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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Tuesday, October 19, 2004
"Human Rights for All"
A message from pro-life university students.
I have not attempted to replicate the layout of the original, but I have retained all emphases.
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As seen on Tuesday October 19th in the Print Edition of The Daily Princetonian:
Human Rights for All
In recent days there has been a concerted effort to delegitimize any objections to embryo-killing. Some have gone so far as to say that society has a moral obligation to pursue lines of research involving embryo-killing at taxpayers’ expense. Advocates of this killing have tried to malign those with objections by claiming that they are imposing their “personal, private, and religious” views upon everyone else and are preventing the development of needed cures.
We are 100% in support of the advancement of science and medicine, and we are 100% in support of the development of stem cell therapy; but we insist that all scientific and medicinal research proceed while abiding to the objective demands of justice. Adult, umbilical cord, and placenta stem cell therapies do just this without harming human beings and they have cured thousands of people suffering from over 56 different maladies. Embryonic stem cell therapy, however which has yet to be used in a single treatment requires the destruction of human beings.
Before forming your own opinion, please consider these reflections.
• All human beings are equal.
Basic justice requires that we not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity. Likewise, justice requires that we not discriminate on the basis of age, size, stage of development, or condition of dependency. We see this doctrine of equality clearly embedded in our Nation’s principles as stated in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Likewise, the 14th Amendment states: “No state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
• Human beings are intrinsically valuable and have rights because of what they are.
Our Founding Fathers knew that human rights are not bestowed by the government or by a majority. Human beings have rights by virtue of their humanity. Our rights do not derive from our strength or beauty, from our intelligence or talents, or from our usefulness to others or to society as a whole. This explains why we defend the life of a mentally handicapped child just as much as the life of a Nobel Prize winning scientist. It would be manifestly evil to kill a mentally handicapped child to harvest his organs for transplant, just as it was wrong to enslave black human beings for labor, or to exterminate Jews to create an “ideal” race.
• Our nation’s laws must extend the same basic rights and protections to all human beings.
If attacks were made on the mentally handicapped, African-Americans, or Jews, we would expect our government to pass laws protecting them. We would not expect our political leaders to say that they were personally opposed to killing the mentally ill, but thought others for the good of science should have a choice to do so. We would not expect our leaders to say that they were personally opposed to slavery, but thought others should have the choice to own a slave. We would not expect our leaders to say they were personally opposed to the Holocaust, but thought others had a right to choose to exterminate a class of people. Our opposition to killing innocent human beings is not merely “personal” or “private.” It is a principled judgment based upon the demands of justice. We have a duty to protect the members of our society under attack by passing legislation prohibiting their abuse, and prosecuting violators. We certainly wouldn’t argue for federal funding to subsidize the killing of the mentally handicapped, African-Americans or Jews.
• Why should it be any different with human beings in the embryonic stage?
Our opponents insist that embryos are not human beings, or if they are human beings, they are not yet “persons.” But it defies scientific fact to say that human embryos are anything other than human beings at a certain, very early, stage of development. And it is outrageous to relegate some human beings to the status of “human non-persons.”
• A human embryo is a complete human being at the beginning of development.
Some people say that we don’t know even can’t know when the life of a new human being begins. They depict it as a mystery a “metaphysical” or even “theological” question. But this is nonsense. Human embryogenesis and intrauterine development are, in their essentials, well understood. As to “when life begins,” every textbook of embryology and developmental biology currently in use in American medical schools gives the same testimony. The most prominent of these texts, The Developing Human (7th ed, 2003), by Keith Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, accurately defines the human embryo as “the developing human during its early stages of development.” It notes that “human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” This is not metaphysics or theology: it is elementary human biology.
• Each of us began life as an embryo.
Prior to fertilization there are only gametes sperm and ova which are both genetically and functionally parts of larger entities, the father and the mother. But when a sperm and ovum fuse, the life of a new, unique, genetically complete and distinct human being begins. While none of us was ever a sperm or an egg, each of us was once an embryo or more properly, an embryonic human being just as each of us was once an adolescent, child, infant, and fetus. These terms refer not to different kinds of beings, but to stages in the natural development of a human being. Embryos, fetuses, infants, adolescents, and adults differ not in kind (or substance), but in maturity or stage of development. Regardless of how many people claim that an embryo is merely a "clump of cells," the facts of science prove that it is a human being. To have destroyed the entities that we were in the embryonic stage would have been to have destroyed us; it would not have been merely to prevent possible human beings from coming into existence.
