Monday, July 21, 2014

True Freedom in Christian Anthropology

Yesterday I went to Mass at St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia. Our seminarian-in-residence for the summer authored a brilliant piece that was published in the parish bulletin. I am including it below as it is one of the simplest explanations of a complex subject that I have ever read. Please, please take time to read it.

This explanation of what true freedom is about, with regard to the immersion into sin that befalls those who do not have a God-centered view of life and freedom, is also behind the actions of people like those in my post earlier today. In those two videos we saw the actions of two people who both maliciously and willfully interrupted the peaceful and lawful protests of Christians who sought only to draw attention to those whose rights are truly being trampled through abortion -- the unborn.

I pray for people like Mississippian Mike Peters and the violent, angry Ohio woman. May their hearts be converted and may they come to understand what true freedom is all about.

Life: The Most Important Inalienable Right at ALL Stages

Anyone who thinks that an unborn child is just a bunch of unrecognizable cells while in the mother's uterus should watch this video.

Warning: This video is necessarily extremely graphic. It is real. It is heart-breaking.

These children will never get the chance to be embraced in the arms of their mothers or fathers or siblings. They died because their mothers and their mothers' doctors (or other medical personnel) did not want these babies to live.The fact that babies continue to move even after being extracted prematurely from their mothers' bodies is unfathomable. All of these babies are brutally terminated before they have the chance to live as God intended.

If a woman with an ounce of love in her heart really stopped to think about the images in this film, she could NEVER choose abortion, regardless of how she was impregnated.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, please let all women who become pregnant realize that they are carrying a gift from You inside their wombs. Break through the selfishness or the shame or the fear or whatever drives women to decide that the child within their womb does not have a God-given right to life that trumps their man-made "right" to purge their womb of Your gift. Let all women around the world Respect Life, most especially the vulnerable, fragile life that may come to grow within their wombs. AMEN.

Mississippi Police Do Nothing As Man Blatantly Steals Signs of Pro-Life Group

The video below was posted a few days ago after an incident on the streets of Jackson, Mississippi.
On July 17, 2014, Created Equal visited Jackson, MS, site of the state's last remaining abortion facility as part of Day 4 of our Summer Justice Ride. Upon arrival, and despite several attempts by Created Equal's Mark Harrington to convince police to intervene, our property was stolen while police stood by idly.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies to the 50 states. Certainly these protesters have the right to display their message in a public place. Indeed, the police officer even told them so at the beginning of the video. And without a doubt, the man (men) who moved their signs from the street to the hallway had no right to do so. The police officers did not react to the pleas of the owners of the signs to stop the offending man from taking away their signs. Why not?

The video did not show the outcome of this incident. We do not know why the man was moving their signs. He moved them into an off-street entryway, so it is reasonable to guess that he did not want the signs to be seen. The video indicates that the owners of the signs intended to file charges for theft of property against the sign-taking man or men. The question is, will they be successful in criminal court?

There are dozens of witnesses to what transpired. Indeed, it was captured on film that has been seen by thousands of people. Is the man not guilty as sin?

The answer and the likelihood of success of a theft charge against the man will depend on how the criminal statutes of Mississippi define "theft" or "larceny" and how those statutes are interpreted. Here is a simple explanation:

What is Theft?

The term theft is used widely to refer to crimes involving the taking of a person's property without their permission. But theft has a very broad legal meaning which may encompass more than one category, and multiple degrees, of crimes. Theft is often defined as the unauthorized taking of property from another with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. Within this definition lie two key elements:
1) a taking of someone else's property; and
2) the requisite intent to deprive the victim of the property permanently.
The taking element in a theft typically requires seizing possession of property that belongs to another, and may also involve removing or attempting to remove the property. However, it is the element of intent where most of the complex legal challenges typically arise in theft-related cases.
Clearly, the element that is most troubling is the one that says the person taking the property must have an intent to deprive the owner permanently of his property. The man in this incident never says a word, and he does not take the property out of sight of the owners. So he will argue in defense that he did not intend to permanently deprive the owners of their property. He will argue that he was just moving it out of sight because he found it to be offensive.

Does this make it right? Of course not. Is there anything the owners can do? They did not attempt to stop the man from taking their signs. They did no go into the hallway to try to retrieve their signs. Thus, there was not physical altercation. If they had gone into the hallway to get their property, they would have been charged with trespassing on private property.

I am sure that the man taking their signs was well-versed in the law and he knew that he has "lack of intent" as a defense. The owners reacted as he hoped -- they passively watched as he took their signs and removed them from public sight. If he eventually moved the signs back onto the sidewalk, perhaps after traffic died down or area businesses closed their doors, then he perhaps has a valid defense and will not be convicted. If he shut the door and did not return the property to a location where it was accessible to the owners without their having to commit a violation of the law (trespassing) to retrieve it, then again it is not likely that he could be convicted of theft.

