Liberal or Conservative: We are all the problem and the answer

Is it the nature of human beings to divide ourselves? Race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and all the other categories we impose in our lives. How often do we want to know a person’s profession and the profession of their spouse? Do you have children? Where do you go to church? Where did you go to high school or college?Look deeper than the surface to see the

I firmly believe that our differences make us stronger. We can do so much more if we have both physicians and nurses; pastors and lay people; and math and art teachers. I don’t know anyone that would think we should only have firefighters and no police. All too often our society seems to believe we would be better off without liberals or conservative or without Catholics or Protestants or Muslims, or whatever it is that isn’t our faith.

What we share is what binds us. What divides us makes us weaker. I am proud of my faith and that I am to the left of center and am ever grateful that I have friends on the both ends of the continuum. They show me daily how one can have very different views and still share my faith and my love for this country. However, I’m saddened by those that use faith and politics as a stick with which to beat others or who profess their bullying as love. I am equally saddened by those that did not learn as children that name calling is inappropriate and never helps anyone. Most of all, I am saddened when people are so enamored by a single perspective that they are no longer willing to see the evidence in front of them. Yes, you can see this as meaning the other person, but until we all spend more time looking inward rather than outward we will be on the wrong path.

I am a liberal that remains politically independent. I thought George Bush was a good man, but didn’t agree with many of his policies. I think Obama is a good man but don’t agree with all his policies. I firmly believe that everyone that spends their career in public life does so with a desire to make us better and to serve our country. Then they get in office and rather than serve are so busy making sure the other doesn’t succeed that they forget they are there to serve the people and not a party. Policy should not be a political sport.

If we look at our politicians, and we don’t like them, then we should look inward. They are us. When they lie, it is because we lie. It is because we want to hear lie and we don’t forgive or accept the truth. When they say racist things, it is because we are racist. Politicians would not say sexist and racist things if we didn’t want to hear them. When they demonstrate no ability to balance a budget, it is because we can’t balance our budgets. When they are more concerned about their success than the country, it is because we are more tied to our parties than our country. If they don’t understand foreign policy, or religious freedom, or the tragedy that is gun violence, or the horror of racism, sexism, and religious phobia it is because we don’t understand those issues and don’t take the time to learn and I mean learn not read social media posts. They are us, and we are them.

If we want to change politics and return to a country of the values we associate with the best of faith traditions, then we must change as individuals. We can’t expect the elected officials and the policy makers to have values that we do not have. It is easy.

  • Don’t lie.
  • Don’t take what isn’t yours.
  • Balance your budget.
  • Save when there is plenty to be prepared for when there isn’t.
  • Don’t take more than you need.
  • Serve your country.
  • Study the Constitution.
  • Volunteer in your community.
  • Attend your faith-based service regularly or if you do not believe find an ethical society.
  • Respect the freedom and conscience of others and don’t impose your beliefs on them.
  • Pray, study, or meditate daily on what you believe.
  • Don’t kill (the unborn, the guilty, the enemy).
  • Be willing to lay down your life for another.
  • Love radically – God, country, family, and your neighbor.
  • See all children and elders as your responsibility.
  • Show respect for those that don’t agree with you.
  • Be polite to everyone and not just those that make it easy.
  • Find the goals you share and work toward them even if it is on parallel paths.
  • Love and respect cultural and political differences and put aside labels in your words and your heart.
  • Let go of fear.
  • Turn away from anger








Platform Analysis of the Issues that Matter: Death Penalty

The American political parties produce platforms that guide the politicians in their approach to governing. The platforms are important documents that outline the vision of a party and in so doing provide a beginning point for analysis of the candidates. Anyone who votes should read the platforms carefully because they are free of media bias, social media hysteria, and the often the hate filled rhetoric of the politically uneducated.

There are many topics that deserve attention during the political season. The ones that matter most to me are the following:

  • Abortion
  • Death Penalty
  • Gun Control and Gun Safety
  • National Defense
  • Healthcare
  • Economic justice
  • Equality
  • Freedom (religious, self-determination, from undue influence, etc.)

