Tuesday, May 31, 2005

House Turns Back Democrat Effort to Force Military Hospitals to Commit Abortions

From LifeNews.com comes this good news::

In what has become an annual debate, the House of Representatives again turned back efforts by abortion advocates to allow abortions to be performed at military base hospitals and clinics.

The U.S. military currently allows doctors to perform abortions at military medical facilities only in the rare cases or rape or incest or to prevent the death of the mother. Three California Democratic representatives argued that women shouldn't have to go someplace else to have an abortion. However, opponents of their proposal said taxpayers shouldn't be forced to finance military bases and personnel performing abortions.

"Allowing self-funded abortions will simply turn our military hospitals overseas into abortion clinics," Rep. Jim Ryun, a Kansas Republican, said during the debate, according to an AP report. The House ultimately rejected the proposal on a 233-194 vote. Previous attempts to rescind the military abortion rules have also failed. National Right to Life Committee legislative director told LifeNews.com after the vote that "once again, lawmakers have affirmed that military medical facilities should not become abortion mills."

Amnesty International: No Sense of Scale

From the Washington Times...

The London-based human rights organization called the U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay "the gulag of our time," comparing it to the Soviet Union's slave-labor camps where millions of people died.

Amnesty International also suggested that foreign governments investigate senior U.S. officials involved in "torture scandals" and arrest and question Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, former CIA Director William Tenet, and Vice President Dick Cheney.

"I think it's irresponsible. I think it's absolutely irresponsible," Gen. [Richard] Myers told "Fox News Sunday."

"I think I'd ask them to go look up the definition of gulag as commonly understood. We've had 68,000 detainees since this conflict against violent extremism started. We've had 325 investigations into alleged abuse. We've had 100 cases of substantiated abuse and there are 100 individuals that have had some sort of action taken, either court-martial or administrative action," Gen. Myers said.

But the "Moral Police" Have Been Disarmed

When, in the name of progress and other false gods, you move the ancient boundary stones, there will follow confusion, then decay, and ultimately chaos. This opinion piece in the U.K.'s Telegraph (written by Philip Johnston) demonstrates how this sad situation is playing out in Europe. And, of course, the lessons are just as relevant to Americans also.

Monday, May 30, 2005

General Orders #11

Click on the title of this post to read the foundational document of Memorial Day. It was declared by the Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, General John Logan. Logan was one of the more successful "civilian" generals of the Civil War and was a key part of Sherman's march south and the taking of Atlanta.

In these orders, Logan hoped to expand the practice of honoring the war dead by taking proper care of their memories, aims and grave sites. He also hoped to help reconciliation efforts though there were phrases in this document that offended many Southerners. Indeed, most of the states of the former Confederacy did not recognize Memorial Day for decades, preferring to select different days to honor their fallen heroes. Nevertheless, Logan's effort was sincere and noble and the first ceremony, held at the cemetery at Arlington, involved the laying of wreaths and flowers on the graves of both Federal and Confederate soldiers.

Reflecting on General John Logan's orders are a great way to begin your commemoration of this important (but much too neglected) holiday.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sex Education by a Conservative Senator? The Post Can't Stand it!

The Washington Post's "coverage" of Tom Coburn's STD lecture just drips with disdain, mockery and self-appointed superiority. It is the obvious prejudice of the MSM (like seen in this story) that is making its readership drop like a rock.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Latest "LifeSharer" Letter On The Web

For those of you interested in an update of what is happening with Vital Signs Ministries, our monthly "LifeSharer" letter is always posted on the VSM web site. Click on the post to read the most recent one.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Mona Charen on the Stem Cell Hustle

The Kansas City Star, editorializing about the president's threat to veto the stem cell bill passed by the House, described human embryos as the "excess products of fertility procedures." The Los Angeles Times, contemptuous of the president's ethical misgivings, declared: "It's not a choice between a human life and an embryo's life. It's a choice between real human lives and a symbolic statement about the value of an embryo."

Mona's column is as good (and as important) as usual. God bless her.

Aborted Babies Used for Beauty Treatments?

A shocking story from Tom Parfitt, The Observer's man in Kiev. Do read the whole report but here's a sample...

Racketeers pay Ukraine women to sell foetuses to quack clinics for £10,000 courses of 'anti-ageing' jabs

Aborted foetuses from girls and young women are being exported from Ukraine for use in illegal beauty treatments costing thousands of pounds, The Observer can reveal.

The foetuses are cryogenically frozen and sold to clinics offering 'youth injections', claiming to rejuvenate skin and cure a raft of diseases.

It is thought that women in the former Soviet republic are being paid £100 a time to persuade them to have abortions and allow their foetuses to be used in treatments. Most of the foetuses are sold in Russia for up to £5,000 each. Some are paid extra to have abortions late in their pregnancy.

Border guards stopped a train entering Russia from Ukraine last week and arrested a 'mule' carrying 25 frozen foetuses hidden in two vacuum flasks. The man said he had bought them from a medical research centre.

Condoms Are Not the Answer

With apologies to the stubborn anti-natal lobbies in the U.N., the U.S. government and the big foundations, here's the hard truth: condoms will NOT stop the AIDS plague in Africa. This essay from Brian Saint-Paul, the editor of Crisis Magazine is a good one.

"The English Patient"

Don't miss this Weekly Standard piece by Wesley J. Smith about Great Britain's National Health Service going to court to deny Leslie Burke a feeding tube. Mr. Burke, a victim of a deteriorating nerve condition, successfully sued the government for a right to a feeding tube when he needed one. It seemed incredible to many that such a move was deemed necessary but now the NHS is appealing the ruling. The NHS health professionals (term used loosely, of course) don't like the precedent Mr. Burke's court victory sets and are arguing that Mr. Burke's right to live ends when he is unable to feed himself.

