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Word this weekend comes of Vice President Pence and Attorney General Barr seeking to promote legislation that would accelerate the executions of mass shooters.

This is a really, really bad idea.

Putting aside my opposition to the death penalty for a moment, how does DOJ propose to streamline/abrogate the appeals process for one class of murderers and not for others? The courts will make a meal of this bill. Delving further, some of these mass shooters (Colorado movie theater, Sandy Hook) were clearly deranged human beings, meriting life incarceration in a psychiatric hospital. Streamlining the path to the gallows railroads the truly mentally deranged, whose disease state sufficiently mitigates culpability where execution is concerned. Such legislation fuels the just fires of outrage in the citizenry, leads to bringing capital charges where true justice finds such charges abhorrent, puts unbearable pressure on prosecutors and judges to deliver the shooter up to death, and speeds the timeline to death by denying the most unsympathetic of the condemned the one thing necessary to assemble mitigating and exculpatory evidence: Time.

If the horror of such crimes begets in us such a bloodlust for vengeance, that a thoroughly mentally and neurologically malfunctional and diseased young man as Adam Lanza (who took his own life) could be railroaded to the gallows, then these mass shootings will have only succeeded in diminishing and perverting us as a people by the perversion of our justice system.

For most of us, the profoundly mentally ill are not a part of our daily lives. They are both out of sight and out of mind, until their disease state erupts into acts whose lethality is as random and unfocused as their cognitions. Then we are overwhelmed by the realization that it could be any one of us, in any place, at any time who find ourselves in the sights of a diseased and deranged mind. In the face of this horrific uncertainty and true compassion for the slaughtered comes such legislative proposal. It is sweetly seductive precisely because it offers us the only control we have in the face of these shootings:

Swift execution of the shooter.

But if we enact law that will lead to unbearable pressure brought on prosecutors and judges with obviously insane shooters, then our entire judicial equilibrium becomes skewed and twisted as we snuff the life out of humans who merit our protection from the diseases that ravage their nervous systems and their minds. That our system of jurisprudence has always allowed for that is one of the noblest achievements in human history. That we may be willing to throw that away for a false sense of security, as such legislation has no deterrent effect on the mentally deranged, represents the biggest death of all amidst these horrors.

I say we’re better than this.

[Photo Credit: Deviantart.com]

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On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg repeating the error of Chief Justice Rober B. Taney in the Dred Scott decision of 1857. In her decision regarding whether fetal remains should be treated as medical waste, or cremated as required by the law under consideration, Justice Ginsburg took strenuous issue with Justice Thomas’ characterization of pregnant women as, “mothers.” This harkens to the infamous Dred Scott decision, where Chief Justice Taney ruled that no black, slave or free, could claim U.S. citizenship. The parallels are as striking as they are revolting.

In both decisions, Dred Scott and Box v. Planned Parenthood, opinions moved jurisprudence in the wrong direction, breaking with either previous court decisions, or with the Constitution itself. Prior to Dred Scott, Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution treated blacks in slavery as 3/5 a person for purposes of apportioning seats in Congress. So they were 60% of the way to personhood status under the law. The Dred Scott decision stripped them entirely of personhood status and went further to encompass free blacks as well.

In Roe v. Wade the justices declared that they could not tell definitively when human life began, and agonizingly deployed the medieval concept of Quickening in defense of this nebulous boundary between being human and non-human–a boundary that science has NEVER recognized at all. The product of human fertilization is a new human from the moment of fertilization. In the Box decision this week Justice Ginsburg took direct aim at Justice Thomas’ characterization of pregnant women as mothers when she said, “(A) woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a ‘mother’.”

So, blacks are not persons when we wish to own them as slaves, nor are even free blacks persons when their humanity points to the humanity of blacks languishing in chains. Similarly, pregnant women who wish to abort their children are not mothers if the humanity of wanted babies and motherhood status of the women bearing them might point to the humanity of unwanted babies and the motherhood status of the women seeking their demise. Again, and again, and again, we repeat the same tragic errors of history. Scores of millions suffer and perish because of that error. A singular error. It is this:

Either we see personhood as an intrinsic status that comes with being a human animal/organism, a human being, or we treat personhood as a status conferred on certain human organisms by an intellectual and political elite. We consistently choose the latter. There is no other explanation for the Dred Scott decision, or the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 that upheld racial segregation in the South (The Democrats “do-over” for the Civil War and its results). There is no other explanation for the notorious Buck v. Bell decision that upheld the rights of the states to forcibly sterilize the developmentally disabled. There is no other explanation for the Nazi Nuremberg laws that stripped Jews of the personhood status, or for the infamous Koramatsu decision that upheld the right of the government to herd Japanese-American citizens into concentration camps during war based solely on their ethnic ancestry.

