Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Clinton-appointed judge rules that pro-life license plates are “patently offensive”

New York pro-life license plate

New York pro-life license plate

Here’s an interesting story from The Daily Caller. (H/T Mary from Marin)

It says:

A new decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals holds that New York’s state government has the right to ban “Choose Life” license plates on the grounds that such a statement is “patently offensive.”

The dispute stems from a now-suspended program offered by New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which allowed private organizations to create custom license plates. If drivers purchased the plates, the purchasing price was split between the DMV and the non-profit.

The Children First Foundation (CFF), an organization promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion, submitted a design for a “Choose Life” license plate, which featured a drawing of two children’s faces in front of a yellow sun.

The proposed plate was rejected, with the DMV citing a policy that allows it to ban “patently offensive” plates in order to prevent incidents of road rage. The “patently offensive” category in U.S. speech is typically related to public obscenity laws, and allows for limitations on things like the public display of pornography or other materials that blatantly violate community standards.

Judge Rosemary Pooler, a Clinton appointee, agreed with New York’s position in her majority opinion. She took this view even though she also ruled that license plates are private speech subject to First Amendment protections. Despite these protections, however, she said that so many New Yorkers could find a plate advocating an anti-abortion position “patently offensive” that the DMV was justified in suppressing the speech.

I want to focus in on the life of the judge who made the decision.

I found her biography on Wikipedia. Look at how successful she was:

Rosemary Pooler was born in New York City. She earned a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1959, an M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Following graduation from law school, Pooler entered private law practice in Syracuse, New York. In 1972, she was appointed as Director of the Consumer Affairs Unit in the Syracuse Corporation Counsel’s Office, serving in that post for a year. From 1974 to 1975, she served on the Syracuse City Council. In 1975, she was appointed as Chairman of the New York State Consumer Protection Board, serving until 1980. The following year, she was appointed to the state Public Service Commission. In 1987, she served as a committee staff member for the New York State Assembly. Following a stint on the law faculty at Syracuse University College of Law, she served for a year as Vice President of Legal Affairs at the Atlantic States Legal Foundation.

In 1986, Rosemary Pooler decided to run for the United States House of Representatives. She challenged conservative Republican incumbent George C. Wortley, who was seeking a fourth term. She campaigned aggressively and came within less than 1,000 votes of winning.

In 1990, she was elected as a Justice for the Fifth Judicial District of the Supreme Court of New York. Four years later, she was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton, serving from 1994 to 1998, as federal district judge in the Northern District of New York. She received her current appointment as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998.

So, this license plate case, along with many of the other issues that I blog about, is the problem. What is the solution to all these problems? The solution is for us as Christians to get serious about our education, our work experience, our earning and saving, and our marriages and parenting in order to have an influence. We need to be the judges who make these decisions about whether pro-life license plates are legal or illegal. Failing that, our children need to be the judges. And that means that when it comes to education and career, instead of doing what makes us feel happy we have to work hard at having an influence. And when it comes to marriage, we should look at it less as something that is feelings-directed and happiness-focused, and more about making it serve God by raising influential, effective children.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Are Christians more concerned about social issues than they are about the poor?

I saw this editorial on the leftist Washington Post and thought it was useful in case you get this question.

It says:

Broadly speaking, American churches are incredibly generous to the needs of a hurting world.

As noted by The Philanthropy Roundtable:

“In 2009, overseas relief and development supported by American churches exceeded $13 billion, according to path-breaking calculations by the Hudson Center for Global Prosperity. (This includes not just evangelical churches but also Catholic and mainline Protestant congregations, and covers both direct missions work and donations to private relief groups.) That compares to $5 billion sent abroad by foundations in the same year, $6 billion from private and voluntary relief organizations apart from church support, and $9 billion donated internationally by corporations. The $13 billion in religious overseas philanthropy also compares impressively to the $29 billion of official development aid handed out by the federal government in 2009.”

[…]In 2012 alone, the evangelical relief group World Vision spent “roughly $2.8 billion annually to care for the poor,” according to World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns. “That would rank World Vision about 12th within the G-20 nations in terms of overseas development assistance.”

World Vision is only one such major evangelical ministry. Groups such as Samaritan’s Purse, Food for the Hungry, World Relief and many others provide hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-poverty programs at home and abroad.

The gold-standard accountability group for evangelical ministries, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, represents groups that provide food, medical care, education, adoption services, orphan care, post-prison assistance, substance abuse help and other critical services at home and abroad. In aggregate, the more than 600 evangelical ministries represented in the ECFA provide more than $9.2 billion in relief assistance.

