Down to Conyers and Cochran

Joe Biden’s departure on the Amtrak train yesterday is a good reminder of how close we are to the end of an era.

Biden took the oath of office as Senator on January 5, 1973 – seventeen days before the Roe v. Wade ruling. He was the very last person to join Congress before the ruling came down.

With Biden’s term as President of the Senate over, there are now exactly two people left who were in Congress on the fateful, and fatal, day of January 22, 1973. They are Representative John Conyers (D-MI), elected in 1964, and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), elected as a Representative in 1972. Cochran only got to serve for nineteen days before the ruling, and he will almost certainly retire when his Senate seat comes up for re-election in 2020. Conyers is nearing age 90, and probably won’t be around in too many more years either.

In the next few years, Roe v. Wade may finally get overturned by a Court filled with new Trump Justices. But Conyers and Cochran may both be gone by the time it happens. It’s been 44 years, and we will be doing well if an anti-Roe ruling comes down before the 50th anniversary. This has been a very, very long era. God would only punish Israel with 40 year penalties, and we’ve blown right past that milestone.

The day Roe gets overturned, we must not only react with joy, but with mourning for the decades of lost time.

The Rehoboam Election

Yes, it actually happened. I haven’t the slightest clue how, but it happened. I will write many more thoughts about this week’s election in upcoming posts, but for now, I want to turn to another election from almost 3,000 years ago.

After Solomon’s death, Israel had an ‘election’ of sorts when two candidates stepped forward to be the new king. Two southern tribes supported Rehoboam, while ten northern tribes supported Jeroboam. The kingdom split into two, never to be reunited.

Every four years, like clockwork, we hear goofy claims that THIS presidential election is definitely the Most Important Election Of All Time. In fact, the post-Solomon election of king actually was the most important election ever.

Consider:

  • The northern kingdom had nothing but bad kings afterward, and it was constantly plagued by violent coups
  • The southern kingdom had a number of truly excellent kings, like Hezekiah or Josiah
  • The northern kingdom fell to foreigners about 200 years earlier than the southern kingdom
  • The southern kingdom eventually came back to the homeland, and thrived under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah
  • The people of the northern kingdom vanished into the mists of history – they are lost forever
  • The people of the southern kingdom endured, and in 1948, after two millennia of wandering, finally got their nation back
  • The promised Messiah, the redeemer of Israel, came from a tribe of the southern kingdom

As you can see, the split of Israel after Solomon’s death was absolutely momentous, and 3,000 years later its effects still shape the world we live in.

Surely, you might think, the choice must have been clear. On one side, there must have been an obviously wicked and ungodly candidate for king, with a noble, pure, and godly candidate on the other side. That’s how God has to work, right?

Not quite. In one corner is Rehoboam. He’s the ‘rightful’ heir of Solomon, and he is at least not openly hostile to God’s law and priestly establishment. On the other hand, his commitment to God sure looks like mere lipservice. What’s more, when a group of people led by a refugee asks him to lighten their load of work, he jokes about disciplining them with scorpions, and makes crude remarks about genitalia size (any of this sound familiar?)

In the other corner is Jeroboam. He makes a great show of caring about economic oppression of the poor. The disaffected, the minorities, and the impoverished are behind him. On the other hand, he openly promotes violent rebellion against the government. What’s more, he loathes the priestly establishment and God’s law, and wants the people to have other gods instead.

Imagine that you were a devout Jew those 3,000 years ago. What would you have thought during this ‘election’? Here’s a sampling of the sort of opinions that various devout Jews of the day probably held

  • “Rehoboam is not a man of God. He is a foul-mouthed, foul-minded megalomaniac. No Torah believing Jew can honestly think otherwise.”
  • “Jeroboam for sure – he cares about economic inequality, and the plight of the refugee. Those are the very things nearest to God’s heart!”
  • “We shouldn’t be single-issue kingmakers. Yes, Jeroboam is pro-choice on Moloch worship, but there are so many other important issues facing Israel.”
  • “I can’t in good conscience support either one. I’m going to back Enan Mishmulen for king. As a Jew, I can’t give my support to a ‘lesser evil.'”
  • “Just remember that no matter who wins, YHWH will always be the real King. We shouldn’t get too caught up in these temporal matters and forget that fact.”
  • “Rehoboam is clearly bigoted against refugees. To me, that just goes against what the scripture commands. Our faith is not about building walls.”
  • “We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get so divided. We’re still one nation, under God, and this petty bickering is contrary to our duty as Jews to love one another.”

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. These opinions run the range from dead wrong to technically-correct-but-hopelessly-myopic. In contrast, here’s one opinion that history would actually vindicate:

  • “The stakes could not be higher. If we go with Jeroboam, this nation will be destroyed. He is openly against God’s law, and he will persecute believers. And God’s judgment will come upon the nation because of his governance. I do not like Rehoboam. I find him little short of detestable. His personal failings are well known. But remember also that David had some even worse personal failings in his life too. Rehoboam may not save Israel from the destructive course it’s on, but with him, there’s at least a chance of pulling back from the abyss. There is no chance under Jeroboam. Under him, Israel will descend into a pit of destructive lawlessness and hate for God. Even the pathetic lipservice offered to God by Rehoboam is preferable to Jeroboam’s open hostility. As for Enan Mishmulen, supporting him may make you feel better, but in the end you’re merely taking the coward’s way out. One of the two main candidates is going to be king, and generations thousands of years in the future will have to live with that choice. In being so concerned over this choice of king, I’m not forgetting that God will always be our King and Redeemer. Nonetheless, we must remember that even temporal politics and kingdoms of this world are crucial aspects of God’s workings. Were the nation of Israel to be destroyed, I have no doubt that a book of bitter lamentations over the temporal political situation could be inspired by the very Spirit of God.”

