Friday, February 29, 2008

Is Planned Parenthood a racist organization?

In a disturbing YouTube documentary, a pro-life student at UCLA did an undercover project on Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. An actor working with her contacted several Planned Parenthood clinics, saying he wanted to make a donation to fund abortions of black babies. He said if there were fewer black babies around his son would have a better chance of getting into college, and he wanted to lower the number of black people in America. The response of the Planned Parenthood representatives? Sure. No problem.

Here's one of the dialogues taken from the YouTube documentary:
Caller: ...I really faced trouble with affirmative action, and I don't want my kids to be disadvantaged against black kids.
Planned Parenthood: Yes, absolutely.
Caller: And we don't, you know, we just think the less black kids out there the better.
Planned Parenthood: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable... This is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited and want to make sure I don't leave anything out.

While shocking this is nothing new for Planned Parenthood. According to Blessed are the Barren: "At a March 1925 international birth control gathering held in new york City, a speaker warned of the menace posed by the 'black' and 'yellow' peril. The man was not a national Socialist (Nazi) or leader of the Ku Klux Klan. The speaker was Dr. S. Adolphus Knopf, a member of Margaret Sanger's American Birth Control league (ABCL), which along with other groups eventually became known as Planned Parenthood."

In fact, PP founder Margaret Sanger was a proponent of eugenics and supported eliminating the "unfit" in the population. Of her birth control efforts, she once wrote: "Birth Control is thus the entering wedge for the Eugenic educator...the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit' admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization..." She wrote this in 1921 for the Birth Control Review which had on its masthead, "Birth Control: To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds." (Taken from Blessed are the Barren.)

Not only does Planned Parenthood love getting money to kill unborn children but they're also seemingly fine with getting money from racist people who want to kill specifically black babies. Once the moral firewall of killing unborn babies is breached, I suppose there's no problem with being racist about it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Four of Andy's "moderates" are strong supporters of pro-family legislation

A recent Minnesota Monitor post by Andy Birkey states "Six moderates out, six conservatives in: GOP changes leadership in wake of override vote."

MFC's 2007 Legislative Scorecard (See "Legislative Issues" 2007 Legislative Scorecard) reveals that four of the six moderates were strong supporters of pro-family issues, scoring 81% or better. Two of the four moderates had 100% voting records.

Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka scored 86% on pro-family legislation. He was replaced by Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood with a 96%. Abeler and Dean voted differently on one issue - mental health screening for children.

Another moderate, Rep. Todd Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake scored 100% on pro-family legislation. Rep. Hamilton was replaced by Rep. Dean Urdahl with an identical 100% pro-family voting record.

Rep. Kathy Tingelstad, R-Andover scored a strong 81%. Tingelstad was replaced by Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker with a score of 93%. Tingelstad and Howes voted differently on two issues - State funding of Interhational Baccalaureate and mental health screening for children.

Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport scored a moderate 100%. He was replaced by Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton with the exact same 100% voting record.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Minnesota state legislator "creates" new economic model to justify vote for gas tax

Bloomington Republican state Representative Neil Peterson came out with an op/ed piece in the Star Tribune justifying his vote to override Governor Pawlenty's veto of the transportation gas tax increase. In doing so he's tried to reinvent economics to justify his vote and reinvent the idea that raising taxes is really a conservative position.

1) For instance, he said that the gas tax really isn't a tax -- it's a user fee.

A gas tax is a user fee, plain and simple, and for 20 years it has not been increased. This additional user fee will cost each of us less than a cup of coffee each month.

Not so. A user fee is a fee which a person pays to a use specific service like a toll road fee or bus or light rail ticket. Gasoline can be used for many things not involving use of roads or transit. When a company uses gas to run machines or heat a plant or I use gas to run my mower that has nothing to do with use of a road.

2) Then there is his argument that his vote for a tax increase was done to keep taxes down.
I supported the bill not because I believe in more taxation but because I believe in less.
That's absurd on it's face. If he believes in lower taxes, he shouldn't vote to increase them. He argues that cities and towns will raise their property tax to repair their streets if the state doesn't do it. If he truly believed in lower taxes he wouldn't have voted for one and he would have discouraged his city from raising property taxes. He would, instead, encourage them to reprioritize existing spending to address road problems.

