A Catholic college recently banned students from hanging a pro-life poster with the words “Unborn Lives Matter” on campus, claiming that the language could “provoke” other students.
The DePaul University College Republicans created the simple black and white poster to advertise their club meetings and recently submitted it to administrators for approval,according to the Daily Wire.
The poster design was passed all the way up to university President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider who rejected it for being too similar to “Black Lives Matter” and linked the pro-life message to “bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.”
“Once again, DePaul University has shown its true colors,” club Vice President John Minster told The DailyWire. “Rather than standing up for the pro-life and free speech ethics this ‘Catholic’ university claims to uphold, administration has bent the knee to radical leftists, banning more speech despite the pro-life message.”
[…]Minster noted that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, has described DePaul University as one of the worst schools for free speech in the U.S.
DePaul also has come under fire for going against Catholic values by promoting abortion. Last fall, a Cardinal Newman Society report found that DePaul and a number of other Catholic universities promoted or had connections to the abortion chain Planned Parenthood.
The head of a conservative student organization at DePaul University has been sanctioned by the university and could be expelled after he released the names of vandals who destroyed a pro-life flag display.
Kristopher Del Campo, the chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter, was found guilty by the university on two counts – “Disorderly, Violent, Intimidating or Dangerous Behavior to Self or Others” and “Judicial Process Compliance.”
DePaul University did not return calls seeking comment.
Last January Del Campo and other pro-life students received permission from the university to erect a pro-life display featuring 500 flags. Vandals later destroyed the display – stuffing a number of the flags into trash cans.
The university’s public safety department launched an investigation and eventually identified 13 students who confessed to the crime. Those names were then released by the university to Del Campo.
On Feb. 5 the national Young Americans for Freedom organization posted the names of the vandals on their website. The posting generated negative comments directed at the vandals – and the university held Del Campo responsible.
Three days later, Del Campo was informed that he had violated DePaul’s Code of Student Responsibility. He was formally charged ten days later.
And of course, we have the case at Marquette University, where a professor was suspended for defending a student’s right to disagree with same-sex marriage. He could still lose his job over what he did.
Scott Klusendorf linked to this article from the Public Discourse. The article talks about the need to augment logical arguments in other ways in order to awaken the moral sense of the public so that they will support the pro-life cause and vote to repeal pro-abortion laws.
In a manner similar to the case of slavery as outlined by Douglass, there are two simple points that, once admitted, join to condemn clearly the practice of abortion: (1) the embryo is a human being from the moment of conception, and (2) all human beings have a natural right to life.
The second point, as in the case of the natural right to liberty, doesn’t require serious argument on the level of ordinary judgment, even though many pro-choice philosophers have tried to argue that only persons have a right to life, and the unborn, in their view, aren’t persons. To make such arguments, however, requires choosing an arbitrary cut-off point for personhood, as pro-life philosophers such as George, Tollefsen, and Lee have shown.
The first point is more often chosen as promising ground for challenges, but it too is plainly obvious to the unbiased mind.
Once conception occurs, the embryo is something other than the woman who carries it. The fact that the embryo requires the mother’s body to live is no argument against this—dependence does not exclude otherness, otherwise none of us would be distinguishable from everyone and everything else in the world upon which we depend in innumerable ways. The embryo is obviously something other than a part of the mother, but what is it?
This is where it gets easy, despite the messy, abstract philosophical arguments. The more appropriate version of the question is the following: What else could it be besides a human being? Is there a single example in natural history of sexual intercourse between two individuals of the same species resulting in something other than another individual of that species? Is it plausible to guess that sexual intercourse between two human beings might result in a fish, at least initially? Or maybe a frog? Such speculation is entirely fanciful and runs directly contrary to our experience of the world since the beginning of recorded history.
