Monday, December 13, 2010

More hot air

Despite what the mainstream media has put out, the COP16 at Cancun only resulted to minor victories for climate change proponents:  a $100B pledge to help countries "most vulnerable" to climate disruptions, technology transfer, and agreement on tropical rainforests.

The real climate treaty that would lower carbon emissions through an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, well, could not be done.

Try again in South Africa next year or wherever it will be in 2012.  Maybe by that time, a deal would be unnecessary.  Think of your ending:  boom or gloom.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Better medicines instead

The contraceptive mentality leads RH supporters to treat pregnancy as a disease, something that should be avoided.  But pregnancy is not a disease.  Ever wonder why health insurance will not cover pregnancies?

The RH bill being proposed in the Philippine Congress will push for more free artificial contraceptives.  Government will be the biggest supplier of these contraceptives.  Government will have to get these from suppliers, which in fact, going by government's tendency for special arrangements for megadeals, perhaps, may be a source of graft and corruption.

Many scientific and medical studies have proven the link of contraceptives to diseases such as hypertension and cancer (not to mention the amount of estrogen in the water that could be dangerous to the male species).  If government gets its mandate to distribute contraceptives, I believe it will be complicit in the health woes of many of our people.  We, as a people, should be able  to sue government.

The sad thing about people getting sick as side-effects of contraceptive use in the Philippines is that government helps little to none in the medication of the sick.  Why not allocate more and free medicines for hypertension and cancer instead?

If contraceptives are preventive and curative medicines (prevent and cure the disease that is pregnancy), why are there no sufficient health warnings in the packages?

And since the climate change peeps are meeting in Cancun (the link between global warming alarmism and population control and reproductive health will be for another post), let me ask one last question:  How much carbon emissions do manufacturers of contraceptives contribute worldwide?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Because it needs to be said

Not that it has not been said many times in the past.

Some of the Catholic faithful have expressed the fear that the battle for the RH bill in the Philippine Congress is a lost cause.  While I am generally an optimist and a "fight-until-the-fat-lady-sings"-type, I can see why there is the fear..

Why has a time like this come to be?

Because we, both clergy and laity, have been too silent, too forgiving of our brothers and sisters who have lost their way.  True, there is a need for compassion.  But how far should this compassion go? Compassion while pushing moral relativism is not the answer.

But silence is not the only reason.  What is worse is that some in the Church have contradicted Church teaching, specifically Humanae Vitae, and have suggested without even the slightest fear of error that contraceptive use is not sinful. 

Some are even trying to create a "consensus" RH Bill, that is really, in substance, still the same crap.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vigil for all nascent human life

Transcript of the Pope’s remarks during the vigil for all nascent human life:

Dear brothers and sisters,

With this evening’s celebration, the Lord gives us the grace and joy of opening the new liturgical year beginning with its first stage: Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord. In this Advent period we will once again experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and cared for us to the point of becoming a man. This great and fascinating mystery of God with us, moreover of God who becomes one of us, is what we celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During the season of Advent we feel the Church that takes us by the hand and – in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary – expresses her motherhood allowing us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.

While our hearts reach out towards the annual celebration of the birth of Christ, the Church’s liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord in the splendour of glory. This is why we, in every Eucharist, “announce his death, proclaim his resurrection until he comes again” we hold vigil in prayer. The liturgy does not cease to encourage and support us, putting on our lips, in the days of Advent, the cry with which the whole Bible concludes, the last page of the Revelation of Saint John: “Come, Lord Jesus “(22:20).

Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages. The beginning of the liturgical year helps us to relive the expectation of God made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself small, He becomes a child, it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is near, who wanted to experience the life of man, from the very beginning, to save it completely, fully. And so the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord and the beginning of human life are intimately connected and in harmony with each other within the one saving plan of God, the Lord of life of each and every one of us. The Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in an amazing way, that every human life has an incomparable, a most elevated dignity.

Man has an unmistakable originality compared to all other living beings that inhabit the earth. He presents himself as a unique and singular entity, endowed with intelligence and free will, as well as being composed of a material reality. He lives simultaneously and inseparably in the spiritual dimension and the corporal dimension. This is also suggested in the text of the First letter to the Thessalonians which was just proclaimed: “May the God of peace himself – St. Paul writes – make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ “(5:23). Therefore, we are spirit, soul and body. We are part of this world, tied to the possibilities and limits of our material condition, at the same time we are open to an infinite horizon, able to converse with God and to welcome Him in us. We operate in earthly realities and through them we can perceive the presence of God and seek Him, truth, goodness and absolute beauty. We savour fragments of life and happiness and we long for total fulfilment.

God loves us so deeply, totally, without distinction, He calls us to friendship with him, He makes us part of a reality beyond all imagination, thought and word; His own divine life. With emotion and gratitude we acknowledge the value of the incomparable dignity of every human person and the great responsibility we have toward all. ” Christ, the final Adam, – says the Second Vatican Council – by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear…. by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. “(Gaudium et Spes, 22).

Believing in Jesus Christ also means having a new outlook on man, a look of trust and hope. Moreover, experience itself and reason show that the human being is a subject capable of discernment, self-conscious and free, unique and irreplaceable, the summit of all earthly things, that must be recognized in his innate value and always accepted with respect and love. He has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests. The human person is a good in and of himself and his integral development should always be sought. Love for all, if it is sincere, naturally tends to become a preferential attention to the weakest and poorest. In this vein we find the Church’s concern for the unborn, the most fragile, the most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the darkening of consciences. The Church continually reiterates what was declared by the Second Vatican Council against abortion and all violations of unborn life: “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care ” (ibid., n. 51).

