30 May 2005

The Unconscionable Act of Donating Embryos

The radical left wing that dominates US media is crying blue murder over president Bush's announcement that he will veto any bill that would allow for federal money to go into embryonic stem cell research. Eleanor Clift of Newsweek on May 28 blasted the “Christian right” for imposing their wrongheaded religious views on perfectly reasonable science. Another case of the church persecuting those who stand for reason.

And yet, her article abounds with nothing but utilitarian arguments about why it would be a shame to let all those useful embryos go to waste. They’re just lying around. If we don’t use them now, they’ll get thrown away when they get past their “best before” date. Or how about this one: adopting embryos is way too difficult because the bureaucracy is huge.

Sound like convincing arguments to just go ahead and use these embryos where they can be useful? Heck no! If we had been talking about nothing but a piece of technology, some plant material or minerals, that would be a different matter. But we are talking about human babies here. That’s right: embryos = human being. No amount of twisting words and fudging the terms will get away from the SCIENTIFIC FACT that embryos are human beings. Every last one of these embryos is a baby.

“So why is there such a low success rate in turning these embryos into babies?” opponents may ask. When they ask this question they want us to believe that this ‘proves’ that embryos are in fact NOT human beings or babies. But that is completely faulty logic. Aren’t there other reasons for this high rate of failure? Such as the deplorable conditions under which the embryos are being stored?

After all, the loony liberals are complaining that if conservative Christians were consistent, they would be against in vitro fertilization. Apparently, Christians are not, they reason. Aaaaaargh! But Christians ARE against in vitro and always have been. In vitro fertilization is a wicked technology because it creates so many excess babies that are left to rot and die in cryo-vats. How about this outrage of the century! First they assert a lie and then use the lie to prove the inconsistency of their opponents. Please!

Embryonic stem cell research is equally wicked science. It is a crime against humanity and I really don’t know why it has not been declared a felony yet. As long as we keep talking about human beings as mere “tissue,” we cannot call ourselves civilized.

25 May 2005

Dutch Education Secretary Ridiculed by Evolutionists

It is heartening to see that my home country, generally considered to be the cesspool of liberal thought, can produce politicians like Mrs. Van der Hoeven, the Dutch Education Secretary. She suggested recently that public schools look at the errors and inconsistencies of Evolutionary Theory. She mentioned Intelligent Design (ID) as an interesting alternative.

Immediately, scientists and politicians from all parties—except conservative Christians—started ridiculing her. It is interesting to note that, whereas in America there would have been calls to sack and sue the secretary for incompetence, abuse of power and violation of the First Amendment, in the Netherlands there is only derision. The substance of the disapproval is the same, though: proponents of Darwin's theory, both in parliament and in academia, dismissed any debate as irrelevant and unnecessary, indeed, as non-existent.

The majority of scientists believe that Evolutionary Theory has been conclusively proved and that, therefore, there is no debate. Intelligent Design is rejected as a thinly veiled version of Christian theology. Parliamentarians complained that Secretary Van der Hoeven was trying to include material fit for a Religion classroom into a Science classroom. The two are mutually exclusive, they contend. Mrs. Van der Hoeven responded that her opponents ruled out debate a priori without giving proof of their reasoning. Only a handful of Christian MPs were willing to stand up and defend the secretary. One member said, “I believe that a greater leap of faith is required to accept [Evolutionary Theory] than to believe in God.”

Do we need more evidence that liberal atheists have stacked the deck in favor of junk science? Do they even have any shred of a capacity to logical thought left, since they argue that God is irrelevant simply because they do not believe in Him?

Senate Should Tolerate the Filibuster

Both sides in the filibuster debate have done nothing but spout misinformation. That includes telling only that part of the truth that furthers their argument.

The Star Tribune’s editorial on Sunday, May 22, is equally one-sided in its defence of the filibuster as a “right.” That is Democratic partisan nonsense and also plain wrong. There is no “right” to filibuster. Senators have simply used this and other sabotage tactics when it seemed expedient to them. Now they put a feather in its cap and call it a “right.”

Yet the Republicans have engaged in no smaller sins. When they make it seem that only Democrats have used the filibuster to block judicial nominees, they are, well, lying. Of course, they are technically correct when they say that the Republicans were never successful in filibustering judicial nominees. But let’s not mince words: both parties have tried every sabotage tactic on the book to frustrate the hopes of judicial nominees.

From a purely democratic point of view, the filibuster is a hateful monster. It allows the minority to frustrate the plans of the majority, in clear violation of the voters’ will. None of the current minority’s reasons to justify the filibuster have any philosophical merit. It is undemocratic and no legal document grants anyone the right to filibuster. It merely exists by the coincidence of tradition.

Nevertheless, Republican senators would do well to let the filibuster stand, even if they have to do it while grinding their teeth. The fact that voters are limited to only two parties--parties that are both getting more and more extreme--is a serious hindrance to true democracy. Despite the many shades of gray in voters’ opinions, only these two parties matter politically. Thus, any majority in Congress will almost necessarily be slim and the minority sizeable. Unless the political system were reformed to include more checks and balances and water down the power of the majority party, ending the filibuster will cause a de facto one-party dictatorship.

It is a catch 22 because both keeping and scrapping the filibuster are undemocratic. But Republicans should not gloat over the short-term benefits of the “constitutional option.” The Democrats will take their revenge when next they are in the majority and, using the same strategy, impose on the country a host of life-time judges who, in their turn, will rule against each and every issue conservatives stand for.