And then came Roe, Doe, and Casey.

We live in an age of tragic make-believe. Men are women if they believe hard enough. Women are men if they believe hard enough. One may wish away the biological reality evident in the mirror when one steps out of the shower. So, too, can one magically wish away the human identity and status of the child in the womb, and even one’s own motherhood status. In both, we engage in surgical mutilations to ensure the delusional ideation. It’s science denial on steroids.

Pope Benedict XVI had a prescient observation some years ago, one that goes a long way to explaining these tragic errors we can’t help repeating as a people:

“Where doubt over God becomes prevalent, then doubt over humanity follows inevitably. We see today how widely this doubt is spreading. We see it in the joylessness, in the inner sadness, that can be read on so many human faces today. Only faith gives me the conviction: it is good that I exist. It is good to be a human being, even in hard times. Faith makes one happy from deep within.

People such as Justice Ginsburg don’t see humanity as a fundamental good. They see it as a status, and themselves as the arbiters of who is granted that status. So this week’s Box ruling will go down as a split decision. On the one hand, the court upheld the part of the law in question that requires cremation of aborted fetal remains. That takes us a significant step toward recognizing the fetus as more than mere medical waste. On the other hand, Justice Ginsburg has staked out the same ground as Taney and the majority in Dred Scott.

Finally, it was never the vision of the Founding Fathers that God, and Judeo-Christian anthropology be banished from the public square. Freedom of religion was never in their minds the same as freedom from religion. It is why they set forth the idea of unalienable rights that come from a “Creator,” whom they identify as, “Nature’s God.” It is why they stated that the whole purpose of government is to secure the rights that come from God, which man cannot take away. It is why they further stated that whenever government becomes destructive of that purpose it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government, and to elect new government that will be faithful to the end of securing the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–the fundamental rights that come from God.

Taney and Ginsburg are two justices who committed themselves to being destructive of those ends. Those who cheer the words of Ginsburg are the very people hostile to religion, with doubts about God, and it shows in their doubts about humanity, beginning with their own.

Toobin-Supreme-Court

“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 30The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 31* Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”

The First Son
Last night the governor of Alabama signed into law the most restrictive abortion legislation in the nation, all but outlawing the procedure, and certain to set up a Supreme Court showdown. Aggressive pro-life legislation has been on the march this year, as well as aggressive and horrific pro-death legislation, expanding abortion into infanticide. The common denominator in all of this is President Trump. He has shifted the composition of the Supreme Court with two appointments, and filled hundreds of seats on the Federal Bench with conservative judges. His U.S. Attorneys and Attorneys General are no enemies of life.  And then there are his executive orders, his reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, his defense of conscience protections for people of faith that were savaged under Obama, his full-throated embrace of the pro-life movement.

All of this from a billionaire with a bad-boy past, a reformed playboy who could have spent the waning years of his life steeped in luxury and the pursuit of libertine ways.

Instead, Donald Trump lives with his wife of fifteen years in the world’s largest fishbowl, along with his youngest son. Thrice married, he does not cut the squeaky-clean family man image of a Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, or the Bushes. One would have expected sterling pro-life efforts from such men so devoted to their first and only wives, and their children. Instead, the efforts ranged from tepid to outright hostility. The reformed playboy has been quite the surprise for many.

The Second Son
Supreme Court Justice, Bret Kavanaugh, is Irish Catholic, a graduate of one of the nation’s most prestigious Catholic high schools, Georgetown Prep, the perfect church-going, soup kitchen-volunteering family man. He is new to the Supreme Court, and the justice everyone is keenly watching; perhaps because he is the hand-picked successor of another Irish Catholic justice, Anthony Kennedy, whose rulings in many areas haven’t squared with the moral world view of his faith.

