Friday, March 28, 2008

Abortionist Obama: "I will not Yield and Planned Parenthood will not Yield"

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57643

Can a Catholic vote for Obama?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: February 29, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008

Those who accuse presidential aspirant Sen. Barack Obama of empty rhetoric must have missed his speech last July, recently made public, to the benefactors of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. At that festive event, he was as sharp and specific as a scalpel.

"The first thing I'd do as president," he told a cheering audience, "is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

The audience cheered enthusiastically. And well they might. As NARAL enthuses on its website, this act would "codify Roe v. Wade's protections and guarantee the right to choose for future generations of women."

In short, if we are to take Obama at his word, his first priority as president would be to serve an early death sentence on millions of unborn Americans.

Obama's record as state senator in Illinois and as United State senator show that these particular sentiments are not, as he might say, "just words."

In 2002, as an Illinois state senator, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act and twice helped kill it in committee. This bill would have protected those miracle babies that somehow survived late-term abortions.

When Jill Stanek, a delivery-ward RN and now WND columnist, appealed to Obama's committee that certain abortion doctors might be ideologically inclined to let such babies die, Obama replied, "What we are doing here is to create one more burden on a woman, and I can't support that."

Obama's Planned Parenthood speech five years later showed no softening of the heart. He attacked the Supreme Court for upholding a congressional ban on late term abortions, calling the decision "disturbing," and he worried out loud that the appointment of one more judge like Sam Alito or John Roberts could mean the end of Roe v. Wade.

(Column continues below)




To be sure, Obama voted against both Roberts and Alito and proudly reminded the audience of the same.

Although a self-described bridge-builder, on the issue of abortion Obama may be building his own ideological "bridge to nowhere."

"I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield," he told his supporters, before adding disingenuously, "but that doesn't mean that we can't find common ground."

Just what "common ground" a man who holds even the life of certain newborns cheap can find with people who believe all human life is sacred eludes those of us less visionary than Mr. Obama.

Ostensibly compassionate, Obama pities his fellow citizens who fail to see his "big picture." Instead, he lamented, such people "seek out the narrowest and most divisive ground."

This seems to be a failing largely of fashion. As he joked to his audience, "Culture wars are so '90s."

"It is time to turn the page. We want a new day here in America," Obama continued, adding in his newfound colloquial voice, "We're tired about arguing about the same ol' stuff."

What makes Obama's appeal even more troubling is this very colloquialism, his unsubtle attempt to use language and skin color to link his dubious crusade to that of the civil rights leaders of the past.

In speaking of the debate between abstinence education and contraception-oriented sex education, for instance, Obama pulled an ace from up his sleeve that no other candidate could have.

Said Obama shamelessly, "As Martin Luther King used to say, 'It's not either/or, it's both/and.'" To be clear, King was not talking about sex education.

"We're the country that's fought generation after generation to extend that equality to the many, not restrict it to the few," Obama carried on, now fusing a woman's right to an abortion to that of a black child's right to an equal education. "We've been there before, and we're not going back."

Martin Luther King's niece, Alveda King, has an altogether different take on her uncle's legacy. As she says simply and logically, "How can the 'Dream' survive if we murder the children?" Unlike Obama, Alveda King is sensitive to the fact that black babies are nearly three times more likely to be killed in the womb than white.

President Bush captured the spirit of that legacy when he signed into law The Born Alive Infants Protection Act. This act, passed by unanimous voice vote in the Senate in 2002, is comparable to the one Obama killed in Illinois.

"It is a step toward the day when the promises of the Declaration of Independence will apply to everyone, not just those with the voice and power to defend their rights," said Bush in signing the bill.

"This law is a step toward the day when America fully becomes, in the words of Pope John Paul II, 'a hospitable, a welcoming culture.'" Indeed, the pope himself had earlier admonished America to honor its civil rights history by outlawing abortion.

From the perspective of the Catholic Church, abortion is like no other social issue. The Catholic Church allows for the possibility of a just war and even capital punishment under certain circumstances, but there is no such thing as a "just" abortion.

Anyone who has doubts about the Church's official position need only read the Pope John Paul II's 1999 revisiting of Pope Paul VI's historic encyclical, "Humanae Vitae." The pope does not mince words.

Depriving an innocent human being of life, and life undeniably begins at conception, is "always morally evil." He adds, "This tradition is unchanged and unchangeable."

There can be no yielding, he continues, to "convenient compromises" or the "temptation of self-deception." How can there be? "We are dealing," says the pope bluntly, "with murder."

In some Catholic circles, self-deception rules. There are those who had hoped to use the illegal immigration issue to offset abortion issues much as they used the death penalty issue in 2000 against George Bush.

But, as John McCain will certainly attest, God works in strange and mysterious ways. That issue no longer works even as a diversion.

A Catholic can vote for Obama. If he is willing to pay the price, he can do any fool thing he wants. After all, who among us hasn't done something foolish or sinful?

But most of us have better sense than to brag about it on our bumper stickers.

Is Obama's Planned Parenthood Encouraging Donations "Aimed at Aborting Black Babies?”

Is Obama's Planned Parenthood Encouraging Donations "Aimed at Aborting Black Babies?”

Yes, read below.

Fred

http://imby.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/planned-black-parenthood/

Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologized Wednesday for what they called an employee’s ‘serious mistake‘ in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting Black babies,” The Statesmen said.

According to a press release by Vice President of External Affairs Julia Piercey, “a known anti-choice extremist set out to smear Planned Parenthood.” Rose, who calls herself a whistleblower, believes the tapes speak for themselves.

[http://imby.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/planned-black-parenthood/]

Abortionist Obama: "The First Thing I’d do as President is, is Sign the Freedom of [Abortion] Choice Act"

Coming soon Planned Parenthood’s Barack Obama as the Abortionist President.

Fred

Barack Obama before Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007

Dessa Cosma: [W]hat would you do at the federal level not only to ensure access to abortion but to make sure that the judicial nominees that you will inevitably be able to pick are true to the core tenets of Roe v. Wade?

Barack Obama: Well, the first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.

[http://lauraetch.googlepages.com/barackobamabeforeplannedparenthoodaction]

Planned Black Parenthood
Posted on March 2, 2008 by A.M.

The Abortion Debate

*Editor’s Note: This entry is cross-posted at BlogHer.

“When the history of our civilization is written, it will be a biological history, and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine,” Gloria Steinem wrote in Time.

What Steinem omitted in her tribute to the founder of Planned Parenthood was her outspoken view of eugenics as the “most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”[1]

According to a pro-life student magazine at UCLA, Planned Parenthood may not have abandoned their founder’s beliefs.

A sting operation by The Advocate uncovered Planned Parenthood donations earmarked by race in Idaho and Ohio.

“We obtained the information by having an actor call clinics across the country and pose as a donor. The actor who called, The Advocate’s advisor, communicated to them a very racist agenda — the one that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, had envisioned. He then asked to donate money specifically to ‘reduce the numbers of Blacks,’” said Lila Rose, editor-in-chief of The Advocate.

“In fact some went so far as agreeing with the anti-Black agenda” — like Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho. “On Tuesday, The Advocate released transcripts and audio recordings of this phone call and another to fund-raising representatives in Ohio,” according to TheIdahoStatesmen.com.

“Planned Parenthood’s 800 clinics receive more than 200 million dollars of taxpaper money annually. It’s unacceptable for a nonprofit to accept donations that target specific races,” Rose said. “With more than 79% of clinics in minority neighborhoods, and more than 1400 Black abortions daily, these programs are doing precisely what their actor asked them to do. Planned Parenthood is (intentionally or not) exterminating the Black community,” she wrote.

“What the Ku Klux Klan could only dream about, the abortion industry is accomplishing,” says Klan Parenthood. “Lynching by the Ku Klux Klan isn’t as efficient at killing Blacks as Planned Parenthood abortions. Thanks to them, in America today, almost as many Black babies are killed by abortion as are born.”

Blacks receive 35% of all abortions in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “The abortion ratio for black women (503 per 1,000 live births) was 3.0 times the ratio for white women (167 per 1,000 live births). The abortion rate for black women (30 per 1,000 women) was 3.1 times the rate for white women (10 per 1,000 women).”

Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologized Wednesday for what they called an employee’s ‘serious mistake‘ in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting Black babies,” The Statesmen said.

According to a press release by Vice President of External Affairs Julia Piercey, “a known anti-choice extremist set out to smear Planned Parenthood.” Rose, who calls herself a whistleblower, believes the tapes speak for themselves.

What was said
Autumn Kersey of Planned Parenthood in Boise: Good afternoon, this is Autumn.

Donor: Hello, Autumn, I’m interested in making a donation today.

Kersey: Fantastic!

Donor: What about abortions for the underprivileged minority groups?

Kersey: Oh, absolutely. We have, um, in fact, uh wonderful, fantastic news. We just received a very generous donation to our women in need fund.

Donor: Wonderful. I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group - would that be possible?

Kersey: Absolutely.

Donor: Like the black community for example?

Kersey: Certainly.

Donor: OK, so the abortion I can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose.

Kersey: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that you wanted your gift to be used to help (an) African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that that gift was earmarked specifically for that purpose.

