Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve

There are some who argue that it's imprudent, perhaps even wrong, to celebrate Halloween.

To such as these I say: Pish posh.

I haven't the time to write an eloquent defense — or, for that matter, even an ineloquent defense — of the thoroughly Catholic celebration of Halloween, but I don't have to.

Sean Dailey, Mark Shea, and Rod Bennett already have.

What I will include, though, is a picture of our pamilya at a Halloween party on Saturday night, at which, I am proud to say, we won the prize for the "Best Group Costume":

All six of us were characters from the Hundred Acre Wood: Teresa was Rabbit, Cecilia was Winnie the Pooh, Lucy was Tigger, Jocelyn was Kanga, Joey was Roo (who, as a baby kangaroo, is a joey—how cool is it that his costume was his name?), and I was Christopher Robin.

Peter Singer: "Sure to Be a Festival Highlight"!

Peter Singer will be speaking tomorrow night in Chicago at Northwestern University's Law School as part of the 18th Annual Chicago Humanities Festival.

Yes, that Peter Singer — Peter "Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all" Singer.

From the Festival's website:

306: Richard J. Franke Lecture: Peter Singer

One of the Festival’s most prominent lectureships this year will feature a talk by this brilliant and thought-provoking, if often controversial, Australian philosopher and ethicist, currently professor of bioethics at Princeton University. Singer, who has challenged conventional views on a host of ethical issues ranging from animal liberation to abortion to euthanasia to eating locally grown foods, now turns to the ethical dimensions of climate change. The fate of billions of people, for example, depends on whether the states that emit the most greenhouse gas emissions can agree on which nations should do the most to reduce them. In light of differences already expressed between the U.S. administration and the governments of China and India, this question is likely to be at the center of international diplomacy in coming years. Singer argues that, were climate change to be seen as an essentially ethical crisis, it would not be all that difficult to elaborate broad principles that could serve as a basis for reaching a fair outcome. But how do we get there? Singer’s talk is sure to be a Festival highlight.

In other words:

  • Emitting greenhouse gases: Bad. Horribly bad. Unmistakably bad. Absolutely, positively bad.

  • Killing handicapped babies: Not so bad. Maybe not even bad at all.



Here's an interesting take on Peter Singer by fellow Princeton professor Robert George, writing last year in First Things, titled "I Was Wrong about Peter Singer".

Monday, October 29, 2007

How Medieval of Her

I'd never before seen anyone holding a dog whilst presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion.

Until last week, that is.

One morning last week at Mass at our neighborhood parish, I had to do a double take when I saw a woman walking up to receive Communion, holding in her arms what appeared to be either a cocker spaniel or a poodle. While it made no noise, I can verify that it was not simply a stuffed animal that I mistook for a live dog; this was the real McCoy.

At the end of Mass, the woman appeared to be leading the dog out the back door of the church on a leash.

Why did this woman bring her dog to Mass? God only knows.

What I do know, though, is that this episode prompted me to recall a comment made by Sandra Miesel on this post on Catholic and Enjoying It! some time ago:

Medieval people took their hawks and hounds to Mass and Byzantine harlots turned tricks in the galleries of the old Hagia Sophia while the Liturgy was in progress.

To which another commenter said:

Next time I see someone with his hawk at church I'm going to say, "how medieval of you," and I'll mean it as a compliment!

Hence the title of this post.

[Cross-posted at Catholic Dads]

Huge Pro-Life Turnout in Aurora AGAIN

After our rally on August 25 that brought out over 1,200 people to the Aurora Planned Parenthood site, Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area CEO Steve Trombley tried to downplay the numbers, saying this was a one-time thing:
Most people spend their Saturdays taking their kids to the soccer game, doing things around the house, and I think as time moves on, people will go back to their normal lives.

As I said at the time, what Trombley apparently doesn’t realize is that fighting abortion is something we do as part of our “normal lives”.

We're. Not. Going. Away.

That's why we held another big rally in Aurora on Saturday.


Roger of Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood has a great post about the rally — appropriately titled, "Looks Like We're Not Going Away" — with lots of pictures and links to many more.

