Thursday, June 30, 2016

The History of "Created Equal": Has America lived out her Creed?



We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These most famous words from the most famous breakup letter in history, the Declaration of Independence, set the tone for a government by the people based on natural law. It was the acknowledgement of what was and is already fact – rights do not exist because they are given by government. Rights already exist because God created them when He created the universe. Therefore, it is not a matter of if we are granted rights by our government; rather, it is a matter of if the government acknowledges and protects those rights.

Time and time again, God says in the Bible that He is “no respecter of persons”. He shows no partiality, fairly judging every individual in the same way. It was this attitude that was captured in the Declaration’s statement that “all men are created equal”. Natural law is the proper standard for truly fair governing.

I love America. Our nation has in the past been a “city upon a hill”, standing up for biblical principles. We’ve fought wars to keep our freedom and the freedom of many others intact. We’ve aided our fellow man after disaster. We’ve been the destination for millions upon millions of immigrants that sought the shelter of democracy and opportunity. What I will lay out in this post does not take away from such accomplishments, nor does it lessen my patriotism. Since emigration is freely allowed, I encourage any who do not share a love for America to utilize this right.

Thomas Jefferson penned the words of the Declaration as a lofty ideal. It did not claim that these rights were fully being protected. This was the picture of an ideal nation, one that stood for all people, regardless of differences such as race or nationality.

In reality, however, these rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” were not extended to all then, nor are they now. We live in a fallen world, and a fallen world has no perfect civilization. When God is pushed aside, His law, living in the consciences of men, is also neglected. It is through this departure from the equality of all men that we have seen one injustice after another in the United States. Unabated for 240 years has been the deprivation of rights to certain groups that are seen no differently by God, but are seen differently by a godless society.

Let us examine the history of “created equal” in the United States:


African Americans

This seems the most likely starting point because discrimination against and ownership of blacks is probably the most egregious human rights violation in U.S. history, at least until recently. Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration, was a slave owner. At that point in time, slavery was legal in the colonies and there were no plans to end the slave trade, much less slavery. As mentioned before, the Declaration stood for the ideal, not reality. Ultimately, the desire would be equality, but slavery was a very complicated issue. It had to be tiptoed around so as to avoid further tension between the northern and southern states.
A slave woman is auctioned off

When the Constitution was written, Article I, Section 9 protected the slave trade until 1808. It was banned at the earliest possible date, which meant that no new slaves could legally enter the United States. However, chattel slavery remained for several more decades. Children born into slave families became slaves themselves.

Conditions varied widely for slaves. Some were treated more fairly. Others faced regular whippings and other torture, such as brandings, shackling, and mutilation. Imprisonment, apart from the company of other slaves, was another punishment.

Torture was far from the only hardship. Living conditions were cramped and dirty. Education was widely restricted, as the ability to read could aid in escape. Dominance by owners was asserted through fear and abuse. Some women were sexually abused or raped.

Paternalism was a dominant philosophy of slave owners. Blacks were viewed as a lesser species, (belief in soon-to-come Evolution has greatly aided injustice) that needed whites in order to be civil. This is a common theme in human rights violations and possibly the worst part about slavery: the victims are made out to be less than human. That’s what was done in Nazi Germany. It’s what was done in Rwanda. It’s what was done to women in England.

Essentially, under paternalism blacks were seen as whites’ lesser little cousin. They needed whites to teach them what is proper. The mistreatment was discipline to show them the way. This was not the rationale of every slave owner, but it was the intellectual reasoning.

When it comes to injustice, one either has to convince himself that his victim is not equal or that what he is doing is not actually that bad. It’s the only way to process the commitment of such crimes.

Slavery was afraid to be touched because of what it could lead to. Unfortunately, many people against slavery were afraid to broach the subject, choosing rather to cater to the demands of the pro-slavery individuals. As long as they could maintain the status quo and preserve harmony, the anti-slavery (in word only) individuals were willing to leave it alone.

In 1857, the Dred Scott v. Sandford Supreme Court decision (the SCOTUS has been a champion of injustice in the U.S.) confirmed the belief that blacks were not persons equal to whites, but rather were property that could be owned by whites. This expanded the boundaries of slavery, as Dred Scott was a black man born in a free state that had been enslaved nonetheless. As he was supposedly less than human, he did not deserve the basic human right of Liberty.

In 1859, well-known abolitionist John Brown was executed. Brown had led an unsuccessful raid on the army armory at Harpers Ferry, attempting to ignite national slave rebellions. He believed, perceptively, that the only way to end slavery was through armed conflict. A year-and-a-half later, the Civil War began, the bloodiest war in American history. (Some claim that Civil War was over states’ rights; while this is true, what states’ right was being fought over? Slavery. Was slavery a dying institution? No. There would have always been a use for it, if not in the plantations, in factories.) At the end of the war, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution were passed, banning slavery and establishing personhood for blacks.


African Americans, Part II

While liberty had been won for blacks, this was not absolute. While slavery was abolished, racism remained. As the Reconstruction era ended, the South was creating laws that would limit the rights of blacks for another century.

