Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Human Life is Precious in All Forms

Abortion is a hot button issue, no doubt about it. Many people shy away from talking about it, and with good reason: this issue blends two controversial topics - politics and religion - and has the potential to destroy personal relationships. Nevertheless, people feel compelled to argue their side because it is too important to ignore.

The first, most fundamental disagreement has always been the answer to the question, “when does human life begin?” There are three popular answers to this question: conception, viability, or birth. Let’s work our way backwards.

Birth: there is little argument that once a baby is born, he is a separate, whole human being and is entitled to all the same legal rights and protections as the mother who carried him. Unfortunately, supporters of partial-birth abortion draw a horrifying conclusion as to the exact conditions that constitute “birth.”

Viability: there is at least a legitimate argument to be made - however weak - that if a being cannot survive outside the womb, it is not a “life” yet. The problem is that this boundary is constantly being pushed earlier by technology. Does this mean that life begins earlier today than it did 10 years ago? Will it begin earlier 10 years from now than it does today? The fact that this line moves means that it can never be the right answer.

Conception: a fertilized egg contains a full compliment of human DNA. Some consider this single, unspecialized cell to be a part of the mother’s body. It is, however, a separate individual. Some conclude, because it is completely dependent on the mother’s body for life, that it is naught more than a parasite or a cancer. The difference is what it will grow into.

This single cell contains a complete human blueprint. The only thing remaining is gathering the right materials under the right conditions. For these, an embryo is completely dependent on his mother. I believe that a mother has no right to deny these conditions; in fact, she is already responsible for providing them.

I am against in vitro fertilization and embryonic stem cell research because embryos are destroyed in the process. While sacrificing life in order to create, save or enhance other lives may present a gray area for some, the difference is who is making the choice. An adult can choose to be an organ donor or take part in a drug trial or other medical research; embryos destroyed through research or IVF are not given that choice.

Are there any exceptions? I leave only one: the life of the mother. When faced with a painful decision on which life to save and which to sacrifice, there can be no wrong answer.

Unfortunately, even some conservatives leave the door open in cases of rape or incest. To them I ask: how is a life conceived through rape any less valid than one conceived through love or lust? While the choice was not made by the victim, the new life inside her is no less precious. As for incest, I will concede that the risk of birth defects is higher, but this is no different than any other baby found to have birth defects in utero. Perhaps, in both of these cases, the children can become wards of the state paid for by the guilty party. They certainly need not be destroyed.

That is my lay opinion. It guides my view of all related issues. Note that none of it requires the endowment of a soul or any other theological position as I am not a believer. Even without God – I would say especially without God – human life is precious in all forms.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts On Veterans Day

Is it possible to express support for our troops without getting caught up in politics? Can we simply say "thank you" without arguing about what we're thankful for?

I proudly fly the US flag and POW/MIA flag in my front yard. They are on a 20 foot pole and, to the chagrin of the Dark-Sky Association, are lighted from dusk to dawn by two 50W halogen up lights. Clearly visible for a block in each direction, many pass it in their daily travels; but I do not fly it for them.

I don’t want to forget the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much so that I can enjoy the spoils of a free society. I don’t want to take for granted the opportunities my children will have because others have fought to protect our way of life.

As I leave for work to earn an honest living, as I come home to my safe, warm house and beautiful, loving family, as I cut the grass and maintain the property I have the right to own; the flag is there for me as a constant reminder.

Men and women in uniform risk more than their lives and limbs. Even those who make it back with their bodies in tact are rarely left unscathed by the horror of war. The POW/MIA flag reminds me that our troops face worse things than death.

I remember them every day. I try every day to live my life in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice. I say “thank you” every chance I get. In future posts I will argue and debate the attacks on the freedoms they protect and I will chastise those in government who chip away at the constitution they have sworn an oath to uphold. Today, though, let me just say “thank you.”

To all who have fought, to all who have died, to all who have made sacrifices to protect and promote freedom for our country and our world, thank you.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Introduction to Lay Opinions

Thanks to the internet, everyone can join in the discussion of any topic imaginable. Conservatives in Texas can exchange opinions with Liberals from New Jersey and Moderates from Ohio. Unfortunately most of it is lost in the noise. What's worse is that most discussions degenerate into personal insults, off-topic rants and other garbage that stifles any chance for real debate.

Through this blog, I will attempt to create a forum where honest, articulate opinions are collected so that everyone can walk away more informed. I plan to strictly moderate comments and maintain a respectful tone. I look forward to the debate.

Disclaimer: I am an unappologetic conservative. I belive in traditional values, limited government and fiscal restraint. I am a registered Republican - so I can vote for conservative candidates in primaries - but I hate partisanship and hold both sides to an equally high standard. My own opinions will be written from that perspective, but my comment moderation will be non-partisan. If anything, I will probably be a little looser with opposing viewpoints.

Let's have at it!