Cheap DeLay Smear on "Law & Order"

I confess I have never watched an episode of NBC's long-running drama series, "Law and Order," but numerous reports from friends and reviews of several specific programs I have read suggests that the series is notoriously stinky for its negative portrayal of conservatives, religion and traditional morality. In the series finale', however, NBC reached a new low by linking Representative Delay's name to the murder of judges by "right-wing extremists."

Appropriate responses to NBC are lawful and in order, including passing the word to all your buddies that watching "Law and Order" is anything but cool.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

For Criticism of Islam, Popular Italian Author Must Stand Trial

And this is how it goes. Free speech is being obliterated -- but for all the politically-correct reasons -- so no one in the MSM need complain. Sigh.

As Always, Peggy's Got Their Number

Peggy Noonan's excellent piece on the 14 "preening popinjays" and the ongoing senselessness of the U.S. Senate.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Old Is New Again -- Belarus KGB Given Invasion and Internal Spy Powers

A new report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty --

Last week a law came into effect in Belarus allowing the State Security Committee to conduct searches in private apartments and offices of public organizations, including foreign ones, without search warrants from prosecutors, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported on 24 May. The law obliges KGB officers to notify a relevant prosecutor about a search within 24 hours after it took place. Another novelty in the law is the provision allowing the KGB to plant secret agents in any organization in Belarus. Those exposing such agents to the public will face imprisonment of up to five years.

Wrapped Up In Sin

Janice Shaw Crouse writes about the "Saran Wrap" techniques which Planned Parenthood is touting for America's teenagers. These guys are really perverse...but then, that's how they keep building the clientele for their abortion services.

U.S. "Ally" Continues Its Persecution of Christians

This report from Charisma News Service on Saudi Arabia's latest outrage:

Religious police recently broke up another private worship service of expatriate Christians, arresting five elders of a house church in Riyadh's central Al-Olaya district. High-ranking Muslim sheikhs reportedly took part in the April 29 raid on a congregation of 60 Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians who had gathered for prayer, Compass Direct reported. The worshipers' Bibles and one woman's cross necklace were confiscated.

During the initial fours days of their incarceration, the five Ethiopian elders were permitted telephone contact with their families, but they have reportedly been transferred to undisclosed prison facilities. The group of East Africans had met for prayer and worship in Riyadh for the last four years, a local source told Compass. It was the second recent crackdown of expatriate believers in Riyadh. On April 22, 40 Pakistani Christians were arrested for participating in a joint Catholic-Protestant prayer service. Except for two men held an additional day, the Pakistani Christians were all released the same day.

Wise Counsel from Cal Thomas on the Stem Cell Debate

According to the National Cord Blood Program at the New York Blood Center and researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, umbilical cord blood transplants have proved effective for treating patients suffering from inherited immune disorders like sickle cell anemia and leukemia, even when those transplants are from unrelated donors. These are precisely the type of afflictions some believe embryonic stem cells might cure.

If we can make scientific progress toward curing maladies from paralysis to leukemia, but without the destruction of human embryos, isn't this a win-win for everyone? We preserve at least some value for human life (already severely damaged by our tolerance of abortion on demand), while simultaneously moving ahead with our desire to find cures for various afflictions...

Before rushing headlong into the unknown, we should ask some basic questions: Where is our home base and what is the fixed moral point that will guide us? Who are we - evolutionary accidents upon whom any and all experiments should be tolerated for the "greater good," or are we something else and someone else's? Who made us - a scientist in a laboratory dish, a cosmic accident or "our Creator"?

You don't have to be religious to embrace the notion that life and rights must come from outside of man in order for them to be protected and unalienable. To embrace anything less and to kill embryos in order to "save" older and more developed human beings is to embrace an Orwellian philosophy that "death is life." Do we want to travel to that destination?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Compromise? Cave-In is the More Appropriate Term

There are several good pieces out there on the Republicans' latest act of dishonor and betrayal. Here is a concise, accurate description of what happened from the Family Research Council...

An Ignoble Judicial Compromise

In the year 1790 the original 13 colonies ratified the U.S. Constitution; over two centuries later, 14 U.S. Senators (seven Republicans, seven Democrats) agreed to a "compromise" on judicial nominations that effectively legitimizes overriding the presidential power to appoint judges with only the "advice and consent" of the Senate. The seven Republicans who participated in the deal need to explain what Republicans gained in this "compromise" that they did not already have--other than the fickle admiration of the mainstream media. The crux of the "deal" is that three judicial nominees (Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor) will finally get an up- or-down vote. The "compromise" appears to abandon judicial nominees like Brett Kavanaugh, William Myers, Henry Saad, Thomas Griffith and William Haynes. All of the abandoned candidates are outstanding nominees who deserve the same up-or-down vote by the whole Senate but still face an unprecedented judicial filibuster.

However, seven Republican Senators, playing the role of Neville Chamberlain, threw them overboard in the name of "compromise." Peace won by the compromise of principles is a short-lived achievement. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) had it right when he described the "deal" on the Senate floor: "I fundamentally believe that it is our constitutional responsibility to give judicial nominees the respect and the courtesy of an up-or-down vote on the floor of the United States Senate. Investigate them. And question them. And scrutinize them. And debate them ... But then, vote ... each deserves a vote."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Speaking of Chastity

Here are a few choice quotations from Focus on the Family's excellent film from the early 90's, Sex, Lies...And the Truth.

