Convincing the Apathetic Middle the Truth About Abortion

abortion

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Barring some sort of cataclysmic disaster, and assuming the confirmed leak from SCOTUS indicating an impending reversal of Roe v. Wade isn’t an elaborate hoax, it seems that legalized abortion will be taking a mortal blow very soon. Praise God. This is an unbelievable thing, and it still has me in shock.

Although I sit on the other side of the Covid Curtain, and my Soy Minister in Chief has yet again shown he is a lapsed Catholic apostate by trumpeting the “right to abortion,” I am overjoyed at the thought of the international precedent this will set. America, the most powerful nation on earth, will very soon stare down the slaughter of innocents and tell Moloch to take a time out. That demon has had his hour, but God will have His day.

Of course, this does not mean that abortion will go away in toto, as it will be kicked to the states, some of which will doubtless set up their own temples to Baal as they plunge infants into the trash can in order to appease the demon-gods of prosperity. The federal framework of abortion being struck down does not mean that abortion goes away, but it will be reduced dramatically; and this must be celebrated and shouted from the rooftops.

Throughout the coming months and years, there will commence a battle of existential proportion for the soul of a nation, the world that watches in disbelief, and, most importantly, the souls of the infants and adults involved in the destruction of innocent human life.

At 34 years old, I do not know what it is like to live in a world where aborting one’s child is not a normative activity for a secular person. Abortion has been normalized for my generation to such an extent that what has followed is not so much an intrinsic “for or against” the procedure, but instead, a general apathy.

Many in my millennial cohort have never even considered the question of when life begins. The lie that a child in the womb is just a “clump of cells” or “not fully human” is as mundane a truth for the masses as saying something like “too much sugar is bad for your teeth.” There are minorities of strongly pro-life people and strongly pro-death people on the relative fringes of the population, but there exists a large, squishy middle that has no real opinion on the subject.

No doubt emotions and hopes are high in this pro-life moment in a way that they never have been. Finally, it seems, the good guys will have a massive victory and the Gates of Hell will surely not prevail. However, in this fight against Satan and his anti-sacrament of Child Sacrifice, we must venture forward with the apathetic majority in mind, as they are the ones who can still be converted to sanity—unlike the unhinged leftist crowd who will require either a miracle from Heaven or a lobotomy to drop their tired and lifeless reasoning.

For the apathetic middle group, phrases like “abortion is murder” are an almost guaranteed turnoff and are found repulsive. Please, do not confuse my meaning or intention and think that I am trying to pretend that abortion is not, in fact, a homicidal crime—it is. However, when the average person thinks of “murder” they have in their mind a more technical and legal idea that corresponds to the historic definition of willful homicide.

In the law, we speak of mens rea and actus reus, which is to say the guilty mind and the guilty act. For someone to be fully culpable for a grave crime, they must willingly commit a grave act with sufficient reflection and clarity of mind. We understand this easily as Catholics, as it is the theology behind mortal sin—something that has to be done freely and with knowledge and intention.

Regarding the crime of abortion, it has historically been dealt with under the tradition of Common Law, with varying degrees of punishment. It has been called feticide, or child destruction, and in cases where a person intentionally murders the unborn child of a pregnant woman who has not chosen abortion, many places rightly call this a form of murder.

However, in a world where generations have been raised to not see abortion as murder, or to not see the fetus as a person with rights, it is a hard sell to argue to the apathetic majority that abortion is murder. Again, this is not to take away from the crime; it is just an observation.

When we say something is murder, then it is assumed that those involved are murderers. Personally, I believe that the abortionist is a murderer, as he should know better. However, it would be a stretch to say that many of the confused women who seek out the procedure are acting as murderers. As someone who grew up in a fully secular environment, I can tell you that there was never any talk in any of the relevant institutions that form children that would teach a young person the truth about life in the womb.

Disagreeing Agreeably: Using Conversational Aikido

05.06.22

YOUR boss tells you to implement a new idea or policy that you believe will cause problems (because it’s a boneheaded idea!). You’d be out of integrity not to raise your concerns or tactfully disagree. Still, you don’t want to commit a career-limiting move. Or, you’re comfortable with the overall idea, but you want to foster deeper thinking about potential obstacles, and oh, yeah … you want to live to talk about it!

You’ll Disagree Agreeably by using the Conversational Aikido Technique with managers, associates, clients, vendors, friends, family (especially kids), and others in order to:

  • Tactfully disagree, express misgivings, or say “no” to someone’s idea, and
  • invite others to consider factors they haven’t.

Aikido Philosophy. The Eastern martial art of aikido is about harmony, not conflict, and equates well to Disagreeing Agreeably. Western boxing involves overpowering a foe—force against force. Aikido isn’t about striking, overpowering, or forcing an opponent to comply. It entails moving with and aligning with the other’s energy to remain in control. Conversational Aikido involves understanding their viewpoint and finding its merit before expressing your differing point of view.

