- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

Of the world

“The difference between the two issues lies not in their intrinsic moral gravity, but in the way that society views them. Virtually everyone agrees that racial discrimination is morally repugnant. There is a strong social consensus on that issue, whereas on abortion at present there is not. The social elites of this country are largely pro-choice, and being pro-choice is regarded by many as a mark of enlightenment.

“This, I think, has everything to do with why an institution like Notre Dame would never honor a champion of segregation, but would honor a champion of so-called abortion rights. What governs the moral reflexes of institutions like Notre Dame is not how things appear in the light of the gospel, but how they appear in the eyes of the social elites - or to use more biblical language, how they appear to the world. St. Paul told us not be ‘conformed to this world,’ but to put on the ‘mind of Christ.’ It seems that the University of Notre Dame is conforming itself to the world.”

- Stephen Barr, writing on “Notre Dame’s Faustian Bargain” on March 24 at First Things

Obama’s counsel

“Recently, The New York Times and the Telegraph have published articles about five religious leaders who are advising President Barack Obama. Supposedly, Obama has sought these five men,s counsel (yes, they are all men, natch) because he has been without a church and pastor of his own since he threw his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, under the bus on April 28, 2008, and subsequently on June 1, 2008, resigned from Chicago,s Trinity United Church of Christ … .

“The five men who have been chosen to attend to the President,s spiritual needs are ‘overwhelmingly opposed to abortion,’ according to the Telegraph; and all except Otis Moss Jr. are opposed to equal rights for homosexuals. …

“I really don,t know what to think about all this. When I think of the President of the U.S. asking for advice from Kirbyjohn Caldwell or T.D. Jakes, it gives me the creeps. I can,t believe all they are doing is praying together. These men are all wealthy and powerful; anti-gay and anti-abortion. Two of them believe that wealth is a sign of godliness. They have to be discussing politics and fund-raising.”

- Pseudonymous blogger “bostonboomer,” writing on “The President’s Preacher Help Line,” on March 25 at the Confluence blog

Liberals for life

“It is important to remember that in [the early 1970s] it was not yet clear whether support for ‘abortion rights’ would be a litmus test for standing as a ‘liberal.’ After all, the early movement for abortion included many conservatives, such as James J. Kilpatrick, who viewed abortion not only as a solution for the private difficulties of a ‘girl in trouble,’ but also as a way of dealing with the public problem of impoverished (and often unmarried) women giving birth to children who would increase welfare costs to taxpayers.

“At the same time, more than a few notable liberals were outspokenly pro-life. In the early 1970s, Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, for example, replied to constituents, inquiries about his position on abortion by saying that it was a form of ‘violence’ incompatible with his vision of an America generous enough to care for and protect all its children, born and unborn. Some of the most eloquent and passionate pro-life speeches of the time were given by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In condemning abortion, Jackson never failed to note that he himself was born to an unwed mother who would likely have been tempted to abort him had abortion been legal and easily available at the time.”

- Robert P. George, writing on “He Threw It All Away,” on March 20 at First Things

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