What is of concern to pro-life advocates is Justice Kavanaugh’s rock-solid regard for Stare Decisis, the legal principle that regards previous decisions as strong precedent for judging future cases with similar issues. There have been a string of decisions in the wake of Roe v. Wade that have all buttressed Roe. From that perspective, a challenge to the Alabama law may find sound footing in a court where Kavanaugh has assumed the swing-vote seat of his old mentor. But there is hope.

When asked during his confirmation hearing what he thought the greatest Supreme Court decision was, he enthusiastically offered up Brown v Board of Education. What is so remarkable in his answer is that Brown is a rare case of the Supreme Court reversing one of its prior rulings, specifically, Plessy v. Ferguson, the notorious case that upheld the institution of racial segregation. How to square the full-embrace of Stare Decisis with such a response?

The only answer is the obvious answer. There are some institutions that are so intrinsically evil that no law, no legal principle can be used to shield them without making a mockery of justice, of the law, of its practitioners. Such evil institutions strip the innocent of their human dignity and freedoms, and in the case of abortion, their very lives.

Our second son, like the first,  has been sent by his father into the vineyard to work. Our second son has had advantages over the first. He has had the fullness of truth revealed to him through his Catholic upbringing that the first has not enjoyed in his churches that embrace contraception and abortion. Our second son has also signaled that he has the capacity to break with bedrock jurisprudence to defeat malignant evil when malignant evil would use bedrock jurisprudence as both sword and shield.

So, in the not-so-distant future, how will our second son acquit himself? Will he, as with so many sterling family men before him, shrink from the will of the father? Will he go down in history as having performed less than a reformed playboy billionaire?

None of us is perfect, and President Trump is no exception. However, his late, “Yes!” to the will of the father is the stuff of the good thief on the cross and the first son in Jesus’ parable, a son with plenty of warts doing the will of his father. A work in progress.

It is the second son who remains untested. It is he who is in need of more prayerful support than the reformed playboy billionaire. The pressures on him will be greater than anyone can imagine. His presence on the court is the result of the first son’s ongoing obedience to the father’s will.

May he see that, and act accordingly.

 

Compliments of Princeton Pro-Life

“Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote.”
[England, Marjorie A. Life Before Birth. 2nd ed. England: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996, p.31]

“Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
“Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being.”
[Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]

“Embryo: the developing organism from the time of fertilization until significant differentiation has occurred, when the organism becomes known as a fetus.”
[Cloning Human Beings. Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Rockville, MD: GPO, 1997, Appendix-2.]

“Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus.”
[Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146

“Embryo: The early developing fertilized egg that is growing into another individual of the species. In man the term ’embryo’ is usually restricted to the period of development from fertilization until the end of the eighth week of pregnancy.”
[Walters, William and Singer, Peter (eds.). Test-Tube Babies. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 160]

“The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”
[Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]

“Embryo: The developing individual between the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism…. At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun…. The term embryo covers the several stages of early development from conception to the ninth or tenth week of life.”
[Considine, Douglas (ed.). Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia. 5th edition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976, p. 943]

“I would say that among most scientists, the word ’embryo’ includes the time from after fertilization…”
[Dr. John Eppig, Senior Staff Scientist, Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine) and Member of the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel — Panel Transcript, February 2, 1994, p. 31]

“The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”
[Sadler, T.W. Langman’s Medical Embryology. 7th edition. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins 1995, p. 3]

“The question came up of what is an embryo, when does an embryo exist, when does it occur. I think, as you know, that in development, life is a continuum…. But I think one of the useful definitions that has come out, especially from Germany, has been the stage at which these two nuclei [from sperm and egg] come together and the membranes between the two break down.”
[Jonathan Van Blerkom of University of Colorado, expert witness on human embryology before the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel — Panel Transcript, February 2, 1994, p. 63]

“Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm (Gr. zyg tos, yoked together), represents the beginning of a human being. The common expression ‘fertilized ovum’ refers to the zygote.”
[Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 4th edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1993, p. 1]

“The chromosomes of the oocyte and sperm are…respectively enclosed within female and male pronuclei. These pronuclei fuse with each other to produce the single, diploid, 2N nucleus of the fertilized zygote. This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”
[Larsen, William J. Human Embryology. 2nd edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997, p. 17]

“Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…. The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.”
[O’Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29. This textbook lists “pre-embryo” among “discarded and replaced terms” in modern embryology, describing it as “ill-defined and inaccurate” (p. 12}]

“Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)… The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual.”
[Carlson, Bruce M. Patten’s Foundations of Embryology. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p. 3]

“[A]nimal biologists use the term embryo to describe the single cell stage, the two-cell stage, and all subsequent stages up until a time when recognizable humanlike limbs and facial features begin to appear between six to eight weeks after fertilization….
“[A] number of specialists working in the field of human reproduction have suggested that we stop using the word embryo to describe the developing entity that exists for the first two weeks after fertilization. In its place, they proposed the term pre-embryo….
“I’ll let you in on a secret. The term pre-embryo has been embraced wholeheartedly by IVF practitioners for reasons that are political, not scientific. The new term is used to provide the illusion that there is something profoundly different between what we nonmedical biologists still call a six-day-old embryo and what we and everyone else call a sixteen-day-old embryo.
“The term pre-embryo is useful in the political arena — where decisions are made about whether to allow early embryo (now called pre-embryo) experimentation — as well as in the confines of a doctor’s office, where it can be used to allay moral concerns that might be expressed by IVF patients. ‘Don’t worry,’ a doctor might say, ‘it’s only pre-embryos that we’re manipulating or freezing. They won’t turn into real human embryos until after we’ve put them back into your body.'”
[Silver, Lee M. Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. New York: Avon Books, 1997, p. 39]550px-Human_Carnegie_stage_1-23.jpg

The recent legislative push in several states for not only abortion up to the moment of delivery, but also the revocation of legal obligations to provide lifesaving treatments for babies born alive in botched abortions, forces this nation to confront itself with the questions, “Why infanticide, and why now?”.

The answers to those questions may be traced back to the fatal flaws in the arguments surrounding Roe v. Wade, as well as those that were a part of the decision’s majority opinion.

The answers to those questions extend even further into the fatal flaws of the 1960’s and 70’s feminist ideology.

Beginning with feminism’s fatal flaw, the precious metal of authentic autonomy and freedom for women was co-mingled with the base metal of radicalized autonomy and the raw assertion of unfettered political power in response to historical wrongs. The result? To date, more than 60 million innocent humans have paid with their lives as a result of this misguided attempt to establish true social justice for women.

The legalization of abortion never had anything to do with making the procedure safe, as NARAL co-founder, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, admitted that the numbers of women whom he reported as having died in back-alley abortions was simply invented out of whole cloth for the purpose of rallying public support for the cause. (Nathanson proved the well-known truth that all evil begins with a lie.) Perversely, New York’s new abortion law now returns women to the back-alley standard by permitting non-physicians to perform even the inherently dangerous late-term abortions. There is no social justice for women in such a law. It betrays the original issue of seeking to legislate a higher standard of medical proficiency.

Likewise, the new laws betray the assertion by the majority in Roe, that we cannot be certain of when human life begins. Such twisted assertions ignored long-established jurisprudence that holds hunters accountable for loss of human life when they shoot into rustling bushes without clearly identifying the source of the rustling. In such cases, the presumption of human existence always prevails when in doubt.

Also betrayed by the new laws permitting infanticide is the Court’s core “Constitutional” assertion which states that a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy permits her to kill the child of her womb, since that child makes demands of her body. When the child survives the procedure, the right of the woman to be rid of the child from her body has been fulfilled. The child is now a completely autonomous human being, physically separated from its mother’s body. So why tie infanticide to abortion?

Because infanticide was always lurking behind the weak and flimsy arguments in favor of abortion.

Because infanticide reveals the true argument abortion’s proponents never dared make from the outset.

Infanticide and abortion are about power. The ultimate power.

It is about the power to determine who lives, and who dies.

Does it really come as a surprise that infanticide legislation has made its appearance as more than ten percent of the states in this country have legalized physician-assisted suicide, and many more seek to do the same, setting the nation on the same trajectory toward euthanasia as the Netherlands and Belgium?

Does it come as a surprise that such legislation has appeared as the same political party that promotes abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and euthanasia is also working feverishly to create a government-run, single-payer system where these very people will ration healthcare?