All parties except the Republican party believe the government should abolish the death penalty. The Republican party supports the death penalty believing it is supported in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. All sections of the party platforms addressing the death penalty are below with links and where available page references.

Each individual must make her or his own decision about about the morality and need for the death penalty.Death Penalty in Political Platforms

Death Penalty

Each of the four main political parties address the death penalty in their platforms. Yet, they give unequal attention to the issue.

Green Party

Domestic Security

Oppose the death penalty in the United States and worldwide.

Criminal Justice Reform

Abolish the death penalty. (

Libertarian Party

1.8 Death Penalty

We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state.

1.9 Self-Defense

The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights—life, liberty, and justly acquired property—against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition. (

Democratic Party

Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities

We will abolish the death penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and unusual form of punishment. It has no place in the United States of America. The application of the death penalty is arbitrary and unjust. The cost to taxpayers far exceeds those of life imprisonment. It does not deter crime. And, exonerations show a dangerous lack of reliability for what is an irreversible punishme nt.

We have been inspired by the movements for criminal justice that directly address the discriminatory treatment of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians to rebuild trust in the criminal justice system.

Republican Party

Ensuring Safe Neighborhoods: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform

The constitutionality of the death penalty is firmly settled by its explicit mention in the Fifth Amendment. With the murder rate soaring in our great cities, we condemn the Supreme Court’s erosion of the right of the people to enact capital punishment in their states. In solidarity with those who protect us, we call for mandatory prison time for all assaults involving serious injury to law enforcement officers.  (p.40,,_2016)



Platform Analysis of the Issues that Matter: Abortion

The American political parties produce platforms that loosely guide the politicians in their approach to governing. The platforms are important documents that outline the vision of a party and in so doing provide a beginning point for analysis of the candidates. Anyone who votes should read the platforms carefully because they are free of media bias, social media hysteria, and the often hate filled rhetoric of the politically uneducated.

There are many topics that deserve attention during the political season. The ones that matter most to me are the following:

  • Abortion
  • Death Penalty
  • Gun Control and Gun Safety
  • National Defense
  • Healthcare
  • Economic justice
  • Equality
  • Freedom (religious, self-determination, from undue influence, etc.)The

All parties except the Republican party believe at the least government should stay out of reproductive decisions and at the most the government should ensure that access to abortion is not impeded. The Republican party is firmly opposed to abortion, support of abortion, and the use of any products of abortion for research. All sections of the party platforms related to abortion are below with links and where available page references.

Each individual must read and determine what party comes closest to his or her personal beliefs. Let your decisions be guided not only by your conscience, but by your intellect.


Each of the four main political parties address abortion in their platforms. Yet, they give unequal attention to the issue.

Green Party

Reproductive Freedom: People should be free from government interference in making their reproductive choices, including abortion, which should be covered by all publicly funded medical insurance programs. (

Libertarian Party

1.5 Abortion Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration. (

Democratic Party

Appointing Judges

We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless. (p.26)

Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment. We condemn and will combat any acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff. We will defend the ACA, which extends affordable preventive health care to women, including no- cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender.

We will address the discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive health care services, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, disability, and other factors. We recognize that quality, affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

And we strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child, including by ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth, and by providing services during
pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including adoption and social support services, as well as protections for women against pregnancy discrimination. We are committed to creating a society where children are safe and can thrive physically, emotionally, educationally, and spiritually. We recognize and support the importance of civil structures that are essential to creating this for every child. (p.37)

Women and Girls

We will support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the globe. In addition to expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies, we believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women’s health care and included as part of America’s global health programming. Therefore, we support the repeal of harmful restrictions that obstruct women’s access to health care information and services, including the “global gag rule” and the Helms Amendment that bars American assistance to provide safe, legal abortion throughout the developing world. (p.46) (

Republican Party

Fifth Amendment

We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage. (p.13)

We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

We affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women who face an unplanned pregnancy. In order to encourage women who face an unplanned pregnancy to choose life, we support legislation that requires financial responsibility for the child be equally borne by both the mother and father upon conception until the child reaches adulthood. Failure to require a father to be equally responsible for a child places an inequitable burden on the mother, creating a financial and social hardship on both mother and child.

