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National Catholic Reporter columnist calls unborn child 'a bundle of cells'

John Jalsevac
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The National Catholic Reporter has once again proved that its nickname, the National Catholic “Fishwrap,” is well deserved. 

On Wednesday, NCR printed a column in which columnist Bill Tammeus (who, oddly enough, isn’t Catholic, but a Presbyterian elder) referred to the unborn child as a “bundle of cells” and questioned why the Roman Catholic Church has exerted so much energy trying to stop abortion, as opposed to the death penalty. 

After all, says, Bill Tammeus, “in the matter of abortion, we have a bundle of cells that one day may be born.”

On the other hand, in the case of the death penalty, “we have human beings who have been around for years, having long proven viable outside the womb -- people who may be capable of repentance and who, thus, may be rescued from misspent lives.”

That anybody in the 21st century is still laboring under the belief that the unborn child is merely a “bundle of cells” beggars belief. It brings to mind what a young man viewing photos of aborted babies on a university campus recently said in response to his friend who told him that “it’s just a clump of cells.” 

“That’s a pretty organized clump of cells!” the man responded. 

Indeed. If the unborn baby is a “bundle of cells,” then we’re all just “bundles of cells.” 

But putting aside questions of elementary-school-level biology, let’s consider some elementary-school-level mathematics. 

Tell me, if you can, which number is higher: 50 million, or 1,300? 

Fifty million is, of course (give or take several million), the number of human beings that have been killed by abortion in the U.S. since abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973. 

1,324, on the other hand, is the number of executions that have taken place in the United States since 1976.

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Or, in other words, there have been about 1.25 million abortions per year in the United States, as opposed to about 36 executions per year. So far this year, there have been a grand total of four executions in the United States, while there have been nearly 300,000 abortions.

Or, to look at it yet another way, the abortion rate is 37,000 times higher than the execution rate. 

In the United States, with its advanced forensics and generally enlightened court system, it’s safe to say that the vast majority of those who have been executed were guilty of heinous crimes. On the other hand, every single unborn child killed through abortion was completely innocent. 

Of course, there have been instances in which innocent people have been executed, and even one such death of one innocent person is clearly one too many. In the age of nearly escape-proof maximum security prisons, there may well be a good argument to be made that the risk of executing any innocent person is enough to favor abolishing the death penalty altogether. The Catholic Church appears to agree with that.

But when millions of innocent children are dying every year under the hand of the abortionist’s knife, and when millions of mothers are experiencing depression, alcoholism, and infertility after abortions, how can anyone, let alone a columnist in a supposedly “Catholic” newspaper, argue that the Catholic Church’s resources have been misplaced?

If anything, what we need is more resources, more energy, and more time poured into fighting this great scourge upon our society. 

The real question is: why did a putatively "Catholic" newspaper feel the need to enlist the help of a non-Catholic to bash the Catholic Church's efforts on one of the most pressing issues of our day? This is just more proof that Bishop Finn was more than justified when he recently made clear that NCR, whose offices are located in his diocese, should not be using the word “Catholic” in their name. Unfortunately, so far NCR shows no signs of complying. 



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Creation is made up of the physical and the metaphysical, and all are ruled by God—Christians should not fall into the trap of conceding to secularists intellectual authority over the physical realm.

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If you can’t convince an atheist abortion is wrong…you’re doing it wrong

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Feb. 10, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - One of the key mistakes Christians make when approaching the culture wars is dividing truth into two categories: “secular truth” and “God’s truth.” This is a wrong-headed approach. All truth is God’s truth, and thus making a scientific argument utilizing the facts of embryology is making a Christian argument. When, as some Christians do, we allow that embryology is somehow a “secular” realm of thought, we give credence to the claims of secularists and conscript ourselves into the binary worldview with which secularists have been cleverly defeating us.

Creation is made up of the physical and the metaphysical, and all are ruled by God—Christians should not fall into the trap of conceding to secularists intellectual authority over the physical realm simply because they claim it. It is not as if the miracle of new human life developing in the womb is part of the secular realm and Christian expertise is relegated to angels and such. The Christian worldview is complete and all-encompassing, and in defence of reality as it is Christians can appeal to truth in every form.