In the 1880s, Jim Crow laws began to spring up in every Southern state, and to lesser degrees in the North as well. These separated blacks from whites in a wide variety of ways. Different restrooms. Different water fountains. Different schools. Different parts of the bus stop. Many restaurants were exclusively for whites. Same for hotels, amusement parks, residences, colleges, even prisons. Blacks had to sit in the back of buses or stand to make room for whites. Many states banned interracial marriages.

Such laws were solidified by the 1896 Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson. While there had been similar decisions, Plessy not only allowed but required segregation in America. It was done under the guise of “separate but equal”, but things were hardly equal.

So Jim Crow laws stayed in the books for decades. Blacks had finally seen the end of slavery, yet still faced violations of their natural right to Liberty.

Some were deprived of their right to Life. Between 1890 and 1910, 3000 blacks were lynched in the South. Most were killed on only the suspicion of a crime. Others hadn’t even been suspected of crimes, but were killed for reasons such as testifying against a white man in court, insulting a white man, indolence, eloping with a white woman, and trying to vote. For this twenty year span, an average of almost three blacks were lynched every week, and 95% were done by a white lynch mob. Lynchings continued – unpunished – until the civil rights movement ended.

Some of the lynchings administered justice in the sense that they punished someone that had committed murder or rape – though it was not the job of a lynch mob to dole out punishment. Other times, though, a baseless accusation led to the brutal killings. Such was the case of Henry Argo, accused of rape by a woman who wasn’t trusted by many citizens of the Oklahoma town, black and white. Neither the national guard nor sheriff that showed up on scene interfered properly and allowed the teenager to be shot, and several hours later stabbed by the woman’s husband. Argo died after being refused by a local hospital.

The deadliest mass lynching occurred in Arkansas in 1919, when a large group of whites from the town and from afar unleashed terror on blacks that attempted to unionize. As blacks were attacked, they attempted to defend themselves, which resulted in further violence and more racists to show up on scene. Indiscriminately massacred were 237 sharecroppers.

Other times, blacks were lynched for wrongdoing that was far from a capital offense. Such was the case with the springboard of the civil rights movement – Emmitt Till.

Emmett Till's corpse, splashed across national publications
Emmitt had left Chicago to visit his cousins in Mississippi. He boasted about his “white girlfriends”, unfathomable to his cousins that had grown up in the Deep South. To prove himself, Emmitt whistled at a white woman working in a convenience store. A couple nights later, the woman’s husband and a few other men kidnapped Emmitt from his bedroom, castrated him, choked him with barbed wire, beat him with pipes, and shot him in the head, then submerged his corpse in a river. Naturally, the men were found not guilty by a white jury. Emmitt’s mother chose to have an open casket funeral, and the picture of Emmitt’s bloated and disfigured corpse was circulated across the nation.

A few months later, a woman that had seen the image was told to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man. But Rosa Parks saw a few boys playing outside, and thought, “If I don’t do something, those boys will end up like Emmitt Till.” Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the modern civil rights movement, which had its share of human rights violations.

Jim Zwerg, a Freedom Rider beaten by the KKK
Many demonstrators were attacked for breaking unjust laws. After marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama in 1965, an attack left 17 in the hospital. Freedom Riders on one bus were savagely beaten by KKK members, nearly killing several people. The other bus traveling at the time was firebombed. The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was bombed in 1963, killing four girls. The Birmingham Campaign participants in 1963 were met with fire hoses and police dogs. Three civil rights workers in Mississippi, registering blacks to vote in 1964, were murdered and buried in an earthen dam. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

These just scratch the surface. What you, the reader, must be reminded of in this lengthy history of oppression is that all of this was allowed by law or in defiance of federal laws. White attackers were rarely punished. For centuries blacks were oppressed. Finally, in the 1960s, the hand of the U.S. was forced by the civil rights movement, and with legislatures and courts finally on the right side of history, laws and court cases began to topple Jim Crow laws and discrimination across America.


Native Americans

The Native Americans and European settlers were at odds nearly from the beginning. As the newcomers spread west, they came into contact with new tribes. Some were more welcoming than others. Some instigated violence. But some did not. It must be acknowledged that the rights of the natives were often placed below the rights of the American government and its citizens. While the causes and culprits of wars and massacres are a bit shrouded in mystery, there are many events that can be pointed to show the oppression of these tribes.

Mass grave at Wounded Knee
Dozens of massacres took place. In 1864, a militia in Colorado killed and mutilated between 70 and 163 Cheyenne and Arapaho in the Sand Creek Massacre. The Bear River Massacre in present-day Idaho in 1863 took the lives of 210 Shoshone. Attacks on Indian Island in California in 1860 left 250 Wiyat dead. Over 150 Wintu were killed in the Bridge Gulch Massacre in 1852. The Gnadenhutten Massacre in Ohio in 1782 killed 96 Delaware. Probably the most infamous of all was the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota in 1890, when U.S. cavalry killed 146 Sioux.

