Death for Gosnell? Or Mercy?

Robert George addresses something that’s been on my mind as well. As surely as I know that the sun rises, I know that, if found guilty, Kermit Gosnell deserves the death penalty for his crimes.

We know very little about the psyche of Dr. Gosnell. His keeping of souvenirs certainly suggests that he took some psychotic kind of pleasure in what he did, but the motivating factor appears all too mundane. Gosnell brutalized women and murdered babies because it was easy and profitable. He did it because he could, and the pro-abortion culture told him he could, because it wasn’t actually a real “life” between the blades of his scissors. The only thing separating his actions from the stated positions of the abortion lobby is that the abortion lobby–and the president–thinks its okay to kill infants born alive as long as the facilities are sanitary. Sen. Barbara Boxer even seems to suggest that babies can be killed up until their parents take them home from the hospital.

The courts gave him a licence to kill, the politicians gave him the leeway to do it without supervision, and the activists and media tried to make sure no one observed his murders.

In other words, there are hundreds of unindicted co-conspirators involved in the crimes for which Gosnell is on trial, and they will never be brought to justice.

That doesn’t mitigate his culpability at all. The man preyed on the poor, the weak, the defenseless. The man is, in any reasonable definition of the word, a monster.

I know that, and yet…

The death penalty has two aspects: retribution and public safety. The state’s execution of Gosnell would not seem to be a matter of public safety. If found guilty, he is unlikely to ever get out of jail, and even if he did, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which he could return to his particular crimes.

It’s tempting to think that justice can only be satisfied by retribution: that the magnitude and outrageous cruelty and callousness of these crimes can only be served by the death of the perpetrator.

But Catholics have an opportunity for a more powerful witness: the witness of mercy. When you meet cruelty with cruelty, you just get more cruelty. As Professor George says:

Kermit Gosnell, like every human being, no matter how self-degraded, depraved, and sunk in widkedness, is our brother—a precious human being made in the very image and likeness of God. Our objective should not be his destruction, but the conversion of his heart. Is that impossible for a man who has corrupted his character so thoroughly by his unspeakably evil actions? If there is a God in heaven, then the answer to that question is “no.” There is no one who is beyond repentance and reform; there is no one beyond hope. We should give up on no one.

If our plea for mercy moves the heart of a man who cruelly murdered innocent babies, the angels in heaven will rejoice. But whether it produces that effect or not, we will have shown all who have eyes to see and ears to hear that our pro-life witness is truly a witness of love—love even of our enemies, even of those whose appalling crimes against innocent human beings we must oppose with all our hearts, minds, and strength. In a profoundly compelling way, we will have given testimony to our belief in the sanctity of all human life.

Do we really oppose the culture of death in all its manifestations, or do we harbor a little corner of our hearts that cries out for blood?

I can answer that one easily for myself: yes, I do have that desire for vengeance in my heart. I want blood. I hear of violence and I want it to be paid back with violence, because that would seem satisfy justice.

I know that desire exists me, but I don’t trust it. A powerful voice that calls for death–even the death of the guilty–is very rarely the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Everything we do–even unto sacrificing our own lives–must be done for the greater glory of God. As I’ve written before, God makes it pretty clear what he demands, and it is not sacrifice.

In a case that so clearly proves the pro-life position on the horror of abortion and the sanctity of life, we do well to reject death. Our nation is saturated in casual cruelty. Death is easy: flick of a switch, it’s over. Little is gained except abstract and outmoded notions of retributive justice. At some point, our most powerful witness to Christ will be to oppose cruelty with something far more powerful: the merciful love of God. The world could use that right now more than it could use another body in a case that already has far too many.

A Very Important Reminder: Tweet #Gosnell

A Constitutional Right: ending up in a bag in a Philadelphia basement

Just a quick post to urge you to Tweet with the #Gosnell tag today. The media has created a deliberate blackout on the story of mass murderer/abortionist Kermit Gosnell because it disrupts their narrative about abortion. I wrote about the story when it first broke, and read the entire Grand Jury Report. It remains the most disturbing thing I have ever covered as a professional reporter.

The media has blacked out the story, even as one horrifying revelation after another comes out of the trial. A harmless country song has generated more outrage in the mainstream and leftwing media (but I repeat myself) than a man who killed a woman and countless babies born alive in the most brutal ways imaginable and under nightmarish conditions.