There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: ” he who will be a man is already one” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception.

Unfortunately, even after birth, the lives of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence or exploitation. The many violations of their rights that are committed in the world sorely hurt the conscience of every man of good will. Before the sad landscape of the injustices committed against human life, before and after birth, I make mine Pope John Paul II’s passionate appeal to the responsibility of each and every individual: ” respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!”(Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 5). I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life.

To the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God made man with faith, with her maternal womb, with loving care, with nurturing support and vibrant with love, we entrust our commitment and prayer in favour of unborn life . We do in the liturgy – which is the place where we live the truth and where truth lives with us – worshiping the divine Eucharist, we contemplate Christ’s body, that body who took flesh from Mary by the Holy Spirit, and from her was born in Bethlehem for our salvation. Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last word on condom controversy

I quote in full Leticia Velasquez's post: at Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Clearing up the Condom Controversy

It  took me by surprise this Saturday, seeing that Fox News reporting that the Holy Father had approved the use of condoms for prostitutes. I was flabbergasted, and went online to see rumors flying thick on social networks. It was a topic for discussion among adults at the Sunday Church gatherings, and I was refusing to comment,  waiting till one came which I felt was helpful.So, if you are just hearing this 'news' relax, it as a leak of a book length interview called, Light of the World,  to be released tomorrow from Ignatius Press. Pope Benedict spoke with a German reporter, and like his Regensberg talk which stirred so much controversy when it was taken out of context,  shows how little the mainstream press understands the heart of the Church.
The quotes are were leaked by L'Osservatore Romano.

"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality."
The interviewer asked the Pontiff, "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?"
The Holy Father replied, "She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality." (emphasis mine)

Dr Janet Smith, professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, and bioethics expert,  provides not only context and accurate quotes of the Holy Father's words but a useful analogy;

An analogy: If someone was going to rob a bank and was determined to use a gun, it would better for that person to use a gun that had no bullets in it. It would reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. But it is not the task of the Church to instruct potential bank robbers how to rob banks more safely and certainly not the task of the Church to support programs of providing potential bank robbers with guns that could not use bullets.
Nonetheless, the intent of a bank robber to rob a bank in a way that is safer for the employees and customers of the bank may indicate an element of moral responsibility that could be a step towards eventual understanding of the immorality of bank robbing.

I see this as saying. "Holy Mother Church has always stated that homosexual acts, (which are surely what the Holy meant to reference when he said 'male prostitute') are intrinsically evil. A mortal sin. Although using a condom is not contracepting in homosexual acts which are not procreative by their nature, the fact that the prostitute is showing concern for his sexual partner's health is a step in the right direction towards morality.No one is saying that using condoms is suddenly a moral act. Of course, we hope and pray that the man repents and lives a faithful chaste life.That is our focus to guide the faithful. "
Pope John Paul in Familiaris Consortio spoke of incremental steps toward moral behavior:
 What is needed is a continuous, permanent conversion which, while requiring an interior detachment from every evil and an adherence to good in its fullness, is brought about concretely in steps which lead us ever forward.(emphasis mine)
 In other words, it would be worse if a male prostitute would engage is homosexual acts knowing he could be giving HIV to his client. Showing a little concern  is better than none, but it does not make the act itself morally acceptable, nor does it make condom use in other cases acceptable.The reports that condoms are OK'ed by the Pope show a lack of understanding of Church teaching. In a society where even Catholics do not understand the reasons behind the Church's prohibition of contraception, it is not a suprise that reporters would make the same mistake pursuing what seemed like a big news story.

Read the entire article here. 

Text of Vatican clarification of Pope Benedict’s statement on condoms

Text of Vatican clarification of Pope Benedict’s statement on condoms

The head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, has issued a statement clarifying passages of the book Light of the World, in which Pope Benedict discusses AIDS and condom use.
Statement reads:
‘At the end of Chapter 10 (Chapter 11 in the English edition) in the book, “Light of the World,” the pope responds to two questions about the struggle against AIDS and the use of the condom, questions that refer back to the discussion that followed the pope’s comments on this topic during his trip to Africa in 2009.
The pope underlines clearly that, at that time, he did not want to express a position on the problem of condoms in general, but he wanted to affirm strongly that the problem of AIDS cannot be resolved solely with the distribution of condoms, because much more must be done: prevention, education, assistance, counsel, being close to people, both so that they do not become sick, and also in cases where they are sick.
The pope observes that even in non-church circles a comparable awareness has developed, as is seen in the so-called ABC theory (Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condoms), in which the first two elements (abstinence and fidelity) are much more decisive and fundamental in the struggle against AIDS, while the condom appears as a last resort when the other two are lacking. It should therefore be clear that the condom is not the solution to the problem.
The pope then takes a wider view and insists on the fact that concentrating only on the condom signifies the “banalization” of sexuality, which loses its meaning as the expression of love between persons and becomes like a “drug.” To fight against the banalization of sexuality is “part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.”
In the light of this ample and profound vision of human sexuality and its modern challenges, the pope reaffirms that the church “of course does not regard (condoms) as a real or moral solution” to the problem of AIDS.
In saying this, the pope is not reforming or changing the teaching of the church, but reaffirming it by putting it in the context of the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility.
At the same time, the pope takes into consideration an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality may represent a real risk to the life of another person. In such a case, the pope does not morally justify the disordered exercise of sexuality, but maintains that the use of the condom to diminish the danger of infection may be “a first assumption of responsibility”, “a first step in a movement toward a … more human sexuality”, as opposed to not using the condom and exposing the other person to a fatal risk.
In this statement, the pope’s reasoning certainly cannot be defined as a revolutionary shift.
Numerous moral theologians and authoritative ecclesiastical figures have maintained and still maintain similar positions; however, it is true that until now we had not heard them expressed with such clarity from the mouth of a pope, even if it is in a colloquial, and not magisterial, form.
Benedict XVI therefore courageously gives us an important contribution that clarifies and deepens a long-debated question. It is an original contribution, because on one hand it maintains fidelity to moral principles and demonstrates lucidity in refusing an illusory path like “faith in condoms”; on the other hand, however, it shows a sympathetic and far-sighted vision, attentive to discovering small steps — even if they are only initial and still confused — of a humanity that is often spiritually and culturally impoverished, toward a more human and responsible exercise of sexuality.
Protect the Pope comment: Important to note that Pope Benedict’s response to Peter Seewald’s question is not a ‘magisterial’ statement, but an informal one. It also observes that it is the first time a pope has spoken so clearly on this moral question of condom use to prevent disease. In this sense it is something new.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Truth About Condoms by Martin Rhonheimer

