Sunday, December 30, 2012

A CRY IS HEARD IN RAMAH: THE SANDY HOOK ATROCITY


Much has been said about Connecticut and I hesitate to add to the mountain of words. I have watched my own parents bury a son, and in the end, there are no words, only - as C.S. Lewis said in “A Grief Observed” - “the red-hot jab of memory”. 

But apart from the incalculable pain suffered by those who lost a child or loved one - a pain no explanation will ever assuage, the ensuing culture war over who or what to blame is at once fascinating, repulsive, and perhaps, instructive.

From the Left, there is the predictable war on guns. From the Right there is the attack on a fallen culture and the media which glorifies it. In the middle there is the debate over what to do about the mentally ill. A bit above the fray, amongst religious leaders there are calls for prayer and homiletic revisits to the ancient problem of pain. 

Personally, I was tempted to blame the wicked incident on our nation’s mad embrace of the Culture of Death, and initially summed up the shooting with Mother Teresa’s biting condemnation: “If abortion isn’t wrong, nothing is.” 

And of course, that’s true. In a nation which chops up children in the womb at the rate of 4000 a day, what’s the big deal over twenty more - other than the fact that they were apparently wanted and could audibly cry as they died?

But abortion is not unique to our time and neither is child slaughter. This past week, only a few days distant from Christmas, we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Innocents and were reminded that children were the first martyrs, and parents, from whose arms they were ripped, have always suffered loss like no other.

The response to the massacre at Sandy Hook from many Catholics was uniquely colored by the fact that the horrific news was revealed as the Church prepared for Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, a fact which made for many attempts to liturgically contextualize the tragedy. 

My own thought was less about how to reconcile Connecticut with Gaudete, and more about how profoundly the shooting anticipated the Feast of the Holy Innocents wherein we once again hear the Jeremiah-an lament: “A cry is heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”

Meanwhile, in the news, the battle raged: gun control, mental illness, the desensitizing impact of relentless media violence, the shooter’s broken home, survivalist mother, and absent father, the need for better school security and greater community vigilance, and so on. 

There is much to say about each of these, but in the midst of a lemming-like rush to “get the government to do something”, we need remind ourselves that the greatest threat to human life is not madmen, but sane men. In the 20th century, “death by government” (democide), surpassed war as the number one cause of non-natural death. 

There are the usual suspects: Hitler (10 million), Stalin (62 million), Chang Kai-shek and Mao (50 million). But there are also 204 other documented cases in the 20th century of genocide, politicide, massacres, extrajudicial executions, and other forms of systematic democidal murder perpetrated by state and quasi-state regimes upon their own peoples.

It is important to recall that each of these monsters began, not as monsters, but as social reformers, as promisers of jobs and a “chicken in every pot”: the Thousand Year Reich (Hitler), the Five Year Plan (Stalin), and the Cultural Revolution (Mao).

Their eventual purges were not motivated by the bloodlust of madmen, but, like Herod, by seemingly sane political policies which necessitated the elimination of opposition and undesirables as an inevitable step in the march to their imagined utopias. 

It is also important to recall that prior to the mechanized slaughter of its own citizenry, each seemingly sane government instituted a seemingly sane policy to disarm its citizens, and for good reason. As Mao said: “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” 

One would think that with the brazen attack on the First Amendment by our current government, religious leaders would be wary of ceding even more constitutional ground by caving on the Second. However, the USCCB, in joining the clamor for gun control, has done exactly that. 

But gun control aside, there is the more ominous question of the wisdom of granting ever more power to a government which has already shown that it is willing to crush religious freedom and rule by diktat.


Before inviting more governmental control of guns, health care, or anything else, the USCCB, and religious leaders in general, may want to recall that increasingly centralized and empowered governments eventually turn on their own people, beginning with religious leaders. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

HISSING SOUNDS ONLY


On July  17, 2006, 18-year old Sycloria Williams stood against the wall of an abortion clinic waiting room gasping in horror at the sight of her baby. "She wasn't moving much, Williams later testified. “Twitching, gasping for air. She wasn't crying, just hissing, hissing sounds only."

Sycloria Williams was 23 weeks pregnant when she went to a Miami area abortion clinic. Williams was given “medication” (probably RU-486) and laminaria sticks were inserted into her cervix. She was then sent home and told to come back the next day.

For those who may not know, an RU-486 abortion occurs in two stages. On the initial visit, the woman is given the RU-486 pills which kill the unborn child. But this normally takes several hours. So the woman is usually sent home and told to return the next day. Upon returning, labor is induced and the dead child is delivered.

Williams returned to the clinic as instructed, but the doctor was late. While waiting, Williams was given Cytotec to induce labor and further dilate the cervix. Within a short time, Williams began to experience severe labor pains, but still no doctor.