Miles McPherson - former NFL star:

"When you sleep with somebody, you give a part of yourself away. You give a part of your heart away."

"Love desires to please someone else at the expense of self because love wants to give."

"So how can you be safe? We're not talking about babies, even though that happens. We're not talking about abortion, even though that happens. We're talking about dying. We're talking about pain. We're talking about suffering. We're talking about your whole life ending in a terrible way when this thing [a condom] fails."

"You know, you could get her pregnant and a chance to get over 20 diseases - is an orgasm worth that risk? There's no orgasm in this world worth dying for."

Lakita Garth - TV model:

"I remain abstinent and plan to keep my virginity until I'm married because when I get to the altar, I can wear a white dress and mean it. And, I can say to my husband, 'I loved you before I knew you. I saved myself for you.'"

Orel Herschier - Major league baseball hero:

"If you have been sexually active in the past, there is time to change. This may be a possibility of a new policy - a secondary virginity policy now that you have the information about HIV positive, about AIDS being transmitted, about the failure rate of the condom, about being self-controlled, about getting your dignity back. You can become abstinent from this time forward."

D.C. Talk - Christian rap musicians:

"How many of our friends didn't get to pursue the things we've been able to because we've chosen to abstain. Safe sex is a lie...Safe sex isn't safe emotionally. A man and a woman aren't made up the same way. Sexual confrontations might leave a woman more hurt that a man. We've got to realize that's why marriage is so important in a sexual relationship."

John Naber - 6-time gold medal Olympic swimmer:

"Nowadays society is trying to teach us that if it's sitting there at the table, go ahead and take it. Don't deny yourself anything. Grab for the gusto! You're # 1. And as a result, people tend to put the reward ahead of the process."

Dave Dravecky - Baseball star, author, foundation director:

"I had cancer. And ultimately from that cancer I lost my career as a baseball player. And in the process I lost my left arm. Cancer kills. Fortunately for me, it hasn't taken my life but it has taken something very precious away. You too are being confronted with that peer pressure to have sex. I want you to know that I hope you will make the right choice in abstaining from that. Hopefully in the process, that abstinence can save your life too."

A.C. Green - "Iron Man" star of the NBA:

"Having played in the NBA for many years, I've had many opportunities and temptations. But I chose to remain abstinent throughout my career. It's a choice I decided. It's the choice I decided to live with and I'm very happy I made that decision. If I can do it in the NBA facing the challenges I face, I know you can do it where you are."

"Sorry about Alderaan. Have a nice day."

Debbie Saunders scores big today with the best critique of the Star Wars phenomena to date. A profound and cleverly written piece.

The Erosion of the Newsroom Monoculture

A very good column from John Leo on how even liberals are beginning to admit to over-the-top biases and slipshod reporting techniques of the MSM. The days of the monopoly are over -- and that is very good news.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

On Fortune Tellers

In a recent discussion about psychic phenomena, I was asked by a non-Christian friend about fortune telling. I told him that I could get a higher percentage of predictions picking weekly winners in the NFL than any psychic he could name. He agreed that was a probability if I were matched against most people who claim to be psychic but then he asked, “Denny; what about the real deal though? What do you think about someone who really can read the future, someone like Jeanne Dixon?”

“Well,” I countered, “Jeanne Dixon was certainly the most famous of my generation’s celebrity seers but it was all hype. Jeanne Dixon couldn't tell the future better than anyone else. Check her record. She was a mere fortune-guesser...and not a particularly good one at that.”

My friend seemed skeptical. "How then did she become famous?"

I replied, "How did Tiny Tim become famous? Because he was talented? Of course not. Johnny Carson, the National Enquirer and the rest of the media make people celebrities for all kinds of goofy reasons. But in Jeanne Dixon's case, I can assure you, she didn't earn her star status. She simply gave away a huge amount of predictions and then conveniently remembered only the 18% or so that could be interpreted as 'coming true.'"

"No kidding?" my friend asked.

I gave him a few examples. “When Mrs. Dixon just started to cash in on the popularity of horoscopes and fortune-telling in the early 50's, she made a pretty famous prediction. She said that World War III was going to begin in 1954. That error cooled her jets until the tabloids of the 60's were looking for wild attractions and they hauled Dixon out again. She promptly assured Americans that the Vietnam conflict would be over by 1966. She was only nine years off, poor thing. Must have been a short in her crystal ball."

"Then there was her prediction that Fidel Castro would be overthrown and tossed out of Cuba in disgrace before the year 1970 was out. Fortunately nobody took that one to their bookie. And how about her confident assertion that Russia would be the first nation to put men on the moon?"

"But hey. I can't forget my favorite," I finally added. "On October 19th, 1968, Mrs. Dixon predicted that the last thing on Jackie Kennedy’s mind was any possibility of remarriage. But the very next day, headlines announced to the world the union of Jackie and Aristotle Onassis.”

No, I assured my friend, I would feel no undue pressure from a prediction contest with even a "pro psychic" like Jeanne Dixon. "We would all be in the guessing game together. The fact is that there is only one source of accurate, dependable information about the future..."

“I know, I know,” my friend said laughingly. “Forget the psychic hotlines and read the Bible instead.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Resistance to the Manipulators

Tonight I've finished the delightful experience of reading The Double Image, one of Helen MacInnes' most intricate novels of intrigue. Published in 1965 when MacInnes was just beginning to hit her stride, The Double Image has all the elements of her best thrillers: an innocent but capable bystander thrust unexpectedly into the role of hero, clearly delineated "bad guys," a clever unraveling of the mystery, a few nice twists of plot, exciting settings (this time Paris and the Mediterranean isle of Mykonos), and a pleasant splash of romance. Enjoyable adventure reading -- little wonder that Helen MacInnes is my Mom's favorite author.

