Thursday, April 26, 2007

The "Law and Order" Candidate

Back in the Sixties, when the leftist Revolution was moving into violent high gear and the existence of all that we knew as America was clearly being threatened, many of the fearful spoke of the need for "law and order" candidates when the election periods of the 1960s and 1970s rolled around.

So much of what the "Sixties" represented has again become the order of our day, but uneasiness about a looming chaos has been heightened with some very contemporary new threats. Back in the former days, it took a clear-thinking well-spoken actor-statesman, Ronald Reagan, to bring the country back to its roots and senses. Today a similar figure is emerging in the person of Fred Thompson.

Thompson, who has not yet announced his candidacy for president but who looks very much like he will, has given conservatives happy goosebumps and appears to have Reaganesque qualities which could prove unbeatable and, more importantly, just the sort of sincere wisdom that this nation craves in its new hour of need.

We are pleased to reprint here a number of reports and commentaries which we hope will help convince the candadite and the voters that Fred Thompson is the man of the hour. -- GJM

* * * * *

Thompson Seeing a Green Light on the Right
By Ralph Z. Hallow and Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

Evidence of former Sen. Fred Thompson’s presidential appeal to victory-seeking conservatives is growing, including drawing more than 50 House Republicans on April 18 to hear his pitch and walking out with some endorsements for the Tennessean.

“When Fred Thompson runs for president, I will endorse him,” said Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida. Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana said Mr. Thompson “is ready, and I want him to run.”
Richard Land, one of the nation’s leading Southern Baptists, told The Washington Times that Mr. Thompson is sure to win if he runs.

“If Fred Thompson enters the race, he will be the odds-on favorite to become the nominee,” said Mr. Land, president of the South Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “He will be a formidable candidate in the general election for the presidency.”

The actor-politician has invited Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder to attend any announcement of a presidential candidacy.

Mr. Kinder, a staunch supporter of the Iraq war, noted that “Thompson won both his U.S. Senate races by more than 20 percentage points in a state that Bill Clinton carried twice.”

“Fred Thompson has demonstrated massive crossover appeal [to Democrats and independents] reminiscent of Reagan,” Mr. Kinder said.

Mr. Land and Mr. Kinder’s enthusiasm adds to the conviction among Republican insiders that Mr. Thompson will enter the contest and become a magnet for Iraq war advocates and social conservatives looking for a candidate they can trust.

Mr. Thompson told reporters he was on Capitol Hill to meet old friends and make new ones, but said nothing about his political ambitions.

Rep. Zach Wamp, the Tennessee Republican who organized the meeting, said five of the seven members of the Republican leadership were among the 53 lawmakers who attended. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio and Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri did not attend. Mr. Wamp said Mr. Blunt had been scheduled to meet with President Bush.

Not all of the Republicans meeting with Mr. Thompson were ready to make an endorsement. Many said they simply wanted to hear what he had to say. Mr. Thompson had the ear of Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa and Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, whose states have early primaries or caucuses.

“After seven failed years of George Bush, this party needs somebody who can excite them,” said Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican. He was one of the outspoken conservatives against the Iraq war who attended the Capitol Hill meeting.

Mr. Thompson is a former Watergate prosecutor who plays a minor role as district attorney in the popular TV series “Law & Order.”

Missouri is shaping up to be a battleground for endorsements. Gov. Matt Blunt has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani appeared Saturday at a fundraiser for Mr. Blunt’s father, but the congressman has not publicly endorsed any candidate.

Mr. Land said Mr. Thompson’s wife, Jeri Kehn, telephoned to thank him for a complimentary newspaper column. On April 14, Mr. Thompson phoned to say he wanted Mr. Land present at any campaign kickoff. “No date or time frame was mentioned,” Mr. Land said.

Mr. Land gave a qualified “yes” when asked whether conservative evangelical voters will sit out the 2008 election if none of the candidates shares their values. He said they may participate in elections below the presidential level, but “you will see a significant drop in the turnout among evangelicals.”

Run, Fred, Run
By Cal Thomas

I have no idea whether Fred Thompson, former senator from Tennessee, will run for the Republican nomination for president, but he should.

He has Ronald Reagan's communication skills and speaks plainly in ways most people can understand. Anyone who has listened to him substitute for Paul Harvey on ABC News Radio senses that, in this, he follows in Reagan's footsteps. Radio is an intimate medium. People who are able to connect with a radio audience often can connect on TV and in person. Thompson, the actor, plays other people. On radio and in news interviews, he "plays" himself.

Thompson conveys Middle American, common sense values. When he is asked a question, he doesn't sound as if he's giving a poll-tested pabulum answer. Agree or not, his statements spring from conviction.

In an interview with Fox's Chris Wallace last month, Thompson gave refreshingly direct answers to questions. On Iraq: "We're the leader of the free world whether we like it or not. People are looking to us to test our resolve. People think that if we hadn't gone down there (to Iraq), things would have been lovely. If Saddam Hussein were still around today with his sons looking at Iran developing a nuclear capability, he undoubtedly would have reconstituted his nuclear capability. Things would be worse than they are today."

Yes, we made mistakes in Iraq, Thompson says. "We went in there too light, wrong rules of engagement, wrong strategy, placed too much emphasis on just holding things in place while we built up the Iraqi army, took longer than we figured. Wars are full of mistakes. You rectify things. I think we're doing that now."

Abortion? "Pro-life. I think Roe vs. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges."

Gay rights? "I think that we ought to be a tolerant nation. I think we ought to be tolerant people. But we shouldn't set up special categories for anybody. Marriage is between a man and a woman and I don't believe judges ought to come along and change that."

As for "civil unions," Thompson thinks it should be left up to the states.

Gun control? Thompson is "against it generally."

Thompson is a member of the advisory committee for the Libby Legal Defense Trust, which supports Dick Cheney's former chief of staff who is appealing his perjury conviction. Thompson told Wallace if he were president he would pardon Libby immediately: "This is a trial that never would have been brought in any other part of the world. This is a miscarriage of justice."

There's something else to like about Fred Thompson. He doesn't appear to be lusting after the job as if he needs it for his self-image. This, too, is much like Reagan, who knew who he was before becoming president and was the same after he left office.

