We Win, They Lose
The Wit and Wisdom of Three Guys Named Brent, Mark and Mike
Saturday, January 31, 2004
National Day of Purity
The Washington Times is reporting that the Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian group based in Florida, is promoting February 13 as a "National Day of Purity." The group is "encouraging students from fifth grade to college to make a public demonstration of their commitment to remain sexually pure, in mind and actions, until marriage." This is good news. Hopefully, many will heed the call.

Unfortunately, one of the reason's behind the Liberty Counsel's promotion is highly disturbing. The group reports that a high school freshman textbook tells students that "testing your ability to function sexually and give pleasure to another person may be less threatening in your early teens with people of your own sex. ... You may come to the conclusion that growing up means rejecting the values of your parents." And people wonder why conservatives are so critical of public education. This is outrageous!

Friday, January 30, 2004
More on Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
Earlier today, Steve over at SA directed readers to this lengthy critique of a Salon article and interview on Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. Hopefully, I will have a chance to post some additional commentary later. I will just say to those who choose to follow this link prepare to be dismayed at the ignorance and arrogance of both the Salon author and her interviewee. Unbelievable!!

Thursday, January 29, 2004
Religion and Abortion
NRO has an excellent commentary on Catholic Bishop Raymond Burke's decision to deny the Holy Communion to "public officials who act to expose the unborn to the violence of abortion." Critics have accused Bishop Burke of "crossing line" separating church and state. The commentators state however that:

The "crossing the line" charge is silly. In acting on his authority as a bishop to discipline members of his flock, Bishop Burke is exercising his own constitutional right to the free exercise of religion; he is not depriving others of their rights. No one is compelled by law to accept his authority. But Bishop Burke has every right to exercise his spiritual authority over anyone who chooses to accept it. There is a name for such people: They are called "Catholics."

Furthermore, they argue that:

By demanding that Catholic legislators honor the rights of all human beings, the unborn not excluded, Bishop Burke may cause them to reconsider implicating themselves in the injustice of abortion. (Surely he hopes to do that.) But not even his harshest critics charge that the bishop said or implied that the law of the state should be used to compel anyone to accept his authority. Catholic legislators remain legally free to vote as they please. Bishop Burke, in turn, enjoys the legal right to exercise his spiritual authority as a bishop to order them to refrain from receiving communion so long as they persist in what the Church teaches are acts of profound injustice against their fellow human beings. Freedom is a two-way street.

The issue is interesting. It raises questions about whether one can be true to one's religious beliefs (or the beliefs of one's religion (I find it strange when the two are not one in the same, but . . .)) on the serious question of abortion by supporting a woman's so-called right to choose. (For a discussion of whether "faithful" Mormons can be pro-choice see here). I have to say that I find it refreshing to see public officials having their feet held to the fire on this issue. It is true that you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Florida Adoption Law Upheld
Ms. Morality directs readers here to an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding Florida's adoption law which bans homosexuals from adopting children. It's nice to see that sometimes the courts get things right. I fear, however, what the Supreme Court might do on appeal.

"Conservative" Case for Same-Sex Marriage Collapses
Stanley Kurtz, in this week's Weekly Standard analyzes (part I here and part II here)the decline of marriage in the nations that first experimented with same-sex marriage. The warning from Sturtz's analysis:

Conservative advocates of gay marriage want to test it in a few states. The implication is that, should the experiment go bad, we can call it off. Yet the effects, even in a few American states, will be neither containable nor revocable. It took about 15 years after the change hit Sweden and Denmark for Norway's out-of-wedlock birthrate to begin to move from "European" to "Nordic" levels. It took another 15 years (and the advent of gay marriage) for Norway's out-of-wedlock birthrate to shoot past even Denmark's. By the time we see the effects of gay marriage in America, it will be too late to do anything about it. Yet we needn't wait that long. In effect, Scandinavia has run our experiment for us. The results are in.

Thus, it now becomes even more arguable that a Federal Marriage Amendment may be the only means to ensure the protection of marriage in America.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
The Party of Powerful Special Interest Groups
The Democrat Party often claims to be the party that will protect the American people from special interest groups. In fact, at a recent campaign event, now Democrat presidential frontrunner, John Kerry stated "I have spent my whole life fighting against powerful interests — and I've only just begun to fight."

The record, however, shows that the Democrats are beholden to several extremely powerful interest groups. What is interesting is to note that these groups champion ideals that are outside the American mainstream. For instance, yesterday the Democrat National Committee announced "A nationwide GLBT (gay, lesbian and transgender) voter mobilization program." The stated purpose of such a program is "to educate, register, and mobilize the GLBT community to help elect a Democratic President and Democrats at all levels." To foster support of the homosexual rights groups, the Democrat Party has embraced the views and political goals of such groups, which views and political goals run counter to the views of a majority of Americans.

Mark noted recently that the Democrat Party has also become the "Party of Abortion." On a day when many in America mourned the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the DNC celebrated. The organization released a press release which stated in part:

"Today I recognize an important decision which ensures personal freedom for all American women — the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade," Chairman McAuliffe said. "I am proud to honor this landmark decision, which ensured for American women what is nothing short of a fundamental human right."

Mr. McAuliffe made no mention, however, of the more than 65 million unborn children who have been aborted since the "landmark decision" or how their fundamental right to be human was affected by the decision. Again, the DNC's position on this issue is not consistent with public opinion, which has shown a steady decline in support of abortion on demand.

I could cite many other examples of the influence of powerful interests on the views and activities of the Democrat Party which run counter to the views of ordinary Americans (e.g. judicial appointments, war on Iraq, national health care, role of religion in public, etc.). I would encourage everyone to examine the Democrat Party platform and the Republican Party platform and see whose interests are represented, yours or those of "powerful interests." As an average American I have the power to make a difference. Collectively we can vote for good and moral law and Constitutional government. Our collective interests as American citizens are powerful indeed. I am just glad Senator Kerry was upfront about where he stood with respect to his opposition to such interests.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Shoddy reporting
Fox News carries an Associated Press story here which states that "A 3-year-old girl survived five days alone in a car after an accident that killed her mother, authorities said."

The story is heartwarming, and I am very happy that the little girl survived. But it goes on, stating:

"The only thing she could share with us is that she had been eating crackers and that's how she was able to survive these long days out in the elements," said Sgt. Frank Valenzuela, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

My question is this: if the only thing she could tell you was that she ate crackers, how do you know she was there for five days? Did she tell you? If so, why not tell us? If not, then how do you know? I have three little girls, and I doubt that any of them (except perhaps the oldest, six years old) would know how long five days is.

This is an example of crappy reporting -- if the authorities know she was there for exactly five days, they must have figured it out somehow. That should be included in the story, as I would be quite surprised if the little girl told them. The reporter should have ascertained how this information was known and reported it. Instead, we are left wondering. Which is more than you can say for the Associated Press and Fox News -- the thought apparently did not occur to them.

Proposed Marriage Amendment
Mark should have posted about proposed marriage amendment here at We Win, They Lose, or at least provided a link. (Slacker.) Check out his thoughtful proposal to protect marriage while preserving elements of federalism.

Whenever I read a story . . .
like this one, I can't help but think that somehow these tragic situations are related to the abortion issue. When you tell women that unborn children are "fetal tissue" and not living human beings worth protecting and caring for, is it really any wonder that after birth, some children are not given the care and nurturing they deserve. As Mark notes below, we have an entire political party that, on a national level, makes abortion one of its defining issues. Mark also commented previously on Wesley Clark's now infamous statement that "life begins with the mother's decision." What message does that send to men and women? Does such a statement encourage respect for human life? Does it promote an ideal, a moral principal? It makes me profoundly sad to read news stories about attacks on young children like that in the Washington Times story above. However, it is even more disheartening to see that a political movement whose sole aim is to destroy human life wields ultimate control over one of our nation's two political parties.

The Party of Abortion
Over at NRO, Ramesh Ponnuru echoes a point I made three weeks ago -- Wesley Clark's views on abortion, though radical and callous, are the norm for his party.

Says Ponnuru:

So everyone has been jumping on General Wesley Clark for saying that he supported a right to abortion up until the moment of birth. This position, the critics have said, is extreme and outrageous. I certainly agree with those characterizations. But hasn't anybody noticed that the position Clark announced is the position of all of his Democratic rivals and of the party he now calls home? If his position is extreme and outrageous, so is theirs.

As I said then, "you will not hear a peep about [Clark's stance] from a single other Democrat candidate -- they all agree with this nutcake, and his radical views on abortion. How pathetic."

A week later, I followed up with this:

Do you think that there is a single Democrat willing to distance themselves from this ideology? I don't -- in the Democrat party the most radical stance on abortion sets the standard. Anything less, and you might as well be pro-life.