It should be obvious to anyone that the two points hold, and that the embryo is a human being possessing a natural right to life from the moment of its conception. The problem is that the younger and less developed the embryo is, the less it excites what some have called our “moral sense,” our sympathy with it as another human being like us. And as Hume correctly notes, human beings tend to be moved more by their passions and feelings, including the so-called “moral sense,” than by their intellectual understanding of the world when determining their actions. Even if our reason and common sense tell us clearly—as they undoubtedly do—that the embryo is a human being with the right to life, our moral sense or sympathy lets us off the hook.
So where does this leave pro-life advocates? How can we bridge the Humean—and human—gap between intellectual understanding and actual practice in our nation? The answer lies in the parallel between the issue of abortion and those of slavery and subsequent civil rights. The pro-life movement needs to model more closely in its organization and practices the antebellum abolition movement and the civil rights movement in order to achieve similar success in ending the evil of abortion. It needs to take up the mantle of these causes in a manner beyond rhetorical parallel or intellectual analogy and be prepared to undergo similar hardships before achieving its goals.
Both of these historical movements ultimately succeeded not by winning arguments, but by awakening the moral sense or conscience of a majority of the nation. Legislation relating to the provision of an ultrasound prior to an abortion, currently in place in some form in more than twenty states, is very well suited to this purpose. The dissemination of graphic images relating to abortion procedures, though controversial in pro-life circles, is also highly appropriate to this purpose.
The civil rights movement was driven forward significantly by television and photographic coverage of the inhuman treatment of protestors, as well as the publication of vivid written reports of racially motivated cruelties. Moral senses or sympathies are sparked most effectively by distasteful, unsettling, and shocking information; and when intellectual argument has had its day in trying to awaken consciences and has shown itself insufficient, recourse must be had to the level of moral sense and feeling.
There can be no doubt that pro-lifers are the abolitionists of this generation, urging the powerful not to take advantage of the powerless.
Many pro-lifers have heard about Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old black boy from Chicago who, while visiting relatives in Mississippi, was tortured to death, allegedly for whistling at a white woman (or bidding her farewell with a flippant “bye baby” – accounts vary). But this tragic civil rights story offers more lessons for effective pro-life activism than is generally understood.
BlackPressUSA.com, August 27, 2001, reported in a story entitled “1955 – Emmett Till Killed in Mississippi” that Emmett’s mother “had insisted that the casket be opened when it arrived in Chicago, although it had been sealed when it left Mississippi.” There was a reason that authorities in Mississippi did not want the world to see the body of Emmett Till.
The Washington Post, August 28, 2005, published a story on the legacy of Emmett Till entitled “Dead End,” with a subhead which read “On the Trail of a Civil Rights Icon, Starting Where He Did”:
…Ahmed A. Rayner Sr., … prepared Emmett’s body for services after it was pulled from the Tallahatchie River – with a cotton-gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. Tortured and bruised, with most of his teeth missing, his remains were returned in a sealed box on a train to Chicago.
Ahmed Rayner is dead and the family-owned funeral home is run by his granddaughter [Pamela Rayner].
[…]‘I remember him saying that he had to do something because the way that he [Emmett] was brought up here, he looked so bad that it would probably scare most of the people,’ says Rayner. There was the eye that her grandfather had to put back into Till’s head and the fixing of his swollen tongue that hung out of his mouth – the stitching and patchwork to make the boy presentable in a glass-covered casket.
There was also a reason that Emmett’s mother demanded the unsealing of the crate in which the condition of her son’s body had been hidden:
‘After the body arrived I knew I had to look and see and make sure it was Emmett. That was when I decided that I wanted the whole world to see what I had seen. There was no way I could describe what was in that box. No way. And I just wanted the world to see.’ (BlackPressUSA.com, February 21, 2001, ‘A Disturbing Picture’)
Sounds a lot like abortion: no way it can be described; vital that we show the world how horrifying it looks.
