Russell and Duenes

Archive for October 2009

Mothers are hurt along with their children

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David C. Reardon has been vigorously trying to convince pro-lifers that they ought not fall for the false dilemma of “what’s good for the mother” vs. “what’s good for the child” in the abortion issue. We who care about the unborn ought to care equally about their mothers – mothers who most often abort their children under tremendous pressure from others and from their own consciences – with devastating physical, psychological, and spiritual consequences to themselves. Reardon, in his article Women Who Abort: Their Reflections on the Unborn, begins…

Sit with me for a moment in the waiting room of an abortion clinic.  Here you will find women who, in general, are neither philosophers nor fools–categories which admittedly include substantial overlap.  Very few of these women have engaged in arcane debates about the meaning of “personhood.”  Fewer still are so foolish as to believe the claim that having an abortion is no worse than having a tooth pulled.

Look about and you will see women from a wide cross-section of American culture.  Bright and dull, conservative and liberal, religious and irreligious.  All are represented.  There is significant overrepresentation by adolescents, unmarried women, and racial minorities, but still, they are a cross-section of America.  And like all Americans, these women are uneasy and deeply divided over abortion, more so today than ever before in their lives.

Many of these women, even now, while waiting to be escorted to the operating room, bury their heads in the sands of denial.   “It will be over soon.  I just won’t think about it.  I’ll just go on with my life like before…. It wouldn’t be legal if it wasn’t right; it wouldn’t be legal if it wasn’t safe.  I just won’t think about it.”

Others, who at best consider their pending abortions to be an evil necessity, are saying goodbye: “Forgive me.  Mommy doesn’t want to do this, but I really don’t have any choice.  If only I could have you, I would love you so much.”

For some their wait is unemotional, but they are intellectually tortured by the metaphysical question: “Am I doing the right thing?”  Others are carefully focused on their answers to this same question: “This is the right thing, the only thing to do.  I can always have a baby later, when the time is right, when I can be a good mother.  It wouldn’t be fair to me, to Jim, or even to the baby, to have it now.”

These women, joylessly seated around the waiting room, are just typical Americans.  They share the same spectrum of American beliefs and angst over the abortion question.  Polls show that roughly 70 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal.  Yet 75 percent (which obviously requires substantial overlap) also believe it is immoral.  There is clearly a tension in our hearts between what should be legal and what is actually moral.

This tension is especially visible in abortion clinic waiting rooms.  Interviews at clinics confirm that at least 70 percent of the women having abortions view abortion as immoral, or at least deviant, behavior. Rather than choosing according to their own moral beliefs, most women are acting against their belief systems.  They feel “forced” by circumstances, or loved ones, to violate their consciences for the sake of some “other good…Indeed, of women who experience post-abortion problems, over 80 percent say they would have carried to term under better circumstances or with the support of loved ones, over 60 percent report having felt “forced” to have the abortion by others or circumstances, and approximately 40 percent were still hoping to discover some alternative to abortion when going for counseling at the abortion clinic.

Read the entire article here.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

October 31, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Bioethics, Duenes

Supernanny needs to recommend the rod!

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OK, I had absolutely no intention of writing about this, but I’m literally in pain here watching “Supernanny.” Why, you ask? Because I’m watching four kids literally hurl furniture, trash rooms, kick and hit their parents, throw tantrums, repeatedly slam doors, talk back, verbally manipulate their parents – to name a few things – and the worst punishment the parents can muster is a few minutes in “the reflection room” (which the children proceed to trash after they’ve slammed the door a few times). Supernanny to the rescue, right! I wish. She sounds like she’s giving dog obedience training the the parents, coaching them on technique when what’s plain-as-day is that these kids need, dare I say, some serious spanking.

Of course, in our current state of massive unbelief in God’s prescriptions for disciplining children, such a recommendation would never come from Supernanny, nor evidently, from many of us Christian parents who have lost our nerve and drunk the “new wine” of trying to reason with an uber obstinate child. Frankly, were the Supernanny to prescribe a spanking, she might be brought up on child abuse charges. When we’ve got nut-jobs in the California government like Sally Lieber who introduce anti-spanking legislation, no wonder our kids are hellions. It’s painful to watch because the parents are fighting a losing battle and are obviously distraught, and the kids, save miraculous intervention, are heading for a miserable future. That “correcting with the rod” business is so Old Testament, you know. I think what needs a “timeout” is our insane unbelief in God’s wisdom on these matters.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