Donor: Great. Because I really face trouble with affirmative action, and I don’t want my kids being disadvantaged, you know, against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name, you know.

Kersey: Mmhmm, absolutely.

Donor: So that’s definitely possible.

Kersey: Oh, always, always.

Donor: So I just wanna - can I put this in the name of my son?

Kersey: Absolutely.

Donor: Yeah, he’s trying to get into colleges, and he’s going to be applying, you know, he’s just … we’re just really big … he’s really faced troubles with affirmative action.

Kersey: Mmhmm.

Donor: And we don’t, you know, we just think, you know, the less black kids out there the better.

Kersey: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable. … Um David, let me, if I may, just get some sort of specific general information so we can set this up the right way. You said you wanted to put it in your son’s name, and you would like this designated specifically to assist (an) African-American woman who’s looking to terminate a pregnancy.

Donor: Exactly, and yeah, I wanna protect my son, so he can get into college.

Kersey: All right. Excuse my hesitation, um, um, this is the first time I’ve had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I’m excited, and I wanna make sure I don’t leave anything out.
[http://imby.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/planned-black-parenthood/]

Might McCain Pick Gay Agenda Romney for VP?

By doing so he may give the presidency to to Hillary-Obama. I know a pro-lifer who said if Romney is the VP he will not vote for McCain.

Many pro-family activists will consider this a sign McCain as president will be for homosexual "Special Rights" and wishy-washy on pro-life.

Fred



Mitt Romney's Liberal Paradigm Shift: a Republican FOR Homosexual 'Special Rights'

MEDIA ADVISORY, Feb. 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- Peter LaBarbera, founder of Republicans For Family Values, today criticized GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his "novel pro- homosexual positioning in the GOP." On Dec. 16, Romney (the alleged "conservative" in the race) told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "it makes sense at the state level" to enact pro-homosexual "sexual orientation" laws. (Last week, CNN's Roland Martin reported that Romney told him that he opposes "gay marriage," but supports "gay rights.")

LaBarbera issued the following statement:


Mitt Romney just doesn't get it on the homosexual agenda, and if he doesn't get at after serving as governor of liberal Massachusetts -- where "gay marriage," homosexual adoption and pro- homosexuality indoctrination in schools ALL were advanced by the sort of pro-gay "sexual orientation" laws he's now espousing -- then he's not going to get it at the federal level.

Romney is already using his bully pulpit as a candidate to affirm "gay rights"-- even AFTER he's earned the backing of pro-family leaders who seemingly would have much to teach him about the danger and misuse of pro-homosexual laws. (Note that Romney uses gay-affirming "discrimination" rhetoric even with regard to the Boy Scouts' ban on homosexuals.)

I don't know any serious pro-lifers who are pro- homosexuality. We all have compassion for homosexual strugglers, but we draw the line at laws that would distort "civil rights" to include sinful and changeable homosexual behavior -- because these laws will be used to compel individuals, business and even ministries to violate their beliefs and support homosexual relationships (see the Weekly Standard article, "Banned in Boston," about Boston Catholic Charities electing to close down its historic adoption agency rather than place kids in homosexual households).

Romney is trying to shift the GOP's pro-family paradigm on homosexuality, and it's an unwise shift -- much like retreating from a principled position on pro- life (e.g., "I'm pro-choice but not pro-partial-birth abortion"). Due to Romney's potential for being the "Nixon-goes-to-China" president who advances pro-homosexuality agendas in the GOP -- I cannot support him.

Why do the same conservative pundits who have assailed Mick Huckabee and John McCain as too liberal, promote the fiction that Mitt Romney - who strongly defended abortion-on-demand and who remains in favor of anti-Christian homosexual special rights laws as a Mormon -- is a "conservative"?



Christian Newswire

McCain, Romney campaign together
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer Thu Mar 27, 6:51 PM ET

SALT LAKE CITY - In a show of Republican unity, one-time bitter foes John McCain and Mitt Romney raised money and campaigned together Thursday for a single goal — getting McCain elected president.

ADVERTISEMENT


"We are united. Now our job is to energize our party," the Arizona senator said in an airport hangar, flanked by Romney and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., an early McCain supporter. Both have been mentioned as potential vice presidential picks, and McCain praised each.

Romney lauded McCain and promised to do all he can to help, saying: "He is a man who is proven and tested" and without question the right man to be president.

In February, Romney won 90 percent of the vote in Utah to McCain's 5 percent. Romney's ties to the state run deep, from his Mormon faith to his work overseeing the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"Look, that wasn't the only state I lost to Governor Romney in — it was just the largest loss,' McCain said chuckling. He joked that it was abject humiliation but understandable given Romney's Utah links. "I was at least hoping to break into double digits though!"

"I think he did just fine in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, California ...," Romney said, laughing about states McCain won.

The two then headed to Denver for another fundraiser accompanied by Meg Whitman, the outgoing chief executive of eBay Inc. and a former Romney backer who now supports McCain.

On the flight, there seemed to be little residual acrimony between the former rivals.

They sat next to each other and ate turkey sandwiches. They laughed and talked during the hourlong flight, and were complimentary of each other when talking to reporters traveling with McCain.

A tanned and rested Romney said it was fun to be campaigning again and nice not to feel any pressure. "I don't have to worry about goofing up," he said. He brushed aside questions about a No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket.

At one point, McCain answered a question by lamenting an accelerated GOP primary process that he said doesn't allow voters to scrutinize the candidates as much.

"Mitt just went through the process," McCain said and turned to the former governor.

"The process was very good to you ...," Romney responded. McCain laughed, and Romney added that the process was good to him, too.

McCain, who has struggled to raise money compared to Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, is on a weeklong Western fundraising swing. Romney is popular in Utah and Colorado, states with large numbers of Mormons.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, dropped out of the race last month after it became apparent it would be near impossible to topple McCain in the convention delegate race. He endorsed the Arizona senator a week later and pledged to help him win the nomination.

Since then, McCain has praised Romney repeatedly as someone who is certain to continue playing a large role in the GOP. Romney, for his part, has suggested that he'd accept a vice presidential slot, though some Republicans privately speculate that he's looking ahead to a possible repeat run in 2012.

Neither man appeared especially fond of the other during the campaign. Romney cast McCain as outside of the GOP's conservative mainstream and a Washington insider who contributed to the problems there. McCain, in turn, argued that Romney's equivocations and reversals on issues indicated a willingness to change his positions to fit his political goals.

(This version CORRECTS SUBS 13th graf to correct attribution to Romney, sted McCain.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"McCain Cannot Win in November Without the Catholic Vote"

"McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote." Romney will not do it. Mitt might lose McCain some more pro-life and pro-family voters.

Fred

McCain and the Pope:

McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote

How is he going to get it?

by Robert R. Reilly

(re-published with permission from insidecatholic.com)

March 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Sen. John McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote, which is around 25 percent of the electorate. How is he going to get it? The worst thing he could assume is that it is going to fall into his lap because Catholics will have nowhere else to go. Some people with nowhere to go simply stay home. Or they may go elsewhere, as it appears they have already been doing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in "a recent survey of 19 states that have held presidential primaries this year, 63% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats." That's up from 42 percent in 2005. Not a good augury for McCain.

Senator McCain not only needs Catholics who will vote for him, but who will each find ten other Catholics who will do the same. That is not going to happen unless he galvanizes the Catholic electorate. He has an opportunity to do this when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States during April 15 to 20.

I was President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the Catholic community from 1983 to 1985. In the 1984 election, President Reagan won the Catholic vote and was the first Republican to do so. Senator McCain might want to take a look at how that happened.

I recall a definitive moment when the Democrats vociferously complained about the ads run by the Reagan campaign in Catholic newspapers. The ads featured a photo of Reagan and John Paul II smiling together. Was this not politicizing the Catholic Church? How dare the Republicans do such a thing?

At that time, Archbishop John Foley was the pope's minister of communications and principal spokesman at the Vatican. When asked, he responded to the complaints by saying that, since these two men shared so many fundamental moral principles in common, it was the most natural thing in the world that they should appear together in a photograph. Not wishing to hear that statement made again, the complaints from the Democrats immediately ceased.

The key here is that Archbishop Foley, who came from a Democratic family in Pennsylvania, did not have to make this up -- it was true. President Reagan had embraced moral positions on the family, on the sanctity of human life, on school prayer, and against pornography that were completely congruent with those of the Catholic Church. And, like John Paul II, he was fighting for them.

Can Senator McCain say the same? If not, a photograph with Benedict XVI is not going to solve his problem. He needs to campaign on these issues just as Reagan did. He cannot simply claim that point of view; he needs to promote it. He needs to articulate it.

In 1983, President Reagan wrote an article titled "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," which appeared in the Human Life Review. That was an extraordinary thing for a sitting president to have done. The fact that he did it convinced many Catholic pro-lifers that Reagan was sincere in his beliefs and was not simply acting for political advantage. They rallied around him.