Am I saying that Donald Trump is literally Rehoboam, and that Hillary Clinton is literally Jeroboam? Not quite. It may turn out that America is doomed either way. And it may turn out that America will recover either way. All I’m saying is that you absolutely should not dismiss the crank who insists that this election was a life-or-death choice for America, with Trump representing the only possible hope for the nation’s survival.

All’s Fair in Love and War… and Judicial Appointments

Back in the mid-2000s, when I was just a teen, I remember being righteously indignant about the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees like Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown. At the time, it was just so obviously ‘wrong’ and ‘unfair’ to deny Bush’s nominees an up-or-down vote.

That was from 2003-06, when there was an R president and R Senate majority. Since then, we’ve had an R president and D Senate from 2007-08, a D president and D Senate from 2009-14, and a D president and R Senate from 2015-present. Living through all the possible permutations has convinced me that there truly is no principled stance on the filibuster or judicial nominations.

Does anyone really believe that Democrats would have confirmed any Bush appointee to the Supreme Court had Ruth Bader Ginsburg suddenly died in February 2008? And does anyone really believe that Republicans would not have been totally outraged by that turn of events? When it comes to filibusters and judicial appointments, no honest man in politics exists.

Yes, Republicans absolutely should be trying to block any appointment until a new President is elected. And yes, Obama absolutely should try to get through an appointment by stealth in his final year. Neither side has any good reason for moral indignation about the other side’s posture. Fairly or unfairly, control of the Supreme Court has simply become too important for stupid little things like customary norms to matter anymore.

And those customary norms aren’t quite as normative as you’d think. Liberal blather to the contrary, leaving a seat vacant for a year is not unprecedented. Not even half a century ago, Democrats kept a seat vacant for thirteen months during 1969-1970. Go back further and you’ll find guerilla warfare over the Supreme Court that makes anything from the 20th century look tame.

Congress hated Andrew Johnson so much that it actually reduced the number of Supreme Court Justices to prevent him from filling either vacancy that happened during his term. Congress allowed a seat to remain unfilled for over two years during the Tyler and Polk administration. And in 1811, the entire Supreme Court term was actually cancelled when James Madison was unable to get someone appointed, and the Court lacked a quorum to do business.

There’s not only precedent for keeping seats open in truly jarring situations. There’s also precedent for filling them in truly jarring situations. In 1841, Justice Philip Barbour died exactly one week before William Henry Harrison’s inauguration. The outgoing president, Martin Van Buren, had been decisively rejected in the presidential election. He still forced through an appointment – a friendly Senate approved his choice of Peter Daniel less than 40 hours before Van Buren’s term ended.

You can be angry at either Obama or the Senate Republicans, but at least be honest enough to realize that there is no political morality here, and that you’d be doing the exact same thing if you were in their shoes.

Christians should not revere Martin Luther King

Discerning Christians have a duty to be very careful in choosing their heroes. We should not idolize anyone because it’s popular to do so, but examine the person’s life very carefully, keeping in mind the full counsel of scripture. A lot of good Christians, both liberal and conservative, admire Martin Luther King, and hold him up as a great man, worthy of reverence and imitation. A careful examination of King’s life convinces me that Christians should not hold him up as a great hero.

First and foremost, King was an unrepentant adulterer. While the full details are impossible to pin down, it’s beyond any reasonable doubt that he was not faithful to Coretta, and had many affairs. If you believe the testimony of his right hand man, Ralph Abernathy, he was even committing adultery on the day of his death in Memphis. Rather shamefully, the official guardians of King’s legacy fight tooth and nail against acknowledging any of this, and try to pretend nothing ever happened.

You might ask why his unfaithfulness matters. Shouldn’t we focus on his civil rights activism, and let his private life be private? Biblically, the answer must be no. Whether private or not, sexual immorality is considered something of utmost importance by God. The Old Testament prophets, when describing why God punished Israel and Judah with destruction, does mention injustice to the poor. But just as often, it mentions the people’s sexual immorality. God will not overlook a practice of unrepentant adultery just because you stand up for the poor and needy.

Adultery has a corrosive and horrific effect on any nation. It destroys families, cheapens marriage, annihilates trust, and quite often leads to outright murder in the form of abortion. Nearly half a century after King’s death, millions of American families lie broken, destroyed by the false idol of sexual freedom, and a rejection of Biblical sexual morality. King ministered at a critical time in history, when the Moynihan Report had just come out. He could have been a powerful voice for sexual fidelity, as he was against discrimination and poverty. But instead he indulged his lusts, and generation upon generation has been influenced by his negative example.