The Truth About Condoms

by Martin Rhonheimer

The Tablet 2004

*Church leaders have caused a furor by suggesting that even the HIV-infected should avoid condoms. But this is not church teaching, says a  leading moral philosopher*

Most people are convinced that an HIV-infected person who has sex should use a condom to protect his partner from infection. Whatever one may think about  a promiscuous lifestyle, about homosexual acts or prostitution, that person  acts at least with a sense of responsibility in trying to avoid transmitting his infection to others.

It is commonly believed that the Catholic Church does not support such a view. As a BBC Panorama programme recently suggested, the Church is thought to teach that sexually active homosexuals and prostitutes should refrain from condoms because condoms are 'intrinsically evil' (The Tablet, 26 June).

Many Catholics also believe this. One of them is Hugh Henry, education officer of the Linacre Centre in London, who told Austen Ivereigh in last week's Tablet that the use of a condom, even exclusively to prevent
infection of one's sexual partner, "fails to honour the fertile structure that marital acts must have, cannot constitute mutual and complete personal self-giving and thus violates the Sixth Commandment".

But this is not a teaching of the Catholic Church. There is no official magisterial teaching either about condoms, or about anti-ovulatory pills or diaphragms. Condoms cannot be intrinsically evil, only human acts; condoms are not human acts, but things. What the Catholic Church has clearly taught to be "intrinsically evil" is a specific kind of human act, defined by Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, and later included in No. 2370 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as an "action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible".

Contraception, as a specific kind of human act, includes two elements: the will to engage in sexual acts and the intention of rendering procreation impossible. A contraceptive act therefore embodies a contraceptive choice. As I put it in an article in the Linacre Quarterly in 1989, "a contraceptive choice is the choice of an act that prevents freely consented performances of sexual intercourse, which are foreseen to have procreative consequences, from having these consequences, and which is a choice made just for this reason."

This is why contraception, regarded as a human act qualified as "intrinsically evil" or disordered, is not determined by what is happening on the physical level; it makes no difference whether one prevents sexual intercourse from being fertile by taking the Pill or by interrupting it in an onanistic way. The above definition also disregards the differentiation between "doing" and "refraining from doing", because coitus interruptus is a kind of " at least partial " refraining.

The definition of the contraceptive act does not therefore apply to using contraceptives to prevent possible procreative consequences of foreseen rape; in that circumstance the raped person does not choose to engage in sexual intercourse or to prevent a possible consequence of her own sexual behaviour but is simply defending herself from an aggression on her own body and its undesirable consequences. A woman athlete taking part in the Olympic Games who takes an anti-ovulatory pill to prevent menstruation is not doing "contraception" either, because there is no simultaneous intention of engaging in sexual intercourse.

The teaching of the Church is not about condoms or similar physical or chemical devices, but about marital love and the essentially marital meaning of human sexuality. It affirms that, if married people have a serious reason not to have children, they should modify their sexual behaviour by "at least periodic " abstinence from sexual acts. To avoid destroying both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexual acts and therefore the fullness of mutual self-giving, they must not prevent the sexual act from being fertile while carrying on having sex.

But what of promiscuous people, sexually active homosexuals, and prostitutes? What the Catholic Church teaches them is simply that they should not be promiscuous, but faithful to one single sexual partner; that prostitution is a behaviour which gravely violates human dignity, mainly the dignity of the woman, and therefore should not be engaged in; and that homosexuals, as all other people, are children of God and loved by him as everybody else is, but that they should live in continence like any other unmarried person.

But if they ignore this teaching, and are at risk from HIV, should they use condoms to prevent infection? The moral norm condemning contraception as intrinsically evil does not apply to these cases. Nor can there be church teaching about this; it would be simply nonsensical to establish moral norms for intrinsically immoral types of behaviour. Should the Church teach that a rapist must never use a condom because otherwise he would additionally to the sin of rape fail to respect "mutual and complete personal self-giving and thus violate the Sixth Commandment"? Of course not.

What do I, as a Catholic priest, tell Aids-infected promiscuous people or homosex-uals who are using condoms? I will try to help them to live an upright and well-ordered sexual life. But I will not tell them not to use condoms. I simply will not talk to them about this and assume that ifthey choose to have sex they will at least keep a sense of responsibility.  With such an attitude I fully respect the Catholic Church?s teaching on contraception.