To illustrate, the San francisco Chronicle carries the following article, in which the various Democrats each try to show that they are the ones most committed to abortion. Says John Kerry:

"I'm the only candidate running for president who hasn't played games, fudged around."

Hey, at least he said "fudged" this time.

Sunday, January 25, 2004
Join in the fun!
Two good posts over at SA. (here and here)

"We're good to go with Gen. Clark.''
So says Kate Michelman, the outgoing president of NARAL. And it's no wonder -- as I noted previously here and here, General Clark has stated repeatedly under direct questioning that he would not put any limits on a woman's right to abortion.

McQuaid: Late term abortion? No limits?

Clark: Nope.

McQuaid: Anything up to delivery?

Clark: Nope, nope.

Now, however, the Washington Post reports:

Clark also said he would support legislation banning "partial birth" abortions as long as an exception is included based on the health of the woman.

Another Post story titled "The Timeless Art of Dodging a Question" discusses Clark's appearance before reporters following his remarks at a Planned Parenthood in honor of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

What's this, General? Uncomfortable with your radical stance?

This guy is an idiot, uncomfortable with his own supposed beliefs. Unfortunately, that is true for most political candidates these days. None of them are sure of themselves, none of them know what they believe or why they believe it. Pretty pathetic.

Friday, January 23, 2004
The Passion of the Christ
Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ has been stirring up controversy for quite some time now. Apparently, a couple of individuals from the Anti-Defamation League snuck their way into a recent showing of the film. The ADL has now issued a strongly worded press release against the film. Here is just a snippet:

We were saddened and pained to find that "The Passion of the Christ" continues its unambiguous portrayal of Jews as being responsible for the death of Jesus. There is no question in this film about who is responsible. At every single opportunity, Gibson's film reinforces the notion that the Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob are the ones ultimately responsible for the Crucifixion.

The statement also claims:

Mel Gibson has every right to say that this is his personal religious vision. But when he says it is historically accurate, that gives us concern, as the film runs contrary to Biblical scholarship and the teachings of Vatican II, which absolved the Jewish people of guilt in the death of Jesus.

Mel Gibson stuck to the text of the Gospels. History records that Jewish leadership at the time of Christ and a Jewish mob were in fact responsible for Christ's crucifixion. It matters little if liberal modern "scholarship" and politically correct teachings wish to bury this fact. It must also be remembered that Christ also was a Jew as were his apostles and other disciples. The target of the apostles' initial missionary efforts were Jewish. I think we are sufficiently educated and civilized to accept historical facts and not cast blame on groups of people today. In the late 1830's Missourians ran the Mormons out of Missouri, burning and killing as they did so, but you don't see anyone laying blame on modern day Missourians for a set of historical bad actors.

It is sad to see the ADL make such an issue of a movie that is designed to inspire and touch people's lives simply because the historical facts are not what the organization would like them to be. Contrary to what the ADL claims, I imagine and hope that this film will inspire mankind toward greater love, peace and kindness, for that was Christ's message.

Roe v. Wade--31 Years Later
Thirty-one years ago, yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued one of the worst decisions in our nation's history (if not the worst), Roe v. Wade. Around the blogosphere and internet, various people have commented recently on Roe and its effects on our lives. Check out some of the commentary and news stories (here, here, here, here and here).

Thursday, January 22, 2004
John Stossel's New Book
NRO published this review of John Stossel's new book Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media... about his experiences as an investigative journalist. Worldnetdaily published this review last week. Sounds like a good read.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Ohio Passes DOMA Legislation
I've posted previously about my involvement in trying to get Defense of Marriage legislation passed in Ohio. (See here and here). Earlier today, after seven years, the Ohio General Assembly finally came through, passing legislation designed to prevent the recognition of same-sex marriages in Ohio. The vote today in the Ohio Senate was much closer than I would have anticipated. All of the Senate Democrats voted against the bill, and four Republicans did as well.

It is satisfying to see the the system work. Many good people put a lot of time and effort into protecting traditional marriage, and their work paid off. If the governor signs this bill into law, and he has said that he will, Ohio will become the 38th state to pass legislation of this kind (whether via constitutional amendment, public referendum or the legislative process). This is Constitutionally significant, not technically but rather symbolically, in that a Federal Marriage Amendment will require ratification by 38 states.

My state Senator, Steve Stivers, was among the Republicans who voted against marriage and family. He is up for reelection this year. I am somewhat seriously considering looking into what it would take to run against this guy. He lied to me and to some of his other constituents. His vote on this important legislation is going to come back to haunt him.