3) Then he supports this tax increase because we have a slowing economy.
I supported the bill because we have a slowing economy in our state.
If one has a slowing economy raising taxes is not the answer. The private sector is much more efficient and effective in creating jobs than the government. Increasing taxes will only accentuate an economic slowdown.

4) Then he says it's good for the government to raise taxes to create more jobs.

People have suggested that an economic downturn is not the time for a bill like this. I believe it is the time. This bill will support thousands of jobs -- jobs with salary dollars that will stay in Minnesota.

Economically speaking, having government raise taxes to create more jobs is not the most efficient way to create jobs. The private sector is much more effective and efficient in creating jobs. Raising taxes makes it more difficult for businesses to create jobs.

5) Then there's the "remedy" for a slowing economy -- more jobs.

What is the remedy for a slowing economy? Jobs. We need these dollars in Minnesota. Our way of life here and our future depend on a strong economic base. We bemoan the loss of 900 jobs at Macy's downtown, but we are losing many times that number in our construction industry alone.
How will this tax increase keep more dollars in Minnesota? I guess it taxes individuals and businesses one last time before they relocate their business or residency in another state. Frankly, it does nothing to bring more dollars into the state.

6) Then he says he voted against inflationary increases in transportation.

With this bill, I voted against inflationary increases for transportation.

No, he voted to spend additional taxpayer money for transportation; his vote had nothing to do with controlling inflation.

Now, it's one thing to say, "Hey, I believe we should spend more money on roads and transit and I'm willing to raise taxes to do it. I realize it takes more money out of the family and individual budget but this is a higher priority." It's another to justify one's decision by turning economics and common sense on their head.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are Darwinian evolution's days numbered?

Here's an interesting story on the events which are working to undermine Darwinian naturalism -- the belief that the universe and all that exists, including you and me, developed through a random, chance, materialist process -- and the mechanism for that theory, the gradualism of natural selection. What's conspiring to discredit Darwin's theory are scientific discoveries of the last several decades.

For many this is an arcane, obscure, philosophical debate which occasionally hits the mainstream media in disputes between parents and school officials over the teaching of evolution in the schools.

However, what's at stake is much deeper and more earthshaking than that. Darwin provided a scientific justification for the scientific materialist philosophical perspective that the material is all that exists. There is no overarching meaning and purpose to the universe. There is no God. The implications are felt in all areas of life including ethics, morality, education, and law among others. The impact of evolutionary thinking on morality is nothing is fixed and knowable. It's all personal preference at best. If there is a moral standard, it's evolving. (How often have I heard that the family, marriage is an evolving social construct rather than rooted in the mind of God and our human nature.)

When Darwin's theory is fully discredited it will have wide ranging implications -- the rest of the super structure will fall.

Again, ideas have consequences for good or for ill.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"How Would Jesus Vote?" Liberalism and privatization of faith

The title "How Would Jesus Vote?" isn't from a Washington Post article written by a conservative, Christian evangelical, but a self identified liberal evangelical.

The story is a justification, without giving any basis, for why a self identified evangelical can vote for a candidate with whom they fundamentally disagree with on the great moral and social issues of the day like abortion and homosexual marriage.

I think the fundamental question, which the author doesn't address, is how should one's faith implicate how and for whom one votes? What issues are of paramount importance and which aren't? And if the paramount issues aren't paramount in your thinking has a person in effect privatized or neutered the implications of his or her faith?

It also points out how the postmodern mindset, e.g. truth is privatized or relativized has infected so many Christians. To simply say, I'm an evangelical (or whatever) and I can vote for whomever I want, doesn't cut it.

For instance, is abortion on the same moral plane as a low income program? Is homosexual marriage on the same level as an early childhood education program?

The author Amy Sullivan seems by implication to say yes. But is that a morally defensible position? I think not.

Is not protecting human life of more importance than funding a specific welfare program? I think it is for a number of reasons. First, the protection of human life is fundamental. A welfare program in the US is not dealing with a life or death issue. We don't have people starving on the streets. Second, might that government program in fact be counterproductive, e.g. discouraging work and personal responsibility; what we saw with welfare programs until welfare reforms of the 1990s. Thus this program may actually do more harm than good.

Sullivan seems to be saying, my faith justifies me voting for candidates who diametrically oppose my deepest moral convictions but that's OK.

I frankly don't believe that's morally justified or OK.

The tenor of the article is "Accept me into your political club and I'll keep quiet about my moral beliefs. Just don't reject me." In essence, she's placed politics and acceptance ahead of truth and what's right.

