Friday, March 29, 2013

Heartbeats, Law, and Life

Quite a bit happened this week: faster passenger service to the International Space Station; Francis I visiting a prison; and a Brazilian doctor charged with freeing up intensive care unit beds by killing patients.

I picked news a little closer to home for this post:
  1. Life and North Dakota Law
  2. Marriage and Hope

Love and Neighbors

The rules are simple, if not easy:
That sort of love isn't just a fuzzy feeling. I have to think and act as if other folks matter.

Sometimes that means not letting a friend drive drunk, or not ignoring harmful behavior. I've posted about the occasionally-awkward aspects of love before:
Deciding to become a Catholic committed me to a particular set of beliefs, like:
  • Human life
    • Is sacred
      (Catechism, 2258)
    • Begins at conception
    • (Catechism, 2270, 2274)
  • Marriage is
    • A good idea
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1601-1658)
    • A sacrament of the Church
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1601)
    • Ordered for the good of
      • Spouses
      • Children
      • Society
      (Catechism, 2201-2203, 2363)
    • The union of a man and a woman
      (Catechism, 1601-1608, 1614)
Now, my take on some of the week's news:

1. Life and North Dakota Law

"ND bishop praises new laws protecting unborn life"
CNA/EWTN News (March 28, 2013)

" Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, N.D. praised the North Dakota legislature and governor for passing into law three pro-life bills that place stronger restrictions on abortion.

" 'The protection of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death is the primary purpose of government,' Bishop Kagan said March 26. 'All persons, including our elected officials, are obligated to unceasingly seek protection of this basic human right.'..."
Governments should protect all human life. That hasn't always happened, as demonstrated by some of the 20th century's higher-profile genocides:
America's wholesale destruction of unwanted people is a bit different from those state-sponsored efforts.

My native country's deplorable habit serves the personal desires of 'important' people, who have the right to kill folks who don't meet government standards.

What the North Dakota state government has done is an attempt to extend legal protection to those 'unimportant' citizens. I think it's a good idea: partly because the new measures protect defective people like me.

Controversial, But the Right Thing to Do

"...The bishop said he applauded members of the legislature who 'bravely supported measures to extend protections to unborn human life and to advance the health of women.'

"The new laws include bans on abortions performed after a fetal heartbeat is detectable and bans on abortions that target the unborn child on the basis of his or her sex or genetic abnormalities.

"Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the three bills into law on Tuesday. He acknowledged that they could provoke controversies in constitutional law.

"He said it is uncertain whether the ban on post-heartbeat abortions will survive a court challenge. However, he said the bill is 'a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade.'..."
Having been used in a medical experiment encourages my interest in how the 'unfit' get treated. (February 3, 2009)

2. Marriage and Hope

"Thousands flood DC to stand up for marriage"
Adelaide Darling, CNA/EWTN News (March 27, 2013)

"Citing concerns for the well-being of children and respect for the democratic process, participants in the national March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., stressed the importance of marriage for society.

"Sara Barrios from New York City told CNA that without the biologically-based institution of marriage, the foundations of family and society 'will fall apart.'

"Without a man and a woman, 'it is impossible to have children,' Barrios added. 'Even same-sex couples have to go outside what they call a union, to get a child...."
I agree that marriage is important, and is the union of two people of opposite sex. The fellow who 'married' his pillow may have been sincere, and that's almost another topic. (August 7, 2010)

Needing a man and a woman, or at least their sperm and eggs, to have children may not be entirely true any more. Back when "The Clonus Horror" (1979) was made, cloning was more a matter of science fiction than public policy.

I'm mildly surprised that nobody's taken a step beyond the first cloned sheep (1993), and cloned a human being. We're a bit more complicated, physically, than sheep: but not by all that much.

Maybe researchers considered the public relations problem they might face, if their experiment started talking: or escaped.

Links to discussions of bioethical concerns about cloning humans, and related issues, are under "Background," at the end of this post.

Remembering Dred Scott v. Sandford

"...Protests both for and against a redefinition of marriage coincided with the start of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26. The high court will rule this summer on two cases that could have drastic consequences for the way the nation understands marriage.

"Defenders of marriage argue that the state has no right to redefine an institution that precedes it and is rooted in nature and biology. Men and women naturally come together to create children, and marriage is designed to reflect this unique reality, they argue....

"...Organizers estimated well over 10,000 participants at the march, which was the first of its kind in the U.S...."
(Adelaide Darling, CNA/EWTN News)
I don't know what the Supreme Court will decide about marriage this year. Maybe, a half-century after those giddy days of Woodstock and the Warren, America's top judges will be sensible.

But if today's lot follow in the tradition of Dred Scott v. Sandford and the Hayes administration's approach to immigration: I will not be discouraged.

In my youth, it sometimes seemed that the folks who inspired songs like "Harper Valley PTA" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" would never lose power: but they did.

Some of the societal corrections my generation worked for turned out fairly well. Others didn't. Respect for human life, and disordered views of human sexuality and family structures are some of today's issues.

I probably won't live long enough to see it happen, but I am confident that these issues will be resolved. I've seen natural law play out too many times, and that's yet another topic. (March 3, 2013)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

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.