Wednesday, May 31, 2006

So Why NOT Ban Abortion?

...What South Dakota proved is that truth is persuasive. All you need are politicians who will fight for it.

This is the last line of Terence Jeffrey's excellent Town Hall column about where the country is presently at about abortion. But you really have to read the rest of it too!

"Doctoring" the Congressional Record

Are you one of those Americans who were taught in your junior high civics class that the Congressional Record was, in fact, just that -- a record of what had been said that day in open sessions of the Congress? I was. But John Stossel has opened my eyes to the truth. Let him do the same with yours.

Whatever Happened To Promise Keepers?

Promise Keepers certainly isn't making the national splash it once did.

The absence of the outspoken, charismatic Coach Bill McCartney at the helm of Promise Keepers left the movement without its initial fervor and its ability to grab the headlines. The football arenas around the country haven't been filled with attentive worshipers for a long time now and Promise Keepers' hope to create thousands of "accountability groups" among America's Christian men never really materialized.

However, neither of these failures are the fault of Promise Keepers as an organization. The real problems in reaching the organization's goals have come from all the "regular suspects" which have historically limited the Christian man's spirituality in America: apathy, inconsistency, improper passions, desires for comfort and entertainment, and so on. Promise Keepers did an incredible job of shaking things up in the early 90's -- God bless 'em for their vision and dedication to biblical orthodoxy. But keeping things shook up? Well, that required the rest of us to follow through with courage, faith and an aggressive work ethic for the Kingdom. We didn't.

So, is Promise Keepers completely a thing of the past? No, far from it. Their audience events may be smaller, fewer and less publicized but the organization is very much alive with enthusiasm and commitment. And, of particular significance, Promise Keepers hasn't sold out its founding purposes. When the numbers began to decline, there must have been tremendous pressure brought upon Promise Keepers to compromise its values, to soften its doctrinal statement, to pragmatically remove (or at least keep quiet about) some of its more controversial elements, especially its insistence on preaching Christ crucified, its pro-life convictions, its fidelity to biblical teachings on marriage and sexuality, etc. But Promise Keepers kept its own promise to God and therefore deserves our fervent appreciation and respect.

And they deserve our present attention too.

For although the "movement" of Promise Keepers (amazingly influential) has run its course, the ministry of the modern version of Promise Keepers is very much alive. Clicking on the title of this post will take you to the Promise Keepers web site where a visitor can see how true the organization has been to the Lord Jesus and how active they yet are in changing the character of America by bringing redemption, illumination and spiritual power to one man at a time.

So, for those of you who well remember the way God moved you in one of those PK stadium rallies and for those of you whose earnest spiritual adventure began after those halcyon days, today's Promise Keepers is a ministry well worth your prayers, your support and your participation.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In Their Own Words: President Bush and Chinese Christians in White House Conversation

A couple of weeks ago there was an entry here on Vital Signs Blog which drew attention to an important meeting at the White House featuring President Bush and three Chinese Christian dissidents. Here now (from China Aid) are very revealing excerpts from the warm conversation those men enjoyed.

Banning "America" from American Schools

Keeping tabs on Debbie Schlussel's unique web site pays a lot of value and here's just one example -- a tip to check out this op-ed piece from Michael Warren which appeared in the Detroit Free Press.

In this piece, Judge Warren describes just how extreme is the anti-American spirit which is percolating among the government school bureaucrats of Michigan as they attempt to remove the words "America" and "American" from the classroom.

Public schools in...dare I say it... America are becoming less about education and more about leftist political indoctrination every day. Isn't it about time for major change?

Show the Tapes and Get Shoved in Jail

And so it goes in the paranoid state of dictator Alexander Lukashenka's Belarus... A couple of days ago Syarhey Lyashkevich was sentenced to jail for "training opposition activists to stage riots." Lyashkevich was targeted by the police because he is a political dissident - peaceful and properly conducted, yes, but one who doesn't believe Lukashenka's corrupt and totalitarian regime is best for Belarus. That alone is more than enough to get you in trouble there but Lyashkevich dared to openly differ with the government by heading up a local election headquarters of opposition candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich during the presidential election campaign earlier this year. That really stirred the political police to action.

So how was the trial conducted? Well, the judge declared that Lyashkevich had instructed oppositionists in how to stage riots by showing them videotapes of street demonstrations. However, as the defense demonstrated, if simply showing the videotapes constituted a crime, then arrests were necessary for officials of the state-run media because all of the tapes had originally been shown (and repeatedly) on Belarusian television!

But, of course, standing up for common sense, fairness and freedom remain political crimes in Belarus and Lyashkevich was found guilty. Sentence: 5 months in prison.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Getting the Word (And the Pictures) Out

Here is an interesting story from the online edition of the UC Santa Barbara student newspaper about a pro-life demonstration which utilized graphic photos of abortion.

The story was better balanced than most (that's always nice) but you'll notice that the photo which accompanied the news account (shown here at right) carefully omits any sight which might reveal the horrible violence of abortion and insteads highlights the counter-protesters.

It seems that accuracy and fairness in college journalism do have their limits.

Pro-Abortion Governor Wins Secrecy Vote

In Kansas, the pro-abortion governor managed to hold on to her veto of a law passed by the state's legislators which would have required the state to collect relevant medical information about late-term abortions, such as the woman’s health, fetal abnormalities and the physician who authorized the abortion. The data would have been submitted to state health officials, and no identifying information would be released.

But abortionists must be protected from the light of day as well as the light of justice and so Democrat Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill last week.

According to the Kansas City Star that decision "angered some lawmakers who said the bill would allow the state to determine whether state laws are being followed and would not result in any privacy violations. Abortions after the 22nd week are prohibited by law unless a physician concludes that the woman’s health is at stake. Anti-abortion lawmakers suspect that too many physicians use a mental-health exception to authorize abortions."

Honoring the Good Guys

Among the good reading for this Memorial Day weekend is Wade Zirkle's column. Just click on the title of this post to read the whole article but here's a quick teaser...