Later, Reagan showed Bernard Nathanson's film The Silent Scream in the White House. What can Senator McCain do? He can invite his opponents on this issue -- whether it is Clinton or Obama -- to watch The Silent Scream, or its equivalent, with him. Ask them to join him in protecting innocent human life, including the partially born babies, whom both Obama and Clinton think have no right to life.

Senator McCain should draft his version of "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" and publish it in First Things or a comparable journal. Make it an issue. Proselytize. If Senator McCain does not think that is the role of a presidential candidate, then he does not think like Ronald Reagan.

Of course, this is a risky strategy, but risk conveys conviction, as Senator McCain demonstrated when he courageously risked his political future to promote the surge in Iraq. He needs to build upon that impression of courage by extending it to the social issues Catholics care about most. If he throws as much conviction and energy into these issues as he did into his backing of the surge, Catholics and others will flock to his banner -- and he can win. If he tries to coast on the moral issues, he will not.

So what should Senator McCain do when Benedict XVI visits in April? This is his opportunity to demonstrate that he understands the significance of the pope's thought as it relates to the institution of the family, the sanctity of human life, and the threat of radical Islam.

He needs to appear on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo and speak to that significance. He needs to do interviews in the National Catholic Register and other Catholic journals, and on Sirius radio's Catholic channel, which will cover the pope's visit by the hour. He needs to say that what the pope is expressing goes beyond a sectarian Catholic audience, as it addresses the core issues of Western civilization. He needs to say that Benedict was right at Regensburg in assessing moral relativism as the greatest threat to the West and to the integrity of reason, and that he was right also about the nature of the threat from an unreasoning version of Islam.

If this is the side you are on, Senator McCain -- as I believe it is -- you have this opportunity of letting others know, so they can rally to you.

Robert R. Reilly was a special assistant to President Reagan and served as his liaison to the Catholic Church. He is a frequent contributor to InsideCatholic.com and Crisis magazine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PRO-LIFERS DECRY SUPREME COURT ABORTION DECISION

PRO-LIFERS DECRY SUPREME COURT ABORTION DECISION
MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 March 2008
CONTACT: Michael Hichborn
540-226-9178/mhichborn@ALL.org




AMERICAN LIFE LEAGUE DECRIES SUPREME
COURT ‘ABORTION ON WHEELS’ DECISION


Judie Brown: “The acquisition of an abortion as a ‘constitutional right’ is a terrible setback for Arizona’s babies.”



WASHINGTON, D.C. (25 March 2008) — American Life League president Judie Brown sharply criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for refusing to overturn lower court rulings that require Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to provide transportation when pregnant jail inmates want abortions.

“The court ruling suggesting that the acquisition of an abortion is a ‘constitutional right’ is a terrible setback for Arizona’s babies,” said Brown. “Not only does this decision solidify the false notion that there is a ‘constitutional right’ to abortion, but the Supreme Court is now saying that inmates get a free ride as well.”

The U.S. Supreme Court offered no comment as it rebuffed Arpaio’s contention that providing inmates transportation to an abortion clinic forces taxpayers to pay for it.



“As abominable as this sounds, it is literally impossible to correct this situation without restoring personhood to the preborn child,” said Brown. “Those supporting abortion are in control of who is and is not in possession of the human rights we once thought were equally accessible to everyone. It’s time to correct this miscarriage of justice!”

American Life League was co-founded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in the United States and it is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death. For more information or press inquiries, please contact Michael Hichborn at 540.659.7900 or at 540.226.9178.



For More Information:

Breibart.com:Court Allows Inmates to Get Abortions (25 March 2008)
http://www.breitbart.com/print.php?id=D8VJVFU01&show_article=1
PR Newswire: American Life League Supports Groundbreaking Pro-Life Legislation (Jan 8, 2007)
http://www.mywire.com/pubs/PRNewswire/2007/01/08/2473403?extID=10051
East Valley Tribune: Sheriff Loses Bid to Halt Abortions for Inmates (January 23, 2007)
http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/82830
US Newswire: Michigan Initiative to Define Personhood at Conception a Bold Step Toward Ending Abortion; ALL Supports Pro-life Initiative (March 14, 2006)
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-143236754.html
US Newswire: American Life League Welcomes South Dakota Abortion Law (March 6, 2006)
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-142905817.html
The Arizona Republic: Inmate Abortion Access Parsed (Nov. 29, 2006)
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/1129abortion1129.html
LifeSiteNews: Judge Rules Phoenix Sheriff Cannot Refule to Transport Inmates for Elective Abortion (August 29, 2005)
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/aug/05082903.html
PR Newswire: American Life League: Paramount Human Life Amendment Needed, Not ‘Infant’s Protection Act’ (July 2000)
http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-28080125_ITM
###



____________________________
Michael Hichborn
Director of Media Relations
American Life League
1179 Courthouse Road
Stafford, Virginia 22554
540.659.7900 (w)
540.226.9178 (c)
mhichborn@all.org
http://www.all.org/


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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is Easter a Historical Fact?

Did Jesus Christ Rise from the Dead?

Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by more than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable, who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered, who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony, whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message.

Again the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by the eloquent silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception, which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any, which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles, which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening them "that they speak no more in this name to any man" (Acts 4:17).

Finally the thousands and millions, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed the testimony of the Apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church, requires for its explanation the reality of Christ's Resurrection, fot the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.
[http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:Rn9XpTPv0u0J:www.newadvent.org/cathen/12789a.htm+resurrection+historical+fact+catholic&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&ie=UTF-8]


Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life. In this article, we shall treat only of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (The General Resurrection of the Body will be covered in another article.) The fact of Christ's Resurrection, the theories opposed to this fact, its characteristics, and the reasons for its importance must be considered in distinct paragraphs.

I. THE FACT OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
The main sources which directly attest the fact of Christ's Resurrection are the Four Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul. Easter morning is so rich in incident, and so crowded with interested persons, that its complete history presents a rather complicated tableau. It is not surprising, therefore, that the partial accounts contained in each of the Four Gospels appear at first sight hard to harmonize. But whatever exegetic view as to the visit to the sepulchre by the pious women and the appearance of the angels we may defend, we cannot deny the Evangelists' agreement as to the fact that the risen Christ appeared to one or more persons. According to St. Matthew, He appeared to the holy women, and again on a mountain in Galilee; according to St. Mark, He was seen by Mary Magdalen, by the two disciples at Emmaus, and the Eleven before his Ascension into heaven; according to St. Luke, He walked with the disciples to Emmaus, appeared to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem; according to St. John, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalen, to the ten Apostles on Easter Sunday, to the Eleven a week later, and to the seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) enumerates another series of apparitions of Jesus after His Resurrection; he was seen by Cephas, by the Eleven, by more than 500 brethren, many of whom were still alive at the time of the Apostle's writing, by James, by all the Apostles, and lastly by Paul himself.

Here is an outline of a possible harmony of the Evangelists' account concerning the principal events of Easter Sunday:

The holy women carrying the spices previously prepared start out for the sepulchre before dawn, and reach it after sunrise; they are anxious about the heavy stone, but know nothing of the official guard of the sepulchre (Matthew 28:1-3; Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).
The angel frightened the guards by his brightness, put them to flight, rolled away the stone, and seated himself not upon (ep autou), but above (epano autou) the stone (Matthew 28:2-4).
Mary Magdalen, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome approach the sepulchre, and see the stone rolled back, whereupon Mary Magdalen immediately returns to inform the Apostles (Mark 16:4; Luke 24:2; John 20:1-2).
The other two holy women enter the sepulchre, find an angel seated in the vestibule, who shows them the empty sepulchre, announces the Resurrection, and commissions them to tell the disciples and Peter that they shall see Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7).
A second group of holy women, consisting of Joanna and her companions, arrive at the sepulchre, where they have probably agreed to meet the first group, enter the empty interior, and are admonished by two angels that Jesus has risen according to His prediction (Luke 24:10).
Not long after, Peter and John, who were notified by Mary Magdalen, arrive at the sepulchre and find the linen cloth in such a position as to exclude the supposition that the body was stolen; for they lay simply flat on the ground, showing that the sacred body had vanished out of them without touching them. When John notices this he believes (John 20:3-10).
Mary Magdalen returns to the sepulchre, sees first two angels within, and then Jesus Himself (John 20:11-l6; Mark 16:9).
The two groups of pious women, who probably met on their return to the city, are favored with the sight of Christ arisen, who commissions them to tell His brethren that they will see him in Galilee (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:8).
The holy women relate their experiences to the Apostles, but find no belief (Mark 16:10-11; Luke 24:9-11).
Jesus appears to the disciples, at Emmaus, and they return to Jerusalem; the Apostles appear to waver between doubt and belief (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35).
Christ appears to Peter, and therefore Peter and John firmly believe in the Resurrection (Luke 24:34; John 20:8).
After the return of the disciples from Emmaus, Jesus appears to all the Apostles excepting Thomas (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).
The harmony of the other apparitions of Christ after His Resurrection presents no special difficulties.
Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by more than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable, who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered, who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony, whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message. Again the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by the eloquent silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception, which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any, which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles, which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening them "that they speak no more in this name to any man" (Acts 4:17). Finally the thousands and millions, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed the testimony of the Apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church, requires for its explanation the reality of Christ's Resurrection, fot the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.

