Thursday, January 9, 2020
What Do You Call A Group Of People Who Deliberately Place Themselves Between The Unwanted and Unloved
****Originally posted as a Facebook Note on May 28, 2009*****
(Washington, DC)--An event in Washington, DC, this week allows us to revisit a controversial time in our recent history. At a public ceremony near a high visibility memorial, three individuals received public recognition of the actions they took to save the lives of defenseless unwanted and unloved human lives. As you read the following description of the selfless acts of heroism prompting this public celebration, try to solve the puzzle of what historic antecedent is at issue.
In the moments before the heroic deed, two sets of "people" could be identified. To one side were those in whose hands was the power of life and death; to the other side, were a pitiful collection of human souls whose right to life was not only in doubt but actually denied by the former group.
The extermination began, awful, bloody, and without respect.
To accomplish such a slaughter of innocents, those who worked the mayhem had first worked within their own hearts and minds a "reductio sub hominem" -- that is, they had tamed their consciences to think of their victims as not human, as something less than human, something less than lives worth living. So as the, well for lack of a better word, "killing" commenced, the "killers" did not think that they were committing "murder," so to speak.
Now, bring in the heroes.
Add to the mix an outside group of agitators.
These were folk for whom the humanity of the dead, the dying and the threatened was never in doubt. Nor did they have any doubt that the proper moral course in the circumstance was to intervene for the purpose of stopping the "killing," of preventing further slaughter. Quite literally, these were folk who set down their own bodies between those who would kill and those who would have been killed. And, although on other frequent occasions they would be unable to prevent similar acts, and although, perhaps, on another day the lives they saved would nonetheless be lost, on the day of their rescue operation, they made a selfless, moral, Christ-like difference.
If we stop the story at this juncture, would you be able to identify the historical incident to which I have referred?
It reveals the political and social views of the writer to say so, but the above description sounds like the hundreds of abortion business blockades that occurred between 1988 and 1994, during the heyday of the national, anti-abortion movement known as Operation Rescue. And, this week, in fact, a trial was begun of a seminal legal challenge to the anti-abortion protest activities of Operation Rescue and many of its leading proponents. So, if you had concluded that I was describing an Operation Rescue blockade, you would be absolutely, completely, one hundred percent . . .
The historical incident to which I have adverted was not the life-saving endeavor of pro-life Americans in the late 1980s. Rather, I have been describing the heroism of another three pro-life Americans in the late 1960s.
For the public ceremony this week in Washington, D.C., honored three members of the United States Armed Forces for their selfless heroic actions that saved some lives in and stopped some of the slaughter in a little Vietnamese hamlet known as My Lai.
Back then, United States Army Lieutenant William Calley and the men under his command engaged in the pitiless murder of women, children and the elderly. To do these horrific deeds, they had long been conditioned to think of these Vietnamese as less than human, as "gooks."
After all, what thinking, reasoning human would choose to live in the circumstances in which Lt. Calley and his band of brigands thought they found the Vietnamese villagers? In fact, as bloody a deed as they did, if they had truly thought of themselves as murderers of the innocent, would they not have turned their weapons inward to root out the truly inhuman beasts? With some 500 dead and dying lying around, however, Calley and his command were not quite finished. It was at this point that Warrant Officer Hugh C. Thompson, Jr., and his crew, Larry Colburn and the late Glenn Andreotta, entered the picture.
As the citation accompanying the awards to Thompson, Colburn, and Andreotta tells the tale:
"Warrant Officer Thompson landed his helicopter in the line of fire between fleeing Vietnamese civilians and pursuing American ground troops and was prepared to open fire on those American troops should they fire upon the civilians. . . . His crew spotted movement in a ditch filled with bodies . . . . Thompson again landed his helicopter and covered his crew as they retrieved a wounded child from the pile of bodies. . . . Warrant Officer Thompson's relayed radio reports of the massacre . . . resulted in an order for the cease-fire at My Lai and an end to the killing of innocent civilians."
The little-known story of Thompson, Colburn, and Andreotta came to public light this week when a ceremony was held near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial publicly presenting the US Army's Soldiers Medal to Thompson and Colburn, and posthumously to Andreotta.
As I read the story in Col. Harry Summers' column in the Washington Times, I could not help but wonder when another group of American heroes would stand, perhaps near the American Abortion Holocaust Memorial and receive the long-overdue respects of a grateful nation for the selfless acts of courage that so closely mirrored the now rightly-praised actions of a helicopter pilot and his crew.
Thursday, June 6, 2019
I had thought a point by point examination of your editorial would be the approach to take in answering your justification of the continued vitality of Roe v. Wade. Indeed, I have spent days pouring over your editorial piece to that end. There are so many manifestly wrong assertions – of the law of love, of reason, of judgment – that a full answer becomes, was it not on a matter so manifestly at the heart of God, nearly picayune.
Tell me I am wrong if I have misinterpreted your editorial. This is its sum and substance:
It is wrong to overrule Roe vs. Wade because there is an insufficient social safety net to support women whose impoverished existence prevents them from being the kinds of mothers that can give to their children the love, care, and sustenance necessary to their formation.
Thus, you will hoist children on petards you charge the church and the larger society either (a) with having created, or (b) with having at least maintained, or (c) at a very minimum, with having failed to deconstruct. In essence, you make the church and the larger society bearers of the bloodguilt of children killed by abortion because, as you seem now to see matters, a child’s mother cannot be directed by law to reject the death of another as an answer to fear or difficulty.