Using Political Savvy. Conversational Aikido is interpersonally savvy and politically savvy. When power, politics, and ego are involved, this tool helps you to fly under the radar of a superior’s “hyperactive ego gland.” Your well-intentioned feedback may be interpreted by ego-trippers as unwarranted criticism or an implied threat. Politically naïve people put their foot in their mouth so much they contract Athlete’s Tongue. They could floss with shoelaces!

The Conversational Aikido Technique prevents you from wounding the king or queen. The king or queen is still alive. Your head may get chopped off! Don’t let your intellectual “rightness” or subject matter expertise lure you into criticizing an idea in an overly zealous way, even if the egotist doesn’t possess positional power. Being in someone’s doghouse is unwise regardless of their status.

The Conversational Aikido Technique: Step-by-Step

Influence adeptness requires awareness of the impact of your behavior. You already know that direct but respectful wording and tone must supplant inflammatory (Aggressive) language or weak (Passive) language. Let’s plug Assertive SpeakingActive Listening, and the Straight Talk Mindset into the steps of the Conversational Aikido Technique for Disagreeing Agreeably:

 

  1. Listen Non-Judgmentally and Empathically to the Idea
  2. Generously State the Merits of the Idea
  3. Tactfully Surface Your Concerns
  4. Give Your Conclusion

 

1. Listen Non Judgmentally and Empathically to the Idea. Focus your body in order to pay empathic, nonjudgmental attention to the person’s idea or request, regardless of what you’re thinking. Paraphrase thoughts and feelings to capture the idea’s essence, rationale, and emotions behind it. This demonstrates respect for the person, proves that you’ve understood their idea, and conveys that you accept its validity for that person. You’re absorbing the idea instead of prematurely reacting, evaluating, or dismissing it. This is akin to aikido’s aligning philosophy, as is the next step.

2. Generously State the Merits of the Idea. Before expressing negative reactions, first show that you see the pluses of the idea or proposed action. Genuinely say everything you like about the idea, and not just in a token way. Really lean into this step with multiple, specific, and sincere, positive comments about the idea’s redeeming qualities and benefits. Like Mary Poppins sings in the movie, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” You’re helping the person consider their idea’s downsides by first being in harmony with its upsides (acknowledging). This “spoonful of sugar” does NOT mean you are BS-ing or sugar-coating your viewpoint about the idea’s cons or drawbacks.

Most ideas have some merit, even if it’s just the passion that the person has for it or the energy they invested into developing it. If you can’t find anything positive to say, can you spell r-i-g-i-d? Aren’t you being a crap-detector? Show good faith by digging deeper to find some aspect of the person’s idea that you respect. It’ll pave the way for what comes next—your concerns or disagreement. Lead-in phrases for this merits step include: “What I like about your idea is … I can appreciate … You’ve done your homework … What’s admirable is how you … The upsides are clear, like … I support your goal of … Some merits I see are … We’re really aligned on …”

3. Tactfully Surface Your Concerns. You’ve earned the right to candidly share the idea’s variables they haven’t considered or missing pieces. You’ve generously shared the pros, so don’t be shy about voicing the cons. This step’s lead-in phrases include: “Let’s also consider the possibility that . . . An issue might be … One concern is … A major challenge could be … I’m not as confident as you since … How will we respond to … A downside I see is …”

When bridging from acknowledging the idea’s positives to voicing reservations, steer clear of the word but or its cousins, however and nevertheless. They erase everything you said before them. The person will only hear the “but,” not the merits you’ve cited. You know what I mean if a romantic interest has ever said to you, “I really like you as a friend, but I’m not interested in dating you.” Ugh. “But” risks your “likes” about an idea coming across as merely going through the motions.

4. Give Your Conclusion. You’ve conveyed both sides of the coin—the idea’s pros (merits) and cons (concerns)—acknowledging that they can stand side by side in the universe. Now, give your bottom-line conclusion, which might be to problem-solve around your concerns and move forward, to withhold support until later, or to graciously decline supporting the idea. You still can convey respect for the person. You’re not rejecting them, just their idea.

80 ‘Suspicious Actors’ and ‘Material Witnesses’ Under Scrutiny by Jan. 6 Defense Attorneys

Court filing suggests entrapment operation run against the Oath Keepers by highly coordinated group
By Joseph M. Hanneman May 6, 2022

Defense attorneys are seeking to identify and investigate 80 suspicious actors and material witnesses, some of whom allegedly ran an entrapment operation against the Oath Keepers on January 6, 2021, and committed crimes including the removal of security fencing, breaching police lines, attacking officers, and inciting crowds to storm into the Capitol.

In a motion (pdf) and supplement (pdf) filed after 11 p.m. on May 5 in federal court in Washington, attorney Brad Geyer listed 80 people, some of whom he said could be government agents or provocateurs. The people are seen on video operating in a coordinated fashion across the Capitol grounds on January 6, the attorney alleged.

Geyer’s suggestion of an entrapment scheme will resonate with dozens of January 6 defense attorneys, coming shortly after two men were acquitted of an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). There was a hung jury on charges against two other defendants. The jury in that case was allowed to consider FBI entrapment as a defense.