II. OPPOSING THEORIES
By what means can the evidence for Christ's Resurrection by overthrown? Three theories of explanation have been advanced, though the first two have hardly any adherents in our day.

(1)The Swoon Theory
There is the theory of those who assert that Christ did not really die upon the cross, that His supposed death was only a temporary swoon, and that His Resurrection was simply a return to consciousness. This was advocated by Paulus ("Exegetisches Handbuch", 1842, II, p. 929) and in a modified form by Hase ("Gesch. Jesu", n. 112), but it does not agree with the data furnished by the Gospels. The scourging and the crown of thorns, the carrying of the cross and the crucifixion, the three hours on the cross and the piercing of the Sufferer's side cannot have brought on a mere swoon. His real death is attested by the centurion and the soldiers, by the friends of Jesus and by his most bitter enemies. His stay in a sealed sepulchre for thirty-six hours, in an atmosphere poisoned by the exhalations of a hundred pounds of spices, which would have of itself sufficed to cause death. Moreover, if Jesus had merely returned from a swoon, the feelings of Easter morning would have been those of sympathy rather than those of joy and triumph, the Apostles would have been roused to the duties of a sick chamber rather than to apostolic work, the life of the powerful wonderworker would have ended in ignoble solitude and inglorious obscurity, and His vaunted sinlessness would have changed into His silent approval of a lie as the foundation stone of His Church. No wonder that later critics of the Resurrection, like Strauss, have heaped contempt on the old theory of a swoon.

(2) The Imposition Theory
The disciples, it is said, stole the body of Jesus from the grave, and then proclaimed to men that their Lord had risen. This theory was anticipated by the Jews who "gave a great sum of money to the soldiers, saying: Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away when we were asleep" (Matthew 28:12 sq.). The same was urged by Celsus (Orig., "Contra Cels.", II, 56) with some difference of detail. But to assume that the Apostles with a burden of this kind upon their consciences could have preached a kingdom of truth and righteousness as the one great effort of their lives, and that for the sake of that kingdom they could have suffered even unto death, is to assume one of those moral impossibilities which may pass for a moment in the heat of controversy, but must be dismissed without delay in the hour of good reflection.

(3) The Vision Theory
This theory as generally understood by its advocates does not allow visions caused by a Divine intervention, but only such as are the product of human agencies. For if a Divine intervention be admitted, we may as well believe, as far as principles are concerned, that God raised Jesus from the dead. But where in the present instance are the human agencies which might cause these visions? The idea of a resurrection from the grave was familiar to the disciples from their Jewish faith; they had also vague intimations in the prophecies of the Old Testament; finally, Jesus Himself had always associated His Resurrection with the predictions of his death. On the other hand, the disciples' state of mind was one of great excitement; they treasured the memory of Christ with a fondness which made it almost impossible for them to believe that He was gone. In short, their whole mental condition was such as needed only the application of a spark to kindle the flame. The spark was applied by Mary Magdalen, and the flame at once spread with the rapidity and force of a conflagration. What she believed that she had seen, others immediately believed that they must see. Their expectations were fulfilled, and the conviction seized the members of the early Church that the Lord had really risen from the dead.

Such is the vision theory commonly defended by recent critics of the Resurrection. But however ingeniously it may be devised, it is quite impossible from an historical point of view.

It is incompatible with the state of mind of the Apostles; the theory presupposes faith and expectancy on the part of the Apostles, while in point of fact the disciples' faith and expectancy followed their vision of the risen Christ.
It is inconsistent with the nature of Christ's manifestations; they ought to have been connected with heavenly glory, or they should have continued the former intimate relations of Jesus with His disciples, while actually and consistently they presented quite a new phase that could not have been expected.
It does not agree with the conditions of the early Christian community; after the first excitement of Easter Sunday, the disciples as a body are noted for their cool deliberation rather than the exalted enthusiasm of a community of visionaries.
It is incompatible with the length of time during which the apparitions lasted; visions such as the critics suppose have never been known to last long, while some of Christ's manifestations lasted a considerable period.
It is not consistent with the fact that the manifestations were made to numbers at the same instant.
It does not agree with the place where most of the manifestations were made: visionary appearances would have been expected in Galilee, while most apparitions of Jesus occurred in Judea.
It is inconsistent with the fact that the visions came to a sudden end on the day of Ascension.
Keim admits that enthusiasm, nervousness, and mental excitement on the part of the disciples do not supply a rational explanation of the facts as related in the Gospels. According to him, the visions were directly granted by God and the glorified Christ; they may even include a "corporeal appearance" for those who fear that without this they would lose all. But Keim's theory satisfies neither the Church, since it abandons all the proofs of a bodily Resurrection of Jesus, nor the enemies of the Church, since it admits many of the Church's dogmas; nor again is it consistent with itself, since it grants God's special intervention in proof of the Church's faith, though it starts with the denial of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, which is one of the principal objects of that faith.

(4) Modernist View
The Holy Office describes and condemns in the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh propositions of the Decree "Lamentabili", the views advocated by a fourth class of opponents of the Resurrection. The former of these propositions reads: "The Resurrection of our Saviour is not properly a fact of the historical order, but a fact of the purely supernatural order neither proved nor provable, which Christian consciousness has little by little inferred from other facts." This statement agrees with, and is further explained by the words of Loisy ("Autour d'un petit livre", p. viii, 120-121, 169; "L'Evangile et l'Eglise", pp. 74-78; 120-121; 171). According to Loisy, firstly, the entrance into life immortal of one risen from the dead is not subject to observation; it is a supernatural, hyper-historical fact, not capable of historical proof. The proofs alleged for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ are inadequate; the empty sepulchre is only an indirect argument, while the apparitions of the risen Christ are open to suspicion on a priori grounds, being sensible impressions of a supernatural reality; and they are doubtful evidence from a critical point of view, on account of the discrepancies in the various Scriptural narratives and the mixed character of the detail connected with the apparitions. Secondly, if one prescinds from the faith of the Apostles, the testimony of the New Testament does not furnish a certain argument for the fact of the Resurrection. This faith of the Apostles is concerned not so much with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as with His immortal life; being based on the apparitions, which are unsatisfactory evidence from an historical point of view, its force is appreciated only by faith itself; being a development of the idea of an immortal Messias, it is an evolution of Christian consciousness, though it is at the same time a corrective of the scandal of the Cross. The Holy Office rejects this view of the Resurrection when it condemns the thirty-seventh proposition in the Decree "Lamentabili": "The faith in the Resurrection of Christ pointed at the beginning no so much to the fact of the Resurrection, as to the immortal life of Christ with God."

Besides the authoritative rejection of the foregoing view, we may submit the following three considerations which render it untenable: First, the contention that the Resurrection of Christ cannot be proved historically is not in accord with science. Science does not know enough about the limitations and the properties of a body raised from the dead to immortal life to warrant the assertion that such a body cannot be perceived by the senses; again in the case of Christ, the empty sepulchre with all its concrete circumstances cannot be explained except by a miraculous Divine intervention as supernatural in its character as the Resurrection of Jesus. Secondly, history does not allow us to regard the belief in the Resurrection as the result of a gradual evolution in Christian consciousness. The apparitions were not a mere projection of the disciples' Messianic hope and expectation; their Messianic hope and expectations had to be revived by the apparitions. Again, the Apostles did not begin with preaching the immortal life of Christ with God, but they preached Christ's Resurrection from the very beginning, they insisted on it as a fundamental fact and they described even some of the details connected with this fact: Acts, ii, 24, 31; iii, 15,26; iv, 10; v, 30; x, 39-40; xiii, 30, 37; xvii, 31-2; Rom., i,4; iv, 25; vi, 4,9; viii, 11, 34; x, 7; xiv, 9; I Cor., xv, 4, 13 sqq.; etc. Thirdly, the denial of the historical certainty of Christ's Resurrection involves several historical blunders: it questions the objective reality of the apparitions without any historical grounds for such a doubt; it denies the fact of the empty sepulchre in spite of solid historical evidence to the contrary; it questions even the fact of Christ's burial in Joseph's sepulchre, though this fact is based on the clear and simply unimpeachable testimony of history.

III. CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
The Resurrection of Christ has much in common with the general resurrection; even the transformation of His body and of His bodily life is of the same kind as that which awaits the blessed in their resurrection. But the following peculiarities must be noted:

Christ's Resurrection is necessarily a glorious one; it implies not merely the reunion of body and soul, but also the glorification of the body.
Christ's body was to know no corruption, but rose again soon after death, when sufficient time had elapsed to leave no doubt as to the reality of His death.
Christ was the first to rise unto life immortal; those raised before Him died again (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20).
As the Divine power which raised Christ from the grave was His own power, He rose from the dead by His own power (John 2:19; 10:17-18).
Since the Resurrection had been promised as the main proof of Christ's Divine mission, it has a greater dogmatic importance than any other fact. "If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).
IV. IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION
Besides being the fundamental argument for our Christian belief, the Resurrection is important for the following reasons:

It shows the justice of God who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled Himself unto death (Phil., ii, 8-9).
The Resurrection completed the mystery of our salvation and redemption; by His death Christ freed us from sin, and by His Resurrection He restored to us the most important privileges lost by sin (Romans 4:25).
By His Resurrection we acknowledge Christ as the immortal God, the efficient and exemplary cause of our own resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:21; Philippians 3:20-21), and as the model and the support of our new life of grace (Romans 6:4-6; 9-11).
Publication information
Written by A.J. Maas. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Dedicated to Bishop Andre Cimichella of Montreal, and to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight (EMAIL). Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

"More than One in Four American Adults have Left the Faith"

‘Fear Not, Little Flock’


BY The Editors

March 9-15, 2008 Issue | Posted 3/4/08 at 3:10 PM

More than one in four American adults have left the faith in which they were brought up. So says exhaustive research from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, based on interviews with 35,000 Americans aged 18 and up.

