July 2014

Justin Welby 3 (2)Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, like so many others in the West, is seemingly incapable of discerning a genuine difference between terrorism and self-defense.  Anglican Ink has his statement in full, but here’s the meat of it:

For all sides to persist with their current strategy, be it threatening security by the indiscriminate firing of rockets at civilian areas or aerial bombing which increasingly fails to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, is self-defeating. The bombing of civilian areas, and their use to shelter rocket launches, are both breaches of age old customs for the conduct of war. Further political impasse, acts of terror, economic blockades or sanctions and clashes over land and settlements, all increase the alienation of those affected. Populations condemned to hopelessness or living under fear will be violent. Such actions create more conflict, more deaths and will in the end lead to an even greater disaster than the one being faced today. The road to reconciliation is hard, but ultimately the only route to security. It is the responsibility of all leaders to protect the innocent, not only in the conduct of war but in setting the circumstances for a just and sustainable peace.

What is it about so many highly placed Western leaders (Christian and political) that they are unable to make meaningful moral distinctions?

To say that Israel may not under any circumstances bomb civilian areas–even after warning the residents and urging them to evacuate–when Hamas uses those areas for command and control, staging, rocket firing and storage, and sheltering soldiers is in essence to tell Israel it may not defend itself. According to the Church of England press release, Welby “fully accepts that Israel has the same legitimate rights to peace and security as any other state and to self-defence within humanitarian law when faced with an external threat.” But that statement is meaningless when you essentially rule out the possibility of striking back at aggressors who happen to use methods that are contrary to the Geneva Conventions. It’s as if in World War II the Allies had refused to invade Germany because millions of civilians lived there, and so left the Nazi regime intact and capable of re-arming.

In fact, that’s just what Welby and other Western leaders are advocating. They would have Israel immediately stop, before achieving its objectives, giving Hamas the opportunity to re-arm before undertaking the next round of Jew-killing. They would do that to prevent casualties among the population that, you’ll recall, democratically elected a regime advocating genocide, and that continues to support the aims, if not the methods, of that regime.

I’m not advocating killing Gazan civilians because they support Hamas. What I’m suggesting is that the people of Gaza have no problem with what Hamas is doing–they knew when they elected the thugs what they were and how they operated–and so if the result is that, despite Israel’s best efforts, some are killed or wounded in the course of the battle, it is something that they have brought on themselves. Certainly Israel is showing more concern, and offering more assistance, to Gaza’s civilians than Hamas would ever show to Israel’s.

In that regard, please note that Welby’s statement (and for that matter, much of the reporting by the mainstream press) ignores the matter of the tunnels. One gets the feeling that Western leaders and journalists consider the tunnels to be a sideshow, an excuse for Israel to invade. They are not. They are, in fact, the heart of the issue. The daily rocket strikes are dangerous and meant to kill civilians, and as such are a war crime that the world doesn’t care about. They are not very effective, however, in part because of Israel’s anti-missile system called Iron Dome.

The tunnels are another matter.

Hamas has diverted hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid meant for the building of the Gazan economy and infrastructure to build hardened tunnels, not just under Gaza, but into Israel. (Child labor was used to do so, resulting in more than 150 deaths to which the world is oblivious.) The plan was to use them to ferry hundreds of Hamas fighters into towns and cities in Israel for the purpose of killing, if possible, thousands of civilians. It would be Mumbai writ large. There 164 people died, and hundreds were injured, when ten Islamic terrorists attacked civilian targets in the Indian city. Multiply that by ten or twenty at least, and you get an idea of what Hamas was planning. It was to be the Israeli 9/11, inflicted on a population less than 3% the size of the United States.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza is meant to stop that. Justin Welby and others in the hand-wringing community want Israel to halt its efforts to prevent a bloodbath that would make London’s 7/7 attacks look like a stroll in the park. He and they should be ashamed of themselves.

There are many in the Christian world who have rushed to condemn Israel as it defends itself from savages who want to free the Levant of the stain that is Jewish presence. Those condemnations (this one, for instance) are wrong-headed and often misinformed, but they pale in comparison to the enthusiastic embrace of Islamic terrorism by some. Among the latter: Giles Fraser of the Church of England, who wrote in the Guardian:

For decades now the United Nations has been unable to agree a definition of terrorism. Even our own supreme court recently concluded that there is no internationally agreed definition. The stumbling block has been that western governments want states and state agents to be exempt from any definition. And a number of Islamic counties want some national liberation movements exempt.

That’s false, of course. Most if not all Western governments are agreed that Iran and Syria are state sponsors of terrorism. To the extent that they shy away from putting that label on some countries (such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar), it is not because they don’t know what state terrorism is, or because they object to the idea, but because of political considerations, whether good or bad.

I am eating aubergines and flatbread with Dr Samah Jabr in a cool Palestinian cafe in Stoke Newington. A psychiatrist and psychotherapist who works out of East Jerusalem, Dr Jabr is quietly spoken, modest, and perhaps just a little bit shocked by my lapses into overly colourful language. She is an educated, middle-class Palestinian (in no way a rabble-rouser) but she insists that the word terrorist has become a powerful – though often un-thought-through – political pejorative employed to discredit legitimate resistance to the violence of occupation.