Check it out!

See also the WGN News video coverage of the rally here.


Marcel of Mary's Aggies wrote to us this morning about a new post on their blog exposing the major problems with a recent Planned Parenthood report in which:
researchers concluded that in order to achieve more "safe abortions", governmental policies should continue to be loosened to provide access to them.

Marcel also posted on this subject last week.

[Cross-posted at Generations for Life]

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Safer Sex"? Safer Than What?

Earlier this week Jill Stanek wrote:

[Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh] requires that first year students complete some form of community service throughout the year, and on Saturday's Day of Service, the Planned Parenthood of Western PA abortion mill in Pittsburgh was one of 14 options RMU offered. RMU representative Kyle Fisher told me this was PP's 2nd year on the list.

10 students chose PP to volunteer to assemble "safer sex kits." Five calls to various PA PP's yielded ignorant staffers who had no idea what was in those kits. Nor did Ms. Fisher.

But I found perusing the web the kits contain a male condom, female condom, flavored lubricant, latex glove, dental dam, and finger cot....

The term "safe sex" "safer sex", of course, prompts the question:

Safer than what?

Interesting, isn't it, that there are millions of sexually active people out there who have exactly no chance of ever contracting an STD, and the thought of using condoms, dental dams, and finger cots would never, ever, ever cross their minds.

They're married people who practice marital chastity.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse was onto something when she titled a recent book Smart Sex, which, she explains, can only occur within marriage and when it is open to the possibility of conceiving a baby.

Too bad the meme hasn't caught on; seems to me it's a good counter to the loathsome term "safer sex".

Where the Run for the Roses is Run

Last weekend, all six inhabitants of Haus Jansen packed in the minivan and headed to Louisville, KY for a college friend's wedding.

The wedding itself was beautiful, and it was great to see some folks we hadn't seen since graduation (in 2000).

We also had the chance to visit Churchill Downs for the first time, as that's where the reception was held—to be specific, in a section of the facility known as Millionaires Row. (Although considering the fact that we were there, it's apparently open to non-millionaires, too.)

Being six floors up, it offered a stellar view of the infield and the area surrounding the track, which you can somewhat make out in this picture of our pamilya here:

Here's another one from ground level, outside the track:

My one regret about the experience: I think the bar was just serving beer and wine, as I didn't see any liquor bottles, but at the very least, it couldn't have hurt to ask for a mint julep, but I forgot to do so.

Ah well; there's always next time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"The Death of the Soul in the Reign of Pro-Choice"

Via Mark Shea, yesterday I came across a tour de force of pro-life apologetics—one of the most cogent, articulate, and comprehensive I've seen in recent memory—on the blog FideCogitActio. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

One complaint, however: The post—and apparently the entire blog—has black bars over all of the links therein, such that one cannot actually see the text of said links until one places one's cursor on said black bars. One commenter pointed this out, thinking it was a problem with his browser (the poor soul was using Internet Explorer (shiver); apparently no one's ever told him about Firefox), but then the post's author, the Cogitator, said the black bars are part of his "CIA fetish".

De gustibus, I guess.

The annoying black bars notwithstanding, it's one heckuva series of smackdowns of vacuous pro-abortion arguments.

And now for something (not) completely different

When I arrived last week at St. Peter's Parish in Geneva, IL for the talk I was to give that evening (which was very well received, I'm quite pleased to say), I was really impressed to see the sobering pro-life display on the front lawn of the church consisting of 3,560 white crosses—one for every baby killed every day here in the United States:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hate Mail

I wrote recently on the Generations for Life blog about the hate mail we get on a regular basis at Pro-Life Action League/Generations for Life/Families Against Planned Parenthood.

As you might guess, with all the attention recently surrounding the fight against the Abortion Fortress of Aurora, we’ve been seeing far more hate mail—which is almost always sent anonymously—than usual.