Quoting from the lawsuit filed in 2009: “...unable to remain seated, Williams braced herself with the arms of the recliner chair she was sitting on. As she lifted herself, her water broke and she delivered a live baby girl onto the seat of the recliner. The baby writhed and gasped for air, still connected to Williams by the umbilical cord.”

Williams was horrified: "I thought it would be a blob thing, not a baby. She was really little, like this," she said, holding her hands about 12 inches apart. "It was like everything inside was coming out at once. There was just no stopping it." 

The sight of a fully formed baby was a complete surprise to Williams. "They never said anything to me that would make me think it was a baby. They only said things like ‘termination of pregnancy’. They cheated me. They didn't tell me everything..."

But the trauma was only beginning for Williams. While her baby writhed and hissed on the chair, the owner of the clinic ran into the room, knocked the baby onto the floor, cut the umbilical cord with a pair of shears, stuffed the baby into a biohazard bag, and threw little Shanice (whom her mother later named) into a garbage can. The doctor then arrived and sedated Williams.

An anonymous caller notified police about the incident and three days later Shanice’s body was found decomposing in a cardboard box in a clinic closet. A DNA test linked the baby’s remains to Williams.

The incident later made news when the Thomas More Society took an interest in the case. The Miami-Dade medical examiner had determined that the baby’s lungs had filled with air prior to her death, proving that Shanice had indeed been alive outside the mother’s body, but blamed the death on “extreme prematurity.”

The Thomas More attorneys insisted that Shanice’s death was a murder. The case dragged on for three years. In the end, the abortionist lost his license, and baby Shanice, whose body had been kept for evidence, finally received a proper burial.

The experience changed Sycloria. In 2009, she told a reporter: "No one should lose their life if you get pregnant. If I got pregnant again I would have the baby. I would tell them not to do it. I’ll say whatever to make them have second thoughts so they don’t do it…”

On January 6, 2010, to prevent abortion survivors from being similarly thrown in the trash, then-Senator Calvo introduced Bill 309-30: THE CHILD’S RIGHT TO LIVE ACT. The bill mandated normal medical care for children who survive failed abortions. 

Such a bill had already been passed unanimously by the U.S. Congress and had been signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002. Proponents of Bill 309-30 were expecting our local legislature to respond similarly. We were wrong.

After an overwhelmingly supportive public hearing on February 11, 2010, the bill disappeared. Despite several inquiries and even public calls for a vote, Senator Frank Aguon, Jr.,  the then-Chairman of the Committee on Health, made sure Bill 309-30 died the same death as Shanice Williams: in a garbage can. 

A few weeks after the public hearing, two people related stories of children who had survived failed abortions. One lived and was adopted by a loving father and mother. The other died despite volunteer medical efforts to save him. How many more abortion survivors have died in Guam’s abortion clinic trash? We don’t know. Chairman Aguon made sure of that.


 See CNN account of the case here

Sunday, October 21, 2012

HORROR AT THE BLUE HOUSE AND BILL 52-31


We now know from news reports that the owner of the Blue House not only forced Chuukese women into prostitution, she also forced at least one woman to get an abortion when she became pregnant. 

An informed consent law like that proposed by Bills 54-30 and 52-31 would require a pregnant woman who arrives at an abortion clinic to be given information on the alternatives to abortion, a phone number to call for help, and a 24 hour waiting period. 

Had this woman been able to call for help the Blue House slave ring might have been discovered earlier. But there is no law, and there was no number.

During the debate over Bill 54-30, opponents of the bill argued that we had no business interfering with a woman’s choice, that abortion was a decision between a woman and her doctor. Obviously, this was not the case for the slaves of the Blue House.

In fact, this is not the case for many women. A 2004 study published in Medical Science Monitor showed that 64% of women who aborted felt pressured, and 65% showed symptoms of trauma. In fact, a 1998 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association disclosed that murder is the number one cause of death for pregnant women. 

The report Forced Abortion in America revealed also that post-abortive women have 31% more health complications, a 65% higher risk of clinical depression, a 3.5 times higher risk of death from all causes, and are 7 times more likely to commit suicide compared to women giving birth. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute reported that some 30 percent of women have an abortion because someone else, not the woman, wants it. 

While abortion continues to masquerade as a “women’s rights” issue, abortion is really all about men, and freeing men to use and abuse women without consequence - other than a quick trip to the abortion clinic with girlfriend in tow when there’s a slip up. 

Yet our lawmakers continue to lecture us about a woman’s right to choose and challenge legislation that would force abortionists to advise women of their real rights: the right to require the father to pay for her medical care and financially assist her in raising her child, the right to Medicaid benefits for maternal care if she qualifies, the right to know about alternatives to abortion including adoption, and the right to know of the psychological and physiological risks of abortion.