What some would call terrorism, she would call a moral duty. She gives me her paper on the subject. “Why is the word ‘terrorist’ so readily applied to individuals or groups who use homemade bombs, but not to states using nuclear and other internationally proscribed weapons to ensure submission to the oppressor?” she asks. She insists that violent resistance must be used in defence and as a last resort. And that it is important to distinguish between civilian and military targets. “The American media call our search for freedom ‘terrorism’,” she complains, “despite the fact that the right to self-determination by armed struggle is permissible under the UN charter’s article 51, concerning self-defence.”

“The right to self-determination” is a fine phrase, one that is joyfully extended by people like Fraser to pretty much every self-identified racial and ethnic group in the world…except Jews. They alone of all the world’s people groups must be required to wander the world, homeless and at the mercy of whoever owns whatever plot of real estate they have been temporarily allowed to settle in. Fraser should know all about the changeable nature of that mercy, given his own country’s history.

Anyway, to the point of Jabr’s diatribe: terrorism is not defined by its use by oppressor or oppressed, nor is it defined by the sophistication of lack thereof of the weapons used. Terrorism is defined by its use against civilian populations. It is used by those who don’t have the means to stand up to military power, so they instead target those who cannot defend themselves. It is the classic weapon of the fanatic, the bully, the coward, and incipient totalitarian, whose use of terror as a weapon illustrates well the kind of rule under which others would live if the terrorist triumphs. Indeed, the reports out of Gaza that indicate that millions of tons of concrete that were given for humanitarian purposes have been diverted from a needy Palestinian civilian population to build tunnels that can be used to facilitate the further slaughter of Israeli civilians. Hamas is an equal opportunity terrorist organization in that regard–as long as it is around, everyone, Jew and Arab, will suffer.

The “right to self-determination” that Jabr trumpets has its limits. It ends where it demands that, for the sake of one’s sick fantasies, another people must die. Hamas has declared in no uncertain terms that if it has its way, what is now Israel will cease to exist and all Jews will be expelled or die. Israel has no more obligation to lay down its arms in the face of such evil than any other nation.

But these aren’t just the ravings of a deranged shrink. Fraser agrees:

I took part in the Moral Maze recently on Radio 4 and was howled at for suggesting that there could be a moral right of resistance to oppression. And the suggestion was made that, as a priest, I ought to take no such line. The weird thing about this is that Christianity has thought a great deal about the idea of just resistance. The Reformation, for instance, saw a flurry of moral justifications for resistance to the state, when that state is seeking to impose on its subjects its own particular understanding of religious faith. In 1574, for example, Theodore Beza published his The Right of Magistrates in which he affirmed the right of resistance – and violent resistance in the final instance – to state tyranny. This sort of thing was hardly a one-off.

Apparently Fraser got lost in the moral maze. He seems unable to understand the difference between resistance to tyranny in the form of military or police forces (in other words, the uniformed representatives of a government) and the deliberate targeting of civilians. The Elector of Saxony taking the field against the Holy Roman Empire, Islamic fundamentalists blowing up teenagers in pizza parlors. You say potato, I say patattah. In the words of an unaccountably famous woman, what real difference does it make?

It is nonsense to think that being a state grants some sort of blanket immunity from the charge of terrorism – and certainly not from the moral opprobrium we attach to that term. We talk of asymmetric warfare. This is asymmetric morality: one that, in terms of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, loads the dice in favour of the occupation. This is just not right.

I’ll tell you what’s not right. What’s not right is that the Church of England numbers among its ordained clergy a man so morally obtuse that he can’t tell the difference between national self-defense imperfectly carried out and plain, purposeful, pre-meditated murder.

Several years ago, Jonah Goldberg wrote a book with the title Liberal Fascism, and it of course enraged people on the left end of the political spectrum. How dare you call us fascists, they bellowed! Maybe this, from Andrew Walker and Owen Strachan at NRO, will help explain:

Last night, New York Times reporter Josh Barro tweeted out a disturbing message: “Anti-LGBT attitudes are terrible for people in all sorts of communities. They linger and oppress, and we need to stamp them out, ruthlessly.”

This is rather shocking. Barro is no angry blogger writing manifestos in his basement. He is a respected reporter from a prestigious newspaper that prides itself on equanimity in the face of heated debate. Yet he seems, by any reasonable measure, to be fomenting a campaign to rout out all dissenters from the sexual revolution. Erick Erickson wrote a brief response to Barro’s tweet, to which Barro replied that he thinks that “we should make anti-LGBT views shameful like segregation. Not saying we should off people.”

Make no mistake: when Barro refers to “anti-LGBT attitudes,” he’s not talking about Westboro Baptist. He’s talking about tens of millions of traditional, orthodox Christians and Jews, people whose views were virtually universal in the United States and indeed the entire West as little as thirty years ago. Even today, those views are hardly the views of a tiny minority.

Even leaving aside the potential for large-scale social conflict from efforts to “ruthlessly stamp out” traditional beliefs, the dictatorial impulse expressed in Barro’s tweet–and the likelihood that it’s shared by many others of supposedly “liberal” mindset–is not sutelescreen-report-thought-crimerprising, but chilling in its bluntness. In his (their) view, beliefs about homosexual behavior that are firmly grounded in Christianity and Judaism are no more rational, have no more validity, and should be given no more respect than the racism of the KKK. Of course, he doesn’t advocate murdering the holders of such views, for which I suppose we should be grateful, but I doubt that all of his fellow sexual revolutionaries will be so accommodating.