October 31, 2009 at 4:17 am

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

$100 trillion in the hole

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Social Security and Medicare alone have an estimated unfunded liability of over $100,000,000,000,000 (that’s one-hundred trillion for those of you who can’t count that many zeros). According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, “The unfunded liability is the difference between the benefits that have been promised to current and future retirees and what will be collected in dedicated taxes and Medicare premiums.  Last year alone, this debt rose by $5 trillion.  If no other reform is enacted, this funding gap can only be closed in future years by substantial tax increases, large benefit cuts or both.” This, to put it mildly, is insanity! What could possibly be the big deal if Obama and Co. add hundreds of trillions more to it by taking over health-care? Douglas Wilson painted the appropriate picture:

The economic liars who are pushing Obamacare want you to believe their lie that the future will not go the way the past has gone, and that government mismanagement of programs like these, and Social Security, are no indicator of future performance. Things will be lots better this time around. Having floundered and almost drowned in the kiddie pool, we are now going to swim to Hawaii. If you predict unfortunate results, this is no doubt the result of you being full of spite and malice. For humanity.

D

Written by Michael Duenes

October 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Duenes, Economics

by all means, let’s have the government take over all of it

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Here is one of the best arguments against government sponsored health-care. Of course, none of this matters to those in the “good intentions” crowd. Just imagine how much higher taxes would have to be to catch all these thieves.

I highly recommend watching the whole segment: The 60 billion dollar fraud

The only question I have is, don’t we pay for fraud in the private market in the form of higher insurance premiums? Surely the private insurance market does a better job of finding fraud because they have a higher incentive to find it.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

October 26, 2009 at 3:48 am

Posted in Duenes, Economics

Full of “glee”

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My wife and I happened upon the television show “Glee” at our home this week. We’d heard of it before – some of my high school students talk about it – but had never watched it. Anyone who has seen it will be familiar with its theme and content. Think “High School Musical” with an R-rating. After it was over I went trolling around the blogosphere to find some thoughts on it, and I found an excellent review on Christian the Christian’s blog. In his post, “Are You a GLEEk,” he insightfully commented,

It seems the primary purpose of the show is to promote one worldview: “follow your heart” (which should have the subtitle: “regardless of the consequences”). Instead of encouraging virtue it takes the obvious fact that the world is broken and no one is perfect and embraces it, encouraging people to accept it and enjoy it. Instead of encouraging students to guard their heart they use teens as the vehicle for promoting reckless living.

This is spot on, yet I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with laying the ultimate blame for these things on “secular” culture (not that Christian was doing this). When thinking about the cultural foundations that support the popularity of a show like “Glee,” I find that I agree with pastor Douglas Wilson’s thought, viz. that the culture is largely a reflection of the ethos and practice within evangelicalism. For shows like “Glee” are a problem, but they are a problem spawned by unfaithfulness among us as “evangelicals.” Wilson writes,

Evangelicalism is not the solution to America’s problem. Evangelicalism is America’s problem. That reflection we see of ourselves in the outside culture is simply our own reflection in a set of fun house mirrors. That’s us you are looking at. You name the problem in the outside culture, and it is simply an overblown and grotesque version of what we have going on in the sanctuary.

I’d never heard the notion so well articulated. This brought me full circle to USC philosophy professor Dallas Willard’s rightful assertion that “sensuality” is now our guide to life, both inside and outside the church. He writes,

The current guide to reality and what is good in the United States, if not the Western world as a whole, is sensuality or feeling. The worldview answers people now live by are provided by feelings. Desire, not reality and not what is good, rules our world. That is even true for the most part within religion. Most of what Americans do in their religion now is done at the behest of feelings. The quest for pleasure takes over the house of God. What is good or what is true is no longer the guide…Media and popular arts step in to fill the vacuum of worldview guidance with suggestions and images that reinforce sensuality as the way of life and that appeal to feelings to promote themselves…Pastors may occasionally protest against this state of things and its impacts upon life, but…they do not forcefully analyze it to the bottom and make unmistakably clear what a disaster it is for humanity [Knowing Christ Today, 201].

“Glee” does not use suggestions or images. Rather, it puts the sensual life front and center, out in the open. “Follow your heart! Act on what feels good! For the dictates of your heart are always right.” This, and not the gospel, is what has captured the majority of our hearts.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

October 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections