Religion and the Public Square

For years I’ve heard many politicians who claim to be faithful Christians claim that their faith is a private matter.  This has always struck me as odd.  Where do you get your values?  I get them from the Bible and the Church.  If you get your values from “your heart” then the earlier statement may be legitimate, but don’t tell me that you’re a faithful Christian but you leave your faith at home.  This is, to put it bluntly, nonsense.

In today’s Gospel, Mat 5:13-16 , Jesus says to his Disciples (us Christians) that we are “the salt of the earth”  and a “light on a hill.”  He further states that we “do not light a lamp and put it under a basket.”  This means that we are to be examples to the world.  Our faith must be a light to others.  Leaving your faith at home is akin to lighting a lamp and putting it under a basket.  Bishop Robert Barron, an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and a brilliant scholar makes this statement about today’s reading: “religiosity is like salt, light, and an elevated city: it is meant not for oneself but for others.”   To deny your faith in public is to deny your faith in God.

Bishop Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Philadelphia and before that of Denver has an excellent piece that he wrote in 2009 about faith and the public square.  Click here to read it.  All this reminds me of what Joe Biden said in his debate with Paul Ryan in 2012.  Click here for the video.  I’m also reminded of a famous quote of Jesus about being hot or cold, but if you’re lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth in Revelation 3:15.  Leaving your faith at home is being lukewarm.

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Science and the Beginning of Life

Yesterday I watched the Town Hall discussion on the Fox News Channel with Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic Candidate for President.  The question of pro-life came up whereby Klobuchar repeated the trite talking points of the Democratic left:  “It’s a woman’s choice” or “it’s up to a woman to decide” when to terminate, i.e. kill, their unborn baby.  I’m baffled by the fact that the moderators never challenged Klobuchar on the science of what is the unborn?  The left is always proud to point to science as their frame of reference, and they should.  As a pro-lifer, I’ve often heard that it’s us who are “anti-science,”  not them.

Allow me to take up this science issue.  Science is nearly unanimous in acknowledging that human life begins at conception.  Click here to see dozens of reference where science states that life begins at conception.  So the question I have is why is it that media commentators, interviewers and others who deal with this question never bring this up?

Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D, wrote a terrific little book called “Ten Universal Principles, A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues in 2009.  The book deals with the philosophy of the pro-life argument; no religion or Bible is quoted, just universal logic.  According to the argument made by the left and Amy Klobuchar as mentioned earlier, their statements of “it’s up to a woman to decide,” or “it’s a woman’s choice” is an expression that is arbitrarily asserted with no science or logic behind it; it follows, then, that what can be arbitrarily asserted, can be arbitrarily denied.  End of discussion.  On page 16 of the Spitzer book, he makes this statement:  “We cannot simply assert something as a matter of our subjective opinion (that is, and opinion that we claim to be true just because we felt or believed that it was so).”  

Statements made by the left and Klobuchar  on life issues are worthless without publicly verifiable proof; they are just opinions.  We need publicly verifiable evidence.  Dr. Jerome Lejeune, a French geneticist, and discoverer of the cause of Down Syndrome, stated that a single cell human zygote has a full human genome.  This is very different than any other human cell such as a somatic cell, any cell in humans such as skin or bone cells. A human zygote has all the information needed to develop into a human being, without further intervention.  A somatic cell cannot develop into anything else, other than what it already is, such as a skin cell.  A skin cell can never become a human being.

I hope that media interviewers will do some homework and ask some good questions on this issue.  The country is waiting to be informed on this issue, not to be snow-balled on leftist, mindless opinions, and pseudo facts.

The Road to Damascus

Two powerful anti-abortion movies have been made in the last year.  “Gosnell” and “Unplanned.” Both based on actual historical events. Gosnell finally appeared in US Theaters last October after a two-year battle with the “powers that be” of Hollywood, who did everything in their power to prevent its showing in theaters.  Gosnell was the true story of one of the most prolific abortion doctors in US History, Dr. Kermit Gosnell.  His clinic in Philadelphia was a shocking house of horrors. Dr. Gosnell worked without fear of being found out.  The horror of his abortions clinic was shocking to see for its filth and butchery, but what turned out to be more troubling was that both state and local authorities willingly refused to even acknowledge what was going on there, even though they were aware of it.  Their motto was “see no evil, hear no evil.”

