Friday, June 27, 2008

The Supreme Court and a Culture of Life

Although none of the Supreme Court's decisions this session directly impact abortion, I believe some of these cases relate directly to our culture's respect for life.

In District of Columbia v. Heller, the court overturned the D.C. gun ban--a victory for life. It makes little sense, indeed, to say a person has a right to life, but lacks the right to protect that life. The right to self-defense flows from the inherent worth of the individual created in the image of God.

As William Blackstone explained in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, "Both the life and limbs of a man are of such high value, in the estimation of the law of England, that it pardons even homicide if committed ... in order to preserve them." Blackstone also wrote that the right of "having arms for their defense" is an auxiliary to "the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."

Of course the Bible, upon which much of England's common law was based, encourages self-defense. As one example of many, Nehemiah instructed the people of God, "Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." (Nehemiah 4:14)

The Supreme Court's recognition of the right of self-defense, and the corollary right to own handguns as a means of self-defense, is a welcome affirmation of the value of life. Life is, and always will be, worth fighting for.

The court's decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana, overturning death penalty laws in six states for the crime of child rape, is a blow to the culture of life. If our society truly valued its children, would we not apply the death penalty to those who commit the most heinous crime against them? The "cruel and unusual punishment" phrase used to justify the ruling must be understood by its original intent. What did James Madison and his contemporaries mean by it? Did not their states allow the death penalty for rape--and how much more in a case where the victim was a child?

To defend the sanctity and worth of every life, we cannot allow perverts to violate children. It makes no sense to protect children's lives but fail to protect them from the worst kind of assault. What penalty other than death could fit the crime of child rape? It seems to be a self-evident law of nature that child rapists have forfeited their right to live. The Kennedy ruling devalues life. All of our lives just became that much cheaper.

The constitutional balance of power between the branches of government is out of kilter when the most important job of a president is to appoint judges. But these cases show us once again that the course of our nation depends on electing a president who will appoint judges who respect the Constitution. Someday, we must limit the judiciary to its constitutional authority. Until then we celebrate the victories, grieve the defeats, and elect presidents and legislators who will give us good kings--I mean, judges.

Wesley Wilson is the President of Let Her Live, a nonprofit dedicated to saving babies by showing the beauty and value of life to women considering abortion. Please learn more about the Let Her Live pro-life billboard campaign. Donations are tax deductible.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

So Much for Free Speech

I commented recently on penalties imposed on "hate speech" (a.k.a., speech the government doesn't approve of) in France. With the political left pushing for hate speech laws in the United States, it is a battle that every American who values his or her right to say things that are unpopular, will soon have to fight.

But we don't have to wait long. Elaine Huguenin, a wedding photographer in New Mexico, will be brought before the New Mexico Human Rights Division because she refused to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony.

It remains a mystery why the agency has even agreed to hear the complaint, as a spokesman for the state said the agency handles discrimination claims "in the areas of employment, housing, credit or public accommodation." Last time I checked, wedding photos didn't fit in those categories. I haven't read the New Mexico constitution, but I seriously doubt it protects the basic human right to have photographs taken of you. But we all know about the rights that courts can find in "living" documents.

How can minor "rights" override major ones? How can a supposed right not to be discriminated against trump the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment? For that matter, how did the "right to privacy" discovered in Roe v. Wade trump the right to due process of law before an individual is deprived of life?

As we have just seen in the California rulings banning home schooling and legalizing homosexual "marriage," the courts are free to make up the rules as they go. The judiciary was intended to be the most conservative branch (in the sense of resistant to change) of government. It has become the most radical. Change should come as the people's representatives propose it and pass laws. The judges should see that the laws of the land (and in some cases, its traditions) are followed.

The courts are out of control, and the legislature is the only body capable of removing the judges who violate their trust and make new laws. We must get our representatives to undertake that responsibility. And it might not be a bad idea to start working toward constitutional amendments at the state and federal level allowing voter recall of all judges.

If we don't get the courts to follow the laws of the land, we won't have a Constitution left, nor will we have the freedoms it guarantees.

Wesley Wilson is the President of Let Her Live, a nonprofit dedicated to saving babies by showing the beauty and value of life to women considering abortion. Please learn more about the Let Her Live pro-life billboard campaign. Donations are tax deductible.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Totalitarian Tolerance is Nothing New

The inflexible forces of tolerance have scored another victory against intolerant speech. French actress Brigitte Bardot was fined 15,000 euros for the statement: "I've had enough of being led by the nose by this whole population which is destroying us, (and) destroying our country by imposing their ways." She was referring to the Muslims of course, specifically to what she views as their inhumane killing of animals. So to demonstrate she was wrong, the government imposed the fine for even writing the statement.

This is where the politically-correct movement is heading in the United States and Canada too. We musn't criticize Islam. We can't preach against homosexuality or we risk going to jail (in Canada and some states). Those who work against illegal immigration are called racists.

Many would also love to silence pro-life activists. Have we forgotten the police brutality against Operation Rescue and other pro-life people participating in peaceful civil disobedience? Or the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law that was finally struck down for violating first amendment rights? Or the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that limits political speech?

In the pro-life movement, we look back to the anti-slavery movement of the 1800's for inspiration. They faced much worse restriction of their first amendment rights than we have seen. In the 1830's, the postal system in many parts of the country refused to deliver "incendiary publications," such as those that criticized slavery. John Quincy Adams fought for years to overcome Congress' gag order that kept them from even considering citizens' petitions against slavery. Anti-slavery newspaper editor Elijah Lovejoy was murdered in Alton, Ill., because he refused to stop his abolitionist writing. And the unlawfully-elected proslavery government of "Bloody" Kansas made mere possession of Uncle Tom's Cabin a crime punishable by death.

Repression wears many "respectable" faces. Today it is the face of tolerance. Evil must not be criticized, for that would make someone feel bad. So evil and oppression go on while too many nice people enable it by their silence. Martin Luther King, Jr. condemned the silent compromise with racial oppression, and the leaders of the Moral Majority movement condemned the silent compromise with other forms of evil, such as sexual immorality, perversion, and abortion.

Ms. Bardot has pledged that she will not be silent on the Islamic takeover of her country. Respectable citizens of France may be too polite to say what she says, but when they go to bed worried that the Muslim riots will spread to their city, they have to know in their hearts that she is right. Tolerance of evil is always easier, but we must always stand against that oppression that would silence all dissidents, whether in the name of tolerance or for any other reason.

Perhaps King Solomon put it best: "They that forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them."

And again: "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord."

Wesley Wilson is the President of Let Her Live, a nonprofit dedicated to saving babies by showing the beauty and value of life to women considering abortion. Please learn more about the Let Her Live pro-life billboard campaign. Donations are tax deductible.

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