We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for leading the effort to add enforcement to the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act by passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which imposes appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery whether the death of the infant is intended. We strongly oppose infanticide. Over a dozen states have passed Pain-

Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which current medical research shows that unborn babies can feel excruciating pain during abortions, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version. Not only is it good legislation, but it enjoys the support of a majority of the American people. We support state and federal efforts against the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb.

We call on Congress to ban sex-selection abortions and abortions based on disabilities — discrimination in its most lethal form. We oppose embryonic stem cell research. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. We support adult stem cell research and urge the restoration of the national placental stem cell bank created by President George H.W. Bush but abolished by his Democrat successor, President Bill Clinton. We oppose federal funding for harvesting embryos and call for a ban on human cloning.

The Democratic Party is extreme on abortion. Democrats’ almost limitless support for abortion, and their strident opposition to even the most basic restrictions on abortion, put them dramatically out of step with the American people. Because of their opposition to simple abortion clinic safety procedures, support for taxpayer-funded abortion, and rejection of pregnancy resource centers that provide abortion alternatives, the old Clinton mantra of “safe, legal, and rare” has been reduced to just “legal.” We are proud to be the party that protects human life and offers real solutions for women. (p.14)

We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children. (p. 24)

We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach — the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease — empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs. The federal government has pushed states to collect and share vast amounts of personal student and family data, including the collection of social and emotional data. Much of this data is collected without parental consent or notice. This is wholly incompatible with the American Experiment and our inalienable rights. (p. 34)

We will return to the states their historic role of regulating local insurance markets, limit federal requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid, and call on state officials to reconsider the costly medical mandates, imposed under their own laws, that price millions of low-income families out of the insurance market. To guarantee first-rate care for the needy, we propose to block grant Medicaid and other payments and to assist all patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, to obtain coverage in a robust consumer market. Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well- being of women, and we stand firmly against it. (p.36)

Protecting Individual Conscience in Healthcare

America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children. We support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their minor children and urge enactment of legislation that would require parental consent for their daughter to be transported across state lines for abortion. Providers should not be permitted to unilaterally withhold services because a patient’s life is deemed not worth living. American taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion. As Democrats abandon this four decade-old bipartisan consensus, we call for codification of the Hyde Amendment and its application across the government, including Obamacare. We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage. (p.37)

To continue our headway against breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and other killers, research must consider the needs of formerly neglected demographic groups. We call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions — through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life. We urge a ban on human cloning for research or reproduction, and a ban on the creation of, or experimentation on, human embryos for research. We applaud Congress’ ban on the FDA approval of research involving three-parent embryos. We believe the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex, a dangerous abortifacient formerly known as RU-486, threatens women’s health, as does the agency’s endorsement of over-the-counter sales of powerful contraceptives without a physician’s recommendation. We support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law. (p.38)

China’s behavior has negated the optimistic language of our last platform concerning our future relations with China. The liberalizing policies of recent decades have been abruptly reversed, dissent brutally crushed, religious persecution heightened, the internet crippled, a barbaric population control two-child policy of forced abortions and forced sterilizations continued, and the cult of Mao revived.

Critics of the regime have been kidnapped by its agents in foreign countries. To distract the populace from its increasing economic problems and, more importantly, to expand its military might, the government asserts a preposterous claim to the entire South China Sea and continues to dredge ports and create landing fields in contested waters where none have existed before, ever nearer to U.S. territories and our allies, while building a navy far out of proportion to defensive purposes. The complacency of the Obama regime has emboldened the Chinese government and military to issue threats of intimidation throughout the South China Sea, not to mention parading their new missile, “the Guam Killer,” down the main streets of Beijing, a direct shot at Guam as America’s first line of defense. Meanwhile, cultural genocide continues in Tibet and Xinjiang, the promised autonomy of Hong Kong is eroded, the currency is manipulated, our technology is stolen, and intellectual property and copyrights are mocked in an economy based on piracy. In business terms, this is not competition; it is a hostile takeover. For any American company to abet those offenses, especially governmental censorship and tracking of dissenters, is a disgrace. (p.48)