Geyer, who represents Oath Keepers defendant Kenneth Harrelson, is seeking a court order from U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta compelling federal prosecutors to help identify the individuals and disclose whether they were working for law enforcement or any government agency on January 6. Geyer wrote that the information is exculpatory, which compels the government to produce it. Other Oath Keepers defendants are expected to join in the motion.

The May 5 filing comes on the heels of an April 12 Oath Keepers motion that alleged at least 20 “assets” from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were embedded in the crowds on January 6.

Epoch Times Photo
More than a dozen ‘suspicious actors’ flagged by defense attorneys line up on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol, shortly before they pushed past police and climbed to the Columbus Doors on Jan. 6, 2021. (Attorney Brad Geyer/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

According to the new filing, video evidence the defense gained access to only recently shows that some of the 80 people attacked police, other people, and members of the Oath Keepers; entered the Capitol on the west side “with apparent permission or acquiescence of government actors”; opened the Columbus Doors on the east side of the Capitol “from the inside, possibly with even further assistance of government actors”; and deployed “sophisticated crowd-behavior techniques,” orienting themselves between protesters and police.

Suspicious actors are seen on video “associating, conferring and traveling with others, engaging in behavior to confuse law enforcement through body masking, facial masking, clothing changes, and disorienting skirmishing behavior,” Geyer wrote.

The suspected people used earpieces, satellite phones, and other communication equipment. “Often it appears that these communications devices do not seem to be affected by capacity restriction or sophisticated jamming that was evident throughout the day,” Geyer wrote.

“If it can be established that these SAs [suspicious actors] were government agents, this could amount to entrapment defense that will dispose of this 7th indictment prior to trial,” the motion said.

“If it can be established that SAs, even without established government agency, from the west or elsewhere, were let into the Capitol and/or were assisted in opening the Columbus Doors from the inside—a reasonable inference from video evidence—a reasonable jury might conclude that one or more SAs had government sponsorship,” Geyer wrote.

Eleven members of the Oath Keepers were charged on January 12 with seditious conspiracy, obstruction of a government proceeding, and other counts. The government alleged the Oathkeepers committed the crimes to prevent the certification of Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election.

 

Two Oath Keepers defendants of the original 11 accepted deals offered by prosecutors and pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction. Another Oath Keepers member from North Carolina was charged May 4 with the same counts and pleaded guilty on May 5. All three are expected to assist the FBI with its ongoing January 6 investigations.

Geyer suggested the Oath Keepers who entered the Capitol Rotunda through the famous Columbus Doors atop the east stairs were entrapped by suspicious actors who boxed them in and attempted to push them into the Capitol after the doors were opened from the inside.

“Prima facie evidence of an entrapment scheme (very possibly without formal government agency) is becoming impossible to ignore on video,” Geyer wrote.

Video shot by a French television crew, and surveillance footage under court seal raise “significant concerns of informants, influencers, and inciters whose activities are now clearly observable,” said a footnote in the motion.

Suspicious Examples

“The now observable behavior suggests the exact kind of specialized training, coordination, logistical support, timing, and common goals and objectives that the government attributes to the Oath Keepers,” Geyer wrote. “Conduct alleged against the Oath Keepers seems to have been perpetrated by others before the Oath Keepers were brought in front of the Columbus Doors.”

The new video evidence “not only exculpates defendant Harrelson and the Oath Keepers in compelling ways, it also shows a large group of SAs that actually carry out the crimes of which the Oath Keepers are accused and which is the centerpiece of the government’s case,” the motion said.

The many unidentified individuals in the court filing are referred to by the hashtag nicknames assigned by the Sedition Hunters website.

“James Dean Wannabe” stood on a column near the Columbus Doors and led “vicious attacks by SAs on police with chemicals and mace,” Geyer wrote.

As soon as the inner doors to the Rotunda opened, James Dean Wannabe shot inside the door and began violently pulling protesters into the Capitol, the document said. He also helped to trap Oath Keepers member James Dolan into a tight space with a Capitol Police officer, the report alleged. He was later seen on the east steps after changing clothes and removing his hat.

“Lemony Kickit” and “Lemon Zest,” both known for their colorful hats, appeared at the first and second breach points of the day near Ray Epps, the alleged provocateur who was captured on video on January 5 and 6 imploring protesters to go into the Capitol.

Video also showed Lemony Kickit and Lemon Zest pushed at police and breached the police line on the east steps before they moved up the stairs to the Columbus Doors.

Columbus Doors Were Closed

Videos referenced in Geyer’s motion show that the 17-foot-high, 20,000-pound bronze Columbus Doors were closed when the crowd gathered at the bottom of the steps and then breached the police line. When the crowd reached the top, the fortress-like doors were still shut. It’s not clear when, or why, the doors were opened.

That significant revelation backs up arguments made in January by attorney Jonathon Moseley, who told prosecutors his client, Kelly Meggs, could not have breached the doors because they are controlled from inside the Capitol.