That the victims and the perpetrator were all minorities, that the government utterly failed to inspect the Gosnell clinic even as much as it inspects pet stores, and that the entire story flies in the face of the pro-abort lie about the unborn not being actually human are driving the coward media away.

Well, we now have an answer to that. We can seize the controls of communication. We can make damn sure that if the rich and powerful try to ignore us, at least they’ll have to hear our voices first.

You are America. Not the government. Not the corporate media conglomerates. The power is yours. Take it. Use it. Defend life.

Girl Scouts, WAGGGS, and Abortion: Still A Problem

The most challenging, least satisfying writing I’ve done since I started covering religion was this two part piece on the Girl Scouts. It percolated for months as I sifted through tons of information and tried to figure out just what the Girl Scouts of the USA were doing, if it was compatible with Catholic values, and what parents should do about it.

It was a frustrating experience because there was just enough information to indicate the GSUSA was acting in bad faith, but little that was clear and decisive. The leadership of the GSUSA–larded with leftists, one-worlders, pro-aborts, global warming zealots, and gay marriage boosters–had left enough plausible deniability to explain away the concerns of many. Their affiliation with the aggressively pro-abortion global scouting group WAGGGS was certainly a major concern, but how much impact did that have on the day to day life of average Girl Scouts?

I resisted–and still, to some degree, resist–the idea of Catholics pulling back from the group. Why should we abandon an organization, founded by Baden-Powell, to the forces of moral relativism and the culture of death? It’s as much ours as theirs: moreso, since our values are the true values of scouting. Scouts don’t retreat: we fight. We do the world no good at all if we stay in a little Catholic ghetto. That, however, is easy to say, hard to practice, particularly when it means using little girls for your battles and supporting things that are objectively evil.

At the time I wrote my article, my daughter was still in GSUSA, but while our local leadership was good and she enjoyed it, the troubling materials coming from the national organization (and the knowledge that our dues were going to support WAGGGS) didn’t sit right with us. It didn’t help that, from an organisational standpoint, the GSUSA is run like crap. It’s little more than a cookie distribution empire with badges. I discouraged her from rejoining in middle school, and instead she found a happy home in the far-superior 4H program, where she can can indulge her love of critters without the constant “PLEASE RECYCLE OR YOU HATE THE PLANET!” subtext coursing through every page of the Girl Scout activity book.

Mary Hasson has been following more recent developments, including the GSUSA’s absolute refusal to take a position on the latest militant abortion advocacy from WAGGGS. The new outrage from WAGGGS is its intimate involvement in the Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration. Here’s what Hasson has to say:

First, realize how radical the Bali Youth Declaration really is: it asserts “sexual rights” for youth (including 10 year-olds) on nearly every page and demands, over a dozen times, youth access to “abortion” or “reproductive rights” and services. It marginalizes families—decrying parental consent and “age of consent” restrictions in sexual and reproductive matters—and casts religious objections to LBGT lifestyles as “religious intolerance.” Not surprisingly, the pro-abortion chorus embraces the Declaration.

There’s more to know about the Bali Declaration, but what’s most relevant here are the architects behind its design.

The Declaration reflects the handiwork of the Global Youth Forum’s International Steering Committee, a group stacked with abortion providers and abortion-advocacy groups, such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Youth Coalition.

Who else’s fingerprints are all over the Declaration?  WAGGGS.

WAGGGS was heavily invested in formulating the Declaration. Its leaders,including WAGGGS’ Senior Advocacy Coordinator, not only served on the Forum’s Steering Committee, but also worked for six months on the Taskforcesthat shaped the conference agenda, the resulting Declaration, and follow-up activities.  At the Bali summit, WAGGGS representatives facilitated breakout sessions and presented youth “recommendations” to the plenary sessions. Now WAGGGS promotes the Declaration and advocates for its implementation.

Two things were very clear in my research: 1) WAGGGS is a radical group pushing an agenda at direct odds with our values, and 2) WAGGGS is doing the dirty work of the GSUSA (which is the largest contributor to its operating budget) while allowing the GSUSA to say they “take no position” on these controversial topics.

Of course, when someone is pushing a radical agenda, silence is a position.

