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Sunday, 30 January 2011

The ex-slave abolitionist icon Frederick Douglass once proclaimed, "Where justice is denied...where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." 

 

What a sick irony to realize that the first man sharing Douglass' race to occupy the Oval Office embodies the very dark spirit of oppression that generations of black Americans suffered to overcome, and that if left unchallenged, threatens the lives and liberties of all men.

 

For in our day, the same shroud of ignorance that once deceived corrupt minds into believing that one race of humans could be denied their natural rights and treated as the legal property of masters prevails again.  It exists in the crooked and depraved notion that tiny humans can be denied their natural rights and treated as the legal property of their mothers.  And as Douglass rightly cautioned, if our leaders can arbitrarily declare that one group of humans are not worthy of their inalienable rights today, they can declare another group is unworthy tomorrow.

 

Appallingly, this slavish mindset is not only accepted by America's first black president, it is celebrated.  On the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that overturned precedent in all fifty states and ushered in a return of the plantation owners' ideology, Barack Obama took the time to honor its legacy. 

 

And as his lips dripped with the euphemistic language of reproductive rights and fundamental liberties, he could no more hide the heinous butchery of abortion than his southern progenitors could hide their abusive bull whips by speaking of states' rights and nullification. 

 

For as Obama reiterated his unwavering devotion to defending a supposed right to kill life in the womb - a choice that has resulted in the wholesale slaughter of nearly 50 million American babies - he incredibly called upon us all to, "recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams." 

 

It speaks to the unearthly coldness of Mr. Obama's soul that those words could escape his tongue without the cries of approximately 25 million of "our daughters" overwhelming his conscience, demanding to know why their rights, freedoms and dreams could be legally sacrificed for the convenience of another.

 

Only a man bereft of moral conscience could make such a proclamation and not be spiritually consumed by the blood of nearly 25 million of "our sons" pouring out from the ground they never had the opportunity to tread.

 

Only a man terrifyingly unmoved by the injustices perpetrated against his own ancestors could, just a century and a half later, facilitate even worse atrocities without a hint of remorse. 

 

Intellectual honesty demands that we face a harsh and uncomfortable reality: Barack Obama - our first black president - has chosen to take up the whip against his fellow man.  By doing so, he carves out an eternal legacy for himself far removed from the dignified halls of honor reserved for those with the moral courage to defend the defenseless.  By instead regarding them as subhuman, Obama wars against the life work of Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln.

 

Imagine how history would regard Lincoln had he chosen to respond to the great moral evil of his day as Barack Obama has chosen to respond to the holocaust of child sacrifice that has occurred with impunity since 1973.  Imagine Lincoln proclaiming that determining whether blacks were entitled to human rights was, "above his pay grade."  Imagine Lincoln pledging to "protect this constitutional right" of slavery, while calling the brutality of plantation masters a, "legitimate disciplinary procedure."

 

How would history have judged such a small man if not for the same way it will soon regard Mr. Obama: an utter coward.  When given the incredible opportunity to stand on the shoulders of the Great Emancipator - an opportunity generations of slaves labored to make possible - Barack Obama chose not to use it to defend the inalienable rights of all, but to undermine them.

 

In the final analysis, such an incomprehensible betrayal of human rights for the sake of convenience and political expediency far outweighs any contributions his electoral success has brought to "black America."  For what Douglass, Tubman, Truth and so many other courageous black abolitionists fought for was not the day when they would see a man with dark skin pigmentation sitting in the White House.  They fought for the day when all men - black and white, large and small - would see their inalienable rights protected from those who would callously demean them as less than human. 

 

Obama has failed miserably in living up to their vision, and shamefully discredits their efforts.  As he commits himself to what Douglass called the denial of justice, the perpetuation of ignorance, and the organized conspiracy to degrade his fellow countrymen, it can rightly be concluded that Barack Obama disgraces his office, his ancestors, and his place in the eternal struggle for the rights of man.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 01:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, 22 January 2011

In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, there has been a renewed focus on eliminating what is being called the "climate of hate" within our political environment.  President Obama spoke to this in his meaningful memorial speech when he cautioned that we have been, "far too eager to lay blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently."  While that admonition is appropriate, and while we all would do well to consider it before speaking, the truth is that our "climate of hate" isn't going anywhere for two reasons.

