Thursday, September 13, 2007

EXPOSING "PRO-LIFE, INC." (Plus Palin & Giuliani News)

"It's better to light one little candle than to curse the darkness." (Father Keller of The Christophers, many years ago)

"When all is said and done, a lot more is said . . . than is done."-- Lou Holtz, football coach, who was head coach at Wm. & Mary when I was there in 1968 (really!)

Note: In the efforts of dozens of bloggers and others to help ensure that the first female President of the United States is NOT named Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, but rather Gov. Sarah Heath Palin, we've approached supporters of every leading presidential candidate, including Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and John McCain. This week it's the turn of Rudy Giuliani's supporters. In today's column you will read about Mayor Giuliani's appearance in western Pennsylvania. Earlier, on September 9, 2007, there's a column ("Rudy Giuliani Among the Evangelicals") from about Rudy's unusual, but intriguing, strategy to win the nomination.

Note: Sarah Palin is NOT a candidate for President in 2008, but she is a leading candidate for the vice-presidential nod. She will be a candidate for President, and she will win, in a future election. I'm concentrating on Mrs. Palin's participation in the elections of 2012 and 2016. For the campaign for the vice-presidency next year, visit Adam's site at: http://palinforvp.blogspot.com/


On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I'm going to have numerous short pieces about: (1) my eminently workable constitutional amendment to sharply reduce the number of abortions in the U.S.; (2) the tendency of some elements in the pro-life movement to take positions that almost ensure that the number of abortions will continue at the present levels (in excess of 800,000 per year; (3) the irresponsible comments by Pastor Laurence White and others that result in the pro-life movement being easily caricatured as a bunch of self-serving extremists.

Dr. Laurence White: The Rhetoric of Pro-Life Extremism:

f you'd like to see clearly what I'll be talking about I urge you to read two pieces by Lutheran Pastor Laurence White: (1) an essay called "God and Caesar" available at: http://mtio.com/articles/bissar55.htm;
(2) a letter to Mike Huckabee called "This Election Cannot be About Electability," available at: http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=350

In my view, both these pieces are exercises in extremism. They make statements about the United States -- comparing it to the Weimar Republic and Nazi German -- that are totally irresponsible. They are condemnations of the culture of the abortion that offer no practical solutions to the problem.

They offer justifiable praise of many Christian heroes of the Nazi era: Dietrich Bonhoffer, Martin Niemoller, and Paul Schneider, among them. However, they absolutely fail to explore in any detail why so many Christians failed to stand up to the Nazis. They fail to distinguish between Naziism and the pluralism that is an essential part of the American system of government and society.

My Human Life Amendment: In several previous columns, I've offered a Human Life Amendment -- one that would results in hundreds of thousands fewer abortions that will occur if we settle for the status quo. I urge people like Laurence White, Larry Perrault, and Mike Huckabee to embrace my proposal. I fear they will not. Why?

Because much of the pro-life movement has become an enterprise unto itself. Preventing even one unnecessary abortion is a triumph. Preventing hundreds of thousands -- and millions over time -- is a great victory. However, people like Dr. White reject this approach. They say it doesn't matter if a pro-choice politician like Hillary Clinton gets elected.

Look very carefully at what they're proposing: they are basically advocating the election of people whose policies will increase the number of abortions. With that approach, they're saying essentially that abortion doesn't matter. Seemingly, all that does matter is their continued ability to express their enduring moral superiority to people like me, proponents of practical steps that will dramatically reduce the incidence of abortion.

At their worst, people like Dr. White are members of "Pro-Life, Inc.," an enterprise that defines itself not by how many abortions it can stop -- and how many adoptions it can encourage -- but by how many speeches it can make condemning their fellow Americans. It's time, frankly, to put "Pro-Life, Inc." out of business.

Stephen R. Maloney

Bulletin from Pennsylvania: As usual, PA (color us VERY Lite Blue) is shaping up as a critical state in the general election for President of the U.S. From time to time, I'll offer updates about the candidates who visit the state. Today (Thursday), there's an excellent story by Dan Majors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Rudy Giuliani's vist yesterday to Canonsburg, which is 20-some miles from where I live in Ambridge.

Here's what Rudy said: "Pennsylvania is a very important state. We want to win the primary [a late one], and we want to . . . win the general election here and return it to the Republican column, where it belongs, and I believe I'm the Republican who can do that. I think I have the best chance of winning Pennsylvania."

Dan Majors adds: "[Giuliani] said the difference is that other Republican candidates poll well in certain parts of the country, while his support is strong nationwide."

Giuliani added: "I'm the only Republican candidate that can carry on a 50-state campaign . . . . If I get nominated by the Republican Party a year from now, I'll be back here in Pennsylvania campaigning, because I can win Pennsylvania."

Steve adds: Frankly, some of my political allies in Pennsylvania, including individuals who are devoted pro-life evangelical Christians, are raising money for Rudy Giuliani, partly because of the tireless support he offered in 2006 for conservative Republican candidates. (They also believe that the election of Mrs. Clinton would set the pro-life movement back 20 years -- a view with which I concur.)

There's growing support in PA for a Giuliani-Palin ticket and even some emerging support for a Huckabee-Palin ticket.

I expect the GOP primary battle in PA will be between Mayor Giuliani and Governor Huckabee. Since they're my two favorite candidates, that will be just fine with me. (I believe most of the support that now goes to Fred Thompson nationwide eventually will start streaming toward Mike Huckabee, who's currently "everybody's number two" in PA and elsewhere.)