Mississippi law also has a provision for "robbery." The victims in this case could assert that the man's actions constituted robbery, which is a more serious crime than mere theft.
In Mississippi, robbery is defined as “feloniously [taking] the personal property of another, in his presence or from his person and against his will, by violence to his person or by putting such person in fear of some immediate injury to his person . . . .” Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-73. This is “simple robbery,” or it is sometimes referred to as “strong arm robbery.”
In order to convict you of robbery in Mississippi, the State must prove:
  1. That you had a “felonious intent;”
  2. that you used force or putting in fear as a means of effectuating a theft; and
  3. that you took and carried away someone else’s property from the victim’s person or in the victim’s presence.
Moore v. State, 942 So.2d 251 (Miss. 2006). If you are convicted of simple robbery (without a weapon), you can receive up to 15 years in the state penitentiary. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-75.
The victims could assert that the man's silence, the fact that he had at least one accomplice, and the stowing away in a private hallway were all intimidating factors intended to scare them, thus putting them in fear of immediate injury if they tried to retrieve their rightful property. This is what would be required to prove there was a "felonious" intent, and it just might work.

Whatever happens in the criminal case, the victims here can also pursue civil tort charges against the man who took their property. If he damaged any of their signs he could be forced to pay restitution.

I am not defending the inaction of the officers. But if they were knowledgeable of the elements of the crime of theft, then they may have known that a charge of theft would be difficult to prove. Or perhaps they were just happy to see the protesters being harassed and deprived of their visual aids. Either way, the attention that the sign-taker and the inactive police officers have drawn to this situation has caused it to gain wider viewing than if the incident had never happened or the police had simply intervened.

Life Site News provides an update of what followed the video above. Higher level police arrived, and the man who stole the signs was identified as Mike Peters, owner and developer of Fondren Corner, the building into which the man took the signs.

Indeed, sign-owner CreatedEqual is the same organization whose member was a victim a few weeks ago when he was attacked by a woman in Ohio while he was protesting against abortion. This incident was also caught on video tape.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jaw-Dropping Conversation Between Planned Parenthood Employee and Fifteen-Year-Old Girl

Over the last few years on this blog, I have pointed out the insidious nature of Planned Parenthood. (A quick search for "Planned Parenthood" will reveal those previous posts.) And just when I thought nothing more that the God-forsaken organization could do would surprise me, I saw this story and video.

An undercover woman, pretending to be a 15-year-old, entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado and recorded a lengthy discussion with a scrubs-clad employee. The things that this employee tells the 15-year-old girl caused my jaw to drop. Here's the description for this video on You Tube:
A Planned Parenthood employee advises an undercover investigator, posing as a 15-year-old girl, on how to experiment with sexual bondage/sadomasochism, including gagging, whipping, defecation, emulating pornography, and going to sex stores to "get educated." Footage was obtained by Live Action at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Littleton and Lakewood, Colorado.


I cannot fathom my 15-year-old having this conversation with a strange woman in a clinic. Has our society really come to this? An employee of a non-profit organization gets away with flouting the law just because the things a young girl can learn to do with her boyfriend are "fun" and "feel good"? What the heck does any of this have to do with planning for parenthood?

The employee did not act as if this was an unusual conversation for her to have. In fact, she is extremely comfortable and "hip" with her answers. As the old proverb says, where there is one visible cockroach there are dozens more that go undetected. In this situation there are probably thousands of these conversations every day that go undetected. This employee suggesting that a 15-year-old go to sex shops and watch porn with her boyfriend and use her cell phone so as not to get caught -- thus instructing her to hide life-threatening actions from her parents -- this advice is unconscionable, beyond the pale. Death by asphyxiation -- known as auto-erotic asphyxiation (AeA) -- has been documented for decades. It is this self-gratifying sexual behavior that killed actor David Carradine (of Kung Fu fame) and Michael Hutchence (of INXS). And this Planned Parenthood employee tells a 15-yer-old child to explore it because it is fun? Absolutely appalling.

We have heard and read about "grooming" of minors by adult perpetrators for decades now. The Catholic clergy and sexual abuse scandal continues to make headlines in mainstream media at any possible chance when grooming is suspected to have occurred, even though no physical touching occurs. How are these actions of a Planned Parenthood employee any less despicable and illegal? Why is this not also classified as "grooming"? Indeed, this employee's actions are worse because she recommends that the child break the law by entering adult sex shops, engage in deviant and dangerous sexual behavior, and use a cell phone paid for by her parents to access pornography -- another illegal action.

Are the employee's actions less reprehensible and illegal because she is not grooming the child for herself but rather for some unknown boyfriend? As the news story at the start of this video clearly shows, minors engage in sexual activity with adults, as in the case of the 16-year-old girl who strangled the 43-year-old man. This Planned Parenthood employee is taking away this 15-year-old child's innocence and is setting her on a course of self-destruction. I am out of adjectives to describe how nauseating this employee is to me.

But we all know that under the banner of Planned Parenthood, this employee will never be held accountable -- she effectively will be getting away with murder and will never be held to pay for her actions.She was just doing her job -- on the taxpayers' dime.