I think the right approach is to give the arguments and the evidence first, and then to show the ultrasound images or the graphical images second (warning people to look away if they are squeamish, first). This is the way that moral people have always argued against injustices. If it worked to change minds then, then it will probably work to change minds now, too. For my own part, I’ve chose not to engage in sexual behavior at all until I am in a position where I can welcome a child into the world. I want to give my future children a safe environment with a committed mother and father. And if I have to give up short-term recreation in order to avoid putting myself in a situation where abortion might be a temptation, then that’s what I’m going to do. It’s called acting responsibly.
“The best ever.” “The perfect 10.” “The best gymnast in history.” “Unbeatable.” “Stunning.” “Breathtaking.” “A Legend in the making.”
These are some of the ways Simone Biles has been described by her competition, even before her Olympic debut. Biles, a 19-year-old gymnast for Team U.S.A., is already the most decorated gold medalist in world championship gymnastics history. In Rio, she is on the fast track to becoming the best in the world, again, being an odds-on favorite to bring home as many as five gold medals.
Simone is on her way to bringing the U.S.A. glory on an international stage, becoming a household name for millions, and signing tens of millions of dollars worth of lucrative endorsement deals.
Stunning! But where did this young lady come from?
Biles and her siblings were born into a fatherless, drug-abusing family and eventually placed in foster care. According to Texas Monthly:
Biles was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1997 to drug-addicted parents who struggled to care for their children. Biles and her three siblings were shuffled back and forth between their mother’s house and a foster home. (Biles’s father had abandoned her mother and was never present in his daughter’s life.)
When I asked her what memories she has from those days, Biles recalled that one of the foster homes had a trampoline that she and her siblings weren’t allowed to play on.
Her upbringing was chaotic. Biles bounced back and forth between state and foster care until she was six years old. In 2001, her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles, officially adopted Simone and her sister and moved them to Spring, Texas.
Something else very interesting – she is attends church weekly:
Her parents also introduced Simone to her Christian faith. She attends mass with her family every Sunday when she is not competing. Simone prays regularly and carries a rosary that her mother gave her.
At age 13, Simone Biles broke down in tears. She had decided not to attend a normal high school, opting for homeschooling in order to practice her gymnastics.
“I was just so lonely all the time,” Biles told The Undefeated’s Lonnae O’Neal. “I missed, like, all my friends at school and stuff. But I mean, in the end, it worked out.”
[…]Biles sacrificed a great deal for the opportunity to train: There would be no prom, no after-school activities, no comaraderie with fellow classmates. But she took the risk. “I decided that I wanted to be better. I didn’t just want to throw my skills, I wanted them to look good.”
The future Olympian adopted an intensive training and competition schedule, which made it impossible to follow the traditional high school track. “If I had a competition, I had to leave [school] for like a month; I would take my schoolwork with me,” she told Jarvey. “I didn’t get the high school opportunity, but it always worked out.”
I don’t think that you can produce success like this if you run a child through the government-run public schools. They have their own secular leftist agenda to push.
The 2016 Olympics in Rio
I have videos of some of her performances in Rio.
Here she is scoring 16.060 out of 16.300 on the vault:
A tremendous floor exercise performance:
Very strong beam performance:
The American team won gold, beating the second-place Russians by 8.209 points, 184.897 to 176.688. This is an enormous margin of victory for gymnastics – the largest margin of victory ever. (The previous largest was 5.066 points)
So, what shall we say about this? Well, I want to first contrast the atheist worldview with the Christian worldview. The atheist worldview basically says that the strong should seek their own happiness and fulfillment, even if the weak must suffer and die. That is why atheists are so heavily committed to recreational sex and abortion on demand for any reason or no reason at all. Self-sacrificial love is irrational according to the atheist worldview. They deny objective morality. They want to have fun, and they are willing to kill (weaker) others to prevent any loss of fun. That’s atheism in a nutshell. There is no stronger pro-abortion group than atheists. The unwanted weak are expendable (to them).