Read the rest of what Hasson has to say, and if you are still in Girl Scouts, make your voice heard.

A Novena to End Abortion, Via Texting

Good for the USCCB: they’re making savvy use of technology to help end abortion. As part of their “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” (January 19-27, 2013)to coincide with Roe v. Wade and the March for Life, they are sending out daily texts for a novena to end abortion.

Just text “9days” to 99000 and the prayers will be sent to you every day from the 19th to the 27th.

We are an army of Davids, each with a yowbel in our pocket.

Planned Parenthood is the Right Hand of Satan

“Dear mommy, please vote yourself the right to kill me.”

Perhaps the sickest ad of a sick election season, in which the “products of conception” (to use the “choice” movement’s terminology) beg mommy for the right to get rid of any potential little brothers or sisters. Nothing like having cute little moppets who managed to dodge the uterine currette cheering on their homicidal moms to make sure they never get called “grandma.”

I cannot wait for this election to be over.

And, just in case you haven’t had enough of the left’s sick manipulation of children, here’s another taste.

This is Obama’s base. These are his allies.

via Hot Air

Some People Call It a “Choice” …

…which is a nice euphemism for homicide by mutilation. Don’t take my word for it: here’s how a former abortionist describes what he did.

If you support abortion, you’re not allowed to look away. Sorry. You don’t get that privilege. You don’t get to wrap yourself in nice little slogans about “women’s rights” and “my body, my choice,” or the most nauseating one of all: “well, no one likes it, but…” If your oh-so-enlightened views are predicated upon the existence of horrible things happening in tiny rooms to people you don’t know, you should at least have the moral courage to understand what happens in those rooms. This applies as much to those on the right who support torture as it does to those on the left who support abortion.

In her fable “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” Ursula K. Le Guin offers her idea of a utopia. Her perfect world of perfect happiness can only be sustained by one child living in a locked, damp, darkened closet and subjected to constant abuse. The citizens all know this, and most accept this horror as the price for the world they live in.

But some cannot:

At times one of the adolescent girls or boys who go see the child does not go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes also a man or a woman much older falls silent for a day or two, then leaves home. These people go out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight outof the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes alone, youth or girl, man or woman.

Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

I’ve always felt that the point of LeGuin’s fable was this: the only people worthy of all that Omelas had to offer were the ones who could never have it, because they found the cost too high.

What Dr. Levatino describes does not happen to one child: it happens to over 3,000 human beings every day in the United States alone. Too many people accept this as a price of the world they live, or perhaps just the cost of their own moral and political views. Maybe they just haven’t looked hard enough. Maybe they don’t care, or have convinced themselves that this isn’t really a life, or at least not an important life, and certainly not one that feels pain: well, not much pain (probably), and certainly that pain is nothing measured against the inconvenience faced by the mother. Hard choices, you know. No one is “pro-abortion,” it’s a private matter, safe-legal-and-rare … well, you know all the lies. People can convince themselves of all kinds of things. People used to convince themselves that Jews and blacks weren’t actually human. They’ve progressed beyond that. Now they’ve convinced themselves that humans aren’t even human.

It’s hard to change a deeply-held conviction, and abortion is a hard subject to change your mind about. In her story, LeGuin emphasizes that the people who walk away, do so alone. She uses the word “alone” three times in two paragraphs, and emphases the darkness, fear, and unknown elements of what they face by making their choice. So much of our self-identity and politics and relationships are bound up in our beliefs on subjects just like this. It’s a frightening thing to change your views so radically on such a volatile subject. It certainly wasn’t easy for me.

Yes, I used to be one of those loathsome “well, no one likes it, but …” people, and that was the worst possible position to take, because I was admitting that it was a horrifying thing but saying it should continue anyway. I acknowledged injustice and brutality, and said, “I’m okay with that.” I gazed upon the child in the basement closet of Omelas and decided his misery is a fair price to pay for the world I lived in. It took time–years, in fact–but I finally looked a little harder in that closet, and I became one of the ones who walked away.

