as far as I’m concerned — off the table right now.

If standing for the human rights of women and children,

if opposing the buying and selling of people,

if the speaking against the creation of human beings for commerce,

if opposing the crass reduction of half the human race to their body parts in a manner that not only degrades them as human beings but endangers their health and lives,

means that I’m a homophobe or a religious fanatic, then so be it. If that’s what religious fanaticism and homophobia stands for, every person with a conscience should be a homophobe and a religious fanatic.

Surrogate mothers alternatives  Google Search

Misogyny is so rife in our society that people who dare to speak out against this violation of the human rights of women and children are subjected to death threats, as well as labeled bigots.

Meanwhile, the media churns out puffy little pieces extolling the virtues of buying and selling women and babies. Consider, as a for-instance, a recent article from The Daily Mail. This article informs us that “For two first-time fathers, the fact that their son, Milo, was born during World Pride was just the icing on the cake.”

The article goes on to tell us that the woman who birthed this baby is “an unnamed gestational carrier.” It concludes with the soppy statement that “love has no color nor gender nor sexual preference. Love is unconditional.”

Uh-huh. According to one article I read, it costs around $160,000 to purchase a baby created by using women as breeders. The article is a couple of years old, so it’s probably higher now. I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade, but that is soooo conditional. It also has nothing to do with love. It is about exploitation and reducing human beings to chattel. It is The Handmaid’s Tale, come to life.

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The Handmaid’s Tale as allegory. 


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The Handmaid’s Tale in real life.

 

America has become the go-to place for people wanting to buy designer babies. As a recent New York Times article put it, “the market for children crosses national borders.”

In the Wild West of using reproductive technologies to create, sell and buy people, it appears that the market is totally laissez faire. In this case, it’s the seller who should beware.

Consider, for instance, the case of The View co-host Sheri Shepherd. According to a recent LifeNews article, Ms Shepherd and her soon-to-be-former husband joined the growing group of high-profile celebrities who have purchased their babies rather than give birth to them themselves. Now that her marriage is on the fritz, Ms Shepherd has decided that she wants nothing to do with the baby whose creation she purchased.

I would assume that Ms Shepherd and her husband paid in advance, so the important considerations are covered.

Right?

I mean, it’s not like we’re creating, selling and buying people. 

FRC Action and Oklahoma Family Policy Council Launches Radio Ad Campaign Urging Support for Legislation Stopping Payments for Human Egg Harvesting

I can attest from personal experience as a legislator that the practice of commercialized harvesting of young women’s bodies for eggs is protected with the full force of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, as well as the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. I can also attest that some pro life groups avoid the issue for fear of putting Republican legislators on the hot seat by forcing them to chose between their pro life commitments and these special interest groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also come out in support of commercial egg harvesting, on the laughable grounds that laws that forbid doctors to use large payments as inducements to young girls to undergo egg harvesting are somehow a violation of “women’s rights.” I imagine the ACLU would carry a lot of clout in some states, but in Oklahoma, their opposition was of no importance to the outcome of the legislation.

The practice of paying young women large sums of money to have their ovaries harvested,

the practice of paying women large sums of money to carry babies and then forfeit them,

the practice of creating designer babies for the purpose of selling them

should be illegal.

Any doctor who does this should lose their license to practice medicine and be subject to civil lawsuits without limit. Any medical facility that allows this on its premises should lose its license to continue as a licensed medical facility and also be subject to lawsuits without limit.

If people want to do this without pay, that should be treated differently. I do not approve of it, but it is not the obvious and egregious violation of the human rights of women and children that commercialized, industrialized egg harvesting and surrogacy are. It should be heavily regulated with stiff safeguards for the rights of women and the babies.

Among other things, women should have the right to change their minds about giving the baby away. Also, anyone who contracts for a baby — and remember, I am talking about private, unpaid arrangements, not wholesale industrialized baby manufacturing and selling — should be subject to the same requirements as adoption, including home inspections, parental fitness and a waiting period with site visits before the adoption is finalized. The process should be an adoption. Not buying a child.

Children should have the right to know who their biological parents are and a cause of action against the doctors, medical facilities and others involved in their creation.