This is shown by her example of the governor of Colorado. We'll vote for you for governor as long as you don't act on your pro-life views.
That same fall, an antiabortion Catholic Democrat, Bill Ritter, won the Colorado governorship after convincing his party's activists and donors that a pro-life politician need not be actively anti-choice.
Where is the salt and light in this politician's moral convictions and religious beliefs? There is none. His religious faith has no public significance or consequences for an important moral position he holds. Yet the Bible is very clear about the connection between one's faith and actions. You don't believe what you say you believe if you're unwilling to act on them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good news and bad news on the state of intact families and children

Recently released numbers show that a good majority, 61%, of America's children still live with their biological parents based on 2004 data from the Census Bureau. A graph produced by the Family Research Council from SIPP (Survey of Income and Program Participation) produced by the U.S. Census Agency shows that 58.3% of children live with their biological, married parents. This points out that the notion that parents raising their offspring are becoming an endangered species is definitely not true.

The SIPP data goes on to show that among Asian Americans 80.5% of their children lived with their married, biological parents in 2004, an increase from 76.4% in 2001.

The bad news is among other ethnic groups the number of kids raised by their married, biological parents dropped from 2001 to 2004. Among whites it dropped from 67.1% to 65.9% and among blacks it went from 29% to 28.2%.

Of course, some will say what's the big deal. Family structures are evolving. It doesn't matter who's heading up the family as long as they provide a loving environment. Well, family structure is a huge deal for kids because, the biological, married parents of kids are best equipped to provide that loving environment. Blood relationships and married couple households provide more stability than cohabiting arrangements. The problems for kids with family break-up are a greater likelihood of involvement in crime and substance abuse, poverty, poor education performance and so forth.

For instance, fatherlessness is a huge problem in the black community. Expecting government to solve the problem through more government programs, early childhood programs, child care programs is merely addressing the symptoms. And in fact has the potential to provide the wrong incentives and make matters worse. (If a government program can take over parenting responsibilities then maybe dads or moms are dispensable.)

Family and marital break-up is the fundamental social crisis of the day and it's largely being ignored or misunderstood by policy makers.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another example of why a federal marriage amendement is necessary -- Push in New Jersey for homosexual marriage

New Jersey Governor John Corzine announced he will sign a homosexual marriage bill but it doesn't it need to come to his desk immediately; it can wait until after the 2008 election. The New Jersey legislature was forced, not too long ago, by the their state Supreme Court to pass a civil union bill which is homosexual marriage in all but name. So Corzine says lets go all the way and redefine the institution for everyone.
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Tuesday said he has "significant concerns" about whether civil unions give gay couples the same rights as married couples, but didn't back a quick change to state law.

A spokeswoman said the Democratic governor would sign a bill allowing gay marriage, but not until after November's presidential election.

"He will sign a bill, but doesn't want to make it a presidential election year issue," Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said.

Steven Goldstein, chairman of gay rights group Garden State Equality, said a state report that found civil unions creates a second-class status for gay couples boosts their claims that the unions don't work.

It found gay couples in Massachusetts _ the only state that allows gay marriage _ don't experience the legal complications that those in New Jersey do.

"New Jersey's civil union law segregates, discriminates and humiliates the very people it is supposed to help," Goldstein said.
This situation highlights a couple of concerns. First, civil unions and domestic partnerships are marital type relationships which lay the foundation for homosexual marriage by placing in law legal recognition of homosexual relationships on par with marriage relationships between a man and a woman. They are merely a pretext or stepping stone for homosexual marriage.

Second, it highlights the need for a federal marriage amendment. Having states develop various definitions of marriage is untenable for the entire nation. I believe it's analogous to the battle over slavery. Some thought we could compartmentalize slavery by allowing some states to remain free and others slave. Lincoln ultimately saw this as unworkable. The slave states demanded that slave owners be able to take their "property" with them wherever they went. Lincoln said we'll eventually be all free or all slave. So too, homosexual couples will demand recognition of their homosexual "marriages" when they move to states which don't recognize same sex marriage. So the entire nation will either entirely recognize homosexual marriage or stay with marriage between a man and a woman. There is no middle ground.

Some will say, as former Governor Ventura said to me when I ran into him recently, that the answer is get the state out of the marriage business. I asked how would it do this? By simply establishing civil unions for same and oppose sex couples. But isn't that marriage by another name? He didn't have a plausible response.