It is this dictatorial impulse that lies behind the state efforts to penalize bakers and photographers for refusing to take part in gay weddings, the destruction of Mozilla’s Brendan Eich’s career, the labeling of anyone who is against gay marriage as “homophobic,” and the forced mainstreaming of homosexuality in public schools. It is totalitarian, utterly intolerant of dissent, and determined to destroy anything, including orthodox religion, that gets in its way.

I guess we should thank illiberals like Jeff Barro when they let the mask slip, since every time it happens more people hear about what the Barros of the world really think should be done about those who dare to disagree.

We all know that tax money is used to fund lots of stupid stuff. Research grants to look into the sexual behavior of cocaine-addicted Japanese quail, National Science Foundation funds going to develop a video game based on a high school prom, Forest Service funds used to replace windows in the closed visitor’s center at Mount St. Helens–we all know this happens, and that it’s wasteful and dumb, and we laugh because can’t imagine why anyone, even a federal bureaucrat, would think these good uses for limited resources.

Then there’s the federal spending that goes to underwrite evil. High if not at the top of that list is the $500 million that go every year to Planned Parenthood.

The latest in the interminable parade of repulsive indecency flowing out of Margaret Sanger’s temple to the death cult is the news that the organization has been talking up the pleasures of sado-masochism with teenagers. The invaluable Lila Rose and Live Action has released three videos of Planned Parenthood personnel talking to undercover reporters posing as teens about the wonders of handcuffs, punishment, and asphyxiation (warning: NOT SAFE FOR WORK):




Please note that these are not three portions of one visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic. These are three different interviews done at three different facilities. As Arlo Guthrie said, when you get three people doing it, you might think it’s an organization. A big, revolting organization that makes most of its own money off the baby-killing business, and for the rest takes your money and mine in order to corrupt the minds of children.

Big Government has more about the source of these funds:

Nearly half of the abortion industry giant’s budget is derived from taxpayers. At least a portion of the additional $75 million per year Obamacare appropriates for “sex counseling” through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) will also go to Planned Parenthood.

According to PREP’s website, the program is “the first federal funding stream for programs that teach about abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”

“PREP-funded programs,” the website continues, “must also cover at least three adult preparation subjects, such as healthy relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy, educational and career success, and healthy life skills.”

In addition, the program’s website states, “PREP offers a brand new opportunity – federal funding for science-based sex education that includes information on abstinence and contraception. Until this year, the only dedicated federal funding for sex education was for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.”

PREP, however, apparently doesn’t think highly of sex education programs that promote abstinence until marriage.

“These programs censor vital information from young people, who have the right to complete, accurate information that will allow them to make informed decisions about their sexual health,” PREP says.

Bondage, sadism, masochism, promotion of pornography, choking games. This is what passes for “science-based” in the Molech cult. This is what your tax dollars are spreading.

Olav Fykse Tveit, the general secretary of some inconsequential religious organization in Geneva, weighs in again on the conflict in the Gaza Strip:

The World Council of Churches is deeply saddened and gravely concerned by the continued escalation of the military operations in Gaza, human devastation on every side, and the disproportionately high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, including women and children.

The expression he’s looking for here is “human shields,” the purposeful placing of civilians in harm’s way by Hamas in order to use their deaths and injuries for propaganda. He never does come up with the right phrase, however, because doing so would suggest that Israel is not the sole cause of those casualties. Can’t have that, now.

As well as the Israeli strikes against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the Council condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israeli civilian targets by Hamas and the positioning of rocket launchers in close proximity to civilian populations.

They put rockets in schools, for goodness’ sake. Their headquarters is currently in a hospital. Why are people like Tveit so stubbornly incapable of being precise and specific in their condemnations of Hamas’ depredations? I suppose it is an improvement that he’s finally acknowledging that Hamas is targeting civilians. What he fails to note is that Hamas hits civilians on purpose, while Israel warns civilians about their attacks in an effort to minimize civilian casualties. But that distinction seems lost in him.

The Council appeals to all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. The indiscriminate and disproportionate killing of civilians in the context of an armed conflict is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law.

That is aimed only at Israel, and says nothing about Hamas telling its people to ignore Israeli warnings so as to maximize civilian losses.

The World Council of Churches calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza, and for restrictions on the movement of persons and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip to be lifted so that urgent humanitarian needs can be dealt with.

And if this were done, does anyone suppose that Hamas wouldn’t take advantage of it to bring in more weapons and send out more terrorists? I wonder if Tveit is even aware of the attacks that Hamas has been attempting using tunnels that open up in Israel itself.

This latest resort to armed conflict – and the consequent intolerable suffering inflicted on families and communities – can do nothing to promote a just and sustainable peace for Israelis and Palestinians. On the contrary, it serves only to perpetuate the deadly cycle of violence, stoking the fires of mutual demonization and division, and further diminishing the vision of two peoples living side-by-side in peaceful co-existence.

Peace in Israel and Palestine will come only through the restoration of compassion between human beings, through seeking together common paths towards justice and peace, and through a genuine commitment to creating the basis for future generations of Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace.