Like this:

[Message from You Suck A** (]

you people are f***ing losers and should burn in hell for harrassing women

You Suck A**


[Message from PRO LIFERS ARE A JOKE!!! (f***you@lickmya**.com)]

you should be ashamed of yourselfs lying to the masses about abortion and pregnancy and getting youth involved if you hated abortion so much you;d be handing out condoms not lies !!!! i hope there is a hell so you all can burn in it! god does not promote hate and lies. you are using his name in vain. get real jobs you losers!!!



I hope your own 12 year old daughter gets raped and pregnant so that then you can deal with this situation from a reality perspective.

Now, the temptation we feel is to respond to hatred with hatred of our own. And it's hard to imagine anything more vile than telling someone you hope their 12-year old daughter gets raped.

But, as I recently said in a comment on a post on the Generations for Life blog, we as pro-lifers must resist this temptation. We can't stoop to the level of hating anyone. Period.

Bryan Kemper of Stand True illustrated this point brilliantly in a recent commentary titled "Loving compassionate pro-life vs. Angry anti-abortion".

It begins:

The title of this commentary should seem like a no-brainer for Christians. It is so clear from scripture that we must love our enemies and have compassion on others. While we must take a stand against evil and share the truth, it has to be done in love.

Read the whole thing.

Speaking of anonymous messages, over the weekend an anonymous comment was posted on my Trotting Out the Same Tired Old Talking Points post from a couple of weeks ago, in which I wrote:

Ah, yes, because everybody knows that making contraception more widely available is the answer to preventing abortion, right?


Mmmm...not so much.

The anonymous commenter said: does

First, although I allow them, under normal circumstances I find the practice of posting anonymous comments really, really annoying—and not a little dastardly. At the very least, sign a pseudonym at the end of your comment. Sheesh.

The link pointed out by the anonymous commenter is a news release from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of the Wal-Mart of the Abortion Industry) trumpeting the already infamous "compilation of estimates based on estimates", which pro-life bloggers had begun to vet as soon as it was released two weeks ago. (See more hole-poking of the study here.)

Those who believe in the Creed of Contraception and the Sacrament of Abortion can kick and scream and yell and shout all they want about how the former helps prevent the latter, but in the grand scheme of things, it, um, doesn't. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Recently, I responded thusly to an e-mail that came to the Pro-Life Action League from someone asking about failure rates for the Pill:

Statisticians who assess the effectiveness of contraceptives use the term "perfect use" to describe the ideal conditions under which the lowest possible pregnancy rates can be achieved. For the pill, with "perfect use", the pregnancy rate is, as your doctor said, around 1%.

However, the term "perfect use" is, for all practical purposes, useless. It's merely a theoretical concept that offers a false sense of security. How often does "perfect use" occur? Rarely? Ever?

On the other hand, "typical use" is a much more accurate gauge of a given contraceptive's failure rate. Even the Alan Guttmacher Institute—the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the U. S., and one of the largest providers of contraceptives as well—acknowledges with "typical use", the pill has an 8% failure rate.

This statistic also appears on the same page from the AGI's website:

"Fifty-four percent of U.S. women who had an abortion in 2000 were using a method [of contraception] in the month they became pregnant."

They then say that this doesn't mean that contraceptives fail 54% of the time, and then say that these women apparently didn't use their contraceptives "perfectly".

Of course they didn't use them perfectly, because in all likelihood, no one uses them perfectly.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chastity? Purity? Is There a Better Term?

Sunnyday, an e-friend of mine mine from the Philippines who blogs at This Is Not a Job for Superheroes, recently sent me a link to a good article—well, really more of an interview—between (husband) Greg and (wife) Lora Tan Garcia, the latter of whom recently wrote a book on chastity titled Keep Love Real.

Here's a snippet from the interview with Lora:

[Q:] Going back to difficulties with chastity for women, what is their struggle?

[A:] I think all women believe in chastity, especially Filipinas. It just hasn’t been offered in a nice package yet. They believe you have to be a liberated woman to find a man because of media. TV characters don’t get STDs. So, I guess they conform because they think that it is what works. Also, chastity is such a biblical term, so it turns people off.

[Q:] So what do you want to name it then?

[A:] Wala! I have been searching and “purity” sounds so holy. I guess that is why I wrote the book as an attempt to help my friends since chastity is the forgotten virtue...