Our continued participation in the United Nations should be contingent upon the enactment of long-overdue changes in the way that institution functions. American taxpayers, the chief funders of the U.N., deserve full transparency in the financial operations of its overpaid bureaucrats. We should no longer tolerate its managerial scandals, its Human Rights Council composed of some of the world’s worst tyrants, and its treatment of Israel as a pariah state. The U.N.’s Population Fund has, from its origin, been rooted in no-growth policies that limit economic development in the countries needing it most. Its complicity in China’s barbaric program of forced abortion led President Reagan to set a wall of separation — his Mexico City Policy, which prohibits the granting of federal monies to non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortion. We affirm his position and, in light of plummeting birth rates around the world, suggest a reevaluation of the U.N.’s record on economic progress.

Precisely because we take our country’s treaty obligations seriously, we oppose ratification of international agreements whose long-range implications are ominous or unclear. We do not support the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, as well as various declarations from the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. Because of our concern for American sovereignty, domestic management of our fisheries, and our country’s long-term energy needs, we have deep reservations about the regulatory, legal, and tax regimes inherent in the Law of the Sea Treaty. We emphatically reject U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of U.S. sovereignty, and we oppose any form of Global Tax.

To shield members of our Armed Forces and others in service to America from ideological prosecutions overseas, the Republican Party does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. We support statutory protection for U.S. personnel and officials as they act abroad to meet our global security requirements, and we deplore the current inaction of the Administration in that regard. Our service members must be subject only to American law. (p.51) (,_2016)


The Hypocrisy of Abortion Politics

Human dignity rests above all on the fact that humanity is called to communion with God. The invitation to converse with God is addressed to men and women as soon as they are born. For if people exist it is because God has created them through love, and through love continues to keep them in existence. They cannot live fully in the truth unless they freely acknowledge that love and entrust themselves to their creator.

Gaudium et Spes (“The Church in the Modern World”), Vatican II, 1965, #19.

We learned this week that pro-life is an obsolete word that is without meaning. It isn’t obsolete because people of faith do not believe that abortion is morally wrong. It is obsolete because it has been co-opted by opportunistic politicians that are no more opposed to abortion than anything else they espouse and then do absolutely nothing to change. Worse, they focus solely on the act of abortion and ignore all the factors that lead to abortion.

The Catholic Church is consistent in its teaching that life begins at conception and many faith traditions agree, but certainly not all. Officially abortion can be forgiven, but it can also result in the most severe punishment in the Church – excommunication. It is maintained that from the moment of conception a human embryo is fully human and deserving of all the protections of any human being. If one viewed this statement simplistically, it seems compassionate. We must treat this new life as if it were the same as a school child or a treasured grandparent. It is when one realizes that in saying “all the same protections of any human” it must necessarily mean that the mother is subservient to the human embryo so what is clearly meant is the same protections as a man. She must give up the control of her body to that human embryo, which is why some people make caveats for rape, incest, and life of the mother.

hypocrisy of abortionPoliticians and pro-life and pro-choice advocates were outraged by the statement of Donald Trump when he suggested that women who have abortions should be punished. It is no surprise that pro-choice advocates and most women were outraged. However, for pro-life advocates and politicians who build careers preying on the faithful, it is nothing short of hypocrisy. Those that claim outrage against Trump’s statements needs to consider what he said and what they claim to believe. Claiming the woman should be punished is consistent with what I would expect of someone that believes that the human embryo is the same as a child or an adult in rights. If a mother killed her 6-year-old or her neighbor, it would be expected that she would be punished. If one believes abortion is murder, then it would be expected that the person who committed or hired someone to commit murder is punished. However, what isn’t consistent is not also punishing the person that incited the murder – the father, or the driver that waited in the getaway car while the murder was committed. If one believes life begins at conception, and the human embryo is fully human and deserving of human rights rather than potentially human from that moment, then one should support Donald Trump’s original statement.