The fact is marriage is both a religious and civil institution. It's found in our religious traditions but also written on our hearts by our Creator. It's part of our DNA and is as much a part of the natural order as the law of gravity. Human race is dependent on a man and a woman procreating to insure there's a next generation. But also having those mothers and fathers raising children who in turn will be mothers and fathers themselves. When we deviate from this natural design untold problems result, e.g. messed up kids, crime, poverty, drug abuse, abortion, disease and on and on the list goes.

Homosexual marriage advocates believe marriage and the norm of mothers and fathers raising their children is merely a social construct we can change at will. The lessons of history, decline of past civilizations and cultures and our current social experiment in alternative family arrangements in the West and the US reveal how fatally flawed this notion is. (Our first experiment with family redefinition, e.g. encouraging single parent headed households has been an abysmal disaster.)

The outcome of the homosexual marriage experiment and with it the fundamental redefinition of family is not in question -- the destruction of our culture and society. The only question is will the United States veer away from the precipice before it's too late.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Who's more liberal Hillary or Barak?

Though you wouldn't know it from media portrayals of Obama, he had the most liberal Senate voting record in 2007 according to a National Journal report. The Journal story did note there aren't a lot of policy differences between Clinton and Obama.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal's 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the other front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, also shifted to the left last year. She ranked as the 16th-most-liberal senator in the 2007 ratings, a computer-assisted analysis that used 99 key Senate votes, selected by NJ reporters and editors, to place every senator on a liberal-to-conservative scale in each of three issue categories. In 2006, Clinton was the 32nd-most-liberal senator.

In their yearlong race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama and Clinton have had strikingly similar voting records. Of the 267 measures on which both senators cast votes in 2007, the two differed on only 10. "The policy differences between Clinton and Obama are so slight they are almost nonexistent to the average voter," said Richard Lau, a Rutgers University political scientist.

How They Scored

But differences define campaigns. The yeas and nays matter. And in a Senate in which party-line votes are the rule, the rare exceptions help to show how two senators who seemed like ideological twins in 2007 were not actually identical. Obama and Clinton were more like fraternal policy twins, NJ's vote ratings show.

I suspect if Obama wins the Democratic nomination his positions and policies will no doubt come under much greater scrutiny than the current focus on his rhetorical skills.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Left and politics as religion -- Wellstone and Obama as examples

Years after the tragic death of Paul Wellstone in a plane crash, one still sees Wellstone bumper stickers on cars in the Twin Cities. And then there is the occasional one with the letters: "WWWD?" standing for "What Would Wellstone Do?" This of course is a take off of the previous trend in evangelical circles "WWJD?" or "What Would Jesus Do?" It struck me, why would anyone compare Wellstone to Jesus unless they viewed him as a messianic figure of some kind.

The same thing seems to be happening with Barak Obama.

One can almost catch a whiff of this "politics is more than politics" with the Obama campaign and some of his supporters. He's offering a hope which transcends politics. First, there's the idol worship of some of his supporters. We hear of people fainting at his rallies.

Now some in the mainstream media are picking up on this, both on the right and the left. In a recent column Charles Krauthammer quotes Obama as saying, "We are the hope of the future." We can "remake this world as it should be." And we can become "a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest." Pretty heady stuff. It almost sounds like politics as religion.

Krauthammer then quotes commentators on the liberal side.

ABC's Jake Tapper notes the "Helter-Skelter cultish qualities" of "Obama worshipers," what Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times calls "the Cult of Obama." Obama's Super Tuesday victory speech was a classic of the genre. Its effect was electric, eliciting a rhythmic fervor in the audience -- to such rhetorical nonsense as "We are the ones we've been waiting for. (Cheers, applause.) We are the change that we seek."

That was too much for Time's Joe Klein. "There was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism ... ," he wrote. "The message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is."

I've always thought the political Left, while not big church or synagogue attendees and strongly hostile to anything which smacks of religion coming from the conservative side of the political spectrum, is not void of religious fervor. In fact, I think for the Left politics is a religion of sorts.

It makes sense. Philosophically, folks on the Left seem to drift off into one of two directions. The first is the new age spiritualities of the individual, "You choose the path to the god of your own making" or they adopt the secular, materialist view of life -- Darwinian evolution -- which says the universe and all that exists (including you and me) are merely the result of a mindless, random, chance process. Man again is the center of things, because he must supply meaning in a meaningless universe.

