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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Friday, January 31 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterCounterpoints from David

(I've interrupted my series on public education to pursue a tangent, believing that eventually it should lead us back into that topic.)

I had gotten through only some of the comments I wanted to make on David Caldwell's Sunday article, "Thinking differently," when, on Tuesday evening, I received a response from him to my first section. I indicated in a personal reply that I already had Wednesday's Jonal entry ready to post, but would like to use his answer in today's space. David replied that he was leaning toward doing that but wanted to look his response over more closely before putting it online. In the meanwhile my second treatment of the Sunday article came out. It had another point or two David wanted to comment on, which he did in a revised answer, sent on Thursday. He also added that he would let me take his normal Sunday space for my next round of response, and that he would not continue the debate beyond that point, letting me have the last word.

So that's an offer I won't refuse, but hope I can do so in humility and charity. Below, then, are David's counterpoints to my Monday and Wednesday Jonal entries.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

It is disappointing to learn that you won't support my bid to become President; nevertheless, I want to create an administration of divergent views so I am still considering you to head the Department of Education.

Before looking at our differences, let's see where we agree. For two successive posts you have labeled me as "pro-abortion." I believe you have shot from the hip without thoroughly reading my article on Sunday. For my family, and me, abortion would never be an option. As I wrote Sunday, "If I had ever had to make a decision on whether to abort a fetus, I could not have done it." I didn't expand on the comment at the time but like you, I believe in God the creator of life and the sanctity of that life. I find the label "pro-abortion" offensive. Although, I also find the label "pro-life/anti-abortion" equally if not more offensive because of the heavy-handed, holier-than-thou tactics that group employs. Those tactics is where we disagree.

We disagree on what to do with the neighbors who don't believe as we do. I can't see running off to the federal government to pass laws to make abortion a criminal act. To do so is passing the buck. The problem begins with parents who aren't responsible, churches that don't teach moral and ethical values, and communities that don't have a strong moral conscience. Since the problem of abortion, as I see it, starts in the home, church, and community, that is where the solution must begin. Having the federal government make it illegal will only exacerbate the problem and widen the chasm that is splitting our country.

I have always wanted to ask several rhetorical questions of anti-abortionists who are so passionate about unborn fetuses. How passionate are you about the hundreds of thousands of children in our country who are growing up without the love and nurture of a family? Have you ever considered taking one or several into your home as foster children or, better yet, adopted one or several of them? Have you ever volunteered as a big brother or big sister to give attention and guidance to a troubled youth? Have you ever volunteered to teach a Sunday school or catechism class? Have you ever volunteered at Mom's House or some other such organization that helps pregnant teens bring their baby to full term and also complete school? In other words, have you ever considered channeling that passion for unborn children towards helping the unwanted and abused children already here? While I am not from Missouri, I still want you to show me. Taking a bus trip to Washington D.C with family and friends to protest sounds like a fun weekend, but beyond that, to me, it is nothing but theatrics.

Now for our differences on the McCaugheys. You wrote, "but Christian compassion and even less-than-Christian secular humanist charity should temper such expressions, in my not-so-humble opinion." Perhaps you are right but after reading your piece and giving it several days' thought, I haven't changed my mind. My opinion is tempered, in the sense of hardened, by 15 years of working with disabled, neglected, and abused children. I can see the McCaughey home from the child's point of view. Every child needs quality time with his or her parents and this need is magnified many fold when a child has a physical or mental problem, as do some of the McCaughey children.

As I wrote, "No parents, no matter how well-intentioned, have the ability to love and nurture adequately seven children of the same age." I see the potential for long-term emotional problems for all the children. Can you imagine growing up in a home with friends and relatives going in and out all the time, trying to help mom and dad? What do you think goes through the mind of a child who only wants a few minutes of time with mom or dad but has to wait his or her turn, and by then mom or dad is too stressed and tired to respond? Can you imagine having to constantly compete with 6 siblings for mom and dad's love and attention, something that most of us grew up taking for granted? Yes, Jon, you are probably right about my compassion for the McCaughey parents; my heart bleeds for the children.