Catholic ministries, too, here and abroad are vibrant: How many Americans, of every faith and every economic status, have received world-class health care in Catholic hospitals? In total, The Economist magazine’s assessment of the Catholic Church’s estimated $170 billion total U.S. income finds that about 57 percent (roughly $97 billion) goes to “health-care networks, followed by 28 percent on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6 percent, with the remaining $4.6 billion going to ‘national charitable activities.’”

[…]What about some hard numbers? Of the major national conservative Christian groups that are involved in the political arena, here is a representative sampling of various financial reports:

  • Susan B. Anthony List: $7 million
  • Americans United for Life: $4.5 million
  • Family Research Council: $15.2 million
  • National Right to Life: $6.4 million
  • National Organization for Marriage: $1.7 million
  • Focus on the Family: $94.5 million
  • Alliance Defending Freedom: $38.2 million

For the sake of argument, let’s add in the roughly 40 state Family Policy Councils and, generously, surmise their budgets, together, total $100 million.

[…]If you want to be generous, the national/state combo is about $270 million.

I am actually not in favor of Christians focusing so much on alleviating poverty through these massive organizations. This is especially true now, when it’s pretty clear that religious liberty is at stake, even to the degree that our schools, universities and churches are going to lose their tax-exempt status. I think now, we should probably thinking a lot more about apologetics in the churches, better schools and universities, raising influential kids, and political action. This is a crisis situation, survival is more important to me than helping others. We can get back to helping others if we are still here in 25 years.

Filed under: Commentary, , , ,

House Republicans pass ban on abortions after 20 weeks, Hillary tweets against it

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Life News reports on some great news, and the timing was interesting.

Excerpt:

The House of Representatives today approved a pro-life bill that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth.

The vote for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it. The House approved the bill on a 242-184 vote with four Democrats (Reps. Cuellar, Langevin, Lipinski, and Peterson) voting for the bill and five Republicans voting against it (Reps. Dent, Dold, Hanna, Frelinghuysen) or voting present (Hice).

During the debate today on a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, Congressman Sean Duffy gave what may be one of the most passionate defenses of the pro-life position ever seen on the floor of Congress. Duffy took on the claim often made by Democrats who support abortion saying they stand for the defenseless and voiceless.

“I’ve listened to the floor debate day after day .. about how they fight for the forgotten, they fight for the defenseless, they fight for the voiceless. And they pound their chest and stomp their feet. You don’t have anyone in our society that’s more defenseless than these little babies,” he said. “And we are not taking — I believe in conception. I know my colleagues can’t agree with me on that. Can’t we come together and say we are going to stand with little babies that feel pain, that survive outside the womb? Ones that don’t have lobbyists and money? Don’t we stand with those little babies?”

“If you stand with the defenseless, with the voiceless, you have to stand with little babies. Don’t talk to me about cruelty in our bill — when you look at little babies being dismembered, feeling excruciating pain, if we can’t stand to defend these children, what do we stand for in this institution?” he added.

[…]This is the second time the House has voted for the legislation — having approved it in May 2013. The bill was then blocked by pro-abortion Democrats who controlled the U.S. Senate.

The bill also includes protections for babies who are born alive during the abortion. It empowers women who have abortions to sue their abortion providers if they don’t comply with the law. Right now, there are no restrictions on abortions through all nine months of pregnancy at the federal level, and Democrats have even introduced a bill to reverse restrictions on abortion at the state level.

Hillary Clinton is not happy with the bill, because she stands for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy:

No sooner did the House of Representatives pass a bill to protect babies from late-term abortions and ban them after 20 weeks than Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton fired off a statement slamming them for doing so.

The House of Representatives today approved a that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth. The vote for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it.

Should the Senate approve the bill, President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat and now Hillary Clinton has joined him in opposing the bill.

“Politicians should not interfere with personal medical decisions, which should be left to a woman, her family and her faith, in consultation with her doctor or health care provider,” Clinton’s senior policy adviser Maya Harris said in a statement on her behalf.

“This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, which has protected a woman’s constitutional right to privacy for over forty years,” the Clinton campaign said. “The bill puts women’s health and rights at risk, undermines the role doctors play in health care decisions, burdens survivors of sexual assault, and is not based on sound science.”

“It also follows a dangerous trend we are witnessing across the country. In just the first three months of 2015, more than 300 bills have been introduced in state legislatures — on top of the nearly 30 measures introduced in Congress — that restrict access to abortion,” the Clinton spokeswoman added.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton sent out a tweet opposing the late-term abortion ban and supporting Roe v. Wade, which allowed for virtually unlimited abortions up to the day of birth in the United States.

And Barack Obama, has vowed to veto the bill if the Senate approves it.

[T]he White House says Obama would veto the bill.

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.

If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.

A veto of the bill, which is already state law in 11 states, would put Obama at odds with public opinion on abortion once again.

