Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

25 February 2010

Obama's Black Liberation Theology: Rescuing the World

By Gina Liggett

As we know, President Obama is a religious leftist, and I have argued that his brand of religious leftism is the more radical anti-American Black Liberation Theology, the religion under which he came of spiritual age and nurtured for over 20 years before it became politically strategic for him to break public ties with it during the presidential race.

Obama's religion and policies are class-oriented, anti-capitalist, and egalitarian. I have covered some of this in previous posts. Today I focus on another tenant of Black Liberation Theology: to serve the oppressed all over the world. James Cone (the founder of Black Liberation Theology) says, Black Liberation Theology should be "concerned with the quality of human life not only in the ghettos of American cities but also in Africa, Asia, and Latin America... [T]here will be no freedom for anyone until there is freedom for all."

Then in January, "God" rattled the earth under Haiti, creating a devastating earthquake and the perfect opportunity for Obama to pour his heart out to the suffering people of this poorest country in the hemisphere. In his essay in Newsweek, entitled "Why Haiti Matters", Obama justifies his response:

When we show not just our power, but also our compassion, the world looks to us with a mixture of awe and admiration. That advances our leadership. That shows the character of our country. And it is why every American can look at this relief effort with the pride of knowing that America is acting on behalf of our common humanity.
Hello?! What about that individual's "Pursuit of Happiness" business that is the backbone of our Constitutional principles?

This effort to salvage Haiti -- a chronically corrupt failed state addicted to the regular injections of American and international aid and perpetually suffering disasters worse than its crushing endemic misery -- is a futile and wasteful and anti-American undertaking.

Obama has given Haiti 12,000 of our brave American military personnel to the cause -- an amount that is over 40% of the number sent as the surge in Afghanistan, a front for the biggest threat to America: Islamic Totalitarianism!

Obama has mobilized a team of our key officials "to discuss ongoing relief efforts": Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Secretary of Health and Human Services, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, FEMA, wide-ranging staff of the Department of Homeland Security, USAID, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

That doesn't even include coordinating the broad international relief effort, providing a US Naval Hospital ship, military and government aircraft, Coast Guard vessels, food and water, more cash.

How can any rational American leader even conceive that "rescuing" a hopeless beggar nation justifies ordering the costly diversion of our governmental resources and security infrastructure? These institutions should not be diverted from focusing on legitimate threats to the very survival of America: the Iranian goal of building nuclear weapons, the Iranian-inspired infestation and spreading epidemic of Islamic Totalitarianism, the ongoing game-playing and extortion of resources by North Korea in its quest for nuclear weapons, the serious issue of European debt and its threat to global security, etc., etc.

But to Obama, "lead(ing) the world in this humanitarian endeavor" is at least as equally important as protecting America from the most insidious threats to our freedom and even existence. Such is the illogic of our liberation-minded President.

This President's philosophy of Black Liberation Theology is a driving force for all of his major policy initiatives. He will community-organize the United States right in to a socialist state with the altruistic mission of sacrificing America for whatever neediness is out there--in the spirit of Black Liberation Theology "justice." In my view, Obama's presidency is defined by violations of the separation of church and state.


22 February 2010

Suffering and Euthanasia

By Unknown

William Stoddard recently defended the practice of euthanasia on this NoodleFood thread. Most poignant was this comment:

A few weeks ago, our older cat's kidneys stopped working. She was 18 years old, had recovered fully from breast cancer through surgery and chemo, and had later been diagnoses with stomach cancer and given an estimated lifespan in months . . . three years before. She stopped eating and started losing weight; I made a vet appointment; and the night before I took her in, she started repeatedly drinking a lot and then immediately urinating (on the bathroom tile, which is why we knew it was repeated). The vets diagnosed her and told us that we might be able to prolong her life by hydrating her; I asked them to do it, so we could bring her home and observe her . . . and only hours after we had her home, we called back and made the appointment to have her euthanized. I don't want to go into details; let's just say that she was debilitated, uncomfortable, and rapidly losing body weight.