As bad as his adultery was, it was still not his worst sin. Even worse was his cynical and insincere use of Christ and the Christian religion to advance his goals. An examination of King’s theological writings proves beyond any doubt that he rejected basically every doctrine of orthodox Christianity. He did not believe in the virgin birth, the trinity, the atonement, the second coming, the divinity of Christ, or ever the resurrection. Jesus truly was no more special to him than Gandhi or Aristotle. Why then was he, of all things, a Baptist preacher? Simple – his goal was advancing civil rights, and being a preacher was the best platform to pursue that goal. Christianity was a mask to be worn for the masses, but true faith was not in his heart

Again, you may ask why this matters. His civil rights aims were commendable, so why care if his theology was off-base? The answer is because King was taking God’s name in vain. God was just a tool to him, a name to cynically be invoked in the promotion of his own agenda. A totally disposable means to an end. In the words of 2 Timothy 3:5, he was a man who “had the appearance of godliness while denying the power thereof.” This is not the glory, honor, and respect that God deserves. God detests the invocation of His name by hypocrites who actually believe in him. How much more does he detest its invocation by someone who does not.

There are many other reasons to criticize Martin Luther King. Most importantly, his theory of passive resistance deviates from sound Biblical teaching on submission to government rather blatantly. But putting aside any other reasons, the two outlined above are more than reason enough to not hold him out as a hero for Christians. When we revere him, we continue to send the toxic messages that it’s OK to cynically invoke a God you don’t believe in for your own purposes, and that private sexual immorality is really no grave evil at all. Those are pretty horrible messages for Christians to tacitly promote. When it comes to men of the faith to imitate and learn from, we can do better.

Purge Every Evil From Your Midst

As of this writing, there’s been a mindless and mildly horrifying frenzy against the Confederate flag for the past few weeks. Wal-Mart, Amazon, EBay and other businesses will no longer sell it, and a conscious effort is being made to even purge it from old media like “Dukes of Hazzard.” (I write this only because two or three months from now, all of this will be forgotten – new shiny outrages will have long since replaced it).

I can’t say I disagree with the the basic idea of denouncing the Confederate flag. It did fly for four years over a nation expressly dedicated to preserving a legal system which treated a large class of humans as mere chattel property. God sent ten plagues, including the death of all firstborns, on the nation of Egypt for an unjust slave system. Bearing this in mind, it’s a shame and a mystery that any Bible-minded Christian would have affection for the Confederacy (and don’t give me “the north was worse” nonsense. It’s perfectly possible for two sides in a conflict to both be evil in the eyes of God).

And in fact, I actually agree with the idea of totally purging the flag from our midst, as far as practicable. Symbols of evil, ungodliness, and hate should be destroyed. The most righteous in ancient Israel and Judah were the ones who destroyed the Ba’als and Asherah Poles. And it would indeed have been a shame if Golden Calves could be easily found for purchase in every goods trading post within God’s chosen nation. A frenzy to get rid of something like the Confederate flag is, Biblically speaking, a positive good.

The only reason I called it “mindless and mildly horrifying” is that it sprouted not from Biblical theology, but from the ever growing alternative religion of progressivism. In accordance with the stopped-clock principle, the progressives randomly happened to momentarily target something that’s actually evil. More often, America is not so lucky.

[Digression: I’m privately excited about the coming day when the stopped clock will again be right, and the American flag will be targeted. That flag flew over a land of ungodly slavery for 88 years rather than 4. It flew over a land born out of monstrous, bloody, and cruel rebellion against a good King and parliament in Britain. A land which happily committed genocide against Native Americans for centuries. A land that has indiscriminately engaged in wars which do not even arguably meet the Just War criteria. A land which has been working to abolish the family structure since the mid-1800s. And, of course, a land that’s given the legal blessing to the murder of close to 60 million babies. Yes, it will indeed be a good day when the American flag itself is finally targeted.]

The mob that’s going after the Confederate flag today has the wrong motives. And those wrong motives usually lead them to destroy righteous things rather than unrighteous things. But dang, we could sure learn from their zeal. What if Christians had that same kind of zeal today? What if we had an equally strong burning desire to purge every evil from America?

I’m not holding my breath. Yesterday, most Biblical minded Christians in America happily celebrated the Fourth of July, totally oblivious that the ‘principles’ of the Founding Fathers, which they claim to revere, are in fact little more than modern day progressivism in a more embryonic form. But a small remnant of believers are belatedly beginning to wake up, and there is no limit on the overruling power of our sovereign God.

So, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage…

Not that anyone didn’t see it coming. Roe and Casey were soul-scarring monstrosities. Obergefell was just tragi-comic anticlimax.

None of the five opinions were really memorable or remarkable. Kennedy’s majority was a gushy morass of flowery words about “dignity” and “liberty.” The four dissents were pedestrian and uninspired: the Court is sloppy in its reasoning, the Court is legislating from the bench, the Court misconstrues the true nature of liberty, and the Court redefines marriage. Conspicuously absent from any of the opinions is a reference to the God of the Bible, and His creation of marriage. Sure, there are passing mentions of ‘tradition’ and ‘religion,’ and marriage is referred to as ‘sacred’ and ‘spiritual.’ But reading them, one would never know that it was one particular faith and set of scriptures which defined marriage in the west for centuries.

True marriage does not have Man at its center but God. A legal and social definition of marriage which lacks God’s Word as the final arbiter will always be an incomplete and false one. In America, marriage has been not about God, but about autonomous man for well over a century, dating at least as far back as the abolition of coverture. When coverture was destroyed, marriage was no longer about two truly becoming one, but about two entering into a mere loose contract on equal terms. Now, even in an intact marriage, there would be a cautious legal separation between husband and wife.

Things got much worse in the 20th century. Fornication and adultery became almost universal, and morally accepted. Gender roles and distinctions were utterly obliterated. Worst of all, the barbaric institution of no-fault divorce carpet-bombed millions of families into heartbreak and oblivion. Marriage, at least in the Biblical sense, has been dead for a long time, and our American fetish for “liberty” and “autonomy” was the murderer.

There is one reason, and one reason alone that gay marriage did not become legal nationwide until yesterday: homophobia. Once one grants fornication, divorce, and feminism, there isn’t a principled reason in the world to oppose gay rights. And yet, the church was mostly silent as marriage was gradually annihilated, before suddenly growing loud when men started wanting to marry other men. It’s not to hard to figure out what happened. As a general rule, people will always be most critical of whatever sins they’re not guilty of, and tolerant of whatever sins they are guilty of. Since most people in the church didn’t struggle with homosexuality, is was easy to rail against that one. But once you start talking about fornication, divorce, and gender roles, you hit sins that lots of the folks in the pews have struggles with.

Gay marriage was not decided yesterday in Obergefell, it was decided half a century ago when the church happily accepted all the legal changes which had rendered marriage all about human happiness, autonomy, and rebellion. Obergefell is but the long-delayed fruit of a philosophy which has been set in stone for a very long time. And that’s what made the four dissents so uninspiring. At heart, they all treated marriage as a human institution with a lust for autonomy at its core. Justice Alito perhaps deserves a bit of accolades for at least sketching a brief image of a more Biblical conception of marriage, but he too was ultimately too cowardly to go all the way, and call for marriage as God ordained it.

Whatever comes next legally will really not matter that much. Polygamy, incest, and bestiality are all just an indeterminate number of years away. But like gay marriage, they’ll only affect a small percentage of the population. At this point, a few dozen weirdos getting to legally marry their dogs would be the most trivial drop in the bucket. It does not even begin to compare to the evil ravages of abortion, divorce, and fornication – all of which have been commonplace for decades on end.

Hope all this puts the Supreme Court ruling in proper perspective.

Fraud of the Millennium: The Treasonous Magna Carta

When it comes to government in the English speaking world, just about everything tends to go back to the Magna Carta. It’s the fountainhead from which everything else springs. All of those great documents – the English Bill of Rights, the American Declaration of Independence, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights – all trace their lineage to Runnymede.

Having learned in the past few years that the American Revolution was utterly evil and rotten to the core – different from the French Revolution only in degree rather than kind – I began to wonder if the Magna Carta had a dark side as well. I wasn’t disappointed.

The usual narrative goes something like this: King John was terrifying tyrant who was destroying all the ancient rights of his people. But then, a brave and revolutionary group of barons stood up to the bully, and got him to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Said document laid the basis for the rule of law, due process, and all that jank. And western civilization has been building on the Magna Carta, and growing brighter, freer, and happier in the 800 years since.

First, a word about King John. No one can deny that he was a deeply unpleasant and ungodly man. But academic historians have been forced to admit over the last several decades that his reputation as a supervillain despot is a myth. In truth, he was no more demonstrably cruel or tyrannical than any other monarch of his era. He was, however, far less willing to flatter and play get-along with high ranking nobles. And that’s what ultimately made all the difference.

In the early 1200s, there was a large group of barons who were used to the king sucking up to them and treating them like princesses. Henry II and Richard I had done this, but John had better things to do with his time. In response to this dissing, a group of barons led by one Robert Fitzwalter decided in 1212 to take the only rational course of action: they plotted to murder him. The plot failed, but rather than executing the conspirators as he should have done, John instead made an increasing attempt to play nicey-nice with the traitors. Needless to say, this appeasement failed, and the rogue barons kept pushing for more.

The barons were after some alleged “ancient liberties” that had been granted to them in the past, and that the king had supposedly violated. Eight hundred years later, the true extent of any legally established baronial liberties is hard to reconstruct. We now know that many of the old documents that the barons pointed to as proof were actually fabrications. Regardless of the truth, the barons had no moral high ground. Their ringleader, Fitzwalter, openly flouted laws and made quick recourse to violence throughout his entire life. And indeed, once the Magna Carta was signed, the rebel barons immediately ignored provisions that were unfavorable to them. “Ancient liberties” and rule of law were fig leafs for a naked power grab.

(In later centuries, dishonest historians tried to give Fitzwalter a better motive by concocting a myth that King John had tried to rape Fitzwalter’s daughter Matilda. There’s not a shred of historical evidence for this allegation, but it would become the original basis for the character of Maid Marian in the Robin Hood mythos).

In early May of 1215, Fitzwalter’s party of barons formally renounced allegiance to the king, making open treason against the crown. To escape retribution, they occupied London while gathering strength. John had recently given the city of London a good deal of governing autonomy in hopes of currying the city’s favor. As one would expect, this didn’t work, and these new liberties only made the city more eager to back the rebel barons.

John was patient and conciliatory until the end. He sought to have the baron’s grievances arbitrated. The barons would have none of this. After John’s olive branches went unheeded, he was forced to sit down with the rebels in June and give into most of their demands. And thus on June 15 was born the Magna Carta. The document was broken into 63 sections, and the first 60 were mostly innocuous stuff. But then in clause 61, the gloves came off. A committee of 25 barons was established, and this committee would have the power to see that the king ruled in a becoming fashion. If the committee complained to the king, he was bound to address the complaint. If the king refused to do so, the committee would strip the king of his power and authority. As one would expect, the 25 barons named to this committee were all anti-royalist radicals, and many of them had been at the heart of the 1212 assassination plot. Clause 61 was thus, in short, a barely concealed means of callously destroying the monarchy.