But, as often happens when reading good writers like MacInnes, even if they are writing in such a genre as espionage thriller, noteworthy insights into culture, philosophy and individual character will be found nicely woven into the story.

I cite one example from The Double Image, one which interested me as a historian and, even more, as a Christian activist who seeks to be part of the "resistance" to the schemes of all tyrants. Here is the passage...

History wasn't just a record of wars and peace conferences; history was a long and bitter story of intrigue and grab, of hidden movements and determined leaders, of men who knew what they wanted manipulating men who hadn't one idea that anything was at stake: the innocent and the ignorant being used according to someone else's plan.

But every now and again, the plan would fail. Because people could be surprising, too, in their resistance - once they knew what was actually happening. Once they knew...

The tasks of telling the truth to our culture, of letting others in on what is "actually happening," of recruiting for the resistance so that the manipulative designs of politicians, false teachers, judges and all others who desire the death of liberty -- these tasks belong to us all. May we, like the unlikely hero of The Double Image, give to the job all we have.

A Primer on Stem Cell Options

From the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, here's their brief "lesson plan" on embryonic vs. adult stem cell research. Very good.

1. What are human embryonic stem cells and how are they obtained?

Human embryonic stem cells are the cells from which all 200+ kinds of tissue in the human body originate. They are typically derived from human embryos -- often those from fertility clinics who are lift over from assisted reproduction attempts (e.g. in vitro fertilization). When stem cells are obtained from living human embryos, the harvesting of such cells necessitates destruction of the embryo.

2. Why should we value the human embryo?

Underlying the passages of Scripture that refer to the unborn (e.g., Job 31:15; Ps. 139:13-16; Luke 1:35-45) is the assumption that they are human beings who are created, known, and uniquely valued by God. Genesis 9:6 warns us against killing our fellow human beings who are created in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Furthermore, human embryonic life -- as well as all of creation -- exists primarily for God's own pleasure and purpose, not ours. (Col. 1:16).

3. Is it ethical to allow the destruction of a few embryos in order to help the millions of people who suffer from diseases such as Parkinson's and heart disease?

No. Many proponents of human embryonic stem cell research argue that it is actually wrong to protect the lives of a few unborn human beings if doing so will delay treatment fro a much larger number of people who suffer from fatal or debilitating diseases. However, we are not free to pursue gain through immoral or unethical means such as the taking of innocent life (Deut. 27:25). The medical experiments in Nazi Germany should serve as just one remainder of the consequences of doing evil in the name of science. We must not sacrifice one class of human beings (the embryonic) to benefit another (whose suffering from serious illness). Sripture resoundingly rejects the temptation to "do evil that good may result" (Rom. 3:8).

4. Is there promising research that does uphold human dignity and life?

Yes" Adult stem cell research is where all the medical successes are currently taking place. Embryonic stem cell research has yielded no successful treatment to date. The 60 human medical conditions helped by stem cell treatment have all used adult stem cells -- a true life=affirming approach!

Wendy's CEO Responds to "Finger" Fiasco

The WSJ Opinion Journal allows Wendy's CEO, Jack Schuessler, an opportunity to comment on the extortion attempt aimed at his company. It is a good column and I appreciate the WSJ giving him a national forum to help set the record straight.

The anti-business irresponsibility of the media is a huge cultural problem, to be sure, but Mr. Schuessler shows how it impacts individual companies, employees, and customers.

Friday, May 20, 2005

HR 810: "Leftover" Humans to Be Killed for Science

An Action Alert from the Family Research Council --

Early next week, the House will consider a bill that will federally fund research that requires the destruction of human embryos. Sponsored by Mike Castle (R-DE), HR 810 will federally fund research on human embryos that supposedly are "leftover" from IVF. Instead of promoting the adoption of these human embryos, this bill would require their death.

President Bush is the first president to federally fund human embryonic stem cell research. He determined that such research could be funded so long as the cells had been obtained from embryos on or prior to August 9, 2001. Since then, the government has funded research on over 22 stem cell lines. However, the President's policy does not encourage the further destruction of human embryos.

Just as abortion is currently legal, destroying human embryos is completely legal. The debate is about federal funding. Though legal, we don't federally fund abortion. Likewise, we should not force US taxpayers to fund research that requires the destruction of embryos. However, HR 810 would overturn the Bush policy and create a direct incentive to create and kill human embryos for research with your taxes.

Contact your Representative and let them know that you strongly oppose HR 810.

"From Apostle to Apostate"

No, Virginia; I am not a Star Wars fan and I will not be seeing the latest (and, hopefully, last) in the series. From the reviews I have read, it doesn't seem like I'll be missing anything very good. However, one of the most interesting reviews I've come across looks at Revenge of the Sith as a cautionary tale. And, since plenty of folks are going to go see the film, this review will give you some important "talking points." It comes from the AFA website and is written by Dr. Marc Newman, the president of something called MovieMinistry.

...For Christians willing to use a fictional movie as a mirror to examine their own behaviors, Revenge of the Sith can serve as a cautionary tale, particularly about how some churches treat their young members. When the Church feels like a hostile place, acts hypocritically, is insensitive, and avoids dogma, it, like the Jedi, can contribute toward pushing people to an embracing, waiting Dark Side...