This is not a plea for "exceptions" to the norm prohibiting contraception. The norm about contraception applies without exception; the contraceptive choice is intrinsically evil. But it obviously applies only to contraceptive acts, as defined by Humanae Vitae, which embody a contraceptive choice. Not every act in which a device is used which from a purely physical point of view is "contraceptive", is from a moral point of view a contraceptive act falling under the norm taught by Humanae Vitae.

Equally, a married man who is HIV-infected and uses the condom to protect his wife from infection is not acting to render procreation impossible, but to prevent infection. If conception is prevented, this will be an "unintentional" side-effect and will not therefore shape the moral meaning of the act as a contraceptive act. There may be other reasons to warn against the use of a condom in such a case, or to advise total continence, but these will not be because of the Church's teaching on contraception but for pastoral or simply prudential reasons , the risk, for example, of the condom not working. Of course, this last argument does not apply to promiscuous people, because even if condoms do not always work, their use will help to reduce the evil consequences of morally evil behaviour.

Stopping the worldwide Aids epidemic is not a question about the morality of using condoms, but about how to effectively prevent people from causing the disastrous consequences of their immoral sexual behaviour. Pope John Paul II has repeatedly urged that the promotion of the use of condoms is not a solution to this problem because he holds that it does not resolve the moral problem of promiscuity. Whether, generally, campaigns promoting condoms encourage risky behaviour and make the Aids pandemic worse is a question of statistical evidence which is not yet easily available. That it reduces transmission rates, in the short term, among highly infective groups like prostitutes and homosexuals is impossible to deny. Whether it may decrease infection rates among "sexually liberated" promiscuous populations or, on the contrary, encourage risky behaviour, depends on many factors.

In African countries condom-based anti-Aids campaigns are generally ineffective, partly because for an African man his manliness is expressed by making as many children as possible. For him, condoms convert sex into a meaningless activity. Which is why , and this is strong evidence in favour of the Pope's argument, among the few effective programmes in Africa has been the Ugandan one. Although it does not exclude condoms, it encourages a positive change in sexual behaviour (fidelity and abstinence), unlike condom campaigns, which contribute to obscuring or even destroying the meaning of human love.

Campaigns to promote abstinence and fidelity are certainly and ultimately the only effective long-term remedy to combat Aids. So there is no reason for the Church to consider the campaigns promoting condoms as helpful for the future of human society. But nor can the Church possibly teach that people engaged in immoral lifestyles should avoid them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Life Begins at Fertilization
Life Begins at Fertilization
The following references illustrate the fact that a new human embryo, the starting point for a human life, comes into existence with the formation of the one-celled zygote:

"Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote."
[England, Marjorie A. Life Before Birth. 2nd ed. England: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996, p.31]

"Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."
[Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]

"Embryo: the developing organism from the time of fertilization until significant differentiation has occurred, when the organism becomes known as a fetus."
[Cloning Human Beings. Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Rockville, MD: GPO, 1997, Appendix-2.]

"Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus."
[Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146]

"Embryo: The early developing fertilized egg that is growing into another individual of the species. In man the term 'embryo' is usually restricted to the period of development from fertilization until the end of the eighth week of pregnancy."
[Walters, William and Singer, Peter (eds.). Test-Tube Babies. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 160]

"The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."
[Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]

"Embryo: The developing individual between the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism.... At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun.... The term embryo covers the several stages of early development from conception to the ninth or tenth week of life."
[Considine, Douglas (ed.). Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. 5th edition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976, p. 943]

"I would say that among most scientists, the word 'embryo' includes the time from after fertilization..."
[Dr. John Eppig, Senior Staff Scientist, Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine) and Member of the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel -- Panel Transcript, February 2, 1994, p. 31]

"The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."
[Sadler, T.W. Langman's Medical Embryology. 7th edition. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins 1995, p. 3]

"The question came up of what is an embryo, when does an embryo exist, when does it occur. I think, as you know, that in development, life is a continuum.... But I think one of the useful definitions that has come out, especially from Germany, has been the stage at which these two nuclei [from sperm and egg] come together and the membranes between the two break down."
[Jonathan Van Blerkom of University of Colorado, expert witness on human embryology before the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel -- Panel Transcript, February 2, 1994, p. 63]

"Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm (Gr. zyg tos, yoked together), represents the beginning of a human being. The common expression 'fertilized ovum' refers to the zygote."
[Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 4th edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1993, p. 1]

"The chromosomes of the oocyte and sperm are...respectively enclosed within female and male pronuclei. These pronuclei fuse with each other to produce the single, diploid, 2N nucleus of the fertilized zygote. This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development."
[Larsen, William J. Human Embryology. 2nd edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997, p. 17]

"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity."
[O'Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29. This textbook lists "pre-embryo" among "discarded and replaced terms" in modern embryology, describing it as "ill-defined and inaccurate" (p. 12}]

"Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)... The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."
[Carlson, Bruce M. Patten's Foundations of Embryology. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p. 3]

"[A]nimal biologists use the term embryo to describe the single cell stage, the two-cell stage, and all subsequent stages up until a time when recognizable humanlike limbs and facial features begin to appear between six to eight weeks after fertilization....
"[A] number of specialists working in the field of human reproduction have suggested that we stop using the word embryo to describe the developing entity that exists for the first two weeks after fertilization. In its place, they proposed the term pre-embryo....
"I'll let you in on a secret. The term pre-embryo has been embraced wholeheartedly by IVF practitioners for reasons that are political, not scientific. The new term is used to provide the illusion that there is something profoundly different between what we nonmedical biologists still call a six-day-old embryo and what we and everyone else call a sixteen-day-old embryo.
"The term pre-embryo is useful in the political arena -- where decisions are made about whether to allow early embryo (now called pre-embryo) experimentation -- as well as in the confines of a doctor's office, where it can be used to allay moral concerns that might be expressed by IVF patients. 'Don't worry,' a doctor might say, 'it's only pre-embryos that we're manipulating or freezing. They won't turn into real human embryos until after we've put them back into your body.'"
[Silver, Lee M. Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. New York: Avon Books, 1997, p. 39]

