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Will McCain VP Pick Be a Ridge Too Far for Pro-Lifers?

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

Commentary by Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 14, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Senator John McCain has stirred up passions among GOP social conservatives after the Republican presidential candidate indicated he might consider pro-abortion and former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as his Vice-President. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, however, did not make the cut for McCain, because Bloomberg is both pro-abortion and pro-gay.

McCain revealed in a Wednesday interview with the Weekly Standard that he was open to a pro-abortion running mate, unsettling social conservatives who have had uneasy feelings about supporting a candidate who once referred to leaders of the religious right as "agents of intolerance."

McCain told the Standard’s Stephen F. Hayes: "I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party.

"And I also feel that - and I’m not trying to equivocate here - that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don’t think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out."
 
"I think it’s a fundamental tenet of our party to be pro-life but that does not mean we exclude people from our party that are pro-choice. We just have a - albeit strong - but just it’s a disagreement. And I think Ridge is a great example of that. Far more so than Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is pro-gay rights, pro, you know, a number of other issues."

The selection of Ridge as a running mate for McCain would put Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes in play according to GOP strategists, who believe that Obama is not resonating with blue-collar Democrats there. Obama losing Pennsylvania might be just enough to clinch the presidency for McCain, translating into another four years of GOP control of the White House. Obama stirred up ire earlier this year when he insulted small town Pennsylvania voters, saying in the economic downturn "they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion."

The selection of Ridge may encourage ‘moderate’ (liberal) Republicans to line-up for McCain, but also have the disastrous effect of depressing voter turnout among the GOP’s large conservative base, should it feel its support is taken for granted. In this case, the McCain camp would have to bet that the specter of an Obama presidency would be enough to offset his base’s dissatisfaction to get them to the polls and pull the lever for McCain.

An additional four years of a GOP controlled White House could hold the promise of changing the Supreme Court make-up decidedly against Roe v. Wade. Roe overturned would once again place abortion in the hands of the states. A report from the Center for Reproductive Rights indicates that at least 30 US states are poised to restrict or ban abortion once Roe falls. (http://www.womensenews.org/PDF_files/What_if_Roe_Fell.pdf)

McCain’s openness to a pro-abortion VP pick, however, vexes social conservatives, especially since McCain has had a tumultuous history with them and they are worried about the depth of his commitment to the causes that resonate most deeply with them.

McCain co-authored the greatest restrictions on political free speech in the United States under the guise of "Campaign Finance Reform," which effectively muzzled the ability of pro-life lobbying groups to pay for ads calling a candidate on the carpet for his positions leading up to an election.

The Arizona Senator’s pro-life credentials have also been called into question over his continued advocacy of embryo-destroying stem-cell research. Despite well-documented evidence proving the ethical and qualitative superiority of adult stem cell therapies, McCain has not abandoned his support for embryonic stem cell research, which, by contrast, has still yielded no therapies or cures despite overwhelming government funding worldwide. 

McCain is expected to name his VP choice within the next week or so, before the Republican National Convention kicks off September 1.

Possible pro-life VP candidates mentioned have been Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been floated as a VP pick, although the McCain campaign savaged his pro-life credentials during the primary by highlighting a May 2005 press conference in which Romney told reporters he was committed to the "status quo" on "abortion and choice."

Besides Ridge, the other pro-abortion running mate whom McCain might consider is Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, former US Vice President Al Gore’s running mate. Both Lieberman and McCain have a good relationship, although the choice of a non-Republican and abortion advocate may just be a bridge too far for conservatives waiting for a McCain to reach out to their interests and not take their support for granted.

"What if Roe Fell Chart" predictions from Center for Reproductive Rights available here:
http://www.womensenews.org/PDF_files/What_if_Roe_Fell.pdf

  See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

McCain Meets Privately with Fr. Pavone - Says Constitutional Right to Life Applies to Unborn
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061302.html

McCain and the Pope: McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote
  How is he going to get it?
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/mar/08032605.html

McCain’s Rejection of Roe v. Wade Seems As Wobbly as His Rejection of Gay "Marriage"
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/feb/07021908.html

McCain: "No, I don’t Believe in Gay Adoption"
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jul/08071408.html

Why did McCain not Defend Himself on Gay "Marriage" on Ellen’s Show? The Official Answer
  McCain spokesman Q&A with Catholic journalists answers some interesting questions
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jul/08071113.html

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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