It is said of Thompson that he has always "answered the call" of his country, whether it was serving as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, or in other capacities, including United States senator.

Some political "experts" think it is almost too late for any new candidate to announce for president. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he intends to wait until September before saying if he will run. Actually, waiting might be the best strategy for these Republicans. Conservative Republicans are restless about what they regard as a weak field. They want someone who can take on Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama and win.

The Time Is Now for Fred Thompson
Dick Morris & Eileen McGann
Saturday, April 21, 2007

NEWSMAX.COM -- For everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven — even a time to declare one's presidential candidacy.
For Fred Thompson, the time is now!

Momentum has been building for Thompson in the past six weeks. If he announces his presidency run in the next few weeks, he will coast easily into a berth in the Republican finals against Rudy Giuliani. But if he delays — as he shows signs of wanting to do — he will miss the boat.

For many candidates, delay means that they don't have to stand out and be targets until later in the game. But for Thompson, delay could be fatal.

The major negative against the former Tennessee senator is that he lacks the heart or the fire in the belly to compete and win.

With Hillary Clinton looming as the expected Democratic nominee, victory is of surpassing importance to the Republican primary electorate. Republicans will not nominate someone who they think is ambivalent about running.
During his Senate tenure, Thompson's work habits were suspect. The New York Times recently (gently) noted that he was not known as one of the hardest working senators. The very fact that he left the Senate after only eight years in office raised suspicions that he was distracted by the allure of Hollywood and the joys of private life.
Too long a delay in announcing his candidacy could fuel such speculation and create a negative that need not exist for the actor-turned-politician-turned-actor.

On paper, Fred Thompson looks like a nominee from, well, central casting. Invoking the legacy of Ronald Reagan, his communications skills hearken back to the era when the GOP right had a president so fluid, silken voiced, and articulate that it could advance its agenda without compromise and still prevail.

With Rudy Giuliani threatening to resurrect Rockefeller Republicanism in a modern incarnation, Thompson offers a refuge for pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay Republicans.

The recent Supreme Court decision upholding congressional legislation banning partial birth abortion and the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech will both ignite demands on the left for an aggressive drive to protect Roe v. Wade, and to legislate tougher gun controls.

This Democratic offensive puts Rudy Giuliani in the middle and could erode support for his candidacy. On the other hand, it could fire the ranks of true believers and lead them to rally around a Fred Thompson candidacy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Fundamentals of Armageddon

By Garry J. Moes

Fanatical liberal extremists, such as the reality-challenged butch whack-job Rosie O'Donnell, are fond of charging that the United States of America (read United States of Bush) is a greater force for terror in the world than the self-proclaimed terrorists who have been blowing up everything in sight for some 40-50 years now. The charge is so absurd that it does not deserved to be discussed. So I won't.

I would like to discuss, however, a parallel charge, also from the same quarters (including Rosie the rabid riveter), that there is no essential difference between Islamic "fundamentalists" and Christian "fundamentalists," except that the latter are probably more dangerous. The "dangerous" part of that allegation is as patently absurd as the broader charge cited in the opening paragraph. However, it would be enlightening to consider what parallels there might be between Islamic fundamentalism and certain Christian elements. (Actually, "parallels" is a less appropriate term than, say, "mirror images.")

First of all, the religiously ignorant loudmouths making the charges know virtually nothing about the tenets of either Islamic fundamentalism or Christian fundamentalism. I would be happy if they would only acquaint themselves with the former, because a keen, even basic, understanding of the religious inspiration and motivations of the Islamic imperialists would be sufficient to end the discussion.

In modern Christianity, the term "fundamentalism" is a theological term of art. Fundamentalist Christianity, or Christian Fundamentalism (with a capital "F"), is a movement that arose mainly within British and American Protestantism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, led by conservative evangelical Christians, who, in a reaction to "modernism," set forth a series of fundamental Christian beliefs: the literal inerrancy and authority of the Bible, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Christ through His death on the cross, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

In the late 19th century and early to middle 20th century, Christian Fundamentalists became highly identified with another set of beliefs which mainstream Christianity did not hold to, namely a scheme of historical interpretation of the Bible and a particular systematic eschatology known as "dispensationalism." Dispensationalism teaches biblical history as a number of successive economies or administrations, called dispensations, each of which emphasizes the continuity of the covenants God made with the Hebrews/Jews, said to be His original and eternally chosen people.

Most dispensationalists also espouse an eschatology (doctrine of the "end times") known as "premillenialism," which holds that Jesus Christ will return to earth at a certain point in history (that point delineated by certain benchmarks including the end [or beginning, in a variant view] of a seven-year period of severe persecution or "tribulation" ) and literally reign on the earth from a throne in Jerusalem for 1,000 years, after which the earth and all the wicked in it will be destroyed. Christians will be "raptured" out of the earthly environment either before, during or after the millennial reign, depending on which of several views of premillennialism one holds.

Among the benchmarks or "signs" of the end times and coming of the millennial reign of Christ are these, according to the premillennial Fundamentalists: the rise of false religious prophets, teachers and messiahs; wars; famines; earthquakes; tribulations; the spread of the Christian Gospel throughout the world; increasing godlessness; apostasy (a falling away) from the faith among Christians; the rise of a 200-million-man army in the East; the redevelopment of the Roman Empire (now taken to mean the European Union); the return of the Hebrew language within Israel; the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, along with the return of Temple worship and animal sacrifices; the appearance of a certain Red Heifer in Israel; increase in global knowledge and travel; the return of Ethiopian Jews to Israel; the rise of Russia as a strong military power; an alliance or pincher movement of Russia and China; the return of Russian Jews to Israel; the rise of certain technologies which will result in all of the enemies of Christ receiving a "mark of the beast"; the rise and establishment of "one world government" and a universal language under the rule of political superman or "antichrist"; the rise of Satanism, the occult, and sorcery; a rise in homosexuality, adultery, feminism, sex, violence, disobedience/rebellion among children and drug use; false peace movements; and instant worldwide communication.