From Obi-Wan's brief hesitation in explaining the death of Luke's father in the original Star Wars, to his denunciation of absolutes (while, I might add, making an absolute statement himself) in Revenge of the Sith, I have been bothered by the loose sense of the truth exhibited by the Jedi. Considered to be teachers, custodians of the Jedi way and the Jedi temple, whenever they are caught in a lie, or in a compromise of their principles, they are quick to say that their explanations or actions are true "from a certain point of view." Anakin is a quick study. He comes to believe that whatever is convenient to move your agenda forward can be justified by identifying it as your point of view. And yet, when there is a final clash between Anakin's point of view and Obi-Wan's, Obi-Wan wastes no time in judgmentally accusing Anakin of being "lost" -- as if there actually is a way. When assertions of truth serve convenience, we cannot complain when others find them inconvenient.

Being dogmatic no longer is a descriptor of fidelity to truth, but a pejorative indicating intolerance. Harry Blamires, in his book In Defense of Dogma, claims that in a misguided attempt to court friends, the Church has lost its willingness, and prerogative, to speak truth. Instead, we are told to act in false humility, "as if we don't have all the answers." In fact, the Scriptures are full of principles for living that cover the range of human experience. If we did not have answers to the pressing issues of life, why would anyone ever want to join with us? People are not looking for subjective points of view; they want to know how to live life fully and rightly. As C.S. Lewis points out in The Abolition of Man, humans need to know The Way. People may reject the Church because they do not like the answers they receive when they pose questions, but they are at least equally inclined to leave when they conclude that the Church's answers are not authoritatively different from ones they simply come up with on their own. Christians are commanded to speak the truth in love, but that still requires that we speak the truth. If the Church has nothing true to offer, the young drift away...

"Historic" Catholic Institutions No Longer Are

Loyola will laud pro-abortion politician, Rudy Giuliani, by letting him serve as their commencement speaker and by awarding him an honorary doctorate. Baltimore Cardinal Keeler refuses to attend the ceremony and has written Loyola's president a "terse" letter. My, my.

I'm pleased, of course, that the Cardinal has shown his disapproval of Loyola's action but it does seem like a rather mild protest, doesn't it? Let's hope and pray that Keeler and other U.S. Cardinals will begin to exercise the power and authority they possess to seriously rein in the rogues who like to play Catholic without being Catholic.

Turning Athiests Into Activists

There are several striking quotations in this San Francisco Gate story about this weekend's "All Atheist Weekend." Let me give you a few...

"We're trying to do what church people call outreach," said Jim Heldberg, a Pacifica software salesman and onetime Methodist who coordinates the group San Francisco Atheists.

"Atheists are not joiners," said Ellen Johnson, national president of American Atheists, which the country's most famous modern atheist, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, founded in 1963.
"You hear people complain, 'Look what they (religious people) are trying to do now,' " Johnson said. "Well, yeah, sure. They're better funded. Better organized. That's why atheists get pushed around. I say if you don't like it, get involved and do something about it..."

American atheists "depend a lot on wills," Johnson said. "People donate to us in their wills, but with all due respect, we don't need dead atheists."

And my favorite --

One point of All Atheist Weekend is to expand a base that the 64-year-old Heldberg describes as "a bunch of old white guys who sit around and bitch."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Post-Modernism: Fact or Fiction

Joe Carter has a provocative, very well reasoned piece over at The Evangelical Outpost which you'll do well to read.

Calvin College Disgraces Itself

A third of the Calvin College faculty sign on to a $9,000 plus newspaper ad trashing the President as he comes to give the commencement address there. That is a substantial portion of the faculty, more than enough for you to discourage anyone you know from ever considering Calvin College for their kid's educational experience.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

1945 vs 2005

At the close of World War Two, the Allied forces discovered a most revolting element of the Nazi regime; namely, a vast library of scientific data that had been obtained through Nazi experimentation involving concentration camp captives and prisoners of war. Many of the Nazi experiments involved subjecting prisoners to a variety of tortures that frequently led to their deaths. It was an unmitigated horror that rightly shocked the free world and the Allied voices were unanimous in decrying this sordid exploitation.

However, there was a question lingering in the air. What was now to be done with the knowledge itself – the fruit of the experimentation?

No doubt much of it could be used for the good of mankind and the advancement of science…couldn’t it?

Do you recognize these questions as they might apply to one of the moral controversies in our own time; namely, the embryonic stem cell controversy? The embryos are already dead; one could argue. Why not then let some good come of them?

Well in 1945, the Allied governments made their decision. They said, “No way!”

They refused to stain themselves with the evil inherent in such illicitly achieved science. The data was destroyed, thus raising a banner for the sanctity of life which waved proudly until the more pragmatic, less humane days we now live in.

Even putting aside the fact that the promising health treatments of our era are almost exclusively in the therapeutic use of adult stem cells, doesn’t the decision made in 1945 clearly illustrate what choice should be made in our controversy? Of course. The freedom fighters of WWII made the right decision then. And such is the right decision now. Forego the wickedness of killing people for use of their bodies in scientific reasearch. That is a tragic "dead end" road, in more ways than one.

NOTE -- The Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research has a very good web site dealing with several critical life issues. Among the best and most helpful of their articles is the position paper the group put together on human embryonic stem cell experimentation. Survey the whole site but you might want to begin with their ESCR article right here.

Conservative Judicial Nominees Need Your Help ASAP

The following appeal comes via Dean Dennhardt of Lincoln, Nebraska. Dean is working with several pro-life, pro-family groups here in our state to try and persuade Senators Hagel and Nelson to support the judicial nominees of President Bush. He requested I post it on Vital Signs Blog and I am happy to do it. Dean writes:

Dear Friends.