Fine words. If only one of the sides in this conflict wasn’t determined to annihilate the other and kill all of its Jewish inhabitants. What Tveit doesn’t seem capable of understanding is that Hamas doesn’t want “peaceful co-existence.” It wants Israel, and all Jewish Israelis, to die. Everything Hamas does must be seen in that context, but Tveit simply closes his eyes, sticks his fingers in his ears, and cries, “peaceful co-existence! peaceful co-existence!”

Not that it matters much. No one is listening to his gibbering anyway.

This morning, President Obama declared that he couldn’t give a rip about the services that various religious organizations from Catholic Charities to World Vision provide to the people of the United States through their contracts with the federal government. As far as he is concerned, they can get with the gay rights program or take their marbles and go home.

Well, he didn’t exactly say that, but it was the message that was received loud and clear. According to CBS:

President Obama signed an executive order Monday protecting gay and transgender federal contractors from discrimination, the latest in his effort to act on Democratic-supported issues he says are being ignored by the Republican-led House.

“America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people,” the president told a crowd of supporters gathered in the White House. “I firmly believe that its time to address this injustice for every American.”

The executive order, which the White House announced last month, impacts an estimated 28 million workers, or one-fifth of the U.S. workforce, and does not include an exemption for religious organizations that had been sought by some faith and conservative groups.

The executive order signed Monday amends a 1965 executive order signed by President Lyndon Johnson that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating based on race, religion, gender or national identity, adding sexual orientation and gender to the list of protections. The change will take effect early next year, administration officials said last week.

Another 1969 order from President Richard Nixon prohibited discrimination against federal workers based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age or disability. President Clinton added sexual orientation during his two terms in office, and Mr. Obama adds gender identity to the list. That change will take effect immediately.

Mr. Obama leaves in place an amendment to the 1965 executive order by former President George W. Bush in 2002 that allow religious groups to use religion as a factor in hiring and firing. But he will not grant a religious exemption to the new rule despite lobbying from religious organizations and conservative groups to do so.

That’s awfully nice of him to leave in the provision for religious organizations to take, you know,religion into account when hiring. But apparently the only form of religion that will be allowed is the liberal form that says sexual behavior is of no consequence, a moral triviality, a matter of purely private concern. And since “gender identity” is the new cause du jour, it also means that employers in general, not just religious organizations, will be required to hire a certain percentage of mentally ill people in order to satisfy the White House diktat.

Just as the power to tax is the power to destroy, the power to dole out money is the power to control. It is time for Christian organizations–or at least those that still care about traditional, orthodox Christian teaching on sexuality–to tell the federal government they will no longer be controlled by it. If it means scaling back the work they do, that would be unfortunate, but the alternative is to become arms of a government that is increasingly hostile to Christianity.

In the United States Senate this week, Democrats declared open season on pregnant women.

A hearing was held on Senate bill 1696, which has the Orwellian title, “Women’s Health Protection Act.” Introduced in November by Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the bill has 35 co-sponsors (listed below) who apparently believe that women considering whether to have an abortion deserve less protection than a pet ferret with a tummy ache. The bill would essentially strip states of the power to regulate the practice of abortion within their jurisdictions, and give a license to kill to the Kermit Gosnells of the world.

Rather than write about the hearing, which was full of campaign sound bites and other claptrap, I thought I’d take a look at the bill. I’m no A.S. Haley (though I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once), but this is a layman’s reaction to some of the actual language, as opposed to the propaganda about “women’s health.” (Matthew Clark, Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the American Center for Law and Justice, does something similar at Red State.)

The bill opens with “findings,” which are usually evidence-based reasons for why the bill is needed, but in this case nothing more than ideologically-based assertions:

(1) Access to safe, legal abortion services is essential to women’s health and central to women’s ability to participate equally in the economic and social life of the United States.

See what I mean? The first half of that sentence is debatable, given that 97% of abortions are elective and have nothing to do with preserving the health much less life of the mother, and the second is meaningless rhetoric.

(4) Since 2010, there has been an equally dramatic increase in the number of laws and regulations singling out abortion that threaten women’s health and their ability to access safe abortion services by interfering with health care professionals’ ability to provide such services. Congressional action is now necessary to put an end to these restrictions. In addition, there has been a dramatic increase in the passage of laws that blatantly violate the constitutional protections afforded women, such as bans on abortions prior to viability.

No specifics are mentioned because this bill isn’t meant to deal with a specific objectionable form of state regulation. It’s supposed to deal with all regulation. Like all nine “findings,” it present no argument, much less evidence, but simply asserts what apparently everyone is supposed to know is true. How any given regulation “interferes with health care professionals ability” to provide “safe abortion services” is irrelevant.

(5) Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. That safety is furthered by regulations that are based on science and are generally applicable to the medical profession or to medically comparable procedures.

As the editors of National Review Online pointed out in an excellent editorial yesterday, there is no “comparable” medical procedure to abortion. This is “something recognized by the Supreme Court, which describes the act as ‘unique’ and ‘inherently different’ from other surgeries. And, of course, it is: Abortion is in almost no instance a therapeutic procedure — its usual motive is simply the termination of an inconvenient human life.” Blumenthal and his comrades think, I’m sure, that abortion is comparable to a cholecystectomy, since both involved the removal of tissue from the body. In addition to the obvious moral difference between an unborn child and a gall bladder, one might also note that it is unethical for a doctor to remove a healthy organ without medical reason, while abortion is almost always the killing of a healthy person with a separate genetic identity from his or her mother for no medical reason. In other words, abortion is not “comparable” to other medical procedures, and must be regulated for the unique surgical operation that it is.