8 comments:

Bald Headed Geek said...

Most kind of your to post on my blog, as well as for your kind words! I have added you to my blogroll, and hopefully can generate some traffic for you that way!

BHG

Christopher said...

Steve, it's a very scary thought that those who are supposebly "pro-life" leaders are actually advocating political action that would let Roe vs. Wade stand. I'm afraid it's because of their finincial interest in making sure there is always a "culture war".

Ol' BC said...

Legislating morality has never been successful and the conservative base would be better off to make their cases on issues important to more people. Those who value life aren't going to waver and those who don't aren't going to be converted.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I think most law is an attempt to legislate morality and, as you suggest, its success is limited. With regulation (and reduction) of abortion, it's essential to mind out where majorities exist, and I've tried to do that. There is real serious concern over so-called second- and third-trimester abortions. That's why I focused on them.

steve

Stephen R. Maloney said...

In one sense (only) I am like Karl Rove. I ask, "Where are the majorities?" Also, in campaigns, "What do we have to do (within moral boundaries) to win?" If you can't win, how do you build to win in the future? If you have good ideas that can be presented effectively, you should be able to move the "rock" forward. I believe Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and some others are capable of doing that, so I support them.

Larry Perrault said...

"Seemingly, all that does matter is their continued ability to express their enduring moral superiority to people like me"

I selected out this sentence because it seems to best distill what you think is going on. And, it also tells me that I'm wasting my time. You have made an a priori and incorrect judgment of intentions, and evaluate everything from within that perception. So, you don't believe me when I say that it isn't about me, which truly enough would be a squalid motivation, when I make a moral point about something. It's about right and wrong. The same is true of Leurence White. It's a good thing that I'm not after judgments of my moral superiority, because they aren't exactly pouring in.

What I think you should note is that both Dr. White's speeches and most of my writing, including the last post at my blog, do not indict American culture in general, but rather the avowedly pro-life social conservatives who are too timid to hold up a clear and discernible standard. As I said, it isn't about THEM, it's about US.

But, you appear to believe that I am a lying morally posturing Narcissus. In that case, it is pointless to converse because everything said is not to be trusted and is up for measurement in the context of what you KNOW is really a self-serving motivation.

All I can repeat is that I have drastically disagreed with you on strategy as well as on your perceptions. But, I have not, therefore, reached to call your character or intelligence into question. I think that is a first step toward a possible constructive cooperation in the face of not just this, but any disagreement. But it is one that it appears as though you are not about to take.

You should consider that I may not be lying to you, or give up the conversation.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I'll respond shortly to Larry. Lots going on in Ambridge today. Major football game tonight -- Ambridge vs. Hopewell (alma mater of Tony Dorsett and others), but that's not what's causing the delay. :-) Another big game tonight is Mt. Lebanon vs. Central Catholic. Central recruits so many Protestants that I claim (correctly) that Mt. Lebanon actually has more boys who are Catholic starting than Central, but be that as it may . . . (Go Lebo!) Two great games. What a country!

steve

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Larry, perhaps this is all just a massive misunderstand (although with Dr. White, it's more than that):

Larry, let me make a comparison of abortion in society to diabetes in an individual -- I have Type 2. There is not currently any "cure" for diabetes, but there are steps an individual can take to reduce the amount of physiological harm that's taking place: e.g., stay away from sugar, avoid consuming white flour, taking medication, getting a proper amount of exercise). Of course, there's an alternative: to eat fudge while bemoaning the fact that one has diabetes. I fear that both you and Dr. White are doing the latter -- condemning elements of society for the fact that abortion exists. That's what I mean by "Pro-Life, Inc.," positioning oneself so that the moral condemnations can last a lifetime. In contrast, I support practical steps to reduce the number of abortions (and increase the number of adoptions). That's an approach apparently rejected by you, Dr. White, and others who speak about the sanctity of life. I've proped an amendment (policies) that would sharply reduce the number of abortions in this country. I' ask you, Dr. White, Mike Huckabee and others in the pro-life movement to embrace my proposals. If we can reduce the number of yearly abortions by 300,000 -- or even if it's "only" 100,000, or even 30,000 -- that is a major step forward. Yes, I am asking people to support public policies that they may believe falls far shot of what's desirable. However, the alternative is for us to be in 2037 exactly where we are in 2007 -- and were in 1977. Do we want to make things better, even if marginally, or don't we? As the saying goes, "Choose ye this day."

I don't accept the notion that there's some massive moral evil embedded in the American soul. I do believe that, as Mike Huckabee has implied, there is too little concern in the "pro-life' movement (although not in the campaigns of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney) for the life that takes place AFTER birth. I look forward to working with anyone who wants to take practical steps to reduce the number of abortions. I call upon Mike and others (?) to stop talking about an all-encompassing amendment that is never going to occur. Politics is about taking practical, achievable steps to make things better. Apocalyptic language about abortion does not save one life.

One disturbing point emerged from my blizzard of statistics: a large number of the young women who had abortions did so because of parental pressure. This causes me to wonder if parental notification might not do more harm than good. I've never even IMAGINED this previously, but it shows the whole issue of abortion choices is more complex than we may have thought.

The key is to find out exactly why girls and women have abortions and then to deal effectively, humanely, and lovingly with overcoming the causes. We may even get Hillary Clinton (miracles happen!) to agree with this approach.