Good News! The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination of two of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees, Janice Rodgers Brown and Priscilla Owen. The bad news is that some obstructionist Democrats may leave Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-Tenn.) no other option but to implement a rule change to ensure these two highly qualified justices receive a fair up-or-down vote.

Justices Brown and Owen are anything but short of impressive.
California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, grew up the daughter of sharecroppers in segregated rural Alabama. Moving to California as a single mother, she worked her way through California State University-Sacramento and UCLA law school.

Texas Supreme Court Priscilla Owen has worked tirelessly for the nation’s poor. As the Texas Supreme Court’s liaison to the Texas Legal Service for the Poor Special Committee, Owen worked toward the stated goal of achieving equal access for the poor to the Texas justice system in both civil and criminal matters. While serving in this capacity, she successfully lobbied the Texas Legislature on behalf of the poor to enact legislation that has resulted in millions of dollars per year in additional funds for providers of legal services for those who could otherwise not afford it.

Justices Brown and Owen are both experienced and thoughtful legal powerhouses. Beyond being history's first African-American woman to serve as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court, Brown was reelected with 76 percent of the vote, the highest vote percentage of any justice on the ballot. Owen was elected with 84 percent in Texas.

Both have received unanimous praise from the media in their respective states and the utmost admiration from their colleagues.

There is no legitimate explanation as to why either of these nominees shouldn’t be confirmed. And yet, Senate Democrats are planning a repeat of blocking judicial nominees, who have majority support of the Senate, from a yes or no vote through use of the filibuster.

President Bush needs your help to make sure Justices Brown and Owen have a fair chance of being confirmed by the Senate. Please take a few minutes to stop by the office, email, fax, or call Senators Hagel and Nelson’s offices. Let them know that you support the president’s nominees, support the constitutional option of a fair up-or-down vote if the democrats continue abusing the rules of the Senate, and encourage them to do the same.

Senator Chuck Hagel

Washington, DC office phone #: Tel: (202) 224-4224
Washington, DC office fax#: Fax: (202) 224-5213

Omaha Office
11301 Davenport Street, Suite 2
Omaha, NE 68154
Tel: (402) 758-8981
Fax: (402) 758-9165

Lincoln Office
294 Federal Building
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, NE 68508
Tel: (402) 476-1400
Fax: (402) 476-0605

Kearney Office
4111 Fourth Avenue, Suite 26
Kearney, NE 68845
Tel: (308) 236-7602
Fax: (308) 236-7473

Scottsbluff Office
115 Railway Street, Suite C102
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Tel: (308) 632-6032
Fax: (308) 632-6295

Email address: hagel.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Offices.Contact

Senator Ben Nelson

Washington, DC office phone #: T: (202) 224-6551
Washington, DC office fax#: F: (202) 228-0012

7602 Pacific St.
Ste 205
Omaha, NE 68114
T: (402) 391-3411
F: (402) 391-4725

Federal Bldg, Rm 287
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, NE 68508
T: (402) 441-4600
F: (402) 476-8753 Email address:

Western Nebraska
T: (308) 430-0587
T: (308) 631-7614


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Abortion Groupies Go Sifting Through the Trash

Robert Novak's latest column exposes the unprecedented, underhanded tactics being used by the likes of NARAL to smear conservative judicial nominees. Where's the MSM's defense of privacy here?

"Pro-Choice" Organizations vs Women's Best Interests

Alicia Colon (New York Sun writer) gears up for the inevitable backlash from her hosting a pro-life banquet.

If any medical procedure were proven to have the same deleterious side effects that abortion has, it would have been banned. At the very least, a warning to the patient would have been made mandatory.

Newsweek Riots? No, The Blame Rests on Islamic Terrorists

This brief New York Sun piece is one of the best commentaries around on the latest Taliban-engineered violence. True, Newsweek's political arrogance should be roundly denounced but the real cause of these destructive, murderous riots is the religious arrogance of Muslim terrorists. The Sun rightly underscores the source which the administration failed to do.

Buchanan: The Culture War Is Lost

A harsh, but realistic, assessment of the state of the conservative movement by Pat Buchanan. Interesting reading with several points to carefully heed.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Intolerant Islam Seeks to Eradicate Christianity: One More Terrible Example

From Barbara G. Baker of Compass Direct comes this report of a persecuted brother in Christ in Egypt...

An Egyptian convert to Christianity is being held in a Cairo mental hospital where supervising doctors have told him he will stay until he recants his faith and returns to Islam.

Gaser Mohammed Mahmoud, 30, was committed to the El-Khanka Hospital in early January by his adoptive parents, with the assistance of local state security police, after they learned he had become a Christian two years earlier. Under the supervision of Dr. Mohsen, director of the hospital's medical committee, Mahmoud was subjected to psychiatric examination and placed in Section Three, a closed ward for mental patients. He has remained there ever since, under the care of a woman physician identified only as Dr. Nevine.

Sources describe Dr. Nevine as a "fanatic Muslim" who had treated Mahmoud "badly" for deserting Islam. Since his forced confinement, Mahmoud has reportedly endured beatings, whippings and potentially fatal injections.

Egypt's Muslim citizens do not have the legal right to change their religion, although non-Muslims are allowed freely to convert to Islam and change their official religious identity. Officers of Egypt's State Security Investigation regularly harass, interrogate and sometimes arrest Muslims suspected to have converted to Christianity.

This, of course, is but one of so many injustices enacted against Christians around the world. Jesus warned us but the sense of tragedy and evil involved in each case should never cease piercing our hearts. Our prayers and our efforts to speak in the defense of the persecuted are more necessary than ever.