Many premillennialists believe most of these benchmarks have recently been met and that the return of Christ to wage a final battle against His enemies, to establish His 1,000-year iron-fisted rule over the wicked of this world and to enter His Final Judgment against evil mankind is imminent. Some scan the daily news reports in great detail looking for evidence of the arrival of these signs. Many are working feverishly, in the open and in secret, to hasten the arrival of benchmarks still unrealized and thereby usher in the Rapture and Millennial Kingdom.

Over against the Fundamentalist Christian millennial view (by no means universally held among Christians, some believing that a figurative or spiritual "millennial" reign of Christ began with His original Incarnation and will continue until the end of history) is a particular eschatological view held by some adherents within Shi’ite Islam. These Muslims are expecting and/or working for the imminent return of a figure known as the Twelve or Hidden Imam, who will lead the world in an Islamic brand of millennial rule.

While the stories of the first eleven Imams are historical in nature, the history of the Twelfth Imam is mystical and miraculous. He was born in A.D. 868 as Abu'l-Kasim Muhammad (which is the name of the Prophet himself). When Hasan al-Askari, the Eleventh Imam, died in A.D. 874, the seven-year-old boy declared himself to be the Twelfth Imam and went into hiding, according to scholar Richard Hooker of Washington State University.

"The central Shi'a doctrines revolving around the Hidden Imam are the doctrines of Occultation (Ghayba ) and Return (Raj'a ). The Doctrine of Occultation is simply the belief that God hid Muhammad al-Mahdi away from the eyes of men in order to preserve his life. God has miraculously kept him alive since the day he was hidden in 874 AD/260 AH; eventually God will reveal al-Mahdi to the world and he will return to guide humanity," Hooker says.

This return is the most significant event in the future for the Shi'ite faithful and has thunderous eschatological consequences. This return will occur shortly before the Final Judgment and the end of history. Imam Mahdi will return at the head of the forces of righteousness and do battle with the forces of evil in one, final, apocalyptic battle. When evil has been defeated once and for all, the Imam Mahdi will rule the world for several years under a perfect government and bring about a perfect spirituality among the peoples of the world. After the Imam Mahdi has reigned for several years, Jesus Christ will return (raj'a ), as will Husayn and others. It is the return of the dead that falls under the Doctrine of Return; the Mahdi will only appear to humanity.

Twelver Shi'ism is, then, a deeply eschatological religion. Important to understanding Shi'a religious belief is the understanding that the end of time will be preceded by an era of perfect justice and spirituality. The world, for the Shi'ite, is a deeply immoral, degenerate, and corrupt place; these are the necessary preludes to the appearance of Imam Mahdi. Like Christianity, Shi'ism is also a deeply prophetic religion. Like Christian belief, the end of time and the appearance of the Mahdi will be preceded by a number of events foretold in prophecy. The Shi'ite, then, like many Christians, lives in a world full of signs of the impending concluding chapters of history. This is vitally important in understanding Shi'a culture and political theory. Most of Iranian history can only be understood in relationship to the Doctrine of Return and the prophecies associated with it. For instance, during the Iranian Revolution, several Iranians believed that Ayatullah Ruhollah Khumayni, the spiritual and theoretical head of the Revolution, was the Hidden Imam returned to the world of humanity. While Khumayni never admitted this, he never denied it either. In many ways, the Revolutionaries believed that they were engineering or inaugurating the beginning of the reign of justice in the world, just as the radical Protestant English who settled America believed that they were inaugurating the one thousand year rule of saints that would precede the end of the world. Contemporary Iranian politics can in no way be divorced from the fundamental religious tenets of Shi'a Islam.

As described by John von Heyking of the Ashbrook Center for Public Policy at Ashland University:

One of the differences between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam is that the latter, who dominate Iran and form the majority in Iraq, believe that Allah shielded or hid Muhammad al-Mahdi as the Twelve Imam until the end of time. Shi’ites expect the Twelfth Imam, which Jews and Christians would recognize as a messianic figure, to return to save the world when it had descended into chaos. Shi’ite orthodoxy has it that humans are powerless to encourage the Twelfth Imam to return. However, in Iran a group called the Hojjatieh believe that humans can stir up chaos to encourage him to return. Ayatollah Khomeini banned the group in the early 1980s because they rejected one of the primary commitments of the Iranian revolution: the concept of Vilayat-i Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist). In other words, they opposed the notion of an Islamic republic because it would hinder the Twelfth Imam’s return on account of it being too just and peaceful. Today, in addition to the possibility of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad himself being a member (or a former member), the group has connections to Qom ultraconservative cleric Mezbah Yazti whom Iranians frequently refer to as the "crazed one" and the "crocodile." Four of the twenty-one new cabinet ministers are purportedly Hajjatieh members. Some reports state that cabinet ministers must sign a formal pledge of support for the Twelfth Imam.

* * *

According to Shi’ite teaching, the Twelfth Imam will not require an introduction upon his return. His identity will be self-evident to all, or at least to those capable of recognizing him. One view states that he will rule through a deputy, or perhaps the deputy will precede the Imam’s return. Perhaps the deputy’s identity should also be evident to all who can see. [Could this be the Beast or False Prophet of Christian Premillenialism’s Antichrist? — GJM]

While Ahmadinejad has not drawn an explicit connection between his desire to see Israel wiped off the map and an activist belief in the Twelfth Imam’s return, the dots are there to be connected once one understands the tyrannical "logic" behind someone who, perhaps viewing himself as a self-proclaimed deputy for the Twelfth Imam, might wish to effect Mahdi’s return. The deputy would promote Iran’s nuclear capabilities for they are key to effecting chaos in the world. The deputy would also purge diplomats, dozens of deputy ministers and heads of government banks and businesses, and challenge the Iranian ruling clerical establishment. All these moves push the regime toward a "coup d’etat" (according to one Iranian source) or at least a constitutional crisis. But a constitutional crisis would be a mere stepping stone for a president for whom the Twelfth Imam does not require an Islamic republic to return.

