Abraham, Isaac and Paradigm Shift

The story of Abraham and Isaac establishes a significant and remarkable shift in worldview for the time.

 (c) Can Stock Photo

(c) Can Stock Photo

We live in a specific cultural and historical time and view things through cultural, historical and other contexts that are familiar to us. Things in the Bible often do not make sense to us immediately because the filter through we see things with modern eyes distorts the context in which the stories in the Bible were told. Whether one believes the Bible is God’s word, no one can understand it without understanding the context.

The story of Abraham and Isaac is hard to understand in modern context. Why would anyone think to sacrifice a child? It’s barbaric, and a God who would ask such a thing must be barbaric too! So, the thinking goes.

Before going further, I think we need to stop and consider a couple of things. First, Abraham clearly was doing what he thought God was asking of him. He was willing to do it, even it would hurt him terribly. This was his only son.

In fact, Isaac was a miracle. Abraham and Sarah thought they were past child-bearing age, but God had promised them a child. Now, God seemed to be urging him to take that child’s life. It could not have made sense to Abraham. It went against what God had promised.

Yet, Abraham was convinced that he must do it, or at least follow through with this urging from God to wherever it leads.

It is hard to understand that kind of commitment to God in our modern world. Continue reading “Abraham, Isaac and Paradigm Shift”

Valuable Consideration


The Planned Parenthood videos have exposed the soft underbelly of the abortion industry. Some would say it is much ado about nothing, but methinks they doth protest too much.

The defenders and supporters have focused on the “lie” that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of aborted fetal organs (“baby parts”). They do not call them human remains, though that is what they are. So much of the battle ground in this debate is over words, as if a rose by any other name is not a rose.

The defenders would like shift the focus on words and whether there was “profit” and “reasonable consideration”, never mind what we saw. A perfect example is found in the popular factcheck.org article, Unspinning the Planned Parenthood Video. The article goes to length to explain that Planned Parenthood does not “profit” for the sale of the fetal body parts. In the process, it directs our attention to the cold words in in the federal statutes:

The video itself highlights a portion of title 42 of the U.S. code, which reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” The law does include fetal tissue in its definitions. It says that the term “valuable consideration” doesn’t include “reasonable payments” for removal, transportation, preservation and other associated costs.

The statute referenced provides as follows:

(2) The term “valuable consideration” does not include the reasonable payments associated with the removal, transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, and storage of a human organ or the expenses of travel, housing, and lost wages incurred by the donor of a human organ in connection with the donation of the organ.

While the Pro-Life activists and politicians who are opposed to abortion have tried to claim that Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting from the sale of “baby parts”, and Planned Parenthood and their defenders have claimed those accusations are “lies”, the discussion entirely misses the point. I will come back that, but let us look at the profit issue.

“Valuable consideration” in general legal parlance means, simply, something of value, anything of value really. It means quid pro quo, an exchange of something for something, without quantifying the two somethings. In other words, “valuable consideration” does not depend on whether the exchange is proportionate or fair; it only matters that something of value is given and gotten.

The federal law that addresses the sale of human tissue, however, uses “valuable consideration” in a more unique and specific way. The definition excludes “reasonable payments” (essentially covering costs). We could argue whether the $30-$100 Planned Parenthood gets for the fetal organs it sells is reasonable or covers costs, but that would be an exercise in missing the forest for the trees.

Technically, Planned Parenthood does not make any profit, regardless of the consideration received for its services and sales. Planned Parenthood is organized as a nonprofit corporation. It does not have profits and never will. All of the funds it raises go back into the organization (including payment of the salaries of its employees and officers). There are no “profits” for a nonprofit corporation.

The shocking aspect of the Planned Parenthood videos is not the consideration they obtain for the brains, livers and other organs and parties of babies that are aborted in their clinics, but the callous, cold, clinical, even joking way they talk of dismembering, crushing and cutting into babies to “harvest” their parts.

We should not be distracted by mere verbiage. Watch the videos. Listen to the way the Planned Parenthood executives talk about what they are doing. If we are not alarmed at how callously and coldly they chit chat about what they are doing, we should also be alarmed at how much our consciences have been seared by ignoring and trivializing the killing of human life.

The Rabbit that Won’t Disappear

People hear what they want to hear, but the facts are the facts.

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / fouroaks
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / fouroaks

From early on after the release of the “Planned Parenthood videos” we have heard Planned Parenthood representatives and others claiming that the videos were edited, as if the fact that they were edited somehow converts the fact of what is shown on the videos to fiction. Nice try. All videos are edited.

But, the backlash from Planned Parenthood has continued and evolved into claims that the videos are “heavily edited”; and not just edited, Planned Parenthood told Congress they were “deceptively edited“; and not just deceptively edited, the NY Times reported they were “altered“; and not just altered but fake. Even White House Says Planned Parenthood Videos Are Fake, Cites Planned Parenthood.