The health and welfare of women who are involved in being surrogates or donating eggs, and also the health and welfare of the babies, should be the first consideration under the law. The law should require under severe penalty that the doctor consider the woman’s health first and not just use them to make as many eggs as possible.

I want to emphasize again that I am only talking about entirely voluntary, non-paid situations in which women are not compensated for undergoing egg harvesting and or surrogacy and the babies are not sold.

Commercial selling and buying of women’s bodies to harvest for eggs or for use as surrogates should be illegal. Creating babies to sell or buy should also be illegal. 

Soppy claims about how happy it makes people to be able to buy and sell other human beings and violate their inherent human rights have no place in this discussion.

The Egg Donor Center

The doctors and medical facilities should receive no monies except for customary and normal remuneration for these activities as a medical procedure. There should never be advertising for the creation, buying and selling of human beings, or the exploitation of a whole class of human beings.

People who contract for the creation of a child should be obligated to provide life-long care for that child and for any injury resulting to the woman or women who provide eggs or wombs as a result of their donor or surrogacy status. By life long, I mean if the woman is infertile (a common complication of egg harvesting) or gets cancer as a result of the massive doses of hormones, even if it’s 20 years later, they have to pay.

The obligation to provide for the care of the child should be life-long, regardless of the any birth defects or other problems. It should include an irrevocable share in the contractee’s estate.

I want to emphasize that these ideas for regulation only apply to voluntary, non-paid situations. The buying and selling of human beings, as well as the use of women as farm animals and breeders for money should be absolutely and completely illegal. It is anathema that our society has fallen so low that we have to debate this. 

We need to shut down the commercial baby creating/selling/buying industry that exploits and dehumanizes women and reduces babies to chattel. 

The reason this has not happened is due to the political clout of organizations, such as various Chambers of Commerce who see this “industry” as a money maker and to the machinations of the Medical Associations who are entrusted with the power to “regulate” the members of their profession. The social bullying by gay rights organizations and faux feminists who work against women also helps to keep this practice going.

I believe that Medical Associations’ support of what is a massive human rights violation of half the human race, as well as the reduction of human beings to the level of chattel, makes a joke of the claim that they “regulate” the medical profession. If the medical associations will not regulate their own, and if they continue to use their political clout to support this practice, I, for one, think we should take a long hard look at eliminating their power to regulate the medical profession.

I would encourage business owners and physicians who are members of these organizations to get involved. Are your dues being used to support the Wild West of industrial reproductive technology? Are you writing checks that hire lobbyists who work in your name to continue this attack on the human rights of women and babies?

Demand that your professional organizations follow legislative goals that support human dignity, rather than exploit and degrade whole classes of people.

Margaret Atwood wrote a gripping allegorical novel describing the use of women as breeders in a world that was controlled by what she evidently saw as the great satan of her time: Supporters of “traditional values.”

In our time the real Handmaid’s Tale is being promoted by the media and lived out by elites who don’t want to go through having children the old way and homosexuals who want to pretend that their unions are not sterile. The promotion of this clear-cut violation of the human rights of women and babies by commercialized medicine on a mass and international scale is being carried out by a media that focuses on insipid nonsense about “love” and “the right to a child” when, in fact, neither of these things exist in this situation.

It is not love to exploit other human beings for your own selfish ends. A more accurate word for that might be narcissism, with perhaps a dose of sociopathy dropped on top of it. And, just for the record, children are people. No one has a “right” to a child.

I read articles talking about the “ethical questions” raised by the commercial exploitation of women’s bodies and the commercial creation of human beings to sell over the internet, and I wonder seriously if the people writing this have any brains at all.

“Ethical questions?”

Medical tourism corporation surrogate  Google Search

Then I remember. These discussions are not about “ethical questions.” These articles are on the same level as people in the 1930s, debating Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. They are a parsing and an obfuscation designed to confuse and lead people to accept the unacceptable.

Margaret Atwood was a prophet and didn’t know it with her allegory of the reduction of women to breeders and children to chattel. She only got it wrong in her idea as to who would be doing it. People with traditional values are the only ones willing to suffer the abuse necessary to take a stand against this exploitation of women and babies.

The baby creating/selling international market of commercialized, bastardized medicine is a horror show of human rights violations. The irony (but not the surprise) is that the people who like to talk about “rights” the most are the ones who are committing this evil.