 

First, passionate and sometimes rancorous debate is the trademark of free, democratic societies.  As a history teacher, I have to admit to being amused by all this talk about how our political discourse has just recently devolved into the odious pit of irresponsibility. 

 

I wonder if those who believe this would prefer to go back to the respectful days of 1828 when Andrew Jackson's Democrats and John Quincy Adams' National Republicans were exchanging pleasantries.  In that most reverential environment, the two sides certainly demonstrated a commitment to keeping their rhetoric above board, focusing on the issues that mattered most to the nation.

 

For instance, Jackson accused Adams of having provided a young American virgin for the carnal pleasure of a visiting Russian czar.  Adams returned the favor by calling Jackson a military tyrant and a barbarian.  Worse still, the Adams campaign disgracefully targeted Jackson's wife Rachel with a merciless string of accusations that she was a bigamist.  As it turned out, the accusations were technically true given that when she married Jackson, her first marriage had not yet been officially dissolved.  The public shame weighed heavily on Rachel, and just days after having purchased her inaugural gown following her husband's victory, Rachel died of a heart attack.

 

So forgive me if I smirk when I hear that calling Obama a socialist or McCain a dinosaur somehow compares to a political environment where the American people were told their choices were either a pimp or the husband of a tramp.

 

This is the same point Sarah Palin addressed when she accurately mused that things weren't exactly less heated, "when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols."

 

This isn't an excuse for fomenting personal hostilities and animosities, but merely acknowledging that it is one of the potential realities that comes with freedom.  When people are given a right to speak their mind, sometimes regrettable words are uttered.  The only way to prevent that is to stifle freedom and smother expression.  History shows that the consequences of such "prevention" are far worse than anything coming from free and sometimes explosive debate.

 

The second reason our "climate of hate" isn't going anywhere is because amazingly, those on the left who have been most responsible for facilitating it don't believe they're culpable.  Consider what the New York Times editorial board wrote immediately following Obama's speech: "It was important that Mr. Obama transcend the debate about whose partisanship has been excessive and whose words have sown the most division and dread.  This page and many others have identified those voices and called on them to stop demonizing their political opponents.  The president's role in Tucson was to comfort and honor, and instill hope."

 

In other words, as the standard bearer of the left, the Times opines that Obama agrees with them.  In the memorial setting, he couldn't call out the guilty parties by name - that would have been un-presidential - but they have done that for him by exposing all the hate merchants.  Really?

 

Remember this is the same Times that recently gave space for defeated Democrat Representative Paul Kanjorski to lecture us that, "it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation."  That would be the same Paul Kanjorski who, speaking of Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott, suggested back in October that, "Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him.  Put him against the wall and shoot him."

 

To a rational mind, a comment like that causes Sarah Palin's innocuous crosshairs graphic look pretty mild.  As does Democrat Senator John Kerry's 2006 quip to alleged comedian Bill Maher that he, "could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania (then President Bush's address) and killed the real bird with one stone."  The Times exhibited no signs of hand wringing over that threatening remark.

 

Moreover, to my knowledge the Times has not spent any ink condemning liberal radio host Mike Malloy for his on-air wish that Rush Limbaugh would choke to death, Chris Matthews for his expectation that someone will shove a CO2 pellet into Rush's head causing him to explode, or Ed Schultz's publicly declared desire to take Dick Cheney's heart and, "rip it out and kick it around."  The Times hasn't dressed down liberal radio talker Montel Williams for urging Republican Michele Bachmann to slit her wrists, or as he disgustingly put it, "Move that knife up about two feet.  I mean, start right at the collarbone."

 

That's why all this talk about resolving our "climate of hate" is nonsense.  When those who are most guilty of perpetuating it believe the rules of civility don't apply to them, it becomes clear that their supposed crusade for calm is more about slandering the political right into silence than it is about reinstating a dignified debate that never really existed in the first place.

