Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Planned Parenthood: All or Nothing?

One of the most striking things about Planned Parenthood's defenders is the general unwillingness, or perhaps inability, to consider Planned Parenthood's abortion "services" apart from the rest of their services. The videos released by the Center for Medical Progress at a minimum should warrant some kind of an investigation. Especially in light of today's fifth video, which shows Planned Parenthood employees in Houston claiming to be able to provide "intact specimens", one would think that even the most ardent defender of Planned Parenthood would want to know more about what's actually going on there.

Yet they don't. At least not publicly. The closest I have seen was when Hillary Clinton said that she found the videos disturbing, but later distanced herself from the comment. What's far more common is for defenders of Planned Parenthood to point out how much good Planned Parenthood does for poor women. For example, I've seen this image floating around on twitter:



Other examples abound. But this is, at best, a distraction. Presumably Planned Parenthood could continue to offer this kind of care should it stop performing abortions. Investigating its conduct concerning abortions has little effect on the rest of its services.

It makes me wonder if Planned Parenthood supporters see PP as an all or nothing deal? They seem to be touting all the services that PP provides other than abortion, and yet they are unwilling to allow its abortion services to be investigated. I am sure that Planned Parenthood does provide important services to women who have few places else to turn to. But this isn't about that. This is about the willful destruction of defenseless humans.

Here is the crux of the issue: abortion is the willful murder of a child.

No amount of good deeds can absolve Planned Parenthood of their murder! That Planned Parenthood's supporters choose to overlook this is instructive. It speaks to a massive and systemic moral failure. Whether they are the type of person who irrationally believes that a viable baby is not a human being deserving of the same rights and protections of other humans, or whether they are the type of person who doesn't believe a viable baby is human, they have failed in their duty to develop a rational morality.

So how do those of us who are still capable of calling a spade a spade deal with this? Honestly, I think we're moving in a pretty good direction. There is, however, lots of confusion present. We should do our best to clarify issues (for example, this isn't about Planned Parenthood, this is about abortion).

The other thing we should be doing is to call the pro-choice movement out on their extremism whenever the opportunity presents itself. And make no mistake, extremists they are. We now have five videos showing, at an absolute minimum, evidence of possible illegal sales of human body parts. This is the sort of thing that warrants some kind of investigation, and yet we have the White House admitting to taking Planned Parenthood at its word.

The American pro-choice movement is an extreme outlier. The American left's cry for "Free abortion on demand and without apology" literally has no equal. In Germany, a woman seeking a first trimester abortion must attend a counselling session. In Belgium there's a six day waiting period. In Europe in general it's incredibly difficult to get an abortion after 20 weeks.

The American pro-choice movement are the extremists here. Remember that the next time someone calls the pro-life movement extremist. Which brings me back to this posts title, does Planned Parenthood have to be all or nothing? Or course not. The questionable abortion practices can be investigated without affecting their other services. Planned Parenthood could even protect their funding by simply agreeing to stop providing fetal tissue. If they are telling the truth about not profiting off of those tissue donations, then this should not be a big deal.

But somehow I doubt that people who see no problem dismembering babies are entirely on the up and up.

Monday, June 29, 2015

SCotUS and Rainbows and Constitutional Abuses, Oh My!

This post is a half baked mishmash of ideas that I threw into words in about 20 minutes. I'm posting it in its current and pitiful state because I want to force myself to refine these ideas into something approaching readable upon my return to the United States.

To the people freaking out over SCotUSes decision regarding same sex marriage: You lost this fight decades ago.

To the people gloating over SCotUSes decision regarding same sex marriage: You had more states than my Texas CHL is good in. You had the overwhelming majority of the American people behind you. It was only a matter of time before you had all 50 states the proper way: by putting it before a vote. Hell, it wasn't even all that much time: In 2000 you had zero states. In February 2015 you had thirty eight!  That's about as fast as the gun rights movement has advanced concealed carry on the state level!

But no. That wasn't good enough. You had to go to the Supreme Court, and five of them had to torture the 14th amendment beyond recognition in order to invent for you a new constitutional right. You had 198 million Americans behind you but you let 5 of them decide it.

You see, I don't particularly care if the people decide to legalize gay marriage. That's the people's prerogative. But what I do very strongly care about is the legal process taken when doing so. Why? Because it is the process, not the laws, that protect our rights. You abuse the process and you get abusive laws.

It is process, not laws, that prevent the abuse of power.

Americans are sick and tired of war, yet we get more and more of it. Why? Congress could put a stop to it tomorrow by impeaching the president for waging war without Congress's declaration. But they don't because no one cares that the Constitution invests the power to declare war in Congress. The process is being willfully ignored. Why? Because the outcome of ignoring the process is beneficial to both the president (he gains more power) and Congress (they lose political risk).