“The outer doors cast from solid bronze would require a bazooka, an artillery shell, or C4 military-grade explosives to breach,” Moseley wrote in a letter to federal prosecutors. “That of course did not happen. You would sooner break into a bank vault than to break the bronze outer Columbus Doors.”

Epoch Times Photo
The 17-foot-high bronze Columbus Doors at the U.S. Capitol were closed when protesters and suspicious actors pushed past police on the east steps on Jan. 6, 2021. The 20,000-pound doors can only be opened from inside. (Attorney Brad Geyer/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The towering Columbus Doors that lead into the Rotunda on the east side of the U.S. Capitol are secured by magnetic locks that can only be opened from the inside by using a security code controlled by Capitol Police, Moseley wrote in an eight-page memo in January.

The two inner doors are secured by magnetic locks and cannot be opened from the outside. Twice within an hour on January 6, suspicious actors opened the inner doors from inside the Rotunda, surveillance video shows.

According to Geyer’s filing, a large number of suspicious actors controlled the scene directly in front of the Columbus Doors after the giant doors were opened. They chased away regular protesters with pepper spray and moved other actors into place. The Oath Keepers, each of whom was shadowed by at least one suspicious actor, were positioned and coaxed toward the entrance.

Six to eight suspicious actors attacked police with mace in preparation to breach the entrance, Geyer wrote.

“The dynamic of the crowd makes this almost invisible or fleeting to almost all publicly available camera angles, so most people in the crowd could not have known these chemical assaults occurred and certainly no one could have known who was standing on the steps which is where the Oath Keepers were positioned at exactly this moment.”

The net effect is that the Oath Keepers, who had come up the east stairs, were swept into the Capitol with the group of suspicious actors, the document alleged. The actors attacked police, breached the doors, and led a crowd inside the Rotunda.

Epoch Times Photo
Members of the Oath Keepers were flanked and followed into the U.S. Capitol by suspicious actors on Jan. 6, 2021. (Attorney Brad Geyer/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Some of the video evidence referenced in the court motion was redacted from the document because it is part of the more than 14,000 hours of video under a protective court seal.

The court filing will bring fresh attention to the issue of provocateurs at the U.S. Capitol. Epps, a former Oath Keepers member from Arizona, denies he was working as a government informant on Jan. 5 and 6.

Federal prosecutors announced earlier this year they would disclose more information about Epps, whose photo was removed from the FBI’s Jan. 6 most-wanted list. He has not been arrested or charged, despite urging crowds to enter the Capitol and being present when police lines were breached by protesters.

Some of the suspicious actors on Geyer’s list were also seen in the hallway outside the Speaker’s Lobby where Ashli Babbitt was shot at 2:44 p.m. on Jan. 6. There are a number of other unidentified individuals who stood near Babbitt before she tried to climb out of the hallway and was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd.

Three witnesses to the Babbitt shooting were removed from the FBI’s most-wanted list in April 2021 without explanation. Those men have not been identified or charged.

How NOT to respond to a Roe reversal

By Phil Lawler ( bio – articles – email ) | May 04, 2022

If the Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade decision—as this week’s stunning leak suggests it will—here are some mistakes that pro-life advocates should avoid:
  1. Do not accept the liberal narrative that the Court has thwarted the democratic process. That’s what happened in 1973, when the Roe ruling, in a staggering act of judicial arrogance, struck down laws that had been enacted by the people’s duly elected representatives in all 50 states. By reversing the Roe error, the Court has restored voters’ rights. If abortion advocates truly believe in the democratic process, they should not be worried. Laws restricting abortion will be enacted only if the people support them.
  2. Do not be distracted by the hunt for the Supreme Court leaker. We don’t know who was responsible for this unprecedented breach of security, and speculation will not advance the cause. These insights from a former Supreme Court clerk offer confidence that a serious investigation should identify the source of the leak. Let that process run its course. Meanwhile do not be surprised if—now that a nasty precedent has been established—more leaks follow.
  3. Do not argue on the terms set by the abortion lobby. (And bear in mind that the mass media should be counted as an arm of that lobby.) Specifically:
    • Do not concede that most Americans support the Roe decision. Unfortunately, most Americans do not understand what Roe demanded. When asked whether they support unrestricted legal abortion on demand—the practical result of the Roe decision—the vast majority of Americans say No.
    • Do not allow attacks on the integrity of the Supreme Court to pass unchallenged. Do the people who condemn the Court’s decision as “illegitimate” deserve any better treatment than those who questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election? When Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer say that the justices have “ripped up the Constitution,” they are speaking irresponsibly, encouraging contempt for government institutions, and should be called to task.
    • Do not concede that the question of when human life begins is a religious question. Tell your interlocutors to “Follow the science.” (More on that below.)
  4. Do not be intimidated. Be prepared to face irrational anger, threats, and even violence. The Left will not accept defeat on this issue. Do not enter into the public debate if you are frightened—or if you are tempted toward violent outbursts yourself.
  5. Do not expect equal treatment. Media coverage will be biased; opponents will deliberately distort your position. (People who defend killing are not likely to quibble about lies.) Don’t waste your time complaining about double-standards; they are a fact of life.
  6. Don’t be embarrassed about imposing a “litmus test.” (Ask a chemist; litmus tests are very useful.) Don’t vote for a pro-abortion candidate in any election, even if abortion is not a factor. A local official might not have any voice on the abortion issue now, but who knows where his future political career will take him? (When I was a political candidate in 2000, a seasoned GOP operative was very supportive, until he learned that I was pro-life; then he bailed out, telling me that he opposed litmus tests—thereby imposing a litmus test of his own.)
  7. Do not proclaim victory. A Supreme Court reversal of Roe does not hand the pro-life movement a victory; it only allows pro-lifers a fighting chance in what will be a bruising political battle. We will win only when abortion is banned in the states where we live, and eventually throughout the nation. As Hadley Arkes has observed, the Alito decision points toward—but does not insist upon—the clear biological evidence that an unborn child is a human being. Arkes remarks: “He leaves us then to draw the conclusion that should be obvious, to those open to seeing: that this child in the womb deserves the protection we would accord to all other human lives under the laws on homicide.”