(7) These restrictions harm women’s health by reducing access not only to abortion services but also to the other essential health care services offered by the providers targeted by the restrictions, including contraceptive services, which reduce unintended pregnancies and thus abortions, and screenings for cervical cancer and sexually transmitted infections. These harms fall especially heavily on low-income women, women of color, and women living in rural and other medically underserved areas.

It’s safe to say that this wouldn’t be a Democrat-sponsored bill if it didn’t include a racial component, and it includes that without any evidence for its assertion. This is also obviously the “Planned Parenthood Endangered Abortion Mill Finding,” since the threats to PP’s baby-killing business are pretty much the only thing referenced in that first sentence. The typical gynecologist or obstetrician who ceased to perform abortions wouldn’t shutter his office, whereas Planned Parenthood does when its primary money-making operation gets regulated in a way that PP considers “burdensome.”

(8) The cumulative effect of these numerous restrictions has been widely varying access to abortion services such that a woman’s ability to exercise her constitutional rights is dependent on the State in which she lives.

Again, no argument, just assertion, probably because the argument is embarrassing in its stupidity and implications. The argument essentially is that if abortion clinics are not as prevalent as Starbucks shops, women will have to travel to get one, and that will make it difficult for some because they don’t have the money or means of transportation, etc. This is a theory of constitutional rights no one has even contemplated in any other area of life because it is so inane. By this reckoning, if I don’t have the money to buy a newspaper, my right to freedom of the press is abridged. Just because you have a right to something doesn’t mean the government has to clear away any and all obstacles (including financial ones) to your exercising that right, especially if–as is supposedly the case with restrictions on gun ownership, beloved by these same senators despite the Second Amendment–they are obstacles that have to do with legitimate public safety concerns.

Those are some of the problems just with the findings. It gets worse.

Congressional bills usually include a section of definitions of terms, and normally it isn’t a big deal. It is here:

(2) Abortion provider.—The term “abortion provider’’ means a health care professional who performs abortions.

(4) Health care professional.—The term “health care professional’’ means a licensed medical professional (including physicians, certified nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) who is competent to perform abortions based on clinical training.

In other words, this bill recognizes a host of people besides MDs as abortionists. Midwives, nurses, and PAs, according to the sponsors, should operate with the same freedom to perform surgery as medical doctors. These senators are people who are normally outraged at the idea that a person without a four-year degree in education would be allowed to teach children, but they are perfectly comfortable with certified nurse midwives performing potentially life-threatening surgery. (For just one example, California–as pro-choice a state as there is–does not allow CNMs to practice medicine or perform surgery.) This bill would effectively eliminate the safeguards against unqualified people working in health care from performing abortions, thus endangering women.

Section 4 is where the real mischief comes in:


(a) General Prohibitions.—The following limitations or requirements are unlawful and shall not be imposed or applied by any government because they single out the provision of abortion services
for restrictions that are more burdensome than those restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures, they do not significantly advance women’s health or the safety of abortion services, and they make abortion services more difficult to access:
(1) A requirement that a medical professional perform specific tests or follow specific medical procedures in connection with the provision of an abortion, unless generally required for the provision of medically comparable procedures.

As noted above, there are no “medically comparable procedures” to abortion, so this is already problematic. Even to the extent that there are, however, there are grave difficulties. For one example, in most places only doctors with surgical licenses are allowed to perform surgery (though other medical personnel may assist), while this bill opens the floodgates to others. For another, this bill prohibits states from requiring specific tests unless they are “generally required for the provision of medically comparable procedures.” What other “comparable” procedure might require an ultrasound on a fetus, pray tell?

(2) A limitation on an abortion provider’s ability to delegate tasks, other than a limitation generally applicable to providers of medically comparable procedures.

In other words, states may not prohibit a physician’s assistant from delegating the task of removing the body parts of a dismembered fetus from a woman’s womb after the fetus has been pulled apart to a nurse’s assistant, if doing so is not prohibited in “medically comparable procedures,” of which there are none (and therefore no prohibitions!).

(5) A requirement or limitation concerning the physical plant, equipment, staffing, or hospital transfer arrangements of facilities where abortions are performed, or the credentials or hospital privileges or status of personnel at such facilities, that is not imposed on facilities or the personnel of facilities where medically comparable procedures are performed.

This is a real joke. Until recently, abortion clinics have been the least-regulated, least-supervised of all medical facilities. After the Gosnell horror was exposed, some states (including Pennsylvania) decided that enough was enough, and that abortuaries had to be brought up to the same standards and supervised with the same rigor as others. Abortionists, they also decided, needed to have the same standards applied to them that other surgeons had (hospital admitting privileges, for instance). This provision would go back to the status quo ante, and free the Gosnells of the profession from any worry that the state was going to stick its nose into their dirty business.

(6) A requirement that, prior to obtaining an abortion, a woman make one or more medically unnecessary visits to the provider of abortion services or to any individual or entity that does not provide abortion services.