Your daughter or granddaughter could be next.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Fourth of July, Lou Gehrig, and Bad Breaks

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, the date on which we celebrate the brave men who gathered in a quiet Philadelphia room in 1776 and, with no fanfare or crowd adulation, risked their lives to sign a parchment that declared that the United States would no longer bend to the tyranny of distant oppressive authorities. We owe our collective freedom to these selfless men, and we should be thinking of them as we barbeque and swim on Independence Day.

One hundred sixty-three years after that world-changing historical event, a hundred and three miles up the highway, a lone brave man stood before thousands of people on that memorable summer day in New York and made a declaration of a different kind. Lou Gehrig had just learned that he had a disease that would eventually steal his career, his movement and his life. Bravely he took to the field to convey personally his farewell message to his teammates and their fans.

Major League Baseball put together this video, pulling together players from rival baseball teams, to honor the 75th anniversary of Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" speech.

One cannot help but feel the emotion as Gehrig bravely took to the microphone to effectively tell his fans that he was dying. But his humility and gratitude are what will be remembered from his short two-minute speech. How painful and emotional it must have been for him to utter those initial two sentences: "For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

Yes, the "Iron Horse" was human. How devastating that must have been for Yankees fans. My own father, who passed away in 1995, was a Yankees fan. He was only 8 1/2 years old when Gehrig made his farewell speech. I do not know if he heard it live when Gehrig gave the speech. It is unlikely, since Dad lived on a farm in the country and was secluded from everyday goings-on. But he certainly knew of Gehrig's bravery and his influence on the sport that is called "America's pasttime." I suspect that there are many current Yankees' fans who follow in the footsteps of fathers and grandfathers who remembered first hand the "Luckiest Man" speech and the honorable man who spoke the words that warm July 4th of 1939.

What about the rest of us? Even now, Gehrig's speech makes us face our mortality and put things in perspective. The disease that would claim his life less than two years after he said goodbye to baseball would also take his name -- Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Gehrig was 17 days shy of his 38th birthday when the Lord took him home to Heaven.

Gehrig's immortal words should be a guide for all of us as we face growing turmoil and division in this country that we love so much. Despite the frustration and anger and bickering and judgment, we should all remember how Gehrig ended his remarkable speech. "So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for." And so do all Americans.

May God bless each of us on our Nation's 238th birthday, and may God bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Tragic Phenomenon of Children Being Herded Like Cattle Across Our Southern Border

The travesty that is happening at our southern border evidences the epic failure of the Obama administration's immigration policy. Obama's choice not to enforce the laws of our country has resulted in the influx of hundreds of thousands of people from Central and South America through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Yesterday Brandon Darby was in Laredo, Texas, and he posted the two videos below showing what is going on in that border town.

Now, unless the border authorities sit there in their patrol cars 24-7, there is no way to stop these swimmers from waiting and trying again in an hour or a day or a week. They are below one of two bridge crossings, presumably with border entries and guards just above them. It looks like there are several whole families trying to cross down river from where this is taking place. And three men in between as well.

Google maps show the relation of these two bridges.

This is the location from where the video above was shot, closer to the river. It appears to be a pedestrian bridge.

This is a closer screenshot (from the road) of the second bridge where vehicles cross the river.

Evidently these crossings are not an unusual occurrence. Witness the next video showing the local Laredo Greyhound bus station overcrowded with primarily Hispanic men, women and children sleeping on the floor. Apparently they are waiting for buses. If they lived in Laredo, why would they get to the bus station so early that they have to camp out? No, these are border crossers, and they are sleeping there because they have nowhere to go while they wait for buses to take them to relatives or friends who are already in the United States.

The Google map below shows the section of Laredo where these two bridges are located.

You can see from the map where these particular crossings are occurring that the Mexican side is not a desert area. It is not destitute. It has streets and buildings and other accommodations and necessities. The people entering illegally into the U.S. from Mexico at this location are not deprived, starved, wretched people fearing for their lives in Central America. Wanting a "better life" is understandable. However, there is a vehicle bridge and a pedestrian bridge within a few hundred yards of each other. If these people want to come to United States, they should do so legally, like the people using the bridges.

 Now, I want you to look back up at the last map. Take a good look and see if anything odd pops out at you. Here are a a couple of other maps that should bring home my point.

I know the print on these maps is small, but do you spot it? When I first started Googling Laredo for this story, I was confused at the name of the river showing up on the Google maps. Since my earliest school days I had always been taught that the river forming the border between the U.S. and Mexico is the Rio Grande. So when I saw "Rio Bravo" as the moniker for the entire length of that border river on Google, I literally looked up the Rio Grande to see if I was delusional. Although Wikipedia is not an authority to trust for scholarly works, for something this simple I trust its accuracy.

It turns out that Rio Bravo is the "Spanish name" for the river. What? The "Spanish name"? Is not Rio Grande Spanish? What Google means is that the Mexicans call the river the Rio Bravo. So Google has chosen to confuse not only me but undoubtedly every school child in America who looks up the U.S.-Mexico border river on a Google map.

Or does Google know something that we do not? Are there more Mexicans Googling "Rio Bravo" such that Google felt it was necessary to ascribe the "Spanish name" for the river on its map? Or perhaps this is Common Core at work. If so, all the more reason to chuck the systematized indoctrination.


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