• A human embryo is not a potential human being. Rather, it is a human being with potential.
In the embryonic stage of our lives, each of us possessed the genetic constitution and epigenetic primordia to develop by a process of internal self-direction and self-integration from the embryonic into and through the fetal, infant, child, and adolescent stages of development, and into adulthood with our unity, determinateness, and identity intact. In other words, each of us came into being as a human being; none of us became a human being only at some point after coming into being. In the embryonic stage of our lives, we were not "potential human beings," for we were human beings already. We were potential adults. Our potential was, like the potential of a fetus or a newborn infant, to mature into adulthood.
• It is wrong to intentionally kill human beings at any stage of development.
If it is a well established fact that human embryos are human beings, why are we entertaining discussions about federally funded embryo-destructive research? Just as it would be evil to kill a mentally handicapped child to harvest his organs for transplant, so too would it be evil to kill the embryonic human being to harvest his stem cells for scientific research. Just as it was wrong to exterminate Jews, so too is it wrong to execute embryos, even for the laudable goal of fighting disease.
• The direct and intentional killing of innocent human life is the most important political consideration.
We realize that many candidates who support embryo protection fail on other issues. We yearn for the day when all candidates will be pro-embryo-protection, so that we may choose our representatives on the criteria of other issues. While some of us may prefer the economic, educational, health and foreign policies of certain pro-embryo-destruction candidates, we recognize that the issues surrounding embryo-destructive research are of paramount importance, and we are forced to distinguish between socially desirable policies and the perpetuation of intrinsically evil acts. Imagine someone claiming, “I’m not a fan of Jefferson Davis’s support of slavery, but his economic policies are more important.” More than 1.3 million human lives are extinguished every year in abortions, and even more will die if unbridled embryo-destructive research is permitted. No candidate's tax, educational, or foreign policy can be so good and certain of its promises that it justifies tolerating so grave an injustice on so massive a scale. Pro-life citizens are not of one mind on the war in Iraq. But we see that no candidate is running on a platform of targeting innocent civilians or even accepting “collateral damage” at the rate of 1.3 million deaths per year. Even opponents of the war should see that the massacre against the unborn is the graver evil.
Contrary to the claims of our opponents, none of our appeals have been personal, private, or religious.
This November, we ask that you do not support politicians who deny basic human rights to an entire class of human beings. A vote for a pro-embryo-destruction candidate is a vote for the direct and intentional killing of innocent human beings.
Written and signed, October 19th, by the student-members of:
Princeton University Pro-Life; Choose Life at Yale: an Undergraduate Organization; Harvard Right to Life; Cornell Coalition for Life; University of Pennsylvania for Life; Dartmouth Coalition for Life; Stanford Students for Life; First Right at UVA; Students for Life at NYU; Georgetown University Right to Life; MIT Pro-Life; Notre Dame Right to Life; Johns Hopkins University Voice for Life; University of California Berkeley Students for Life;
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Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode CCCXC
James Taranto has it covered at Best of the Web Today, yesterday (brackets in original).
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This is close enough that Republicans are in no position to get cocky, but with every poll now showing a Bush lead (except Time without Nader and Zogby with, which both have a tie), the Kerry camp has reason to be nervous. Their man did about as well as could be expected in the debates, and still he trails. An Agence France-Presse photo suggests the Kerry campaign is a "dead end." We wouldn't go that far but with no more debates, what can Kerry do to come back? Blogger Rodger Morrow suggests that he is being forced to resort to a "Hail Mary" approach attempting to score via a series of long passes that have little chance of connecting:
Of course, the problem with a Hail Mary pass is that there's always the danger of being intercepted, which is what appears to have happened with the Mary Cheney Hail Mary. On the surface, it was actually a very clever play, a way of gay-baiting while also appealing to gays (who saw it as a way of exposing what they see as Republican cruelty or hypocrisy on same-sex marriage).
The problem for Kerry is that a lot more Americans have children than have strong feelings about homosexuality one way or the other. People tend to be very protective of their own families and sympathetic to the protective instincts of others. It was the invasion of the Cheney family's privacy, not anything having to do with homosexuality per se, that got Kerry in trouble.
Now, it's true that Miss Cheney's sexual orientation was not a secret, and that her father had talked about it but there's a big difference between talking about your own family (whether for political gain or not) and talking about someone else's in order to harm him politically. The Clintons understood this very well and made good use of Hillary in defending Bill from his scandals from "60 Minutes" in 1992 to the "vast right-wing conspiracy" interview in 1998.