Western observers need to be able to understand the ideological and religious overtones of the current situation in Iran. Ahmadinejad’s peculiar references to the Twelfth Imam are no mere eccentricity to be taken lightly. Nor do they seem to be the rhetorical ploy of a politician manipulating the excitable masses (as some have interpreted Saddam Hussein’s embrace of Islamism in the later part of his rule). Minimally, Ahmadinejad’s speeches and actions portend a constitutional crisis for the Iranian regime. Maximally, there are times when one should take bombastic statements not as double-talk, but for what they are.

Historian Victor Davis Hanon of the Hoover Institution observes, "In all his crazed pronouncements, Ahmadinejad reflects an end-of-days view: History is coming to its grand finale under his aegis."

It is not difficult to see that the Dispensationalist Premillennial Christian view of the end of history and the eschatology of the Shi’te Islamic Twelvers are on a powerful and potentially dangerous collision course, with Israel at the center of both apocalyptic views.

Beyond eschatology, there is a second area of theology which must be examined to clearly understand the clash between Christianity and Islam. The key word in this discussion is "theonomy" — the rule of divine law.

Islamic fundamentalists are currently on a worldwide crusade to establish the rule of divine law as the governing force in society, not only in traditionally Islamic lands but throughout the West as well, including Britain, France, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States, all of which currently have enclaves where Sharia is practiced.

Islamic law is known as Sharia. The term means "way" or "path." It is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Muslim principles of jurisprudence. Sharia covers all aspects of day-to-day life, including economics, politics, banking, business law, contract law, sexuality, and social issues. There is not a strictly codified uniform set of laws pertaining to Sharia. It is more like a system of derived laws, based on the Qur’an, Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent. Sharia has certain laws which are regarded as divinely ordained, concrete and timeless for all relevant situations (for example, the ban against drinking liquor as an intoxicant). It also has certain laws which derive from principles established by Islamic lawyers and judges.

For fundamentalist Muslims, there is no division of "church" and "state" (although in Islam there is neither church nor state). All of life is one, and all is guided along the path of Sharia. "As Islam makes no distinction between religion and life, Islamic law covers not only ritual but every aspect of life" ( Encyclopedia).

"...Sharia ... contains the rules by which the Muslim world is governed (or should govern itself) and forms the basis for relations between man and God, between individuals, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, as well as between man and things which are part of creation. The Sharia contains the rules by which a Muslim society is organized and governed, and it provides the means to resolve conflicts among individuals and between the individual and the state," according to the Middle East Institute.

In Christianity, the concept of theonomy is being advanced primarily by a highly influential movement known variously as Christian Reconstructionism or Dominion Theology. This movement, sparked by the late California theologian Rousas John Rushdoony, author of The Institutes of Biblical Law, and drawing on principles advanced by early Calvinist Reformers in Europe and American Puritans, also holds that divine law (Biblical law) is, once was, and again should become the fundamental organizing principle for all aspects of society and every area of life.

In the terminology of Christian Reconstructionism, theonomy is the idea that, in the Bible, God provides the basis of both personal and social ethics. In that context, the term is always used in antithesis to autonomy, which is the idea that Self provides the basis of ethics. Theonomic ethics asserts that the Bible has been given as the abiding standard for all human government — individual, family, church, and civil; and that Biblical Law must be incorporated into a Christian theory of Biblical ethics (Wikipedia). The moral laws given by God to the ancient Israelites reflect God's character, which is unchangeable, theonomists hold. Most of the laws are intended for all nations, cultures, societies, religions and all eras, including the present time.

"Theonomic ethics, to put it simply, represents a commitment to the necessity, sufficiency, and unity of Scripture. For an adequate and genuinely Christian ethic, we must have God's word, only God's word, and all of God's word. Nearly every critic of theonomic ethics will be found denying, in some way, one or more of these premises" (The Theonomic Antithesis to Other Law-Attitudes).

Rushdoony writes that "the god of a culture can be located by fixing its source of law. If the source of law is the ontological Trinity of Christian revelation, then that Trinity is the God of that culture. If the source of law rests in the people, then the voice of the people is the voice of God (vox populi, vox dei), and that voice finds expression and incarnation either in a leader, a legislative body, or a supreme court, depending on which gains the ascendency. The highest point in the processes of law is the god of that system" (The Politics of Guilt and Pity).

Theonomists support public policy changes in accord with Biblical principles, but see those changes as coming about as a result of, and not the cause of, conversions to Christianity. By contrast, fundamentalist Muslims would base public policy on Sharia by whatever imposition is necessary, including by arms, terror or forced conversions.

Many Christian theonomists seek a future earthly "Kingdom of God" in which much of the world is converted to Christianity. They cite the numerous scripture passages referring to God's collective judgment upon unrighteous nations and God's blessing upon those rulers and societies heeding His Word as evidence that the presence or absence of Christian values may profoundly influence the rise and fall of nations.

"Theonomy means literally, ‘God's law,’ or the belief that the moral laws of the Old Testament are still binding today. This idea states that only Old Testament laws specifically fulfilled in the New Testament are non-binding (such as sacrificial laws, ceremonial laws and dietary laws). The moral Law of God is still the ethical standard for governing individuals and society," writes Jay Rogers, editor of a Reconstructionist-oriented publication called The Forerunner International.

The moral Law of God, when codified as a basis for civil law, restrains the passion of the sinner (i.e., capital punishment is a deterrent to violent crime). It also acts as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Knowledge of the moral Law of God brings individuals knowledge of sin. Then more may be converted through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. How can we be saved unless we first know that we are sinners?

Theonomy implies the systematic theology of covenantalism: the belief that God operates through covenants, or eternally binding legal agreements; that there is no division between the Old and New Testaments; that the New Covenant includes the moral Law of the Old Covenant; that the Old Covenant required grace through faith in Jesus Christ as a means of obtaining personal salvation.

The system of government resulting from theonomy is called a theocracy: literally, "God's government." When we speak of a theocracy, it should be clear that we are not talking about a state run by a national church, or an ecclessiocracy, such as the Holy Roman Empire, or the totalitarian military dictatorships in Muslim fundamentalist states. In a true theocracy, the state does not control the church, nor the church the state, but both spheres of society are under the government of God. There is implied a decentralization of power or a "Christian Republican" form of government.