The Pope at the time was Innocent III. He was no friend of King John. A decade earlier the two had become bitter enemies when John balked at Innocent’s choice for the Archbishop of Canterbury. The resulting standoff had led to drastic penalties placed by the Pope on the English church. But even in spite of all this bad history, when Pope Innocent found out about the Magna Carta, he was absolutely horrified. He declared that the rebel barons were all to be excommunicated if they attempted to see the document enforced. But he went further than that. In a Papal Bull, Innocent actually declared the Magna Carta to be legally null and void, as it was a blatantly evil attack on Godly hierarchy and authority.

Were the barons chastened by this? Haha, no! After getting the news of the Magna Carta’s nullification, they began an outright civil war against the English monarchy. For the next year, the nation was plunged into total chaos. Then in 1216 came the shocker of all shockers. Prince Louis of France crossed the channel, and Fitzwalter, along with many other rebel barons, sought to crown him the true king of England. The mask had finally slipped off completely; the Magna Carta barons were now outright backing the French in a war against the English. It’s difficult to imagine, both in theory and in practice, how the masterminds behind the Magna Carta could have better demonstrated their deranged hatred for the king, for England, and for Biblical truth.

In this dark year of 1216, a double tragedy struck. Both Innocent III and King John suddenly died. John’s heir, Henry III, was only a little boy. William Marshal, who was acting as regent for little Henry, spotted a fleeting opportunity. He met with the rebels, and offered to sign a new version of the Magna Carta in exchange for abandoning the civil war. Thus, two new editions of the document were signed in 1216 and 1217. The rebellion died down, and Louis hopped back across the channel to France. When Henry III came of age, even he bowed to political reality and signed yet another version of the document in 1225 to keep the barons happy.

Innocent’s successor as Pope was Honorius III. If Innocent was the Benedict XVI of the day, Honorius was Francis. Accordingly, he made no effort to nullify these new versions of the Magna Carta, and happily allowed England to live in its newfound (false) peace. Many decades later, one final revision of the document was signed in 1297. Pope Clement V nullified this final revision in 1305, but it was too little too late. The Magna Carta was deeply embedded in English law, never to come out again. The antinomian revolutionaries had won forever.

We all know the rest of the story. In the 1600s, Edward Coke (the granddaddy of all activist judges) and Whig historians began dishonestly interpreting the Magna Carta to mean all sorts of liberal nonsense. It directly inspired the equally treasonous English Bill of Rights, and then the American Bill of Rights a century later. Practically every ungodly evil committed by democratic governments today has the Magna Carta as its most distant root. And sadly, even most Christians do not realize any of this. Modern Popes, probably unaware of Innocent’s Papal Bull, have even been known to use the phrase “the Magna Carta of X” in a positive fashion.

A few days ago, it was reported that sociologists now expect Christianity to virtually die out in England around the year 2067. I can’t think of a more symbolically perfect thing to be in the news right as the 800th anniversary arrives. A nation, no less than a man, will always reap what it sows. The seeds of the west’s contemporary obliteration, it’s godlessness and inhumanity, were irrevocably sown at Runnymede by an evil legion of soulless barons. I don’t know when the madness will end, but today, we can at least remember where it all began.

Ireland’s Rebellion Continues

Going forward, I plan to move beyond the narrow issue of abortion. This is not because I no longer think it’s an important issue. Just that there are other important issues I want to speak to as well. Tonight, we’ll look at gay marriage.

As of this writing, the nation of Ireland has just finished voting in a referendum to legalize gay marriage. The results will be announced tomorrow, but basically everyone expects the YES vote to win. I expect there will be a lot of blowback in social conservative circles about how Ireland has turned its back on God, and rebelled. But this rebellion is not new. Ireland has been in rebellion against God since long before the day of its independence. Back in 1890, Irish leader Charles Stewart Parnell desecrated the institution of marriage. The Catholic Church rightfully took Parnell to task for this, but much to the church’s surprise, the rank and file citizens of Ireland sympathized entirely with Parnell.

After independence, Ireland wrote a Constitution which began with these words:”In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,We, the people of Éire,Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ.” But the words were lies. As the Old Testament prophets would have said, they were as devoid of real faith as the Temple sacrifices in pre-exilic Judah. The United States Constitution, for all its flaws, is at least honest enough to admit up front that its supreme god is “We the People.”

The most basic desecrations of marriage, fornication and adultery, seem to have been legal for a very long time. Then in 1995 came the barbarous popular legalization of no-fault divorce. God’s design in Genesis for marriage was by this point mutilated beyond recognition. Divorce, together with sex outside of marriage, quite obviously destroys far more lives than gay marriage ever will. Ireland is not beginning a rebellion against God tonight, but merely continuing one that has lasted a long time.

As a general rule, Catholic countries tend to be less ungodly than protestant ones. Indeed, Ireland does at least have the decency to (mostly) take a stand against murdering babies. But culture and history are not enough. Every new generation has a duty to submit to God anew. That’s certainly not happening in Ireland. Instead, the old ‘Catholic’ mask is slipping off the nation more and more. Tomorrow, it will become more obvious than ever that, spiritually, the nation’s Constitution always began and ended not with Christ, but with ‘We the People.’

Vintage Pro-Life Essay From 1970: “The Dove At The Window”

I found this amazing bit of writing buried in the Congressional Record. It was written by an otherwise anonymous doctor from Massachusetts named Henry G. Armitage. Representative John G. Schmitz (who introduced the first ever pro-life Constitutional amendment in 1972) read it into the Record. As you’ll see, it’s a heartbreakingly poignant and prophetic piece, which touches on not only abortion, but the wider social milieu of the late ’60s and early ’70s which allowed genocide to somehow become acceptable within the land of “liberty and justice for all.” A lot of the essay is extremely ethereal, pretentious, and hard to understand, but I didn’t want to cut anything out (although I’ve bolded some of the best snippits).

 

Coming from the Andrew Wyeth exhibition at the Boston Museum, one realizes again how it is possible to believe that, in the long run, it is the artist – the poet and the dreamer, and not merely the rational man, who will have the last word with us. Known as a realist, for want of a better word, Mr. Wyeth at his best reveals, beneath the surfaces of commonplace things “worm smooth with usage,” a timeless, interior world of order, natural harmony and quiet breathing. It is a world in which there is a single tension, sometimes perplexed, of hushed expectation, as if, for a moment, all waiting creation is cocking its head to listen to an intimation of the ineffable.

            I turned the corner outside the museum and surprised a grinning boy, not about twelve, in sardonic play holding the edge of a straight razor against the throat of his friend; and his eyes mocked me with the symbolism of the gesture. Was this reality and is what is seen in the paintings illusion; or is it the other way ‘round?

            Two paintings alone are disquieting. Both show a killed deer hanging outside a farmhouse.

            Unaccountably, on keeps remembering another, not especially distinguished, almost fragmentary paining which shows a part of the interior of a dilapidated, abandoned church in which pigeons have made their roost. Close to the ceiling, by a window, flutters a dove. It is not in the vacant church that reality is to be found. It is in the dove at the window.

            At the present time, in the state of New York, a woman may go to the doctor and ask for an abortion and, barring lateness of arrival or not being pregnant, or choosing a contrary physician or hospital, she shall have it. This is so because she lives in a country where what she is demanding is being established as a right as, in successive states, the abortion laws are being declared unconstitutional. The trend began in the Supreme Court of California and came east when the American Civil Liberties Union brought suit in Federal Court in New York City. State medical societies and the American Medical Association have voted abortion essentially to be a matter for a woman to determine with her physician. A not unimaginable suit in the Supreme Court, aimed at voiding the abortion law in all states where abortion is prohibited now, would remove the question from the legislative arena and the reach of public opinion, thus federalizing the whole abortion issue. The Pentagon has authorized abortion of military personnel and dependents at installations in states where abortion is prohibited.

            Where abortion has been legalized, if a woman is eligible for benefits, Medicaid will pay the bill. At the present time, there is nothing to indicate that what was first argued as a private right may not soon become a public duty and end, perhaps, as a compulsory obligation. Writers already have pointed out how a welfare worker might pressure a recipient toward an abortion with the implication of curtailment of benefits.

            So, it seems that, weary as we may be with the fatigue of supporting freedom, we have now to contend with the notion that corporate humanity is about to turn over the custodianship of its life energy to the state. I submit that while we go on worshiping the national idols we are being bewildered by the national bureaucracy. Conditioned by a full ten years of concern about population, we are experiencing a shift in emphasis away from programs for the care of the unwell toward others for the limitation of the well. Dr. Lee DuBridge, until recently Science Adviser to President Nixon, has advocated fixing United States population at 250 million, world population at six billion, and achievement of zero population growth by the year 2000. From United Nations, where we have never been noted for modesty, he has been endorsed soundly by Gen. William Draper, our representative to the U.N. Population Commission. Gen. Draper adds that five or six billion “should be quite enough for everyone.” One can almost hear all those little people chanting “Yankee imperialist, go home!”

            Sen. Robert Packwood, who has advocated limitation of tax exemption to two children in a family, has stated that, if voluntary controls do not work, we may have to resort to mandatory controls; and he has been supported by Sen. Barry Goldwater. Dr. Alan Guttmacher, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one of the plaintiffs in the New York suit, has said: “Each country will have to decide its own form of coercion. At present the means available are compulsory sterilization and compulsory abortion. Perhaps someday a way of enforcing compulsory birth control will be feasible.” He acknowledges that, “in a democracy, introducing compulsory measures or incentives awards to control fertility would admittedly present awesome difficulties.” Presumably, in a non-democracy, it does not.

            While “His Truth is marching on” abortion is becoming the law of the land. Sixteen states have adopted abortion-on-demand laws; and five are awaiting U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of the constitutionality of their therapeutic abortion statutes. While millions of citizens are going to, coming from, saving for, paying off at their shopping centers, in a never-ending litany of getting, “His terrible, swift sword” is being bent into a curette; and the 91st Congress of the United States has before it more than forty legal proposals dealing with the limitation of life, before and after conception.

            Not without comment shall it come to pass that a state, so fretful for the preservation of the praying mantis but holding an unborn baby to be of no account, can send a spark of immortality swinging out into limbo and conspire with citizen and physician to turn a fragile, living object of simple innocence and complex wonder into a pathetic pulp and to consign it by rude and peremptory passages to the furnace or sewer – unknown, unwanted, undefended, without benefit of clergy.

            Not without comment shall it be made falsely to seem that the fertile adornment of our race can be deluded into the notion that she is a mere portress of unwanted luggage or be by blandishment seduced into believing that she has dominion over life not her own. Nor shall it be accounted a virtue to exploit the natural fallibilities and weaknesses of troubled women and girls.

            Not without comment shall it be made falsely to appear that any political procurer who takes it into his head can, with impunity and every probability of success, dangle a coin before a profession whose members were pledging, “I will not give a woman a pessary to produce an abortion” before the birth of Christ.

            Not without comment shall it be that the poor, the weak and the helpless of this land, whose only vice is they are so many, shall, for a mess of pottage and a ballot, yield over to the state their privacy, their dignity and their liberty to increase. Is it to be here, among these, where the grapes of wrath are stored, that society is to wield its own terrible swift sword? Out where the harbor of New York begins, there is a big statue which proudly proclaims to Europe:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to be free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

            The golden door to what? A charnel-house? Were we only putting them on, after all; and is that what we are to teach to our children?

            It has been estimated that 50,000 abortions will occur in New York City in the first year of the program; and guesses for the entire state range from 110,000 to 500,000. When viewed on a mass scale like this, abortion becomes a great deal more than a quarrel over the moral issues of isolated cases – more, even perhaps, than another lonesome stand by the Judeo-Christian ethic, truncheoning with the yeomen of a pluralistic society. At this level of intensity, it is a social phenomenon of profound significance for every citizen, an ultimate imperative which, whether we like it or not, is forcing us to a moral plebiscite that will determine for the indefinite future the spiritual cast of our people as a nation and as a world force.

            What I am discussing is not a state of disease nor some surgical stunt but the deliberate interruption and destruction of a natural process, an act of rape against the internal environment of man. Supporters of the idea argue that it is necessary in order to avoid the diseases of over-population. The question seems to be whether we shall succumb to over-population with our morals more or less intact or to spiritual suicide with our population balanced.

            Neither the simplistic canticles of English Common Law nor the nonsensical cadenzas of American Uncommon Law are adequate to this question. If there was little need in the past to defend what once must have seemed self-evident – namely, that an agent of the principle of life is entitled to life – this is no longer the case. Gradually, the state is removing a line once drawn at the outlet of the womb and is, in effect, at one and the same time, bringing what has been ruled to be outside the compass of the law under the effect of the decisions of the law while failing to make provision for a right of defense. Either an unborn infant is a human being or it is not; or there is a reasonable doubt that it may be. Either an unborn infant is beyond the scope of the law and immune from any decision which would affect its natural state of existence or it is under the law and entitled to a defense of that existence. We do that much for seagulls, flamingos, and whooping cranes.

            The Supreme Court has ruled that a young man may be exempted from military service by virtue of moral convictions developed as a result of “readings in the fields of history and sociology” and that he need no longer claim status as a conscientious objector solely on the basis of religious training and belief. Particularly in light of so relaxed a view of military exemption, I question most seriously whether it is just, good or wise, to oblige a citizen to contribute health and welfare taxes, which he can think of only as blood money, to pay for birth control practices which he believes to be immoral and for abortions which he believes are murder, based on his moral convictions or his religious training and beliefs. And I think that every citizen must ask whether onto the piled-up rubbish of the national merchandise cultural are to be strewn the shells of the littered hopes and the broken promises of a false and fallen republic.

            It has been said often enough to amount to an aphorism that morally cannot be legislated; but there is something out of plumb about a society carrying a motto “In God We Trust” in its pocket and portraying that what is legislated is neither moral nor immoral and that what is not legislated, to that extent, simply doesn’t exist at all. Inherited from an age of right and wrong, the motto is out of place in an era of right and non-right; and it is likely to remain so, barring some upsurge of the spirit which, at this time, is nowhere to be seen.

            In the pressures of an expanding population within a shrinking environment are to be found the origins of all the dissonances which are vibrating in our membranous society. Man out of tune with his environment is disoriented. Man out of tune with himself is demented. Man out of tune with both has been destroyed. Only an uncorrupted spirit, operating thorough an inflexible will, fastens us to a little apex between animal and robot. In the entire human epoch, no crisis has made a greater demand upon our will and spirit and perhaps never have they seemed less able to respond. That is our great sin – that we see, that we suffer and that we do not act.

            What is to be said about the population problem? There is one observable fact. The population is increasing. The rest is hypothesis and speculation. Since we are observing a first-of-its-kind phenomenon, something which has never happened before, who is a population expert? You, I, our neighbor? In the entire existence of the human race to date, we are still only somewhere on the first curve of one cycle of which no man on earth knows the shape. Nor does any man know that it is not merely the first cycle of many yet to come. It would be outside the range of probability, in a universe otherwise so rigidly governed by laws that there should be none governing the ebb and flow of human existence. That we have not discovered one testifies that we are early travelers on the curve. That we should set about changing the shape of the curve is as presumptuous as that we should undertake to change the orbit of the earth.