We both cried buckets as she died . . . but I hadn't a moment's doubt that it was the right thing to do for her. Nothing we could do would actually give her LIFE; all we could do was prolong her dying, and the suffering that went with it. Instead, we let her go, and she was still able to lift her head at the last, and respond when we petted her the last time. And I say that euthanizing her was an act of love, and that we never felt our love for her more, or acted on it with more integrity, than in those last moments.

Of course, a human being's death is different. A cat isn't a conceptual being, doesn't understand that it's mortal, and doesn't fear the shortening of its life; it only know its present suffering, and so ending that is an unmixed good. But I think it can be good for a human being, too, if continued existence is no more than a burden and a torment; because that makes the prospect of longer life not a good but a bad. There are circumstances under which I would choose to end my life; and I wish it were legal for my girlfriend to have that done for me, or I for her, if we are in those circumstances and helpless to end our own lives.

I don't think changing attitudes on this are a product of relativism. When I was a child in the 1950s, medicine was not far past being helpless to prolong the lives of the old and chronically ill; doctors still acted on the assumption that saving life was always a good thing, and families still expected them to. But now an entire generation has seen what that prolongation of life can mean, and has said, "Not for me."

Of course there need to be legal safeguards on this decision. But sometimes it's the right one to make.


18 February 2010

'Personhood' Measure May Lack Signatures

By Ari

[From Ari Armstrong's blog:] The so-called "personhood" effort, which would ludicrously define a fertilized egg as a "person" with full legal rights, submitted signatures for the 2010 ballot on February 12. The number of valid signatures may fall short of the legally required minimum, and, should the Secretary of State declare as much, the group will have an additional fifteen days to try to close the gap.

I imagine no one in the state is happier about the measure's potential demise than Republican strategists, who are busily attempting to persuade voters that this year's election is about jobs, not the GOP's promiscuous relationship with the religious right.

I knew the effort was in trouble when, the day before the deadline, the Personhood CO web page announced the group still needed "hundreds of signatures" to make the ballot.

Keith Mason of Personhood USA put a happy face on the effort in a February 12 media release, completely ignoring the likely problem of invalid names. Mason announced, "The signatures submitted totaled 79,817, although only 76,047 were required." The release claims, "Once the signatures are verified by the Colorado Secretary of State, the amendment will be placed on the 2010 ballot and put to a vote."

Wendy Norris offers a more realistic assessment at RH [Reproductive Health] Reality Check:

Tyler Chafee, senior associate with RBI Strategies and Research, said, "There is very little chance that voters will be seeing this measure on the 2010 ballot."

State initiatives generally try to collect 30 percent more signatures than required to cover the expected names that are disqualified because they are not registered voters. Chafee predicts the latest attempt by anti-choice activists will fall about 13,000 signatures short. He based his estimate on the same signature approval rate, a relatively high 79 percent ratio, on the group's 2008 petitions. In that campaign, more than 131,000 names were submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State, almost double the required number and 50,000 more than this go-around.

Norris also explains what happens next:

Now, the secretary of state's office now has 30 days to verify that the petition signatures are from legally registered voters. ... Should the campaign come up short, proponents will have an additional 15 days to secure the remaining signatures needed.

But based on the daily signature gathering rate over the 172 days they circulated petitions through Friday's deadline, the group would have to get new names at twice that clip to reach the estimated 13,000 deficit within two weeks.

Aside from her wishy-washy comment that the measure "just goes too far," Amanda Mountjoy of the Republican Majority for Choice released an admirably strong condemnation of the proposal:

Today [February 12] marks a setback in our state's efforts to overcome the wave of big government intrusion and waste sweeping our nation. The problem with the "personhood" amendment lies in its fundamental contradiction. It poses as a measure designed to protect basic rights. In fact, personhood would violate the rights of Colorado women by granting competing rights to a fertilized egg, and would put government smack dab in the middle of medical decisions ranging from birth control, to in-vitro fertilization, to miscarriages, and abortion.