What they all have in common is the right to be rid of human beings who make demands of time, money, and care on us, on both ends of the life spectrum.

Determining who lives and who dies is the ultimate power trip, and the anger and hostility of feminism’s leadership have morphed into full-blown malevolence, as infanticide is touted as an extension of abortion as a new civil right.

So, why now?

The answer lies in the current occupant of the White House.

Never before has the United States had such a pro-life president, one who has kept every pro-life promise he ever made, and has gone far beyond in appointing strict constitutionalist and pro-life judges and justices to the Federal bench. If that sounds nakedly partisan, consider the fact that New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, pushed hard for New York’s new abortion laws, seeking to make abortion a civil right under New York’s constitution, because he fears that the U.S. Supreme Court, under Trump’s appointees, will overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue to the several states. If that happens, Cuomo wants there to be no issue here in New York.

They were heady days in the previous administration, when Catholic nuns were forced to pay for abortions and contraceptives for their employees. The feminists cheered Barack Obama as one group of women was stripped of their exercise of legitimate and moral autonomy because they would not engage in radicalized autonomy and power by participating in the death of innocents.

The architects of the Culture of Death are well-aware of the existential threat their movement faces if President Trump succeeds and is reelected, and that is why all the forces of hell have been unleashed.

We are at the watershed moment as a nation with the culture of death, just as Abraham Lincoln saw the nation with slavery in 1858 when he gave his “House Divided” speech:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

Right now the Culture of Death is on a legislative roll. If this president is defeated the nation will have lost its very best champion for life, one who is fearless to call out the other side. Six years from today President Trump will have just completed his second term, and appointed 60% of the Federal Judiciary, or his Democratic successor will have completed his/her first term and will have largely wiped out our pro-life gains under Donald Trump.

If the Culture of Death wins in 2020, there will be no coming back for America.

Infanticide is only the beginning.

For the second time within a year, England has a high-profile case of court-mandated murder of a desperately ill child. The first was Charlie Gard, and now comes Alfie Evans.

Alfie missed several developmental milestones in his first seven months of life, which did not alarm physicians at the time. It’s not known precisely what his neurodegenerative disorder is, and some say it may be something akin to Charlie Gard’s Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome (MDS). That’s key to understanding the full horror and depravity of the English judiciary in this case, as well as that of the National Health Service (NHS).

While the English physicians are quite certain that Alfie cannot recover, they do not know what they are facing. They are so possessed of medical certitude that they have not only sought to end life-sustaining treatment, but have argued against the boy being brought abroad for treatment.

Why?

And why the complicity of the courts?

And since when are parental rights to seek treatment for their desperately ill children abrogated by the physicians who can’t even identify the disease, and the courts with no evidence of incompetence on the part of the parents?

What’s worse is that the global narrative has shifted from arguing over whether a patient is still alive, cardiac vs. brain death, to arguing that they have no hope of recovering their former functionality and quality of life. In other words we are now squarely within Eugenics and Euthanasia.

This particular expression of euthanasia is actually First Degree Murder. When Alfie’s ventilator was removed, along with oxygen, food, and hydration, Alfie breathed on his own, and continues to breathe on his own. After several hours of fighting with staff, Alfie was given oxygen and hydration. At this writing,more than 48 hours later, he continues to live, and the courts have determined that he may not be taken abroad.

Alfie. MUST. Die.

The police ringing the building are a frightening testimony to this malignant judicial resolve.

The courts have stated that parents understandably want to hang on after hope has been lost. Tragically, there are far too many physicians, nurses, and judges who have never understood that hope is the irrational driving force behind many medical and scientific breakthroughs.

Take cancer for example. Hope drives cancer research, and the trillions of dollars and hundreds of millions of researcher hours over the past half-century. Looking at the daunting challenge in the 1950’s, before we knew anything about DNA and its role in cancer, how irrational would it have sounded if trillions of dollars, and millions of collective years of research would be required to cure this umbrella group of diseases? Yet, here we are, with many cancers either curable, or with outstanding five-year remission rates. A similar story could be told of HIV/AIDS, and the fact that it is a very manageable disease today.

Imagine if the pessimists were in the driver’s seat at the outset. As the AIDS quilt tells the tale, a frightening number of people died on the way to today’s manageability. The same for cancer.