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Science Facts on the RH Bills in Plain Language (H/T: Raul.N)

Science Facts on the RH Bills

The world’s leading scientific experts resolve the issues regarding the systematic,
nationwide distribution of artificial contraceptives.
  1. Artificial contraceptives kill children.
When does human life begin? At fertilization, when the sperm penetrates the egg. This was the unanimous response of medical experts (including doctors from Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic) at an eight day hearing of the US Senate.1
Do birth control pills and the IUD kill the embryo? Yes, the pill has a secondary “post-fertilization effect”, according to the scientific journal of the American Medical Association.2 The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology pronounced that the intrauterine device brings about the “destruction of the early embryo.”3
  1. Artificial contraceptives injure women’s health.
Is the pill safe? The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2007 reported that the pill causes cancer, giving it the highest level of carcinogenicity, the same as cigarettes and asbestos.4 It also causes stroke,5 and significantly increases the risk of heart attacks.6
  1. The contraceptive lifestyle destroys the family.
Will the greater availability of contraception improve the conditions of the family? Contraceptives bring about the downgrading of marriage, more extramarital sex, more fatherless children, more single mothers, according to the studies of Nobel prize winner, George Akerlof.7
  1. Condoms promote the spread of AIDS.
Will the use of condoms lower the rate of HIV/AIDS in a country? It will increase it, according to the “best evidence” in the world, concluded Harvard Director for AIDS Prevention, Edward C. Green. Availability of condoms makes people take wilder sexual risks, thus worsening the spread of the disease.8
  1. The RH Bills are based on wrong economics.
Is there a correlation between population growth and economic development? No correlation” is the answer of Simon Kuznets, Nobel Prize winner in the science of economics.9 Many later studies confirmed this.
Is population control one of the ingredients for high economic growth? No. This is the conclusion of the 2008 Commission on Growth and Development headed by Nobel prize winner Michael Spence. The factors for high growth are: leadership, openness to knowledge, stable finances, market allocation, investment and savings.10

The ultimate experts and arbiters have spoken. Stop the RH Bills once and for all.

Help dispel ignorance of these science facts. Beware of the wealthy and powerful pro-RH lobby.

Make many copies for your neighborhood, school, company, and community. Give copies to media, and local and national politicians. TODAY!

2 Larimore and Stanford (2000). "Postfertilization effects of oral contraceptives and their relationship to informed consent" Arch Fam Med 9 (2): 126–33.
3 Stanford and Mikolajczyk (2005). "Mechanisms of action of intrauterine devices: Update and estimation of postfertilization effects". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (W.B. Saunders Comp) 187: 1699–1708.
4 "Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives" IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans 91. 2007.
6 Baillargeon, McClish, Essah, and Nestler (2005). "Association between the Current Use of Low-Dose Oral Contraceptives and Cardiovascular Arterial Disease: A Meta-Analysis". Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (The Endocrine Society) 90 (7): 3863–3870.
7 Akerlof, Yellent and Katz (1996), "An Analysis on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States", Quarterly Journal of Economics (The MIT Press) 111 (2): 277–317
8 Green (2003) Rethinking AIDS Prevention. Praeger.
9 Kuznets (1974) Population Capital and Growth, Norton.
10 The Growth Commission (2008) The Growth Report: Strategies for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development, World Bank Publication.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Kiss off

After Pope Benedict XVI left Spain after a quick trip, many news outlets came out with reports similar to this:

BARCELONA, Spain – About 200 people have staged a gay "kiss-in" as Pope Benedict XVI drove by to protest his visit to Spain and his policies on homosexuality, condom use and other issues.  About half the protesters kissed and the other half jeered as Benedict passed by Barcelona's cathedral in his white popemobile on his way to celebrate Mass on Sunday morning.

So they did what they said they would
Again, bashing the Church for the mistakes of some.  The weird thing is that among  these "some" who have done such great disservice to the Church and the faithful, most of them  are of the same orientation:  gay.

If they want the Church to change her doctrine on homosexuality, are they saying then that what those gay clergy did were not entirely bad?  They just did what their flesh  urged them to do, right?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

They're at it again (sorry Mr. President, you had it coming)

Starting with the young.

CEBU CITY -- Local youth advocates on Monday mailed a letter to President Benigno Aquino III, asking him to take action against coal power plant operations in the country. 

They asked the President to order the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Energy and Department of Health (DOH) to draft concrete steps to address the hazardous effects of coal-fired power plants. ...
If the people are the President's boss, then he should listen to us.

Where are these students from?

Technology has made it possible for cleaner coal.  The new coal-fired power plants make use of cleaner coal technology and those that are under rehabilitation are doing so because of the move towards cleaner coal.

Renewable energy is a cheaper alternative to coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

Of course, for the environitwits, nuclear energy is anathema.  If they look into the science more deeply, they will see that nuclear energy is in fact far cleaner and safer.  They don't care about nuclear energy; it is, as Steve Milloy says, "energy non grata."