As Republicans, we cannot sit by while single-issue fundamentalists dramatically change our state constitution. We are already disheartened over the creation of new big government bureaucracies in Washington, DC. We will not allow those same intrusions to take hold in our state and hand over government control on such private decisions.

The media coverage of the measure reveals a great deal about the motives of its supporters. I will write a subsequent post about that. For now, though, I hold out hope that the measure won't make the ballot. I have plenty of battles to fight already!

For background, see the paper on the 2008 measure:
Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person


17 February 2010

What Are the Implications of 'Personhood?'

By Ari

If fully implemented, the so-called "personhood" measure that may again appear on Colorado's ballot to define a fertilized egg as a person will outlaw all or almost all abortions, excepting procedures necessary to save the life of the woman. On that point advocates and critics of the measure agree. More contentious are claims about the measure's impact on birth control, fertility treatments, and legal issues surrounding miscarriages and women's health.

Ironically, a document from PersonhoodCO (the organization supporting the measure), "Scare Tactic Alert", attacks straw men, ignores substantive criticism, and obscures key issues of the debate even as it promises to reveal the "outright lies" of critics and to give "truthful answers." However, the document does clearly reveal the intentions of the measure's supporters on a number of important points. It is worth reviewing to note both where it misleads and where it clarifies the positions of the measure's sponsors.

"It Will Ban Abortion"

The document says flatly of the measure: "It will ban abortion." If passed and implemented, it will ban all elective abortions. It will ban all abortions even in cases of rape, incest, and fetal deformity.

Embryonic Stem-Cell Research Will Be Banned

Under the "personhood" measure, any scientific research or medical procedure that involved the destruction of a fertilized egg (or embryo at any stage) would be outlawed, as the measure's sponsors loudly declare.

Abortion Will Be Deemed Murder

The document makes clear that, under the "personhood" measure, a woman will be criminally charged for getting an abortion. A woman will be charged with a crime if she "acted with criminal culpability which includes the performance of an act and a matching criminal intent. These standards would be the same as would be applied to any mother who harms her children, born or preborn."

The document confirms: "actions taken with criminal intent will be punished under the existing criminal code, irrespective of whether the child is in or out of the womb."

Abortion Could Trigger the Death Penalty

Not only would abortion be considered murder under the "personhood" measure, it could be punished with the death penalty. This applies both to doctors who perform abortions and women who get them.

The document denies that the measure "will threaten doctors who perform legitimate surgeries." However, a "legitimate" surgery, according to the document, cannot include any intention "to kill the child in the womb."

The document states: "In Colorado, the death penalty is only available for first degree murder with aggravating factors. First degree murder requires deliberation and intent."

While the document does not directly state that the death penalty could also apply to women who obtain abortions, the document states that women will be punished "under the existing criminal code." By implication, if a woman deliberately and intentionally aborts an embryo or fetus, she could be subject to the death penalty.

Colorado Statute 18-1.3-1201(1)(a) states, "Upon conviction of guilt of a defendant of a class 1 felony, the trial court shall conduct a separate sentencing hearing to determine whether the defendant should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment..."

Birth Control That Can Prevent Implantation Will be Outlawed

The "Scare Tactic Alert" document claims it is a "lie" that the measure "will ban contraception." However, the document also defines "contraception" strictly to mean something that prevents the fertilization of an egg. Any form of birth control that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus will be outlawed under the measure. Notably, this includes the birth control pill.

The document states: "the beginning of life (under normal sexual reproduction) takes place when the sperm touches the ovum. Barrier methods of contraception that prevent the union of the sperm and the egg will not be outlawed, since neither a sperm nor an egg by itself is a human being."