This column was first published at The American Thinker.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 04:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 16 January 2011

After the horrifying attack outside a Tucson area grocery store, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' condition continues to improve.  God willing, she will make a miraculous full recovery from her devastating injury.  Still, this much is clear in the wake of the tragedy: at least six people will not.

 

Evidence continues to be revealed about the frighteningly disturbed animal that committed this atrocity.  And like all criminal defendants, he is to be guaranteed his due process rights.  But when the trial has concluded and the inevitable verdict is rendered, there is but one punishment appropriate for this monster...death.

 

I don't say this out of spite.  I don't know Jared Lee Loughner; I know only what he did.  I don't say it out of vengeance.  I don't know any of his victims; I know only that they were human beings made in the image of God.  And that is the crucial element that is persistently being lost in our increasingly rancorous debate over the death penalty in America.

 

In the weeks and months to come, as the shock of this gruesome act begins to subside and as the state of Arizona pursues its expected case for the execution of Loughner, we will undoubtedly be subjected to the typical misdirection tactics of those who oppose capital punishment.

 

They will admonish us with their bumper sticker logic that asks, "Why should we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong," and lecture that any society executing its criminals lowers itself to the same standard of those they are attempting to punish.  Their logic suggests that since the two acts of murder and execution end with the same result - the death of a human being - they are morally equivalent. 

 

Such reasoning is emotionally driven and tragically flawed.  After all, while rape and marital sex both end with intercourse having occurred, we do not regard them as morally equivalent.  While kidnapping and incarceration both end with someone being deprived of their freedom, we do not regard them as morally equivalent.

 

And while similar examples could be cited to overcome this sophistry, we need only recognize that often the very ones who articulate this erroneous rubbish simultaneously champion so-called "reproductive rights."  In other words, while they seek to deprive society of being able to choose to execute the worst human rights offenders among us, they demand an individual be able to choose to murder an innocent human in the womb.  Such moral incongruity should destroy the credibility of anyone who suffers from it.

 

We will also hear from the experts who tell us that the death penalty is not a deterrent for violent crime.  They will cite their easily manipulated statistics to prove their case, not even realizing that ultimately it doesn't matter.  First, the United States executes such a tiny portion of violent offenders, there is no way to accurately measure whether criminal executions deter others from committing similar acts.  Secondly, whether they do or don't is a moot point. 

 

Executions, properly understood, should never be viewed as a solution to crime.  No punishment is a solution to crime, but rather a reaction to it.  The question we must confront as a society then is not whether executing killers prevents more killers.  Rather, is there any other punishment besides death that is appropriate for the heinous act of premeditated murder?

 

According to the Judeo-Christian ethic - the backbone of our civilization - there is not.

 

The ancient Noahic covenant that God made with humanity following the cataclysmic flood of Genesis is unlike other covenants throughout the Biblical text.  According to Scripture, God insisted that this would be a covenant for "all generations" and that His rainbow would signal its "everlasting" nature.  And while most of us remember God's end of the bargain whenever we see the rainbow, we tend to forget one of our obligations laid out in Genesis 9:5-6: "I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. Whoever sheds human blood, by human beings shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made humankind."

 

Because man is made in the image of God, he is set above all other living things.  This is what shapes the Western cultural understanding of the sanctity of human life - we are valued not for what we do, but who we are...beings made in the likeness of our Creator.  Because of that unique status, whoever destroys such a life necessarily forfeits their own. 

 

The Christian teachings of the New Testament further confirm the consistency of this command.  While death penalty opponents will often point to the Apostle Paul's counsel in Romans 12 to "not take revenge...but leave room for God's wrath," they fail to note what he writes in the succeeding chapter.  Speaking of civil government, Paul warns, "For the one in authority is God's servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason.  They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

 

In other words, we are not to lash out personally against those who do us wrong.  We are to leave vengeance up to God.  And God carries out His wrath on earth through His agent, the civil government.  Personal forgiveness does not run counter to this demand for civil justice.  Even Christ on the cross gave the repentant thief paradise, but did not excuse him from the just punishment for his earthly deeds. 