For brevity’s sake, I will spare the details of these massacres; you can research them further if you like as well as view others from both sides on Wikipedia. Suffice it to say that while some Native American tribes did instigate violence and massacre Americans, there was certainly blame for the U.S. government. Some of these, such as the Sand Creek Massacre and the Bridge Gulch Massacre, were done in retaliation for other killings; however, many also took the lives of women and children.
Removal of Native American tribes

Forced removals were also common. These were especially lethal to hunter-gatherer tribes, as they were forced onto small reservations unsuitable for their lifestyle. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed under Andrew Jackson’s administration and allowed the president to negotiate treaties (sometimes under duress) for tribes to give up their lands for other land farther west. Some tribes, such as the Choctaws, chose to cooperate. Others fought, such as the Seminoles. Probably the best known was the removal of the Cherokee and the other four of the “Five Civilized Tribes” on the “Trail of Tears”. Over 10,000 combined perished en route from exposure, disease, or starvation as they were forced to march by armed militia. One quarter of the 16,000+ Cherokee died on the Trail.

There are not as many Supreme Court cases involving the violation of rights of Native Americans because rights were never conferred on them. Once again we see the squashing of natural Rights – Liberty and Life refused to thousands. It was not until 1924 that Congress extended citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. They would not receive voting rights until the civil rights movement.


New Immigrants

This term refers to the new type of immigrants that hit their peak numbers starting about 1880. The Chinese had been immigrating in larger numbers before this time period. But in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, which severely restricted the inflow of Chinese. At this time, they only represented .002% of the population, but western workers complained about the loss of jobs. This was one reason for the law being passed, the other to maintain “racial purity”.

New Immigrants came from Southern and Western Europe, were Jewish or Catholic, poorer, and had less in common with U.S. culture than did the “Old Immigrants”, who were Protestants from Western and Northern Europe. Much of the discrimination against these individuals was not government mandated; rather, it was by society that didn’t want jobs taken away and considered some of the facets of the cultures the New Immigrants came from alarming. Mistreatment was widespread and occasionally led to violence, such as the Lattimer Massacre in 1897 when 22 Polish and Hungarian miners were killed during a strike.

The National Origins Act in 1924 limited annual immigration to 2% of people from that country already living in the U.S. in 1890. This clearly targeted New Immigrants, whose countries had smaller numbers in America at that time. This Act was not done away with until the 1960s.


Women

The women’s rights movement has covered a wide variety of issues over its history, much more than could be relayed in this abbreviated history. Women in the United States had limited political, economic, and social rights at the beginning. Each of these were focused on to some degree, but starting in the 1840s much of the emphasis was placed on political rights, specifically the right to vote.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Suffrage was finally, at least officially, granted to all men in the 1860s. Women, though, still did not share in this. What publicly began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 was one of the longest consistent civil rights movements, as 70 years of planning and lobbying ensued. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the Women’s Loyal National League in 1863, which initially started the largest petition in American history at the time to abolish slavery. At the end of the decade, Lucy Stone split from these two to work towards the same goal with a different philosophy, and was joined by Julia Ward Howe and her husband, Henry Blackwell.

Per usual, the courts stepped in several times to ensure injustice remained. In 1875, the New Departure strategy begun by husband and wife duo Francis and Virginia Minor – which argued that disenfranchisement of women violated the 14th Amendment – was stopped by the Supreme Court’s Minor v. Happersett ruling, which stated that the Constitution guarantees voting rights for no one, thus they could not argue that their constitutional rights were being violated. A lower court found Susan B. Anthony guilty of voting in the presidential election of 1872, which she was arrested for doing. However, Anthony refused to pay her fine, and she was not forced to for fear of appeal.

In 1869, the first territory, Wyoming, granted women the right to vote. An amendment to the Constitution was introduced in 1878 to grant this right nationally. Towards the end of the 19th century, the rival suffrage groups combined to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and Anthony became president of it in 1892. Carie Chapman Catt emerged as another leader a few years later.

As the suffrage movement continued to pick up steam, opposition increased. The East and South, which held to traditional gender roles, saw women’s suffrage as a danger and were not bashful in saying so. From politicians to church leaders to other women, many came out in opposition. Things came to a head during World War I, when women entered traditionally male jobs to replace men going off to war. This caused women to press harder for the right to vote, as they were partnering with men in the war effort. President Woodrow Wilson, affectionately known as “Kaiser Wilson” by suffragists, agreed with this sentiment in a 1918 speech to Congress. Earlier, the White House had been picketed for the first time in history by women demanding the right to vote. Some people reacted violently to these picketers, tearing the banners out of their hands. The police arrested over 100 protestors. Sentenced to seven months in prison, Alice Paul led a hunger strike, which resulted in the women being force fed, painting the administration in a bad light.