The birth control pill acts primarily as a contraceptive, in that it prevents the fertilization of an egg. However, according to the documentation distributed by the manufacturers of the birth control pill, it can also act to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

For example, my wife takes TriNessa. According to WebMD, this birth control pill acts to "prevent pregnancy in 3 ways. One way is by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation). A second way is by changing the cervical mucus, making it more difficult for an egg to meet sperm (fertilization). A third way is by changing the womb lining, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the lining of the womb (implantation)."

Watson Pharmaceuticals, the producer of TriNessa, agrees that this pill can act to "reduce the likelihood of implantation."

As Diana Hsieh and I review in our paper on the subject (page 4), the birth control pill is more effective than condoms at preventing unwanted pregnancy. My wife and I find it to be the best form of birth control for us, and we utterly reject the insane claims of of the "personhood" advocates that using the birth control pill is morally wrong, much less the equivalent of murder that should subject women to severe criminal penalties.

Most Fertility Treatments Would Be Outlawed

PersonhoodCO claims it is a "lie" that the measure "will ban in vitro fertilization." However, as Diana and I explain in our paper, fertility treatments generally involve the destruction of fertilized eggs as a necessary aspect of effective treatment (see pages 6-7).

The "Scare Tactic Alert" document admits that fertility treatments that involve the destruction of fertilized eggs would be banned. The measure would, in effect, practically ban fertility treatments for nearly all women.

As Diana and I summarize, "[F]ertility clinics would be left with two options. They could fertilize one egg at a time, vastly raising the costs and time of the procedure because most eggs don't fertilize. Or they could implant all fertilized eggs into the woman, in some cases posing a health risk or producing more children than a couple can raise well. The practical result of Amendment 48 likely would be to shut down Colorado's seven reproductive clinics."

Doctors Would Be Subject to Prosecutorial Oversight

PersonhoodCO states, "[I]n those extremely rare situations where a woman needs treatment that might unintentionally result in the death of the child, the doctor would not have acted with intent to kill or even harm the child, but with intent to cure the mother." (Note here that PersonhoodCO is simply defining any procedure "where a woman needs treatment" as not counted as an "abortion.") Furthermore, when abortion was outlawed "there were no prosecutions of doctors for legitimate medical treatment," the document claims.

There are two main problems with these claims of PersonhoodCO. First, what counts as a "legitimate medical treatment" is precisely the issue in question. Now, who decides such matters is the woman in consultation with her doctor. Under the "personhood" measure, politicians, prosecutors, and judges will decide. Knowing this, doctors will tend to err on the side of not acting to protect a woman's health. If a doctor chooses not to take action in a difficult case, he will suffer no criminal penalty even if the woman dies. If the doctor chooses to act, he may be charged with murdering a zygote by a prosecutor who doubts the procedure was necessary.

Second, today doctors have much better equipment and procedures than they had several decades ago, so doctors today simply have more opportunities to medically intervene to protect a woman's health.

The broader issue is that doctors may effectively be prevented from acting in cases where "only" the woman's health, rather than her life, is at risk. By the logic of the "personhood" measure, a doctor should at least sometimes allow a woman to suffer long-term health consequences in order to save a zygote. The measure takes such determinations out of the hands of women and doctors and places them in the hands of government officials.

Suspicious Miscarriages Could Invite Prosecution

PersonhoodCO claims it is a "lie" that the measure "will threaten women who miscarry with criminal prosecution." The problem with that claim is that telling the difference between an unintentional miscarriage and an intentional act can be difficult. Who gets to decide whether a woman's diet, herbal remedies, or physical damage was intended to cause an abortion? Again, under the "personhood" measure, the answer is government officials, so far as prosecution is concerned.

The Abortion Industry?

One of the more dishonest claims made by PersonhoodCO is that criticisms are coming from "the abortion industry." No doubt clinics that perform abortions also oppose the measure. However, many independent critics, including Diana and me, are in no way a part of the "abortion industry," and PersonhoodCO's smears are childish and dishonest.