Christian Reconstructionism repudiates Zionism and vehemently opposes the views of the Christian Fundamentalist Dispensationalists and Premillennialists, which they say have captured much of the Christian Right in America.

"The Christian Right may be criticized for putting an undue emphasis on ‘political solutions’ and for not relying strictly on biblical law," says Rogers. "Simply put: either we will have man’s law or God’s law as a standard for civil legislation. We are not looking for a ‘voice a the table’ nor are we seeking ‘equal time’ with the godless promoters of pornography, abortion, safe-sodomy subsidies, socialism, etc. We want them silenced and punished according to God’s Law-Word. ... Civil law must has some standard: either it is human autonomy (what man sees as right in his own eyes) or it is biblical law (what God declares to be right in His Word) .... take your pick!"

We believe that there are two biblically prescribed punishments enforceable by the state: execution and restitution. We do not believe in jail sentences. We believe in only the biblically prescribed punishments for violations of the moral law.

We do not believe that the state is the final arbiter in all matters pertaining to the moral law. Most of these cases would be resolved within families or within churches. However, only the state may execute criminals for capital crimes; only the state "bears the sword’ (see Romans 13).

We want civil government to punish evil doers according to biblical sanctions. We want all moral laws of the Old Testament to be enforced according to biblical standards.

Reconstructionists hold that any person — Jew, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant — would be free in a biblically reconstructed society under the civil law to worship. "The civil government has no power to restrict religion," Rogers says. "The civil government has an obligation to see that all people obey the moral law as it falls into civil jurisdiction. Thus religious expressions which contradict the Ten Commandments would not be publicly tolerated. The domain of the church is to preach truth. Because Reconstructionists are postmillennialists [the view that Christ will return at the end of an undefined figurative millennium in which the church and world are now living], we believe that eventually, organized false religions will become rare, if not extinct. This will be accomplished mainly through the efforts of the church, not the state."

Such views produce hysteria among theonomy’s critics, avowed secularists and atheists. One such critic who calls himself an Evangelical Atheist, says, "My friends, Christian Reconstructionism and Muslim Fundamentalism are the two most dangerous ideologies in the world today. Under either, unbelievers would be oppressed at best. At worst, who can say? Which is more of a threat? The Muslims can only blow us up; the Dominionists get to vote. Al-Qaeda can take our lives, but Christian Reconstructionists can take our country, and ultimately, our freedom."

Reconstructionists energetically deny such charges and say that they hold only that as biblical thought competes in the marketplace of ideas, it will eventually win the day because of its inherent goodness, righteousness and justice and eventually become the basic character of society, with biblical ethics codified as law being the natural result. According to Rushdoony, "Now as Christians we believe that the basic starting point is the regeneration of man. Then man takes and applies that faith. For Christians the basic government is the self-government of the Christian man. Then the basic governmental unit is the family. This means that every father and mother will be more important in the sight of God than heads of state, because He controls children, property and the future. Then the third is the church as the government, fourth the school as a government, fifth your job governs you, then sixth society governs you with its ideas, beliefs and standards, and seventh, one among many forms of government, is the civil government."

Meanwhile, the clash of religious fundamentalisms will no doubt continue to grow. The strategies and tactics of the opposing fundamentalist forces are vastly different, with Islam renewing is centuries-old violent imperialism in an attempt to take the world by force through a growing army of terrorists, insurrectionists and violent propagandists. In the modern world, the nations of Christendom have no religiously motivated crusader armies, indeed few have much left of Christianity. Unless the formerly Christian nations of the West awaken to the harsh realities that Islamic fundamentalism seeks to impose on them, the outcome of this civilizational Armageddon looks bleak for the West. It is time to reassert the moral foundations of Western society, which find their genesis in the civilizing impulses and values of Christianity and the Hebrew-Christian Bible. Without the reinforcement of these foundations and the repudiation of its present moral corruptions, the West will crumble, and great will be the fall thereof.

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." — Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV)

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Hope for Life

By Garry J. Moes


The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on April 18, 2007, upholding a congressional ban on partial birth abortion, though extremely limited in its scope, is a monumental and welcome breakthrough in the court’s approach to the question of abortion.

At the outset, it must be noted that the limited scope of the ruling is in large part due to the fact that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 which it upholds is itself extremely limited in its scope, banning only a very specific type of unspeakably ghastly abortion and defining that banned procedure in a very restrictive way. The law and the ruling still leave ghoulish abortionists with options for late-term abortions that are nearly equally as gruesome to contemplate — though contemplate them we must.

The ruling in the case known as Gonzales v. Carhart is a positive development, however, in several subtle but potentially significant ways:

  • It places a powerful new emphasis on language in earlier court pro-abortion rulings which previously only paid lip service to what the court said is the government’s "legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the ... life of the fetus that may become a child." In so doing, it shines new light on historically overlooked aspects of previous court rulings which questioned the legitimacy of abortion for late-term "viable" fetuses.
  • For the first time since legalizing murder of unborn humans in 1973, the court has approved a direct ban on an abortion procedure itself (albeit only a specific type), not merely a peripheral restriction, such as parental consent.
  • It repeatedly refers to the unborn as children and living humans, not merely tissue or the product of conception, and it frequently uses the word "kill" in describing abortion techniques.
  • It honestly and graphically describes the horrific acts of murder and dismemberment which not only this banned procedure involves but which are involved in all forms of legal abortion, which it says are "laden with the power to devalue human life."
  • It approvingly cites the government’s and society’s interest in passing legislation which fully discloses to abortion-seeking women the explicit details of the horrific act they are contemplating. This may prove to be a boost to crisis pregnancy centers and others who are working for legislation to require ultrasound procedures and the presentation of their living, moving baby images to mothers seeking abortions.
  • For the first time, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s new "swing vote," has come down on the pro-life side of the abortion question, actually authoring this 5-4 majority opinion, suggesting the possibility of a pro-life majority on the court. Although he did not repudiate any of his previous opposite positions, he skillfully seemed to try to reconcile them to his new position in this case.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas, with concurrence from Justice Antonin Scalia, reiterated his belief that the court’s previous landmark rulings finding a fundamental right to abortion have "no basis in the Constitution."

