Thursday, January 27, 2011

How will future generations see us?

When I think back to the times of slavery or WWII Germany, I often wonder what it was like for everyday people. Why did they let injustice continue as long as it did? Did they feel powerless to stop it? Were they indifferent because it did not effect them? Did they think that it wasn't their place to step in, did they trust the judgment of those in authority and power?

So many questions to ponder about societies long ago. Will future generations ask these questions of us? In a hundred years, will people wonder how our generation allowed the injustice of denying personhood to the unborn? Will they wonder how so many people sat idle while over 50 million people were slaughtered? Will our grandchildren ask us, "What was it like living in a time of such injustice?"

I think they will, mainly because of two things. There is a great injustice being perpetrated all over the world under the guise of gender equality and "private family matters". Millions of people have legally been killed for over 40 years, which makes this one of the greatest injustices of all history. I also know that we are winning this fight. Since 2009, pro-life Americans have outnumbered those who consider themselves pro-choice. Pro-abortion groups are nervous at the make-up of Congress after the most recent elections, because of the new strong pro-life members. Bills that defend the dignity of all human life are being introduced and seem to have a good chance of being passed. Hundreds of thousands of people walked in the March for Life this year in D.C and many other marches have sprung up around the country; California, Texas, Louisiana, Oregon are just a few.

I have great hope that we will overcome this and two generations from now people will wonder how on earth we could have allowed this for so long. I just hope I have a good answer for them.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.
- Martin Niemöller 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Live Action Exposes Medically Innacurate Information at Planned Parenthood Clinic

For the last 2 1/2 years, Live Action has been going undercover at Planned Parenthood clinics to expose the illegal practices of many clinics. They have had some success with authorities, for instance, a Birmingham clinic that was shown covering up statutory rape was put on probation after the Attorney General launched an investigation. They have conducted a total of 14 undercover operations exposing various unethical or illegal actions at 14 Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. They have discovered attempts to cover up statutory rape, taking donations to abort specifically African-American children, and giving out medically inaccurate information during counseling.

In July, they went undercover at a clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana and discovered clinic staff counseling women that the heart does not start beating until the 8th or 9th week of development. In actuality, the heart begins to beat 3 weeks and 1 day after conception. The staff member also said , "It's not a baby, it's a fetus," which, she claims, is "not like a person." Even though looking at a picture of a "fetus" will tell you that it is very much "like a person."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

3,000 People Gathered in Downtown Baton Rouge to Work Toward an Abortion-Free Louisiana

Saturday, January 22nd was the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that made abortion-on-demand legal through all nine months of pregnancy. At 10 am, 3,000 people from Louisiana gathered behind the Old State Capitol to prayerfully walk through downtown to the State Capitol, in the first ever Louisiana Life March. Once at the Capitol steps, the crowd was greeted with the beautiful voices of a group of singers from Louisiana College in Pineville. Many religious and civil leaders were there lending their support for Louisiana to be the first abortion-free state. Bishop Muench started with a prayer and then Senator David Vitter spoke about his efforts to bring pro-life bills in front of the United States Senate. Also to speak was Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Dr. Land gave some startling statistics about the sheer numbers of people that have been killed through abortion. Many of us know that about 52 million lives have ended from abortion in America since the Roe v. Wade decision, but sometimes it is difficult to put that number in perspective. Dr. Land mentioned that more people have died from abortion in America, than all the casualties from all of the wars America has been involved in from the French and Indian War through the current list of casualties from the Middle East. A statistic that hits closer to home for most of us is that over 400,000 Louisiana lives have been ended by abortion. That is roughly the same amount of people as the entire East Baton Rouge parish. The most moving part of the morning was the testimony by Tears to Treasures founder, Michelle Durand. Michelle grew up in New Iberia and at 14 when she became pregnant she was taken to Baton Rouge’s Delta Women’s Clinic for an abortion. It took her 20 years to find healing and peace after her experience and now she has dedicated her life to helping other women who have gone through the tragedy of abortion.

The Louisiana Life March was one of many pro-life marches across the country over the last couple of weeks, the largest of which was the March for Life in Washington D.C. with an estimated 400,000 people in attendance. Youth from the Diocese of Baton Rouge filled seven buses to attend the march in D.C. One of our parishioners, Kathleen Lee, was a chaperone on the trip, she described her favorite part of the march as, “seeing the faces of the kids when we walked up to the National Mall to join the march. They were so excited to see the immensity of the crowed that had gathered to stand up for the dignity of life. To hear the youth pray and sing was incredible and they were a witness to their faith. They were so on fire and their hearts were changed by the experience.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

A call for "communication which is at once respectful and sensitive"

Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, in his annual message for the World Day of Social Communications, to imitate Christ in our online discussions.

