The Politics of Life
My own take on abortion politics is somewhat different from Joseph Bottum’s (“The Signpost at the Crossroads” August/September 2010). I have yet to hear an explanation of how America, or any given state, would go about distinguishing between sought abortions that are medically justifiable and ones that are not. I mean concretely, in actual cases, not in the abstract.
Would there have to be a specially trained police officer in every OB-GYN clinic and hospital department? Just how would all that work?
Don’t doctors have to be given considerable legal autonomy partly because a woman’s condition of health can change suddenly, and her doctor must have freedom to make decisions accordingly? And isn’t it true that where autonomy is granted, it will not always be used morally?
It seems to me that those who want to see the rate of abortion dramatically lowered in this country should work to improve the social climate in such ways as to reduce the incidence of fornication and adultery. By far, the majority of women who seek abortions are pregnant by someone other than their own husbands. Churches should take the lead there.
Improving the social climate also includes working for the near-total privatization of education. Public school boards are increasingly dominated by the left, and the values taught—directly or indirectly—in public schools inevitably reflect this.
And it means working for private sector–provided mental health care and dating / family life education. Sexual activity leading to pregnancies considered by the woman or the girl (or the girl’s parents) to be unwanted is often spurred by emotional problems, absence of social support for chaste courtship, or both. And, in the black population especially, father deprivation contributes to promiscuity in both girls and boys, and in the women and men they become.
SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND
Making inconvenient words disappear is an old secularist trick.
Robert P. George’s example of censoring Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (“God and Gettysburg,” August/September 2010) with the disappearance of “under God” after “this nation” in the pamphlet distributed by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy is a good recent instance. There are others. For example, shortly after Roe v. Wade decriminalized abortion, many medical schools altered the Hippocratic Oath. Gone were Hippocrates’ words “I will not give a women a pessary to cause an abortion,” conveniently replaced (as in the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeon’s version) with “perform no operation for a criminal purpose.”
Hippocrates’ and Lincoln’s intentions easily disappeared before secularist agendas and judicial slight of hand. Secular shenanigans can even make buildings disappear with the ease of a David Copperfield performance. When W.H. Auden visited Barcelona in 1937, he was profoundly shocked and disturbed to find no churches. They were officially gone, transmogrified into museums and such. Years later, in 1968, when E.F Schumacher visited Leningrad, he consulted a map but became confused. From where he stood he could see several enormous churches, but there was no trace of them on his official government map. Disappeared! Here are accomplishments John Lennon could only imagine! Stay tuned for more magic. With secularist slight of hand—never censorship, of course—becoming more blatant, you won’t be disappointed.
BEACON, NEW YORK
A Waiting Game
I read with interest David B. Hart’s article, “A Perfect Game” in your August/September issue. I thought he must have been joking when he suggested that American baseball was not only interesting but in some sense cosmically important.
This is the same game that the late George Carlin once described as an assembly of overweight men standing in a cow pasture scratching, spitting, and adjusting their underwear. Not exactly cosmic stuff, this.
Over the years, I’ve spent many brutal afternoons baking in Cincinnati’s old Riverfront Stadium waiting for something to happen.
In my memory, nothing ever did.
The Truth is Out There
Does C. Glenn Loury not see it, or does he see it but is afraid to say it? In reviewing James Patterson’s Freedom Is Not Enough (“Why We Didn’t Overcome,” August/September 2010), Loury fails to mention that the disintegration of marriage and the resultant failure of poverty programs are due to the disintegration of morals. Until a consistent moral code is taught, supported by civil law, and generally followed, the disintegration of marriage will continue to plague the nation.
What morals would be taught? If teachers are typical, 50 percent of them are divorced and thereby participants in the disintegration of marriage. Most were raised after the 1960s, so many have engaged in sex outside of marriage, having foregone the opportunity to marry as a virgin. Are these teachers qualified? We all admire couples that have remained faithful. We all admire the purity of virgins. We have this instinctive idea of the ideal. Perhaps if teachers repented and reformed, they could become qualified.
We must accept the fact that there is a purpose in humankind that differs from the purpose of the rest of the universe. Despite what atheists profess, people were made for a transcendent purpose; animals and trees were not. The nature of that purpose can be accessed by reason, although reason must not be clouded by the type of behavior that has caused the disintegration of marriage. The religious and nonreligious must strive with open minds to learn the truth about the purpose of humanity so that a moral code, based on that purpose, can be seen. So let’s get back to the ancient pursuit of the search for the truth, this time not starting with the more modern premise that there is no God, a God who cares about our behavior and our eternal goal. Then we might discover what is needed beyond Patterson’s freedom.
Frederick A. Costello
George Weigel’s comments (“Through a Glass, Clearly,” August/September 2010) on moral debate distort the principles he espouses.
Pray tell, how do the enumerated, morally serious policies of John XIII (justice, freedom, security, the general welfare, and peace of order) validate the founding of the state of Israel and the subjection of the Palestinian people for the past sixty-three years as admirable examples of history?
Weigel continues by misconstruing his advocacy for our Iraq imperialism by redefining the principles for a “just war” and dichotomizing the war as a combat and post-combat adventure.
War is war.
It’s time that he acknowledges these failures in American Middle East policies and his role in developing public support for them. More importantly, there must be advocacy for total Iraq withdrawal, establishing a Palestinian state, and supporting an internationally secure Israeli state evenhandedly.
Edward J. FitzPatrick
BLAUVELT, NEW YORK