State of the Union
What is that? State of the Union? Isn't that the name of that new national bank with an unlimited supply of money? It sure sounded like it. Although I thought that President Bush said some good things in his address last night, I couldn't help but notice the number of unconstitutional programs he proposed. It appears that the President doesn't think there are any problems to small or large that the Federal government cannot fix with a new program or by providing Federal funds to the states. Thus, I found the State of the Union address more depressing than many. (I mean, just look at this laundry list of new "initiatives".)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Planned Parenthood Humor
Sometimes Planned Parenthood can be pretty funny. Here they are last week, commenting on President Bush's recess appointment of Judge Pickering:

Today, in a move that completely circumvented Congress, President Bush installed Charles Pickering to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit with a recess appointment. A recess appointment is a rarely used administrative tactic that avoids the official congressional confirmation process.

Hmmmm... "A rarely used administrative tactic that avoids the official congressional confirmation process"? Now, where have I heard that before? Oh, that's right -- the Senate Democrats have used one (an unprecedented use, I might add) for two years to block a vote on Pickering. It's called a filibuster.

PP also states:

His views are dangerously out of step with the majority of American voters, which is why Senate Democrats blocked Pickering's nomination three separate times.

If his views are "dangerously out of step with the majority of American voters" then why not allow a vote in the Senate? Oh that's right -- he would be confirmed by a majority of the Senate made up of members of both parties.

Dangerously out of step, indeed.

Finally, here's a funny one from PP's website. Check out this quote:

"I think it sends a message to young women, little girls and women in general that there are no boundaries… You can do whatever you like."
— Joanne Hayes-White
The Associated Press, January 11, 2004

What is Ms. Hayes-White discussing? Abortion? Partial-birth abortion?

No, it turns out that she spoke these words upon being named San Francisco fire chief and heading an 1,800-person department.

Marriage (Again)
Sorry for yet another post on marriage, but I have been working vigorously on promoting Ohio's Defense of Marriage Act, so the topic is fresh in mind. I came across this excellent commentary about marriage yesterday. The author poses the question "What does love have to do with marriage?" It is an excellent question. Obviously love is important, but what do we mean by love? Successful marriages are those in which the husband and wife truly discover what love is. Furthermore, a couple's or even society's view of love does not provide the foundation of our definition of marriage. There is much more involved.

The article reminded me of a scene from the movie Shenendoah starring Jimmy Stewart (one of my all time favorite actors.) In it, Jimmy Stewart's character asks his daughter's suitor if he likes his daughter. The suitor responds, "No sir, I love her." Stewart responds that love is not enough. Instead, you have to like the person you are going to marry. Love, Jimmy Stewart says, is something that comes later. (I am going to have to rent the movie again, because I am just paraphrasing here.) Anyway, it is a great scene with an important message about love and marriage.

Monday, January 19, 2004
Funny line
Just came across a very funny post. Today was the first time I have visited the site (Hot Licks & Rhetoric), but it looks worth a repeat visit or two. The line appears at the end of the post:

In politics, it's one thing to have a big tent; it's another when you're using it to house a circus.

Bush's Approval Dropping
CBS News is reporting that Bush's approval rating has dropped ten points over the past couple of weeks. This really should surprise no one, as he and his administration continue to alienate their base of support. Although I would attribute the decline to the always present negative portrayal of the President by the liberal media, I truly believe his numbers are going to continue to drop until he starts acting like a conservative. People want leadership. They want action. They want progress. Bush has continued the sorry socialist agenda the liberals have thrown at us for decades. Mark points to another example of what I am talking about here. People assume that conservatives will not abandon the President or the Republican party because of the alternative. They would be naive to assume that. No one likes to be taken for granted or betrayed. Bush is treading on thin ice and many are beginning to feel betrayed. Only he can right his ship.

Saturday, January 17, 2004
Support for traditional mariage = "stealth attack on gays"?
Craig Crawford, a columnist at cq.com, has been doing a solid job of reporting interesting items about the presidential election for some time, quite objectively as far as I could tell. In yesterday's article, however, I found a slight (actually, not-so-slight) hint of Mr. Crawford's politics.

His article discusses President Bush's upcoming State of the Union address, stating it "should be a fascinating look at how Bush intends to energize his conservative base during the final nine months of his re-election campaign." Crawford notes that Bush will seek to paint himself as in favor of "traditional marriage" and let others draw the inference that he is opposed to gay marriage, while Democrats support it. This is known as the positive-negative.