Christianity on the other hand welcomes the needs and demands of others. This is what you get when you read the words of Jesus in the gospels. Whoever asks you to go one mile, go with him two. Whoever asks you for your shirt, hand over your cloak as well. Jesus says that the Kingdom of God belongs to little children. In chapter 2 of the Didache (an early Christian writing), Christians are urged “You shall not murder a child by abortion”. And the earliest Christians would take in unwanted infants abandoned by their parent(s). Christians are supposed to be into taking trouble for the sake of others. Christians are supposed to be into accepting obligations and taking responsibility.
So often, I see many young Christians being more interested in grabbing the spotlight for themselves. Apologists want to be in the spotlight, missionaries want to travel to have adventures, and ordinary Christians just embrace the prosperity gospel – Christianity as life-enhancement. I think we are going in the wrong direction. The real treasure for Christians consists in allowing others who are in distress to make demands on us, and then helping them to grow and strive. Don’t be so focused on being the center of attention that you neglect the needs of the person right in front of you. My friend Dina is especially good at this. She is a very busy professional, but she fills up all her spare time with visiting the elderly, the sick and the dying. She barely has any time for her own leisure. But this is practical Christianity – others first, me second.
I think the example of a married couple adopting an unwanted child and investing in that child to make something special is especially appropriate for Christians. But today, I find that young Christians somehow want to put off marriage, and put off having children, and put off adopting children. They want to make a difference some other way, in front of a big crowd. I don’t think that Christianity was intended to work that way. Help the person in front of you. And a marriage is a wonderful unit to take on others who are in distress. It’s a strong partnership where two people can pool resources in order to take care of others more efficiently. It’s a good witness to the culture as a whole, because people are looking for love more than they are looking for truth. A good marriage invites them in to ask questions.
Scott also has an article posted on the LTI web site for those who don’t have time for the video or the audio.
In the article makes three points:
Clarify the issue
Defend your pro-life position with science and philosophy
Challenge your listeners to be intellectually honest
Here’s the second point:
Scientifically, we know that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Leading embryology books confirm this.2 For example, Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud write, “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”3 Prior to his abortion advocacy, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question this. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life in the Making.4
Philosophically, we can say that embryos are less developed than newborns (or, for that matter, toddlers) but this difference is not morally significant in the way abortion advocates need it to be. Consider the claim that the immediate capacity for self-awareness bestows value on human beings. Notice that this is not an argument, but an arbitrary assertion. Why is some development needed? And why is this particular degree of development (i.e., higher brain function) decisive rather than another? These are questions that abortion advocates do not adequately address.
As Stephen Schwarz points out, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo that you once were and the adult that you are today. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant such that we can say that you had no rights as an embryo but you do have rights today. Think of the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences:5
Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more human than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.
Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than the adults they’ll one day become. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one human. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.
Degree of Dependency: If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.
In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature.
That’s the core of the basic pro-life case right there. There’s also a good interview of Mr. Klusendorf that I blogged about.
You can learn more by reading basic pro-life apologetics… from Francis Beckwith. You might recognize Frank Beckwith as the author of “Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice“. He wrote that book for Cambridge University Press, a top academic press. But before Cambridge University Press, Beckwith wrote easy-to-understand essays for the Christian Research Journal.
Here are four essays that answer common arguments in favor of legalized abortion.
A woman who becomes pregnant due to an act of either rape or incest is the victim of a horribly violent and morally reprehensible crime. Although pregnancy as a result of either rape or incest is extremely rare,  there is no getting around the fact that pregnancy does occur in some instances.
[…]Despite its forceful appeal to our sympathies, there are several problems with this argument. First, it is not relevant to the case for abortion on demand, the position defended by the popular pro-choice movement. This position states that a woman has a right to have an abortion for any reason she prefers during the entire nine months of pregnancy, whether it be for gender-selection, convenience, or rape.  To argue for abortion on demand from the hard cases of rape and incest is like trying to argue for the elimination of traffic laws from the fact that one might have to violate some of them in rare circumstances, such as when one’s spouse or child needs to be rushed to the hospital. Proving an exception does not establish a general rule.