In 1917, New York – the most populous state in the union – became the fifteenth state to grant full suffrage. States that allowed women to vote in presidential elections controlled over half of electoral votes. Political parties could see the writing on the wall and began pressuring legislators so they could claim credit. With the Democratic Party finally behind suffrage (in 1915 they were the only party to vote against it), the amendment that had sat since the 1870s was passed in Congress and ratified by 35 of the 36 necessary states by 1919. Tennessee became the deciding state the next year, and the long battle for voting rights was over.
Alice Paul in prison

Even after the 19th Amendment, women still faced discrimination in other areas. It was traditional for a woman to perhaps take a job in “woman’s work” such as being a secretary or teacher while single, then quit to be a housewife once married. (Please understand, I have no issue with a woman being a stay-at-home mother; however, this should not be forced.)

Another world war again offered a chance for women to work in male-dominated fields, and served as a partial catalyst for future movement into the workforce. Overall, though, women mostly went back to traditional roles after the war’s end. Fifteen years later, in 1960, 70% of nuclear families had only the father employed, with 25% being dual-income.

The baby boomer generation women began to fight harder for workforce equality for women, fighting things such as sexual harassment, unequal pay, and male-dominated fields. Gradually, women earned laws against sexual harassment, equal pay when all other variables are equal, and broke into new fields in the workforce.


Disabled

Discrimination against the disabled almost didn’t seem like discrimination at the time. It was assumed that a disability inhibited an individual from doing certain things. Employment options were limited. Access to transportation and buildings was not guaranteed.

This could similarly apply to diseases. Epilepsy was once associated with demon possession and could land someone in an insane asylum, even though it is far from the same thing. Some diseases have been the American equivalents of leprosy, with people quarantined from society, many of which were not necessary; for example, Mary Mallon (“Typhoid Mary”) was quarantined for a total of 26 years for having the ability to infect others with typhoid fever, though immune herself, rather than simply being educated about germs and how to avoid spreading them. People diagnosed with HIV were often discriminated against for employment, housing, and social services even though the disease can only be spread through contact with body fluids, which proper precautions can easily avoid.

A similar movement to the racial civil rights movement occurred in the 1970s and 80s. Disabled individuals staged sit-ins in government buildings and blocked buses that were not fitted to carry the physically disabled. Later, people began keeping “discrimination diaries” to log instances of discrimination for testimonials and awareness. In 1973, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of disability in federal funding. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act banned discrimination on the basis of disability and upped the codes for buildings and transportation to accommodate the disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act in 2008 expanded ADA to include those individuals whose diseases and conditions are controlled by medication, allowing people with conditions such as epilepsy to receive protection even if their condition is controlled by medication.


Japanese Americans

In the months following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 9066’s broad language set the stage for the internment of about 130,000 Japanese Americans during the Second World War. This was barely applied in Hawaii, where a third of citizens were of Japanese ancestry, but was on the West Coast. The reasoning was that these Japanese Americans could pose security risks if they were to communicate with Japan or would help Japan should they invade the West Coast. However, 80,000 were second- or third-generation Americans. Sixty-two percent were American citizens.
Map of Japanese American West Coast exclusion zone and internment camps

The accusations stemmed from prejudice rather than legitimate threat. Certainly the outrage at the Japanese Empire was well-deserved, but it was aimed at the easiest targets – those that were loyal to the nation they resided in, the United States. One military leader testified before Congress: “It doesn’t matter if they’re American citizens. They’re still Japanese.”

The vast majority of Japanese Americans relocated were done so forcibly to internment camps in the interior of the United States. Conditions at camps varied depending on who ran them; the War Relocation Authority tended to have the worst conditions, where it was not uncommon for 25 people to live in facilities appropriate for four. Education for children was underfunded and medical care, while in existence, was limited. The camps were surrounded by armed guards who would shoot those attempting to leave. One such camp was surrounded by barbed wired; facilities included unpartitioned toilets and cots for beds, with limited food.

Material losses for these Americans were widespread, as they were only allowed to bring what they could carry. Many lost houses, businesses, and possessions, and those that weren’t entrepreneurs were often fired from their jobs. Hostility continued after returning home and was usually unpunished by law. In WRA camps alone, nearly 2,000 died from disease, with 10 being shot by guards.
Japanese Americans held in an internment camp

Once again, the Supreme Court supported the injustice. Korematsu v. United States, handed down in 1944, upheld the removal of Japanese Americans from “exclusion zones”. Another ruling, however, simultaneously stated the loyal citizens cannot be detained without cause. This eventually paved the way for the shutting down of the camps by March of 1946, six months after the war ended.

The initial attempt to repay Japanese Americans was half-hearted at best, when in 1948 Congress passed an act allowing reparations. The IRS by then had destroyed most of the tax records, making it very difficult to be repaid.

It wasn’t until the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and subsequent Amendments in 1992 that a redress of grievances was granted of $20,000, but only to each remaining internee, and a formal apology made.


So what is the purpose of recounting these moral failures of America’s past?

There has never been a time in U.S. history that injustice was not taking place. Somewhere, against someone, there has always been inequality, despite the fact that the Declaration proclaims that “all men are created equal”. What is ideologically true has never properly been implemented. There has always been at least one group whose Life or Liberty has been deprived.