Now, let's move to the crux of the matter, fertility drugs. First, though, let me say something a wise old minister once told me. "God answers prayer in three ways: yes, no, and wait." The McCaugheys didn't accept no and they didn't wait. They and their doctors made a terrible mistake, then consoled themselves by passing it off as God's will. Too often, we all get in over our heads, then justify the mistake as God's will. Yes, you are correct in saying that it was God who created the life when the sperm entered the egg. However, it was the fertility drugs used by Mrs. McCaughey that released the excessive eggs that also became fertilized. Excuse my brashness when I say "nonsense" to your contention that, "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…."

If God had wanted women to give birth to litters, he would have proportioned her body differently. I know that you believe as I do that God gave man a will of his own with which to make choices. As I state above, sometimes man makes the wrong choice and gets into trouble. Then to cover for the mistake, he passes it off as God's will. As for your reference to the use of herbs and drugs to overcome barrenness in ancient and biblical times in comparison to today's fertility drugs, I can't accept at all. That is like comparing a donkey to a supersonic jetliner. I am all for medical and surgical procedures that remove obstacles to the natural conception process. For many, now, that isn't enough. First we had drugs, and then test tube fertilization that has now advanced so a couple can actually choose whether they want a boy or girl. Where do we go next, cloning? Once we start down that slippery slope, where do we stop?

You also wrote, "I don't believe it's anyone else's prerogative to judge the McCaugheys' choice to bring seven babies to term and raise them, unless that person is asked to support the babies directly." Let me give you a for instance that will show that both you and I have helped to support the McCaughey children, albeit, not directly. We took in a foster child in 1996 who, like the McCaughey children, spent a long time after birth in intensive neonatal care. By the time this child came to us at age 7, the state and federal government had spent well over a million dollars on her doctor and hospital care. During the three years with us, that cost went up at least another $250,000. Of course, the government, you and me and the rest of the U.S. citizens, picked up the tab. Now multiply those numbers by seven. And even if they had insurance and didn't need to seek government help, we paid for them through higher premiums.

And lastly, you write, "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…" Can we take it from this quote that we, as gods, have the right to kick this fertility business up a notch and begin cloning humans? I don't think so. And I am certain you don't either. I stick by my original way of seeing things, perhaps blindly, that the McCaugheys and their doctors made a terrible mistake, then justified it by passing it off as God's will.

Let me add one more paragraph to respond to your post on Wednesday. These are a few of the words you quoted from my Sunday article.

He wrote: "...Let me reveal one more differing view that has to do with abortion. Now, don't get me wrong. If I had ever had to make a decision on whether to abort a fetus, I could not have done it. However, by the same token, I don't believe I have the right to stand on a soapbox...and demand that everyone else believe as I do.... or worse yet, as a few anti-abortionists have done, kill you. Now, does that make sense?"

From these few lines, you conclude that I see, "violent crazies as stereotypical of pro-lifers...."

Then you ask the question below: "that's well over 140 million pro-life Americans. Of those, how many have ever resorted to violence to drive home their frustration? One out of ten million? Does it make sense to even suggest that this is in any way representative of the pro-life philosophy?"

Now, read carefully that last line of the quote from my Sunday article and note the words, "a few anti-abortionists." Using your numbers, I come up with 14. How can you accuse me of defaming the pro-life movement when I point out 14 who commit violent acts or shoot doctors?

Of course, in my opinion, there are many weapons with which to shoot people. For instance, on Monday and Wednesday, you shot me with your favorite weapon, words. They are my favorite weapon, too. So, when shot at, I shoot back.

Peace, brother

 Ah, the good life

I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I'd just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.

—Jack Handey

Thought for the day

Before you flare up at another's faults, count 10...10 of your own.

—Anthony M. Coniaris,
Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth

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