In our view, Hillary's own political ambitions made the Clinton marriage "fair game" to a much greater degree than Mary Cheney is, but we'd venture to say most Americans were more sympathetic to Hillary's privacy than we were. Tellingly, Robert Novak reports that "the only Kerry aide on the [campaign] plane who wanted the senator to quickly issue an apology for any perceived insult was senior adviser Mike McCurry, the former Clinton spokesman who is a calm, cool voice among the overheated Kerryites." In any case, it's hard to imagine Bill Clinton ever being graceless enough to say such a thing in the first place, let alone to insist he was right to do so.
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P.S. David "Token" Brooks also has it covered at NYT, today.
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John Kerry wasn't nominated because of his sparkling personality. He wasn't nominated because of his selfless commitment to causes larger than himself. He was nominated because he's a fighter. At the end of every campaign he comes out brawling. This was the guy who could take on Bush.
So nobody could imagine how incompetent, crude and over-the-top Kerry has been in this final phase of the campaign. At this point, smart candidates are launching attacks that play up the doubts voters already have about their opponents. Incredibly, Kerry is launching attacks that play up doubts voters have about him. Over the past few days, he has underscored the feeling that he will say or do anything to further his career.
In so doing, he has managed to squelch any momentum he may have had coming out of the first two debates. Some polls have him stagnant against Bush. More polls show Bush recovering from the debate season and now pulling slightly ahead. The blunt truth is that Kerry is losing the final phase of this campaign.
Let's review the string of heavy-handed assaults from the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
On Monday, Kerry told seniors in Florida that Bush is plotting a "January surprise" to cut their Social Security benefits by as much as 45 percent. "That's up to $500 a month less for food, for clothing, for the occasional gift for a grandchild."
As Kerry knows, that's ludicrous it's a stale and transparent canard that Democrats have brought out in election after election, to less and less effect. President Bush has not entertained and would not entertain any plan that cut benefits to seniors. Bush would sooner give up any Social Security reform than cut benefits.
Kerry's second wild attack is that Bush would reinstate the draft. The administration, which hasn't even asked for trivial public sacrifices in a time of war, does not want to bring back the draft. The Pentagon does not want to bring back the draft. The Republican Party does not want to bring back the draft. Given the nature of military technology, it doesn't make sense to bring back the draft. There may be some in the bureaucracy taking precautions, but it is hard to imagine an attack with less basis in fact.
Kerry's third attack is the whole Mary Cheney thing. That's been hashed over enough. But remarkably, Kerry has not apologized. You use somebody's daughter to attack the father and his running mate. The parents are upset. The only decent thing is to apologize. If anything, an apology would make Kerry look admirable. But Kerry, in his permanent attack dog mode, can't do the decent and politically advantageous thing.
The fourth assault is Kerry's attack on the Bush administration's supposed "ban" on stem cell research. John Edwards's ludicrous statement that if Kerry was president, people like Christopher Reeve would be able to get up and walk was only the farcical culmination of a series of exaggerations about the possibilities of finding cures for Alzheimer's and spinal cord injuries.
I'm not trying to make a moral point here about sleazy campaigning. Politics ain't beanbag, and in the final days of a close campaign, exaggerations are the norm. I'm talking about competence and what this period says about Kerry and his campaign.
Bush's key vulnerability is that people fear he is in over his head. By lashing out wildly, Kerry muddles all that. Instead his blunderbuss approach suggests a candidate devoid of perspective, driven by unattractive and naked ambition.
Why is he doing this? First, because in the insular Democratic world, George Bush is presumed to be guilty of everything, so the more vicious you can be about him, the better everybody feels.
But there is a deeper assumption, which has marred Democratic politics for years. Some Democrats have been unable to face the reality that people have been voting for Republicans because they agree with them. So these Democrats have invented the comforting theory that they've been losing because they are too virtuous for the country.
According to this theory, Republicans - or usually some omniscient, omnipotent and malevolent strategists, like Lee Atwater or Karl Rove - have been tricking the American people into voting against their true interests. This year, many Democrats decided, we'll be vicious in return.
The truth, however, is that voters are not idiots. They are capable of independent thought. If you attack your opponent wildly, ruthlessly, they will come to their own conclusions.
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He was nominated because he's a fighter. I don't think so. I think Kerry was nominated because the pack broke mostly for him when Howard Dean imploded, and everybody else just jumped on the bandwagon in the front-loaded Democratic primaries that gave nobody much time to think about anything.