Since the Global War on Terror was launched four and half years ago, Americans are now only casually reminded of the sacrifices that our new generation of warriors are making in Afghanistan, Iraq and other desperate corners of the world. Usually these reports come in the form of terse, sterile news briefs: a fleeting portrait of a service member flashing across a TV screen or a radio sound-bite at the top of the hour that notes that soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb. When there is an occasional in-depth story, it often focuses on the nature and controversy of the casualty and follows with overtones of grief, sorrow and pity.

Yet, seldom is there a celebration of the life of our fallen warrior.

On this Memorial Day, I hope that our nation can put aside partisanship and political animosities to more fully celebrate the lives of a new, great generation of American warriors; the ordinary citizens who achieved extraordinary achievements and made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf...

STDs Climbing in "High-Class" Retirement Community

The consequences of sexual sin do not just affect the young.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Homosexual Coups

1) If anything should trigger a revolt against the government school system, it is California's Senate bill 1437. If signed into law, this will completely submerge teaching about sexuality, marriage and the family to the wildest extremes of the homosexual agenda. Here is Jeff Jacoby's column describing the bill, its origins and its catastrophic ramifications.

2) And on the other coast, (specifically, in Massachusetts) the newly-discovered Constitutional rights of same-sex marriage have already had a "chilling effect" on the simplest and most kindhearted practice of Christian charity. Read the articles of Chuck Colson and Maggie Gallagher for the details.

Da Vinci Code Has a Rough Start

Here's a quick roundup of stories regarding the poor responses being generated by the debut of the Da Vinci Code film. CNN says the movie is "entering the world to disapproval."

Furthermore, At Cannes, one scene during the film, meant to be serious, elicited prolonged laughter from the audience, and when the credits rolled, there was no applause, only a few catcalls and hisses. Things were no better Stateside, where the film screened for critics in New York. The Hollywood Reporter headlined its review, " 'Da Vinci Code' an unwieldy, bloated puzzle." "No chemistry exists between the hero and heroine, and motivation remains a troubling sore point," wrote reviewer Kirk Honeycutt, panning Tom Hanks' "remote, even wooden performance." Only co-star Ian McKellen managed to avoid criticism.

The trade publication Variety didn't "decipher" the film any better, claiming it "has become a stodgy, grim thing in its exceedingly literal-minded film version" with a "a palpable lack of chemistry" between co-stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.

Director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman "conspired to drain any sense of fun out of the melodrama, leaving expectant audiences with an oppressively talky film that isn't exactly dull but comes as close to it as one could imagine with such provocative material."

Elsewhere, reports emphasized that there were whistles rather than applause at the conclusion of Ron Howard's 125-million-dollar film, and "worse than that, the 2,000-strong audience even burst out laughing at the movie's key moment."

"I didn't like it very much. I thought it was almost as bad as the book. Tom Hanks was a zombie, thank goodness for Ian McKellen. It was overplayed, there was too much music and it was much too grandiose," said Peter Brunette, critic for the US daily The Boston Globe.

And finally, over here you'll find a lot more one-liners revealing the critic's less-than-enthusiastic feelings towards the movie.

But these are critics. The reaction of the world's moviegoers to this blasphemous farce are yet to be seen.

Investing in Adult Stem Cell Research

As the evidence of the last ten years clearly shows, embryonic stem cell research is a dead end. Despite the constant hype of the MSM and others, ESCR has produced no cures, no helpful treatments, and no promising hopes of real breakthroughs. But the development of medical treatments using adult stem cells? That's where the results have come through -- over and over.

But even if the media refuses to tell the truth about the remarkable successes being developed using cord blood cells, skin cells etc., there are others who are becoming keenly aware that the smart money is on adult stem cell research. Here is another case of a company who is following that smart money in a literal way.

And in a related story, here's a newspaper in Australia describing a major new government investment in adult stem cell research.

Members of Shoalhaven Shakers Parkinson's Support Group are surprised about the amount of funding in the Federal budget allocated to establish a National Adult Stem Cell Research Centre.
Federal Member for Gilmore Joanna Gash said she was delighted to hear the government would direct $22 million over four years into establishing the centre.

Shakers coordinator Barry Mitchell believes the medical funding is to prevent the brain drain from Australia.
He said Professor Alan Mackay-Sim at Griffith University is in the forefront of stem cell research. "I think the money is to get stem cell research under way not just for neurological diseases but other applications such as spinal cord injuries as well," he said.

"Professor Alan Mackay-Sim is a leader in research in this field but he does not use embryonic stem cells, he uses adult nasal, or olfactory, stem cells," Mr Mitchell said.
Olfactory cells are versatile with capabilities to make nerve, liver, heart and muscle cells. A major potential advantage of olfactory stem cells is they could be taken from the same person into whom they are later transplanted for therapy.

"But as far as helping those with neurological problems, I think it'll take a lot longer than they think," Mr Mitchell said.
"We were all surprised the Government is putting so much money into it.

"But I think there's a much bigger agenda we don't know about."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Randall Terry Converts to Catholicism

The changes in Randall Terry's life just keep on coming. Here, for instance, is an interview with Terry and the National Catholic Register about his recent reception into the Roman Catholic Church.

The Left's Richest Foundations

You want ketchup for those fries?

Only if you've got something besides Heinz.

Check out the others that made Human Events Online's list of Ten Most Liberal Foundations. You might find yourself wanting to be more circumspect when it comes to making consumer decisions about computers, cars, corn flakes and more.

High School Student Suspended for Sharing Biblical Views on Sexuality

The high school in question (Midway High in Wilimington, North Carolina) promotes freedom of speech when it comes to the promotion of homosexuality as a fine, upstanding "lifestyle." Therefore, it participated enthusiastically in several elements of the Day of Silence created by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network including passing out literature, public displays and classroom activities.

But ---

--- when a Christian 9th-grader, Ben Arthurs, wanted to wear a "Day of Truth" T-shirt and pass out brochures explaining the Bible's teaching about homosexuality (outside of class, by the way), he was forbidden and then suspended.

You can read the story from the Alliance Defense Fund page right here (or even look at the official complanit filed by the ADF in Ben's behalf here). But here are the basic points...