 

Senate Democrats Move to Overturn Hobby Lobby Decision

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Senator Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, is leading the charge to overturn the Hobby Lobby decision.

From The Washington Post:

“One thing we’re going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Tuesday. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think it’s — they’re going to have — be treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”

Senator Reid can make this audacious claim because Hobby Lobby v Burwell was adjudicated on a statute, The Religious Freedom Act. What Senator Reid, and, according to him the rest of the Senate Democrats, wants to do is basically repeal the Religious Freedom Act. I only have a few points to make at this juncture.

  • As a lifelong Democrat and an 18-year veteran as a Democratic elected official (I’m still in office until November) I am ashamed of my party for doing this.
  • We need to convert the Democratic Party. If we do not, this kind of back and forth will continue until it destroys our Republic. We will never build a culture of life unless we convert this party.
  • I wish those who oppose the HHS Mandate would mount the same kind of of fearless and passionate offense against it. One thing that has been abundantly clear to me for well over 30 years is that pro life politicians do not have the same fearless commitment and willingness to do what’s needed for our cause as the other side’s politicians have for it. Where is the pro life Wendy Davis? Why hasn’t the House taken on the HHS Mandate with the same fervor that we are seeing in this attack against Hobby Lobby v Burwell in the Democratically-held Senate?

We are trapped between our own wishy-washy advocates who make speeches, gather votes based their “stands” and then do nothing, and these passionate, committed opponents who are willing to stake their careers on attacking religious freedom and the sanctity of human life. It is simply not an effective tactic for us to continue demonizing our opposition while we settle for nothing but empty promises and political grandstanding from our supporters.

We are being used.

Meanwhile, the other side of this fight has real political warriors with fire in their bellies who are willing to stake everything on defending their viewpoint

I am going to suggest you do two things today and one thing tomorrow.

For today, write both your United State’s Senators and demand that they fight publicly and behind closed doors to stop this re-write of the The Religious Freedom Act. It does not matter if they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, they need to hear from you. Second, write your member of Congress and demand that they stop sitting on their hands and take action against the HHS Mandate.

That’s for today.

For tomorrow, check with your state political party about when precinct meetings will be held next spring. Put the date on your calendar and plan to go.

For Republicans, Google “(name of your state) Republican Party” or (name of your state) Republican Committee. For Democrats, Google, “(name of your state) Democratic Party”.  Examples: Oklahoma Republican Party, or, Oklahoma Republican Committee. Oklahoma Democratic Party.

The Church and the Cultural Acceptance of Sexual Violence

 

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, made the statement below  at a 4-day meeting hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy Angeline Jolie.

Cardinal Nichols’ comments address a several  issues that I think are important ones for the Church to take up if we want to end sexual violence.

He deplored the de facto cultural acceptance of sexual violence. This is a key component in the issue everywhere on the globe, including here in the United States. Rape is treated as entertainment in this country. The signals our culture gives about sexual violence, are, at best, mixed. We sometimes go into a frenzy of indignation over a particular crime of sexual violence. But more often, we attack the victims and treat rape as entertainment.

There is a reason why young men video themselves committing gang rapes and then put those videos on the internet to brag. There is a reason why girls are cautioned to be careful what they drink at fraternity parties or to stay away from the jock dorms on campus. There is a reason rape victims don’t talk to their pastors or tell people in their churches what has happened to them.

It all circles back to this one thing: The cultural acceptance, including the direct promotion and exploitation of, sexual violence against women and girls.

He also said — although not nearly strongly enough —that sexual violence is a sin. Potential rapists and their victims both need to hear this. I once put together a meeting of the heads of the various religious groups in Oklahoma for the express purpose of asking them to call sexual violence a sin. My reason was simple: I had been going to church, sitting in pews, for decades, and I had never once heard this preached. This is a moral black hole on the part of the churches, and it has fed into the cultural acceptance of sexual violence.