Before going into further detail on these positive points from the Gonzales ruling, it is important to be reminded, as Kennedy took considerable pains to do, that certain appalling abortion procedures are still legally available. In the first trimester of pregnancy, abortion "doctors" still have available to them the standard procedure for ending the life of an unwanted baby, killing the baby with chemicals and then sucking it out of the womb with vacuum devices and throwing its remains into garbage cans.

Kennedy described this procedure as follows:

Abortion methods vary depending to some extent on the preferences of the physician and, of course, on the term of the pregnancy and the resulting stage of the unborn child's development. Between 85 and 90 percent of the approximately 1.3 million abortions performed each year in the United States take place in the first three months of pregnancy, which is to say in the first trimester. ... The most common first-trimester abortion method is vacuum aspiration (otherwise known as suction curettage) in which the physician vacuums out the embryonic tissue. Early in this trimester an alternative is to use medication, such as mifepristone (commonly known as RU-486), to terminate the pregnancy. ... The Act does not regulate these procedures.

Of the remaining abortions that take place each year, Kennedy noted, most occur in the second trimester. The surgical procedure referred to as "dilation and evacuation" or "D&E" is the usual abortion method in this trimester and this method is still very much legal for all later term abortions. Although individual techniques for performing D&E differ, the general steps are the same. Kennedy describes this procedure in explicit detail (citations removed):

A doctor must first dilate the cervix at least to the extent needed to insert surgical instruments into the uterus and to maneuver them to evacuate the fetus. ... The steps taken to cause dilation differ by physician and gestational age of the fetus. ... A doctor often begins the dilation process by inserting osmotic dilators, such as laminaria (sticks of seaweed), into the cervix. The dilators can be used in combination with drugs, such as misoprostol, that increase dilation. The resulting amount of dilation is not uniform, and a doctor does not know in advance how an individual patient will respond. In general the longer dilators remain in the cervix, the more it will dilate. Yet the length of time doctors employ osmotic dilators varies. Some may keep dilators in the cervix for two days, while others use dilators for a day or less. ...

After sufficient dilation the surgical operation can commence. The woman is placed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman's cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety, though sometimes removal is completed with fewer passes. Once the fetus has been evacuated, the placenta and any remaining fetal material are suctioned or scraped out of the uterus. The doctor examines the different parts to ensure the entire fetal body has been removed. ...

Some doctors, especially later in the second trimester, may kill the fetus a day or two before performing the surgical evacuation. They inject digoxin or potassium chloride into the fetus, the umbilical cord, or the amniotic fluid. Fetal demise may cause contractions and make greater dilation possible. Once dead, moreover, the fetus' body will soften, and its removal will be easier. Other doctors refrain from injecting chemical agents, believing it adds risk with little or no medical benefit.

The abortion procedure that was the impetus for the numerous attempted bans on "partial-birth abortion," including the 2003 law, is a variation of the standard D&E and is known primarily as "intact D&E." The main difference between the two procedures is that in intact D&E a doctor extracts the baby intact or largely intact with only a few passes, Kennedy noted, adding that there are no comprehensive statistics indicating what percentage of all D&Es are performed in this manner. He then went on to describe the gory details of intact D&E or partial-birth abortion:

In an intact D&E procedure the doctor extracts the fetus in a way conducive to pulling out its entire body, instead of ripping it apart. One doctor, for example, testified:

"If I know I have good dilation and I reach in and the fetus starts to come out and I think I can accomplish it, the abortion with an intact delivery, then I use my forceps a little bit differently. I don't close them quite so much, and I just gently draw the tissue out attempting to have an intact delivery, if possible...."

Rotating the fetus as it is being pulled decreases the odds of dismemberment. A doctor also "may use forceps to grasp a fetal part, pull it down, and re-grasp the fetus at a higher level — sometimes using both his hand and a forceps — to exert traction to retrieve the fetus intact until the head is lodged in the [cervix]."

Intact D&E gained public notoriety when, in 1992, Dr. Martin Haskell gave a presentation describing his method of performing the operation. ... In the usual intact D&E the fetus’ head lodges in the cervix, and dilation is insufficient to allow it to pass. Haskell explained the next step as follows:

"‘At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides the fingers of the left [hand] along the back of the fetus and ‘hooks’ the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down).

"‘While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fingers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger.

"‘[T]he surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening. "‘The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.’"

Dr. Haskell's approach is not the only method of killing the fetus once its head lodges in the cervix, and "the process has evolved" since his presentation. ... Another doctor, for example, squeezes the skull after it has been pierced "so that enough brain tissue exudes to allow the head to pass through." Still other physicians reach into the cervix with their forceps and crush the fetus' skull. ... Others continue to pull the fetus out of the woman until it disarticulates at the neck, in effect decapitating it. These doctors then grasp the head with forceps, crush it, and remove it.

Some doctors performing an intact D&E attempt to remove the fetus without collapsing the skull. ... Yet one doctor would not allow delivery of a live fetus younger than 24 weeks because "the objective of [his] procedure is to perform an abortion," not a birth. ... The doctor thus answered in the affirmative when asked whether he would "hold the fetus’ head on the internal side of the [cervix] in order to collapse the skull" and kill the fetus before it is born. ... Another doctor testified he crushes a fetus’ skull not only to reduce its size but also to ensure the fetus is dead before it is removed. For the staff to have to deal with a fetus that has "some viability to it, some movement of limbs," according to this doctor, "[is] always a difficult situation."

How sensitive! Crush the baby’s skull while still in the womb so that the attending staff doesn’t get freaked out when they see the tiny infant writhing in pain. Thanks to the mercies of God, a Republican Congress and president, and new wisdom within the Supreme Court, this kind of barbarism is now unlawful in the United States.

Kennedy cited with implicit approval Congress’ revulsion at this inhumanity:

The Act's purposes are set forth in recitals preceding its operative provisions. A description of the prohibited abortion procedure demonstrates the rationale for the congressional enactment. The Act proscribes a method of abortion in which a fetus is killed just inches before completion of the birth process. Congress stated as follows: "Implicitly approving such a brutal and inhumane procedure by choosing not to prohibit it will further coarsen society to the humanity of not only newborns, but all vulnerable and innocent human life, making it increasingly difficult to protect such life."