The binary Christian-Secular divide works cleverly for secularists in political debates and has been used to great effect in the culture wars, but such arguments fail when it comes to actual reality. For example, secular scholars may claim that the moral anarchy of the Sexual Revolution was a liberation of unmitigated success, but that does not change the fact that dozens of new sexually transmitted diseases and infections have mutated into existence since then, some of them deadly. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This truth is not simply a spiritual or metaphysical one, but also a very natural and physical one - as we see time and time again when God’s warnings and words are ignored. Today’s secularist may not acknowledge the concept of sin, but can scarcely ignore the presence of herpes.

This is precisely why, as I detailed in my column last week, it is so important for Christians today to arm themselves with a variety of arguments and learn how to debate atheists on the crucial, life-and-death issues of our day. Christians too often feel restricted by their worldview, as if belief in God somehow limited the scope of argument available to us. This is precisely wrong—rather, the fact that Christians can see Truth more fully, recognizing the natural and the supernatural, gives us a distinct advantage.

Still, we have to learn how to debate secularists in terms they understand. In many of the culture war battles, lives are literally at stake. By refusing to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves, we often ignore the fact that it is not simply an argument at stake—it is actual human lives.

For example, abortion is probably the simplest social issue to debate with atheists, because the case against abortion is one of human rights. The average member of the public might not understand the language of “sin,” but they certainly understand the language of injustice. The science of when human life begins is easily accessible to anyone, and to explain that any consistent philosophy of human rights must have those rights beginning when the human being begins is a simple task.

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There is another method of argumentation I like to use when debating atheists on abortion that I find very effective: that is, appealing to science-based legislation, something secular snobs delight to drone on about when fashionable issues such as global warming crop up in conversation. We should all be able to agree, I point out, that regardless of one’s position on the role of government, the one essential role of government is to protect the weak from the strong and to enforce human rights. Surely such laws should be informed by science—and science tells us precisely when vulnerable new human beings, the smallest members of our society, come into existence.

The mystifying idea that science somehow supports a pro-abortion position, promoted by the media and entertainment industry, is only widely-held because it is rarely challenged. In fact, the pro-choice position is a feeble and subjective one—and nearly every pro-choice person believes something different. Some think abortion should be legal up until the moment of birth, while others think it should only be legal in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Some think it should be legal up until viability, others until the fetus can feel pain. When I discuss abortion with someone who says they are “pro-choice,” I always have to ask them to explain what their position is, because that term is an extremely imprecise one.

So which of these should be taken into consideration when lawmakers meet to discuss policy: The pro-choice positions, which are about as easy to pinpoint as to nail Jello to a wall? Or the science-based, coherent human rights philosophy of the pro-life position? Perhaps some people were ignorant about life in the womb back when abortion was legalized. Now, however, we have ultrasound technology, embryoscopy footage, and sonograms, not to mention an iron-clad scientific consensus. I’ve had a number of atheists I debated on university campuses admit after long discussions that by any reasonable standard, legislating the shaky and scientifically illiterate morality of the pro-choice ideology was a mistake.

There’s another point to be made here, too. Often pro-choice activists will attempt to claim that since it is most often Christians advocating for the pro-life position and we live in a secular and multicultural society, the pro-life movement must be ignored. That attempt to evade the debate fails miserably: The fact that we live in a multicultural and diverse society with a secular government is another strong reason for laws that reflect a consistent human rights philosophy protecting each and every one of us from the very beginning of our lives.

After all, in a society containing numerous religions, cultures, and belief systems, it is paramount that the government adheres to a philosophy of human rights that keeps everybody safe. When a society contains dozens of different cultures, each of which differ from each other in many ways, even drastically so, it is even more essential for the government of said society to ensure that the human rights of each and every human being are respected. There can be no equality and ultimately no safety for anyone when some groups of human beings are denied human rights based on the subjective and exclusionary terminology of “personhood,” a discriminatory label that has only ever been used to victimize those human beings not standing beneath the umbrella.

It is arguments like these that are tremendously effective when debating with secularists. Too often, Christians feel as if the unbelief of those they interact with is an automatic barrier to any discussion on crucial issues like abortion. That is not the case. These issues can be discussed, and I have seen many secularists become pro-life as the result of such discussions. And often, it goes further. Those who have been introduced to some small part of Truth begin to ask what else might be true. Those who realize how thoroughly and insidiously they have been lied to about abortion begin to ask how else they might have been deceived. Many times, we have seen that opening the door just a crack can allow quite a lot of light to pierce the darkness.