Finally, Cardinal Nichols gives one of the most accurate descriptions of why sexual violence is such a fundamental crime against the humanity of its victims. Here’s what he said,

Human sexuality is a strong and vital component of our humanity and of each person’s nature. The exercise of that sexuality, in sexual relations, is something that touches the deepest aspect of our identity and personhood. A fundamental aspect of the Church’s teaching about sex is that sexual acts must always take place within the context of authentic freedom. This is because, properly understood, human sexuality has the capacity to unite two people, body and spirit, at the deepest level, in a completeness of self-giving that has within it the call to a permanent commitment between them and which, of its nature is open towards the creation of new human life. What is most relevant in this teaching for us today is that there is no place in sexual relations for brutality, aggression or any kind of de-humanisation of a person.

This Initiative is concerned to highlight that the use of sexual violence is always and absolutely a violation of human freedom and of every rational standard of human decency. And what is more, its de facto cultural acceptance in many places and in so many circumstances contributes significantly to the degradation of women in particular. Sexual behaviour is so often the key litmus test of the honour and respect given to women either in conformity to moral standards or in defiance of them.

I can say without equivocation that the church’s (I am speaking here of the entire body of Christ in every denomination) easy acceptance of sexual violence and its willingness to condemn the victim while harboring the perpetrator led me directly into 17 years of defiance against both organized religion and God Himself. It made me into an ardent advocate for legal abortion.

I do not think I am unique in this.

It literally took an act of God to change me about this. I was so damaged by what I had seen in the churches that I asked God in all sincerity if He hated women. I don’t often get direct answers to my prayers, but I got one then. That answer bound me to God in a way that nothing else could have. It has also made me fearless about speaking out about clerical disregard of sexual violence. I know — know — that this indifference is not only wrong, it is deeply sinful.

It means a lot when a Prince of the Church speaks out against sexual violence. We need to see a lot more of it. His remarks are directed at the use of sexual violence as a weapon against cultures and societies in warfare. I apply them to all sexual violence in every circumstance.

I’ve highlighted a few points in the text below.

From Vatican Radio:

Please find below the full text of the address by  Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, to the conference, delivered on 12th June 2014:

Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative

“I am privileged to have this opportunity to speak at this most important Initiative and to be invited to do so from the perspective of my Catholic Faith. In doing so, I offer my fullest congratulations to the Foreign Secretary in particular, for his dedication to this crucial cause.

The unbelievable surge of sexual violence against both women and men in parts of our world is manifested in the shocking facts well documented in this Conference. I doubt though whether even the most graphic accounts of this evil are capable of conveying the sheer horrors which are generated by sexual violence in conflict and warfare. The damage which is done to the human dignity of the large numbers of victims of sexual violence is so radical and so permanent that it defies description.

It is not the random act of men who have, for a while, lost all sense of decency, which defies description but the deliberate and ordered tactic of oppression, domination and destruction which is at the noxious heart of sexual violence. It is to the shame of our world that the systematic use of sexual violation is still today, in some places, considered as a duty of soldiers, an order that they must carry out. This horror is further compounded by the fact that the stigma attached to sexual violation often falls on the victim and not on the perpetrator. What terrible collusion is indicated by that fact! The public tolerance of sexual violence leads to the inversion of human decency; it reinforces other forms of oppression and undermines the morals which uphold the rights of the human person.

I wish to make three points regarding the moral and religious framework which, I believe, can strengthen this fight against Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The first is the clear principle that every human activity is subject to moral principles and judgment if it is not to lose its truly human character and sink into the realms of the amoral, the dark hole of a subhuman wilderness. This principle applies to situations of warfare and conflict. No declaration of war – whether arguably legitimate or not – excuses those who fight from their obligation to observe fundamental moral principles.

In Catholic teaching this is described as ‘jus in bello’, that just principles must be observed even in warfare. The teaching states: ‘the Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law in armed conflict. The fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties (CCC 2312). It refers explicitly to ‘non-combatants, wounded soldiers, prisoners’ who must be respected and treated humanely.’ It continues ‘Actions contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out’ (2313).

History has many examples of the pursuit of war criminals. It is also has many instances of the failure to do so. In this Initiative, the measures being proposed and pursued to strengthen the legal frameworks for the pursuit and prosecution of all war criminals are fully supported by the principles of morality and social justice and must be given widespread support. War is no excuse. The demands of justice remain in place. A crime is a crime, whether committed in the context of conflict or not.