Play-ing for Life

One of the most overlooked educational/motivational tools of the pro-life movement is the short drama.

Easily performed in a church, school, club setting or other venue, skits and short plays can communicate profound truths in a way that stirs the heart as well as challenging the mind. Clicking on the title of this post will take you to The Dickens Scholar, just one of the short "play-lets" available for you and your dramatic pals to use for free, courtesy of Vital Signs Ministries.

C'mon; the play's the thing! Open the curtain and do some playing for life!

"Teenagers Don't Scare Easily"

In almost 30 years of pro-life activism, I have not found a more dynamic, engaging and effective chastity educator than Mary Beth Bonacci. Her ministry of speaking, writing, mentoring, praying and coming up with terrific ideas to promote the message of joyful chastity is a truly inspiring movement towards a culture of life.

Mary Beth's web site has a lot of neat stuff but I'll link you to one of her recent articles that I found particularly helpful. Once there, look around and get acquainted with Real Love Inc...and with Mary Beth Bonacci.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Evolutionary Evidence? Run the Videotape

William Dembski, the editor of a book I've been promoting (Uncommon Dissent) and the host of a really nifty website (Uncommon Descent) had ths tongue-in-cheek remark after watching this tape...

I take back all the nasty things I’ve ever said about human evolution. Indeed, who in his right mind can deny that we are evolving after watching this video.

The video, of course, is an excellent argument for the opposite of evolutionary doctrine in that it definitely shows the cleverness and, in this case, humorous personality of a designer. Very nice.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Catholic Hospitals That Aren't Really

There are an awful lot of so-called Catholic organizations that are about as true to Catholic doctrine as...well, Ted Kennedy or Tom Harkin. Here is a report of how 45% of hospitals that still use the name "Catholic" are, in fact, involved in the ongoing practice of mortal sin; namely, dispensing chemicals that abort children.

From Whence the Filibuster?

John Malek tipped me off to this timely article from National Review Online about the history of filibusters. Read this carefully and you'll be amazing your co-workers come Monday morning.

And while you're at it, check out these two Town Hall columns from today's update which deal with the filibuster fiasco. The first is from CWA's Janice Shaw Crouse and the second is from Rich Lowry.

Friday, May 13, 2005

A Letter to a Planned Parenthood Supporter

Dear Johnson & Johnson,

To be among the corporate sponsors of the world's most influential abortion promoter is a terribly sad thing. Your corporation, of course, is in that ignoble company. Do you realize, however, that your support of Planned Parenthood also involves you in the actual practice of abortion since Planned Parenthood goes way beyond anti-natal propaganda; they are the world's number one provider of abortion too!

Isn't it time your company stopped helping destroy preborn boys and girls? Please reconsider your corporate giving policies.


Denny Hartford

Of course, Johnson & Johnson is only one of many corporate supporters of Planned Parenthood. Information on others can be obtained from a few places but the most comprehensive, up-to-date material comes from Life Decisions International. I suggest you get their list and invite a few friends over for your own letter-writing party soon.

"Finger Food" Follies Finale'

I must admit this sordid affair has turned out exactly as I predicted when the gruesome story first broke. Wendy's did not serve up a severed finger in their chili. Nevertheless, the restaurant chain has suffered a loss of business (and reputation) because of insensitive, impatient and inaccurate media who found it a spicier story to report the wild claims of a litigation addict rather than the facts of the case, including such pertinent items as the finger wasn't cooked, wasn't stained, and wasn't belonging to anybody in the Wendy's network of food handlers!

But then, who cares who's hurt as long as the story sells papers?

As we figured, though, the finger followed the fraud. Ms. Anna Ayala is guilty of fraud, extortion, lying, false accusation, character assassination, greed, whining, and a dreadful lack of parenting skills. (The last charge is due to her drawing her children in as co-conspirators in her shakedown scheme.) We won't sit up waiting for her apology to Wendy's nor will we expect one from the irresponsible media.

Clicking on the title of this post will take you the latest from a San Diego news site.

Jane Fonda's "I Like What I Like" Christianity

Jane Fonda takes pains to let Liz Smith know she is a "feminist Christian," not a fundamentalist. Ms. Fonda then explains how she herself chooses what Scriptures she respects. What's new?

In our time, religion has become simply an extension of psychology. "How do you feel about God?"and "What does this Bible verse mean to you?" The very concept of absolute truth, let alone man's need to submit himself completely to it, is unacceptable to moderns. Result? Chaos in culture, ethics and the individual mind. Jane Fonda, a zealous advocate of abortion despite her "conversion," is a typical case of this sad situation.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

They Just Can't Help It: CBS Caught in Another Deliberate Lie

Rush Limbaugh's got the "straight skinny" on how CBS manipulated a video interview with Ken Starr to project its own political positions rather than to reflect what Starr actually said.

An amazing example of how little morality is left at that network...and how little was learned from the travesties of the Rather era.

A True Role Model: Florence Nightingale

With all the hype our culture endures over celebrities who are without character, without moral import, and without achievements that benefit anyone but themselves, shouldn't we do more to elevate such genuine heroes as Florence Nightingale? Of course.

So, on this, her birth date, be sure you pass the word on about this life "very well lived." For instance, have your kids (or your spouse!) take 10 minutes away from Entertainment Tonight or their PlayStation and have them click on the title of this post instead. There they will be enlightened and quite likely inspired (at least a little bit) about this wonderful Christian servant.

Happy Birthday, Flo!

11 Ounce Preemie Fights for Life

And, at least in Kalea Lyn's case, so terribly unlike many preborn children who are her same age and size, the doctors are fighting for her life too!

