Sunday, December 28, 2014

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - REVISITED


Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

My thirteen year old son Anthony asked to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" the other night as he claimed never to have seen it start to finish. Of course I happily obliged.  While watching it I thought about how much has been written about the Frank Capra's classic.  I thought about my own ideas - especially with a pro-life angle, but the idea that I could add something new might be a challenge. But the next day there was a post with this picture of Clarence sitting on the log and George Bailey looking at the angel second class. My friend Sue Joan had shared her thoughts similar to mine about what Clarence said, that is,  how many children are lost who could have made such a difference in the world.  With that came the notion that "It's a Wonderful Life" may be the most powerful pro-life movie ever made.

We all know the story about George Bailey, the fellow who time and again sacrifices for the sake of others, who at times is miserable wishing he could do the things he always wanted to do and yet happy in having helped so many realize the dignity of their humanity. Many have written on the dark side of the film, the frustrations, the angst, the disappointments and the selfish side of human nature. At the same time the film conveys a realism especially in the dream sequence when George Bailey is given a vision of the town had he not been born.

This impact one person's life can have upon a family, a community, a society is universally recognized both in art and literature.  So why in today's upscale and ever expanding society, is this concept ignored or missed by so many at every age level?  Have we become so myopic to miss the amazing perspective that each of us has an effect on those around us and that for the most part that effect is a good thing?  Have we tuned out this message?  Why are we not realizing this on an everyday level?

Clarence points out to George, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

Those of us committed to the pro-life movement have seen this little scene played out so many different times in so many different situations.  Yet there are still so many good people who simply do not connect the dots and see how this fundamental respect for the human person must be the cornerstone of our moral foundation.  Whether one is a politician or a voter,  a minister or a union steward, a lack of respect for the human person is the cancer that destroys a culture. And the concern we wish others to show toward the immigrant, the refugee, the elderly or poor must be rooted in something transcendent that starts with the unborn child.  How can we then ask people to care about someone half way around the globe, if we do not respect the unborn child? How can we call upon people to look beyond the color of another person's skin, if aborting them is a part of a government population control philosophy?

How can we teach restraint in the exercise of power, if there is no universal moral code?
What the movie can remind us to do is to look deep within ourselves and imagine a world without someone dear to us? Then realize that there are thousands of children every day denied the opportunity to make a difference.  There are thousands of mothers every day who will live with the regret of their actions because we as a society did not reach out to help. 
Fortunately most of us do identify with George Bailey.  We like to think of ourselves as caring and generous.  Watching the movie allows us to claim that mantle.  We really want to  be that friend who will be there to help our neighbor.  So let us make a resolution for 2015. Let us be George Bailey in our world.  Let us reach out an help the unwed mother and child by supporting the local pregnancy resource center. Let us demand our priests, ministers, pastors and religious leaders speak clearly on the moral imperative to act in justice and mercy.  Let us pick one thing within this pro-life work that will make a real difference - for example - how many beds are available in your community to house homeless pregnant mothers.  Perhaps if each church or parish could support a location with four beds, there would be "room at the Inn."

In a similar vein, the need to educate at the local level is so critical. Perhaps a series of presentations would instill greater understanding of the issue at all different levels. Just as George Bailey had to explain to the customers during  the run on the bank where their money was and how it was being use, so too both clergy and politician need to understand the primary role of a pro-life position and how to influence others.

Ultimately we need to take that pro-life message contained in "It's a Wonderful Life" and apply it to our own lives.  As  George remarked about his father's beliefs,  "People were human beings to him," we need to live this mantra. From the womb to the tomb,  all human life is sacred.   Every human being has a reason and purpose for being.  We must remind our neighbors of this notion.  Using a film such as It's a Wonderful Life" is one such way.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Puerto Rico Federal District Court Judge gets it right on Marriage

I will applaud a judge when he gets it right. This judge got it right.  Read this cogent reasoned opinion by a federal district court judge declaring Puerto Rico's laws on marriage valid and dismissing the complaint by same sex marriage advocates.

Ryan Anderson does an excellent job of summarizing the matter. Read about it here.

For my part I read the Opinion by Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez . I encourage anyone who wants to examine a well articulated defense of law, precedent, stare decisis and logic to read the opinion. 

Finally he chides his fellow judges for failing to act as judges by asking some very interesting questions.  Again nothing  can substitute for reading the actual opinion.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Judicial Oligarchy

I have said this before and today's pronouncement from the U.S. Supreme Court only confirms it once again. We do not live in a democratic republic. We do not live in  a federal system of government where there are states that have rights, duties, responsibilities and limitations on what they can do and a federal government that is "limited" in its jurisdiction.

Today's decision by the Court to enjoin enforcement of some of Texas' new abortion regulations law is a perfect example of federal over-reaching.  The law passed addressed regulatory rules for free standing surgical centers (read abortion mills) that would protect patients from shoddy abortionists like Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia or Stephen Bingham, lately of New Jersey.

How many women have to die before these justices recognize the error they have made?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS - Talking about the new book " The Race to Save Our Century" by Jason Jones and John Zmirak

I must confess at beginning that I am a little biased when it comes to reviewing good books. There is something wonderful about reading a tome that exudes logic, common sense and a proper turn of a phrase. Considering the general poor writing one finds in the mainstream press, the lack of logic in editorials and commentary, and the overall reduction of language to 140 characters, it was refreshing to peruse the pages of Jason Jones and John Zmirak's new book, The Race to Save Our Century.

Imagine a book that connects the dots.

That is what The Race to Save Our Century does for its readers. It explains the crisis of belief in values, in the truth, in the objective moral order, walking the reader through the past - history - exploring the reasons why we are at this pivotal fork in the road between chaos and darkness and order and light.

 Jason and  John  have distilled these concepts into a bold powerful elixir. I know Jason well. We have discussed these ideas over the years in a variety of settings; sometimes in the foyer of a hotel, sometimes at the Dubliner with other pro-life activists, sometimes on the way to the airport or on the phone as we were driving to our respective homes after being on the road. The passion they both have for defending life is found in this book.  They provide the reader with the historical supports to their arguments and the citations to those works.  The book should be mandatory reading for every senior in high school and every freshman in college.

I will let you read the book and draw your own conclusions on how significant is the subject matter. What is it that we are called to do in our own personal lives? What is the role of government in protecting the lives of people? Why do governments do what they do? As the fighting continues in the Middle East, as the babies continue to be slaughtered in the abortion mills throughout the world, and as the millions of refugees continue to struggle to survive in camps throughout much of the Third World, we need to take stock of who we are as individuals as communities, as nations and ask ourselves - what is it all about?

Reading this book will help to decipher the answers to these profound questions.