The survey also found that Protestantism will soon lose its status as the majority religion. It can only barely claim it now. Only 51% of religious Americans now declare they are members of one of the Protestant denominations, a significant drop from the 60% range 20 years ago.

The new Protestant world looks like this: A little more than 1 in 4 Protestants belongs to an evangelical church. Less than 1 in 5 belongs to a mainline Protestant Church. In mainline Protestant churches, half are age 50 and older.

The new Catholic world looks like this: Of Catholics age 70 and over, 85% are white. Of Catholics age 30 and under, about half are Hispanic. Among Catholics, only 40% are age 50 and older — making the Church slightly younger than society at large, in which 41% are 50 and older.

The survey confirmed some things we thought were true. For instance, women are more religious. Pew reports that 5.5% of men say they are atheist or agnostic, more than twice the percentage of women who do.

The survey also taught us some things we didn’t necessarily know. We may have thought, from the large RCIA classes every year, that Catholics include more converts than other religions. Not true. The survey said 89% of Catholics were raised Catholic, which is even higher than the percentage of Jews who were raised Jewish, and about equal to the percentage of Hindus who were raised Hindu.

Popular belief — fueled by erroneous headlines from the Pew study — had suggested that Catholics lose more adherents than other religions. Not true. Only 37% of adults who were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses still identify themselves as such. And nearly half of kids raised Buddhist leave the faith.

But the survey did tally massive losses to the Catholic Church. Pew noted that, while 31.4% of Americans were raised Catholic, among adults only 23.9% consider themselves still Catholic. In fact, the survey calculated that 10% of Americans are lapsed Catholics.

Godspy.com’s editor Angelo Matera pointed out that this area of the study may misrepresent the true picture a bit.

He cited the headlines that said: “Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.”

But an analysis of Pew by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, paints a different picture — in part by seeing different implications in similar numbers and in part by avoiding erroneous numbers.

CARA compared the Pew results to its own research conducted in 2003.

First, CARA drew attention to the fact that the Pew numbers include a serious methodological flaw. Pew admits that it may have underestimated the Catholic affiliation of Latinos by a gigantic 10 percentage points. That’s a lot of Catholics, and could be the reason CARA reported far fewer Catholics leaving the faith.

Second, CARA made the point that, compared to other religions, Catholics had the third-best retention rate. Only Jews and Mormons are more likely to say they retained the faith they were raised with than Catholics are.

CARA also pointed out that, since the Catholic Church is the largest single Christian “denomination,” the total numbers of Catholics who left the Church looks enormous. But in fact, nearly 7 out of 10 of Catholics who were raised in the faith still claim the faith. That’s still disappointing, but better. (It’s important to note here that, in both studies, all that mattered was what someone said he was. The studies don’t take into account actual Mass attendance.)

Third, CARA’s analysis offered this unexpected tidbit: Most Catholics who left the Church left before 1988. More surprising still: 1 in 4 Catholics who left the Church left before 1962 — before the Second Vatican Council, which has been unfairly blamed for Catholic losses.

Matera did notice one other fact, though. “What CARA didn’t mention in its narrative was a recent trend that leaped off the data table: 23.6% of the lapsed Catholics — almost a fourth — left the Church in the five-year period just prior to the study, 1998-2002.”

He wonders if this “accelerated defection” not only continued, but picked up even more speed, in the years after 2002, the year Church scandals were pounded with relentless ferocity by the press.

At any rate, it’s interesting to look at the numbers to give ourselves a reality check. Some things we thought were bad aren’t so bad after all. And some things that ought to be better are simply atrocious.

Two thoughts. First, one thing the numbers show is that it is ultimately God, not us, who is in charge of the Church. And he keeps his own counsel about his plans.

The numbers that show we have retained many Catholics despite the turbulent times in the Church show that the faith isn’t a thin thread that we are in danger of breaking, but a mighty cord that can withstand the greatest possible strain. It should be no surprise that Vatican II — which we know by faith was inspired by the Holy Spirit — more likely staunched an exodus than precipitated one.

Second, the numbers should remind us that, on this earth, the Church is perpetually in the same state it has always been in. We are weak human beings called to a work all out of proportion to our membership’s size and abilities. Christ is continually saying to us, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.”


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The National Catholic Register is for McCain

McCain and Pro-Lifers


BY The Editors

March 2-8, 2008 Issue | Posted 2/26/08 at 1:23 PM


John McCain hasn’t been very popular in some quarters. It seems that his party doesn’t like him nearly as much as Barack Obama and even Hillary Clinton are liked by their party. Conservative talk-show hosts have even complained loudly that they would vote for his opponent rather than him because it would be bad for conservatism to have him at the head of the GOP and running the country.

When facing a choice like this, it is refreshing to be Catholic. What’s good for conservatism or bad for conservatism doesn’t matter to us — “convervatism” is against Church teaching as often as it’s for it. As Catholics, we only care about the common good — and the pre-eminent issue affecting the common good is abortion.

It’s important to note why it’s the preeminent issue. Here are three reasons.

First, in justice abortion must be opposed. As the bishops recently put it, “There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society. … These are called ‘intrinsically evil’ actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned.”

Second, human rights are fundamental. If we don’t have human rights, it doesn’t matter whether we are prosperous or not, have health care or not, or who we are at war with. In the bishops’ words, the right to life is “the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others.” A society that denies the right to life will soon be willing to deny other human rights.

Third, abortion corrodes our system of laws. In order to justify an out-of-whack right like the “right” to abortion, we have out-of-whack jurisprudence. As the bishops put it, “A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.”

Now, McCain doesn’t have a perfect pro-life voting record. The significance of that shouldn’t be diminished: He has said he is for federally funded embryonic stem-cell research. To be clear what that means: He wants to force us to pay lab scientists for research experiments in which they clone and kill human beings.

All the same, a vote for McCain would be better than a vote for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Shortly before he became Pope Benedict, in his letter to Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger explained what a voter’s attitude should be toward abortion.

“There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty,” he said, “but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

But he added that a Catholic must sometimes vote for a candidate who is not perfect: “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

In other words, abortion is the preeminent issue. A Catholic’s obligation is to cast the vote that will best advance the culture of life. When advancing the culture of life isn’t possible, our obligation is to case the vote that would best protect the culture of life. And if that’s not possible, our obligation is to cast the vote that will do the least harm to the culture of life.

Both Obama and Clinton have records that are, for all practical purposes, 100% pro-abortion. Obama wouldn’t even protect children born alive by mistake during abortion attempts. If either of them wins, as one pro-life blogger pointed out, we will get:

• two more Supreme Court justices who consider abortion a right, plus more than a hundred Federal court appointments to foul our justice system for another 50 years,

• federally funded embryonic stem-cell research,

• federally funded cloning and “chimera” research,

• federally funded abortion on demand,

• abortion in military hospitals,

• federally funded abortion overseas,

• vicious regulatory attacks on pro-life doctors, nurses, clinics and non-profit groups,

• the repeal of conscience-clause exceptions for doctors and pharmacists,

• efforts to reclassify churches and pro-life activities, threating their tax-exempt status,

• “the Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), which is like the Human Life Bill in reverse — a federal statute mandating abortion on demand in every state,

• the end of abstinence education, and

• the end of the highly successful approach to AIDS in Africa that stresses abstinence and monogamy.

That’s to say nothing of nationalized health care, which in other countries has become a synonym for rationed care and has brought inexorable pressures against respect for the dignity of human life. Under national health care, bureaucrats will determine that limited resources go where they can do “the most good.” So the system will simply refuse to cover high-risk pregnancies or humane end-of-life care for the elderly and the dying.

That’s also to say nothing of the appointments presidents make to federal agencies. The Obama and Clinton teams will appoint political operatives to agencies across the federal government. Many of them will be pro-abortion activists. They will build their ideology directly or indirectly into countless regulations, national policies and guidelines — and not just in our schools, and federal welfare programs, but in the myriad programs the government is involved in.

All of this is not a done deal yet. Far from it. We started by saying that McCain isn’t as well-liked in his party as the leading Democrats are in theirs. But important research showed that, in the last election, many Democrats who didn’t particularly like President Bush voted for him anyway —because of his pro-life stand.

Sometimes it isn’t the “most liked” candidate who wins, but the one whose more principled stand means we’ll vote for them whether we like them or not.