Diana and I wrote our paper, Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person, without financial compensation. We wrote and promoted that paper because we are horrified by the vicious nature of the "personhood" measure.

Any reader of our paper will realize that PersonhoodCO is attacking straw men in its "Scare Tactic Alert." We do not, for example, claim that the measure "will ban contraception." Instead, we claim, as PersonhoodCO itself claims, that the measure will ban forms of birth control that may prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.


At least the "Scare Tactic Alert" clearly lays out many of the intentions and implications of the "personhood" measure. Unfortunately, the document also smears critics of the measure, distorts what critics of the measure have said about it, ignores substantive criticism published in 2008, and understates the impacts of the measure in areas such as the potential for criminal prosecution in cases of suspicious miscarriages.

By implying that all criticisms of the "personhood" measure are "scare tactics," PersonhoodCO wrongly suggests that substantive criticisms of the measure have been exaggerated. Notably, not a single advocate of the "personhood" measure has attempted to directly refute anything from the 2008 paper.

Critics of the "personhood" measure do not need to resort to "scare tactics" to defeat it. The objective facts about the measure and its implications are truly horrifying.


16 February 2010

'Christian Soldiers' Seek Abortion Ban

By Ari

[From Ari Armstrong's blog:] Anyone still unclear about the faith-based impetus of abortion bans should consider that, at a recent news conference, advocates of the so-called "personhood" measure broke out singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" (as reported by the Denver Daily News). The proposal would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs, banning abortion and any other action that could harm a zygote or embryo, with the possible exception of procedures to save a pregnant woman's life.

As I noted earlier today, the "personhood" measure seems to be in trouble, as the number of certified signatures will likely fall below the required minimum. As the News also points out, the number of signatures collected this year is nearly forty percent lower than the number collected in 2008. Wendy Norris notes that this year's news conference attracted only around twenty-five participants, a third of the 2008 showing. (Meanwhile, Norris reports, infighting has overtaken a national group supportive of the "personhood" drive.) While such internal struggles are good news to those favoring legal sanity and reproductive rights, the movement remains a potent threat, and one that must be fought on ideological grounds.

Obviously, the "personhood" movement is grounded in sectarian, religious faith. The purpose of the group is to impose sectarian beliefs by political force. (We will properly leave aside the fact that the Christian Bible does not actually demand abortion bans.)

Norris offers additional detail about the news conference. Gualberto Garcia Jones, one of the measure's main supporters, referred to advocates of the measure as an "army of faithful pro-life warriors." Leslie Hanks, another speaker at the conference, "thanked Focus on the Family Founder Dr. James Dobson." Hanks also recognized the Reverend Bob Enyart, who has advocated the death penalty for doctors and women who facilitate or obtain an abortion once the practice is outlawed (see page 16, note 1; see also Enyart's YouTube video on the matter, in which Enyart also advocates the death penalty for adultery).

As Westword reports, Keith Mason, spokesman for Personhood USA, has no intention of giving up: "we're going to keep fighting until we win."

Ironically, Personhood USA's own media release makes no mention of the group's faith-based roots. That did not cause Christian News Wire, "the nation's leading distributor of religious press releases," from suffering any confusion on the point.

Though the advocates of the measure clearly want to ban abortion because they believe such is the will of God, their formal arguments make scant reference to sectarian beliefs, for two reasons. First, the organizers want to potentially appeal to those of different worldviews, including other Christians who doubt their religion demands a ban on abortion. Second, the organizers are aware that strictly faith-based arguments likely would not withstand judicial scrutiny, which is why, for instance, advocates of "Intelligent Design" in tax-funded schools tried to distance their arguments from their sectarian origins.

Regardless of the motives behind the measure, its critics must defeat the arguments made in the proposal's favor, even when those arguments are merely pretext for a sectarian purpose.

Diana Hsieh and I thoroughly critiqued the "personhood" measure in our 2008 paper, Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person. Here it is worth pointing out the textual change of the measure as well as some of the bad arguments that continue to be made in the proposal's favor.