And that, after all, is the point.

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The best response yet to the pro-abort freak-out over that Doritos Superbowl ad

John Jalsevac John Jalsevac Follow John

Pro-aborts lost their minds yesterday after Doritos aired a commercial that...*gasp*...showed an ultrasound of an unborn baby.

Seriously.

The humorous commercial showed a dad eating a bag of Doritos while his wife gets an ultrasound, and the baby tries to grab at the Doritos in his hands.

Watch it for yourself:

Funny, right? And kind of cute, in a silly way. But not for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

They tweeted their disgust:

Get that? "Humanizing" a fetus.

Since last night there hasn't been any shortage of responses to NARAL's bizarre anti-scientific, anti-baby, and anti-human extremism.

But one of the best responses I've read comes from Dr. Robert George, a pro-life professor at Princeton University, who posted this on Facebook:

I gather that the really big news, as always, had to do with a commercial advertisement that was broadcast in the course of the game. Evidently, a potato chip manufacurer, or some such profit-driven purveyor of packaged foodstuffs, showed a video image of an unborn baby. This shocked and appalled the folks at NARAL, the big abortion lobby, who promptly accused the company responsible for the ad of "humanizing the fetus." Since, however, the fetus in the video was, by all accounts, a human fetus, the offspring of human parents, and not a bovine, canine, or feline fetus, it's less than clear how it is that the potato chip company (or whatever it was) is to blame for the humanization. Surely NARAL's complaint would be more fairly lodged against God, or nature, or plain old biological reality.

Memo to NARAL: that's what an unborn baby actually looks like.

Every couple who has ever had an ultrasound has watched their baby being "humanized" right in front of their eyes, which is why having an ultrasound is such a beautiful and moving experience.

Nowadays, with crystal-clear "4D" ultrasounds, couples can watch their babies kick about, suck their thumbs, respond to noises in the room, move away from the doctor's or nurse's touch, etc.

RELATED: ‘I saw little arms, little legs, and a head!’: Mom leaves abortion clinic after seeing ultrasound

And that's why pro-life activists are working furiously to pass laws ensuring that women are given the opportunity to see an ultrasound of their babies before they go through with an abortion. It's called "informed consent." That means, telling a patient everything they need to know to make an informed decision before going through with an irrevocable medical procedure.

But pro-abortion groups like NARAL are fighting these commonsense laws tooth and nail. Why? Because they know what pro-lifers who work in crisis pregnancy centers have learned through long experience: when women see their baby in front of their eyes on an ultrasound, they are far, far less likely to go through with the abortion. And that means lost income for abortion clinics.

RELATED: UK parents reject abortion after seeing son smile on ultrasound

That's why story after story has come out of women saying that even when they asked to see the ultrasound of their baby before their abortion at an abortion clinic, the staff at the clinic refusedBecause feminism. 

So, a question for abortion supporters out there: If your whole ideology has to be propped up on a stubborn denial of one of the most clearly proven scientific facts - i.e. the humanity of the human unborn child - what does that say about the value of your ideology? And if the only way you can get women to buy your product - abortion - is by lying to them, what does that say about your view of women? 



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Gone are atheists like George Bernard Shaw, eager to take on apologists like G.K. Chesterton in battle. Instead, we have snarky, mocking snipes like Bill Maher, men who do not seek to understand.

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Atheists aren’t even trying any more…and why that’s terrifying

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Christian scholars, speakers, authors and apologists are beginning to notice a trend: Atheists no longer even try to understand Christianity. They don’t take Christian beliefs seriously, and they don’t find them relevant. Worse: They find Christians ridiculous, unintelligent idiots who believe in all sorts of ludicrous notions. Gone are atheists like George Bernard Shaw, eager to take on apologists like G.K. Chesterton in battle. Gone, it seems, are even atheists like Christopher Hitchens, willing to spar with philosophers like William Lane Craig. Instead, we have snarky, mocking snipes like Bill Maher, men who do not seek to engage or understand.

