Thursday, 8/6/15

  1. Erratum
  2. Flash: Killing is Wrong
  3. North Dallas Knuckleheads
  4. 3%? 93.78%? 12%?
  5. Good sting, bad sting


I made a mistake Wednesday, and this seemed a more effective way of correcting it than an “Update” or the like: Further into the response to Megan Fox from Starbucks, it said “Starbucks does not have a corporate relationship or sponsorship with Planned Parenthood.”

That does not sound evasive. Thanks to the comment by Chris Jones.


Killing is wrong. Even in situations of self-defense or defense of the weak, killing remains wrong. It is not a good thing nor a beautiful thing. We may deem it unavoidable and even necessary, but it is only “necessary” because of the evil that has entered the world. In the Church, the taking of a human life must be followed by repentance. It is never merely justified and dismissed. Something terrible has happened and it is necessary for our souls to be cleansed and healed.

On issues such as abortion, this is a very clarifying understanding. When does life begin? It obviously begins at the beginning. When a human ovum and a human sperm unite (both of which are living), the result is alive. It is not only alive, it is a human life (what other kind of life could such a zygote be)? There are no fine distinctions to be made: it’s a matter of life or death. And the willful destruction of an embryo is death, the causing of a human death. It is neither good nor beautiful. It is inherently a sin.

There is a long history of moral reasoning that is called “Utilitarianism.” It simply means, “What is useful.” It is a way of asking questions about certain actions. It’s reasoning is best expressed as “the greatest good for the greatest number.” It sounds eminently practical and is often employed in political and social thought. However, it is also fatally flawed. First, it fails to define the meaning of “good.” The greatest “good” cannot be described in practical terms. Often Utilitarian arguments are used to justify whatever some power group wishes to do. Whoever gets to define the “good” gets to make the rules.

Thus, those who find justifiable reasons for abortion always turn towards some form of utility. Abortion is certainly “useful” for the person who is burdened by the presence of this new life. But it is already an existing life and cannot be destroyed without sin. No amount of “useful” side-effects, such as providing fetal tissue for medical research and the like, can make the reality of the death go away, nor can they make killing into a good thing.

Father Stephen is not interested in politics when he says that, and neither am I. I’m not smart enough (or good enough) to be “master of history”:

Stanley Hauerwas, the American theologian, has said that the desire to control the outcome of history is idolatry and that whoever undertakes such a thing has agreed to do violence. He is entirely correct, for the outcome of history belongs to God alone and it is inevitable that the self-appointed masters of history will always be forced to kill in order to see their results come about.


I commented earlier on a town north of Dallas that seems to have a high proportion of mouthy people who so hate and fear Islam that they want to exclude a Muslim cemetery. Rod Dreher:

No one who read the things I wrote and reported about radical Islam in north Texas back when I was at the Dallas Morning News can plausibly accuse me of going soft on Muslim extremism, but this is knot-headed, cruel, and embarrassing. Denying people a place to bury their dead? Who does that? Seriously, what kind of person do you have to be to protest people trying to buy ground to have a place to commit their deceased loved ones to the earth in an honorable way? For shame.

There’s no a whole lot of news in Rod’s piece, but his allusion to “things I wrote and reported about radical Islam in north Texas” isn’t a throw-away line. His bosses were forever getting Mau-maued by Islamic leaders who understandably don’t want to radicals to be the face of Islam but want to do it by suppressing embarrassing truths.


You presumably have heard Planned Parenthood claiming that only 3% of its services are abortions. Well, for women who come in pregnant, it’s actually 93.78%. They do very little prenatal care or adoptions.

Which figure is more representative, less deceptive? That’s a matter for debate. But USA Today won’t use the 3% figure now:

I’d love to see an examination of what percent of Planned Parenthood revenues come from abortion versus simpler services like dispensing birth control pills, and what percent of the fee-for-service revenues (versus, say, Title X funds) are from abortion.


[M]uch like [animal rights activist] Matt Rice, Daldeiden investigates heinous acts done “behind closed doors, out of sight and out of mind of most Americans, [acting] as the eyes and ears for the American public.” Indeed, one would think investigating the dismemberment and sale of human beings might just provide a greater public service than investigating abuse of animals. Call me naive, but it still confounds me that NPR can’t see that.

(Erika Bachiochi)

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.