To All the Mothers Out There

It is in a few lines from St. Paul that we see what motherhood, as the beautiful and sacred bedrock of human existence, is about.

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Prior to the pre-Christian Christine, motherhood was a choice best made when all the right conditions aligned: financial security, worldly success, a stable home, and other various achievements that could be pulled out and examined wistfully when the enslavement of motherhood threatened to overwhelm. Look! This is what I can do without children! You’ve still got it, and one day you’ll get to prove it again!

Prior to my conversion to Catholicism, motherhood was something I both loved and hated.

TI struggled mightily with the self-giving and sacrifice that motherhood requires. Often, in the earliest moments of my role as mother, I counted down the years until I got my freedom back—first, when toddlers were out of diapers; then the long school days; and finally their own adulthood, when I could get back to the more important things in life, like quiet mornings with coffee that never went cold and with books that actually got read. I could devote myself to my work and get promotions. I could travel. I could enjoy a return to the radical independence I once had.

But as pre-Christian Christine, I also experienced, for the first time in my life, a love that transcended any I had previously known—for those same children I struggled to tend alongside my selfish desires. I feared my mortality, worried that these years would pass too quickly, longed to give everything to these small creatures whom I had miraculously grown within and now held close in my arms.

Revolt Against Reality by Gary Michuta

Intuitively, I understood the primordial and undeniable bond between mother and child, but my commitments at the time had me siding with the naturalists—that this bond was merely an evolutionary device to keep the species going. And yet . . . I couldn’t shake that something else that made my role as a mother feel more than that. There was something sacred about motherhood that I just couldn’t identify.

As it turns out, the Catholic faith had already figured out the challenges of motherhood. The biological aspects of motherhood are one part of a vastly more intricate picture. The love mothers feel for our children points to an infinitely greater love. We are called to give of ourselves and grow in holiness. Our role isn’t contractual—to be entered into or exited at will—but a lifelong vocation that uniquely orients our existence, by way of these children, these little sanctifiers, to God.

Free Ethiopian mother and child Stock Photo - FreeImages.com

In our secular age, there is a danger of thinking that mothers (as well as fathers) are meant to see to only the physical needs of their children, in order that the human species and society may thrive. This is a mostly temporary relationship, where mothers work hard to provide for a family that may not think much of what they do, outside the obligatory greeting cards and brunches on Mothers’ Day.

Not so! As physical-spiritual composites, we are to tend also to our children’s spiritual needs, too, setting a foundation of morality and knowledge and love of God that will lead them to heaven. This is a lifelong endeavor, where families work alongside one another in a community of faith, hope, and charity.

Mothers, then, are not just the sustainers of physical life, the maidservants of an ungrateful house. We’re the stewards of souls, bringing up our children in a home environment that we create and sustain for the shoring up of holiness.

As every mother knows, this is not a simple, easy, or quick task. It lasts a lifetime, and it requires near-constant attention and reflection. In fact, motherhood, and the creation of “a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule,” is an ongoing exercise in heroic virtue, which, as the Catechism notes, requires “self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery” (2223).

Self-denial. Sound judgment. Self-mastery. These are not virtues that our broadly secular society values.

Neither is motherhood.

Mother with Baby Walking On Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free) 2980060 | Shutterstock

For whereas the protective, nurturing aspects of motherhood are intuitive and have been for much of human history—Merriam-Webster offers a definition of the verb “to mother” as “to care for or protect as a mother,” and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross wrote, “The woman’s soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls may unfold”—our current culture aims to unravel and redefine motherhood, espousing values that motherhood most certainly is not: self-absorption, narcissism, radical independence, and base emotion, to the point where women are encouraged not only to cut short their motherly role and the lives of their children via abortion, but also to #shoutyourabortion afterward.

