Catholic Bishops attack Obama again

Let’s be clear: I deplore Embryonic Stem-Cell research or usage in any way at all except for a good-faith attempt to bring to those embryonic human beings to birth.  This is because, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian who aspires to be a member of Christ, ie, one of His body-parts, I don’t consider endorsing human destruction of unborn humans — even disabled ones (I am Disabled, perhaps from birth or before) — to be in keeping with Christ’s body-parts.*

However, the U.S. Catholic bishops go out of their way to attack the democratically- and Constitutionally-elected Obama Administration in recent news releases on the issue.  They’ve been indignant that we elected him and VP Joe Biden (himself a Catholic), as they made clear at their winter meetings days after the 2008 Elections, televised live on cable.  But as any Civics student could have told them, the Executive Branch of the US Government doesn’t lawfully appropriate money, Congress does.  The Executive Branch does nothing with money that Congress has not authorized.  This is the bishops’ national release; this is from one of their most “conservative” divisions, Pennsylvania.

Their Eminences and Excellencies could be forgiven (if I had the power!) their confusion, after their boy in the White House, George W. Bush, appropriated money without Congressional authorization several times, occasionally with active deceit on the part of the corrupt then-Republican leadership of both Chambers.  (And they wanna come back?!?!?!)  False or cowardly Federal judges or Congressmembers allowed this ACTUAL theft of taxpayers’ money to fly almost completely under the radar.

What do I want?  President Obama and Vice-President Biden are no more nor less a threat to advance abortion or its related horrors than a Congress that hasn’t brought to the floor a Constitutional Amendment to reiterate the protection of unborn Americans in 27 years in the Senate, and EVER in the House, NOT EVEN UNDER REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP!  Instead, Republican alleged “pro-lifers” spend their time and money (and yours) fighting [PDF] real Democratic proposals (and candidates) to eliminate nearly all abortions voluntarily by addressing their causes — showing that they view the lives of Unborn Americans less sacred than their own political power (witness their last-minute, repeated deceptions over [lack of] abortion funding in America’s Healthcare Reform).

What I want is for the bishops and other non-Democratic pro-lifers to understand that specific parties and candidates clearly aren’t how to prevail, but bona fide proposals on the floor of Congress.  Based on that, who’s the REAL pro-life party?  THE DEMOCRATS, AFTER ALL!!!

And what about the bishops’ dioceses’ tax exemptions for targeting Obama/Biden?  After all, a partisan church’s tax exemption is like spending YOUR TAX DOLLARS ON THEIR FAVORED PARTY OR CANDIDATE.  (There are Orthodox Church clergy who could be called on the carpet equally and worse than these. But Catholic bishops tend to have more resources on which to call, and lawyer friends advising them, so they should know better. Orthodox, not so much yet.)

(*–The only exception I can see is, in shorthand, to save the life of the mother: where the best available medical opinion[s] is that continuing the pregnancy will kill her in and of itself, not via suicide or threats thereat, or financial impoverishment [falling through our coarse Social Safety Net], her own mental illness or disability, etc.  Because I don’t believe we can require mothers by law to actually — not metaphorically — lay down their lives for their babies; that must be voluntary.)

PS: I’m not “an anticatholic;” I’m a convert from Catholicism with extensive graduate work in Catholic and other (Western) Christian theological ethics.  I don’t “hate Catholics;” some of my best relatives and old friends are still Catholic.  Just for the record.

Insurance cos. promote abortion to save money, killing disabled babies?

Looks mighty suspicious here.  I speak as a disabled person!

IOTM also to ask who’s more “disabled”: a person with special needs who maybe drives his family and neighbors and teachers and acquaintances crazy … or a world that would rather do without us?

“Suffering”?  I know a little about that subject, though definitely not as much as many of us disabled.  But killing us in the wombs of our mothers denies us even the chance that we’ll struggle and overcome it, or others will cure it or at least lessen our suffering.  Who ever said life was supposed to be free of suffering?