USCCB General Counsel Requests Reconsideration of HHS Mandate

In response to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) from the Department of Heath and Human Service, Anthony Picarello (USCCB associate general secretary and general counsel) and Michael Moses (associate general counsel) have submitted a new request for reconsideration of the odious contraception, abortifacient, and sterilization mandate. Here is the release from the USCCB press office as published:

WASHINGTON—Religious employers and other stakeholders would still have their employee health insurance plans and premiums used for services they find morally objectionable, even under future government accommodations, according to comments submitted by the General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The May 15 comments outlined the continued objections of USCCB to the HHS “preventive services” mandate and urged the administration to resolve these issues “in favor of more, not less, religious freedom.” Continue reading

Aquinas & More on Boycotting Chinese Products

In a post on the shameful betrayal of Chen Guangcheng at the hands of the US government, the Catholic retailer Aquinas & More reiterates why they don’t carry products made in China:

Since Aquinas and More opened we have had a policy that we don’t buy or sell any products from China. We have posted many times over the years explaining why.

Some of our vendors have tried to convince us that this policy isn’t really wise and have offered many excuses why their stuff is “okay” to purchase including:

  • We inspect the factories and the workers are treated well
  • Our products may convert the factory workers
  • Costs are too high everywhere else in the world to produce these products so it’s better that we do it here to save a dime, a quarter, a dollar, ten dollars, etc. so people can still afford to buy them

The problem with all of this is that China is evil. The administration has a national policy of forcefully killing babies. They imprison Christians including priests and bishops without cause. Every cent we give them just makes the government stronger.

The current case of Chen Guangcheng is a prime example of how evil regimes operate, especially when supposedly good ones take the side of evil.

Read the rest, and good for them. It’s their business, and it can’t be easy to take this kind of moral stand. I’m ashamed at the way the State Department has handled the Chen case. If you don’t think the wild spending sprees of the past 12 years don’t have real-world consequences, then how do you explain Chen? We’ve become lackeys to our Chinese debt-masters, afraid to even defend an obviously just man against a tyrannical and murderous police state. The craven behavior of the administration in this case has been sickening.

The Most Disturbing Thing You’ll See Today

A guest on Dr. Phil has severely disabled adult children, and she wants the right to be able to euthanize them. A mother of disabled  children in the audience is rightly appalled by this, since it’s cold-blooded murder. Dr. Phil asks his audience for a show of hands for all those who think a mother should be allowed to kill her children. What happens next will chill you to your core (the video is in the link: I couldn’t embed it): about 90% of the audience agrees with her.

The mother from the audience (the one who chooses life over death) is so stunned she can only say “Oh my God.” I feel for her. It’s like she is suddenly given the ability to see into the souls of everyone around her, only to realize that she almost alone in a sea of monsters.

Sometimes I think we’re so far gone we’ll never come back. We’ve lost our way. Modern medicine and technology has insulated us from the realities of the human experience of suffering so much that we are incapable of facing adversity, or of even seeing Christ in the face of the last and the least. When even mothers believe they can kill their children in good conscience, and an average audience supports that idea, we’re all in deep trouble.

Komen Back in Bed With Planned Parenthood

Isn’t it touching when gangsters dedicated to the industrial-scale slaughter of children are able to kiss and make up with the charity they managed to intimidate into quiescence?

New money will be flowing from Komen to Planned Parenthood from new grants issued after the policy that disqualified Planned Parenthood:

Grants from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure are flowing to Planned Parenthood, as the women’s health organizations seek to rebuild their relationship after the controversy in February over the breast cancer charity’s unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

At least 17 Planned Parenthood affiliates will be funded this year, about the same number that received grants in 2011, according to a tally provided by Komen. The total amount of the grants, which are for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services, is still being worked out. Most recipients this year also received funds last year.

When I covered this story for the National Catholic Register, it changed so fast I was rewriting every fifteen minutes. My takeaway when the dust had settled was that Komen did not like being set afire by thugs like Cecile Richard and her pro-abortion stooges across the country, and that further grants would be denied. I guess Komen decided they liked being popular with the mass-murder crowd more than they enjoyed the sudden and overwhelming outpouring of support from pro-lifers.

I’m tired of the whole sickening saga. The astonishing success of Planned Parenthood’s vicious smear tactics is simply nauseating. Everywhere I look people are moaning about schoolyard bullies as if they are something new in annals of childhood, while real-life adult bullies can take down a charity that actually saved lives and be rewarded for it.