The termite in the floorboards here is the expression “medically unnecessary.” What does that mean? I take it to mean pretty much any visit that doesn’t involved the actual abortion. In other words, any state requirement that a woman be enabled to make a fully-informed decision is prohibited. Consider this: what other surgery does a person undergo without any prior consultation, without being fully informed about the risks and possible side effects, on the day they decide to have it done the same way you would go to a dentist and say, “clean my teeth”? That’s what Blumenthal and Company want women dealing with tremendous emotional distress and possible pressure from a man to do.

(b) Other Prohibited Measures or Actions.—
(1) In general.—A measure or action that restricts the provision of abortion services or the facilities that provide abortion services that is similar to any of the prohibited limitations or requirements described in subsection (a) shall be unlawful if such measure or action singles out abortion services or make abortions services more difficult to access and does not significantly advance women’s health or the safety of abortion services.

This is the “just in case we forgot anything, that’s also outlawed” section. If a state does anything, no matter how much sense it makes medically or scientifically, that causes an abortion clinic to close, or places any financial burden on its owner or operator, or in any infringes on women’s ability to get an abortion any time, anywhere, or for any reason, the feds forbid it. (The part from “and does not significantly…” is the legislative equivalent of Charlie Brown’s teacher talking, since the sponsors know that lots of federal judges will say that there’s no such thing as a restriction that does either of those things.)

(2) Prima facie case.—To make a prima facie showing that a measure or action is unlawful under paragraph (1) a plaintiff shall demonstrate that the measure or action involved—
(A) singles out the provision of abortion services or facilities in which abortion services are performed;
(B) impedes women’s access to abortion services based on one or more of the factors described in paragraph (3).

In other words, if a state regulation mentions abortion or abortion clinics, it is assumed that it is prohibited by the bill. It is also assumed that it is prohibited if it does any of the following:

(3) Factors.—Factors for a court to consider in determining whether a measure or action impedes access to abortion services for purposes of paragraph (2)(B) include the following:
(A) Whether the measure or action interferes with an abortion provider’s ability to provide care and render services in accordance with her or his good-faith medical judgment.
(B) Whether the measure or action is reasonably likely to delay some women in accessing abortion services.
(C) Whether the measure or action is reasonably likely to directly or indirectly increase the cost of providing abortion services or the cost for obtaining abortion services (including costs associated with travel, childcare, or time off work).
(D) Whether the measure or action requires, or is reasonably likely to have the effect of necessitating, a trip to the offices of the abortion provider that would not otherwise be required.
(E) Whether the measure or action is reasonably likely to result in a decrease in the availability of abortion services in the State.
(F) Whether the measure or action imposes criminal or civil penalties that are not imposed on other health care professionals for comparable conduct or failure to act or that are harsher than penalties imposed on other health care professionals for comparable conduct or failure to act.
(G) The cumulative impact of the measure or action combined with other new or existing requirements or restrictions.

That’s a lot of legalese to swallow, but I can translate: “Any state regulation that impedes a woman from obtaining an abortion under any circumstances or for any reason is prohibited by this act.”

But even that is not enough for these abortion worshipers:

(c) Other Prohibitions.—The following restrictions on the performance of abortion are unlawful and shall not be imposed or applied by any government:
(1) A prohibition or ban on abortion prior to fetal viability.

Ah, yes, “fetal viability.” There’s one definition included in this bill that I didn’t mention above, because it’s needed here:

(7) Viability.—The term “viability’’ means the point in a pregnancy at which, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care professional, based on the particular facts of the case before her or him, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained fetal survival outside the uterus with or without artificial support.

What this definition does is sever the question of when a baby can survive from any scientific basis, and places it squarely in the hands of the abortionist, who has a financial stake in the decision. “Fetal viability,” them is whenever the abortionist says it is, which renders the ability of a state to prohibit abortion after fetal viability moot, in violation, ironically enough, of Roe v. Wade.

(2) A prohibition on abortion after fetal viability when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating physician, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant woman’s life or health.

As we have seen for over forty years now, this translates to, “if a health professional thinks a woman might lose a night’s sleep over being pregnant, we can go ahead and kill the kid.”

(3) A restriction that limits a pregnant woman’s ability to obtain an immediate abortion when a health care professional believes, based on her or his good-faith medical judgment, that delay would pose a risk to the woman’s health.

Nothing that stands in the way of immediate gratification will do.

(4) A measure or action that prohibits or restricts a woman from obtaining an abortion prior to fetal viability based on her reasons or perceived reasons or that requires a woman to state her reasons before obtaining an abortion prior to fetal viability.

And at this point of overkill they are just repeating themselves to make sure that every state and every court understands what they are saying:



This bill has no chance whatsoever of passage. It would be buried in the House of Representatives, and might well not even make it out of the Senate. But I still think the time and effort that have gone into it tell us something about its sponsors and their supporters in the pro-abortion movement.

