Ann Coulter dumped as ‘hateful,’ but pro-infanticide Peter Singer ok?: Jesuit university
Updated: Nov. 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM EST to include a statement from Dr. Charles Camosy, the organizer of the panel discussion featuring Peter Singer, and to include more information about the panel.
NEW YORK, November 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Days after popular American conservative pundit Ann Coulter was disinvited from Fordham university amidst accusations that she is too “hateful”, the world’s most notorious promoter of infanticide, Dr. Peter Singer, was welcomed at a conference at the university, the Jesuit order’s premier university on the east coast.
Fordham hosted Dr. Singer as the main attraction at a one-day conference titled, “Conference with Peter Singer: Christians and Other Animals, Moving the Conversation Forward.” In addition to Singer, the panel discussion featured R.R. Reno, a Professor of Theological Ethics at Creighton University, and editor of First Things, David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics and Department Chair, University of Chester, and Eric Meyer, Fordham Doctoral Candidate in Theology.
The event stirred controversy, coming days after the university’s Republican group canceled a scheduled appearance with Ann Coulter in response to a scathing letter from Fordham’s president, Fr. Joseph McShane. In that letter the priest had called Coulter “hateful and needlessly provocative,” and described her work as “aimed squarely at the darker side of our nature.”
Fr. McShane had said that Coulter’s appearance would only barely be tolerated by the university for the sake of “academic freedom.” When the College Republican group responded to the criticism by rescinding Coulter’s invitation, Fr. McShane wrote in response, “Allow me to give credit where it is due: the leadership of the College Republicans acted quickly, took responsibility for their decisions, and expressed their regrets sincerely and eloquently.
“Most gratifying, I believe, is that they framed their decision in light of Fordham’s mission and values.”
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In a post advertising the conference with Peter Singer, Fordham’s official blog described the Princeton philosopher as “most influential philosopher alive today” and “the intellectual heft behind the beginning of the animal rights movement in the 1970s.”
The moderator of the Singer conference, Dr. Charles Camosy, a Fordham theologian who describes himself as “a pro-life Christian ethicist,” defended his decision to invite Singer in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com, pointing out that the other members of the panel disagreed with Singer’s views.
“The conversation was fantastic, and a rich, prophetic Christian theology was on full display in a public setting in front of non-Christians in a beautiful and important way,” said Camosy.
Camosy has defended Singer in the past and invited him to lecture in his ethics classes. In an article titled, “Peter Singer is not the Antichrist,” Camosy compared Singer to the late Pope John Paul II. Camosy said he “likes” Singer personally. Though Singer is “pro-choice” on infanticide and “the numerous and complicated issues related to abortion,” and “attacks many of the vulnerable populations Christians are called to defend,” Camosy described him as “friendly and compassionate” and sounding “an awful lot like Pope John Paul II.”
“He is motivated by an admirable desire to respond to the suffering of human and non-human animals, and an equally admirable willingness to logically follow his arguments wherever they lead,” Camosy wrote. He quoted Pope Benedict XVI in his recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate to defend his collaborations with Singer, saying that Christians should engage in “fraternal collaboration” with non-believers. Camosy has written a book on Singer, “Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization,” which he says shows “that the disagreements between us are remarkably narrow”.
The Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic student group that monitors the adherence to Catholic doctrine of the Church’s universities in the U.S., commented that Pope Benedict has never advocated “hosting an advocate of heinous acts on a Catholic campus for a conference seeming to celebrate his work.”
“There is also something quite disturbing about Camosy inviting a dangerous provocateur into the classroom to prey on students who may be unprepared for such dialogue. Better to engage Singer’s ideas with careful and moderated analysis in the light of Truth, and never a hint of respect for what Singer espouses,” the watchdog group said.
Camosy, however, said that pro-lifers should “look at the history of Christians engaging with those that think differently than we do,” citing Thomas Aquinas’ use of Aristotle, who Camosy pointed out also supported infanticide. “To suggest that Christians should not support these kinds of academic discussions is precisely the kind of anti-intellectualism which keeps so many good people from taking the pro-life movement seriously, and this does serious damage to our ability to protect vulnerable prenatal (and postnatal) persons in our culture,” he said.
Camosy also said that “despite being the world’s most important expert on animal ethics, [Singer] was not paid by Fordham nor were his views promoted.”
In the pro-life world Singer is notorious for espousing some of the most extreme anti-life positions anywhere in academia. He is most famous for his rejection of the notion of inherent dignity, and therefore the personhood, of all human beings, and his promotion of abortion and infanticide at parents’ discretion and euthanasia of disabled people. His appearances in Europe are often interrupted by protests from disability rights groups.
His Preference Utilitarianism holds that the right to life is tied to a human being’s capacity to hold preferences, to experience pain and enjoy pleasure. He summarised his outlook in an editorial in The Scotsman, saying, “Membership of the species Homo sapiens is not enough to confer a right to life.”
As Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University, Singer has positioned himself as the leading light in modern secularist bioethics and was described by the New York Times as the “greatest living philosopher”. In 2004 he was recognized as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies, and in June 2012 was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his services to philosophy and bioethics.
He strongly advocates euthanasia, particularly for people with dementia, and sterilizing most of the human race to save the environment. He has said that some great apes are more “persons” than human infants, believes that animals can give consent to having sex with humans, and complains that Christianity “discriminates” against animals. The media’s gentle handling of Singer is evidenced by the fact that despite his insistence that it is acceptable to murder infants, he is best known as the founder of the “animal rights” movement and for his book Animal Liberation which is the founding document for extremist animal rights groups like PETA.
The Cardinal Newman society noted in June this year that Singer offered a solution to the conflict over Catholic universities being forced to provide contraceptives for employees. He argued that President Obama’s contraceptive mandate “does not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion,” and suggested that Catholics simply close their universities. Catholicism, he said, “does not oblige its adherents to run hospitals and universities.”
Fordham was founded in the 1900s and was given over to the Jesuit order. It is now a private university governed by a lay board of trustees that describes it as being “in the Jesuit tradition.”
To contact Fr. McShane with concerns:
Joseph M. McShane, S.J.,
President, Fordham University
Room 107, Administration Building
Rose Hill Campus
441 E. Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
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Planned Parenthood closes Iowa abortion facility because of low business
DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.
Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”
The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.
“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.
As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.
“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.
American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.
“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”
That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.
Be loving and compassionate, he said.
“Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”
Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.
Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.
Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers
MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.
Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.
DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.
DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.
She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.
“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”
Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.
“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.
After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.
“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”
Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.
"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.
DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.
Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.
Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.
When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:
The decision to have an abortion is for a woman to make, not the Governor of Indiana. https://t.co/1VOroXS2br— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 24, 2016
Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”
DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary.
The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage
May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.
Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.
These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.
This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.
Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.
Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.
“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:
In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.
By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”
That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”
Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.
And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.
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