This is an issue I have talked about with many others who also speak to kids about sex, dating, relationships, abstinence, etc.—what to call the topic under which we address these issues?

I know many people who agree with Lora that "chastity" unfortunately has somewhat of a negative connotation.

But is "purity" an improvement? I'm not so sure, as it's not a term that resonates with teenage guys.

Personally, I'm still inclined to favor, albeit not without some reservations, the term "chastity".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Gospel According to Alfred Kinsey

The newest entry in Mark Shea's "Show me a culture that despises virginity and I'll show you a culture that despises children" category links to an article out of Norway that begins thusly:

Norwegians woke up Tuesday morning to news that a respected Oslo pre-school teacher, backed by child psychologists, thinks children should be allowed to openly express their own sexuality, not least through sex play and games in the local day care centers known as barnehager, or kindergartens.

It goes on to quote a "well-known pre-school educator" who says children should be able to:

look at each other and examine each other's bodies. They can play doctor, play mother and father, dance naked and masturbate.

But their sexuality must also be socialized, so they are not, for example, allowed to masturbate while sitting and eating. Nor can they be allowed to pressure other children into doing things they don't want to.

The cruel irony is that these same so-called children's advocates fail to grasp the painfully obvious reality that the non-establishment of boundaries will inevitably lead to children pressuring other children to do things they don't want to do.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

These Things Take Time

The story of the absolution of the Knights Templar is a fascinating one.

What I cannot suffer, however, are cutesy attempts to editorialize about it by the MSM. This AP story, for example, begins thusly:

VATICAN CITY - It's not the Holy Grail, but for fans of "The Da Vinci Code" it could be the next best thing.

The implication (Intended? Unintended? My money is on the former) is clear: This historical development amounts to a vindication for those who believe all that crap DVC says about the so-called real history of the Catholic Church.

Seems to me it's rather impossible for this to serve as some sort of "See! I told you so!" moment for the disciples of DVC, for the simple fact that the Vatican is not, um, eliciting the services of albino Opus Dei assassin monks to keep the papers relating to the Templars a secret. Or anything else nefarious like that.

On the contrary, the Church is forthcoming about the matter.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Let's Talk About Planned Parenthood

Earlier this week on the Generations for Life blog, I wrote about Planned Parenthood's disgustingly cynical and condescending attitude toward pro-life teenagers.

Last week on GFL, I wrote about Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area's connection with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), a group that has featured pornographers and strippers at their annual fundraiser the past two years.

In that post, I mentioned that PP/CA and ICAH have formed a a coalition whose goal is to strip all funding of abstinence education for Illinois schools and require them to use so-called comprehensive sex education programs instead.

Yet Planned Parenthood calls itself a "trusted health care provider", and says it "has always made the health and safety of teens one of its top priorities" by, for example, providing contraception to teens and sponsoring and promoting "comprehensive" sex education programs.

Trusted health care provider, health and safety of teens, top priorities...

So they say.

On Wednesday, October 17th, I'll be giving a talk on the physical, emotional, and spiritual dangers of "comprehensive" sex education programs. The title of my talk is, simply: Don't Trust Planned Parenthood.

It will be held at St. Peter's Church in Geneva, IL, 1891 Kaneville Road (see map here) at 7:00pm.

My talk is open to high school age students.

At the same time, and at the same church, Patricia Bainbridge, chairman of Human Life International and the Respect Life Office Director for the Rockford Diocese, will be giving a talk on Planned Parenthood to adults.

A flyer with more information on the talks is available here [PDF].

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Trotting Out the Same Tired Old Talking Points

In this entry posted Monday on the Aurora Planned Parenthood blog, Steve Trombley was quoted as saying:

But we know that the services we provide at this center will do more in one day to prevent abortions than our opponents will do in a lifetime of protesting.

This "We do more in one day than they do in a lifetime" talking point seems to be a personal favorite of Trombley's, as he said pretty much the same thing when he was interviewed by a local news station on August 25:

We believe that health center will do more in one day to prevent abortions than those protesters will do in a lifetime.