Look here, if you’re in favor of dismembering a 20-week-old unborn child who can feel you tearing her apart limb from limb, then something is really wrong with you. And yet there he is, our President. How did it happen?

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Woman fakes cancer for late-term abortion money, baby died after being born alive

Chalice Renee Zeitner

Chalice Renee Zeitner

Here’s the story from ABC Local News.

It says:

A convicted con artist duped the state into paying for her late-term abortion, a procedure which otherwise would not have been funded with public money, according to court records.

Chalice Renee Zeitner made up a story about having cancer in order to qualify for an abortion while on Arizona’s Medicaid insurance, and forged a doctor’s note to support her claim, according to charging documents.

A doctor performed the abortion when Zeitner was 22-weeks pregnant.

Arizona’s Medicaid, known as AHCCCS, will only pay for an abortion in cases of rape or incest or “medical necessity,” which include cases where the pregnancy causes or worsens a serious health risk to the mother.

Zeitner, 29, received “what was thought to be a medically necessary late-term abortion,” court documents state.

“Zeitner claimed she had stage IV sarcoma in her abdomen and lower spine, had received chemotherapy and radiation treatments and was scheduled to receive a life-saving surgery in Boston,” documents state.

That was later determined to be a fraud, according to documents.

Zeitner had produced a one-page letter, purportedly from a Massachusetts doctor, that supported her claims, documents state.

The abortion was performed in 2010.

But one year later, it was another pregnancy that led to the discovery of Zeitner’s alleged scam.

She returned to the same doctor who performed the abortion to deliver a full-term child by cesarean section.  During that birth, the doctor found no signs of cancer, documents state.

That led to a check with the Boston doctor, which revealed that “he did not know Zeitner and had never treated her,” so the cancer letter from him was a fraud, documents state.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office on Tuesday charged Zeitner with felonies including fraud, theft, and forgery. She has a history of skipping town when she gets into trouble with the law, according to court documents. While a warrant was issued Wednesday, records do not yet indicate that she has been arrested.

Zeitner’s aborted child was born alive, weighing just more than one pound, documents state.

“The baby lived for approximately 20 minutes and received no life-saving measure by hospital staff,” according to documents.

[…]Zeitner has a previous forgery-related conviction in Maricopa County, documents state.

She could not be reached for comment.

Now, if you ask a typical Democrat, they will say that this woman did nothing wrong from start to finish, and that the real solution is for pro-life taxpayers to pony up the money for her late-term abortion. The Democrat position on abortion is that it should be allowed through all nine months of pregnancy, that it should be taxpayer-funded, that doctors and nurses should have to assist without objection, and that babies who are born-alive should be left to die. Our current President, Barack Obama, voted for that last one multiple times when he was a state senator in Illinois.

I sent this story to a Christian woman friend who is strongly feminist and very anti-male. She told me that although she personally opposes abortion, that the law should allow this woman to choose to kill her baby. I was not surprised by this, because whenever I tell her stories about women making horrible decisions, she always either blames men, or gives a counter-example of where someone else made the same stupid decision and it worked out for them. I think that’s what scares me the most about the abortion issue. How many apparently nice people are so convinced that whatever a woman wants to do must be OK.

I can imagine Zeitner posting news of her late-term, born alive abortion and having all her friends click like on it. Yay, Chalice! You didn’t do anything wrong. After all, the baby is dead and gone now, and the mother still alive, and we want her to like us. Why rock the boat by telling her that she did anything wrong? A dental hygienist our family knows has had 3 children out of wedlock, and each time she changes boyfriends, she posts a picture of herself with the new boyfriend on Facebook, and all her friends click like on the picture. What could be wrong with changing boyfriends every year when you have 3 young children to take care of? I think the same cheering on of bad decisions must have happened many times with Zeitner – people around her refusing to set boundaries on her long before she started killing her own babies. It’s easy for a woman to surround herself with people who just approve of everything she is doing – especially when she is young and attractive. Anyone who cautions her can just be blocked out. And the guaranteed failures that result from following her heart can just be declared “unexpected” by her carefully picked entourage of supporters. Life is so unpredictable, so she is not responsible.

Before Zeitner’s abortion decisions ever materialized, there were a million bad decisions that Zeitner made in order to find herself facing the choice to abort. She was acting on selfish motives – she wanted to have fun. So she broke moral rules more and more, and pushed away anyone who would judge her. All her friends and family standing around said nothing or even approved of her, because they were afraid to tell her “this will not work” or “this is wrong”. She had to have an exciting life, and hang out with exciting men. It’s the failure to draw the line with women beforehand that causes them to get to a place where a baby has to die. But we want so much to be her friend. And to be liked. Maybe to get attention from her, or affection from her, or even sex with her. Judging her seems so… intolerant and mean. We don’t want to be mean, do we? The Christian version of this is even more insidious, where the woman’s feelings are “God’s mysterious will for her life” and cannot be questioned or assessed rationally. It all ends the same, though.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Is it wrong to pass incremental pro-life laws?