1) The Senate sponsors of this bill must know that it has no chance of becoming law. That being the case, one must conclude that this is about politics, and above all about perpetuating the meme about the Republican “war on women.” There are a couple of problems with that. First, there is no polling that says that more than around a quarter of Americans support completely unregulated, unrestricted abortion. Most Americans either would ban it altogether or put a variety of restrictions on it. The kind of restrictions that this bill is specifically aimed at are overwhelmingly supported by Americans. Yet the supporters, knowing that most voters aren’t single-issue types, are wagering that by throwing red meat at their fanatically pro-abortion base, they can energize them enough to make an electoral difference.

2) The pro-abortion movement, despite its occasional tactical retreats, has never wavered from its ultimate goal of having abortion not only universally available, but socially acceptable. They know that when something becomes a matter of total indifference to government, it becomes a matter of social acceptability among the population. After all, if abortion is too trivial for the state to regulate, how important can it be? As that mindset grows, getting an abortion will become no more consequential than having your nails done. The idea that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” is anathema to the pro-aborts, who will only be happy when everyone accepts its moral legitimacy, so that they can feel good about being moral monsters.

3) This bill, then, means that Senate Democrats (and, I would contend, the vast majority of House Democrats as well) have thrown in their lot with the Molech cult. They, too, believe that the will and moral convictions of the American people are of no consequence. They, too, believe that abortion should be treated as an inconsequential matter deserving of social acceptance. They, too, believe that abortion should be as easy to obtain as a hair dye job, and easier than breast augmentation or an appendectomy. They, too, want to put women in danger so as to satisfy their bloodlust. And they also think that doing so will protect their phony-baloney jobs.

It’s time we sent them a message: “You see that flash of light in the corner of your eye? That’s your career dissipation light. It just went into high gear.”

Here’s who should get that message:

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Tammy Baldwin (D-IL)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Edward Markey (D-MA)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

Shaheen, Merkley, Franken, and Coons are running for re-election this year. They should be made to own this and explain why they are in favor of unrestricted, unregulated abortion. In addition, those running in all of the other Senate races should be questioned on whether they would support this legislative abortion and why.

The U.S. Senate refused to stop debate and vote on a bill to overturn the Hobby Lobby decision today, and the usual suspects went ballistic. Apparently the Dark Ages are returning, with women being kept barefoot and pregnant, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria on the left. Representative of the reaction is this piece of drivel from the head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

“It’s disgraceful that some members of the U.S. Senate would rather protect Religious Right zealots than millions of American workers,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Religion should never be used as an excuse for denying essential medicine to anyone, but some misguided senators apparently don’t get that.”

Yeah, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to protect conservative Christians, what with our having repealed the First Amendment and all….Wait, we haven’t? Dang, apparently ol’ Barry has discovered time travel, and zapped forward to a time when he and his anti-religious liberty lobby have gotten their way, and only approved religious groups have any rights.

One might ask lawyer Lynn just when this came to be defined as “medicine”:

One might also asked who in these United States has been denied access to any form of contraception. Seems to me that up until we entered the Gilded Age of Obamacare, most Americans bought their own “medicine,” and those that couldn’t afford it could get it for free from Planned Parenthood. Finally, one might ask when birth control became “essential” to anyone, given that there’s an even more fool-proof way of preventing pregnancy.

Of course, in the space/time dimension inhabited by Barry Lynn, the most important inalienable right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution is the right to sex without consequences any time, any place, any way, and as often as desired, all with your boss–the guy your sex life isn’s supposed to be any of his business–footing the bill. Freedom of religion? You’re kidding, right?


I was beginning to wonder if any of the usual suspects were going to express their usual outrageous outrage at the depredations of the Israelis in Gaza. Then, this morning, World Council of Churches General Secretary Olav Fykse Tveit finally came through:

We strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks by Israeli military on the civilian population in Gaza, as we absolutely condemn the absurd and immoral firing of rockets by militants from Gaza to populated areas in Israel.

The attacks by Israel in Gaza are not “indiscriminate,” nor are they on civilians, of course, except in the fevered imagination of Geneva bureaucrats. Israel has been contacting Gaza civilians through various means to let them know that attacks are coming because there are Hamas fighters on the premises or in the neighborhood, and that they should evacuate.Hamas’ response is that they should stay right where they are and die for the sake of turning world opinion against Israel. The use of human shields, like the intentional targeting of civilians, is a war crime, but one that Hamas will never be charged with, nor will it be acknowledged in the cultured salons of Geneva. I do think it’s a nice touch to refer to the artillery fire directed by Hamas at Israel as “absurd,” though.

Since last Monday, Israeli aerial bombardment of Gaza has killed 86 Palestinians and injured more than 550 people. Most of the dead are reported to be civilians, including the elderly, women and children. There are many who are mourning the loss of their loved ones among families and friends. We join them in prayers, so that God bestows his love and mercy upon them and comforts them during these difficult moments of sorrow.

What really bothers Tveit is that Hamas has not succeeded in killing some Jews. If some of Hamas rockets actually found living targets, at least it would be a fair fight. The fact that it is Hamas intention to kill as many Jews as possible with their rocket fire is beside the point. The fact that Hamas has fired rockets at the nuclear power plant at Dimona, a direct hit on which might kill tens of thousands, is beside the point. Human shields are being killed in Gaza, and there are no Israeli casualties to balance the spreadsheet.

Both Israelis and Palestinians require their well-being, security and a just and genuine peace.

Which is never going to happen as long as an organization with the goal of destroying Israel and killing or expelling every Jew from the Holy Land is in charge in Gaza and part of the Palestinian government.