As any cancer or HIV researcher will attest, even in cases of seeming futility, experimental protocols yield vital data for future treatment designs. They also will attest that surprises happen when we least expect them to. Alfie has already surprised everyone by his continued breathing. Imagine if he were given a fair chance.

Fair chances point toward a central reality in biomedical research: You can’t advance the therapeutic ball if you kill all the hard cases.

There is a war on for the soul of humanity. The Culture of Death has been holding high carnival for decades with abortion, and now the slippery slope from physician-assisted suicide, to euthanasia, to outright court-sanctioned murder rooted in a pervasive eugenics. There is no room in this worldview for faith, hope, or love. There is only expedience, and expedience in the place of faith, hope, and love, never solved a biomedical riddle. None of us who has ever labored in a lab was ever driven by expedience sans hope. The work of healing research requires a soul, the kind of soul missing in action in the Gard and Evans decisions. Faith, hope, and love are the forces that sustain our greatest minds in science and medicine. They inspire and sustain in the face of repeated failure and setback.

So what’s it all about, Alfie? It’s about faith, hope, and love, Alfie.

Alfie.

In speaking with young people (and not-so-young people) who support gay/lesbian “marriage,” transgender medicine and sociology, abortion, contraception, cohabitation, and all the rest of the agenda on the other side of the great divide, two words are constantly thrown down as the great gauntlets of the left:

Choice and Consent.

To those given to support of the aforementioned lifestyle choices, choice and consent are the imprimaturs of the end behaviors and lifestyles. For them it is quite literally the case that having arrived at a given behavior through choice and consent that the behavior is imbued with all moral virtue, because it has been chosen by the individual and consented to.

“My body, my choice.”

It is radicalized autonomy on parade. The self determining all that is right and good.

At first blush it seems to be a return to the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. But there, Adam and Eve blushed at their nakedness after their eyes were opened. Nobody blushes today when they taste evil. It is celebrated precisely because it was chosen, because it was consented to. At least our original parents had the moral sense to hide from God after getting a taste of evil.

To an intellectually and morally mature person, choice and consent are immediately recognized not as moral virtues, but as capacities and components of the moral decision-making process. They are neither objects, nor ends. They are components of reason and free will. They are used to arrive at what is good and what is evil. As Pope John Paul II said,

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

Boil down all of the differences on both sides of the great divide and it comes down to that last word from John Paul: “Ought.”

“Ought” presupposes a locus of moral agency outside of the self that makes certain demands.

Demands. Not suggestions.

Adam and Eve knew that, because they were in intimate relationship with that Moral Agent. He was their loving Father and Creator. His only demand was that they not opt for experiential knowledge of good and evil, that they abide in Him in faithful obedience. The narcissism and hedonism of the other side today can no more abide in faithful obedience to demands that run counter to the will than light can coexist with darkness at the same point in space.

Such is the spiritual malaise that conflates choice and consent with moral goodness. The sickness that is narcissism and hedonism sees the desires of the self as good, and cannot abide any suggestion to the contrary. One need only look to the persecution of those who dare to stand in the way of the LGBT agenda to see how disordered desire is elevated to the heights of moral acclaim simply because such a lifestyle has been chosen and consented to. Bakers and florists have been sentenced to Maoist reeducation for having the temerity to choose fidelity to their God over obeisance to the gods of hedonistic desire in customers. And this leads to the greatest of all moral confusion regarding choice and consent.

Choice and consent are the moral coin of the realm only insofar as certain deities are being obeyed. To the narcissist and hedonist the god of self cannot desire anything other than that which is good, and so it is that the God of revelation becomes the false deity. It is Cardinal Ratzinger’s tyranny of moral relativism. The moral relativists of our day see choice and consent as virtues precisely because they have become twisted hallmarks of the narcissism and hedonism afflicting them, persons who never experienced an impulse they didn’t love.

In the end, both sides of the great divide speak radically different languages. The narcissist and hedonist never moves past the impulses of self-indulgent disordered desire. The one who sees choice and freedom as consisting of having the right to do what they ought, knows and practices sacrificial love for God. That one prays and practices the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola:

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”

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.image via: https://moa.byu.edu/events/exhibition-opening-art-after-dark/

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