And sexual violence is always a crime; it is always an immoral act.

The second point I draw from Catholic moral thinking and teaching is this.

Human sexuality is a strong and vital component of our humanity and of each person’s nature. The exercise of that sexuality, in sexual relations, is something that touches the deepest aspect of our identity and personhood. A fundamental aspect of the Church’s teaching about sex is that sexual acts must always take place within the context of authentic freedom. This is because, properly understood, human sexuality has the capacity to unite two people, body and spirit, at the deepest level, in a completeness of self-giving that has within it the call to a permanent commitment between them and which, of its nature is open towards the creation of new human life. What is most relevant in this teaching for us today is that there is no place in sexual relations for brutality, aggression or any kind of de-humanisation of a person.

This Initiative is concerned to highlight that the use of sexual violence is always and absolutely a violation of human freedom and of every rational standard of human decency. And what is more, its de facto cultural acceptance in many places and in so many circumstances contributes significantly to the degradation of women in particular. Sexual behaviour is so often the key litmus test of the honour and respect given to women either in conformity to moral standards or in defiance of them.

What is clear, therefore, is that the Church wholeheartedly backs every initiative to prevent sexual violence being perpetrated against anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances. The justice at the heart of human sexual relations must be respected as integral to all justice, even in conflict and warfare.

I am proud today to be able to point to the significant work carried out by many religiously motivated people in the fight against sexual violence in warfare and its dreadful consequences. I salute especially the work of religious sisters, in many countries, who for decades have dedicated themselves to this work, without seeking reward or praise. They do so as part of their commitment to justice in our world today. And we are richer for their efforts, along with the efforts of many others, too. This enterprising work generates the kind of wealth without which our world cannot survive. They are, in my view, at the top of the world’s rich list!

The third point I wish to make flows directly from this notion of integral justice as our greatest wealth.

In the efforts of this Initiative to prevent sexual violence, we rightly speak of wanting to protect the human rights of everyone, especially the most vulnerable and the victims of this terrible form of abuse. In order for this language of human rights, and the framework it offers, to be robust, I believe we are helped by clarity about its foundations. The entry of human rights into the international legal framework is largely welcomed. But human rights themselves do not derive from a legal system, nor a political authority, or a state. The dignity of every person, and the pattern of rights which flow from that dignity, are inherent in the person, herself or himself. They are inalienable. Often, of course, there are choices to be made between competing human rights and difficult decisions ensue. But some rights are more immediate, more fundamental than others. I believe that this priority of human rights can best be seen when they are understood in the light of their ultimate origin.

The dignity of every person arises from within their nature and that nature is most clearly understood as deriving from its Creator, from the mystery of God. Here the light of faith sharpens our rational understanding, it deepens our sense of who we are and the dignity which is properly ours. And in this God-given dignity, the right to life itself and the right to bodily integrity are fundamental, as is the right to religious freedom. The violation of that bodily integrity in sexual violence is therefore a most fundamental denial of human dignity and a most gross breach of a person’s human rights. It is a crime which ought to be eradicated with all vigour.

Sexual violence as an instrument of warfare and conflict is a deep wound in the body of humanity, to borrow a phrase of Pope Francis. That it is as old as humanity is a cause for our lasting shame. That this Initiative is daily growing in strength, that it is beginning to engender a common will to say ‘no more, never again’ is a source of real encouragement. That it is producing the statutes and instruments by which perpetrators will be prosecuted and punish is a measure of its initial success. That it will in time challenge and change the cultures which tacitly support these crimes and heap the stigma of shame on its victims is a cause for real hope. I congratulate all involved and I assure you of my full support.”

Minors Crossing the Border Illegally. Figuring it Out.


I don’t know what to make of the story of thousands of minors surging over the borders into the United States from Central American countries.

I haven’t written about it because I’m still trying to understand it. I do know that Ft Sill in Oklahoma is being used to house some of these young people.

What I don’t know, on the other hand, is elemental.

I don’t know how long this has been going on. I don’t know how much of what the media is reporting is hype of one sort or the other that is being generated because of the upcoming election. I don’t know why these young people are choosing to do this. I don’t know what is happening in their home countries that compels them. I don’t know if this is organized. I don’t know how many of them have families already in the US. I don’t even know what the United States government is doing about it.