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision

I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and saving a life is a good thing

Pro-life debater Scott Klusendorf summarizes a recent debate between a pro-life incrementalist and a pro-life abolitionist. An incrementalist is a pro-lifer who wants to pass laws that save lives right now, while still working for a full ban on abortion. An abolitionist is a pro-lifer who does not want to pass laws that solve part of the problem, preferring to hold off on laws that save lives until they can get all abortions banned.

So there was a debate, and Scott watched it, and here is his review.

First, the intro:

T. Russell Hunter issued a very public challenge calling for any pro-life leader to debate him on incrementalism. Gregg Cunningham, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Executive Director of the Center for Bioethical Reform, accepted. The formal debate structure was as follows: 20-minute opening statements, 15-minute rebuttals, 15-minute cross-examination, 5-minute closing statements. An informal audience Q&A followed the formal debate.

[…]Gregg Cunningham won the formal exchange handily and he did so early by pointing out a fundamental flaw in Hunter’s argument—namely, the mistaken claim that pro-lifers have the power to end abortion immediately but won’t. Again and again, he exposed Hunter’s fallacious either/or reasoning by demonstrating that pro-lifers don’t have to choose between incremental legislation that saves some children right now or total abolition that saves all at a later time. Rather, they can advance both strategies simultaneously and save many lives in the process. Cunningham also demonstrated a superior grasp of social reform history, noting that while Wilberforce, Lincoln, and Martin-Luther King were in principle moral absolutists, in practice they functioned as strategic and tactical incrementalists—as do pro-lifers today. During cross-examination, Hunter stumbled badly when asked if those babies saved through incremental legislation should have been left to die. When he refused to give a clear answer—despite being repeatedly pressed to do so—the debate was effectively over. In short, Hunter could not preach his way to victory, even when invoking his understanding of Scripture. His claim that incrementalism is not found in the Bible was decisively refuted when Gregg cited three examples from Scripture where God dealt incrementally with His people.

I watched this video clip to get a feel for how it went down:

In the clip, Cunningham asks if the babies who are saved by incremental legislation should be allowed to die instead. He has some evidence from a law professor saying that incremental laws do save some lives, and he is asking the AHA person should we not enact these incremental laws that save the lives of unborn children.

Scott has the transcript:

GC: I’d like to return to the question with which I began, which Russ hasn’t answered. Should we allow these babies to die rather than enact incremental legislation?

TRH: No.

GC: I’m sorry?

TRH: Like, should we allow – should we allow babies to die?

GC: Should we allow these – because…

TRH: The charade is – the charade is not even what we’re talking about – the incrementalism/immediatism debate. Focusing the ax at the tree, getting all the people who follow incrementalism to become immediatists and help put that ax to the branch – to the root…

GC: Would you answer this question?

TRH & GC: [unintelligible]

Moderator: That was the last question. Russ, go ahead and answer that, and then we’re gonna end this.

GC: Just for the record, Russ didn’t answer the question: Should we have allowed these babies to die, which this university professor says would have died had that legislation not been enacted. Should we have allowed them to die rather than enact the incremental legislation?

Moderator: Okay, Russ, answer that question, then we’ll change.

TRH: Um, well, I firmly believe that abortion is evil, and it is one of these things that the powers and principalities of darkness and high places are very in to. It’s the crown jewel of darkness, and I actually believe that if they can keep abortion going by deceiving people into becoming gradualists, they will do it. And if to deceive them they have to give them empty, illusory victories, and law professors may claim that babies were saved, they’ll do it. But I – if someone goes to an abortion mill and shoots a doctor, a baby might be saved that day, but that’s not going towards abolishing abortion. It’s not establishing justice that day [unintelligible] a baby that day.

GC: May I ask for clarification for your answer? You’re saying this guy’s making this up?

TRH: Uh, no, I have to read it. But I’m just saying that convincing people to be gradualists by saying, “Hey look, we saved some,” while they’re still being – I’m pretty sure that you can convince people to be gradualists for the next 40 years…

GC: Hey Russell, let’s do both. Let’s do both. Let’s do both.

Honestly, I am not sure why anyone pays these AHA people any mind. Just judging from that one clip, I don’t think that Hunter has anything of value to say in this debate. His group seems to be more concerned with attacking other pro-lifers who actually are getting the job done than doing anything. In the real world, incremental pro-life laws save lives. To be persuasive on those incremental laws, you have to talk about the logic and science that supports the pro-life view. That will be persuasive to Christians as well as non-Christians. Building consensus for incremental pro-life laws by appealing to a bigger audience that includes non-Christians makes sense – it solves the actual problem.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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