You don’t seem to be able to bring yourself to the stage where you propagate your newfound support for Roe by circulating photos of yourself licking a cake festooned with the message, “Abortion is Healthcare” as did Miley Cyrus recently. Indeed, you claim that every abortion is “a tragedy,” and every live birth is “ideal.” But you do not explain why these assertions are so. And you certainly do not explain why, if the reasons that these assertions are so are, as I suspect they are, why you would oppose restoring the once clear standard of legal protection for uterine children.
I think this is what you are not saying aloud but must be thinking:
Every abortion is a tragedy because it ends the life of a child in being. Every live birth of a child is ideal because such births continue in each being a life cycle of hope and the promise of entry into a life-giving relationship with the Creator God.
Is this why every abortion is a tragedy? Is this why every birth is ideal?
There are, of course, many ways to come to the question of whether an action should or should not be the subject of a positive prohibition in law.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King experienced frustration in confronting a society of self-styled Christians that exhibited the most ungodly despite and abuse of their fellows based simply on the color of their skin. He yearned for all men to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. And many folks of fairer skin joined him in that yearning. But he wanted more than that.
He wanted changes in the law that would afford equal status under law to colored people, so that they could enjoy, with the white man, the accommodations, businesses, and affairs of civil society unburdened by rank prejudice.
To that yearning, however, many fairer skinned folk balked. It asked, they argued, too much to enact positive prohibitions into federal law before hearts and minds were converted by the law of love. Let hearts and minds be won, then let laws be changed.
For this, though, Dr. King would not wait. He argued, as one might on a mound of God’s Word, that the civil rights laws should be enacted with dispatch, and not after hearts and minds were trained. Rather, as Paul to the Romans, Dr. King to his Christian interlocutors posed that it was right that the law should be changed so that it could teach the hearts and so that it could ameliorate the wrongs.
Dr. King explained:
“It may be true that you can’t legislate integration, but you can legislate desegregation. It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important also. So while the law may not change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men. And when you change the habits of men, pretty soon the attitudes and the hearts will be changed. And so there is a need for strong legislation constantly to grapple with the problems we face.”
You know that when the Apostles forbade abortion as a moral act, in the Didache, it was simply a restatement of the law of love, that we should not do to another, the nascent child, what we would not have done to ourselves.
And when the English common law, at least as long ago as the 13th Century, as confirmed by Henry de Bracton’s On the Laws and Customs of England, had concluded that abortion is a homicide of a living human, it did so for precisely the same reason. De Bracton wrote, "If there is anyone who strikes a pregnant woman or gives her a poison which produces an abortion, if the foetus be already formed or animated, and especially if it be animated, he commits homicide."
William Blackstone explained the basis for the law this way: “Life is the immediate gift of God, a right inherent by nature in every individual; and it begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother's womb.”
Dr. King knew that the law should teach rightly, and thus should make a positive legal wrong of the morally wrong act of race hatred.
So too the Apostles, the common law, and the positive statute laws of this Nation prior to Roe vs. Wade taught rightly that the human child in the uterus was a living being, a human one, and fully possessed of the natural rights endowed on each of us, at the moment we came into being, at conception, and not by passage through the magical gateway of the cervix.
You are at a crossroads, Rob.
You must choose. It will be insufficient for those who have welcomed your editorial for you to merely assert, as you have, that Roe should maintain its legal status while begrudging that every abortion is a tragedy.
Lincoln understood how corrupting of the heart and mind the gospel of death could be. So, in addressing another evil, contumacious of the Imago Dei in every African slave, he put the slavers’ case as the slavers saw things:
“Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.”
And that certainty of moral right in the decision to snuff the life of a child out in the womb is what allows Miley Cyrus to lick the abortion cake, and allows thousands of adoring fans of child murder to applaud her depiction of doing so. But it is not just that she must be allowed to celebrate the moral rightness of abortion while you bemoan – in 90-pound weakling fashion – its tragic proportions. As Lincoln put the case for the slaver, so you must see the case for the abortionistas: full national recognition as a legal right and a social blessing.
Sadly, you are along the path to granting all that they ask because, while you claim to see every abortion as tragic, you reject the gracefully direct and instructive act of restoring the legal status of the uterine child as it was before the aberration of Roe and its progeny.
Indeed, as Lincoln continued regarding slavery, you must decide regarding abortion:
“Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality - its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension - its enlargement.”
Only fools lay in the center of the road, Rob.
There is no chance for life there. There is no chance for having God take delight in your soul there. Either choose life or choose death. But put an end to the mincing about the question.
Frankly acknowledge that the lives of every black baby taken by an abortionist and given by its mother represents a grievous moral wrong that society can only correctly mark as a homicide. Or, celebrate the power of the poor to liberate themselves from the quaint notions of a curious desert religion.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
James Matthew Henderson, Sr.
Counsel or Co-Counsel to Parties
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Bynum v. U.S. Capitol Police Board. US District Court for the District of Columbia 2000.
City of Atlanta v. Black, Georgia Supreme Court 1995
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Jews for Jesus and Steve Silverstein v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit 1993.
Jews for Jesus Inc. v. Jewish Community Relations Council of New York Inc., US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 1992
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NOW v. Operation Rescue, US District Court for the District of Columbia 1990
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Vandiver v. Hardin County Board of Education, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit 1991
Women's Health Care Services, P.A. v. Operation Rescue, US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit 1994
Counsel or Co-Counsel to Amici
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Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union Supreme Court 2002
Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition Supreme Court 2002
Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth Supreme Court 2000
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Jonathan L. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California Court of Appeals 2008
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United States v. American Library Association, Supreme Court 2003
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Zelman v. Simmons-Harris Supreme Court 2002
Tuesday, November 27, 2018