Given all that I don’t know (which every salient fact) I can’t write about it. What would I say?

I’m putting three videos below which discuss the situation.

The first video is from Catholic News Service.

The second is from Univision, which is a Spanish language television station. They’ve interviewed me numerous times down through the years, and I’ve found them to be very willing to let people have their say without editing. They do have a bias — which they state honestly — toward the concerns of their target audience.

The third video comes from Fox News. I chose them because they seem to give a good round-up here, and because they also have a clear bias, one which somewhat balances Univision.

I would advise against any of us thinking that we understand this situation or know how to address it effectively, based on these videos, or any of the news coverage I’ve seen.

I am guessing that an effective way of dealing with it lie in answers to questions that deal with the situation in the countries from which they come.

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Meriam Ibrahim: My Baby is Physically Disabled Because I Gave Birth in Chains

Meriam Ibrahim Daughter Maya Born in Prison SaveMerriam e1402284814969

Maya Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death when she was eight months pregnant for refusing to recant her Christian faith. 

She is still unable to leave Sudan, due to what I consider to be trumped up charges by local officials. 

She gave birth to her baby girl, who she named Maya, while she was in prison. Her captors forced her to give birth in chains. 

Hopefully, Mrs Ibrahim and her family will be allowed to come to the United States soon and we can provide Maya — and Mrs Ibrahim as well — with the medical care needed to repair the injuries that were inflicted on them by this barbaric government.  

From The Telegraph:

“I gave birth chained,” she said, in her first description of the May 27 birth.

“Not cuffs – but chains on my legs. I couldn’t open my legs so the women had to lift me off the table. I wasn’t lying on the table.”

When asked whether she was frightened that giving birth in such conditions could harm her baby, she said: “Something has happened to the baby.”

She explained that her daughter had been left physically disabled – but the extent of the disability would not be clear until she was older.

“I don’t know in the future whether she’ll need support to walk or not,” she said.

 

Rush Limbaugh is a Cigar-Chomping Idiot

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I know. I tell everyone not to call people names.

But there comes a time when “idiot” isn’t a pejorative; it’s an excuse.

Mr Limbaugh is doing his the-pope-is-a-marxist-communist-not-a-corporatist-like-me thing again. After reading this latest rather bizarre attack against the Holy Father, I am faced with three possibilities.

1. Mr Limbaugh has relapsed into his drug problem.

2. He’s an idiot.

or

3. He is deliberately baiting the Vicar of Christ for ratings, despite the fact that a grade-school child could read the interview he’s referencing and know that he’s misquoting and miscasting what the Holy Father said.

Given the choices, I’ve decided that, in charity, I will give Mr Limbaugh the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s an idiot. I don’t, for instance, think that the fact that he makes at least $70 million per year in salary, or that his net worth is approximately $400 million, has in any way messed with his mind.

What set Mr Limbaugh off on another of his attack-the-Holy-Father spiels is an interview Pope Francis gave to Il Messaggero on Sunday. Rather than try to untangle the web of misquotes and confabulation that Mr Limbaugh has spun, I’m going to quote a couple of highlights, then put Pope Francis’ entire interview below and let you read it for yourself.

Here are what I think of as the lowlights from Mr Limbaugh’s latest attack piece on my spiritual leader, Pope Francis. 

“The 77-year-old pontiff gave an interview to Il Messaggero, Rome’s local newspaper, to mark the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a Roman holiday. He was asked about a blog post in the Economist magazine that said he sounded like a Leninist when he criticized capitalism and called for radical economic reform.”

Oh, yeah, some obscure blog post in the Economist said he sounded like a Leninist, that got everybody riled up.  We remember that.  Don’t you?  I don’t remember.  Anyway, he said, “I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel.  Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: ‘but then you are Christian’,” he said, laughing.

I don’t know if the pope is saying that Jesus was a communist.  I mean some people could read it that way.  He says the communists stole our flag, and if our flag is rooted in solving poverty, and the communists want to claim that’s what they did, I mean, you connect the dots if you wish.