“School officials shouldn’t be treating religious students any differently than they treat other students,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “Other students at the school were allowed to participate in the Day of Silence, showing their support for the homosexual agenda by handing out flyers and remaining silent throughout the school day. Yet the school suspended this ninth-grader for expressing a different perspective during non-class time. This is unconstitutional treatment, plain and simple...”

...The student and his family contacted ADF for assistance, and ADF sent a letter to school and district officials explaining how treating this student differently and suppressing his speech violated his constitutional rights under the First and 14th amendments.

Sampson County Board of Education Superintendent Stewart Hobbs responded that religious T-shirts would not be allowed and that no religious literature could be distributed because Arthurs would be “pushing his religion on others” and “religion is not allowed in school.”

“Apparently, religion is not allowed in Sampson County schools unless the belief system in question supports the homosexual agenda,” said Cortman. “Public schools are open to the public, and that includes Christian families, too, who pay taxes and have the right to send their children to public schools without facing viewpoint discrimination...”

Now This is More Like It, Mr. Bush

Being quick to criticize President Bush for his apology to China's totalitarian thug, President Hu Jintao, after the White House protest by Wenyi Wang (see Vital Signs Blog entries 1 and 2), I also want to be quick to applaud him when he does something right vis a vis human rights in China. Therefore, check out this account from the Christian Post about the White House reception for religious dissidents from China. Below is a quick excerpt:

...Bush joined hands with the Chinese guests for prayer, alongside members of the cabinet including Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before the meeting ended.

Dr. Li also complimented Bush for his spirituality, saying that Bush and the American government had a deep "understanding for the importance of religion."

"Before Bush was not Christian, and he got in the habit of drinking. When he believed [in God], God changed him," said Dr. Li, who added that Bush showed genuine concern for the Christian situation in China...

Friday, May 12, 2006

UK Branch of Amnesty International Can't Wait -- They Move Ahead with Abortion Advocacy

LifeSite News continues to report on the story they initially broke about Amnesty International's move to directly promote abortion throughout the world. And in this particular story, LifeSite describes the action already taken by the UK branch.

Amnesty International's record of largely ignoring abortion as a gross abuse of human rights has elicited comments from many over the years (including myself) describing the organization as one which defends the human rights of only some human beings. That's tragic enough. But now, Amnesty International is poised to take their money, experience and positive public standing and invest them in the actual perpetration of crimes against humanity.

The reaction, however, is beginning. Here are a few comments reported by LifeSite News:

Outspoken human rights advocate and Calgary Bishop Fred Henry told, "The proposal of Amnesty International to enter into abortion advocacy is an ill-conceived and gross betrayal of their mission to campaign for human rights...
It is impossible that one could have a 'right' to do something at odds with human nature and the dignity of the human person," added Bishop Henry.

Bishop Henry explained that Amnesty's proposed move is contrary to its own mandate. "AI's vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. They seem to have lost sight of Article 3. - 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.'"

Rather than abortion advocacy he suggests they defend the rights of the unborn. "Since part of their mission is to undertake research and action focussed on preventing and ending grave abuses of rights, a more logical move would have been to direct their research efforts to explore the unambiguous medical status of the unborn child instead of advocating a further betrayal of vulnerable children," he said.
Bishop Henry concluded saying, "I, for one, will cease my financial support for Amnesty International."

Janet Epp Buckingham of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada lamented the proposed new direction for Amnesty and warned that it may cost the organization its support from the Christian community. "It's disappointing news, I think it could have a negative impact on the important work they do for prisoners of conscience and I believe it will have an impact on support by Evangelical Christians for Amnesty particularly if this becomes a global trend," she told

Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic human rights agency, expressed disappointment over Amnesty's proposal. Father Joaquin Alliende, ACN's international ecclesiastical assistant, told the Catholic News Service Friday: "With great regret we have learned that Amnesty International has proposed advancing abortion 'rights' around the world as a new mission for their organization."

Fr. Alliende explained: "AI has earned a high reputation for its intensive efforts to gain the release of innocent prisoners on conscience. ACN, a charity that is also often a 'voice of the voiceless,' highly appreciates this moral commitment of AI." Fr. Alliende added, "Now by proposing a pro-abortion initiative AI is abandoning its own noble ethical principles, thereby shaking the very foundations on which it is built; for the simple reason that unborn life in a mother's womb is the very weakest of all threatened and persecuted human beings. Thus the day this initiative (is) launched will become a day of mourning for all those who are unconditionally committed to true humanism."

I hope you desire to be a part of this positive response. Perhaps its not too late to persuade Amnesty International (even the UK branch) to reverse course and get back to their founding principles. The post entered here on Vital Signs Blog a few days ago includes the address where you can let your voice be heard in the offices of Amnesty International. Please go there and proceed to do so.

"We Want Change!" -- An Update

Here's a quick update on a story posted a few days ago about the trial of Belarusian political dissident Artur Finkevich for crimes against the state; namely, decorating walls with the slogan, "We Want Change!" Finkevich was found guilty of "malicious hooliganism" yesterday in a Minsk courtroom and sentenced to two years of enforced labor. He had already been in jail since February 2nd. "The conditions in jail were, of course, inhuman. There were 17 people in a cell intended for 10. We lacked air all the time," Finkevich told journalists after the verdict. And he added, "I disagree with the verdict but I see no sense in appealing it."

And here's an even later-breaking report concerning Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich ...

Milinkevich "was released from prison today after serving a 15-day sentence. Milinkevich had been sentenced to jail for taking part in an unauthorized antigovernment protest on April 26, the 20th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. Milinkevich ran against President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in elections in March condemned as fraudulent by the opposition and Western governments.

Lukashenka's reelection triggered unprecedented protests in Belarus. Hundreds of opposition supporters were jailed for taking part in the protests.

Two other opposition politicians, Alyaksandr Bukhvostau and Zmitser Dashkevich, were also released today. They had been jailed for taking part in the same protest rally two weeks ago."