Perhaps in the long run alternative sources of energy may be cheaper, but  who is to know for sure.  Countries that have embarked aggressively on these types aren't exactly laughing their way to the bank.  

However, we need energy now so that industries can grow and earn.   Earnings should contribute to research and development on renewable energy, as well as put money into government coffers so that government can also more efficiently do its part in helping move toward development of renewable energy resources.  

These renewable energy alternatives are definitely very expensive at these times, and any move by government to outlaw coal and fossil fuels now will be a rip-off for the taxpayer.  What will your parents, dear students, feel about higher taxes to pay for these projects,  for the higher cost of, generally, everything?

Then again,  "(T)here is no objective or empirical evidence indicating that alternative forms of energy are cleaner, healthier and safer than fossil fuels.  How does more expensive energy without any accompanying benefits lead to long-term economic growth?" (SM)

Let us not even bring forward the notion of climate change, because climate is definitely not predictable.  The only thing predictable about climate is the amount of money the Al Gore types have earned and will earn from their investments in scare-tactics.  

Surely, power outages are more predictable and controllable than climate.

Update:  Malacanang has said that it will not stop coal-fired power plants from operating until more feasible alternative sources can be found.  Experience and common sense prevail.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jemy Gatdula blogs

I followed a link posted by a friend in Facebook, and found the author's blog.  The link led to a Businessworld online column, that is a cross-post to this piece.  Excerpt:
The point is: lighten up, read up. How can you make informed choices if you’re not informed? Pro-choice is not a choice. It’s a slogan. To shout "choice!" for the sake of choice is shallow because it only leaves unanswered the question: choose what then? Truth be told, there is a smart choice and it doesn’t come in rubber.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

When does life begin? The navy captain and the doctor!

Nope, this wouldn't be that type of post.  I will simply say I believe it is at fertilization.  Take it or leave it.

The question was recently raised by a Philippine Congressman, Rep. Anthony Golez of Bacolod.  Rep. Golez is a medical doctor. 

A legislator who is also a medical doctor thinks he has cut to the heart of the reproductive health bill debate, challenging colleagues to answer the question: “When does life begin?” 

Bacolod City Rep. Anthony Golez has filed a resolution asking the House to conduct an inquiry to determine whether or not conception begins with fertilization or with the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus. Implantation takes place six or seven days after fertilization.

Golez, a medical doctor, believes that conception begins with fertilization.

If his view is adopted, the move would essentially ban oral contraceptives and the intrauterine device for inducing abortion.

According to Golez, settling the question of when conception begins will have an impact on the kind of birth control methods that the government can lawfully provide.

This is great!  I just pray that there are enough in our Congress who believe as Rep. Golez does.  Of course, there is another Congressman Golez (of Paranaque, Roilo Golez), who earlier filed House Bill #13, another pro-choice bill.  Another one to commend.

The navy captain and the doctor!  Hooya!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Kid gloves

Since some (in government, media, and in every other nook and cranny) believe the science is clear (it definitely is not) on global warming, tv and print usually treat with kid gloves those who talk about the dangers of anthropogenic global warming, a climate condition that they themselves almost always admit is uncertain.  Even if the so-called "expert"  (sometimes a government lackey who is not even a climate expert or one who took one natural science subject in university or  maybe served in the Senate) contradicts himself or proposes, nay, simply says that we need to do something but not actually have the solution in mind, media will not raise a hoot.

Here's what I picked up from WUWT.  One question that needed to be asked:  "Which is more important – the health and welfare of people suffering today, or those not yet born who might suffer someday due to climate change that even you admit is highly uncertain?"

On another note, when a friend asked me why some of the newspapers in the country seem to be favoring the reproductive health bill, I told her that they are only true to form.  If they believe anthropogenic global warming (in other words, that people are evil because they emit too much CO2), then it follows that they don't want more people, which any legislated reproductive health law will always tend too.

Saw in a graphic:  Until environmentalists stop pushing for population control, I will not plant a tree.

Update:  Prof. Solita Monsod said this re the President's 100 days report:  the Millennium Development grant would have been awarded to the Philippines whether it was Aquino or another candidate who won.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Payback time comes early

In less than 100 days.

I wrote in April how it seemed that the presidential campaign of Noy had lots of spending money, despite what they said.  Actions spoke louder than words.  I also mentioned how perhaps there was a link to the B. Hussein Obama's administration advocacy on population control.

When the President came home from his trip to the United States, he carried with him pledges of investments worth $2.8B.  Neat!  

Also, he came home with $434M from the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

This is where we might see the link.  The MCC gives assistance to countries pursuing political and economic reforms in three areas: ruling justly, investing in people, and fostering economic freedom.

The criteria are described as:
• Ruling justly—promoting good governance, fighting corruption, respecting   human rights, and adhering to the rule of law.
Investing in people—providing adequate health care, education, and other  opportunities promoting an educated and healthy population.
• Economic freedom—fostering enterprise and entrepreneurship and promoting open markets and sustainable budgets.
In 2005, the Philippines met 13 of the 16 indicators, but "did not qualify because it scored “substantially below” the median on tests for health expenditures and fiscal policy, and that more recent trends indicated the fiscal policy situation was deteriorating further."

I guess they did not like that the Arroyo administration and Congress then could not pass a reproductive health law (the RH proponents filed their first proposed RH bill in the 10th Congress) and that even then the government was not spending much (more likely, not accepting "foreign" aid) for reproductive health concerns. 

In 2006, the Philippines was deemed to be below the median so it could not qualify again.  It seems that the country was bypassed again in 2007.  In 2008, the Philippines was once again in the list of possible recipients of a compact, but was passed on once again.  In 2009, MCC retained the Philippines in the eligible list, but could not be given assistance "until it passed the corruption indicator that it failed in FY2009."