What becoming a mother actually is—the awesome and humbling cooperation with God in the creation of new life—has been shoved aside as antiquated, patriarchal, and privileged. Only when a woman (or “birthing person”) is ready, able, and willing ought she (or he? or it?) enter into this most sacred vocation, with that timing being based solely on individual desires and feelings of personal security and readiness. It seems there’s an attempt to strip God from the whole business.

In all, it sounds similar to the beliefs held by pre-Christian Christine.

It is this side of the life debate that produces such a din, encouraging women not to uphold their motherhood, but to toss it aside—in small, selfish ways, or in the irreversible, tragic way of abortion. And all this for a worldly victory: an education, a promotion, some financial or future security, a Golden Globe.

For mothers, Catholic or otherwise, who are in the thick of daily responsibilities, it can be difficult not to listen to the lies that motherhood ought to be convenience-based, that we are worth something better than a biological part of species extension (which is true, except not in the way the secularists claim). Even as I converted to Catholicism, which taught me of the sacred purpose, beauty, and dignity gifted to me by God in my vocation as a mother, I still felt the push and pull of the secular age. Standing in the laundry room or beside a sick child’s bed . . . was this—am I—enough? Or could I, should I be doing something more?

But then I read St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (5:23) are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, received by a life belonging to Our Lord and crucified of its own selfish passions and desires. And that, I realized, describes motherhood at its core and its best—for when we think of a woman blooming in her vocation as a mother, are these not the words we would use to describe her? But these fruits come only to those willing to give deeply of themselves, to deny their own fleshy desires, and to focus on their vocation as God designed it rather than as the secular culture defines it.

It is in these few lines of Galatians that we see what motherhood, as the beautiful and sacred bedrock of human existence, is about: a woman who deliberately and daily puts on Christ, no matter the interior mood or the external climate, and, in turn, both receives and cultivates the fruits of the Holy Spirit in her soul and in her home, leading the souls entrusted to her to do the same. In short, it is much like the commitments that Catholic Christine has taken on, and it is here that my motherhood, as God intends it, has found joyful fulfillment.

What is Radiocarbon Dating?

Biblical Archaeology 101: Exploring Absolute Dating in Archaeology

Aerial view of Tel Megiddo, a site in which radiocarbon dating is now frequently used to date archaeological levels and features. AVRAM GRAICERCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most powerful tools in the modern archaeologist’s toolkit is radiocarbon dating, but what is radiocarbon dating in the first place? In short, radiocarbon dating is a technique to measure the amount of carbon 14 (C14) isotope present in an organic sample (a seed, bone, or even piece of wood) to estimate how long ago that sample died or began to decompose. This is one of the most powerful methods of establishing an absolute chronology for an archaeological stratum or artifact and is a necessary tool for nearly all archaeologists. However, given how critical radiocarbon dating is to many scholarly debates in biblical archaeology, it is important to know just how radiocarbon dating works, what are its limitations, and how it impacts our understanding of the past.

There are two main methods that archaeologists use to date artifacts and levels (or strata) from archaeological sites. The first are relative dating methods such as stratigraphy, typology, and even linguistic analysis of texts. However, as the name implies, these methods only provide a date relative to other artifacts or sources of data and are, therefore, rarely able to provide archaeologists with specific chronological information. The second type of dating method is absolute dating. An obvious example is an ancient text that gives the specific year in which a building was constructed. Unfortunately, these sorts of textual clues are exceedingly rare in antiquity, and instead, archaeologists turn to more scientific techniques. The most powerful of these is radiocarbon dating, but what is radiocarbon dating and how do archaeologists use it?

Radiocarbon Dating Practice

For archaeologists to properly date something using radiocarbon dating, they must first discover something made from or containing an organic material. This could be bones, charcoal, woolen textiles, or even ancient seeds. Once organic materials have been identified, archaeologists must quickly place the find in an appropriate container to reduce the chances of contamination. Then the sample is sent to a specialized lab that can run the appropriate tests. These tests return an estimate of the age of the sample within a margin of error.

However, this is not where the story ends. Beyond being able to date the sampled material to a specific date, the chronological information can then be used help date surrounding architectural features and archaeological finds. Unfortunately, this is rarely a straightforward process and can sometimes introduce further errors into establishing a site or layer’s absolute date (discussed below). Once a relationship has been established, however, it is possible to estimate the date of a wide range of archaeological discoveries based on the dating of the sample, including the date of a building’s destruction, the period during which a site inhabited, and more.