This past Friday a new movie came out on the subject of abortion, “Unplanned.”  The movie is a factual dramatization of a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, Abby Johnson’s experience of what went on in her abortion clinic in Bryan, Texas and her change from a fervent abortion supporter to a fierce opponent of abortion.  The movie is based on the book by the same name by Johnson which first appeared in 2011, two years after Johnson quit her job with Planned Parenthood.  The movie is a powerful and devastating portrayal of the human tragedy that is abortion.  It starts out with the powerful scene of Johnson being asked to assist with an abortion where she is manning the ultrasound machine for the doctor so he can see where the baby is inside the womb.  The scene is hard to watch.  We see a perfectly shaped human baby being sucked out of the womb and mashed into a red sauce like substance by a vacuum machine.  We later see the empty cavity in the stomach of a woman where there was a perfect baby just seconds before.  If there is an example of man’s inhumanity to man, this has to be one of them.

In ancient days, children were offered up as sacrifices after birth.  The pagan god, Baal, was famous for sacrificing children to appease the gods for a good harvest.  If you think this is insane, so is what happens in an abortion.  The Mayans and Aztecs in our own hemisphere practiced human sacrifice.  Today, our own culture practices human sacrifice and calls it “woman’s right to choose.”  Abortion is done for convenience.  If you’re a young woman in college and you don’t want to deal with child rearing, abortion is encouraged.   If you think the ancients were bad, you only need to look in your back yard.  In Los Angeles  alone there are approximately 110 abortions per day between sun-up and sun-down.  California does not report how many abortions it performs.  The yearly estimate for the United States is about 1.2 million per year, even without California.  At the yearly Roe vs. Wade anniversary the Bishop of Los Angeles offers a Mass called A Requiem for the Unborn in which over 100 candles are lit to commemorate the daily number of abortion in Los Angeles alone.

What will our society’s legacy be for the future generations?  What will they say 100, 200 years from now about our era?  Was it that we reached the moon, invented the Internet or how many of our own children we killed in the womb by dismembering their bodies in the womb?

Abby Johnson’s experience is what can be called a Damascus experience, referring to what happened to the Apostle Paul when he had an encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus and changed from a persecutor and killer of Christians to being its biggest saint.  Before Johnson’s conversion, there is a scene in the movie where her supervisor, to test her pro-abortion resolve, showed her a dead, fully formed fetus body on a table.  Abby looked and showed no emotion; she passed the test. Abby was later promoted to clinic director and became a prolific abortion provider.  Her clinic was one of the best producers.  Abby won an award for her work.

It was good to see that the theater was packed for the 7:00 PM showing in Rolling Hills, California.  The movie is playing nationwide.  Be sure to see it.  If possible, take a friend with you who may either be pro-choice or straddling the fence.

Is Abortion an Option?

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The Lenten season is the time for the 40 Days for Life campaign in the U.S. and many other places in the world.  Click here for information on 40 Days for Life, as well as locations near you.  My wife and I make time to visit the one near us in Lawndale, California.  The vigil is in front of the Planned Parenthood facility on Hawthorne Blvd and 147th Street.  As we were standing on the sidewalk holding pro-life signs many motorists pass-by honking their horn and flashing a thumbs up sign, in approval for what we do.  Not all approve though.  I’m sure we irritate many who are fervently pro-abortion, or as the PC crowd would call it, “pro-choice.”

One person who had stopped for a red light in a pick-up truck was heard asking “is not abortion a choice?”  Good question.  You would probably automatically say yes, but that would not be correct.  Is killing a human being an option?  Of course not.  We don’t need the Bible to know that.   We were born with an inherent conscience and a sense of what’s right and wrong.   This is referred to in philosophy as “The Natural Law.”  Natural law is written in our hearts.  If you don’t believe it, try stealing your neighbor’s stereo system and see if he/she complains; and if he/she complains ask why.  The killing of a human being is NOT an option.  These are the most vulnerable and helpless human beings.  How can we not protect them?  Will a mother leave her baby alone unattended?

A Doctor Declares Abortion as Doing “God’s Work.”

Some recent postings on Facebook have highlighted some “Christian Pastors” celebrating abortions and blessing Planned Parenthood offices.  One, a doctor, even mentioned that he is doing “God’s work” by aborting babies because “he’s helping women.”   The word, abomination, comes to mind when I see this.  This medical doctor says that by dismembering a fully formed human being in the womb, he is doing God’s work?   Here is the story about this doctor, Willie Parker.  Click here to read it.  Lord help us.