But if the definition of religion is that which one worships or gives first priority in one's life, I would argue everybody worships something or somebody. In the case of the political Left, if man is ultimately in charge then why not use politics, the state to usher in the ideal society, the Kingdom of God -- without God of course. It's the utopian view that man is basically good and we can create the ideal society through the vehicle of the state. Rousseau's idea. Of course, these ideas opened that door to the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, e.g. Soviet Russia, Communist China and Pol Pot's Cambodia.

It seems as though Obama is tapping into the utopian sentiments of many on the Left with some of his rhetoric.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ex-cop's killing of unborn baby = murder; Abortion = ?

As reported by Fox News and other sources, an Ohio jury has convicted former police officer Bobby Cutts Jr. of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn baby girl. He could face the death penalty.,2933,330787,00.html

The jury reportedly accepted the prosecutor's argument that Cutts strangled his girlfriend because of mounting child support.

Can someone help me understand this: What is the difference between Cutts killing his unborn baby because he can't afford to support another child, and a doctor killing an unborn baby because the mother can't afford to support another child?

Why is this unborn baby's killing regarded as murder, but abortion isn't? What the father did is murder, but if the mother sought and obtained an abortion for the same reason it's legal? What's wrong with this picture?

Further proof of the irrationality of Roe v. Wade and legal abortion.

It's a child, not a choice!

It will be interesting to see if the mainstream media mentions this angle on the story. It will also be interesting to see how abortion rights advocates dance around it -- if they dare to respond to it at all.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Constitutional amendment increasing sales tax for environment, water and arts will face tough time in November

The Minnesota House and Senate today passed a constitutional amendment increasing funding for the outdoors, the arts and the environment via a 3/8 of 1% increase in the sales tax. It will go on the November ballot for the voter's to decide.

The proposal while intended to increase funding in these areas may mean reduced general budget for these areas because future legislators will say, we can cut back some general budget arts funding because the arts are getting an extra $54.5 million a year from this constitutional amendment. It won't hurt if we redirect some of those funds to other programs. The same for other areas. The ultimate consequence is merely a tax increase through the constitutional amendment process.

Others have questioned whether it's appropriate to making funding decisions through the constitutional amendment process. It allows legislators to avoid making the tough decision of raising taxes.

I think the most problematic element is arts funding via the government. I think there's a legitimate role for the government to play in protecting the environment but should government bureaucrats be deciding what art receives taxpayer dollars.

I think this amendment may well have a difficult time passing in November. First, in time of economic slowdown, people are less willing to vote themselves a tax increase. And second, under Minnesota's constitutional amendment process, a majority of all votes cast in the general election must be in favor of the amendment not just those cast on the amendment. Often many people don't vote on constitutional amendments; they leave it blank. Those non-votes are treated as no votes. Meaning? For an amendment to pass will require approximately 55% support. That won't be easy for a significant tax increase and the broad reach of the amendment.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

OutFront Minnesota 2008 legislative agenda is as controversial as 2007

In their incremental strategy to obtain same sex marriage in Minnesota, homosexual activists at OutFront Minnesota will take another run at the state legislature in 2008. They're describing their efforts as a less controversial approach than last year. They say they are merely seeking to authorize cities, towns, schools and counties to offer marriage benefits to homosexual couples and establish a marital type status for homosexual couples for purposes of public assistance.

In either case, these two proposals are just as controversial as their proposals in 2007. The goal remains the same: establish in state law a marital-like status for homosexual couples.

The PR side is to create the most empathetic situation. Last year it was homosexual partners of hospitalized partners. They alleged homosexuals, because they couldn't marry, were denied hospital access to their partners. (The only problem was homosexual partners weren't excluded from visiting their partners by Twin Cities hospitals we contacted. And proponents wouldn't accept a proposal which would allow any adult to decide who could visit their partner. Thus showing both the discriminatory nature of their proposal and their intent was exclusively getting a homosexual marriage type status embedded in state law.)

This new proposal will be just as discriminatory as the ones they pushed last year. Why should homosexual couples be given special recognition exclusive of other people who care for someone just because they aren't homosexual? Say elderly siblings? Long time non-homosexual friends who live together? An elderly parent living with a disabled adult child?