Thanks to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and especially their veteran writer, Jan Maksymiuk, for following these and so many other important stories -- stories that are generally ignored by the mainstream press (MSM).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bob Novak Made the Call on Nebraska Primary Elections

Okay, this is a local issue for we Nebraskans but certainly of consequence to the rest of you too so here are Robert Novak's comments following Tuesday's elections here:

Nebraska Governor: As we anticipated, Rep. Tom Osborne (R) ended his career with a largely senseless run against the popular, conservative incumbent Gov. Dave Heineman (R). Despite polls showing Osborne slightly ahead, we expected that support for Nebraska's most popular citizen would be overstated in surveys, and it proved to be so. Osborne caused himself problems late with a series of negative recorded calls alleging Heineman was soft on immigration. In fact, Osborne supported in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens, which Heineman opposed.
Heineman had ingratiated himself particularly with the gun lobby by dedicating the floor time needed to beat a filibuster and adopt concealed-carry laws.

Heineman will win his race for governor easily without any serious Democratic opposition. Likely Republican Retention.

Nebraska Senate: Peter Ricketts (R) walked away with a victory in this non-ideological race, which came down to his ability to put millions into his own campaign. Ricketts nearly took 50 percent in a three-way race that ultimately was between him and 2000 nominee Don Stenberg (R), the former state attorney gen

Ricketts now begins as the underdog against Sen. Ben Nelson (D), the most conservative Democrat in the U.S. Senate and a frequent ally of President Bush. Like all Democrats in Nebraska, Nelson cannot rest easy -- especially given Ricketts's personal fortune. But the incumbent still benefits from his moderate record. His support for President Bush, oddly, might not be such an asset. Likely Democratic Retention.

Yet More Dangers from the "Abortion Pill"

Check out this Reuters news story which relays new concerns (from rather unlikely sources) about lethal side-effects of taking RU-486.

Spin Job: The MSM Still Falls All Over Itself Protecting a Kennedy

Brent Bozell is here with a review of the major MSM players and how sweet and sensitive they are to the troubled (but seemingly guiltless) Patrick Kennedy.

Talk about enablers -- will no one take the common sense step of getting the Kennedy cats out from behind the wheels of their cars? That's the obvious first step. Then, of course, we can work on getting them out of politics.

After all, they are highly dangerous in both places.

Setting the Agenda

Some timely observations from the Family Research Council...

"We can't tell you what to think,"said CBS Newsman Roger Mudd decades ago, "but we can tell you what to think about."

That's called setting the agenda. And it gives the Mainstream Media far too much power. But it only happens if you let them do it.

Senior political writer Susan Page tries to set the agenda in this morning's USA Today with her story: "Five issues redraw playing field for Election 2006." She lists the Iraq War, gas prices, immigration, prescription drugs, and corruption as the defining issues of the mid-term elections. None of the social issues made her list. To the elite MSM, social issues are mere "wedges." They are what is "wrong with Kansas" and a bunch of other states they regard as "flyover country." Social issues--like the defense of marriage, the sanctity of life, and broadcast decency--are really bridge issues. They bridge differences of race, sex, and religion to bring together Americans who care deeply about their families and the future of our country. If these issues are ignored, conservatives cannot rely on Halloween scare talk about liberal Democrats' plans to impeach George Bush.

Message to conservative leaders: Don't let the MSM tell you what to think about and talk about.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hwang Woo-Suk and His VERY Rich Buddhist Groupies

Okay, so Hwang Woo-Suk has been proven a liar, a cheat and an incompetent scientist. And, yes, his experiments involved the uncaring exploitation of tiny human beings. But are those reasons enough for a group of Korea's Buddhists to stop being loyal fans? I guess not. In fact, they're ready to put up $64,500,000 of their "karma cash" to get Hwang back in the lab!

You can't make this stuff up, guys.

Here are some choice excerpts from the Yahoo News story...

South Korean Buddhists have offered more than 60 million dollars to allow disgraced stem cell expert Hwang Woo-Suk to resume his research, a senior monk has said. The head monk of a Buddhist temple and two Buddhist business leaders have put together 60 billion won (64.5 million dollars), mostly in cash, to allow Hwang to set up a laboratory and continue his work, Seol Jeong, a senior Buddhist monk, said on Monday.

Hwang was sacked from his university post and banned from conducting research in March after a panel of experts found that he had faked his landmark work on stem cells. South Korean prosecutors are expected to announce later this month the findings of a four-month-old investigation into Hwang's fraudulent research and alleged misuse of millions of dollars in research funds...

...Seol Jeong said when Hwang had met him in private, the embattled scientist had "repented of his misconduct". "No matter what happened to him, however, we cannot deny his technology is something unique internationally," Seol Jeong said. "Once the investigation is over and done with, he will be able to turn his attention to research and meet the expectations of the people..."

...Buddhists have been amongst Hwang's staunchest allies since his fall from grace began late last year. Hwang has said in the past that he is a practicing Buddhist and spent time sheltering in a Buddhist monastery while a probe of his alleged misconduct began.

But not all of South Korea's estimated 12 million Buddhists support the discredited scientist. "(Hwang's research) runs against the Buddhism's view of the world and its philosophy," said Do Beop, a former head of Silsang Buddhist Temple in the southern city of Namwon. "The attempts to extend the human life will only magnify the crisis of the modern world, which stems from the egoistic desire of human beings," he said on a radio interview...

...But Hwang still commends respect among many supporters who have been staging daily protests at the Seoul National University or carrying out candle light vigils here and in other provincial cities, calling for his rehabilitation.

Woman Kills Her Own Unborn Girl With Gunshot -- Judge Will Not Allow Prosecution

One of the saddest and most gruesome stories of the week is this account of a Virginia woman who shot herself in the stomach the very day she was supposed to give birth. Because the baby hadn't "drawn a breath," prosecutors decided they couldn't charge the woman with homicide so they opted for the substantially weaker charge of illegally inducing an abortion.

But the judge nixed even that, saying that because the "abortion" was self induced, he saw no reason to go ahead with the case and dismissed it.

Oh, there was one other charge. The 22 year old woman had initially called police from a car dealership. She claimed to have been abducted by an armed stranger who shot her in the stomach and then dumped her. Since her account turned out to be completely fabricated, the woman was found guilty of making a false police report and given a 30-day sentence but...the sentence was suspended. It looks like no further action will be taken.