As the curtain closed on centuries of government-mandated discrimination against blacks, as women began to break through the glass ceiling, a new form of injustice, worse in number than any other, took root.


Preborn

Up until 1973, abortion laws were left up to the states. Twenty states by that time had legalized abortion for some circumstances or up until a certain gestational period. This all changed when the Supreme Court – astonishing, I know – once again sided with injustice. It was unique in this case in that the Court was not merely upholding an unjust law – it created one. Overstepping its bounds, the Court in 1973 overrode state laws by legalizing abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy with its sister rulings of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

The results were astonishing. In 1973, there were less than 200,000 abortions, still an incomprehensible number. In the first year of the Roe and Doe decisions, the Center for Disease Control reported over 600,000 abortions. (This is what make the pro-abortion claim that there were over a million abortions a year before 1973 so laughable. Abortions dropped when the opportunity was drastically expanded?) Just four years later, the number eclipsed 1,000,000. The exact numbers are not entirely clear, as the CDC does not aggressively pursue the number of abortions. The Guttmacher Institute, the statistical affiliate of Planned Parenthood, keeps better records. The number of abortions per year in the United States peaked in 1990 when 1.6 million took place. Since then, it has been on a gradual decline; the Guttmacher Institute reports that 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011.

Abortion is also unique in what is specifically legalized. At no other time in American history has the death of innocent humans been permissible by law. The law sometimes turned its head to allow lynchings, but those were still illegal. Until 1973, there was never a law that allowed for the killing of innocent people.
The "Cemetery of the Innocent" offers a powerful visual of how many tiny
humans are killed in abortions every day. This number now stands at 2900.

And abortion is unique in its numbers. When it comes to lynchings or Native American massacres, we’re talking thousands. Still big numbers. But when we talk abortion, we talk millions. The number of legal abortions that have taken place in the U.S., the vast majority after 1973, is over 60 million. Unfathomable statistics. Yet each one of these represents at least one life that was taken, allowed by law and celebrated by Progressives.

Suction and Curettage Abortion
When we read of the brutality of Emmitt Till’s death, it is sickening. That was one life, one valuable human life that was handled in a most inhuman way. Allow me to introduce you to abortion, where every single death is as brutal.

The most common abortion procedure is suction and curettage, in which a powerful vacuum is inserted into the birth canal. Still early enough for the flesh of the developing human to be soft, this vacuum rips the tiny human apart and collects her remains in a jar.

Dilation and Evacuation Abortion
Later on is the dilation and evacuation, in which serrated forceps are used to grab a human fetus’ leg. The abortionist twists for a clean break of the bone and pulls the leg off. The procedure is then repeated for the other leg, then the arms, then the torso. Finally, the head is crushed and pulled out, and the uterus is vacuumed to remove any remnants of the fetus. The developing human feels the pain of the dismemberment until her death.
Saline Abortion

Or as an alternative, take the saline abortion, where a fetus has a saline solution injected into her amniotic sac and is effectively burned alive.


Dilation and Extraction Abortion
Or there are the two procedures that were outlawed in the early 2000s. There was the dilation and extraction, commonly know as partial birth abortion, which saw a fully gestated baby’s neck be cut and brain matter vacuumed out. And there was the induced labor abortion, where a baby was delivered, then left to suffer until she died.

Induced Labor Abortion
America has never seen such barbaric injustice. As bad as the others were, there was no murder on a massive, genocidal scale. But in similar fashion to these other injustices, the government dehumanized a group of humans and left them to suffer for the decision.

Laws and court decisions spiraled further out of control until 1989, when Webster v. Reproductive Health Services nearly overturned the 1973 decisions, when a Missouri law defining life at conception was upheld. But Sandra Day O’Conner refused to endorse the portion that would have thrown out the blight. Abortion continued. Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 redefined abortion laws but did not change the legality.

Meanwhile, a movement developed to confront abortion. Like all the other movements against other injustices in U.S. history, it did and continues to face vehement opposition to protect the interests of those perpetrating the injustice. Today we look at slave owners and segregationists as protecting and furthering great evils, but at the time there was wide support. Likewise, pro-abortionists protect and further a great evil, yet are considered reasonable and even laudible by a large part of society.

The "Summer of Mercy": pro-life individuals block access to
an abortion mill
For several years, anti-abortion activism was organized around Operation Rescue. Beginning in 1986, leaders such as Randall Terry, Joe Scheidler, and Monica Miller advocated a simple philosophy: if pro-life individuals believe the preborn are human, they should act like it. Thousands of people began creatively shutting down abortion mills for a day through blocking doors, chaining themselves to machinery, and laying in front of abortionists’ tires. Many faced arrest and jail sentences. A bill passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton brought a stop to this by making a felony what in front of any other building is merely a civil defense with the Federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1993.