The reason they aren't interested in helping other people in similar situations is because they're only concerned about moving towards homosexual marriage recognition in state law. These initiatives are merely the first step towards the eventual goal of recognizing homosexual marriage whether through the courts or the legislature.

That's why these proposals are every bit as controversial, notwithstanding their claims to the contrary, as their proposals last year which Governor Pawlenty threatened to veto.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Will McCain select Pawlenty as VP?

With John McCain all but certain to be the Republican nominee for president, people are turning their attention to whom he'll select as his running mate. Our Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's name is being mentioned, because he's a governor and a long time McCain supporter.

Some say McCain needs to select someone from the South to solidify his support there. Other say he needs to select someone with more conservative bona fides because of the suspicion many conservatives have with McCain.

What will McCain actually do? The case can be made that he'll follow his own instincts and select someone based on personal affinity rather than one who serves exclusively some political purpose. McCain has an independent streak which supports this this line of thinking.

I came across a recent column containing a McCain quote on his criteria for a VP running mate which supports this line of thinking.
"The process will begin and the fundamental principle behind any selection of a running mate would be whether that person is fully prepared to take over and share your values, your principles, your philosophy, and your priorities. I think that's the first and only real criteria for the selection of a running mate."

McCain also dismissed the notion that he must pick someone for
geographic balance. He explained that, "From a practical standpoint, I think that former President Clinton and former Vice President Gore showed that you don't have to be regionally different. I think that America is such now, that the quote, regional differences, don't play the role that maybe they did in earlier times."
This suggests fit and compatibility are more important to him than geographical or political considerations. Pawlenty would then be a leading candidate for the VP, because there seems to be a personal affinity between him and McCain.

The perception that Pawlenty might also bring geographical benefits to ticket was mentioned in this column by the Wall Street Journal's John Fund. Fund's a conservative columnist whose comments strike me as almost supportive of Pawlenty.

Mr. McCain also puts several Midwest battleground states in play. Should he pick Minnesota's Gov. Tim Pawlenty as his vice presidential choice, he might have a leg up on carrying both Minnesota and Wisconsin, which went narrowly for Mr. Kerry in 2004.

"The media markets in western Wisconsin get Minneapolis television and are oriented to their news--Pawlenty would be a plus there," says Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican. "McCain's independent stands would play well in that region--which is exactly where GOP presidential candidates have done poorly enough so that they lost statewide by 12,000 votes or so in both 2004 and 2000."

Pawlenty as a vice presidential nominee would carry on the Minnesota tradition of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale who were nominees and then eventually vice presidents.

One caveat might be a very strong finish by Huckabee throughout the South which could put substantial pressure on McCain to select him.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Conservatives and McCain

With McCain the certain Republican nominee, much has been made of the strong reaction to McCain by some conservatives. A very interesting take on this dynamic was written up by John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine. I think he provides some interesting perspectives on McCain. I'm sure his experience as prisoner of war taught him to march to the beat of a different drummer. It should be a very interesting election race between McCain and either Clinton or Obama. In the meanwhile, I suspect McCain will spend time trying to rebuild bridges with disgruntled conservatives. His first effort was speaking at the CPAC convention today. He certainly accented his conservative views, primarily on economic issues.

"Equip and mobilize" gaining momentum

MFC/MFI’s mission to mobilize pastors and churches for Christian citizenship and biblical influence in culture is gaining momentum - and recognition.

Equip: A recent article in The Rake "Do You Really Believe", highlights MFI’s efforts to spread The Truth Project across Minnesota. One pastor has called the response a “movement” as over 140 churches have committed to conducting a Truth Project in their church. Over 400 of these prospective leaders are attending Truth Project Leadership Training this weekend at Harbor Church in Hastings.

Mobilize: One of the results of MFC’s efforts to pass a marriage amendment was the creation of a database of social conservatives. An article in the Pioneer Press “Amazed by Tuesday? Just Wait”, recognized MFC’s role in mobilizing voters to attend their local caucuses.

“Activist organizations - from the gay rights groups OutFront Minnesota and Human Rights Campaign, to the family values groups Minnesota Family Council and Minnesota Family Institute - urged and helped their constituents to caucus. “

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Because it's unhealthy stupid!

Two recent stories underscore the unhealthy ideology behind “gay rights” and comprehensive sex education that is endangering our children and our national health.

