3½ Time-Outs Tuesday

Just like Conversion Diary's 7 Quick Takes, except it's half as long and twice as good.


In the face of a firestorm of internet complaints The Washington Post joins CBS in apologizing for their terrible coverage of the March for Life. Ombudsman Patrick Pexton says that the Washington Post gave an “incomplete picture” of the March for Life in both its print story and online photo gallery. Pexton writes that the Post “fell down” in its coverage of the March by failing to include any photos in the gallery that conveyed the magnitude or the “festiveness” of the pro-life crowd, instead focusing on the confrontations between a small group of pro-abortion counter protesters and passing pro-lifers on the steps of the Supreme Court.

The apology was somewhat restrained however as the ombudsman continued that the Post’s Director of Photography Michel du Cille disagrees with the criticisms of pro-lifers. “We can never please this crowd. We try for fairness to show both sides,” du Cille told Pexton. Apparently, focusing all media attention on counter-protesters and failing to illustrate the magnitude of the protest is what passes for fair news coverage today. How silly of me; of course its the pro-life crowd who’s being unreasonable.


Over on the Distributist Review they have a great article by G.K. Chesterton on the seriousness of salads or, more specifically, salad dressing. Its a humorous and insightful piece that addresses the bland uniformity of corporatism as evidenced by commercial salad dressings and offers a distributist alternative. I found the following excerpt to be one of the deeper and funnier parts:

Men differed in the excellence of the salads they made; but they also differed about which salads were excellent. Such was the weakness of Fallen Man that many were found to prefer their own salads; but anyhow they were their own salads. And when we have seen that, we have seen the horrid significance of the bottle of salad-dressing. By the new system, salads will be like convicts or American ladies. They will be all dressed alike.


I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently towards various economic theories and how each may reflect human nature (or don’t as I think the case may often be) and, more specifically, masculinity. Not that I have anything against the ladies but, as a guy, I’m more concerned with the masculine aspects as they relate directly to how I live and perceive the world. More will follow on this train of thought in the future, I’m sure.

3 1/2 

Finally, thanks to Acts of the Apostasy for sharing the idea of 3 1/2 Time-Out Tuesday. Maybe next week I’ll be a little better at this.


400,000 Ninjas in DC Go Unnoticed

Year five searching for counter-protesters at the March for Life . . .

. . . supplies are running low. I will have to quit soon.

In what can only be described as an ocean of people I’ve kept my eyes peeled for the elusive counter-protestors so abundant in the news regarding the March for Life. In five years I’ve never seen even one such solitary soul. However, CBS’s people-finding skills are apparently even more inadequate than my own considering that in their story on the march they somehow missed the 400,000 people protesting abortion – their entire photo gallery consists of shots of maybe a dozen counter-protestors . . .

Meanwhile, a little more investigative journalism would have revealed this:

Regardless of your views on abortion, this is a disturbing example of selective media blackout that should alarm anyone who cares about the integrity of our democratic process. Justice was never reached by keeping people ignorant.


CBS caves under pressure and adds picture of pro-lifers.

The Culture of Life

Life at its most vulnerable

I’m back from Washington DC and once again I’m blown away by the March for Life. To witness hundreds of thousands of people all congregated in front of our nation’s capital in defense of the unborn. The spirit of joy and determination emanating from the protestors – especially by the uncountable youth present – moved me to reaffirm two simple truths long asserted by the church: first, that humanity is beautiful and, second, that life is precious. It is one thing to understand and intellectually accept these claims but quite another to have them resound in your heart. To see such an affirmation of the culture of life is refreshing.

However, while the witness to the culture of life made by the March for Life every year is wonderful the pro-life movement faces daily challenges. Unfortunately, not all of these challenges are exterior, either, and we must maintain the integrity of the pro-life movement. Many Americans who protest abortion and self-identify as pro-life have not been consistent in their values; these particular pro-lifers, including many of our “pro-life” politicians have taken a “fight abortion at all costs” attitude in the battle for the unborn and have thrown other, apparently accessory, life-issues like capital punishment, unjust war, and inhumane treatment of prisoners by the wayside. This has not gone unnoticed by our fellow Americans. The pro-choice movement has pointed out again and again the contradiction of calling ourselves “pro-life” and simultaneously supporting unjust wars like Iraq or needless executions and as a result many don’t take us seriously – and why should they? When people claim to be for life, but then arbitrarily choose to save unborn children but ignore the deaths of Iraqi citizens caused by a war proclaimed unjust by two popes how is that any different than saying human value is dependent upon the geographical difference of a few short inches between the womb and the outside world?