As Crawford explains the "positive-negative," he also betrays his own feelings on the matter:

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter skillfully deployed the positive-negative strategy: Without ever mentioning the widely-publicized adultery of his primary rival Edward M. Kennedy, the Carter camp ran television ads praising their candidate as a decent family man. When supporters of the Massachusetts senator complained, they only provoked public discussion about the hidden theme of the Carter ad: that Kennedy was an untrustworthy womanizer.

So it will be with the Bush stealth attack on gays. Republican operatives will let those who complain about the President's vocal support of traditional marriage carry forward their hidden purpose: to convince voters that Democrats support gay marriage.

Portraying Democrats as out of sync with the cultural mainstream not only shores up Bush's support in solid GOP states. It also gives him a fighting chance in battleground states he barely lost in 2000, such as heavily-Roman Catholic Pennsylvania.

If the Bush team is lucky it will be able to energize the president's anti-gay supporters without clearly endorsing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — a move some Republicans fear would create a backlash among tolerant moderates. But if Bush's political advisers calculate that they must endorse the ban to fire up the evangelical Christians, they will do so.

Did you catch that? Bush's support of traditional marriage is a "stealth attack on gays." Those who support Bush in this are first referred to as "the president's anti-gay supporters," but in the next sentence we are told who these "anti-gay supporters" of President Bush really are: those evil "evangelical Christians." Get it?

Just for good measure, Crawford throws in that moderates are -- what else? -- tolerant. Of course.

The underlying message of this contrast (the "anti-gay supporters" of President Bush's evil plan to support traditional marriage vs. the "tolerant moderates" who oppose this mad man's quest) is that those who favor gay marriage are members of the latter group -- the "tolerant moderates." What a swell group -- especially when compared with those horrible Christians.

Saying that support for traditional marriage is a stealth attack on gays is like saying support for stay-at-home mothers is a stealth attack on day care centers. But how about this guy, acting as merely an objective political observer while slipping in negative images of those with whom he disagrees. Talk about a stealth attack.

Friday, January 16, 2004
Protecting Traditional Marriage
In light of discussions elsewhere in the blogosphere (see here and here), I wanted to post a couple of links to good articles discussing marriage. This public policy position paper by Dr. Allan C. Carlson, PhD makes some compelling arguments about why marriage should be and is burdened and privileged as a matter of public policy. Other arguments against same-sex marriage and in favor of traditional marriage can be found here and here.

Thursday, January 15, 2004
"This looks suspicious"
A child molester was found dead in his cell -- hmmm, I wonder what happened?

Richard A. Ausley, who was convicted of burying a 13-year-old boy in a box and sexually molesting him, was found dead in a cell he shared with another inmate, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections said yesterday.

"This looks suspicious, and we are investigating," spokesman Larry Traylor said, adding that he could not elaborate.

Jacoby on Polygamy
Writing in the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby has an excellent column on a Utah trio's quest for marriage, as they define it -- one husband, two wives. A taste:

The implication of Lawrence and Goodridge is that the only people entitled to decide whether an intimate relationship is meaningful enough to deserve legal protection are the parties to that relationship themselves. If other courts follow suit, the damage inflicted on the social order as we know it will be considerable.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Singer for veep?
As a follow-up to my previous post on Wesley Clark's no-holds-barred view of abortion, I present the following transcript from an exchange between Clark and Joseph W. McQuaid, publisher of The Union Leader:

McQuaid: Let’s take an issue. Abortion. Are there any limits on it in your mind?

Clark: I don’t think you should get the law involved in abortion—

McQuaid: At all?

Clark: Nope.

McQuaid: At all?

Clark: It’s between a woman, her doctor, her friends and her family.

McQuaid: Late term abortion? No limits?

Clark: Nope.

McQuaid: Anything up to delivery?

Clark: Nope, nope.

McQuaid: Anything up to the head coming out of the womb?

Clark: I say that it’s up to the woman and her doctor, her conscience, and law — not the law. You don’t put the law in there.

Do you think that there is a single Democrat willing to distance themselves from this ideology? I don't -- in the Democrat party the most radical stance on abortion sets the standard. Anything less, and you might as well be pro-life. But does the American public actually support this kind of nonsense? I doubt it.

Think about it -- the only person with a more radical stance on baby-killing than Clark is Peter Singer. Betcha Dean names Singer as his VP -- the Democrats would consider that a real coup.