The first is the outbreak of a drug resistant, highly contagious staph infection in U.S. hospitals. A new study by the University of California, San Francisco reported that the strain has spread rapidly in the homosexual populations of San Francisco and Boston. They feared the “flesh eating” infection “has the potential for rapid, nationwide dissemination” among gay men.

In a Reuter’s interview, Dr. Binh Diep, the researcher who led the study, said, “Once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable … ‘We think that it's spread through sexual activity.’”

Beware extremists claiming that anyone can catch the infection. Perhaps. However, before it spreads to the general population lets point out that those indulging in high-risk, anonymous sex with multiple partners aren’t just anyone.

In another story, San Jose University has banned blood drives from campus because homosexuals (a high risk category for HIV/AIDS) are not allowed to donate. According to Citizen Link, “San Jose State students and faculty donate about 300 units of blood a year, and, according to Michele Hyndman of the Stanford Blood Center, any further losses could put local patients in jeopardy.”

“We’re not arguing anything about the science," said Larry Carr, university vice president. "We’re not in a position to argue the science. We have a conflict with a nondiscrimination policy on our campus.”

Parents should demand that Carr resign, as he is endangering the health of the students, the blood supply and the community at large. He is allowing political correctness to trump sound medical standards. In an era of rampant sexually transmitted diseases this is criminal.

In Minnesota Clamydia is up. STD’s are up. Unwanted pregnancies are up, and yet the cowardly and deceitful comprehensive sex ed ideologs - and their media shills - blame abstinence and demand condom/dental dam* based indoctrination for our innocent youth.

Has it occurred to these dangerous ideologs that all these precautions (condoms, dental dams, vaccines, pills, abortions) are proof that they are encouraging our children to play in a disease infested playground?

A healthy dose of science teaches us that unhealthy sex begets unhealthy consequences and teaching our children to practice unhealthy behavior - even with a dental dam or condom - is child abuse.

* A dental dam is a piece of latex used for oral sex. Even the CDC has stated "No barrier methods for use during oral sex have been evaluated as effective by the FDA."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Surrogacy Agreements: Selling babies, designer babies and rent-a-wombs

I came across an interesting New York Times story by Judith Warner entitled, "Outsourced wombs." It describes the use of women in India to carry to term babies for wealthy US couples and women. The author feels very uncomfortable about the practice but just isn't sure why. That's understandable if there isn't an universal moral framework in the world which governs human actions and relationships.

She raises the specter of Huxley's "Brave New World" and the dehumanization of the practice. That's just what surrogacy is for all concerned. For the birth mother who's "used" to bring into the world the "designer" baby. The intended parents who can have the baby of their choice without all the hassles of child birth. The sperm or egg donors who can sell their genetic material for money and simply walk away with no responsibility for the "product" er baby resulting. And of course the baby who is treated as a commodity exchanged for money as part of an arm's length business agreement.

The practice tweaks the moral sensibilities of lots of people and rightfully so. The practice is an affront to the design and purpose of the Creator for parents, children, and families. As Chuck Colson says:

"...we cannot get away from the law written on our hearts, which tells us that the Creator has an intentional design for our families that benefits and protects men, women, and children. And when we deliberately try to circumvent that design, the frightening truth is that we end up using people; men for their sperm, women for their eggs or their body parts. And sadly, we even use the resulting children for our own gratification.. that every human life has value and dignity--not because we can use that life to satisfy a need or desire, but because the Creator of all life made us in His image and values us beyond all comprehension."

Colson points to the moral framework Christianity brings to the discussion.

Interestingly, the practice is frowned upon in Europe, of all places, where surrogacy is outright banned or severely restricted.

The issue will be coming to Minnesota in the 2008 legislative session where the Minnesota Bar Association is working on a bill to legalize the practice.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Is what you believe really true?

The February 2008 issue of The Rake magazine came out with a story on The Truth Project a small group curricula designed to encourage Christians to study the implications of their faith, e.g. are Christianity's truth claims merely one's personal preference or are they true for all and every area of life.

The writer Alyssa Ford, who describes herself as having "left the flock" and "no longer a true believer", did I think a fair and balanced story on the program. (You never know whether a writer from one of the alternative magazines merely wants to trash you or geniunely tell a story.)