 

When Loughner's trial ends, the death penalty must persist as the silent witness to the sacredness of life made in the image of God.  No lesser punishment is adequate.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 09 January 2011

Mainstream conservative columnist Michael Barone has provided an interesting analysis that, simply by default, social issues have taken a backseat to the pressing economic woes of the country brought on by Barack Obama and the Democrats' wild two-year spending spree.

 

Barone recounts Indiana governor Mitch Daniels' controversial suggestion that the next president, "would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues," contending that Daniels misses the point.  Barone concludes no such truce-calling is necessary since the population that wars over those issues has largely stopped paying attention.

 

He writes, "I think both Daniels and his critics have missed the point.  The fact is that there is an ongoing truce on the social issues, because for more Americans they have been overshadowed by concerns raised by the weak economy and the Barack Obama Democrats' vast increase in the size and scope of government."  I get what he is saying, but with all due respect, I think it is Barone and other like-minded analysts who have missed the point.

 

Without question, topping the list of concerns for most voters in the 2010 midterms were "economic issues" like jobs, healthcare and the economy.  But increased attention to those issues does not necessitate decreased or waning concern over "social issues."  What Barone fails to grasp is the same reality that made Daniels' suggestion an imprudent one: Americans are coming to recognize that a breakdown in morality is at the heart of all our problems: economic, security and social.

 

Americans realize that the insurmountable debt we are heaping on our children and grandchildren with reckless abandon is inexcusable.  But what has caused it if it's not irresponsibility and a lack of stewardship of the public's resources?  At the heart of our "economic issue" of debt, then is what?  A moral problem.

 

Americans realize that the exploitation occurring in the marketplace, with regard to both goods and healthcare, is improper.  But what causes this if it's not greed and insatiable self-indulgence?  At the heart of our "fiscal issues" of commerce then, is what?  A moral problem.

 

Americans realize that our porous southern border that has allowed nothing short of an invasion of drug and alien smugglers from Mexico is unacceptable and warrants immediate correction.  But what has caused our government's lifeless inertia on this critical concern if it's not a breakdown in our respect for the just rule of law?  At the heart of our "security issue" of illegal immigration then, is what?  A moral problem.

 

We could keep going endlessly with this demonstration.  Every financial, economic, domestic, foreign or cultural issue we face can be tied back directly to a crumbling moral center.  It's what Thomas Jefferson meant when he wrote, "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?"

 

In other words, the securest protection offered to the survival and success of the great American experiment in liberty was a common morality tethered to a fundamental moral authority.  The source foundation of our "culture war" then is the very same foundation for our "economic war," our "security war," and every other war we encounter in our politics. 

 

Americans are beginning to understand this, and it is why they are fundamentally rejecting the path being offered by the left - one that flatly opposes submission to any moral authority superseding the state.  The right wins when it offers a stark contrast to that vision - not just on economic issues, but on all issues.

 

It's why conservatives would be fools to follow Daniels' ill-fated suggestion, or Barone's ill-advised analysis, and continue treating our societal sins and cultural chaos as mutually exclusive.

 

Oddly enough, there are those on the left who see this as well.  Tiffany Stanley recently wrote a piece for the liberal New Republic magazine, mourning how Democrats have given up on religious (read "social issues") voters.  After citing the inroads Obama made with evangelicals, Protestants and Catholics in 2008, she lamented, "But, in just two short years, the left has become sluggish in its courtship of religious voters, significantly scaling back its faith-outreach programs."

 

Of course the problem liberals have with these Christian groups is not a lack of outreach initiatives.  It's the fact that the tenets of their belief system, when exhibited as demonstrably as they have been for the last two years, run afoul of the very moral authority those religious voters embrace.

 

And it's for that reason that in the end, Barone's analysis is short sighted.  Americans are not abandoning the culture war.  Rather, they are coming to properly regard it as but one manifestation of a battle over worldviews that rages on all fronts. 

 

Therefore, the smartest path for conservatives to take is not isolating culture warriors by declaring silly truces that our opposition will not respect, but rather encouraging them with the reassurance their cause is noble and necessary, and their efforts are not in vain.

 

This column was first published at The American Thinker.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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