What Mr Limbaugh is doing here is quoting a misquote from an article headlined “Pope Says Communists are Closet Christians,” and then responding to it with the assessment,  I don’t now if the pope is saying that Jesus was a Communist. I mean some people could read it that way.”

Ok, so he doesn’t know if Pope Francis is saying that Christ the Lord is a Communist? Are we supposed to believe that he’s serious?

Maybe he’s an idiot.

Or maybe this was an attempt to be sly and clever by  attacking with innuendo.

You decide.

Me, I’m going with idiot, because, as I said, it’s the kindest interpretation I can come up with.

Here, for those of you who would like to see it, is what the Holy Father actually said. It’s the whole interview, without cuts or edits.

I highlighted the part about Communism so you can want go straight to it if you want. If you can find the place where the Pope Francis said or implied that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a Communist, let me know. Frankly, I think that all you have to do to understand what Pope Francis is talking about is to remember that he’s from a country where children live in garbage dumps and scavenge for survival; a country where Communists have tried to take over by appealing to these poorest of the poor and offering them help.

That, and read the interview yourself instead of miscasting misquotes in order to make a coarse point.

From Vatican Radio:

(Vatican Radio) The Rome daily “Il Messaggero” on Sunday published an interview with Pope Francis made by journalist Franca Giansoldati. In his responses to questions on a wide range of issues, the Holy Father focused, among other things, on the challenges of change in the current “era” and “culture,” which has consequences for political, financial, and social life. The Church, along with various civil and social institutions,  must respond to these challenges by protecting the common good and defending human life and dignity.

“Always protecting the common good, which includes “defending human life and dignity” is “the vocation of every politician,” the Holy Father said. Today, the problem of politics – which Pope Francis called a “worldwide problem” – is that it “has been devalued, ruined by corruption, by the phenomenon of bribery.” This “moral decay, not only in politics but also in the financial or social” sector, is driven by “change of epoch” that we are experiencing today, which is also “a change of culture.” In this context, our anxieties about poverty are not concerned solely with material poverty.

“I can help someone who is hungry, so that they are no longer hungry,” the Pope said. “But if someone has lost his job,” he is involved in another kind poverty. He no longer has his dignity.” Helping families in need, then, requires a “joint effort.” Pope Francis recognized that this is an “uphill” journey, but insisted it must be undertaken, working above all for the good of children. “Starting a family is an effort,” he said, because of economic difficulties that “social policy does not help.” Commenting on the very low birth rates in Europe – which makes it seem “as if she were tired of being a mother, preferring to be grandmother,” the Holy Father noted that the causes of this phenomenon lie not only in a “cultural drift marked by selfishness and hedonism,” but also in the current economic crisis.

Pope Francis was asked how he would respond to being called “a communist.” “I would only say that the Communists have stolen the banner… The banner of the poor is Christian; poverty is at the heart of the Gospel.” The cause of the poor is pre-eminently a Christian cause.  The Gospel cannot be understood “without understanding real poverty.” At the same time, the Pope said there is also a “very beautiful ‘poverty of the spirit’,” being poor in the sight of God because God fills you up. The Gospel, in fact, is addressed indiscriminately to the poor and to the rich and “does not at all condemn those who are rich,” but rather condemns their riches when they become the objects of idolatry.

To the question “Where is the Church of Bergoglio headed?” Pope Francis replied, “Thanks be to God, I don’t have any church – I follow Christ. I didn’t found anything.” He went on to say “my decisions are the fruit of the meetings before the conclave. I have done nothing on my own.”

The Church in Asia “is a promise,” he said, turning to his upcoming trips to Korea, in August, and to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, in January. He also spoke about China, saying it represents “a great, a very great pastoral challenge.”

During the interview, Pope Francis also took up a number of other themes already addressed during his pontificate, such as the place of women in the Church. Without an understanding of femininity, the Pope said, one “cannot understand the Church herself.” Women “are the most beautiful thing God has made. The Church is a woman.” He said that in doing theology, one must take account of this “femininity,” and that the Church must continue to work on and develop a “theology of the woman.”

Pope Francis spoke also about the corruption and the economic and sexual exploitation of children. The Pope speaks of incidents of child prostitution that were reported to him when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, involving even elderly men. “For me,” the Pope said, “people who do this to young girls are paedophiles.”