The Truth Project, which is a very basic, elementary discussion of a wide range of topics, asks the big question: what is truth? And it has struck a cord with an increasing number of evangelicals. There are a wide range of contradictory, confusing assertions in society about what is true. It's all the more incumbent then on Christians now to tackle the issues head on. I'm fully confident that Christianity can more than hold its own. In fact, I think it ultimately prevails. Why? Because it's true and is the only worldview which truly and accurately explains what we see, hear, experience, and understand in life.

From a public square standpoint, I think the cultural Left is rooted in an ideology bereft of a grounding in the truth. In many instances, they don't even believe in truth. At best, it's "my truth" as found in postmodernism. The truly dangerous folks are those so wed to an ideology that they're unwilling and unable to consider facts which counter their most deeply held beliefs. The most murderous ideology in the history of the world was the secular ideology of communism which led to the death's of a hundred plus million people in the 20th century.

The same challenge, debate is being played out in the religious arena between Christianity and Islam. What's so powerful about Christianity is it's rooted in history, reality not a person's private perspective of reality. That's Islam's Achilles' heel and why it will be found wanting.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Defenders of Kinky sex materials at UM have a novel defense: It will save lives!

Andy Birkey of Minnesota Monitor has come up with a novel defense of disseminators of "kinky sex" how materials promoted by the University of Minnesota's student group "Kinky U": It will save lives. He points to a Rev. Gary Aldridge who died of from suffocation while engaging in bizarre sex practices. His "hands and feet were bound together behind his back, and they were attached to a nylon cord fastened around his neck...The body was dressed in a face mask with a single breathing vent, two wetsuits and was bound with cords and a belt, according to the report."

If only he'd been told how to do it "safely." Birkey says that " What killed him was a lack of understanding about the safety of the activities he enjoyed engaging in, a lack of information on kinky sex. That's all the students at the university are trying to do: make not-so-vanilla sex safer and "educate those interested about the risks involved."

This mindset is widespread among those who maintain a more libertine view of sexuality. The ultimate goal is human pleasure whatever form that takes. That's the high human value. So we should do all we can to reduce the risks of the inherently dangerous and harmful behavior. In fact, the government should do all it can to help facilitate whatever people want to do. (See massive government spending on contraceptive programs.) The only problem is it makes the problem worse because it sends the message that the underlying behavior is fine, so you have more folks engaging in it.

Compare this to the message communicated on smoking. It's bad for you. Don't do it. We don't encourage people to engage in efforts to merely minimize the dangerous side effects; we tell them to stop. The reason? You're more likely to reduce the number of people smoking if the message is clear, unequivocal and directed at the underlying behavior.

But when it comes to sexual behaviors that's a whole other story. Many people's lives and identities are tied up in their sexual behaviors and practices. To tell them to stop the underlying sexual behaviors or restrict them to a marriage relationship means they'll have to deny who they think they are and/or their passions. The result? Merely try and mitigate the damaging consequences of the behaviors. On the other hand, if we really wanted to protect more people we'd send a clear message discouraging the underlying behaviors. In the long run, more people would be saved.

So if the goal is to prevent dangerous consequences of dangerous behaviors, the most effective solution is discouraging the underlying activity. But that's where proponents of various bizarre sexual practices are not willing to go. They insist it's their right to engage in these activities and have other people subsidize them.

One last comment. Birkey accuses opponents of Kinky U of being "judgmental". It sounds like Mr. Birkey is being a bit judgmental in his assertion of judgmentalism. In their minds, the cultural Left is never judgmental; it's only those on the Right except of course when Mr. Birkey "judges" those on the Right.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.

The Minnesota Department of Health, in a wise move has decided not to make the HPV vaccination a mandatory vaccination for all Minnesota children.

HPV which is one of the most prevalent STDs and a leading cause of cervical cancer is transmitted through sexual activity. Normally, mandated immunizations are tied to diseases spread through the air or casual contact, so that's a major difference with HPV.

This decision should be left to parents. With any immunization there are potential side effects so simply immunizing children for everything isn't the answer.

I thought it was interesting that the immunization only lasts for five years and of course the push is to immunize girls earlier and earlier, down into the junior high ages.

And the question has to be asked does simply immunizing more children with the HPV vaccine, send the message that kids are now "protected" from one more of the negative consequences of premarital sexual activity, so it's OK to proceed. Like the condom message which also doesn't prevent the spread of STDs. It should be noted that the HPV vaccine doesn't prevent 30% of cervical cancers, so it's not 100% effective.

The answer? A clear chastity message, parental involvement and regular medical check ups.