The Compassionate Alternative

Wanting to punish a woman for having an abortion shows a complete lack of compassion for a woman in trouble. Isn’t that what we teach with excommunication. When we say we punish the woman and not the man we are clearly setting different standards for men and women, doctors that do abortions and women that hire them, and mothers, fathers, and significant others that drive women to the abortion appointment. If one truly believes that abortion is a mortal sin, then to condemn the woman as a murderer is too easy and self-satisfying. It is too easy because it allows us as a society, a faith community, and as individuals to do nothing to help her through the pregnancy, to dismiss her as immoral, and to condemn her and those who assist her as murders and consign to the criminal justice system. Calling abortion criminal allows us to continue to advocate against abortion without showing the same concern for women before pregnancy, during pregnancy, or after birth.

The child/fetus in the mother’s womb is drawing its life directly from the mother, and she must be nurtured, nourished and protected. Only then will the child develop to its full capacity. Not only is it necessary for a mother, a woman, to be cared for during her pregnancy, but we know through medical science that nutrition is essential even before conception. What we are doing for all women of childbearing age we are also doing for the child she will one day nurture. When we fail her, we fail to defend the integrity of the human embryo that will grow into a child.

We can begin our compassion by ending the use of the terms pro-life and pro-choice. Let us start saying what we believe. In stating our beliefs, we may find common ground that brings us together to find solutions that don’t criminalize acts of fear and desperation and further grow our flawed criminal justice system. Here is what I believe:

  • Women are fully human – not less than men or human embryos or human fetuses
  • A human embryo has all the genetic material of a human being but is not sentient from the time of conception
  • The human embryo/fetus is drawing its life from the mother
  • Self-determination should be a right for all sentient beings – rights come with responsibilities to make moral decisions
  • However, pregnancy is a choice in most circumstances – rape, incest, and the life of a mother are special circumstances that force choices between the good of the human embryo and human fetus and the good of the mother
  • Contraception meant to prevent implantation is not equivalent to abortion – it does violate the teaching of the Church, but can result in a reduction of abortions
  • Poverty, abuse, lack of child care, few education options for women with children, fewer job opportunities and discrimination against women with children, and inadequate support for those that are pregnant impact a woman’s decision to have an abortion
  • Abortion is a moral decision – women are endowed with consciences and can make moral decisions
  • Pregnancy is stigmatizing – society values fertility, but not the always the pregnant woman especially if she is unwed or poor
  • The objective act of abortion being immoral does not equate to the person carrying out the act being either good or evil

The compassionate solution cannot be to build a wall between women and legal and safe abortion and expect it will end abortion and after we stop the access then explore laws to help women care for their children. We should begin with compassion and start by passing laws and making policy changes that will encourage giving birth and value pregnancy.

  • Paid maternal leave for six months
  • Affordable child care based on income
  • Educational support for pregnant teens and new moms
  • Adequate nutritional assistance for all women of childbearing age
  • Free adoption
  • Women’s health care in all communities that is free to all women of childbearing age
  • Corporations that don’t disadvantage women with children

If we put the same passion into supporting pregnant women as we do into preventing abortion, the result may be surprising. I look forward to the day we are praying in the streets outside of community health centers and family practice clinics insisting that they provide women’s healthcare including maternity care or that we march on Washington every year to insist that all women have paid maternity leave and affordable childcare. This week taught us one important lesson – justice must include compassion. It is inhumane to treat women seeking abortion as criminals.


Catechism of the Catholic Church on Abortion


2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77“by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.”82

2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”83

“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”84

“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity”85 which are unique and unrepeatable.








Voting My Conscience

She or he who votes influences every policy made during an administration. Never believe that you do not have a role as a private citizen. Each elected official and their political appointees are the direct result of your vote and they are most definitely influenced by the will of the people. This is all the more reason that it is essential to be well informed about how the government actually works. We should all know the powers each branch of government possesses, how laws and policies are made and then implemented, and the impact of bad policy originating from inadequate consideration of the consequences of actions.