We live in a culture that values outcomes over process, and such a mindset is a fundamental threat to liberty. If outcomes are all that matters, and if processes designed to restrain that power get in the way of the desired outcome, suddenly anything goes. There's no longer anything to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

Americans enjoy their liberty not because of their democracy.



No, Americans enjoy their liberty because some very smart men realized that democracies have a tendency to oppress their minorities and wrote a specific list of things that our democracy was not allowed to do. The Bill of Rights is nothing more than a list of things we idiots don't get to vote on!

So while I am impartial to the *outcome* of the SCotUS decision, I am very much against the fact that this even went to the Supreme Court, and that the Supreme Court majority took it upon themselves to invent a new right. As Thomas said in his dissent:
The majority's inversion of the original meaning of liberty will likely cause collateral damage to other aspects of our constitutional order that protect liberty.
And as Roberts stated in his dissent:
If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
So, yeah. That's about where I stand. By all means go out and get married. But how about when we get around to legalizing polygamy we do it the old fashioned way and bring it to a vote?

Monday, October 13, 2014

No, Chron, Abbott isn't saying that

Recently, Texas' marriage law, which excludes same sex marriage, has come under attack. As the state Attorney General, Greg Abbott has been defending it. Because that's his job. Anyway. The Houston Chronicle recently published a rather confused article on Greg Abbot's judicial briefing before the 5th Circuit Court. The headline "Greg Abbott: Texas gay marriage ban reduces out-of-wedlock births," is factually wrong, Abbott argues no such thing. The actual briefing (which, to its credit, the Chron does link) is entirely unconcerned with either gay marriage or out-of-wedlock births.

I suspect part of the problem is that many people, and the media is especially guilty of this, tend to approach things pertaining to the judicial branch the same way they approach things pertaining to the legislative branch. Seeing as these branches operate in entirely different manners and are primarily concerned with entirely different questions, this leads to problems. Regardless, let us examine what Abbott is actually saying in his judicial brief.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Conversion Story

My conversion to Roman Catholicism has been, to date anyway, the most unexpected and unlikely event in my life. It is also something I get asked about a lot, and so I've decided to write a post detailing the long and slow process that led to my eventual conversion. Throughout this post I will sprinkle links to blogs and videos that were helpful to me, perhaps they'll be helpful to you.

It starts at Grove City College where I met many incredibly smart people who were, for the most part, not Baptist. They were mostly Presbyterian, and we spent many a study party getting distracted by tangents on theology. What I learned from this was that... though the fundamental Baptist church I had grown up in had done a pretty good job teaching me about the Bible, they hadn't really taught me much in the way of formal theology. It also taught me that sincere disagreement could exist over the interpretation of scripture, and that these disagreements were not born of ignorance or unfaithfulness. Over time that realization would eat away at my belief in Sola Scriptura.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Combat Effective Shooting

Unfortunately there's been another officer involved shooting in St. Louis and now I'm seeing a lot of questions about why the officer didn't "just shoot him in the leg?" So it seemed to me that this would be a good time to write a quick post about combat effective shooting.

A lot of people who don't know much about guns wrongly assume that bullets are magic and kill on contact. Many, many people survive being shot multiple times by a handgun. There are stories of people who resisted arrest taking over five shots from a .45 (one of the larger, if slower, handgun rounds traditionally known for its stopping power!) and continuing to fight! Because of this, when people are trained to use a handgun defensively they are often taught about combat effective shooting.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Rant About Rants About Pornography

I wrote a post similar to this a while back when I saw an article by a young woman who expressed her sympathy for men because of how hyper-sexualized our culture is. For this I applauded her, and her article is worth a read if only because she does a good job at exposing just how large and ugly a problem this hyper-sexualization is, including pointing out just how prevalent pornography is in the church (50% of men, 20% of women use it).

But I didn't post it, because it was too personal and I didn't really want to share it. But today I saw an article entitled 7 Good Reasons To Stop Looking At Porn Right Now and the anger and disgust all came back. It is clear to me now that there is a significant number of Christians who just don't understand pornography and its effects on people, and so I am going to post that original blog post, with a few updates to reflect the article I saw today, in the hope of maybe helping people who haven't been down this road to understand it.

So you should go read her article and come back to read me complain about it and also Tim Challies's article.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Hashtags and Fantasy Worlds

Before I launch into this rant, I want to make something absolutely crystal clear: There absolutely is a problem relating to what some feminists are calling "rape culture." There very clearly are people who have been hurt by systematic injustices in our society. This post in no way should be construed to be a denial of that.

No, today I am merely ranting about the response to that fact!