Radiocarbon Dating Science

Knowing the uses of the technique, however, does not answer the question, “What is radiocarbon dating?” Radiocarbon dating is a technique that estimates the exact age of organic materials based on the amount of C14 isotope present in the sample. An isotope is an atom with an abnormal number of neutrons in its nucleus. In the case of C14, it has two additional neutrons compared to the standard carbon 12 atom. As a result, C14 is unstable and breaks down over time at a predictable rate. All living things contain trace amounts of C14. This isotope is constantly being replenished throughout an organism’s life. C14 is created in the earth’s atmosphere by the bombardment of subatomic particles. These C14 atoms then rain down on the earth to be absorbed by plants during photosynthesis and then by animals higher on the food chain. However, once an organism dies and begins to decompose, this carbon can no longer be replenished and begins to break down. Knowing at what rate C14 breaks down, it is possible to examine the amount of C14 that is still present in a sample and use that to reach a very accurate estimate as to how long ago that organism died (but always with some level of error, as discussed below). These data can then be converted into dates within a particular calendrical system to provide an estimate of the material’s age.

one of the inventors of radiocarbon dating

American scientist Willard Libby who helped lead the effort to develop radiocarbon dating. Rredondo99CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are several different methods used by laboratories in estimating the amount of C14 left in a sample. The traditional method involves measuring the trace amount of radiation given off by the carbon atoms. New equipment that uses this technique can date material that weighs as little as a tenth of an ounce. An increasingly dominant technique, however, is accelerated mass spectrometry, which can measure the number of C14 atoms directly. This means that materials weighing as little as .0002 oz., like plant pollen, can be dated with great accuracy.1

What Is Radiocarbon Dating? Accuracy and Limitations

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is radiocarbon dating?” it is important to address the technique’s accuracy and limitations. Since its discovery in the mid-20th century, there have been numerous advancements in the science and methods of radiocarbon dating that have increased its accuracy. Yet there are still many real-world limitations and lots of room for user error. One limitation is that radiocarbon dating is only accurate back to about 50,000 years ago. Beyond this date, there is typically not enough carbon left in an object to date it in the laboratory. Similarly, the chemical makeup of anything buried within the past 400 years has changed too little to provide an accurate C14 measurement. Another hurdle is that the number of subatomic particles bombarding the earth has not remained consistent through time. However, through tree ring dating, scientists have been able to account for these variations. Still, because of these and other factors, all radiocarbon dates are accompanied by a measurement of uncertainty indicating that the sample could be a certain amount older or younger than the measured date.

The biggest cause of error in radiocarbon dating, however, is human error. These can come in several different forms, including contamination of the sample, misunderstanding the context of the sample, and miscalculation of the sample’s date of death or decomposition relative to its context. Contamination can happen both before and after the sample is removed from the field. For example, excessive amounts of groundwater can alter the chemical composition of an organic object. Such alterations can also happen after a sample is removed, for example, through improper handling storage. The most common source of error, however, is misinterpreting a find’s context in the field. Even if an olive pit is discovered immediately beneath a wall, it does not necessarily mean the two objects can be dated together based on their association. The olive pit could have been placed beneath the wall during later renovations, through the movement of animals, or other factors. Misunderstanding an object’s age at the time of its burial can also introduce significant errors in the accuracy of archaeological dating. Although C14 levels begin to decrease when an object starts to decompose, this is not necessarily the same time as when the object was used or buried. A good example is the “old wood” effect, in which a tree might have been cut down in 2000 B.C.E. but the resulting wooden beams may have continued to be reused in building construction for hundreds of years. For this reason, short-lived organic materials, such as seeds or grains, are frequently the most useful for radiocarbon dating, as they tend to be buried very soon after they are taken from the plant.

One final limiting factor of radiocarbon dating is the cost. Although this technique is very powerful, it comes with a high price tag, while other methods of dating, such as ceramic typology, are free. Additionally, in periods where the typology or seriation is well known, it might be possible to reach the same level of accuracy, if not more, from other techniques. Thus, even if radiocarbon dating is possible, in many cases it is either unnecessary or cost-prohibitive.

A Dangerous Obstruction of Justice

The leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion in the Dobbs v Jackson case is a dangerous obstruction of justice. And, it could very well lead to intimidation and violence directed at Supreme Court justices. Indeed, leftwing protestors reportedly plan to appear at the homes of conservative justices.

This unprecedented leak fits with the Left’s continued assault against the Supreme Court. As soon as the news of the leaked opinion broke, leftwing protesters were at the Supreme Court.

There must be a full investigation, but I’m not holding my breath when it comes to the Biden administration upholding the rule of law – especially when administration allies, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, have threatened the justices in the past.

In the meantime, let’s hope the rule of law prevails and the precious lives of unborn human beings can once again be protected under law.

We are directly involved in this case. In December 2021 we announced our amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. Our brief, filed in support of the constitutionality of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, argues that states have the right under the Constitution to regulate abortion and protect unborn life (Dobbs v. Jackson (No. 19-1392)).