First, because in the insular Democratic world, George Bush is presumed to be guilty of everything, so the more vicious you can be about him, the better everybody feels. I started to notice back in June, more or less, that one of the Democrats' tactics was to slam Bush for doing whatever he did: don't let him move, don't let him blink, don't let him breathe without criticizing him for it. (The most ridiculous example of this was when Kedwards criticized Bush for making a campaign stop in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. They slammed him for going there this year though he didn't four years ago. Never mind that Bush was the first presidential candidate in three decades to drop by Johnstown.) I thought it would probably wear mighty thin after a while: I think it has now. And, since they've been slamming him for months for ordinary, everyday activities, they don't have anything left but demagoguery.
A Lawsuit Waiting to Happen?
If Sen. Tom Snake-in-the-Grass Daschle wins his hotly contested re-election bid as senator from South Dakota.
"We Don't Need Weenie-Spined Limeys Meddling in Our Presidental Election"
As you may have heard, The Guardian newspaper in Great Britain launched Operation Clark County to attempt to influence the presidential election. Yes, the American presidential election:
.... By typing your email address into the box on this page, you will receive the name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 324 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference....
Now they very helpfully publish, yesterday, some feedback from the USA (including some profanity here and there):
.... Mind your own business. We don't need weenie-spined Limeys meddling in our presidental election. If it wasn't for America, you'd all be speaking German. And if America would have had a president, then, of the likes of Kerry, you'd all be goose-stepping around Buckingham Palace. YOU ARE NOT WANTED!! Whether you want to support either party. BUTT OUT!!!...
John Kerry: Heretic
Also Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, Mario Cuomo, and Susan Collins.
Well, not officially. Yet. But the argument has gained significant support.
A press release, yesterday, from De Fide.
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SEN. JOHN KERRY “EXCOMMUNICATED,” ACCORDING TO VATICAN RESPONSE
Monday, 18 October 2004
SANTA MONICA, CA – A Los Angeles based expert in Canon Law, the legal code used by the Roman Catholic Church, announced Friday [Oct. 15] on EWTN's the World Over Live with Raymond Arroyo that an important Vatican congregation has given an unprecedented boost to his case for heresy against presidential candidate John Kerry. Marc Balestrieri, JCL who has filed a formal case for Heresy against Kerry for his support of the right to abortion, revealed that he has received a written response prompted by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, affirming that Catholic politicians who persist in supporting the right to abortion are “automatically excommunicated.”
Mr. Balestrieri, Director of De Fide, said the Response was written by the Reverend Fr. Basil Cole, O.P., an expert theologian based in Washington D.C., who was delegated by the Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Very Rev. Fr. Augustine di Noia, O.P., to formally respond. As a result, the Response has encouraged him to expand his complaint to include four more pro-abortion Catholic politicians, both Democrat and Republican.
“I went to Rome in person to submit two critical questions to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith,” said Balestrieri. “The first: Whether or not the Church’s teaching condemning any direct abortion is a dogma of Divine and Catholic Faith, with the denial or doubt of that dogma constituting heresy. The second: Whether or not the Church’s teaching condemning every right to abortion is a dogma of Divine and Catholic Faith, with the opposite error to that dogma heresy.”
In a four-page letter now posted at www.defide.com, Fr. Cole responded ‘Affirmative’ on both counts.
The Response is significant in that it represents the first time in modern history since Roe v. Wade in 1973 that such a clear reply is given to the Catholic faithful. Drafted under the auspices of the official Vatican Congregation with competency to decide doctrinal questions, it is entirely unambiguous and concludes:
“Consequently, if a Catholic publicly and obstinately supports the civil right to abortion, knowing that the Church teaches officially against that legislation, he or she commits that heresy envisioned by Can. 751 of the Code. Provided that the presumptions of knowledge of the law and penalty (Can. 15, § 2) and imputability (Can. 1321, § 3) are not rebutted in the external forum, one is automatically excommunicated according to Can. 1364, § 1.”
Mr. Balestrieri, a political independent, has repeatedly declared that his actions come to defend the Faith and Holy Eucharist from sacrilege and scandal, not as one focused on an electoral outcome. Catholics confess to the real presence — the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of God Himself — in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. “As early as today, Sen. Kerry, and all pro-choice Catholic politicians, who publicly call themselves Catholic yet who blatantly violate Canon Law by continuing to profess Heresy and receive Holy Communion, must publicly reject their abortion advocacy for the sake of their own souls, and the others they have scandalized. They have been excommunicated.”