No Quarter
While media attention was elsewhere, New Jersey became the fifth state to pass domestic partnership legislation, extending some of the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples and to other partners over the age of 62. The New York Times reports on this here.

What is most alarming from the news article is that in "debating" the measure, not a single person rose to speak against the bill. Where are those who would defend marriage and traditional morality? It seems we are losing the will to stand up for true principles. No one likes to be labeled a "homophobe" or bigot. This is especially true where such charges are so unfounded. I weary of some of the attacks leveled against me. But if the opposition is successful with such a smear and attack campaign on this issue, then what follows? The camel got his nose in the tent, and now his head. Pretty soon, there won't be room in the tent for anyone but the camel.

Saturday, January 10, 2004
God: Liberal Enemy Number One
Thomas Krannawitter has an excellent post of that title over at The Claremont Institute. A taste:

Liberals need to drive God out of American public life if their political and social agenda is ever to succeed. Politically, the idea of God-given rights is anathema to the idea of an all-powerful government. If rights are gifts from God, and belong equally to all human beings, then the purpose of government is the equal protection of those rights. That purpose sets a limit on government: government cannot become so large and powerful that it threatens the rights it is supposed to protect. The premise of the liberal state is precisely the opposite: rights, or entitlements, come from government, and what government has the authority to give it has the authority to take, anytime and anyway it pleases.

Asexuals of the World, Unite!!!
In the past two months since the Goodridge decision, I have been looking for a single supporter of same-sex marrriage to present a new definition of marriage incorporating homosexuals. I have not seen one. I wonder why? Probably because the same arguments made against the current definition of marriage excluding homosexuals can be made against any new definition including homosexuals, and excluding children, groups, siblings, etc.

In this sense, any definition promulgated by same-sex supporters falls prey to the same arguments the current definition does -- i.e., it's exclusionary, blah, blah, blah. After all, why can't a polygamist, or a brother/sister duo, or a group of thirty people claim that they "love" each other and wish to be married? Under what theory (or definition) can a same-sex supporter deny them the same right, without being hoisted on his own petard?

And what about someone who does not "love" anyone enough to marry? Is that his or her fault? Should he or she be penalized by society for being asexual? On what basis? Why can't an asexual marry himself, and graduate to the benefits of marriage?

If anyone can direct me to a definition proposed by anyone on the same-sex side, I would appreciate it. But I won't hold my breath. I bet there aren't any. And I think I know why.

Thursday, January 08, 2004
This guy makes about as much sense as a ham sandwich at a bar mitzvah...
Wesley Clark is a complete idiot. The Union Leader begins an article about his views on "choice" as follows:

Democrat Wesley Clark said yesterday he would never appoint a pro-life judge to the federal bench because the judge’s anti-abortion views would render him unable to follow the established judicial precedent of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The article quotes several of Clark's completely illogical statements. I will list just a couple of them below, along with my comments:

“Life begins with the mother’s decision.”
-- First of all, this statement is factually untrue. Medical science and common sense have long concurred in the obvious point that human life begins at conception. Aside from that, what if the mother makes her decision when the child is three years old? And by the way, how is the woman making the choice considered a "mother" unless the thing in her womb is a child, rather than a fetus, tissue mass, etc? Finally, why do you put such faith in the ability of a woman to make this decision? Any woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy (unless raped) has already made one huge bad decision -- why trust her with another, this one involving life and death?

“I don’t believe people whose ideological agenda is to burn the law or remake the law or reshape it should be appointed whether they are from either side.... I want a guy who will do [sic] judicial precedent.”
-- Well, Wes, if that is true, how can you support Roe v. Wade, and thus the right to abortion? If the Supreme Court had been following "established judicial precedent," they certainly never would have invented a previously unheard of right to privacy, then expanded it to include the act of a mother killing her child. Moreover, does that mean that the Court can never change course? What about Brown v. Board of Education, overruling Plessy? What if your view were adopted following Dred Scott? Once that was ensconced in "precedent" should it have been blindly followed forever? Finally, are you for or against the recent Lawrence decision overruling Bowers v. Hardwick? If you agree with the decision, on what basis? It certainly did not "do" judicial precedent, if that is your criteria.