The author discussing abortion on my
university's campus
Operation Rescue continued on with legal ways to shut down abortion mills, which along with the Pro-Life Action League, Americans United for Life, and regional right to life organizations has succeeded in doing hundreds of times. The pregnancy resource center movement has placed thousands of centers across the United States that offer free supplies and resources to women in crisis pregnancies, as well as counseling and adoption services. Thousands of other adults and students alike have taken to the streets with organizations like the Center for Bioethical Reform, Created Equal, and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust to engage the public about abortion.

Unlike the other injustices outlined here, abortion is still widespread, systematic, and legal. Setbacks continue, as was the case earlier this week with Whole Woman's Wealth v. Hellerstedt, in which even basic regulations of the abortion industry were thrown out by, as you might imagine, the Supreme Court. However, progress against injustice can take decades or even centuries. There is a long way to go and, frankly, there is no end in sight. Individuals that are consistent in human equality, and therefore against abortion, look forward to the day when this nation lives out the true meaning of its creed penned 240 years ago – where the natural right to Life, granted by God, is protected by the American government. It must be remembered, though, that injustice deserves to be fought regardless of the prospects of success, and as long as the United States continues to trade one form of bigotry and injustice for another, fought it will be. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Hypocrisy of Humanism

Everyone wants to believe they are moral. We know that, according to the Bible, none of us actually are good people, and we only know right from wrong with our God-given consciences.
Therefore, morals are fairly obvious to us. There are a number of things that, save a handful of psychopaths, all people would agree are wrong. But this poses a huge problem to those who deny the Bible’s authenticity and inspiration.
Humanists, whether atheist, agnostic, etc., who deny the Bible’s authenticity as well as God’s power, are faced with this problem. Their very own beliefs undermine their, well, beliefs.
You see, you will scarcely find a humanist who does not believe he is a good person. Obviously, being his own god, he considers himself to be a standard-bearer of morality. But he is lacking two things to make such a claim: the standard for morality, and a fundamental belief to back up his claim.
Morals have to have a fixed guideline. The only alternative is relativistic morals, which, as I will get to, is exactly what humanism screams of. Biblical Christians have no problem with this – we believe that God gives us a conscience and the Bible explains guidelines, and specifics, of how to conduct our lives.
But for those who don’t believe the Bible (whether a part of it or the whole thing), there is no standard. There may be a claim to a standard, but the very notion of a fixed truth violates the rules of humanism’s relative morality. Even ethical theories of various sorts are only made by men, and offer no reason why they should be believed over any other theory. In fact, if man is not constrained by God, ethical theories are pointless. Why should we value life? We’re simply another animal. We were created in a cosmic accident; how can life that is accidentally created suddenly be given value?
The Bible, on the other hand, provides a set moral standard, with Jesus Christ as the model to follow. But humanism has no authority – no being higher than ourselves in any position of power. Hence humans are left to judge everything for themselves. I am free to claim that a humanist is immoral while they claim they are, because we are both right. There is nothing that makes one man’s word better than the next.
Moral relativism speaks for itself. Whatever you make off-limits to yourself is your business, but don’t dare tell me what to do. “Don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” “Don’t like homosexuality, don’t do it.” But steal a humanist’s wallet, and suddenly there is a problem.
Which springboards into the issue at the very heart of humanism. What makes things like stealing, rape, and murder wrong? Don’t get me wrong, I believe they are very much wrong, as would most humanists. But let’s follow this worldview to its expected and frightening end.
Humanism, by definition, submits itself to no one. We call our own shots. We place our value on what we will. This devalues human life.
The Bible tells us that humans are created in the image of God and were placed on Earth to keep it and subdue it. That gives humans the upmost value, which the Bible reinforces with rules regarding the treatment of each other. Humanism tells us that humans are just another stage of evolution. We are no different than a primate or fish or amebae – just further advanced. We are taught in public schools that humans are just animals. No wonder our country has so many problems. The worldview being pushed on us cannot account for why we should treat each other fairly, other than the benefit to oneself.