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Pope Expected to Hold Catholic Colleges Accountable on Pro-Abortion Speakers

Pope Expected to Hold Catholic Colleges Accountable on Pro-Abortion Speakers
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) --

When he visits the United States next month, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to hold Catholic colleges accountable that have invited pro-abortion speakers to campus. The pontiff has requested an audience with more than 200 top officials from Catholic universities and he is expected to make it clear they need to follow Church teachings.

The Catholic college officials will gather at Catholic University of America where some say the Pope will remind them they shouldn't be giving a platform to politicians and others who back abortions. For pro-life advocates who have complained about the rash of recent pro-abortion speakers on campus -- such as Hillary Clinton at St. Mary's University and St. Peter’s College hosting Barack Obama -- news of a possible rebuke from Pope Benedict is welcome.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a leading watchdog in monitoring Catholic colleges and the speakers they bring, said he's excited about the prospects for a strong admonition from Benedict. "This is something that's been simmering for so long that it's reached a boiling point," he said. He added that several bishops and Vatican officials have indicated the speech will "raise a lot of eyebrows." Full story at LifeNews.com.

Pope: Enough with Slaughters in Iraq

Pope: Enough with slaughters in Iraq By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI issued one of his strongest appeals for peace in Iraq on Sunday, days after the body of the kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop was found near the northern city of Mosul.

The pope also denounced the 5-year-long Iraq war, saying it had provoked the complete breakup of Iraqi civilian life.

"Enough with the slaughters. Enough with the violence. Enough with the hatred in Iraq!" Benedict said to applause at the end of his Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square.

On Thursday, the body of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was found near Mosul. He had been abducted on Feb. 29.

Benedict has called Rahho's death an "inhuman act of violence" that offended human dignity.

On Sunday, Benedict praised Rahho for his loyalty to Christ and his refusal to abandon his flock despite many threats and difficulties.

He recalled Rahho's death as the Catholic Church opens Holy Week, the most solemn week in the liturgical calendar in which the faithful recall the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

Benedict said Rahho's dedication to the Catholic Church and his death compelled him to "raise a strong and sorrowful cry" to denounce the violence in Iraq spawned by the war that began five years ago this week.

"At the same time, I make an appeal to the Iraqi people, who for the past five years have borne the consequences of a war that provoked the breakup of their civil and social life," Benedict said.

He urged them to raise their heads and reconstruct their life through "reconciliation, forgiveness, justice and coexistence among tribal, ethnic and religious groups."

The Vatican strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In its aftermath, Benedict has frequently criticized attacks against Iraqi Christians by Islamic extremists. Last year, he urged President Bush to keep the safety of Iraqi Christians in mind.

Benedict is due to preside over a memorial service at the Vatican on Monday in honor of Rahho. Typically, the pope only presides over such services when a cardinal dies.

The pontiff's appeal for peace came at the end of his Palm Sunday Mass, which opens the Church's busy Holy Week celebrations. They include the Good Friday re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion and death and the celebration of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday.

At the start of Mass, Benedict blessed palms and olive branches with holy water and then processed through St. Peter's Square, wearing intricate, red- and gold-brocaded vestments and clutching a woven palm frond.

In his homily, Benedict urged the faithful to follow God with the innocence and purity of a child's heart.

"To recognize God, we must abandon the pride that dazzles us, that seeks to push us away from God," he said. To find God, he said, "we must learn to see with a young heart, one which isn't blocked by prejudice and dazzled by interests."

A few hundred young people carried massive palm fronds at the start of the procession through the square as part of the lead-up to celebrations for the Catholic Church's annual World Youth Day.

Benedict plans to attend World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, in July.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Banks Urged to 'Come Clean' on Support of Planned Parenthood

Banks Urged to 'Come Clean' on Support of Planned Parenthood
FRONT ROYAL, Va., March 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- "Bank of America continues to play word games in an attempt to mislead consumers," said Douglas R. Scott, Jr., president of Life Decisions International (LDI). "And Wachovia is not any better than Bank of America." Both corporations appear on The Boycott List, which identifies corporate supporters of Planned Parenthood.

In November 2007, LDI sent a letter to Bank of America Foundation President Andrew Plepler, which addressed the issue:


"You write that Bank of America's involvement with Planned Parenthood is driven 'primarily' by its employees. You go on to write that Planned Parenthood is one of many groups that receive funding via Bank of America's Matching Gift Program...

"In a letter to Mr. Kenneth D. Lewis dated July 30, 2003, we specifically addressed a statement repeatedly made by Paula J. Fraher, executive director of the Bank of America Foundation, which is identical to one used by you: "Our involvement with Planned Parenthood is driven primarily by our associates. This group is one of many organizations that benefit from our Matching Gift Program (emphasis added).

"Once again, we will ask the same questions that Bank of America has refused to answer over the past several years. Is the Matching Gift Program the only way in which Planned Parenthood receives support from Bank of America or any related entity? Are local banks still allowed to support the abortion-committing group? Needless-to-say, it is your use of the word "primarily" that leaves us concerned.

"As you might expect, it is important that we leave no room for miscommunication or misunderstanding. Please respond to our questions very specifically-- without ambiguity."


"As noted in the LDI letter, a response to the July 2003 request for clarification was never received," Scott said. "Several months have now passed and our November 2007 request has also been ignored. Now why does Bank of America refuse to answer our simple question?"

Scott said that Wachovia has told customers it has not made donations to Planned Parenthood for many years. Yet an article that appeared in The Weekly Standard late last year proved otherwise. "If what Wachovia has been telling customers were true, why won't someone at the corporation tell LDI the same story?" Scott asked. "We would simply ask a few questions, as we did with Bank of America, to be sure there is no room for misunderstanding due to vague rhetoric. Oddly, the Company will not give LDI the chance to ask such questions because no one will speak to us."

"We urge executives at Bank of America and Wachovia to come clean on this issue. The truth is surely not too much to ask," Scott said. Both Bank of America Corporation and Wachovia Corporation remain boycott targets. Wells Fargo, Chase and Northern Trust are some of the other financial institutions that are boycott targets due to their support of Planned Parenthood.

Life Decisions International (LDI) is dedicated to challenging the Culture of Death, concentrating on exposing and fighting the agenda of Planned Parenthood. LDI's chief project is a boycott of corporations that fund the abortion-committing giant. To learn more about Planned Parenthood, please visit LDI's website.


Christian Newswire

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Both Clinton and Obama would Force the Homosexual Agenda"

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Election2008/Default.aspx?id=69213

Senator Clinton: I want to be first U.S. president to march in gay pride parade

Chad Groening
OneNewsNow

3/10/2008

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, does not think marching in a so-called "gay-pride parade" is a proper venue for the president of the United States.

However, one presidential candidate has made a pledge to do just that – Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York). She says that Clinton made her pledge in the Washington Blade – a Washington newspaper serving the homosexual community. "...Really now! We've seen these gay pride parades in San Francisco and elsewhere," exclaims Donnelly. "Is this really an appropriate role for the President or the Commander in Chief of our armed forces? I don't think so..."

According to Donnelly, there is virtually no difference between Clinton and Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) when it comes to advancing the gay and lesbian agenda. Obama recently wrote an open letter to the homosexual community pledging to end the ban on open homosexuals serving in the military, as well as repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Donnelly says both Clinton and Obama would force the homosexual agenda on American citizens by force of law.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pray as you Read this Catholic Manifesto

Pray as you read this Catholic Manifesto for the 21 century. It shows the only solution for peace for your family and the world.

Fred


“What, then, is the solution? At the very least it will demand of us, each in his own vocation and sphere of influence, a consecration to Truth as the final arbiter of reality in all situations that confront us.

It will necessarily lead us to abandoning artificial constructs of interaction with the world—especially those strategies that would seek a good at the cost of hiding or equivocating the truth. It will demand courage of us, especially the willingness to lose everything for the sake of truth.

Moreover, it will demand that in our very being we become presences of incarnated truth, bringing Christ into the so-called “naked public square” not only in our words but with our whole lives.

It must be done with love, but it must also be done firmly, clearly, and with moral authority. Mankind does not need more rhetoric. It needs living words dynamically present in the agoras of the world. It needs steadfast men, it needs witnesses, it needs martyrs.”

[http://studiobrien.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=162&Itemid=76]

Sign of Contradiction and the new world order

by Michael D. O’Brien

If the warning of the Mother of God at Fatima is understood in its broader sense, (“Russia will spread her errors throughout the world and many nations will cease to exist.”), what is now occurring globally is a new wave of the original forces that launched the tide of the French Revolution, followed by successive revolutions that increasingly secularized the human community. Then came the great waves of the Communist revolution, Fascism, and so forth, wave after wave that reshaped human societies and institutions—indeed the very perceptions of life itself. We are presently in the midst of the worst and most dangerous wave of all, the tsunami of worldwide Materialism.


A tsunami out in mid-ocean is barely noticeable, just a swell on the surface that seems harmless, hardly rocking the boat. But when the wave meets the shore it reveals its nature and the horrendous damage begins. That is why Catholic peoples, if they are faithful to their identity and stand firm in their respective nations, becoming fully who and what they are, will be “signs of contradiction.” I think of Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Malta, Ireland, and others—few in number but not lacking in courage. God-willing, such signs will stick in the throat of the Beast and inhibit, perhaps even stop, its plans to devour mankind. Given enough time and perseverance, they may even succeed in turning the European Union back toward the original vision of its founders, which was Christian in its principles and was intended for the building of a community of nations, not the creation of a godless European super-state.


Resistance will cost much in terms of sacrifice, for it asks men of good will and good conscience to stand firm in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. As Pope Benedict said in his concluding remarks on March 24:



… be present in an active way in the public debate on the European level, aware that this is now an integral part of the national debate, and accompany this effort with effective cultural action. Do not bow to the logic of power as an end in itself! May you draw constant motivation and support from the admonition of Christ: if salt loses its flavor, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.


The manifestations of the struggle vary from continent to continent, but are the same in essence: mankind is presently involved in a worldwide war against the eternal value of the human person. We cannot retreat from these conflicts, cannot abandon the field to the opposition. Neither should we presume that we can preserve a little space for morality by making a “separate peace” with evil. In this regard, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has much to teach us about governments, wars, and the personalities that shape our future: The passages where Saruman, a political realist, makes his compelling arguments for submission to the Dark Lord are significant, his brilliant malice obvious enough. But we should also keep in mind brave Boromir, a benevolent and idealistic political realist, who was a hair away from handing the whole world over to the Dark Lord without realizing he was doing so. And he would have done so, had not a small and humble person named Frodo run from Boromir’s ever-so-reasonable arguments. In his flight from deception, Frodo did not abandon his mission but rather preserved its integrity and in the end, against all odds, brought it to fulfillment. Fiction, myth, fantasy? Yes, in a sense, but ultimately more real than much of what we consume through the information media.


How easily we grasp at reductionist “realist” solutions. How swiftly we fall into fractures between the interior and exterior life, forgetting (or never having learned) that individuals and nations alike cannot long sustain two contradictory modes of interaction with the world: for example, one set of rules about human life for domestic policy, and a different set of rules for foreign policy. The interior and the exterior should be one, as well as positive and morally true, otherwise disintegration follows. Power and wealth may extend for a time a false equilibrium, but it cannot last. Moreover, its latter condition will be worse than its former.



Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127)


What, really, is the psychological cosmos in which we now live? The larger architecture seems visible enough: the declining demographics of the West, the rise of China as an economic and military threat, the apparent instability of Islamic nations and subsequent Pax Americana, fear of terrorists ever-present like a gas in the atmosphere within the borders of our homelands, while our deepest terrors are anesthetized by the “soma” drug of consumerism. And all about us we are offered false either/or solutions. For example, look carefully at the candidate “choices” in the politics of democratic Western nations and you will find utilitarianism at every turn— camouflaged by idealist or patriotic or humanitarian or “liberal”-versus-“conservative” rhetoric, as well as its most odious offshoot, religious utilitarianism.


For the sake of illustration, imagine this scenario: You are presented with a choice. Threatened by a foreign leader with a Koran in one hand and in his other a nuclear weapon, you can choose to elect as your own national leader a figure with a Bible in one hand and in his other a nuclear weapon. Which of the two would you want to determine the future of the world? Oh, and as a supplementary detail, both of them are willing to drop the bomb on the other.


Recoiling in horror, you might then turn to an alternative set of candidates, thinking you must now elect a leader who, like you, abhors nuclear weapons. He may or may not have a Bible in one hand, but it is more likely he will have The Humanist Manifesto (a sacred text of Materialism) in one hand and a suction tube in the other.


Are these our only choices? If so, this is no choice at all. It is a piece of deadly theater.


Is there no third way? Why is so much public discussion about the current world situation lacking in creative imagination? Why is there so little serious examination of alternative paths through the maze of our current troubles? Has the entire world become gripped in a fierce lock-step fatalism that masquerades as realism? Has virtually everyone in governments lost faith in anything other than raw power and the instruments of death?


In his encyclical The Splendor of Truth, John Paul II wrote that “the morality of acts is defined by the relationship of man’s freedom with authentic good. This good is established, as the eternal law, by Divine Wisdom, which orders every being toward its end … Acting is morally good when the choices of freedom are in conformity with man’s true good…” (Veritatis Splendor, n.72, see also 71-83). Quoting Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, he goes on to warn that “while it is true that sometimes a lesser moral evil may be tolerated in order to avoid a greater evil, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf Romans 3:8)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order…” (VS, n.80).


Webster’s dictionary and the Oxford University dictionary provide excellent definitions of the term utilitarianism. Strictly speaking, it proposes that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome—in other words, the end justifies the means; one may do evil in order to bring about a perceived good. In a broader sense, utilitarianism can be defined as a philosophy (and I include here conscious and subconscious philosophies) that reduces the eternal value of the human person to a utility. He is a number; he is a mechanism; he is a component in an agenda. He is as valuable as what he can produce or to the degree that he can be used for production. He is disposable to the degree that his life impedes or has ceased to be useful for a perceived end, usually described as the “common good.”
Let us pause a moment here and recall two sayings about this very attitude:



“It is better that one man should die than the entire nation be destroyed.” (Caiaphas)

“The fruit of abortion is nuclear war.” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)


Caiaphas is a master strategist, the arbiter of “lesser evils” for the sake of an apparent national religious good. In sharp contrast, Mother Teresa points to the real configuration of the world: individuals and nations cannot do evil without consequences; even the most “private” or personal acts affect the human community; internal moral evils will express themselves eventually in external moral evils, because the moral order has been broken at the foundational level; “lesser evils” on the national and international scale can unleash evils of catastrophic proportions.


When pondering the proliferating “isms” of our era, it is easy to get lost in the terminology. But for the sake of simplicity, it may be helpful to consider the two distinct moral philosophies of Materialism and Utilitarianism as alternate faces of the same phenomenon. Or put another way, they are incestuously united, producing in turn one deformed offspring after another. Put still another way, we could see practical utilitarianism as the working arm of theoretical Materialism; and by extension, religious utilitarianism as the working arm of religious materialism.


Religious materialism? How is that possible? Indeed, it is not only possible, it is abundantly evident all around us, and is manifest no more obviously than in nations that profess themselves to be religious while pursuing policies that wage aggressive war—militarily, economically, demographically, and culturally—racking up vast numbers of innocent victims while they invoke the national deities. Pious rhetoric notwithstanding, we should look at what they do. Utilitarians in practice (though not always in their lip-service) deny the truth that each and every person is a good in himself, of equal and eternal value. Utilitarians do not consider that “common goods” purchased by the destruction or exploitation of human life are not good. In fact, the evils they bring about are more insidious and corruptive when masquerading as virtue. Listen to their words, if you must, but observe more carefully their actions.


Such philosophy is possible only in minds that have succumbed to moral compartmentalization. Their fractures in perception and thinking lead to evil acts justified as “necessary evils” or “lesser evils” for the preservation of the apparent good. Some utilitarians reject even these categories, for they cannot conceive of their actions as “evil” in any way whatsoever. Thus, the abstraction of catastrophe—countless unique human lives are eradicated violently in the name of the “good”, and reduced to statistics. Domestic collateral damage and foreign collateral damage, all tabulated, interpreted, and presented to us as data, which supposedly we are to sagely weigh in a state of dissociation. That is the rhetoric of hell.


There is a deeper problem with all this, namely, that once utilitarianism, in theory, is defined and exposed, every Catholic would say, “Oh, yes, that’s evil.” Yet, all too often there is a disconnect between theory and practice, as if we feel that such evils are regrettable but unavoidable; and that it is impossible for us personally to bridge the great chasm between what we conceive as a Christian “ideal” and practical reality, what we feel are our sad but necessary compromises with evil. To the degree that we think this way, that is the measure of how badly we have become infected by utilitarianism. The objective reality here is that other human beings, who are as beloved by God as we are, will pay for our disconnect with their suffering and/or their deaths. We will continue to vote for the utilitarian who seems less evil to us or who offers us an apparent good, such as security or economic stability (which we have, consciously or subconsciously, decided is a higher good than the sacredness of human life). A problem deeper still is the inability to even see the disjunct. What is the cause of this? Is it utilitarianism alone, even the worst kind, religious, or is there something else that needs pondering here?


Perhaps it bears considering that the most terrifying form of utilitarianism might be the kind that is not only religious, but is spiritual as well. To become a “spiritual utilitarian” would mean that one enters a deeper realm of evil, where other souls are manipulated, exploited, and discarded for a spiritual end—in other words a Satanic level of evil. It is beyond the scope of this article to examine that dimension, but it begs a question: What prevents religious utilitarianism from becoming spiritual utilitarianism?


What, precisely, is the security wall that keeps us from slipping that far down? Is it our sense that we are the good guys? Is it a medicine bag of democratic nostrums and notions, an ethos, a vague sense of right and wrong, a line drawn in the sand over which we are sure we would never cross. Where is this line? What stops us from stepping over it, or from being pushed over it by perceived historical necessities? We are more than familiar with what bad guys do, the Hitlers and Stalins and Maos and suicide bombers of diverse persuasions, and all their lesser imitators. But what about us? Where, exactly, are our outermost limits of the permissible?


“If God is dead, then everything is permissible,” says one of the characters in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. But what if a person still believes in God and goes to church, perhaps even devotedly, yet his instinctive feelings and his choices remain those of a practical materialist? For such a person, “everything” is still permissible, but it is considered an unfortunate unavoidable necessity. Thus, he will need to find a self-justifying political philosophy, without which he could not live with himself. His philosophy may be brilliantly articulated or hardly articulate at all, but in its various degrees of sophistication it will do a common thing: It will deny that moral absolutes are authoritative in every sphere of human endeavor. He may bow to those absolutes when practiced in private life, but will negotiate them away in the realm of public life. The negotiations may be argued in sublime language, the moral questions sliced to molecular thinness, the compromises justified by impressive reasoning, but the end effect will be the same. The “liberal” and “neo-liberal,” the “conservative” and “neo-conservative” alike, will enclose the moral order of the universe in a ghetto, and he will do it in the name of freedom.


What, then, is the solution? At the very least it will demand of us, each in his own vocation and sphere of influence, a consecration to Truth as the final arbiter of reality in all situations that confront us. It will necessarily lead us to abandoning artificial constructs of interaction with the world—especially those strategies that would seek a good at the cost of hiding or equivocating the truth. It will demand courage of us, especially the willingness to lose everything for the sake of truth. Moreover, it will demand that in our very being we become presences of incarnated truth, bringing Christ into the so-called “naked public square” not only in our words but with our whole lives. It must be done with love, but it must also be done firmly, clearly, and with moral authority. Mankind does not need more rhetoric. It needs living words dynamically present in the agoras of the world. It needs steadfast men, it needs witnesses, it needs martyrs.

A generation ago, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in an interview that the two most compelling evangelical gifts of the Church are its martyrs and its arts. The role of martyrdom in an apostate age remains what it always has been, though its forms are now many. But what can our cultural works do to resist the decline and fall of a civilization? For one thing, they can be signs of contradiction against the tyrannical character of the surrounding psychological cosmos, the anti-human, which is the overwhelming ethos of our times. For another, they can point to a coming dawn, the civilization of love that is still possible for mankind.



“We are not asked to have shining armor to overcome Goliath, but simply to know how to choose a few stones, the right ones, with the wisdom and courage of David.” (John Paul II)


Impossible in human terms, by human strengths? Yes, of course it is. But it is precisely the impossible to which we are called. The Gospels first revolutionized the world and gave us civilization because a small group of people dared to believe in the impossible. They knew that Jesus is the Master of the Impossible. His birth, death, and resurrection were the “impossible” surprise in history. And there are more surprises to come.


[http://studiobrien.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=162&Itemid=76]

posted by Fred Martinez

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Democrats Debate who can Kill the most Unborn Babies: Hillary or Obama

Democrats Debate who can Kill the most Unborn Babies: Hillary or Obama
Note the abortion issue coverage and the battle between Hillary and
Barack.

Best,

John


It's Obama versus the sisterhood
By Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 2, 2008

Darlene Ewing is a Democratic activist, longtime feminist and very
frustrated Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter.

Like many who have dreamed of seeing a woman in the Oval Office, Ewing
doesn't understand why women are drifting in ever-greater numbers away
from Clinton toward her rival, Barack Obama. This trend, which has
imperiled the candidacy of the woman once considered a shoo-in for her
party's nomination, infuriates the frank-talking Texan.

"They're running to the rock star, to the momentum, to the excitement,"
said Ewing, a family law attorney who chairs the Dallas County
Democratic Party. "And I am worried that if Hillary doesn't get elected, I am
never going to see a woman president in my lifetime. I do think her
chances are slipping away, and it [ticks] me off."

This sentiment is being expressed around the country -- in testy
dinner-party conversations, around the water cooler, and in the public forum.
As Clinton's shot at the nomination boils down to two contests Tuesday
-- in the delegate-rich states of Texas and Ohio, where she is running
neck and neck with Obama -- many women who support the New York
senator are angered and saddened by their sisters' desertion to the other
side.

Old-school feminists have lined up against each other. Some chapters of
the National Organization for Women are supporting Clinton; others are
for Obama. There have been arguments about which candidate is more
pro-choice. For some women, the rise of Obama rips open a persistent
wound: an older, more experienced woman is pushed aside for a younger male
colleague.

One of the most impassioned cris de coeur came from feminist poet and
novelist Robin Morgan, 67 in an essay that became something of a
cyberspace sensation after she posted it last month on the Women's Media
Center website (and it was forwarded by many people, including Chelsea
Clinton).

Morgan decried the casual acceptance of sexism on the campaign trail
this season -- from the two young men who shouted "Iron my shirt!" at
Clinton to the Hillary-themed nutcrackers available in airport gift shops.

But Morgan reserved her greatest ire for women who decline to support
Clinton "while wringing their hands because Hillary isn't as likable as
they've been warned they must be. . . . Grow the hell up. She is not
running for Ms. Perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She's
running to be president of the United States."

Recent polls support the suspicion of many women that theirs is a
gender divided. Last week's Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll found Clinton's
solid support from women to be dwindling. Women are now evenly divided
between the two Democratic candidates, though Clinton still enjoys a
sizable advantage among women 65 and older, who prefer her three-to-one
over Obama.

Gloria Steinem, a Clinton supporter, weighed in with an essay in the
New York Times in which she claimed that, in public and private spheres
alike, women have a tougher time than African American men.

"Gender," wrote Steinem, "is probably the most restricting force in
American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who
could be in the White House. . . . Black men were given the vote a
half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot and
generally have ascended to positions of power . . . before any women."

Even "Saturday Night Live" got into the act when guest host Tina Fey
expressed her outrage that feminists have deserted Clinton.

"We have our first serious female presidential candidate in Hillary
Clinton," said Fey. "And yet women have come so far as feminists that they
don't feel obligated to vote for a candidate just because she is a
woman. Women today feel perfectly free to make whatever choice Oprah tells
them to."

Many women who support Obama say they were torn, but are unapologetic
about their choice. For many, the decision turns on one vote cast by
Clinton in 2002: for the bill authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq.

Earlier this year, a group calling itself "New York Feminists for Peace
and Barack Obama," circulated an online petition that was a nuanced
endorsement of the Illinois senator. It was so popular that the words
"New York" were dropped from the name, and the effort went national.

"Choosing to support Senator Obama was not an easy decision because
electing a woman president would be a cause for celebration in itself and
because we deplore the sexist attacks against Senator Clinton that have
circulated in the media," read the petition. "However, we also
recognize that the election of Barack Obama would be another historic
achievement and that his support for gender equality has been unwavering."

Katha Pollitt, an author and columnist for the Nation, is one of the
signers.

"I think Hillary has been the target of a great big set of double
standards, and in the end, I do know people who are supporting her because
of the misogynistic attacks against her," Pollitt said.

But she took issue with Steinem's comparison.

"Even if it were true that white women were more oppressed than black
men" -- as Steinem suggested -- "that still doesn't mean you should vote
for Hillary Clinton," Pollitt said. "It might mean you should fight
for better enforcement of anti-sex-discrimination rules, but it doesn't
mean you should vote for the candidate most likely to wage a war. "

One of the first clashes between feminists broke out in December over
the issue of abortion rights.

Just before Democrats were scheduled to debate in Des Moines, Ellen
Malcolm of EMILY's List, a political action group that supports pro-choice
women for office, called a news conference to support Clinton. She
criticized Obama's lack of leadership on the issue of reproductive rights.
Within minutes, Obama staffers were handing out copies of a letter
Malcolm had written to Obama, singing his praises for appearing at one of
her groups' fundraisers.

"I think there is a big difference between going in and helping with a
fundraiser and really taking on the president of the United States,"
Malcolm responded, referring to Clinton's support for making the
morning-after pill available over the counter.

Many in the pro-choice community insist that Obama's record on that
issue is excellent. One high-profile activist switched sides in disgust.

"I stayed with Hillary Clinton through Iowa," said Lorna Brett Howard,
a former president of the Chicago chapter of NOW, "but when it came to
New Hampshire, a friend forwarded me a piece of direct mail that
attacked Barack Obama on choice and it enraged me."

Malcolm said last week that she remains hopeful that Clinton can win,
but is frustrated that Obama has not been forced to produce evidence for
how he will bring about change. "There is an absence of discussion
about what Barack Obama has done," Malcolm said. "How many times have we
seen a woman with the best qualification for the job being pushed aside
for the man who was hired?"

This complaint was echoed by Karen Wall, a 54-year-old Dallas paralegal
who came to hear Bill Clinton speak Tuesday. She had heard National
Public Radio political analyst Cokie Roberts recounting a conversation
with Billie Jean King that stayed with her.

Roberts said Monday that King, the pioneering women's professional
tennis player, was dismayed about Clinton's vulnerable candidacy. "I see my
whole life going down the drain," Roberts recounted King saying. "A
cute young guy comes in and sweeps away all the hard work that the older
woman has done."

"I don't know if that's true," Wall said. "I personally feel you can be
a feminist and vote for him. But I am voting for her."

robin.abcarian@latimes.com


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