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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Monday, January 27 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterNo cigar

(I'm interrupting my series on public education to pursue a tangent, but it's one that should lead us back into that area a little later.)

When David Caldwell whimsically threw his hat in the now-crowded ring full of Democrats planning to challenge George W. Bush's re-election aspirations next year, I just as whimsically suggested in a front-page marquee crawl that our favorite son should get at least local support. Regrettably, after seeing a bit more of his platform in yesterday's postcard, I have to announce that I won't be able to vote for him. I feel bad, this being the second time I've failed to support the ambition of a Nanty Glo man to move to Washington, having declined to support Solicitor John W. Taylor's challenge to Congressman John P. Saylor back when I was the Journal's editor. I thought then that John W. was too liberal* for my preferences, and in the current case I never vote for anyone declared to be "pro-choice," when the choice is death over life for unborn babies (and yes, that means that in lots of races, I vote for neither candidate). But that's to jump 'way ahead in the discussion; David's thoughtful "seeing differently" deserves better than a simple gloss.

First, it's debatable whether his positions as expressed are really in the minority as he thinks; I think I'm in the minority, but I live in a county where even candidates for dog-catcher, of both major parties and Greenpeace thrown in to boot, come out for "women's reproductive rights." I have no quibble with David's point about the Quecreek Mine rescue team getting less glory than it deserves. It's most likely true, but I might add that God probably isn't getting His share of the credit, either.

That statement is, of course, a bit whimsical but it enlightens the next point, on which I diverge sharply with my colleague sharing these spaces each week. I don't believe it's anyone else's prereogative to judge the McCaugheys' choice to bring seven babies to term and raise them, unless that person is asked to support the babies directly. Of course it's as American as apple pie that everyone has the right to an opinion on everything, but Christian compassion and even less-than-Christian secular humanist charity should temper such expressions, in my not-so-humble opinion. No doubt the McCaugheys prayed long before using the fertility drugs to fulfill their desire to have a family, and if they were sincere in those prayers, they could hardly have thrown God's providence (read "proVIDE-ence") back in His face by saying "we'll take the two best but discard the rest." Could they? I couldn't have.

The McCaugheys, David argues, "didn't believe they and their doctors had the right to take a human life. If one uses that rationale, what gave them and their doctors the right to use fertility drugs to create more fetuses than God intended? Weren't they usurping God's right or playing God?" Strictly speaking, according to the general theology of the Christian church throughout the ages, I'd answer, "no." Drugs were used in Ancient Egypt and later in the first generations of the church in the Roman Empire. Physicians were among the earliest Christians, and whatever they had in their valises that could lessen pain or extend lives (even when some might suggest that doing so would be interfering with God's will or playing God), were readily employed and, Christian Science to the contrary notwithstanding, the church was never anything but grateful and praised God for providing the physicians and their potions and treatments. By following the earliest examples, there was nothing inherently wrong about trying to find a fertility enhancement; in fact, even pre-Christian Jewish couples routinely sought and prayed for any cures they could utilize, short of stepping outside the marital bounds, for "barrenness." And in all cases, it's God, not fertility drugs, who creates life or fetuses. If he chose to add seven members to His church through this means, perhaps as a response to the failure of some evangelist to make his or her quota, whose prerogative is it to second-guess Him?

I'd even go farther to share what some will probably consider a "mind blowing" additional comment on the immediate topic: In cases where we are able to do moral good, we are expected, by God our Savior, to "play god" in His behalf. St. Athanasius, who can be called the father of the Nicene Creed (the most widely held creedal statement in Christendom, 325, revised in 381 A.D.) declared that, in the incarnation, "God was made man that we might be made god." And Jesus himself, quoting Psalm 82, says, "you are gods" (John 10:34). So to bring it to a fine point: "playing god" to help human life along is in our job description; playing god to arbitrarily destroy it blasphemes God.

More anon.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

*Unless defined in context otherwise, as used here, "liberal" means "anything goes," "everything is up for grabs," there is no fixed truth, we alone are the masters of our fates.

 Living proof

A man was walking in the city, when he was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking bum who asked him for a couple of dollars for dinner. The man took out his wallet, extracted two dollars and asked, "If I gave you this money, would you take it and buy whiskey?"

"No, I stopped drinking years ago," the bum said.

"Would you really use it to gamble?"

"I don't gamble. I need anything I can get just to stay alive."

"Would you spend the money on greens fees at a golf course?"

"Are you nuts! I haven't played golf for 20 years!"

The man said, "Well, I'm not going to give you $2. Instead, I'm going to take you to my home for a terrific dinner cooked by my wife."

The bum was astounded. "Won't your wife be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty bad."

The man replied, "Hey, man, that's OK! I just want her to see what a man looks like who's given up drinking, gambling, and playing golf."

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

Always

Always remember to forget,
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember,
The things that made you glad.
Always remember to forget,
The friends that proved untrue.
But don't forget to remember,
Those that have stuck by you.
Always remember to forget,
The troubles that have passed away.
But never forget to remember,
The blessings that come each day.

—Unknown
Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

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