You honestly are that Ken Ham type that blames all the world’s problems on Evolution? Not exactly. The world has had problems since the beginning when sin entered. It is rebellion against God that causes problems. Humanism is a byproduct of that. But what are we indoctrinating kids with at a young age (and reinforcing in college)? That human life has no value. When we are told that we are just animals, we value humans like we do animals. That is why I hear abortion supporters say that “we’re just animals” and “we’ll all die eventually.” This pro-abortion young man fully believed that human life begins at fertilization – it just didn’t matter to him because we’re no valuable. That’s why those who live a rather speciesist life themselves claim that pro-life people are speciesist for putting humans above animals.
I was talking to a friend about abortion several years back, and in trying to show that he too values human life above animal life, I asked him, “Would you kill your dog to feed your starving child, or kill your child to feed your starving dog?” He replied, “Depends on who I’m closer to.” Many individuals have been reduced to a self-centered philosophy that value themselves so much that nothing else, not even human life, can be allowed to interfere with them. Matt Walsh calls it the “Mighty Me” mentality. It’s why one woman on a college campus said she needed abortion “because my vagina is too pretty for a fetus to crawl out of it.” Humanism bankrupts morality by its refusal to acknowledge God as creator and gauge of basic right and wrong. The Bible tells us we as humans are immensely valuable. Humanism has no grounds and really no desire to claim this.
Still don’t believe me? One of the core beliefs of the humanist religion (it has every aspect necessary) and one of its pillars of faith, Evolution, is the “survival of the fittest”. This is true to an extent in the animal kingdom, though it factors out something such as, say, family. Environment. Accidents. But it is somewhat accurate when nature is left to itself. However, in humanity (which, as we’ve figured out, is considered simply part of the animal kingdom), the theory is off. A lot. Humans have conscious thought, a God-given conscience to tell them what is wrong, and the ability to have compassion.
But in a “survival of the fittest” culture, there is no room for compassion. Consciences must be seared. And when we follow this theory, anything can be justified.
How about the elderly? Grandma getting too old? If we take care of her, that breaks with the way things are supposed to be. The weak are supposed to die off. Don’t take care of her, let her fend for herself. If she can’t, she shouldn’t be around anyway.
“That’s absurd, people would never do that.” No, usually that is more motivated by greed than being cognizant of a dangerous theory. But you make a valid point. Few people would simply let a relative die rather than take care of them. But that is not “survival of the fittest.” And now we see that the humanist religion has what is claims all other religions have – hypocrisy.
Let’s continue to follow the path of Evolution. If I rob your house while you are gone, we would probably consider that wrong. (Even if you would justify that and anything else to prevent appearing inconsistent – such as the Holocaust – deep down you would rightfully be upset.) But why is it wrong? I thought it was okay. And if we are looking at “survival of the fittest”, I guess you should have stayed home and protected your house. But you didn’t, so too bad.
What makes rape so wrong? The rapist was more fit than the victim; he’s just following nature.
How about murder? Under Evolution, the most fit just happens to have a knife, or a gun, or was stronger than the victim so he could strangle them.
You say it’s ridiculous that I would even go there, because nearly everyone thinks these examples are wrong. You’re missing the point just made. An Evolutionist believes we decide our own morals (or society, a collection of individuals) but are angry when someone wrongs them. They believe the fittest survive while the weak die off but are upset when it is put into action. I’m seeing a major double-standard. They believe humans aren’t special but would kill a spider and not a person.
Some readers, at least those who are humanists, have probably ignored the intended message because they believe I am saying they are completely immoral people who would murder someone without guilt. As I said before, no one is moral. “As it is written, there is no righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10). But I do not believe most humanists would ever steal or rape or murder. But that’s just my point. These people wouldn’t dare to do those things, but have bought into a theory that says there’s nothing wrong with it.
Then we look at full prisons and the vices of the day and wonder where we’ve went wrong. The diagnosis isn’t difficult: we’ve gotten away from the truth of the Bible and believed a lie. We’ve traded fixed morals for relativistic ones. We’ve given up God and championed a “survival of the fittest” mantra that we don’t even bring to fruition. The treatment is to trust in Jesus, the One Who shows us a truly moral, yea, perfect lifestyle. Stop with the double-standard of humanism and find the Truth.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why are Christian Women just as or more prone to Abort?