Ah, yes, because everybody knows that making contraception more widely available is the answer to preventing abortion, right?


Mmmm...not so much.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Herd of Independent Thinkers in the Mainstream Media Continue to Act Like, Well, a Herd of Independent Thinkers

After I read this article, "CBS Portrays Abstinence Club Teens Murdering to Keep Secret their Sexual [Activity]", I found myself feeling like the mosquito at the nudist colony:

I simply don't know where to begin.

This Blog Is Banned in China

At least, according to this site, it is. So is my work's website/blog, Generations for Life.

I guess I can't say as I'm surprised.

Remind me again why we're not boycotting the 2008 Olympics?

HT: Shoved to Them

Thursday, October 4, 2007

On the Air Tonight

I've been asked by Stephanie Wood to be a guest tonight (Thursday) on Next Wave Live, a program for Catholic young adults on EWTN Radio.

I'll be on around 8:15pm central time.

You can listen live here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Trouble with a Capital "T" and That Rhymes with "P" and That Stands for Planned Parenthood

Nearly three hours ago, the nation's largest abortion provider's largest abortion clinic opened in Aurora, IL.

Kyrie, eleison.

I haven't the time to summarize all the events that have transpired in the past 24 hours, so rather than duplicate the efforts of others, I'll simply refer you to said efforts of others; to wit, Jill Stanek's blog and the Families Against Planned Parenthood blog (the latter of which is the blog of—among others—my co-worker, Eric Scheidler, who has been spearheading our efforts at the Aurora site these past two months).

The latest development in the story comes courtesy of our attorney, Tom Brejcha of the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center, via Jill, and concerns an appeal of the granting of the occupancy permit filed by fellow pro-life attorney Peter Breen. The appeal was filed with the Aurora Zoning Board of Appeals at 9:58 this morning, two minutes before the Abortion Fortress was scheduled to open.

Brejcha writes:

TMS was acting on behalf of nearby property owners who are aggrieved by the violation of their rights to have notice and a public hearing on a proper application for a special use permit, which PP never applied for, let alone obtained.

We also filed on behalf of the Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood, other members of which are affected property owners and citizens of Aurora.

Thus Peter accomplished the filing before 10 a.m. when PP said that it would open for business pursuant to the occupancy permit.

This filing, legally speaking, is supposed to trigger an automatic "stay" of the decision by which the permit was granted.

Whether the decision was made by the zoning administrator or by the mayor or by other officials remains to be seen. No finding was made to the effect that any emergency would occur if the stay were honored, and the law provides that absent such a finding the stay of any further proceedings pursuant to the challenged administrative action will be effective immediately.

Again, we are testing whether Aurora will follow the law or fudge it. We're shortly to send copies of the appeal to the lawyers for Planned Parenthood and Aurora's Corporation Counsel and outside counsel.

The thrust of our appeal is rather simple and straightforward: to test whether the rule of law still applies in Aurora, as elsewhere. That is, the question is whether the city is to be run by executive fiat, where the Mayor can read out of the law those provisions that he finds politically or otherwise inconvenient... or whether those entrusted with jurisdiction to make proper planning and zoning decisions in accordance with state law and city ordinances should make those decisions on the merits, without bending the law to suit the demands of cash-rich special interests....

The only rationale I've seen so far for the other side is the zoning administrator's rather flimsy suggestion that the "non-profit" and "charitable" use category in the zoning code is somehow ambiguous (he never explains how it is so), whereas the medical office category is more specific and clear. But if there ever was a "non-profit," it's the massive tax-exempt entity called Planned Parenthood -- a charity and, as such, the beneficiary of millions of dollars in tax-exempt donations as well as government largesse.

And, of course, if our appeal is somehow brushed aside we'll most certainly have "exhausted our administrative remedies" and we'll then proceed to court to seek judicial relief.

Oh, BTW, remember those full-page ads I mentioned a few weeks ago—the ones in which Planned Parenthood accused us of having a "well-documented history of advocating violence against both persons and property, as well as other related criminal activity"?

Yesterday, Brejcha filed a libel lawsuit on our behalf against Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area.