Gianna Jessen's Introduction to Colorado Politicians Draws Fire from Planned Parenthhood

Rep. Ted Harvey Monday was rebuked Monday for introducing on the House floor a woman who said her cerebral palsy was caused by a botched late-term abortion.

Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, said he told the woman's story on the same day the House planned to consider a resolution to recognize the 90th anniversary of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains because, "I just wanted to put a face to this celebration...

Gianna Jessen, whom Harvey introduced after she sang the national anthem, said that while she didn't expect it, she was glad Harvey told her story.

"We need to discuss the humanity of it. I'm glad to be able to speak up for children in the womb," she said. "If abortion is about women's rights, where were my rights?"

Not only did this action put Harvey in trouble with from the pro-abortion enthusiasts (what else is new?) but the story in the Denver Post from which the above lines are extracted was obviously slanted. So, a couple of thank-yous are in order to keep these pro-life defenders encouraged. The addresses?

Ted Harvey
Colorado State Representative, District 43
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax
Denver, CO 80203
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2936
Mailing Address: PO Box 260438
Highlands Ranch, CO 80163

Gianna Jessen

Is the Michigan ACLU in Favor of Forced Abortions?

You gotta' be kidding -- with pro-abortion zealots looking uglier all the time in this era of 3-D ultrasound; large safety nets for pregnant moms; the backlash from partial-birth abortion; and all the high-sounding conversations about compassion, justice, defending minority rights; etc. -- here's the Executive Director of the ACLU in Michigan writing an op-ed piece opposing a bill which would help women who are being coerced into abortion!

Here's the story from LifeNews and here is the Detroit Free Press column by Ms. Kary Moss.

Where Available, Minorities Increasingly Opting for Educational Excellence Through Private Schools

You can't normally get to New York Times articles via the internet without going through a registration process but I thought you'd be interested in at least an excerpt of Diane Jean Schemo's story from last month, "Program on Vouchers Draws Minority Support." It suggests an important element of the conservative social agenda; specifically, breaking the patterns of racism, violence and poverty by making the best education opportunities available for all.

"...In the mostly minority Dayton, Ohio, school district, for example, 28 percent of schoolchildren have opted out of public schools in favor of charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately operated.

In Houston, 12 percent have done the same; in Oakland, Calif., 9 percent of public school children attend charter schools. In New York City, 12,000 children, 1.2 percent of the school population, attend charter schools, but the number of such schools is capped.

In Washington [DC], in addition to those children opting for private schools, many others are flocking to charter schools, which have siphoned off about 25 percent of children, and $37 million in revenue this year alone..."

Monday, May 08, 2006

After A Stay at Mayo

Bill Buckley is always at his best when combining cultural analysis with the erudite, wry wit that has made him not only a household name to those of my generation, but a figure we both respect and enjoy. In this very thoughtful column, Buckley comments on how a 3-day stay at Mayo Clinic has dramatically altered his views about smoking. Along the way, you hear about Bette Davis, David Niven and...Bill Buckley.

(Note: the reference to Thank You for Smoking refers to the popular novel - now even a film - of his successful author son, Christopher.)

What Is the Greatest Threat to Animal Rights?

"...However sympathetically you interpret the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, it puts animals in a fundamentally different category from human beings... I think in the end we have, reluctantly, to recognize that the Judeo-Christian religious tradition is our foe."

(Peter Singer, professor, abortion zealot, author of Animal Liberation, outspoken athiest, and the "philosophical godfather" of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.)

May We Never Forget Chappaquiddick

Everyone should now be aware of the latest incident in the bizzaro world of the Kennedy's; namely, the preferential treatment given to Patrick Kennedy after driving under the influence, crashing his car into a Capitol Hill security barricade, and attempting to duck the issue until forced by the news media.

Does it sound eerily familiar? Of course, it does -- although, no thanks to Patrick himself, there wasn't a fatality this time around.

Indeed, Patrick's exploitation of privilege, his cowardice, his attempted manipulation of the press, his glaringly unsuccessful portrayal of himself as victim, his dishonesty regarding the cause of the accident, and the arrogant stupidity of getting behind the wheel when drunk (or loopy from other drugs, as he now claims), all are haunting reminders of his father's tragic actions at Chappaquiddick.

And, yes...we should never forget Chappaquiddick: its victim, its perpetrator, and the cost to a society that not only allows such injustice but, if you're part of the elite, actually rewards it.

Therefore, here's a few sites to look through which illuminate Ted Kennedy's actions of July 1969, revealing the cruel injustice that was (and is) largely ignored by the mainstream media. 1) A detailed review of Chappaquiddick and its cover-up from YTedK, a Ted Kennedy expose' site; 2) A Jeff Jacoby column; and 3) A Myrna Blyth NRO column.

Star Parker: A Blackwell Revolution is What the Whole G.O.P Needs

Okay, Ken Blackwell performed an amazing feat to defeat Ohio's Attorney General and earn the Republican nomination for Governor. But that's just the prelude to the big task of winning the general election come November.

Star Parker comments here about how far Ken Blackwell stands out from the "country club Republicans" and why those specific traits are what the G.O.P. desperately needs.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Double Standards of Free Speech on Campus

Let's see now...

* small white crosses set up by pro-life students to commemorate the victims of abortion are banned from campus (or even trashed by vandals);

* persons holding conservative opinions about politics or morality can be denied speaking opportunities on campus (or shouted down and physically assaulted if they are invited);

* representatives of the Gideons are refused permission to hand out Bibles on campus;

* students holding to a belief in the intelligent design of the universe are ridiculed on campus and even discriminated against when it comes to test scores, assignments, and grades;

* Christian clubs, flyers announcing Christian events, posters describing the services of Christian pregnancy centers, etc. are not tolerated on campus;

But..."art exhibits" which feature watercolors depicting homosexual sex acts and sculptures of male genitalia illuminated in a box? That not only passes muster for campus display but for exhibition in a public park!