I also speak as an Eastern Orthodox Christian.  In original Christianity suffering has an honored place: it can make us more like our Founder, who suffered a bit Himself.  I don’t mean ‘Suffer like Jesus suffered’ — that’s just masochism.  But Orthodoxy teaches that suffering* may help cure us of our own will and inadequate understanding … and Orthodoxy itself directs us to the Will and Understanding of One Whose Will and Understanding are infinitely perfect.  In fact, many ancient Christians envied the original Holy Martyrs, and found the real and difficult Struggle was ordained for those who lived in the Faith to a ripe old age.  Furthermore, Orthodoxy says that even though we Orthodox with long-term illness/disability might not or ought not, for instance, participate in the Church’s fasting rules and Traditions (i.e., abstaining from certain foods at certain times), God Himself has as it were fitted us with this special ascesis to purify us of sinfulness,** He has allowed this to happen to us.  Some admired, sick Orthodox have taken this teaching so to heart that they have ceased desiring to be cured — again, understanding that it may be easier than the “normal” Orthodox ascetic spiritual path, and blessed by God.  If I may paraphrase St. Raphael of Brooklyn, ‘Man — or demons — may have meant this to me for bad, but God means it for the good.’  Orthodoxy also still teaches that miracles do happen, by the Graciousness of God.

(I don’t say this as someone who has reached such wisdom or dispassion himself yet.  But it does seem most reasonable.)

I also have some expertise in Western Christian ethics or moral theology.

As for calling aborting someone saving his or her life, that reminds me of “destroying the village to save it,” or “killing the Indian to save the man” — real Orwellian, and I don’t say this lightly to a rabbi who survived the Holocaust, even as an infant.  More than 40 million Americans have been electively aborted under color of law, few without the dubious benefit of genetic testing of them or their parents.  Now it’s being sold to us as a large-scale, historic, positive good?

(*–This is ‘redemptive suffering.’  In Peace Studies they talk about some “myth of redemptive violence,” which however I never heard of till then.  Violence does not redeem!  [And real “martyrs” don’t die killing others intentionally, even vengefully!])

(**–Orthodoxy also remembers and teaches that all creatures suffer sinfulness from the first moments of their lives, thanks to the choice of our first parents — what one Western wag once called “Christianity’s only self-evident doctrine.”)

Anti-abortion, but Pro-Obama at Notre Dame

As per tradition, the University of Notre Dame has slated America’s President (of the Federal Executive Branch, anyway…) to speak at graduation.  Right-wingers, conservative/Republican Catholics, and some self-appointed anti-abortion spokespeople are piling-on this great school and American tradition, and even trying to get the local Catholic bishop to apply the (thumb)screws.

The U. is clear they don’t agree with Obama on everything … as I’m sure they haven’t agreed with ANY speaker on EVERYTHING.  Sign a semi-official online petition in support of the school, academic freedom, and civil dialogue.

As a great(?) man once said, I ain’t never heard of anything so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about!

Morgentaler honour?

Yes, those words will be meaningless to most Americans, but Canada’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada – similar to a knighthood – has been given to, among several dozen honorees this month on the occasion of Dominion Day (as it used to be called more meaningfully), July 1, the Auschwitz survivor who got abortion legalized in Canada by performing tons of them illegally, even in front of documentary cameras, and even going to jail for it, before getting the Supreme Court of Canada to outlaw outlawing it in 1988: Dr. Henry Morgentaler.

Whatever one thinks about abortion, it’s inappropriate to give a national honour in Canada to someone who is not only politically controversial – lots of good people are politically controversial – but considered by millions of good, sincere, law-abiding, even progressive,* Canadians – leaving to one side the hate-spewing anti-abortion extremists – to be a butcher of innocent, viable human beings, and at their most defenceless: in the womb, by their own mothers.  Morgentaler is officially cited “For his commitment to increased health care options for women” and for his services to humanism and civil liberties.  I’m not aware of what he may have done for the latter two areas, but throughout Canada his name means one thing, legalized abortion – just like “Jane Roe” in the States.  Can you imagine “Roe” (of Roe v. Wade fame, the appellant being kept officially anonymous at the time) getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom – again, whatever you think of abortion?  Not even the most “liberal” US President would think of doing so, even if s/he wanted to; it’d tear the country apart.