Allow me to be frank with you. If you know me or have read my blog posts, I guess you’d expect nothing else. I’ve been around abortion statistics quite a bit working in the pro-life movement. Apart from the sheer number of abortions, there is no statistic as sobering as the religious breakdown of women that have them. Well over half of abortions are performed on women who consider themselves Christians. “Protestants” (as I’ve said previously, this is a very wide range of beliefs) account for 37% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholics account for 28%. That is a combined 65% of abortions that are performed on women who fall under the umbrella of Christianity. Sixty-five percent.
Sarah Mae, who was forced by her
family to have an abortion at age 16
to "defend" their reputation
“Well not all of them are devout in their beliefs.”
Alright. There are over a million abortions performed in the U.S. every year. Multiply that 1.1 million by .65, we have 715,000. Divide by four – meaning I’m granting that only a quarter of those women that consider themselves Christians are actually practicing their faith – and we still have over 175,000.
Point being, a solid majority of abortions are performed on women that consider themselves Christians. (I say “consider themselves” not in judgment of these women, but because I do not consider every branch and denomination of Christianity Christians by the Biblical definition.) Some of these 715,000 women have to be devout, actively practicing their faith.
Our pews are full of women, or girls, that are post-abortive. Why? Why is this such an issue among the “most moral” of our society?
I think it comes down to reputation. No Christian denomination condones sex before marriage (over 80% of abortions are performed on unmarried women). But it happens. This does not mean we give kids in church a means to do it; on the contrary, we teach them premarital sex is wrong and give them practical advice to avoid it. Yes, we get the argument that it’s “their nature.” Of course it’s their nature! It’s everyone’s nature because we have a sin nature. So no, we shouldn’t cave and just accept that they can’t overcome their hormones.
But even so, it happens. As frequently inside churches as outside, it happens. And the natural course of sex is pregnancy, with or without protection (especially if you receive your “protection” from Planned Parenthood, but that is another story).
And what happens when Christian, unmarried women end up pregnant?
They panic. Pregnancy out of wedlock used to be frowned upon period, but as it has become more acceptable in the world, it is still unacceptable inside the church. And so girls (and the father, if he is notified) are left with the decision of wearing a scarlet letter or “fixing” the problem with abortion before anyone knows.
Not a very good situation, is it?
And so it is that so many girls and guys that have been raised pro-life and are even disgusted by abortion suddenly find it the more appealing option. They try to hide their sin and shame from families and fellow parishioners.
What do we do, then? As President of CareNet Roland Warren stated, “We need to overturn Roe v. Wade in our own pews first.”
We need to educate girls and boys, unfortunately at a younger age than we’d like, about the dangers of premarital sex. The Bible has a lot to say about this, and so too does practicality. There are many problems, even apart from pregnancy, that premarital sex can lead to. They need to be taught the importance of purity. This starts with a mindset. We can be against premarital sex all we want, but no one that isn’t grounded in the Word of God and relying on Him to deliver from temptation is going to resist that opportunity. Their relationship with Christ is what will keep them pure, not simply a “to-don’t” list.
Purity starts well before sex is an issue. It is a battle that must be constantly fought. Pornography is viewed at as high a level by preteen and teenage guys (and girls) in the church as it is outside the church. What they see they eventually want to act out. Purity involves knowing that our bodies are a gift from God and are owned by God and should only be given to one person. It involves a conscious decision to keep not just our bodies but our minds from sin.
Children in the churches need to be taught the value of life. Humans are created in the image of God according to the Bible, and God places infinite value on every individual. Evolution has become a crippling epidemic among some Christians and even some churches, and it is teaching Christian children that human life evolved from lower life with implications that we are simply another animal that randomly mutated into what we have today. It’s why people are more upset over a gorilla being killed to protect a child than they are over something like abortion. Some even consider an ape’s life as valuable or more valuable than a human being’s.
Legitimate science, logic and the Bible teach otherwise. They hold human life in its proper place. And kids need to learn when life starts – at fertilization.
We need to make abortion an issue in the church. Let me rephrase: abortion IS an issue in the church – we need to acknowledge it and deal accordingly. It needs to be condemned from the pulpit, in the Sunday School classrooms and in our discipleship courses. As Created Equal Director Mark Harrington put it, “News flash, American church: Jesus is against baby killing.”
When teenagers and young adults are so worried about their reputations that they would KILL A CHILD to protect them, we have an issue. We need to place an emphasis on GOD’S reputation rather than our own. Abortion is a reproach to God; the Bible backs this up. It strikes Him directly – we are created in His image, including preborn children. We must worry less about LOOKING right in front of church members are worry more about BEING right before GOD.
That way, if a couple does sin and ends up pregnant, they’ll do what is right afterwards and carry the baby to term, rather than feeling they need to get rid of him or her before anyone knows. The parents of the child need to step up. Parents of the parents need to step up. Pastors, clergymen, and laymen alike need to step up to support and forgive and work towards restoration.
40 Days for Life has campaigns to keep constant prayer
vigils in front of abortion mills.
We share collective guilt not just for abortion across our nation, but those that are happening in our churches. God is not pleased, and He’s not buying the games or the fa├žades. I’ll reiterate: this in no way condones premarital sex. But when there is such a focus on being squeaky clean in church that women are even considering an abortion, there’s not just an issue with their hearts, though there certainly is. There is also something wrong with the church and the hearts of everyone in it.
We’re all trying to ignore the elephant in the auditorium while we knock the broken preborn bodies off of our usual seats. Blood flows down the aisles and we’re concerned with how others perceive us. I guess “bear ye one another’s burdens” doesn’t apply to us.
We’ve all been taught that truth is truth regardless of whether one chooses to acknowledge it. Here’s the truth:
There is a woman in your auditorium that is post-abortive. That may have been before she was saved, or that may have been a cover-up of her sin because of what the other women will say about her.
There is a girl who is or will be contemplating what to do when she becomes pregnant. She may fear too much to tell her parents or youth pastor because of the reaction it will illicit. She also knows that she can get an abortion, without notifying her parents, no questions asked.
There is a child that is already seeing images in the media, in the stores, and maybe on the internet that are sexual. But he doesn’t know any better because his parents think that if they don’t bring it up, or at least act like it’s wrong without stating so, that somehow their lack of effort will suffice.
There is a congregation that is ignorant as to what exactly abortion is, what a biblical stance on it is, and how big of an issue it is.
There are teachers that refuse to talk about abortion, and focus more on the commandments against sex than on the relationship with God that will give power to follow those commandments.
So next Sunday, bring a shovel so we can pile the torn up corpses of the preborn in the utility room behind the stage. We wouldn’t want anything to look bad for the service.

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. –Galatians 6:1-3