Then suddenly, in September 2010, the Philippines gets its $434M.

Did the Philippines suddenly pass all the indicators?  Did the Arroyo administration have anything to do with that?  Maybe not, since "many" still think that the Arroyo administration never corrected itself of corruption.  Maybe not, since the Arroyo administration, until the very end did not push for the passage of the RH bill in Congress, that it controlled, and the main proponent in Congress even a staunch supporter.

So how is it that the President got this assistance so soon?

Even with only a catch-phrase that's supposed to make poverty and corruption history (Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap)?

What's left?  A reproductive health law.  It is no wonder that there is now a renewed effort to get one approved.  And with it, making a punching bag of the Church.  But that's another issue.

Truly, payback time is here.  And that, from an administration that's still, so far, high in promises, and not much to show for.  Obviously, it isn't even 100 days old.  

How do you think the US will react when the RH bill won't go to law?  That could be an even greater problem for us down the road.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The UN, Mahmoud, and ET

Last week, the UN allowed once again Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to rant against his enemies.  The disgusting thing about that event last week was that many country representatives there even applauded him.  Some say that applause was only as a sign of respect for a head of state exercising his right to be heard at the UN, where everyone is equal.

The response of the US delegation and those that followed them in the walk out (was the RP delegation one those who stayed behind and applauded?) was the right one.  There is no respect for a man like that.

What's with the UN?  Really, what's happening to the UN?  If not being used as pawn for scare tactics related to (the perceived danger of) overpopulation and of catastrophic climate disturbances brought about by anthropogenic causes, it has consented to being used as a forum for radical governments and ideologies to get one over the more decent ones.

If that is bad enough, now it has appointed an ambassador for "alien affairs", a first responder, if you will, if and when the aliens come and visit.  

It can't even teach erring members civility and decency when they're needed, now the UN wants to deal with aliens?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The spin itself is disgusting enough

Some days ago, a baby was found in a trash bin of an airplane that had just landed at the Manila airport.  Thanks God that the "baby boy was alive and kicking.

Some days prior to this baby's discovery, an infant girl was found dead on the steps of Planned Parenthood in Winston-Salem in North Carolina.  Danielle Bean writes at that:

Testing confirms that this baby Jane Doe was born alive, and some think that she might have been left on the steps in a mistaken attempt to make use the NC infant abandonment laws which allow for infants to be left at “safe” locations and taken into custody of the state with no questions asked. These laws are meant to protect the lives of newborn babies born to frightened teens or unstable mothers of any kind. There are no legal consequences for abandoning a 7-day-old or younger infant at one of these centers.

 The news report includes these words:

Reed (a PP VP) said this is the first time that a dead infant has been placed outside of a Planned Parenthood office in North Carolina. She said counseling was being made available to employees who came to work Saturday.

Read what Danielle and Jill Stanek say about this counseling being made available to PP employees.  I agree.

I also add one thought.  

Isn't there also a media spin to this?  

Since the pro-aborts (and their liberal media cohorts -- redundant?) have always been saying that the aborted babies, even including those victims in late-term and partial-birth abortions are not yet babies (thus not human nor rightfully victims), this infant girl who may have been born alive was human, and thus a victim (of negligence and the loophole in the sanctuary law, maybe).  

This changes everything.  This requires, surely, counseling, because a person died here, and quite distressing for PP employees to encounter someone dead in their premises.  Heck, the employees might even file for PTSD coverage.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

13's the charm

Did you know that Parañaque Representative Roilo Golez has proposed a pro-life bill that strengthens the Constitutional protection of the unborn?  

HIs House Bill 13 better known as “An Act Providing for the Safety and Protection of the Unborn & for Other Purposes” acknowledges the unborn child as a human being with human personality and extends the mantle of legal protection to the child from the moment of conception. 

The bill also aims to promote the right of the mother and the children most especially the unborn child to assistance including proper care and nutrition, special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development.

Sign the petition here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A stay on government funding for Embryonic Stem Cell research

Perhaps some of you missed this important decision in the US DC District Court.  A suit was filed 

"... for declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent defendants’ Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research (“Guidelines”) from taking effect. (Compl.¶¶ 4, 6-12.) Specifically, plaintiffs sought “an order (a) declaring that the Guidelines are contrary to law, were promulgated without observing the procedures required by law, and constitute arbitrary and capricious agency action; and (b) enjoining [d]efendants from applying the Guidelines or otherwise funding research involving the destruction of human embryonic stem cells.”

This is important since this may have an effect as well on the abortion issue, one way or the other.

The court found that any procedure to derive stem cells from embryos will mean the destruction of the embryos.  There exists a law that prohibits federal funding for research that will cause the destruction of embryos.  President Obama issued an executive order that would give federal funding to ESC research.  The court's decision will prevent that EO from giving money to ESC research.  Well and good.  The US administration will of course appeal the decision.

Private funding for ESC research is not included in the court's decision.

Some portions of the decision:

ESC research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed. To conduct ESC research, ESCs must be derived from an embryo. The process of deriving ESCs from an embryo results in the destruction of the embryo. Thus, ESC research necessarily depends upon the destruction of a human embryo.