We must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its 'popularity' or from the amount of attention it receives.
The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive.

Jesus, help us to be more like you in our lives. In all of our interactions, whether online or in person, help us to act and speak in charity and share your love with the world. Let us not seek to promote ourselves, but to point people towards you.

Mother Mary, pray for us that we may imitate your way of drawing people to Christ.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mommy, where do babies come from?

I'm sure many of us remember asking this question to our parents and every adult remembers the answer, "Well, honey, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much..." Why is that talk so often uncomfortable for parents? Because it means it's time to have the "sex talk." Ever since we were young we knew: sex is where babies come from.

So why, as a society, have we forgotten this simple fact? In the last 40 years we have gradually created a great divide between sex and babies. It has occurred from two angles. With contraception, we have convinced ourselves that there is no need for sex to ever result in babies unless we want it to. With artificial reproductive technology we have convinced ourselves that babies can be created in a laboratory if we so desire instead being the natural result of a sexual union.

I think this divide between sex and babies is one factor why abortion is so prevalent in our society. Women and men are told that if they use "protection", they will not get pregnant. They trust this, because even though they learned, perhaps years earlier, where babies come from, they believe in the "proven" methods of contraception. So what happens when that trust is betrayed? They end up with an "unintended" pregnancy and often end up at the abortion clinic. Many people believe that if we distribute more contraception we will have less unintended pregnancies and less abortions, but I wholeheartedly disagree. According to the Guttmacher Institute's Facts on Induced Abortion, January 2011, "Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method the month they became pregnant." That is more than half. If you live your life convinced that you are "protected" from becoming pregnant, but otherwise engaging in behavior that science has proven leads to pregnancy, it is not surprising that when you become pregnant it can be difficult to see that new life as anything other than an unwanted intrusion into your world.

I am not claiming that sex is only for procreation, simply that you cannot separate the two. Sex is very good at creating babies. Even oral contraceptives, for instance, do not only try to prevent conception, because if so they would have a much higher failure rate than they already do. According to the manufacturers, birth control pills work in three ways, the first two attempt to prevent conception (fertilization), but the third way actually prevents implantation after conception has already occurred. Basically, it prevents the uterine lining from building up so in case conception does occur, it causes a very early miscarriage of the pregnancy. Too early for anyone to know that they were ever pregnant.

We need to restore the connection between sex and babies. We need to remind people of what they learned when they were young. There would be no such thing as unintended pregnancies if we better understood our bodies and appreciated the wonderful gift from God that new life is.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oh What Power There is in Language!

It's been said before, but I must admit "pro-choice" is quite a clever term. Who isn't a fan of choice? I make choices all day long; some good, some bad, but none the less I enjoy the freedom to make them.One of the choices I have made is the choice to be pro-life. Does that count? Is that valid in the "pro-choice" movement? The short answer is no. People who believe that life should be protected as all stages of development are labeled "anti-choice", another great use of language. This implies that we are against choice, but as I said we make choices all day long. It's quite irrational to suggest that we are against ALL choice so it must be a euphemism to a specific choice. Why can't we call it what it is? I am perfectly okay with stating that I am anti-abortion. I use the term pro-life because it encompasses more that just abortion, but it is absolutely accurate to say that I am against the supposed right of abortion.

My question is "What do you mean by choice?" Are you specifically referring to the choice of abortion? Yes, according to the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).
We believe that women should have option to choose abortion. Today they can, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. But even though access to abortion is legal, our right to it is far from safe. Anti-choice groups attack our right to choose at every opportunity
The real question boils down to when does someone's choice interfere with the right's of another person. That's what the debate is really about. Look at the situation in Pennsylvania. Dr. Kermit Gosnell is charged with the murder of 7 newborns that he delivered alive then killed, and there seems to be a consensus among all people in the abortion debate that what he did was wrong. One pro-choice blogger wrote, "There is no excuse for killing newborns. That is not what being pro-choice is about."

The real difference in the two sides is where the line is drawn that denotes life. Some draw the line at birth, some at viability, some when it "looks like a baby", some at implantation and some at fertilization. Where do we go to get a clear answer to this question? Science? Philosophy? Religion? I believe that all three of these agree that at fertilization a distinct organism is created. It has DNA all its own and it immediately begins to grow develop and has a certain autonomy. Yes, it is dependent on another source for this continued growth, but so is a newborn, a two year-old, a twelve-year old, a severely disabled person, and many elderly persons. No man is an island; we all depend on others in order to thrive in our environments, yet we are all distinct human individuals with God-given rights that should be protected by law.

This is why I am Pro-Life