Prayers are, of course, in order for this precious little girl and her family.

Sue Bohlin on Abortion

For a very good general essay on abortion, this piece by Probe Ministries' Sue Bohlin is one of the best around. Just click the title of this post to go right there.

The article is posted at the site of Leadership University (a valuable source for common sense on several issues) and their Medicine/Bioethics section has some terrific pro-life material gathered from around the net.

Sue also has several essays over at the Probe Ministries site you'd do well to check out too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What Happens to the "Extra" Embryos?

Amid all the talk about the ever-increasing availability of in vitro fertilization techniques, one issue is almost never mentioned; namely, what happens to all those extra embryos?

Well, to be frank, almost none of them make it.

Despite whatever warm feeling one might have towards infertile couples who are being helped to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization, it is important to understand this fact -- in vitro fertilization generally creates multiple embryos to ensure a greater probability of success. And, yes, most of the little humans thus created die. Either those embryos die as a result of the limitation of the female body to accommodate them properly or, in many instances, they are never implanted in the first place.

In the case of the embryos left over in the storage facilities of fertility clinics, different fates await them. They can, for instance, be frozen for some unspecified purpose in the distant future (the storage frequently being lethal itself) or they can be sold or donated to scientific research, a monstrous end from which none survive. Many IVF clinics merely incinerate the tiny guys and gals when they die, treating them no better than medical waste. Others, trying to be less crass, give the embryos some kind of funeral.

But no matter where the tiny bodies end up, they’re simply dead bodies, not living, growing human beings. And nothing, not even the heartbreak of being unable to naturally conceive children, can justify such brutal pragmatics.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"Uncommon Dissent"

William Dembski, author of Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing, has a fascinating web site. Check it out when you get a chance -- it is a thorough, timely catalog on what's happening in the various controversies over intelligent design, evolution, Darwinism, religion, science, and more. Very cool site.

Also...over at The Book Den, Jim Brown of Agape Press has a brief review of Dembski's book. Click here to zip over there.

What Do You Call An Abortionist?

What should be the descriptive term for doctors who perform abortions?

Well, let’s see now, the doctor who takes care of your feet is given a special designation for that particular field – he’s called a podiatrist. In the same way, one routinely refers to a heart doctor as a cardiologist. The doctor who gives you anesthetic before an operation is an anesthesiologist. And a doctor who treats the nervous system is a neurologist. So, doesn’t it simply make sense to use the term abortionist to describe a doctor who specializes in that particular...uh, operation?

Timothy Lamer, a writer for World magazine, not too long ago conducted a search of America’s foremost influential newspapers in which he looked specifically at the nomenclature of abortion. In a one-month period, these newspapers had 39 references to dermatologists. Not even in one instance were they referred to as a skin doctor or skin care provider. But, you're way ahead of me, when it came to abortion, it was a much different story.

The word “abortionist” showed up only 8 times and almost all of those were used in the somewhat negative term " anti-abortionist" applied, of course, to those people who believe preborn children shouldn't be killed.

But no, characterizing the fellows who perform the abortions, these newspapers used the term “abortion doctor” 21 times and “abortion provider” 36 times! A subtle but yet very clear example that there’s little hope for fairness or even common sense on the life issue from your newspaper.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Everybody Loves...Raymond's Wife

Patricia Heaton, the Emmy-winning actress who has been an integral part of the huge success of the TV sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, was in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago to testify before Congress about abortion. A newsworthy event? Well, given her fame, popularity and the much-celebrated fact that the sitcom in which she stars is nearing its end, one would think the papers, the mags, and the Entertainment Tonight-type programs would have been all over it.

So, why weren't they?

Oh, yeah -- Patricia Heaton is against abortion.

Click here to read the Washington Times' account of Ms. Heaton's remarks.

FDR Rolls Over in His Grave: Bush Denounces Yalta!

Though he will receive no MSM credit for his remarks, President Bush made a very bold, very accurate, and very long overdue speech yesterday in which he not only condemned the Soviets for cruelly subjugating Eastern Europe after WW II but criticized the U.S. compliance of that tragic act too.

He doesn't always get it right...but it is this kind of independent courage and principle that makes "old school" fellows like myself appreciate him so.

Though admirers of the likes of FDR and Alger Hiss will be going crazy over Bush's remarks, the admirers of the likes of Whittaker Chambers, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ronald Reagan, and Generals Patton, Bradley and MacArthur have good reason to smile. Way to go, W!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Planned Parenthood Gets It Wrong...Again

Whether it's morality, science, or a simple survey of medical opinion, the perps of Planned Parenthood don't have a clue. Check out the following from the P.P. web site and note how the answer from Dr. Cullins casually dismisses embryology facts and how the answer leaves a justification for partial-birth abortion...

Q: My friend says that life begins when the egg and sperm join together. I say that it begins when a baby takes its first breath. Which of us is right?

All kinds of people — theologians, philosophers, scientists, lawyers, legislators, and many others — hold very different views about when life begins. In fact, both the egg and the sperm are living things before they meet and join. There's no real argument there.

The really hot question is, "When does being a person begin?" Most medical authorities and Planned Parenthood agree that it starts when a baby takes its first breath.

Christian Morality & Public Law

Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary, finishes up a 3-part series that carefully argues for a few sane, truly democratic rules of engagement for Americans fighting (on either side) in the culture wars.

Mohler is one of the Faith's exciting new "watchmen on the wall." If you do not yet have a bookmark to his own web site, replete with excellent articles, radio programs, sermons and more, I suggest you do so right now. Here is where it's at!

(Also, use this link for the first two parts of Dr. Mohler's series.)