Despite defendants’ attempt to separate the derivation of ESCs from research on the ESCs, the two cannot be separated. Derivation of ESCs from an embryo is an integral step in conducting ESC research. Indeed, it is just one of many steps in the “systematic investigation” of stem cell research. 45 C.F.R. § 46.102(d). Simply because ESC research involves multiple steps does not mean that each step is a separate “piece of research” that may be federally funded, provided the step does not result in the destruction of an embryo. If one step or “piece of research” of an ESC research project results in the destruction of an embryo, the entire project is precluded from receiving federal funding by the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. Because ESC research requires the derivation of ESCs, ESC research is research in which an embryo is destroyed. Accordingly, the Court concludes that, by allowing federal funding of ESC research, the Guidelines are in violation of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.

In sum, plaintiffs have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits. The Dickey-Wicker Amendment is unambiguous. It prohibits research in which a human embryo is destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subject to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed under applicable regulations. The Guidelines violate that prohibition by allowing federal funding of ESC research because ESC research depends up on the destruction of a human embryo.

Full text of the decision here.

Where are the "nationalists"?

The country launched recently a new family planning marketing strategy developed by the USAID.  A plan made by the Americans.  Nifty.  

Where are the so-called nationalists?  What, no complaints of foreign interference?

The plan is called "May Plano Ako".  And this is so much attuned to the current US government objective of pushing for "reproductive health" all over the world.  

It has been heard in the whispers during the 2010 elections that a presidential campaign received US funding for the campaign or at least promised continuous US funding support if it won for various projects that will necessarily include "reproductive health" programs.

Seems like all the rumors are turning out to be true.

Friday, August 20, 2010

One and the same

A news report says that President Aquino does not support divorce in the Philippines and seems to say that the way to go for troubled and irreconcilable couples is legal separation.  Legally and morally, this is well and good.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said he is not in favor of divorce bill being pushed in Congress.

“Divorce is a no-no,” he told reporters in an event at World Trade Center Thursday.

“Definitely I cannot support something like you do in Las Vegas, like you can stereotype that you get married in the morning you can get divorce in the afternoon,” he said further.

But what follows seems to show that the President himself is confused (highlights mine).
He said he would prefer legal separation instead but noted that both parties should be given freedom to re-marry.

Under Philippine laws, legal separation may be filed for valid reasons and subsequently granted for the couple to go their separate lives.  The marriage bond is not severed, however.  Since the marital bond still exists, the separated spouses cannot re-marry.  Any marriage contracted by either or both parties with other persons while there is no judgment of annulment or nullity will be deemed null and void.

Divorce, on the other hand, "is the final termination of a marital union, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties."

Legal separation does not break the marital bond.  Divorce breaks the bond, artificially.  The difference posts a problem to the President's preference.

If the President believes that the spouses who are legally separated "should be given freedom to re-marry", isn't he, in the end supportive of divorce?  

Either that, or he is in favor of going against the laws that prohibit anyone who is still married to another from contracting another marriage.

Or again, confused?

Monday, August 09, 2010

"The equalization of status is not the obliteration of difference"

Matthew J. Franck writes in "Same-Sex Marriage and the Assault on Moral Reasoning" about the bad logic that puts Judge Walker's ruling on Proposition 8 in California in question.  Best when read in its entirety here, but important points I think are worthy to be quoted in this blog:

Perhaps the most surprising thing in the judge’s opinion is his declaration that “gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage.” This line, quoted everywhere within hours with evident astonishment, appears to be the sheerest ipse dixit—a judicial “because I said so”—and the phrase “no longer” conveys that palpable sense that one is being mugged by a progressive. But Judge Walker’s remark here is actually the conclusion of a fairly complex argument. The problem is that the argument is not only complex but wholly fallacious.
And now watch carefully, for here the fallacious reasoning enters the equation. When “the genders” are no longer “seen as having distinct roles,” it is revealed that at marriage’s “core” there is ample space for same-sex couples too. Since “gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage,” indeed since it never really did, “plaintiffs’ relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition and practice of marriage in the United States.” There, you see? There is something eminently conservative about the admission of same-sex couples to the marital bond. What could we have been thinking, denying them this right for all these centuries? ...

Judge Walker seems to have committed the fallacy of composition—taking something true of a part and concluding that it is also true of the whole of which it is a part. If it is true that “gender” no longer matters as it once did in the relation of husband and wife, he reasons, therefore it no longer matters whether the relation is one of husband and wife; it may as well be a relation of husband and husband or of wife and wife, since we now know that marriage is not, at its “core,” a “gendered institution.” But restated in this way, it is quite plain that the judge’s conclusion doesn’t follow from his premises. To say that the status of men and women in marriage is one ofequal partners is not to say that men and women are the same, such that it does not matter what sex their partners are. The equalization of status is not the obliteration of difference, as much as Judge Walker would like to pretend it is. ...
Once it would have been thought tostrengthen the case for a law, that it rested on the moral views of the lawmakers, if no countervailing right against being governed by such views could be adduced. And it would have been a matter of no legal suspicion whatsoever that the moral views informing a law found confirmation in widely held religious views as well. For such moral principles are not articles of faith, in the sense of being specially revealed to the elect or the faithful. They are the conclusions of trains of reasoning about right and wrong, and about human ends and the fitness of the means to them. In language we might borrow from Plato’s Euthyphro, the moral norms that govern marriage are embraced by the pious not because they are mysterious commands of an inscrutable divine will, but because they are rationally knowable as good in themselves, and for this reason find support in the dictates of faith as well. ...
But perhaps he can be taught a lesson about the violence he has done to the rule of law, and to the United States Constitution.  His fellow citizens, more accustomed than he to governing themselves by canons of reasoned judgment, may have to teach the lesson, if his superiors on the bench will not do so.