We really don’t need any theology or the Bible, for that matter, to know that what was just described earlier is not only nonsense but a clear-cut abomination.  We don’t need the Bible to know that murder is wrong, for instance.  We know that we can’t kill human beings like we kill an animal for food.  This is a common, universally accepted axiom.

The Bible contains many prohibitions against killing the innocent.  In Genesis 9 we read:

5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.

There are many other places in the Bible that condemn taking of human life.  I will not get more.  My point here is that although the Bible prohibits human killing, we need only use common sense to see that it is wrong.

The Unborn and the Mustard Seed

Last Friday, we attended Mass at our church.  On daily Masses, the homily is very short, usually three to five minutes.  The priest’s homily was about the Gospel reading for this date, Mark 4:26-34,  in which Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God:

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

The homily also compared this story with how life begins in the womb.  Just like we need to take care of the seed  we plant, we also need to take care of the seed in the womb.   A Farmer, before planting the seed must prepare the land.  The seed needs to land in the proper place, not on hard ground, on rocks on the paths where birds will quickly eat it.  After planting we need to water the land and watch over it.  We don’t know how that tiny little seed sprouts but all we have to do is take care that it is safe.  Once the seed is planted it has all it needs to become a plant.  This is how the unborn begins life.  Once conception has taken place we need to protect it, not disturb it like removing it from the womb before it is born.  God and nature do all the work.  After conception, a new and distinctive human life begins.  It will develop on its own.  It has all the DNA instructions that it needs to develop into all the stages of life, without outside interference or input.

As you’ve heard in the news lately, the Governor of New York just signed a bill that will allow abortion until birth; basically legal infanticide.  The Governor of Virginia attempted a similar bill but was denied by his legislature, for now.  The killing of a human being like the unborn is immoral and against, not only God’s law, but against humanity.  We imprison people who kill other humans and sometimes execute them.  This is not based on any religion, it’s based on human civil law.

 

Pro-Life is Pro-Science

In today’s culture, our universities, and public schools are controlled by the secular left. This, unfortunately, is also true for most Catholic and Protestant schools, perhaps not to the extent of public schools.  Anything having to do with religion or faith is verboten. Scientism rules the day at any of our learning institutions. Scientism is simply the belief that only the hard sciences can give us knowledge.  J.P. Moreland, a noted philosopher and theologian, and an expert on scientism says that scientism is not a doctrine of science, but of philosophy. First of all, it is self-refuting, that is, it commits suicide the minute it is uttered; it cannot be proven by science.  So, in effect, the proponents of such a view have failed to prove their own theory.  A recent book by J.P. Moreland, “Scientism and Secularism,” makes the case that scientism is not only self-refuting but not coherent.  Chapter six of this book starts with “These days, if an accepted scientific claim comes into conflict with an excepted non-scientific claim from another discipline (such as theology), which claim must be put aside?  In our culture, the scientific claim always wins.  Appealing to science always settles the issue.”

Now what has this to do the argument in support for the protection of the unborn and the dignity of human life?  Well, plenty. You see the secular educators, and that is probably over 90% of all our teachers, love to brag that they are pro-science and those of us who support the unborn are anti-science. Our view, they would say, is based on religion and opinion.   However, they ignore the elephant in the room.  It has been a scientific position that the unborn are human and that life begins at conception.  This is not new; it has been known for a very long time. Click herefor more information.  Here are a couple of quotes from the best scientific minds on this issue:

Dr. Jerome Lejeune, “Father of Modern Genetics” and discoverer of the cause of Down’s Syndrome, stated, “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion . . . it is plain experimental evidence.”

Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at Mayo Clinic, stated, “Byall the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

Now, who is anti-science? It’s breathtaking to see how easily the scientism of our culture and our universities choose to ignore their own declaration that science is the only way of knowing anything.  Even without science, you can easily understand that life begins at the first stage, conception, followed by an embryo.  All of us started that way.  Life has stages.  To say that you’re not human at the beginning but are human at a later stage, makes no logical sense.  Who is to determine when life begins, if not at the beginning when the sperm and the egg come together? 

The question that must be asked is what is the unborn?  Scott Klusendorf, one of America’s most eloquent defenders of the unborn says this is the crucial question.  Klusendorf speaks around the country in defense of the unborn. Click herefor a short three-minute video by Klusendorf on how to argue with a secular person, based on knowledge, science, philosophy and logic only.