Thursday, June 28, 2012

Memoirs of a Lab Rat

I grew up in the '60s, and learned that actions can be legal: but wrong. When I became a Catholic, I had to unlearn some things, but that's not one of them. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2242)

I'm a practicing Catholic, so some of my values are still counter-cultural. For example, I think human life is sacred. It follows that I think murder, killing an innocent human being, is wrong: even if it's legal, and called something else. (Catechism, 2258, 2259-2262, 2268-2270)

Bioethics, "The Disabled," and All That

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) and National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) have what I think is a good idea:
"Fortnight resource combines religious liberty, outreach to disabled"
Michelle Bauman, CNA (Catholic News Agency (June 27, 2012)

"Two national Catholic groups have released a list of suggested activities to defend religious liberty and reach out charitably to those with disabilities.

" 'We hope you take advantage of these resources and share them with others,' said the National Catholic Bioethics Center in a June 18 statement announcing the initiative.

"The bioethics center has joined with the National Catholic Partnership on Disability - a group that works to help those with disabilities participate fully in the Church and in society - to create a list of 14 actions aimed at supporting religious freedom and reaching out to the disabled...."
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when the article's third paragraph ended with "the disabled." Like I said, I grew up in the '60s: and get cautious when someone refers to people as a class. Sometimes it's valid, like "Americans," or "car owners."

By the way, I think the NCBC, NCPD, and CNA could have made the material a little easier to find. Maybe I wasn't searching for it in the way they expected. I tracked down a resource matching the description CNA gave on the NCPD website. (

'I Love The Poor - - - '

I think trouble starts when the 'I love the poor, I can't stand that trailer trash next door' attitude takes over. It's probably easier to see a problem when it's 'those people over there' who forget that subsets of humanity are groups of individuals.

Happily, the rest of the CNA article was pretty clear that "the disabled" are a group of people. At various points, it was disabled:
  • Individuals
  • Veterans
  • Those who are ...
That's good enough for me.

"Quality Lifestyle"

I've explained why being used as a sort of lab rat gave me a personal perspective on bioethics. (February 3, 2009)

Being born with bad hips, a condition exacerbated by deliberate neglect, left me unable to tap dance or set track records.

I wasn't, from the point of view of someone who enjoyed sports, or dancing, living a "quality lifestyle."

Yet, despite being 'denied' a 'normal' life, I preferred being alive to the alternative: and still do. Being blessed with a painful disability helped me see the "lifestyle" argument 'from the inside.'

I was very young when I realized that killing people who wouldn't live a "quality lifestyle" was a really bad idea.

Compared to what some folks who weren't killed 'for their own good' endure, I've had a fairly easy life. But I think I can say from experience that: yes, it really is better to be alive than dead. Even with a defective body.

If you've never heard "quality lifestyle" as a reason to kill defective people, I'm not surprised. I haven't heard it for decades. Like most euphemisms, its usefulness declined when too many folks thought through that particular 'they're better off dead' line. My opinion.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.