Do we really think that an abortionist is going to give a paying client the phone and tell her to call a crisis pregnancy center? or CPS so she learn about the availability of adoption? Also, many women who are harmed by abortion do not seek damages from the abortionist because they do not want their abortion to be known. Thus there is need for regulation like that proposed by Bill 52-31. 

Informed consent legislation was first authorized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 and has been adopted by more than thirty states. After more than four years of trying, it is hoped that Guam lawmakers will finally see that there is nothing wrong and everything right with ensuring that women have all the information possible prior to an abortion so that their choice can be a true choice.

As of this writing, Senator Rodriguez is once again attempting to report out Bill 52-31 in the hopes of getting it passed before the end of the legislative term. We will be watching.

But back to the Blue House case. The Governor has rightly ordered a deeper investigation into a possible police cover up, but he should also order an investigation into the abortion(s) that may be connected to the case. 

Physicians are “mandated reporters”. They are required by law to report abuse or signs of trauma and they are trained to recognize it. It’s hard to imagine that a pregnant, frightened, enslaved Chuukese immigrant, forced into prostitution, and living under daily threats of abuse of every sort, didn’t raise a red flag the moment she walked into the abortionist’s office.


A PERSONAL NOTE: I am well aware of how hard it is to read about abortion. It’s tough to write about it. But as Fr. Frank Pavonne of Priests for Life says: “Where abortion is hidden, abortion is tolerated.” And it has been hidden much too long on Guam. We are at a crisis point. We are aborting one out of every ten pregnancies with the majority being Chamorro. With a waiting list of adoptive parents at Child Protective Services, let’s see what we as a community can do to at least let those mothers know that there are alternatives to abortion and lifelong regret. Let’s pass Bill 52-31.

Monday, October 1, 2012

ARBEIT MACHT FREI??


A few years ago, what turned out to be a seven-week old human fetus was found floating through a local waste treatment plant. Such discoveries make news, but not so the bodies of the nearly seven dead children per week that pile up in dumpsters behind Tamuning’s abortuaries - or wherever it is they throw them.

According to Guam Medical Records, we abort one child every 1.2 days, or one abortion for every ten live births. Our killing spree equates to a rate of 1.85 abortions per thousand population and ranks Guam No. 17 in the world for most abortions. This is an atrocity beyond compare particularly when one considers that more than 50% of these aborted children are Chamorro.

There is also reason to believe that the abortion rate is actually much higher than reported and may be as high as 1000 annually or almost 3 babies per day. A 1990 article about abortion on Guam reported an estimate of 600 to 1000 abortions per year, and fragments of data compiled by Guam Medical Records prior to the imposition of a penalty for failing to report in 2008 suggests that this is true. (For more info see Esperansa.org)

Amazingly, government officials still think the answer to abortion is earlier sex education and increased access to contraception. It’s “amazing” because we have forty years of data showing that the abortion rate has exponentially exploded in the wake of such policies. It’s a simple formula: more contraception equals more abortion. The FDA’s own data on contraception tells us why. 

As the chart shows, all contraceptive methods have a failure rate. The availability of contraception eliminates the fear of pregnancy and encourages greater sexual activity. Increased sexual activity results in an increased number of contraceptive failures, which lead to more abortions since abortion is the solution to failed birth-control.

The male condom is the most promoted and most available method of birth control. However, the FDA’s own data tells us that its use will result in pregnancy 18 out of 100 times. Yet we are told that using a condom is “safe sex”. How safe is an airplane that is guaranteed to crash 1.8 out of every 10 times it takes off? Yet we are teaching our children how to put these on in grade school.

But getting pregnant may be the least of your worries. If a condom cannot stop sperm 18% of the time, then what in the world are we doing promoting it as a means of stemming sexually transmitted diseases, most of which are spread by bacteria and  viruses many times smaller than sperm? The FDA’s own data admits this, saying only that the male condom is the “best protection” against STD’s compared to other contraceptive methods which provide none.

Last year, Guam’s Department of Public Health reported the largest increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the last 5 years including 900 new cases of Chlamydia, a disease with which nearly 10% of Guam’s population, age 15 to 24, is infected. Yet, this same Department sponsors Prutehi Hao , a program which promotes condom use as if it is a new found cure for cancer. 

Imagine a policy which mandates greater access to guns as an answer to gun crime. Stupid, right? Yet just last week, our Congresswoman announced an Obamacare grant  to Guam DOE to “educate adolescents and young adults on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.” While the requisite nod towards abstinence education is noteworthy, we can be sure it will get short shrift and condom use will be touted as “responsible”. 