Finally, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Rome, Pope Francis spoke about the everyday life and traditions of the City of which the Pope is the bishop. This role, the Holy Father said, is “the first service of Francis.” Pope Francis said Rome shares many of the problems of other cities “such as Buenos Aires.” He said a conference dedicated to the theme of “the pastoral care of the great cities” will take place in Barcelona in November. Pope Francis expressed his hope that the citizens of Rome, the inhabitants of a city “that should be a beacon in the world,” would not lose “joy, hope, confidence, despite difficulties.”

(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Obama, Hobby Lobby, HHS Mandate Poster

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The Greens of Hobby Lobby: One Family with Courage is a Majority

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There is no getting around the fact that Jesus offends some people. Nevertheless, He is too important in my life for me to cower in fear of mentioning His name. David Green, owner, founder Hobby Lobby

The Green Family (who are Okies, by the way) risked everything they had worked for all their lives.

They put everything but their lives on the line by refusing to accede to the HHS Mandate’s requirement that they pay for insurance coverage for abortifacient drugs. The Greens, who are Southern Baptists, already provided insurance coverage for contraceptives for their employees.

But they would not be participants in the evil of abortion. It conflicted with their faith in Jesus Christ.

So, they took a stand that was, in terms of business, totally stupid. They refused to abide by the HHS Mandate. What’s more, they put the name of their company, which they had built themselves from a $600 dollar investment, on a lawsuit.

This wasn’t a roll of the dice. It was an act of faith. The lawsuit was turned back, then resurrected in other rulings. When it was first turned down, the Greens said they would not abide by the Mandate, even if it meant paying millions of dollars a day in fines to the government.

This was not grandstanding. It was a reality of their lives at that time. They were facing ruinous fines for following Christ. It would most likely have put them out of business.

Another court overturned the earlier ruling and they were granted a stay.

Their lawsuit made it’s way to the Supreme Court, and today, the Court ruled that the Green family, as well as other owners of privately-held corporations, are exempt from the contraceptive portion of the HHS Mandate.

I’ve been watching and reading a bit of the reaction to the news. It’s totally predictable claptrap about how this ruling allows corporations not to follow “the law” and how it “endangers women’s health.”

My reaction to this is give me a break. First, the Supreme Court’s ruling is the law, which is something the HHS Mandate has never been.

The HHS Mandate is an agency rule which has the force of law. It was never passed by elected officials. It was created by an appointed committee. To call this thing a law violates the underlying principles of government by representation on which this nation was founded.

Second, women’s health is not endangered by not being able to get insurance coverage for abortifacients. What endangers women’s health is allowing things like the morning after pill to be put on counters where everyone can buy and use them as many times a month as they want. The health consequences of using the morning after pill for birth control could be terrible for women’s health.

Also, as I just said, the stuff is available over the counter. If a woman uses it the way it’s intended, it would be a once in a lifetime deal. If they are using it repeatedly, they are endangering their health. Period.

I’ve read all sorts of comments attacking this ruling, but I think the ruling is wonderful.

It puts a couple of teeth back into what has rapidly been becoming a toothless concept of religious liberty in this country. The government — the government — does not have any business requiring people to violate their faith under threat of government penalties. The government also does not have any business passing draconian agency regulations that infringe on American liberties by the fiat of a hand-selected back-room committee and calling it “law.”

The Green family saved our First Amendment freedoms today.

They did it as an act of faith in which they put their entire life’s work on the line based entirely on their faith in Jesus Christ.

May their tribe increase.

Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision. Today the nation’s highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country’s founding principles. The Court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey. Barbara Green, co-founder/owner of Hobby Lobby

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Supremes Side with Hobby Lobby

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I don’t know the details yet.

Buuuttttt … it appears the Supremes have ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the HHS Mandate.

The ruling, as I understand it (haven’t read it yet) is very narrow.

It says:

1. Closely held corporations (i.e., non public, “family” corporations

2. Do not have to abide by the contraceptive portion of the HHS Mandate

3. Due to First Amendment protections of religious freedom.

I have been told that is was a 5-4 ruling.

My source for this information was verbal and off the record, so I can’t give you a link to it directly, but this is a source of some information.

We’ll talk more, as I know more.


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