And what about the offense to passersby caused by these exhibits? Says Brooklyn College College Provost Roberta Matthews, "Throughout, the administration of the college has supported our students' rights to freedom of artistic expression."

Right. But only, that is, if "our students" express the correct views -- views as determined by intolerant, obscurantist, cowardly bureaucrats as Ms. Matthews.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Human Rights Group Wants to Promote Inhumanity?

Read this article from LifeNews and let it stimulate you to contact Amnesty International to express your opinion of their desire to officially start promoting abortion around the world. This story just drips with irony, of course; but let's not let it lead to one that drips with blood.

The story is here and the contact info for Amnesty International is here:

Males But Not Men: Deadbeat Dads Largely Responsible for Abortions

A report by the Spanish Ministry of Health is expected to affirm that abandonment by men, not social or economic problems or the supposed grave risks to the physical or psychological health of the mother is the main reason that women obtain abortions in Spain.

Although the report has not yet been made public, in an interview with the newspaper "Alba," the country's Health Minister, Elena Salgado, revealed that "the fundamental conclusion of the report is that the main reason women abort is because of abandonment by the man."

"Curiously it has nothing to do with the alleged risks to the psychiatric health of the mother, which supposedly accounts for 97% of legal abortions in Spain. Nor do supposed socio-economic reasons stand out, despite the repeated threats to legally allow abortion for these supposed socio-economic reasons," the newspaper pointed out...

We Want Change!

Two Belarusian young men, Artur Finkevich and Mikita Sasim, began their trials Friday in Minsk and Baranivichy, respectively, for anti-government actions. And in totalitarian Belarus where Alexander Lukashenka demands unquestioned submission, such "crimes" are quite serious. Finkevich was arrested in Minsk last January for writing "We Want Change!" on a wall. State police are blaming Finkevich for the appearance of dozens of other graffiti expressing similar slogans. If found guilty, Finkevich faces a sentence of 7 to 12 years in prison.

Sasim faces a 3-year sentence for allegedly dodging Belarus' compulsory military service. Sasim's lack of enthusiasm for such service could be related to any one of a number of the unjust, repressive actions taken by the Communist government which rules his nation. However, the most relevant factor is the severe beating Sasim took last year after he was arrested during a protest against the many political disappearances that have taken place in Belarus. He was subsequently hospitalized with a head injury and therefore missed his draft term. This trial, therefore, is but a way for the State to extend their persecution of a political dissident.

"Israel in the Crosshairs" by Charles Krauthammer

When something happens for the first time in 1,871 years, it is worth noting...

An Ominous New Era in Genetic Manipulation

Dr. C. Ben Mitchell is a consultant on biomedical and life issues for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and is associate professor of bioethics & contemporary culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In a recent column written for Baptist Press, Dr. Mitchell describes the fallout we can expect after the decision by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) to give nearly $800,000 to Case Law School (Cleveland, Ohio) to “develop guidelines for the use of human subjects in what could be the next frontier in medical technology -- genetic enhancement." As Dr. Mitchell points out, this marks the beginning of a new era of tax-funded eugenics in America. It is a very sad and ominous development and this article explores its ramifications well.

...Make no mistake about it; so-called enhancement is merely a desire to re-engineer the human person either for the sake of competitiveness or out of a vile self-loathing of one’s finitude and limitations.

In the United States at the turn of the 20th century, eugenics took the form of state-mandated sterilization for people with mental retardation. Awards were also granted to families with desirable genetic traits, rewarding them with medallions marking them as a “Fitter Family.” In Nazi Germany, of course, eugenics took the form of the Holocaust. When men play God, they play God badly....

Friday, May 05, 2006

Imagine That!

A few weeks ago I posted an entry on the Vital Signs Blog about an abortionist in Virginia having his license yanked after repeated cases of negligence and malpractice. Now, of course, hurting women is inherent in the abortive act, no matter how “clean or competent” the abortionist claims to be. A woman’s health cannot help but be damaged by the extremely unnatural act of wrenching her baby from her womb by violent force. And, by being such an obvious, grievous sin, a woman’s mental and spiritual health cannot help but be damaged as well. So, it is simply a given fact that any and all abortionists hurt women. Any and all abortionists operate outside of and contrary to proper medical care. And any and all abortionists should (if the world ran according to any degree of rationality) be denied by state officials the chance to further hurt women and kill babies.

But, of course, the world doesn’t yet run according to rationality (let alone righteousness) and this Virginia case is a tragic example. Indeed, this guy (Dr. Reffat Kamel Abofreka) only had his medical license yanked after repeated complaints of malpractice and after his license had already been at times suspended by the Virginia Medical Board and after South Carolina had denied him further license to do abortions. Get the picture here? The culture of death retains such a grip on America’s political and medical officials that an abortionist has to mistreat, maim and mangle many women before there’s even a chance that he might be bothered by the powers that be. And even the clumsiest, most coldhearted abortionists often go their whole careers without any interference from health and medical officials at all.

Abortionists are, in more tragic ways than one, getting away with murder.

As I described this story on the blog this morning: Abortion will always be an extremely dangerous and dirty business - no matter how clean the facilities, how conscientious the employees, or how competent the doctor. But, of course, it is for the very reason that abortion is such a dangerous and dirty business, that it attracts the absolute worst the medical profession has to offer...

And I finished the blog entry with this “point to ponder:”

…Just imagine what it would be like if abortionists had to undergo the accountability that other physicians experience.

And, yes, I freely admit that I do imagine such things. For instance, I also imagine state officals finally passing legislation that protects women from such incompetent, uncaring clods. A nice beginning would be for state health officials to enforce the health and safety rules against abortuaries that are usually in place already! I imagine too these places being visited by officials requiring a strice adherence to building codes, OSHA standards and the Americans with Disability Act requirements which, as you can guess, rarely happens. But I can still imagine. So sometimes I imagine the police intervening when abortionists hinder a pro-lifer’s freedom of speech by means of physical harassment or water sprinklers. I imagine abortionists being as carefully scrutinized by the IRS as are small businesses. And I imagine trial lawyers finally going after abortionists with even half the zeal used when they go after other “cash cows” like insurance companies, car manufacturers, or restaurant chains.