Congress was concerned, furthermore, with the effects on the medical community and on its reputation caused by the practice of partial-birth abortion, Kennedy noted. The findings in the Act explain:

"Partial-birth abortion ... confuses the medical, legal, and ethical duties of physicians to preserve and promote life, as the physician acts directly against the physical life of a child, whom he or she had just delivered, all but the head, out of the womb, in order to end that life."

Kennedy said that an earlier landmark decision of the court, in Planned Parenthood of Southern Pa. v. Casey, which upheld most of the original Roe v. Wade ruling, had reaffirmed the legitimacy of governmental objectives to protect life. "The government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman. A central premise of the opinion was that the Court's precedents after Roe had ‘undervalue[d] the State's interest in potential life,’" he wrote.

The plurality opinion [in Casey] indicated "[t]he fact that a law which serves a valid purpose, one not designed to strike at the right itself, has the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate it." ... This was not an idle assertion. The three premises of Casey must coexist. ... The third premise [see further on this below - GJM], that the State, from the inception of the pregnancy, maintains its own regulatory interest in protecting the life of the fetus that may become a child, cannot be set at naught by interpreting Casey's requirement of a health exception so it becomes tantamount to allowing a doctor to choose the abortion method he or she might prefer. Where it has a rational basis to act, and it does not impose an undue burden, the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.

Though it resulted here in a welcome step to protection of life, this is still twisted reasoning. Kennedy has here argued that the state is well within its rightful duties to protect life and promote respect for it by barring inhuman abortion procedures, as long as other, less repulsive, procedures remain available to end that very same life. Kennedy went on to say:

The Act's ban on abortions that involve partial delivery of a living fetus furthers the Government's objectives. No one would dispute that, for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life. Congress could nonetheless conclude that the type of abortion proscribed by the Act requires specific regulation because it implicates additional ethical and moral concerns that justify a special prohibition. Congress determined that the abortion methods it proscribed had a "disturbing similarity to the killing of a newborn infant," and thus it was concerned with "draw[ing] a bright line that clearly distinguishes abortion and infanticide." ... The Court has in the past confirmed the validity of drawing boundaries to prevent certain practices that extinguish life and are close to actions that are condemned. Glucksberg found reasonable the State's "fear that permitting assisted suicide will start it down the path to voluntary and perhaps even involuntary euthanasia."

Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child. The Act recognizes this reality as well. Whether to have an abortion requires a difficult and painful moral decision. ... While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.

Kennedy said that in a decision so fraught with emotional consequence, some doctors may prefer not to disclose precise details of the means that will be used, confining themselves to the required statement of risks the procedure entails. "From one standpoint this ought not to be surprising," he said. "Any number of patients facing imminent surgical procedures would prefer not to hear all details, lest the usual anxiety preceding invasive medical procedures become the more intense. This is likely the case with the abortion procedures here in issue."

It is, however, precisely this lack of information concerning the way in which the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the State. ... ("States are free to enact laws to provide a reasonable framework for a woman to make a decision that has such profound and lasting meaning"). The State has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed. It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child, a child assuming the human form.

It is a reasonable inference that a necessary effect of the regulation and the knowledge it conveys will be to encourage some women to carry the infant to full term, thus reducing the absolute number of late-term abortions, Kennedy said. "The medical profession, furthermore, may find different and less shocking methods to abort the fetus in the second trimester, thereby accommodating legislative demand. The State's interest in respect for life is advanced by the dialogue that better informs the political and legal systems, the medical profession, expectant mothers, and society as a whole of the consequences that follow from a decision to elect a late-term abortion."

Kennedy acknowledged that some might object that the standard D&E is in some respects as brutal, if not more, than the intact D&E, so that the legislation accomplishes little. But he said there was no inconsistency on the part of Congress or the court in disapproving one while allowing the other, since partial-birth abortion is especially horrendous.

It was reasonable for Congress to think that partial-birth abortion, more than standard D&E, "undermines the public's perception of the appropriate role of a physician during the delivery process, and perverts a process during which life is brought into the world." ... There would be a flaw in this Court's logic, and an irony in its jurisprudence, were we first to conclude a ban on both D&E and intact D&E was overbroad and then to say it is irrational to ban only intact D&E because that does not proscribe both procedures. In sum, we reject the contention that the congressional purpose of the Act was "to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion."

Kennedy held that because of the state's interest in promoting respect for human life at all stages in the pregnancy, physicians are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures. "The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice, nor should it elevate their status above other physicians in the medical community," he said.

Kennedy argued, and Thomas agreed, that the new anti-abortion ruling in Gonzales is compatible with certain aspects of the court’s earlier pro-abortion rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He cited the following excerpt from the 1992 Casey decision, which he said set forth three critical principle with regard to legislation on abortion:

"It must be stated at the outset and with clarity that Roe's essential holding, the holding we reaffirm, has three parts. First is a recognition of the right of the woman to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State. Before viability, the State's interests are not strong enough to support a prohibition of abortion or the imposition of a substantial obstacle to the woman's effective right to elect the procedure. Second is a confirmation of the State's power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman's life or health. And third is the principle that the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child. These principles do not contradict one another; and we adhere to each."

Kennedy said that the third principle of the Casey ruling had special bearing in the court's ruling on partial-birth abortion. "To implement its holding, Casey rejected both Roe's rigid trimester framework and the interpretation of Roe that considered all previability regulations of abortion unwarranted," he said. "On this point Casey overruled the holdings in two cases because they undervalued the State's interest in potential life."

Regrettably, the present ruling again affirmed the right to abortions other than partial-birth abortion, although it provided some evidence of the court’s willingness to regulate abortion generally.

We assume the following principles for the purposes of this opinion. Before viability, a State "may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy." ... It also may not impose upon this right an undue burden, which exists if a regulation's "purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability." ... On the other hand, "[r]egulations which do no more than create a structural mechanism by which the State, or the parent or guardian of a minor, may express profound respect for the life of the unborn are permitted, if they are not a substantial obstacle to the woman's exercise of the right to choose." ... Casey, in short, struck a balance. The balance was central to its holding. We now apply its standard to the cases at bar."