Once again, the supporters of choice at any cost have elevated the right to abortion above all else, including the Constitution. These people sound so ridiculous, and with the least bit of examination their arguments collapse -- how have they maintained the fiction that they are anywhere near the mainstream of America? They are raving lunatics. What is most saddening and informative about this is that you will not hear a peep about this from a single other Democrat candidate -- they all agree with this nutcake, and his radical views on abortion. How pathetic.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004
LDS Church Conference and Protesters
Every six months (first weekend in April and October) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a "General Conference." At these conferences, the leaders of the worldwide church offer inspiring words of counsel and instruction over a two-day period. The proceedings are broadcast to church buildings around the world as well as over cable and satellite tv and over the internet. Large numbers of people also attend the conferences at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Unfortunately, protesters also show up every six months at these conferences to heckle and harass the conference attendees, as reported here and here. The level of harassment and has escalated to include the desecration of clothing held sacred by members of the LDS church. This prompted at least two conference attendees to take action against the protesters, which action led to their arrests.

Most simply ignore the protesters, while others have taken a bolder, but less overbearing approach to dealing with the harassment. My father sent me an article written by a woman who was serving as a missionary for the LDS Church on the Church's Temple Square during the April 2003 conference. I found it very inspiring and thus reproduce it in its entirey below:

To be a missionary on Temple Square during General Conference is absolute heaven! Members of the Church travel hundreds of miles to Salt Lake City to see a prophet of God. The feeling within the walls is of peace, sacrifice,
love, and testimony. Some members of the Church who don't have a ticket to get into a conference session will wait in lines inside the square for hours in hopes of crossing the street to the beautiful Conference Center. No one is impatient or grumpy as they wait. Even as it hailed and snowed, smiles are seen and laughs are heard as members try to squeeze under umbrellas of those in line with them. What a happy, joyous thrill it is to be a part of this event.

Outside the walls of Temple Square, however, the scene is quite different.
Several very vocal protesters have been attending General Conferences for
many years. Each conference their following grows and becomes louder and
even more disturbing than the last. Their main purpose? To yell and scream
terrible things about the leaders, the doctrine and the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in this way convince us we are wrong. The last time I checked, yelling profane assumptions at families who are minding their own business wasn't the most effective teaching method. Yet, their posters and billboards get bigger, their voices louder and the result is the same-families scramble, covering the ears of their little ones as they hurry across the street between the Conference Center and Temple Square, where within the walls they can again feel the peace of the Spirit.

The Church got smart last year and came up with a plan. Anti-Mormons can buy a permit from the city to stand in a specific spot and conduct their protest. The Church decided to purchase their own permits, as well. They purchased one permit on the Conference Center side of the street and one on the Temple Square side of the street, just outside the gates. The Church called a special meeting with those sisters in mission leadership positions and asked us to be brave and place ourselves smack dab in the middle of all the drama. Can you imagine two sets of young sisters standing at their designated posts in the midst of mobs of angry men holding posters,yelling, and blowing their noses in sacred garments and waving them in the air. We were a small force, but a mighty one. We had shifts, so we'd stand for two hours and then recharge back inside the Square before going back out to the lions.

One funny thing about these men is that they are paid to do this, and so when each Conference session started and everyone was inside, there was no one to yell at, so they'd put their signs and megaphones down and relax. This was an opportune time to chat. We called one anti-Mormon over who seemed to be our age and asked why he was here. He didn't really know. He was cold and "kind of wanted to get back home." He came all the way from the east coast. (I hope he got a big paycheck.) We noticed one more man who seemed mentally slower than the others. As everyone was entering the Conference Center, he was holding an arrow that said "False Prophet," but it was pointed at the man next to him who was also an anti-Mormon. When his partner noticed, he re-directed his arrow so it was pointing at the Conference Center. We chuckled.

Now that it had died down we made eye contact with this man and smiled. He smiled back and waved as if he wasn't aware of what he was being asked to do. My companion and I had a break, so we went across the street, back to Temple Square, to warm up. Before our next shift we really prayed that our presence would have some kind of impact. Conference let out and as we positioned ourselves on the post outside of the gates of Temple Square, we watched as 21,000 people came streaming out of the Conference Center, spiritually fed and strengthened. I said one more prayer just as the anti-Mormons picked up all of their megaphones and signs. As we watched the peace destroyed and the faces of the members saddened and afraid of the mobs of yelling men, we were moved to action. My companion who has an incredibly powerful voice turned to me and said, "Let's sing hymns and try to out sing these guys." We began singing hymns as loud as we could.