Oh yeah; I’ve got quite an imagination.

And, in certain well-lit moments of my day, I can truly (if only momentarily) imagine the world running right. If it did, all the above items would be but regular practice. But I’m not done imagining just yet. Want to join in for a few moments?

* Can you imagine with me Planned Parenthood being denied your tax dollars? Or even an occasional “60 Minutes” or “Dateline” program examining Planned Parenthood’s continual posing as a a charity even when they make (citing 2002-2003 figures) $766.6 million annually? Or a New York Times expose' of Planned Parenthood’s distribution of the least effective condom (out of 24 evaluated by Consumer Reports in its February 2005 edition)? Or how about a congresswoman or civil rights leader de-crying the radical racism which motivated Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger?

* How about imagining doctors and pastors telling people the truth about the terribly mis-named birth control pill? The truth is that all such pills on the market are abortifacients, having a backup mechanism for when “breakthrough ovulation” occurs. That mechanism shrinks the endometrium of the uterine wall from a healthy 5 to 13 millimeters to 1.1 millimeters! That endometrium is where the oxygen and nutrients for the baby’s survival is “stocked.” Without such a safe, hospitable place in which to live for the next 9 months or so, the little guy or girl dies -- alone and unmourned. This is abortion. Can’t you just imagine the huge difference it would make if physicians made these scientific facts clear and if pastors emphasized these critical truths in their premarital counseling sessions?

* And then let’s imagine together the impact on the culture were Christians to turn up en masse for prayerful protests at abortion centers. Or if Christian pregnancy centers could expand their office hours and hotline phone services which would undoubtedly happen if more women volunteered their time. Or Christians establishing more biblical priorities in their finances so that there would be more generosity for “big ticket” pro-life educational efforts like billboards, television spots and events featuring famous spokespersons to draw in the crowds.

Getting the hang of it? You know, you’ll discover that once you start imagining, there’s almost no end. Here’s a few more of my favorites: More kids living chaste lifestyles… More hospitals and scientists refusing to participate in embryo-destructive research… More voices raised against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide… More emphasis in the Church on the service of worship rather than on the worship service… More Bible study… More missionaries, especially those trained in medicine, agriculture and engineering…. More investment in the excellence of Christian education, including home schools… More light shed on the evils of evolutionary theory, of consumerism and of false religions… More devotion to biblical orthodoxy in word and in deed…

More prayer. More faith. More hope.

John Lennon, in his most famous song, imagined no heaven and no hell. He believed that by banishing thoughts of an afterlife, men might begin to make a better world in the here and now. John Lennon was completely wrong. As I presented in last month’s LifeSharer letter, the only genuine foundation for the greater flowering of beauty and truth in our present world comes from a joyful embrace of the all-too-real existence of the next. So, as believers in Christ whose inheritance includes the magnificent glories of heaven, let’s do the thing right. # 1) Go ahead and imagine, but always according to the Scripture’s revelation. # 2) Pray. # 3) Act. And # 4) Repeat the process until the Lord calls you to “higher” duties...

The above paragraphs were excerpted from last month's Vital Signs Ministries' LifeSharer letter. The full version can be read right here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Vampires on Campus? Jill Stanek's Look at Pro-Abortion Vandalism

Here's another provocative piece from pro-life heroine, Jill Stanek. In this World Net Daily article (also available via Jill's own web site), she examines recent actions in which pro-abortion vandals have dramatically trashed freedom of speech. It's a not-to-be-missed article.

Dreaming of a World Gone Sane

In my last LifeSharer letter (the monthly news/commentary report sent out to friends of Vital Signs Ministries), I shared a few of the things I "imagine" would change if the world ran according to some degree of rationality and morality. Here is a very compelling column from Jennifer Roback Morse which entertains a similar approach.

On Sex, Lies and Prison

Here is a Kathleen Parker article from Jewish World Review that is unsettling on several levels but yet a very important read.

The Continuing Crack-up of John Danforth

From a Family Research Council update ---

Former Sen. John Danforth was a Republican from Missouri. Lately, he's been hitting the rubber chicken circuit to denounce Christians in his party. Last fall, he spoke at the Bill Clinton School of Public Service in Arkansas and deplored Evangelical Christians' influence in the GOP. This weekend, he spoke to the Log Cabin Republicans--a homosexual advocacy group--and called the Marriage Protection Amendment "silly." He compared it to Prohibition.

Danforth was happy to seek the support of socially conservative voters in Missouri when he ran three times for the Senate. Now that he no longer has to face voters, he is--in Washington parlance--"growing..."

A Couple of Victories for Limiting Government Spending

In case you didn't catch Bob Novak's column from earlier this week telling of victories in both the House and the Senate by foes of excessive "earmark" spending projects, here it is. I think you'll be encouraged after reading it...maybe even enough to send along an "attaboy" to Senator Tom Coburn, newly installed Majority Leader of the House John Boehner, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Congressman Mike Pence, and Congressman Rodney Alexander. Their e-mail addresses (and other contact information) can be found at their web sites. Just click on their names to go there. Below is an excerpt of Novak's article:

...On Thursday, Coburn proposed to eliminate $15 million for "seafood promotion strategy." McCain told the Senate: "Let me save the American taxpayers $125 million right now by telling all Americans now to eat seafood. Eat seafood. It is good for you." When Coburn rejected Cochran's call for a voice vote, the normally calm Appropriations chairman in a fury made a non-debatable tabling motion to kill Coburn's proposal. The astounding outcome was a 51 to 44 bipartisan victory for Coburn and McCain, following years of failure in such initiatives.

After the vote, Coburn could be seen on the floor animatedly lecturing a silent Cochran. It can be guessed he was promising to hold the Senate's feet to the fire on one earmark after another. Coburn this coming week will propose removing from the bill $500 million to be paid Northrop Grumman for lost income caused by Hurricane Katrina. The outcome will indicate whether last Thursday's events on Capitol Hill truly point to new congressional concern about using taxpayer money.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Death of Womanhood

There were four women who went in to the building on 46th Street yesterday morning to have their preborn children killed. We were there to offer alternatives to those women and to let them know the facts about abortion that they were certainly denied by the abortionist’s staff. We were also there to pray. And though we’re sure the Lord lovingly heeded our entreaties, the abortion clients didn’t. They decided to turn away from the message of truth and compassion we presented.