As a practicing Catholic who finds peace at a Zen center, I vote. I always vote my conscience. I do not let absolutes rule how I vote nor do others decide for me.

Abortion – I believe we should strive to save all beings. Abortion isn’t the only way we harm beings or stopping abortion isn’t the only way to save them.

War – War harms beings. In generally I’m opposed to almost all war but would not deny people have a right to defend their countries and a responsibility to try and prevent genocide. It should be the last choice and not the first.

Right to life, liberty, and happiness – Does liberty matter if we are not safe, risk death in school or a movie theater, and, as a result, live life in fear and unhappiness? Fear can be derived from unaddressed terrorism, violence, crime, poverty, or even lack of access to health care, employment, or education.

Equality – Inequality harms beings. None of us are more or less deserving than another. Each of us is equally responsible for standing up for the oppressed and, to the extent possible, leveling the playing field.

Freedom – God endowed us with freedom of conscience and faith. We should endeavor to show equal value to all who choose to exercise that freedom. Sometimes it will make us less efficient and other times it may make us question the values of certain beliefs, but least it be my belief or your belief that is some day not valued let us value all beliefs and no beliefs. Let us also not work to impose those beliefs on others. They should come to them freely and in their own time or not at all.

People must decide for themselves how to weigh factors that are important to them. However, we should recognize that the factors are all connected. If the only issue that drives my voting choice is abortion and I don’t care about poverty, health care, education, and safety then am I pro-life? Likewise, if I’m a pacifist or strongly opposed to war and yet turn a blind eye to genocide or terrorism then what does it say about the value I place on life or peace?

What too many people fail to realize is that making policy isn’t like “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” ― Franklin D. Rooseveltrunning a business. There is no profit to be made in government. Profit is easy to measure, whereas the impacts of policing or preschool programs is not. Whatever one does will result in some people being better off and others being worse off. The challenge is in finding the balance and learning how to hear those with little influence at the same volume as those with power and money. It takes humility to listen, determination to follow the evidence, patience to wait for and recognize the moment when public sentiment will make a policy feasible, and a skin thick enough to take the hostility from people who are willing to scream all manner of epithet and so frequently unwilling to serve or even learn about the government of this great country.

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17

Calling Abortion Murder


“Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God Himself,” Pope Francis insisted

I have a visceral reaction when anyone calls abortion murder. I cannot in any way equate terminating a pregnancy before 20 weeks as murder in the same way that I see walking into a school and shooting children as murder. The character and the malice that goes into shooting a sentient human being are far different from the actions and thoughts that go into having an abortion. There is no 20-week fetus that is sentient or able to live without the mother. Nonetheless, I believe it to be an unfortunate decision, made under difficult circumstances, and made out of a sense of fear and distress. I cannot condemn a person so long as my heart aches for her.

Consequently, I can’t conceive of a woman making the hardest and most serious decision of her life as a murderer. I imagine the pain and fear she must feel. I wonder where the father is and why he isn’t offering support. I worry about what happened that she became pregnant and especially if she is a teenager – was she pressured to fit in, manipulated by an older male, afraid to say no, raped, a victim of incest, or never encouraged by her parents to wait?

I react to abortion being called murder because I see the use of the term as a complete lack of compassion for a woman in trouble. If one truly believes that abortion is a mortal sin, then to condemn the woman as a murderer is too easy and self-satisfying. It is too easy because it allows us as a society, a faith community, and as individuals to do nothing to help her through the pregnancy, to dismiss her as immoral, and to condemn her and those who assist her as murders. Calling abortion murders allows us to continue to advocate against abortion without showing the same concern for women prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy, or after birth.

Murder connotes anger and hatred, which would be exceptionally rare in a pregnant woman considering abortion and yet in studies of people who have committed murder and violent crimes it has been found that most have been impacted by abuse and economic problems. The major reasons identified for murder are fear, anger, desperation, greed, and religious fanaticism. Those seem to be the same sentiments pro-life advocates express frequently toward women who have and physicians that participate in abortion.