Balestrieri went to Rome in late August and met with a dozen experts, all of whom confirmed the threefold unprecedented nature and scope of his canonical action in Church history: that it is a formal complaint for reparation for harm due to heresy; that this is analogous to a Common Law class action; and that the complaint was initiated by a layman. (In the past such actions regarding heresy would have been handled by the "Holy Office" vertically downwards, and would never have reached this point.)
Lacking guidance from the Vatican, he sought an appointment and was received by an official of the Congregation in its halls in Rome. On September 9th, less than ten days later, the Rev. Basil Cole, O.P., contacted Balestrieri to inform him of his delegation to answer the two questions. Three days later, the written Response was issued.
The Response states that any Catholic who denies or doubts the two main conclusions, after knowing of their existence, commits Heresy. The Response holds that the dogmatic force of the two propositions is “manifest,” a term not lightly used by any theologian. This means that one is dealing here not with a matter of a theologian’s personal opinion, but with two core non-negotiable Articles of Faith. The Response, therefore, is “official” and binding in that it simply restates infallible teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, already stated unequivocally by Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the CDF, and Tarcisio Bertone, then secretary of the CDF, in their own commentaries to the Professio Fidei of 1998. Hence the Response’s rapid and forceful content.
The Response goes even further in specifying that any baptized Catholic who publicly states, “I’m personally opposed, but I support a woman’s right to choose,” is in fact presumed by Canon Law to be guilty of heresy, with the burden of proving that he is not shifted to the violating politician. A Catholic who publicly professes the right to choose heresy is automatically excommunicated, not by any declaration of the Church per se, but by the acts committed by the individual, and thus being in a state of mortal sin is ineligible to receive any of the Sacraments of the Church, including reception of the Eucharist, marriage, absolution from sin, and even Christian burial until the error is recanted and excommunication is lifted.
The often cited "Cuomo" defense, “I am personally opposed but I support the right to choose” has now been cut in half: A pro-choice Catholic politician who says that he is “personally opposed” to the ACT of abortion itself still commits Heresy by publicly supporting the civil RIGHT to choose abortion.
The fact that the Response was provided to a layman at the request of the Undersecretary, in writing, and in only eleven days is considered unique by numerous Bishops familiar with the matter. The extensive detail of the response, decisively clarifying the matter was unexpected. Normally, only a bishop may request such clarification of doctrine from the CDF and receive an official reply. Such responses usually take a much longer time to be received, and they are rarely made public.
Balestrieri also announced that the Denunciation for Heresy, a kind of lawsuit under the Catholic Church's Canon Law, filed against Senator Kerry is now pending before Kerry's bishop, Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston, according to the head of the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston whom Balestrieri met with in person at the offices of the Metropolitan Tribunal at the end of July. The judge told him explicitly twice that the case had not been rejected, and that it was “now in the hands of the Archbishop.” At the same time, Balestrieri was informed that the Tribunal simply did not have enough time to properly handle the sheer number (thousands upon thousands) of Denunciations and Complaints from ordinary Catholics that have poured in by certified mail. He also clarified that the Archbishop had not yet decided whether to instruct the Promoter of Justice, whose job is similar to that of a prosecutor, to formally charge Kerry with Heresy or any of the five other ecclesiastical violations Balestrieri had denounced him for.
Balestrieri is asking all individuals and groups seeking to join his canonical actions, as a result of the Tribunal’s hesitation in handling the cases, for all future denunciations and complaints to be sent to Archbishop Sean O’Malley directly, in accordance with instructions which he will be sending out over the next few days, as posted on the DeFide.com website and sent to the thousands of supporters by e-mail.
With account taken of the developments and advice received while in Rome, Balestrieri has now decided he is able to broaden the actions he has filed to include other notoriously pro-abortion Catholic politicians of both the Republican and Democrat parties. Apart from amending his Denunciation and Complaint against Sen. Kerry to include the Response, four additional Denunciations and Complaints have been filed against Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts; Sen. Tom Harkin (D) of Iowa; Mr. Mario Cuomo (D), former Governor of New York; and Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine. They have been filed today in the five Ecclesiastical Courts of the five separate Dioceses of Boston (MA), Fall River (MA), Des Moines (IA), New York (NY), and Portland (ME). Balestrieri said the four have been chosen based on their consistent, extensive, and public pro-abortion records.
Balestrieri has appealed for the thousands of joinders to be vigilant for procedural updates and specific canonical instructions which he is sending out this week.
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