We shall have to wait for another day when at least one more member of the court can think consistently through the now more strongly recognized truth that society, through its laws, must safeguard the sanctity of innocent human life at all its stages of development. Without that recognition, there will soon be little to distinguish us from our present enemies who so savagely devalue life and devote themselves so fanatically to a religion and culture of death.

Thankfully, we were governed for a time by a majority in Congress and a president who were sufficiently committed to protecting human life to pass this badly needed legislation. Why the butchers who continue to perform abortions, along with the current majority political party and their former president who twice vetoed similar bans, cannot see their own savagery can only be explained by their utter loss of morality and humanity, making them much akin to those enemies who would utterly destroy all of us.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Fetal Position": A Dramatic Pro-life Television Triumph

By Garry J. Moes

Just when you think television entertainment has plunged as far into the abyss as it can go, a stunning reversal hits the airways. On Tuesday night, April 3, 2007, one of the most remarkably cogent pro-life drama presentations was broadcast in a most unlikely venue, Fox Network’s otherwise utterly amoral doctor show, House.

The powerfully emotional episode, entitled Fetal Position, was amazing in its in-depth handling of the abortion debate and went so far as to reenact a now famous photograph used widely in pro-life circles depicting a tiny pre-born baby’s hand grasping the finger of a surgeon performing an in utero operation. Even more remarkable was that the episode ended with the show's lead character, Dr. Gregory House, who had argued vehemently throughout the episode in favor of abortion, until witnessing a similar tiny hand touch his own finger, admitting he was wrong and that what he had been advocating would have been a killing.

For those who are not familiar with the television series, it would be helpful to know something about the characters and usual orientation of the show to fully understand just how striking the April 3 episode was. The series, first of all, has no plot — or rather it has one formula plot repeated every week with different patients and a different disease of the week. Every episode opens with an ordinary or extraordinary person enjoy his life when he or she suddenly collapses from some mysterious illness. Rushed to the hospital, it is the task of Dr. House and his team of diagnostic specialists to identify the mysterious illness and save the person’s life. The team always goes through a series of promising diagnoses, only to have each of them fail as the patient moves closer and closer to death. At just the last moment, Dr. House has an epiphany and the cure is found.

As weak as the plot line is each week, the show’s redeeming feature, dramatically speaking, is the richness of the characters involved, both doctors and patients, but mostly the lead character, Dr. House. In addition to the richness of the characters and wittiness of House's dialogue, the performance by award-winning British actor/comedian Hugh Laurie, is always powerful. His character, Dr. House, is a pathetic and woeful drug-addicted loner who wallows in his misery, has the world’s worst bedside manner, antagonizes everyone in sight including and sometimes most of all his own patients. He speaks one language fluently — sarcasm. He was a gunshot victim earlier in life and now walks with a cane and lives with nearly unbearable pain, which he masks with incessant gobbling of painkilling medications obtained through reluctant fellow physicians by any means necessary. Yet through this all, he is touted by each of them as one of the most brilliant men in his field and thus indispensable to the hospital’s mission. For this reason, his colleagues, including the hospital’s ravishingly beautiful chief of medicine, are willing to perjure themselves and break laws and medical ethics just to keep him going.

In sum, Dr. Gregory House is one of television’s premier anti-heroes. This has been problematic from a moral standpoint for most of the life of this series, because this utterly despicable character always proves right and wise in the end. He may be a wretched person, but he is always to be admired for his dogged pursuit of medical salvation, never mind that he is willing to do anything, including nearly killing patients in order to find his answers, which viewers recognize are answers he often seeks to understand his own miserable condition. Some of the other leading characters are nearly as reprehensible from a moral standpoint. I had been ready to swear off the show completely after the March 27 episode in which two handsome members of House’s resident team, Drs. Allison Cameron and Robert Chase, began having on-the-job sex and made it clear that this is no-commitment, strictly recreational fun.

In Fetal Position, the anti-hero feature of the Dr. House character is turned on its head, resulting in a stunning triumph for the pro-life argument. In the story, famous celebrity photographer Emma Sloan, five months pregnant, is rushed to the hospital suffering from what appears to be a stroke. Through the usual series of misdiagnoses and process of elimination, House and his team eventually come to the conclusion that serious medical issues with Ms. Sloan’s baby are the cause of her mysterious illness and she will die unless the pregnancy is terminated. The mother adamantly refuses and finds support from House’s main antagonist, Chief-of-Medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy, like Ms. Sloan a single career woman who herself has been struggling to become pregnant late in life. For once, Dr. Cuddy does not cave in to House’s pressures, but personally intervenes to take the most risky and highly unapproved methods to save the unborn baby’s life.

House angrily insists throughout the episode on calling the baby a "fetus" and not a "baby," and makes every classic pro-abortion argument possible, including that the organism in the womb is not a baby but a dangerous growth, a parasitic "tumor." But when he is finally convinced to perform lifesaving surgery on the child still in the womb, the tiny infant grasps his finger, shaking him to his core and leaving no mistake that this is a precious little human being. The extraordinary procedures save the lives of both mother and son.

Following the surgery, the mother thanks House for saving them, but he replies, "Don’t thank me. I would have killed him." The episode ends with House returning to his solitary home, gently and pensively rubbing the finger that was touched by the infant child. Meanwhile, the mother is shown some weeks or months later, playing joyfully with her baby.

This episode is most welcome especially in light of the fact that in an earlier episode, another distressed pregnant patient is convinced by House to terminate her pregnancy, despite her previous vociferous pro-life objections. Sadly, the Fetal Position, episode still seemed to look favorably upon in vitro fertilization and embryo implantation for single women who desperately want to indulge themselves with childbearing despite the fact that they will be bringing up children without fathers. Nevertheless, the power of this episode’s message that unborn babies are truly human and worth saving at almost any cost was overwhelming, and the show’s writers and producers as well as the Fox Network should be commended for taking this highly politically incorrect position.