[…]Fourth, this argument begs the question by assuming that the unborn is not fully human. For if the unborn is fully human, then we must weigh the relieving of the woman’s mental suffering against the right-to-life of an innocent human being. And homicide of another is never justified to relieve one of emotional distress. Although such a judgment is indeed anguishing, we must not forget that the same innocent unborn entity that the career-oriented woman will abort in order to avoid interference with a job promotion is biologically and morally indistinguishable from the unborn entity that results from an act of rape or incest. And since abortion for career advancement cannot be justified if the unborn entity is fully human, abortion cannot be justified in the cases of rape and incest. In both cases abortion results in the death of an innocent human life. As Dr. Bernard Nathanson has written, “The unwanted pregnancy flows biologically from the sexual act, but not morally from it.” Hence, this argument, like the ones we have already covered in this series, is successful only if the unborn are not fully human.
Scott Klusendorf wrote the The Case for Life, which is the best book for beginners on the pro-life view. For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.
This article from Nancy Flory in The Stream really caused me to stop and think about the plight of unborn children in our age of selfishness.
Nancy starts her piece like this:
As someone who’s faced an unexpected pregnancy — and now has a rambunctious two-year-old — I came across two stories in the last week that stopped me cold. As I explained in an earlier article, I faced uncertainty, financial hardships and downright fear when I discovered I was pregnant. I know what it’s like not to know what the future holds, not to know how I’m going to buy food for my children, to know I’m going to lose my car and go for months without gainful employment, all while unexpectedly pregnant. So I can speak with candor about the two mothers who made headlines this week regarding what they chose to do when faced with an unexpected pregnancy.
I’m just going to quote the second one, you can click through for the first.
Emile Weaver — Having Too Much Fun to Stop for Parenthood
An Ohio judge this week sentenced sorority girl Emile Weaver to life in prison without parole for throwing away her newborn baby girl after giving birth in her sorority house’s restroom. The 20-year-old texted her boyfriend following the child’s death, saying, “No more baby,” and “taken care of.”
Prosecutors made the case that Weaver knew all along she wasn’t going to keep the baby and engaged in risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking marijuana and playing in a volleyball tournament while pregnant, reported The Blaze.
Although she apologized during her trial for killing her child and testified that she thought the baby was dead before she put her in the trash, she made legal moves to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and, after the trial, vowed that she would appeal.
The judge did not believe that she was remorseful and handed down the stiff sentence.
Nancy goes on to make the point about abortion. Why is it OK for a woman to kill her unborn child in its 6th, 7th, 8th month of gestation but it suddenly becomes wrong after the child is born? Why is abortion morally right 5 minutes before birth, but morally wrong 5 minutes after birth? What is it that the baby acquires after passing through the birth canal a few inches that gives them the right to life?
Or, isn’t it the case the the location of the child is meaningless, and the child had all the value in the world the moment it was conceived, and a new DNA signature of a human being was created that is distinct from the mother and the father. A new person was made. That new person is not the father, and is not the mother. It’s a new person. And it’s not right to kill innocent people just because the mother wants to have fun and thrills, and escape the responsibility for her actions. That’s really what abortion is – two unmarried people get drunk, have sex for fun and thrills, and then they kill the child because they don’t want their pursuit of fun and thrills to be impacted with expectations, responsibilities or obligations.
This is why I am so suspicious of the women I knew when I was younger who pushed me to have fun, and who hated expectations, responsibilities and obligations. There is a lot of drinking and pleasure-seeking that goes on with young women, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. Fun makes me suspicious. For young people, it seems to go along with playing the victim, avoiding responsibility, and running away from moral obligations. So many young, unmarried women seem to have this desperate desire for fun, thrills and travel. And they are revolted by expectations, responsibilities and moral obligations. Not me – I am deeply suspicious of fun and thrills. It strikes me as childish, and when I read stories about women who have had abortions, I understand what is behind my suspicion.
I’m not killing any unborn children, not for any fun in the world. Not for the best fun the world has to offer. Fun isn’t that important to me, not if I have to break moral laws and even be complicit in murder. No way.