 A few columns back I quoted Archbishop Sheen’s ominous observation: “God will forgive. Man may forgive. Nature NEVER forgives.” This stark, inevitable truth is never more mercilessly true than when it comes to the abuse of sex. Sex was designed by God for a reason. Whenever it is used contrary to that reason, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE...literally: a pile of corpses 50 million unborn children high, a pandemic of sexually transmitted disease, tragic rates of infertility, a black plague of female-related cancers, people crippled by rotting genitals, death of the most horrific sort, and for Guam - the self-genocide of the Chamorro.  


And what’s our government’s answer? More money for more of the same, and obeisance to a soviet-style mandate coercing us to pay for all this death, disease, and destruction under the guise of “preventative care” - a euphemism as deceitful and demonic as the Nazi’s “Arbeit macht Frei” (“Work makes you free”): words emblazoned in iron at the entrance to Auschwitz. There is much to fear.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO TALK ABOUT MARRIAGE?


That’s the question posed by the editors of THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE, a collection of scholarly essays examining the societal impact of same-sex marriage. 

Essentially the answer is “because we’ve never had to”, at least not in the way we are forced to discuss it today. 

Though marriage has been at or near the heart of almost every issue of human endeavor, from royal alliances to what to make for dinner, the fundamental male-female nature of marriage has never before been called into question, which is why we find ourselves stammering in defense of marriage after we say “Because....”

In fact, the very fact that we are at a loss for words is sort of an explanation in itself. From the dawn of human consciousness, and quite without instruction other than that which was carved into our bodies, men and women intuited the need to “marry” long before there was a word or a “grunt” for it. It probably went something like this:

Man and woman make baby. Baby can’t take care of itself. Man go hunt and collect berries to feed baby and woman. Sooner or later, man and woman make another baby. Man go hunt more and collect more berries.

It probably wasn’t out of any external sense of moral obligation that the man did his part to provide and protect. Sons and daughters, in time, meant protection and help when the man could no longer protect or help himself. The permanent bonding necessary to raise a child to adulthood simply derived from the will to survive.

In short, marriage is the organic extension of the procreative act. It proceeds from the very nature of our bodies, which are fundamentally ordered towards generation. All of nature is simply designed to make more of itself. And the life-giving, life-nurturing, life-long thing that we have come to call marriage, which some try to tell us is mere social or religious convention, is really a primordial phenomenon that has, through generations of natural selection, proven to be the most effective model of human survival.

True, both society and religion eventually adapted it, codified it, regulated it, and protected it, but they didn’t create it, and never claimed to. And this is why “same-sex marriage” will never achieve the equality it presumes to seek. Same-sex marriage will forever owe its existence to the state. And irregardless of the rights and status the state might concoct for it, same-sex marriage simply has no history, no primordial roots, and no organic connection to human survival.

This is not because history is homophobic. Same-sex unions of any kind, quite apart from any religious circumscription, are, by their very nature, a Darwinian dead-end. And no legislative or judicial machinations can change that fact.

But this is also why we find it so difficult to defend marriage. Long before same-sex marriage appeared on the legal horizon, heterosexual married couples, through chemical, surgical, or mechanical means, had already divorced sex from its procreative end. And, natural marriage, the organically occurring intuitive relationship between the co-creators of a unique and separate being, once intentionally and artificially stripped of its procreative end, simply has no standing. Thus, our appeals to the procreative purpose of marriage ring with a contraceptive thud relative to the increasing din of chants for marriage equality.

In altering its ends, its purpose, we have altered the nature of marriage itself. Empirically speaking, the “good of the spouses” has become the primary end, and child rearing has not only become a secondary end, it has been relegated to an optional marital appendage - something to fit in once educational and career goals are met and before a woman’s biological clock runs out...if at all.

Such a thing is completely new to the human experience. Marriage has never been ultimately about spouses but about progeny. And unintentional sterility aside, everything about marriage is historically, culturally, and socially ordered to support that end. 


That many if not most of us have subscribed to this new ordering of the purpose of marriage, leaves us little ground on which to stand, be it in opposition to same-sex marriage or explaining why couples should marry at all.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Political Parties in control of the U.S. Congress 1955 - 2011

House of Representatives:
Democrats 44 years
Republicans 12 years

Senate:
Democrats: 40 years
Republicans 16 years


House of Representatives
1955 - 1995 (40 years) Democrats
1995 - 2007 (12 years) Republicans
2007 - 2010 (3 years) Democrats
2010 - 2011 (1 year) Republicans


Senate
1955 -1981 (26 years) Democrats
1981 -1987 (6 years) Republicans
1987 - 1995 (8 years) Democrats
1995 - 2001 (6 years) Republicans
2001 - 2003 (2 years) Democrats
2003 - 2007 (4 years) Republicans
2007 - 2011 (4 years) Democrats




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