Simply put, secularists cannot understand why Christians act the way that they do, because their perception of reality is fundamentally different. For the secularist, there is only the physical. Things are what they are. For the Christian, the metaphysical is as real as the physical, and these realms interact on every level. A miracle may strike a Christian with awe, but the Christian possesses a worldview that allows him to understand what a miracle is—the Creator intervening directly in the created order in a visible way. A secularist insists that the miracle could not have happened, pointing out that the natural order does not function that way—in essence, accusing a miracle of being…a miracle.

Secularists claim to have placed their faith in “reason,” when in reality this is simply another way of saying that they have placed their faith in themselves. They will only believe in what they can understand. The problem is that the Religion of Reason is a circular feedback loop: Reason cannot in and of itself prove that reason is rational. One must have faith that it is. The secularist must believe that his brain, supposedly created by chance and programmed over millions of years of natural selection to react instinctively in certain ways, is capable of independent thought. A rather ludicrous notion, when you think about it.

As I said to one university student in debate: “Any god that can fit within the confines of your skull is a god too small for anyone to worship.” He was offended by this statement—a true secularist. As Chesterton wrote: “The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.” 

It’s important for us to realize that secularists and Christians don’t just believe different things, but see everything differently. In the secularist world, there is no Heaven, no Hell, no angels, no devils, no world unseen—or at least, no world that could not be seen.

Adding to that, of course, this means there is no soul, no good, and no evil. This is a fact that no secularist truly wants to confront: I remember my psychology professor calling off our seminar a half hour early after I asked her repeatedly to give me one philosophically coherent reason that rape was wrong in a world that slouched into existence by accident. Besides a few feeble appeals to subjective “social contracts” and the like, she could not. For there to be any objective moral law, there has to be a Lawgiver.

The chasm between the world as Christians see it and the world as secularists see it is deep, dark, and wide. That is why the presently raging culture wars so often seem as if the two sides are simply yelling into the abyss—because these battles mean very different things to the opposing armies.

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As I noted in my column on euthanasia last week, secularists see euthanasia more or less in terms of ushering a suffering animal out of his or her misery. Humans, in the materialist view, are soulless animals, and thus it may actually be more compassionate or merciful to kill someone suffering awful pain than it would be to consider palliative care. When secularism put the idea of human exceptionalism to death, it guaranteed that many humans would be put to death, too. After all, why not?

So it is too with abortion. Every once in a while when an abortion activist tells me that the human being in the womb is just a clump of cells, I like to point out that she is just a clump of cells, as well. But this argument isn’t always indicative of scientific illiteracy—although that is often the case. Sometimes, it is an accurate depiction of how they see human life. For people to value human life, they have to have a reason to value human life. Secularism has yet to mount a truly consistent, much less philosophically coherent, reason to value human beings. Instead, it puts forward the inherently discriminatory notion of “personhood,” which has been used to exclude and oppress women, African Americans, aboriginals, Jews, and now the pre-born. At no point in recent human history have all human beings been considered persons, and at no point in recent human history have we stopped killing those excluded from this subjective category invented by the strong to oppress the weak.

This chasm is also why secularists cannot agree with Christians on the Sexual Revolution—because no one can even agree on a definition of what sex is to begin with. For Christians, sex was created to be unitive and procreative, serving to bond the husband and the wife, with that love at times being blessed with the miraculous creation of a new human being. From the metaphysical standpoint, marriage represents the relationship between the Lord Jesus and His church.

While the secularist may agree that those are certainly options for sex, in their relativist world, sex is whatever makes you feel good. If one of those engaging in the interaction can extract some measure of pleasure, then it is “good”—and any orifice will do: two animals moving their soulless bodies about with one another to produce a pleasant sensation. Thus, hollowing out and redefining marriage, disregarding gender, and abandoning the traditional family structure are an inevitable result of the spread of secularism. Physical heresies multiply.

The culture wars have been fought for decades, and Christians have been losing. Secularists have long stopped trying to debate Christians or understand the Judeo-Christian building blocks upon which Western civilization has been precariously perched these last few centuries. From late night TV to Hollywood to the mainstream media, Christians are treated with contempt and scorn. That contempt is turning swiftly into intolerance, as many Christian beliefs are being recast as bigoted and hateful.

It is paramount that Christians arm themselves with the tools to fight back.

Editor’s Note: This is Part I of a Two-Part Series

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