Our brief argues that the Supreme Court should overturn Roe and restore the regulation of abortion to the state:

Despite creative judicial legislating, it is crystal clear that abortion does not involve war, peace, negotiation, foreign commerce, or taxation. Abortion fits squarely into the states’ sphere of objects that concern the “lives, liberties, and properties of the people.” Not being an enumerated power, the Roe Court did not have the authority to overturn the abortion laws of the states.
Additionally, our brief notes that Roe v. Wade didn’t provide clarity, but instead muddied the waters:
Far from creating a national consensus, Roe threw the states into a 48-year contentious legal battle. Even some abortion advocates eschew the injudicious method of federalizing abortion as short-circuiting a naturally evolving jurisprudence under state laws. As federal and state judges attempt to apply this Court’s precedents, a national landscape of inconsistent, inconclusive, and untenable rules have emerged. As a national policy, abortion jurisprudence is, in a word, a mess. Stubbornly holding on to unconstitutional precedent will never have a positive outcome. It is time to return abortion policy to the states where it belongs and where the democratic process can effectively work.
I pray that the justices will remain steadfast in the fallout from this egregious crime. May God save America!

Building a Moral Immune System

 When Fyodor Dostoevsky sent the manuscript of his celebrated novel, Crime and Punishment, to the publisher, he included a brief note.  “This is the story,” he wrote, “of a university student who is infected by ideas that float on the wind”.

There are three things this brief message conveys that are worth amplifying.  One is the vulnerability of university students to pernicious ideas.  The second is how such ideas, “floating on the wind,” are either difficult or unlikely to be recognized for the harm that they bring.  In Book III of the Republic, Plato explains that when the mind is infected by something alien, one of the most serious impairments that results is the mind’s inability to know that it is infected.  “Vice cannot know virtue too,” he writes,” but a virtuous nature, educated in time, will acquire a knowledge both of virtue and vice:  the virtuous, and not the vicious man has wisdom” (409d).  Likewise, a thoroughly dishonest man cannot recognize an honest one because he has no pattern of honesty within himself.

The third thing centers on the notion of being “infected.”  We are infected from the outside, that is to say, from something that is alien to us.  We do not produce an infection from within ourselves.

Our autoimmune system consists of 100 billion immunological receptors that distinguish the self from the non-self.  It protects us from outside substances that are potentially harmful to us.  It is our interior defense system.  Remarkable as it is, it does not always protect us from infection.  Dostoevsky’s note suggests that we need another kind of immune system that protects us from harmful ideas.  We need a complementary form of an immune system that protects us from being infected in a moral way.  Therefore, we need a moral immune system that shields us from pernicious ideas such as pride, anger, and envy which are harmful to us on a moral plane as persons.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl draws an interesting connection between pernicious ideas and social catastrophe.  He came to see from his prison camp experiences that it represented a microcosm mirroring the world as a whole.  The “pathology of the Zeitgeist” (the ruling ideas of the time), as Frankl describes it, is marked by provisional, fatalistic, conformist and even fanatical attitudes to life.  These poorly thought out, philosophically bankrupt approaches to life are not only futile on a personal level, but can easily mount to a psychic epidemic.  In short, as Frankl explained, bad ideas lead to the concentration camp (Psychotherapy and ExistentialismSelected Papers on Logotherapy, pages 104-5).  Tolerance of immoral ideas invites social mayhem.

The word “enthusiasm” in Greek, etymologically, refers to “being filled with gods.”  It emphasises what we have within ourselves that enables us to live a vibrant and passionate life.  From a scientific point of view, we might regard these “gods” as our immunological receptors.  On the other hand, we can view them as the moral powers we possess in order to be fully alive.

Our interior richness, our potential for moral excellence and physical health is often ignored and, as a consequence, remains undeveloped.  We are then left vulnerable to outside influences, many of which prevent us from being truly ourselves.  We can regard our moral immunological receptors as the various virtues that give us the strength we need in order to resist injurious outside influences.  St. Paul advised that we protect ourselves with the “armor” of God: “Stand therefore, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).  This notion that virtue can serve as a strong defense against evil indicates that virtue is something far more effective than a polite option.

Friedrich Nietzsche viewed Christian virtues, especially charity, chastity, meekness, and humility, as examples of weakness.  The truth of the matter is that virtues provide us with strength and build an effective barricade against vice.  Our spiritual interior is far more capable than we sometimes think.  But, in addition to being recognized, they need to be developed.  Outside influences infect us.  Inside strengths protect us.  We stand against a world of bad ideas.  Virtues are, indeed, our allies in this eternal drama.

Crime and Punishment is a novel based on the twin propositions that a life ruled by bad ideas leads to crime, and that crime demands punishment.  Its corollary is that good ideas allow us to develop personal strength, and that this strength brings about a meaningful and happy existence.  Dostoevsky translated the poetry of Dante’s Divine Comedy into the form of a novel.  Both Dostoevsky and Dante advise us that we possess the inner capacity for goodness, but our failure to do this results in personal calamity.  Heaven and Hell pivot on virtues and vices.

Our autoimmune system operates apart from our will.  It is autonomous.  But, extraordinary as it is, it begs for a complementary moral immune system which does require the effort of our will.  Together, these two immune systems relate to the whole person, body and soul.  We should be more attentive and appreciative of the capacities we have on the inside and less eager to be infected by “ideas that float on the wind.”