They usually do.

And frequently they do so with a brazen blasphemy.

A common sentiment among some pro-life people is that women choose abortion only as an act of great desperation, a last resort taken because they could not depend on the callous, cold-hearted man in their life. A woman, it is often said by such pro-lifers, does not choose abortion as she would a restaurant or a dress but rather as a trapped animal decides to chew off its leg in order to get free.

That this vivid word picture is an accurate description of what some women experience in deciding on abortion is certainly true. However, those pro-life advocates who dare go to the abortion clinics as sidewalk counselors know all too well that the “crisis pregnancy” of a desperate, otherwise well-intentioned woman is no longer the norm. Indeed, most abortion clients are now women who are well aware of the humanity of their unborn baby and even well aware of the safety nets provided for pregnant women by government, social service agencies, pro-life organizations, churches, family, adoptive agencies, and so on. And this increasingly hard-hearted attitude of women who buy the abortionist's services is a truth that many pro-life advocates have refused to recognize or, at least, openly admit.

Yes, in the past there was much more ignorance about fetal development and much less publicity about the wide range of services available to pregnant women and moms of newborns. And yes, we must deal with women who experience genuine “crisis” pregnancies in which the trapped animal metaphor is yet applicable. And yes, we must always deal compassionately, patiently and sacrificially in our offers of assistance to any and all women tempted by abortion.

But no; we need not keep propagating a myth. We should face the fact that, as the years have gone by since Roe v Wade, more women are making abortion decisions boldly, selfishly and completely cognizant that alternatives are freely available.

Of course, I understand that even the flippancy and bravado that we see as a matter of course in the women coming into abortion mills can be a cover for deep-seated pain and confusion. I have no doubt that sometimes is the case. But also beyond doubt (for someone who has been sidewalk counseling for over a quarter of a century) is that many, many modern women are cold-heartedly using the abortionist as their backup birth control, indifferent to the cruel death that is inflicted on their child.

Legalized abortion has not liberated women. But it has changed them. It has stolen their children, emasculated their men, and transformed their natural, nurturing spirit into a concentrated, but tragically counter-productive, selfishness.

Legalized abortion has done more than kill children; it has killed the compassion that was once the beautiful, noble crown of womanhood.

Monday, May 01, 2006

England's Churches Respond to Da Vinci Code

Clicking on the title of this post will take you to an article published in the Sunday Herald, Scotland's independent newspaper of record. The article presents its own biases and there are plenty of places where the reader can see how the reporter's own views are inserted into supposedly "news" passages. Nevertheless, there were some interesting items emerging in the story, especially the one I print below.

...When the governors of Westminster Abbey refused to let the film production team in to shoot scenes around the grave of Sir Isaac Newton, on the grounds that it would be “inappropriate” (Dan Brown contends that Newton was a member of a secret intellectual society known as the Priory Of Sion, dedicated to the preservation of arcane mysteries), both Winchester
[shown above right] and Lincoln cathedrals agreed to serve as stand-ins. Again, the reasons seem to have been pragmatic, even worldly – Sony Pictures were offering to pay ?20,000 for access.

“The fact is,” says Archdeacon John Guille of Winchester, “our annual budget is only ?2.1 million and we get no government support. So we thought, if we take this money, we can use it to balance our books, and put it towards educational purposes.” While groups such as the Lord’s Day Observance Society have taken this as “further proof that the Church of England is in disarray [and will] do anything for extra money”, the chapter who run Winchester Cathedral have spent their small windfall on an exhibition and lecture series titled Beyond The Da Vinci Code, which is now reorienting visitors toward orthodox interpretations of scriptural history.

“It’s all about meeting people where they’re at,” says Archdeacon Guille. “Many people have taken this book very seriously. They believe it to be a new gospel truth, as it were, even though what Dan Brown says is actually a travesty of the truth. So before the film comes out, we say come and reflect on the symbols he has misused – the star of David, the image of John the Evangelist – which have been in this church for 900 years, and in the Christian tradition for 2000...”

The Marxist Rap Against Missionaries in Venezuela

This Toronto Star story is quite a fascinating article. Sure, it includes the same silliness that leftists love to spout about missionaries -- they destroy native customs; they are racist and ethnocentric; they are spies for the CIA -- but it also lets the truth about the missionaries' selflessness, compassion and long-term improvement of people's lives (temporal as well as eternal) have an airing.

The CIA: Corrupt, Expensive and Ineffective

Jed Babbin's piece in the American Spectator is sure to get your attention as he argues that the best option by far for the security of the United States is to completely dismantle the bloated, bonehead agency and start over.

Harvard Alumni Bow Down to Tyrant

Harvard University has a bizarre idea of how to advance the education of its grads: Instruct them to bow down to North Ko rea's paranoid dictators and show proper "respect" for the Axis of Evil. It's the ultimate in radical Stalinist chic - the Harvard Alumni Association's $636-a-night totalitarian luxury tour of a rogue nation where thousands are deliberately starved to death.

"Demonstrations of respect for the country's late leader, Kim Il Sung, and for the current leader, Kim Jong Il, are important," instructs the Harvard Alumni Association's tour memo.
"You will be expected to bow as a gesture of respect at the statue of Kim Il Sung and at his mausoleum."

Harvard even tries to pretend that bowing down to thugs is perfectly normal - explaining that it's because "North Korea, like every country, has its own unique protocols."
Well, yes, that certainly is a charming use of euphemism to cover up an ugly and unique reality - since North Korea is not "like every country."

North Korea's "protocols" feature massive human-rights abuses, deliberate famine, concentration camps, religious persecution, gas chambers, likely genocide and trafficking in women and children.
Plus sending body snatchers to Japan and South Korea to kidnap children and force them to train North Korean spies...

Read the whole New York Post article by Deborah Orin right here.