The recent failure of the negotiations and the loss of prospects for a two-state solution and the end of occupation, as well as a just peace and vision of a common future have led to the unbearable and infernal cycle of violence and hatred that we are witnessing today.

No statement on the Middle East from the WCC would be complete without a reference to the “cycle of violence,” a cycle that just happens to always get set into motion by one or more of the various Palestinian terror groups. Daniel Pipes noted on NRO this morning that there was a cease-fire agreed to by Israel and Hamas after the last round of action in November of 2012, and that on June 11 Hamas broke it without any provocation whatsoever. Maybe their stock of rockets had gotten too big, and they needed to draw down inventory. Whatever the reason, pretending that this is part of some unending “cycle,” one that flips repeatedly between the two sides, is ridiculous and dishonest. In other words, par for the WCC.

What is happening in Gaza now is not an isolated tragedy. These events have to be seen in the context of the occupation of Palestinian territories that began in 1967. The WCC has always called for an end to this illegal occupation and the continuous blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel. Without an end to the occupation, the cycle of violence will continue.

Please note that apparently nothing of any note happened before 1967. Pogroms against Jews in the Levant in the 1920s and 1930s, the rejection of the United Nations partition plan and five nation invasion of Israel in 1948, the planned invasion of Israel in 1967 that resulted in the occupation–none of that actually happened. The Garden of Eden existed in the region until Israel just took it into its collective head to capture Sinai, Gaza, and the West Bank in 1967, because Jews really like having to deal with the daily headache of ruling over a hostile people. And it can’t be denied that the Garden would be restored if only Israel would leave the West Bank. Then everything would be rainbows and unicorns, and Hamas would be shown to be the community organizing outfit it really is.

I can’t wait.

Anti-Israel activists have in recent years been seeking to strike at one of the basic foundations for support of the Jewish state in the United States, the evangelical community. They have done so in a variety of ways: through emotional appeals on behalf of beleaguered Palestinians, through deceptively blaming Israel and its occupation for all that ails the Holy Land, by ignoring any contrary evidence or denouncing it so tepidly as to make no difference, and by attacking all support of Israel by evangelicals as theologically toxic “Christian Zionism.” (For the record: “Christian Zionism” is a technical term that has come to be applied to the support of Israel that is driven by eschatology informed by dispensationalism. The majority, perhaps vast majority, of American evangelicals who support Israel, myself included, are no more dispensationalists than we are Zoroastrians.)

Luke Moon of the Institute on Religion and Democracy offers a look at some of the evangelicals who have been leading this charge, including luminaries such as Willow Creek Church’s Lynn Hybels, Wheaton College’s Gary Burge, and dreadlocked Philadelphia activist Shane Claiborne. Here’s an excerpt about an organization that will not be getting any further support from me until they lay off the anti-Israel politics, World Vision:

World Vision’s antagonism toward Israel is largely the work of an activist named Tom Getman. Getman served as director of World Vision’s program in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza before being tasked with establishing World Vision’s office in Washington, DC. After he left World Vision, he was able to abandon his veneer of neutrality and joined the boards of the ferociously pro-Palestinian groups Evangelicals for Mid-East Understandings, Sabeel, Sojourners, and KairosUSA. In a brief interview with fellow anti-Israel activist Rev. Steven Sizer, Getman bragged about his connections in the White House and on Capitol Hill. These “friends,” he claimed, would encourage the U.S. government to engage in dialogue with other friends of his, who happen to be leaders of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

“We have friends… inside the White House, we have friends in the Senate like people in this room today, who are intent on putting steel in the spine so Obama can follow through on what he has said, not only the words but to do. Like our friends Nasrallah [Hezbollah’s political leader] and Sheik Fedlallah [Hezbollah’s spiritual leader] and many others in the Middle East have said to us, the problem with you Christians is you don’t do what’s in the book. So we are trying to encourage Christians within the administration or active Jews within the administration to really stand up and let Obama be Obama in terms of what his heart says in terms of dialogue.”

Because World Vision is a trusted organization in most Evangelical churches, it is very easy for them to promote the one-sided message that Israel is 100 percent to blame for Palestinian suffering—especially that of Palestinian Christians. This issue is particularly emotive, and thus one that pro-Palestinian Evangelicals constantly emphasize. In 2011, for example, World Vision started the Palestinian Christian Engagement Initiative (PCEI). According to Steve Haas, Catalyst Officer for World Vision, the purpose of the initiative was to bring together Palestinian churches in order to address the problem of Palestinian Christian emigration. Haas parrots the typical explanation of such emigration, saying, “Christians particular to this part of the world were emigrating very fast, a lot of it simply due to the impact of the occupation and the bad economy it was creating for Palestinians here.” It is true that Christians in the Middle East are emigrating very rapidly. The main reason, however, is not Israel, but Islam. In fact, since 1967, the number of Christians in Israel has increased while the number of Christians in the West Bank and Gaza has plummeted.

World Vision’s focus in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza is based on the noble work of providing assistance to children and families trapped in abject poverty. But its funding for conferences like “Christ at the Checkpoint” and “Impact: Holy Land”, which are created to subvert Evangelical support of Israel, undermines its pledge of neutrality.

Read it all.


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