A few missionary sisters joined in and as the members crossed the street, they started to hear the singing behind all of the yelling. As they looked past the mobs they saw us, and some joined in. We became very powerful, which angered the men, causing them to yell louder. It didn't matter-the members' faces turned from fear to happiness as they saw a small army of Saints standing for truth. Some mouthed the words "thank you," many waved and everyone smiled! More and more Saints joined in and we found more and more courage as we bore our testimony through song.

As the mobs chanted "false prophet, false prophet," we sang with power "We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet." As they chanted "the Book of Mormon is false," we sang with fervor, "We are as the Armies of Helaman," and as they yelled with their megaphones that we were going to "burn in hell" we sang with full hearts, "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning." The feeling was unmistakable. The presence of the Spirit was powerful and we were all brought to tears. Never had the contrast between good and evil been so clear to those standing there that day.

In the midst of it all, my eyes were drawn to one man who had stopped yelling. I watched for a moment as the spirit of the music utterly stopped him from yelling. He lowered his sign and looked back to see a small army of Saints with faith in their eyes as they lifted their voices in song. He looked back down at his sign with the expression on his face as if to say, "what am I doing here?" There he stood with his head down, touched by the Spirit. At that moment I began to cry, knowing that the gospel of Jesus Christ will go forth boldly, nobly and independent and that no unhallowed hand will stop it. No amount of yelling men will change what is true and cause me to doubt the confirmation I received that day.

How grateful I am for the spirit of truth and for the hearts that were touched through this wonderful experience. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning, and will continue to burn brightly forever.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004
What would be on your list?
The start of a new year always brings with it the making of lists, whether mentally or on paper. Meridian Magazine has reprinted the transcript of a speech by George Roche, former President of Hillsdale College entitled "The List Every American Should Make." In his speech, President Roche produces a list of what he viewed as the some of the reasons suggesting that our nation was in trouble during the 1990s. Among these he included the loss of values, the loss of truth, loss of moral literacy, loss of trust, loss of empathy, loss of independence and confidence, loss of family, and loss of faith. He makes a compelling case. Various anecdotal and statistical evidence could be added to the examples he gives.

President Roche, however, remarks that, notwithstanding the apparent loss of such important principles, "cheerfulness will keep breaking in." Indeed, he states that this sentiment would "make a great title for another list–a list of what is right in America." He says that:

"Despite our troubles, we have many reasons to expect a bright future. There are literally millions of us who, for the most part, do defend our values, who do tell the truth, who do live honorably and virtuously, who do live up to high moral standards, who do exhibit trust, independence, and empathy, who do build strong families, and who are courageous witnesses to faith."

"For over two hundred years, we have found ways of overcoming adversity and succeeding against all odds. Though they may sometimes be threatened, our best qualities–optimism, resilience, moral imagination, ingenuity, charity, compassion, and spiritual strength–have a way of resurfacing when we need them most."

"How can we help our best qualities resurface now, at this moment in time? We can begin by learning from some of the greatest lists of all."

He then lists several great lists including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Ten Commandments and the Pope's message to the United Nations.

Surely other great lists might also be included. For instance, I would include Paul's list of the attributes of charity. Christ's list of beattitudes from the Sermon on the Mount is another great list. There are others.

However, while looking to great lists is helpful, I believe that it is worth the effort to make one's own lists. Such lists are much more meaningful. They force us to evaluate our situation and our values. If we prayerfully ponder what we value and what might bring us, our families and our nation greater peace, prosperity and happiness, we discover something about ourselves and reach toward eternal truth.

What lists would you include or create as being of greatest significance, to you, your family, your community, your nation?

Saturday, January 03, 2004
The Anybody-But-Dean Scenario
That's the title of a section in Craig Crawford's latest column on the Democrat nomination. He states:

Despite their complaints that Dean is an unelectable goof, his Democratic foes are left with highly questionable scenarios for beating him. Most importantly, none have raised anything close to the $40 million he garnered in 2003. History shows that the fundraising leader at this juncture of a campaign goes on to win the nomination.

Aides to the other candidates eagerly present theories on toppling Dean that mostly sound like the ramblings of 16th century pseudo-prophet Nostradamus.

Only one scenario would almost certainly stop Dean. The losers must drop out and rally behind a winner. The major alternatives to Dean — Gephardt, retired Gen.Wesley K. Clark and Sens. John Edwards, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman — must thin their ranks to one or two candidates if they really think they must stop Dean from leading the party off a cliff.

So long as this race is about the front-runner vs. five serious foes splitting the vote, Dean will be the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.

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