That same anger, fear, and religious fanaticism that wants to kill want to condemn women seeking abortion as murderers. Likewise, many of those same people vocally support the murder of people who participate in abortion, not after a trial, but by vigilantes and in virtually the same breath defend open carry laws and second amendment rights which demonstrably increases the risk of death from firearms accidents, suicides, and murders. Vigilantism is not Christianity any more than terrorism is Islamic.

We will not be able to change our current path until we fully embrace the dignity of the individual. I do not believe we can embrace that dignity so long as we look at others and label them as murders and allow or friends and neighbors to be radicalized. We cannot allow, in the name of religion, individuals or groups to act in manners we know will lead to death and injury, including death brought on by abortion, guns, death penalties, poverty, and all manner of violence and neglect.

I believe the time has come to list our sins and they are many and are intertwined with our society:

  • Abortion as birth control
  • Death penalty in a society that has methods that are effective
  • Gun in the hands of virtually anyone that wants one
  • Poverty that is inadequately addressed
  • Domestic terrorism in all its forms (racial, ethnic, religious, gender-based, ecological)
  • Endless war that counts soldier and not civilians
  • You can list your own

As Americans, we value our freedoms. I believe the time has come that we all need to begin to decline our rights and embrace a moral conscience respectful of human dignity.

  • I decline the right to bear arms.
  • I decline the right to have an abortion.
  • I decline the right to participate in the death penalty.
  • I decline the right to take more than I need.
  • I decline the right to use free speech to harm another.
  • I decline the right to support war and to ignore the impact on civilians.
  • I decline the right to remain silent while others act in ways that harm our society.

Human Dignity Begins with Each of Us

Cowering in Fear is Unbecoming

I have never been as proud of what it means to be an American as I was when I watched how we responded as a nation on 9/11 and how we continued to come together as a country. It was a moment in history when we were all One Nation Under God, Yahweh, Elohim, and Vishnu. We were one Nation for the believer and the non-believer alike. Our politicians stood side by side with our President and put away childish behavior and remembered what it meant to be a Patriot. Young men and women marched off to war. They volunteered; rich and poor, children of Senators and Governors, professional athletes and promising college students, and citizens and immigrants not yet citizens. They did it because they recognized a common enemy and he was evil. Yet war did not kill the evil and removing the many heads only seemed to result in its spread and each time coming back as something more evil that what had existed.

Our policies failed. Neither the Bush or Obama administrations headed the advice of others. They believed we could fight evil with violence and in return the evil spread.

Now the evil has attacked our oldest friend. Instead of being proud of our response I’m unsure if I’m shocked, disappointed, or disgusted. Politicians rather than supporting our President publically ridicule him. One hopeful Presidential candidate suggested the solution to the problem in Paris was for all the people to have guns and yet the emergency room physicians said they rarely see more than one gunshot wound a year. Every two days in the U.S. we have more people killed with guns than were killed in the ISIS terrorist attack in Paris. Our political hopefuls and many of our citizens rather than wanting to help suggest we impose the same plague on France we have imposed on ourselves.

Simultaneously, this Jihadist plague that is reminiscent of the Nazis is killing people by the thousands in predominantly Islamic countries. The majority of their victims are Muslims and now those people are fleeing for their very lives. There was a day when we looked back on our unwillingness to save more Jew during WWII due to anti-Semitism and said never again. Yet here we are with the opportunity to redeem ourselves, and again many of the Governors and our citizens are cowering in fear, unwilling to save those fleeing terror, and wanting to reinstitute the type of policy that was a national embarrassment by closing off immigration to those who are being killed and tortured. Racism is not a legitimate policy. Whether we call it anti-Semitism or Islamophobia the result is the same. Driven by fear we are willing to let the innocent die.

Land of the free and home brave is dead if we let those filled with fear continue to make policies that do not respect life and there is no respect for life in an individual that would lock the door and leave the weak outside with the terrorists. Statue_of_Liberty_frontal_2

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”