The 2008 measure stated, "As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the terms 'person' or 'persons' shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization." Those other sections pertain to rights to life, liberty, property, equality of justice, and due process of law.

The 2010 proposal changes the language: "As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term 'person' shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."

Why the change? Mason explains to Westword:

The differences between this year's amendment and its 2008 predecessor "are minor," Mason concedes. "There's a slight change in the language. Now it says a person is a human being 'from the beginning of the biological development of that human being' in lieu of 'from the moment of fertilization.'"

He credits this change to Dianne Irving, a faculty member at Georgetown University: "She felt using the term 'biological beginning' was more inclusive and would include all babies -- even test tube babies. And that's our goal -- to protect every human."

In other words, the language was changed to make the measure even broader. Its advocates want the measure to do everything the 2008 language would have done, plus protect non-fertilized zygotes potentially created through cloning.

Ironically, though, the change in language could actually give the courts (so long as they are not overrun by religious zealots) license to interpret the measure less broadly, not more. The courts could define a "human being" as starting its "biological development" from birth. While the implications of the 2008 language were anything but clear, at least that language unambiguously referred to "fertilization." The new language is by one natural interpretation essentially a tautology: something is a human being from the moment it is a human being. But when something becomes a "human being" in the sense of personhood is precisely the issue in question.

This definitional problem points to a fundamental error made by those advocating the "personhood" measure. As Diana Hsieh and I wrote in 2008:

[T]he advocates of Amendment 48 depend on an equivocation on "human being" to make their case. A fertilized egg is human, in the sense that it contains human DNA. It is also a "being," in the sense that it is an entity. That's also true of a gallbladder: it is human and it is an entity. Yet that doesn't make your gallbladder a human person with the right to life. Similarly, the fact that an embryo is biologically a human entity is not grounds for claiming that it's a human person with a right to life. Calling a fertilized egg a "human being" is word-play intended to obscure the vast biological differences between a fertilized egg traveling down a woman's fallopian tube and a born infant sleeping in a crib. It is intended to obscure the fact that anti-abortion crusaders base their views on scripture and authority, not science.

No doubt the advocates of the proposal will seek to argue that "the beginning of the biological development of that human being" (normally) refers to the moment of fertilization. Those advocates have made it abundantly clear that their long-term goal is to elect sectarian politicians who will appoint sectarian judges who will interpret the "personhood" measure to grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs. In the meantime, however, if the "personhood" measure were passed, it would generate years of expensive and unresolved legal wars.

At least the advocates of the measure are clear that they do in fact want to ban abortion from the moment of conception. Garcia-Jones said, "The point of what we're trying to do, just for everyone who thinks we're trying to be sneaky, we're trying to end abortion." The group's web page states: "The goal is very simple, END ABORTION NOW by protecting all innocent human life from the beginning of biological development." The same page clearly counts fertilized eggs as "human beings."

Unfortunately, one consequence of the measure's language change will be to further confuse many voters about the intent and implications of the measure. While the advocates of the measure want to equate the moment of fertilization with the beginning of a human being, in the full sense of personhood with all the legal rights of a born infant, many voters will understandably think the measure means something else. If the measure were to pass and land in court, perhaps lawyers would drag in voters from 2010 to testify about the various interpretations given the measure.

Another variant of the group's equivocation is its use of the phrase, "preborn baby," invoked by Garcia-Jones in the group's recent media release. Ordinarily a "baby" means a born infant. However, often a pregnant woman will refer to her fetus as a "baby" as well. But merely using the same word to refer to a fertilized egg, a fetus, and a born infant does not make them equivalent. Again the advocates of the "personhood" measure rely on word games, rather than arguments, to "prove" that a fertilized egg should be granted the full legal rights of a born infant.

I'll have more to say about the claims of the "personhood" crusaders in a subsequent post. The critical point here is that the advocates of the "personhood" measure are motivated by sectarian faith, and they wish to impose their sectarian beliefs on the rest of us by political force. The non-sectarian arguments they offer are extremely weak, amounting to little more than word games intended to disguise the fundamentally sectarian nature of their cause. That cause should be rejected accordingly.


15 February 2010

Republican Majority for Choice on the Potential Personhood Amendment

By Unknown

The Republican Majority for Choice issued this press release on Friday about the new egg-mendment:

Contact: Bethany Vensel 703-739-8905
February 12, 2010

The Politics of Personhood: Bad for the Country and Bad for the GOP

Denver, Colorado - The Republican Majority for Choice, the largest social moderate organization in the GOP, joined with the RMC Colorado in condemning the so-called 'personhood' amendment. The coalition behind the proposition has submitted the required signatures to the Secretary of State who will review to determine if the personhood question will appear on November's ballot.

"Today marks a setback in our state's efforts to overcome the wave of big government intrusion and waste sweeping our nation," said Amanda Mountjoy, RMC Colorado Chair. "The problem with the 'personhood' amendment lies in its fundamental contradiction. It poses as a measure designed to protect basic rights. In fact, personhood would violate the rights of Colorado women by granting competing rights to a fertilized egg, and would put government smack dab in the middle of medical decisions ranging from birth control, to in-vitro fertilization, to miscarriages, and abortion."

Though this ballot questions was soundly defeated by 73% of Colorado voters in the last election, the organization Personhood Colorado will attempt to place the question on the ballot again this November. If enough valid signatures are approved the question will be put to the voters. If passed, 'personhood' would change the state Constitution to give competing rights to a fertilized egg separate from the woman who carries the egg.

"As Republicans, we cannot sit by while single-issue fundamentalists dramatically change our state constitution. We are already disheartened over the creation of new big government bureaucracies in Washington, DC. We will not allow those same intrusions to take hold in our state and hand over government control on such private decisions," continued Mountjoy. "Beyond that, this effort will open our state to costly legal battles which we just can not afford. It just goes too far."

In the 2008 election cycle, RMC Colorado supported ads and other efforts to stop the personhood initiative, and will again activate their membership to fight this year.

Republican Majority for Choice * www.gopchoice.org * 703-739-8905
333 North Fairfax Street, Suite 302, Alexandria, VA 22314
Much to my delight and amazement, the advocates of legal rights for fertilized eggs might not have enough signatures to get their new egg-mendment on the Colorado ballot in 2010. Normally, you need quite a few more signatures than required, because often people not eligible will sign the petitions. However, they weren't much over the minimum:
Personhood Colorado submitted signatures to the Secretary of State's office today for the Colorado Personhood Amendment. The signatures submitted totaled 79,817, although only 76,047 were required. All signatures are pending validation by the Colorado Secretary of State's office.
I'm not sure when the Secretary of State will announce the results, but I'm hopeful!


11 February 2010

Personhood Infighting

By Unknown

Wendy Norris reports on major splits in the anti-abortion "personhood" movement that spawned Colorado's atrocious Amendment 48. She writes:

Lost in the chaos of the U.S. House vote on health care reform and the machinations of Rep. Bart Stupak was an unexpected and unreported schism in the hard core anti-choice movement fueling the state "personhood" ballot drives.

A Nov. 15 letter that only surfaced this week reveals the stormy resignation of the founders of American Right to Life Action, a Denver-based political organization created after a high profile catfight with national anti-choice groups and James Dobson of Focus on the Family. In the correspondence addressed to its former ally Colorado Right to Life, the two leaders cryptically refer to an "incident involving a key person in the Personhood movement" among other unspecified reasons for their immediate departure from the group.

The sudden split by President Brian Rohrbough and Vice President Steve Curtis caps off a series of controversial antics at the tax-exempt nonprofit ARTLA. In its brief two year tenure the group sought to end abortion within an unexplained 12 year timeline, "challenge the 'wicked courts' and oppose 'child-killing regulations'" through state ballot measures, like promoting constitutional rights for fertilized eggs.
You can read the rest of the article here. Undoubtedly, I would prefer the personhood movment to be defeated because the American people thoroughly reject the claim that an embryo/fetus is a person with a right to life. In the meantime, however, I welcome such infighting from these dangerous religious zealots.


08 February 2010

Christianity and Totalitarianism

By Unknown

William Stoddard recently posted the following remarks in a comment thread on NoodleFood.

When you say that "If the Church had the weapons of the 20th century, God (metaphor) only knows how many they would have killed," I would go further than this.

We have, shall we say, a Christian myth about how God runs the world and what he intends for it, one that many Christians believed was literally true. And what it says is this:

  • God is a self-appointed dictator who cannot be voted out of office, and who makes the law by unilateral decree

  • God constantly watches everything human beings do, both directly and through a secret police corps of angels appointed to watch over us

  • At any time, we can be taken into God's hands by death and called before him to be judged

  • Under his law, we are automatically guilty and cannot defend ourselves against his charges

  • When found guilty, we will be sent to a concentration camp where we will be tortured forever, without hope that death will release us

  • Those who affirm that these actions are signs of God's justice and love, and plead for mercy, will be let off and assigned to join a propaganda corps that spends eternity praising God, and that is permitted to see the tortures of the damned perfectly in order more fully to enjoy their own salvation

  • If someone you loved on Earth goes to Hell, your salvation entails rejoicing both at their being in Hell and at your being in Heaven apart from them

    In sum, Christianity envisioned all the horrors of totalitarianism, millennia before human dictators achieved the technological capability to realize them on Earth. And said that they were desirable; indeed, it called them the Good News.
  • These striking parallels between the theology of Christianity and the practice of totalitarianism make clear -- yet again -- that political freedom cannot be founded on the Christian faith.


    05 February 2010

    Facebook Group: President Obama: Close the White House Office of Faith-based Initiatives

    By Unknown

    Here's a Facebook group I can support: President Obama: Close the White House Office of Faith-based Initiatives.

    The description reads:

    Actually its current name is "The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships", but that would have made the group's name too long.

    From www.whitehouse.gov: "The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships within the Domestic Policy Council works to form partnerships between the Federal Government and faith-based and neighborhood organizations to more effectively serve Americans in need."

    Whether giving religious charities better access to government money makes them more effective or not is beside the point. The point is, it involves government in religion, and religion in government, and that is unconstitutional.
    The religious left -- of which Obama is definitely a part (see here and here) -- is no better than the religious right. Sure, they differ somewhat in their concrete agendas. Yet both groups seek to shove religion down our throats at the point of a gun. The persistence of the Office of Faith-based Initiatives from the Bush administration to the Obama administration shows that the religious left is more than willing to capitalize on the religious right's power-grabs. That's a common -- and dismaying -- trend in politics today.


    01 February 2010

    Finally: A Victory for Abortion Rights and Church-State Separation

    By Gina Liggett

    It only took jurors 37 minutes to convict Scott Roeder of murdering physician Dr. George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions. The judge previously was going to allow a defense of voluntary manslaughter, which applies when a defendant thinks his killing is justified (which Roeder claimed). But the judge reversed himself because of the fact that abortion is legal in Kansas, leaving the jury with two alternatives: convict on murder or acquit.

    Defense attorney Mark Rudy, in a ludicrous and pathetic appeal to the jury said, “No one should be convicted based on his convictions.” One small detail: a civilian is free to speak their convictions, he just can’t use force against another person because of his beliefs. Beliefs are not sacred. Potential beings (fetuses) are not sacred. But living humans are.

    Finally we can celebrate a justice based on the right principles: the rule of law, the right to abortion, and upholding the separation of church and state by not permitting religious beliefs to be a defense for terrorist acts.

    Scott Roeder can just sit in his prison cell with his Bible and his convictions and rot the next few decades away.


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