            In the present circumstance, the first duty of the scientific community is to observe and record, with absolute detachment, total objectivity, and scrupulous accuracy, what happens next. I submit that it is not its first duty to proclaim a disease of which no one has ever heard and, without verifying that it exists, rashly to undertake an arbitrary, empirical, radical, artificial, and unnatural form of treatment – all, I might add, without the consent of the patient or a license from the granting authority, who happen to be one and the same, to wit, corporate humanity. In this matter, I fear, part of the scientific community and an agonizing proportion of my own profession are forgetting the cardinal principle of treatment – “First do no harm.”

            That most rational of scientists, Rene Dubos, writes at length, in Reason Awake, of the need for an informed body of scholars capable of critical evaluation of science and of translating the evaluation into language that society can understand. He warns that “Freedom can be maintained only if citizens understand the intellectual basis of scientific expertise sufficiently well to differentiate between persuasion and manipulation by experts” and that “a society that blindly accepts the decisions of experts is a sick society on its way to death.”

            In a chapter entitled Willed Future, Dr. Dubos writes of the risks and shortcomings of forecasting, which, “for reasons that are not clear and in any case are not justified by actual performance,” “now enjoys the dignity of an academic profession.” He comments at length on the comparatively undeveloped nature of the behavioral and social sciences and the difficulties and dangers inherent in trying to adapt the constitutive principles or the concepts and methods of the natural sciences to the social sciences. He points out the need for the behavioral and social sciences “to go through a phase of slowly accruing a core of concrete facts relevant to the mind and society before they can arrive at meaningful abstract formulations of their problems.” He concludes, “when this stage has been reached they may re-examine their relation to natural sciences and perhaps become partly anchored on physiology, ecology and other biological sciences.” He refers to the contrast between the problems of physical sciences, involving usually one or two variables at a time, with those of rudimentary social sciences dealing with the enormously intricate complex of variables of human society. I would like to cite as a single example (my own, not Dr. Dubos’) that the failure of social scientists to take into account a relatively simple perturbation – that some citizens believe that many of these babies ought to be baptized – could result in serious and lasting social divisions – a consequence which no alert and loyal American citizen, consciously or subconsciously, would ever desire. A social force, or any system of bureaucracy, which can, with reckless insensitivity, ride roughshod over this consideration, merits the searching attention of every sober-minded citizen.

            Members of a played-out demi-culture endlessly repeating our last lines, we are missing an opportunity to realize an undreamed-of renaissance. We are dying “inch by inch in play at little games.” We are missing the ultimate question on earth of our era – how to expand our environment. Given the spirit and the will, we are capable of unimagined prodigies. Given the imagination and creative thinking, one could doubt that we have enough workers to accomplish what we are capable of achieving. We can bring about a massive re-ordering of our priorities. With coordinated high-level planning and a systems approach we can re-create and recycle our industries, our commerce, and our transportation. We can make earth, we can make forests and streams, we can even make one environment above another, if we have to. Through austerities, economies and sacrifices we can develop a natural population in harmony with a natural environment and feel joy again, in an act of gratitude to our past and of generosity to our future. Sooner that we should die trying that that we should try dying.

            Like population control in general, abortion is a slovenly short-order, a retreat from thesis to anti-thesis, an assertion that it is for the good of mankind to stop up the wellspring of mankind. But an abortion is never a commonplace. For the world holds no heartbreak like the death of innocence. Whenever and wherever it occurs, we all suffer another loss from the little that sustains us and holds us together. Not alone because I believe it is murder do I oppose abortion. Not alone because it is a frustration of nature, because it is a degradation of humanity, because it violates that innate respect for life of my profession do I oppose abortion. I oppose abortion also because I believe that, in the sophisticated barbarism of a nation destroying its offspring, can be sensed the stirrings of despair in a people who are lost and disoriented in a disputative, speculative, innovative wilderness. I oppose abortion because it is fullness emptied, innocence defiled, song unfinished, beauty discarded, dream cloven, hope unsprung. It is the deer, hanged by the neck beside the house of man. It is the razor against the throat of the dove at the window.

            I pay homage to those thousands of innocent souls, so rudely deflected from an earth which they shall never inherit. Not for nothing, once before, did a great Church number first among its saints other slaughtered innocents, unreasoning and unblessed, who died for a God whose name they have never heard. Flowers of martyrs, it called them. It may yet be that we are going to have a Second Spring of new flowers and martyrs, terribly to awaken us before there can be only madness and blackness.

            Now, in this time of the Big Flinch, a carnival has come to the Republic. Drawn on by the pied-pipers of peace, the populace is thronging to see the show. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot tootle the flute and pound the drum and the publican gapes in awe. In the midway, the prophets of parturition and pleasure are huckstering for the souls of mothers and daughters. The academician and the journalist have come down from Olympus, the clergyman has come up from Bethlehem, the social scientist has come out of the classroom – and all have gone into the marketplace to barter for the minds of men and boys. At the animal show, bright and charming children thrust sticks through the bars to goad the captive, bewildered servants of the law. Along the sideshow, transmuted in the flickering light of a flaming republic, the bureaucrat displays his contortions and a magician makes a whole baby disappear in the air. Buy a souvenir! Three monkeys set all in a row. Hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing.

            It is late and the din rises. In the gathering darkness of a bemused evening, one barely hears the faint echo of “freedom” come back from the surrounding hills – dark hills, where a stealthy bear watches and silently waits. For he sees what we do not yet know – that, in our absence, housebreakers are robbing us of everything that we own, of virtue, honor, integrity, trust, innocence, truth, beauty, justice, and liberty.