Furthermore, using the Order of Canada to enshrine the abortion euphemism “health care options for women” in the national Honours system is not only offensive, it just demeans Honours; it sounds Nazi or Bolshevik, like something out of 1984.  OK, that opinion may depend on what you make of abortion in the first place.  And clearly I oppose the liberalization of abortion since the 1960s in the US and Canada and elsewhere.  But drawing back to the matter of the honour itself, millions of good, sincere, law-abiding, even progressive, Canadians – leaving to one side the hate-spewing anti-abortion extremists – might consider instead that he worked for decreased health care options for children!  Should someone get an award for that?!

As the newspaper article describes, Canadian Honours are supposed to be apolitical, non-ideological.  (So anti-abortion activists lamenting that it happened under a “Conservative” Party government don’t get it.)  Her Majesty’s Canadian Ministry, aka the government of the day, is supposedly not involved, and neither is The Queen herself AFAIK.  I don’t even know how much discretion the Governor General herself has in the face of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, before the fact anyway.  Honours are supposed to reflect Canada as a diverse yet unified nation.  This kind of thing just divides.  George W. Bush is ‘a divider, not a uniter;’ and so is this honour, for Canada.

That said, I’m not sure that, bestowed, it can or should be revoked just on account of the firestorm of criticism – for the very same, apolitical, reasons.  But it does raise a question, for good or for ill, about the people and/or the process that chooses honorees.  Britain’s recent cash-for-honours scandal was nothing new there,** and Canadians designed their Honours system in the 1960s explicitly to try to avoid scandal and the taint of politics, corruption, etc.  Furthermore, not only are honours in a Monarchy a national feel-good exercise; the Sovereign is fons honorum, the Fount of Honours, so in theory they reflect on her.  Scandal in honours dishonors The Crown itself, and thus symbolically the whole nation.

However you feel about abortion, this bestowal of an honour is dishonorable.

(*–I don’t know what George Parkin Grant thought of Dr. Morgentaler personally, but he bitterly opposed the idea of legalizing abortion, as a signal turn from ‘progressive conservative’ ideals.)

(**–It’s not frequent there, but not exceedingly rare either.)

Feed everyone

The Orthodox Herald in December pointed to recent statements by the Popes of Rome – John Paul and Benedict* – that we have a moral obligation to provide food and water – “nutrition and hydration” the doctors call it – to patients in a “vegetative state.”  (I guess if babies in the womb are no longer babies in the womb, food and water is merely “medical treatment”….)

But IOTM that what we have is a moral obligation to provide food and water to EVERYONE unable to provide it for themselves!  Whether they’re paralyzed, sick, poor, unemployed, frail, Disabled, children, drought-stricken, plague-stricken, unlucky or unskilled in agriculture, fulltime parents, mentally ill, retarded, insufficiently intelligent, underpaid, whatever.  We have so much wealth…!  And as St. Basil the Great said, Whatever of it we don’t need belongs to the needy.

How about a little human solidarity, love, sharing, generosity, philanthropy (yes, even in your voting and lobbying and taxpaying … unless you can come up with a better way), “consubstantiality,” God-like-ness (Think about “the liberality** of God“!), self-discipline, etc.?

(*–The O.H.’s readership includes Eastern Catholics [“Uniates”] in communion with Rome, traditionally possessing Orthodoxy theology, liturgy, spirituality, etc. … just not part of The Orthodox Church.)

(**–That’s liberality, not liberalism!)

Reproductive rights, Take 2

(Improving upon this try.  I think.)

Sex is a “reproductive right.”

Abortion is a homicidal right.

You can’t have an abortion unless you’ve already reproduced, right?