So, is that the end of the story? Are people not even wondering what was not shown? Continue reading “The Rabbit that Won’t Disappear”

Editing the Right and Wrong


This headline reads, Fiorina Was right. The article, then, goes into details regarding how Carly Fiorina, the rising GOP star, was right about the Planned Parenthood videos. The sanguine point is not that Carly Fiorina is right about those videos, but that so many people can be so wrong.

Yes, I said it, wrong! I know it is not poplar to believe in right and wrong, but morality never won a popularity contest. Morality often goes against the popular culture.

I heard some pundit say that the Planned Parenthood videos are “heavily edited” and that Planned Parenthood does none of the things they are accused of doing in those videos. Seriously?

Continue reading “Editing the Right and Wrong”

The Story of Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe)

The Story of Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) is a redemption story. Jane Roe, of course, is the name of the plaintiff used in the case that challenged the Texas abortion law. It went all the way up to the US Supreme Court, and, in 1973, Roe v. Wade overturned all the state laws that made abortion illegal.  Continue reading “The Story of Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe)”

Science and Societal Consensus on Fetal Life

Pregnancy by Michael Foox

I don’t like the headlines that are over sensationalized. Rubio Crushes CNN Host for His Ignorance about Human Life, is an over sensationalized headline. The annoying headline detracts from the content, which gets to the core of the pro-life and pro-choice debate, and is important.

I will say, first of all, that I have not been very much engaged in this debate for over 30 years, and I say that to my shame. I have thrown up my hands over the callousness that I see in our country on the issue of human life. The Rubio/Cuomo dialogue underscores that callousness. I am sorry that I have stayed on the sidelines.

Cuomo says that science cannot say when human life begins. Rubio says that human life begins from conception. If we were looking at those two arguments in a vacuum, with no preconceived notions, with no thought to the consequences of the argument, where do you think science would come out? Continue reading “Science and Societal Consensus on Fetal Life”

No Man’s Land

I try to stay out of the political fray. I have my views, but I also know well that reasonable people can differ on many things. Most of the political pundits are polarizing. I do not want to be polarizing. I think most people are earnest in their choices and do not take lightly the positions they take. I would rather add to the dialogue than entrench and through stones.

I am more interested in bridging gaps than creating them. Abortion is one of those things as to which people have tried to carve out a middle ground without success. I agree with freedom of choice. I agree that women should be able to control their bodies and not be intruded upon by other people or government. We have a history, a human history, of abuse toward women by men and government.

I think we have emerged out the other side of that dark reality for the most part, though men still prey on women sometimes. More accurately, people still prey on people. It is the sad human condition since the time of Cain and Abel. The powerful prey on and take advantage of the weak. Parents abuse children, men abuse women, sometimes women abuse men, the criminal among us take advantage of the weak in body or mind. Government and the people should stand up against these injustices and seek to prevent violence and crime and bring to justice those who perpetuate it.

The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been playing out in recent weeks in Pennsylvania. Dr. Gosnell is a doctor who for many, many years performed abortions in an abortion clinic in Philadelphia that catered to the poor women in that area. He is accused of negligently performing procedures on at least one woman who died at his hands. There were other women who died at his clinic, but charges are only pending in regard to one. He is also accused of killing in astoundingly brutal and cold blooded ways babies who were born alive. These babies were “allowed” to live for twenty minutes or more, moving their hands and feet and crying, before he or someone at his direction took scissors and “snipped” their heads off. (They referred to the “procedure” as “snipping”.)

This is where the intellectual debate on abortion begins to come unglued. Roe v. Wade carved out the first trimester of pregnancy as a no man’s land between human life and something else. Since that time, the line has been advanced to the point of birth. Now, we have playing out in a court room in Pennsylvania a murder trial, and the only reason it is a murder trial is that the babies were “allowed” to live beyond birth, even if for only 20 minutes.

The dialogue is fascinating if not brutal, cold and frightful. Because the Doctor was negligent in performing the medical procedure of abortion, the fetuses were born alive; he is now being tried for the murder of babies. Four of them to be exact.

What turns an aborted fetus into a baby? The transition from fetus to child is minutes. Twenty minutes before birth, it is a surgical procedure; twenty minutes after birth it is cold blooded murder.

The Gosnell case is messy and makes a real mess of the abortion debate. It is hard to keep it at the intellectual level when babies’ heads are being snipped off as they lie on the table moving their limbs, breathing, trying to see the faces of the people who would otherwise be there to comfort and hold them. This case is hard to stomach and hard to fit into the intellectual boxes when the facts stare you in the face. The middle ground in the abortion debate is a no man’s land that is extremely uncomfortable to abide after reading the details of this case.

At least one reporter has completely changed positions on abortion as a result of covering the case. For an account, read and watch the interview of JD Mullane.