I agree that there are serious cracks in the system, but I had rather hang around for a better plan to fix them because the “nuclear option” will at the very least deepen the partisan rift and at worst start a dangerous meltdown of the federal government. Faced with that prospect, I’ll be content to grind my teeth at Democratic incivility.

Yes, this is a reversal of an earlier standpoint. But I'd rather have wisdom late, than not at all.

17 May 2005

British Memo on Iraq Changes Everything

When it comes to the Iraq War I have always been clear: nobody likes war but pacifism is not an option because there will always be bad guys who do not believe in peace. Turning the other cheek only goes so far. At some point, you run out of cheeks. Thus, I have been giving president George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt, knowing that Sadam Hussain had a track record. And while it is good to have a healthy interest in politics, so that politicians remain accountable, it is impossible in any indirect democracy like the United States to demand to be involved in every step of every policy decision. To some extent you have to trust the government as the appointed experts doing things for the common good.

However, politicians remain accountable and when enough information becomes available, you are entitled, in fact, obligated to judge their work. The recently published “Downing Street Memo,” a document leaked from the British government, changes my stance on the Iraq War and my opinion about the Bush government. In this posting, I will not only explain how a religious conservative, who endorsed Bush’ reelection in November, can come to be an opponent of the president, but also why it is a moral imperative for a conscientious, Bible-believing Christian to condemn the president’s handling of the matter.

The case for war on Iraq was never a great one and yet I never made a secret of it that I was cautiously in favor of taking Sadam out. The risks that regime posed, according to the evidence presented by the Bush government, were too great to be ignored. The problems I had with the anti-War crowd were mainly the following two:

First, they argued that the matter should be handled through the UN. I have no inherent dislike of the UN or international bodies. In fact, I am fairly critical of the disdain many Republicans have shown toward the UN. The nomination of John Bolton, an outspoken UN hater, troubles me greatly and I deeply disapprove of it. It is a sign that the anti-UN wing within the Republican party has a lot of leverage in the White House.

However, when the Iraq crisis was building, we already knew that the UN was itself embroiled in various internal crises. The track record of the UN in dealing with international situations was not merely imperfect, it was downright unbelievable. The UN are in a state of disorganization without any clear leadership and beset by many corruption scandals, including a case of bribery related to the Iraq Oil-for-Food program. All the UN do is talk. The Iraq matter had already been discussed ad nauseam. Thus, the demand, at the time, to insist on more UN involvement was little more than a demand to wait for the verdict of the high school debating club to render its verdict. And then to demand to wait for a rematch. I still think that the president’s claim, that the UN showed itself to be irrelevant by its lack of action is not an unfair characterization of the problems within the UN.

Second, the anti-War protesters argued that there was no legal basis for war. This is a more meaty problem, since the government is bound by the Constitution and other national and international regulations regarding the declaration of war. No government should declare war lightly. But the opponents of the war were never able to convince me that the supposed offences against the legal precepts were grave enough to warrant ignoring the evil of Sadam’s regime. In fact, they made themselves ridiculous by insisting that war is always the wrong choice. By claiming such a patently non-sensical point, they ceased to be taken seriously by me and many other moderates.

In a sense, the Republican silence on the recent “Downing Street Memo” shows the depth of the partisan perversion within that party. Conservatives are pretending that the memo does not exist, and few US media have even commented on it. Indeed, what few comments have been elicited from officials in London and Washington were mere mumbles to the effect that it had no significance.

In my opinion, that memo changes everything. I ran into news about the memo in a New York Times article by Paul Krugman, a columnist I consider to be thoroughly detestible and hateful. I still would not give a dime for his article because he cannot write two sentences without spewing hate and contempt for conservatives, but the link he provided to the memo was more important.

The memo, dated to July 23, 2002, proves that the Bush government was already decided on going to war against Iraq and was merely debating how to arrange it. It flatly contradicts a number of claims by Bush and White House officials that all avenues of approach were still open. Furthermore, the memo also proves that the Bush government already had preliminary plans for the attack on Iraq. The memo also shows that the head of British Intelligence at the very least was suspicious of the quality of pre-war intelligence on Iraq. The man, Sir Richard Dearlove, believed that the US government was manufacturing evidence to favor the war policy. Finally, it also proves that the post-war situation was not a great priority with the Bush administration. And it also seems to prove that Mr Blair is indeed what his opponents in Britain have always labeled him: George Bush’ lapdog because what little input the British Prime Minister provided during the recorded meeting was limited to making suggestions as to how the weaknesses in Mr Bush’ approach might be fixed.

The issues resulting from the publication of the Downing Street Memo are too important to be ignored by Congress. I support Congressman Conyers (D-MI) in his attempt to convince the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the matter. Congress must investigate. I also think that, if proved accurate, the allegations of the memo are serious enough to impeach and convict president Bush and his advisors Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell on charges of fraud, conducting an illegal war and abuse of executive power.

This is a tough claim to make since I am thoroughly opposed to the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party. Right now national politics are taken up by the filibuster issue and you know where I stand on that matter. However, I have come to believe that George W. Bush has broken the law and does not have the right to be president of the United States. If we as orthodox Christians want to take the idea of moral absolutes seriously, we have to consider God’s judgment of this matter. I do not think we can afford to find excuses for the president’s behavior and make strategic arguments about the importance of a conservative force to counteract the so-called ungodly policies of liberals. Wrong is wrong, whether it wears an elephant or a donkey button on its lapel. We must insist on this standard or the standard has no meaning.