Many pro-lifers, including many Catholics, have told me that they will support a candidate who endorses torture, or unjust war or some other intrinsic evil based on the rationale that it is necessary to block Obama and defend unborn children. While Catholic moral teaching allows voters to tolerate a lesser evil in order to block a greater one is the state of our nation so dire that ending abortion is the only issue worthwhile of our defense? When, according to Catholic theology, a human life has infinite value can we really prioritize opposing one particular method of needless killing over all others? Just because we have the option to tolerate a lesser evil does not necessarily mean that we should. In Humanae vitae Bless John Paul II condemns promoting even the most admirable ends if the means are evil – no matter how grave the issue:

Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it

This message is reaffirmed in Veritatis splendor:

But as part of the effort to work out such a rational morality (for this reason it is sometimes called an “autonomous morality” ) there exist false solutions, linked in particular to an inadequate understanding of the object of moral action . . . “teleologism”, as a method for discovering the moral norm, can thus be called — according to terminology and approaches imported from different currents of thought — “consequentialism” or“proportionalism”. The former claims to draw the criteria of the rightness of a given way of acting solely from a calculation of foreseeable consequences deriving from a given choice. The latter, by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation.

Refugees displaced by war

The concept that we must fight abortion at all costs is erroneous. We need to ask ourselves: at what cost? At the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead in an unjust war? At the cost of countless other human rights violations? Abortion is the gravest evil our country has ever faced, but to support any politician or policy that would sacrifice the human dignity and lives of others in the name of combating abortion is to support a culture compromised. While we can distinguish between life-issues, they have one universal root: the real issue, which is our culture’s disregard for life. Abortion is a symptom, a devastating consequence of our twisted perception of humanity and only by defending every life-issue and having the courage to stand as an advocate for all of the weak, born and unborn, can we expect to effect change. In Evangelium vitae Blessed John Paul II affirms the need to be unconditional in our defense of human life and dignity and support a culture of life. Never did he suggest a need to fight abortion at all costs, but instead calls us to defend all life-issues:

This situation, with its lights and shadows, ought to make us all fully aware that we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only “faced with” but necessarily “in the midst of” this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.

defend human life and dignity from conception to death

Only by effecting change in our culture and instilling a respect for all life and the dignity of every human person can we hope to see an end to abortion. If we continue to undermine the culture of life and treat other lives as irrelevant in the light of the supreme evil of abortion then it could easily be another 52 million lives lost before we prevail. Instead, lets stand against all injustice wherever it may be found, find solidarity with our liberal counterparts and together bring an end to all violations of human life and dignity in America.

March for Life 2012

 I will be taking a brief hiatus in writing on Democrazy as I will be heading down to Washington, DC today for the annual March for Life. For those of my readers who may not be aware, every year the March for Life takes place in Washington, DC on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in protest to the Supreme Court ruling that mandated legalization of abortion in all 50 states. Last year there were an estimated 400,000 protestors present at the march. The sheer volume of that number boggles my mind; however for a visual you can watch this hour and a half video of the march condensed into a one minute time lapse.

Blessed John Paul II said the following in addressing America on defending the weak. In its original context I believe he was speaking specifically on abortion but I think it speaks to all acts in violation of the culture of life, whether it be attacks on the weak in the Middle East or third world countries, abortion, capital punishment, or the inhumane treatment of prisoners:

“America you are beautiful . . . and blessed . . . . The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”

The most dire, however, is abortion. Since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 over 52,000,000 abortions have occurred in the United States alone making America the greatest purveyor of violence, not just abroad as Martin Luther King Jr. boldly pointed out, but domestically as well (to say nothing of the increases in domestic violence and rape in that same time period). In order to combat the open disregard for the lives of the weak by our own government requires a far more comprehensive movement than merely convincing a majority of the 535 federal legislators to vote in our favor, restoration of the soul of America requires a cultural movement that begins with each individual at home and how we live and treat others in our personal lives. Blessed John Paul II recognized this in his encyclical, Evangelium vitae, when he stated:

We need to begin with the renewal of a culture of life within Christian communities themselves. Too often it happens that believers, even those who take an active part in the life of the Church, end up by separating their Christian faith from its ethical requirements concerning life, and thus fall into moral subjectivism and certain objectionable ways of acting. With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth. At the same time, we need to promote a serious and in-depth exchange about basic issues of human life with everyone, including non-believers, in intellectual circles, in the various professional spheres and at the level of people’s everyday life.

I ask that those who will not be present at the March for Life to take the time tomorrow to please be present in the spirit of prayer as we continue towards nurturing a true culture in support of all life here in the United States.