Tax-funded abortion coverage: Who’s being warned?

The Associated Press’ Philip Elliott, writing about the massive health care overhaul that is lagging in support as it becomes clear that it is massively expensive as well  as devious in its intentions, mischaracterizes a statement by New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg on the effect of abortion services in the legislation:

Republicans paint Obama’s proposals as a massive tax that would leave small businesses wounded, employers shifting away from private plans toward a government-based system, and workers without coverage. Some GOP members have also cautioned that the legislation could fund abortions, a fear crucial to the social conservatives who hold sway inside the Republican Party and a proposition Orszag would not rule out.

A key Republican, however, warned his party not to scuttle health care legislation over abortion.

“No matter what your views are on abortion, you shouldn’t ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life,” said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. “I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue. … Hopefully we won’t get ourselves wrapped around the wheel of abortion in this debate.”

Is Gregg really warning Republicans when he says “you shouldn’t ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life”? I would say that it is a warning to Democrats not to attach what is most definitely a poison pill to what is already a bloated bill. The fact that Elliott makes this quote a warning to Republicans is yet another case of either shoddy writing by the AP or an attempt to create confusion. I would say the case is the latter since it’s not just “some GOP members” who are saying that the legislation could fund abortions. This is an actual amendment that was voted on and attached to the legislation.

Perhaps this story will be edited at some point to clear up that portion, at least. Until then, the Associated Press seems content to throw out a story that misleads on a serious matter. Once again, it’s a bad job by the AP.

Don’t buy this lemon: Publicly funded abortion on demand

President Obama and his allies, in used car salesman mode, are pushing a massive health care overhaul bill in front of Congress, pestering them to sign it! sign it! sign it! And don’t mind the small type or the cost. Well, you should worry about the small print, because there are things you should not want to be a part of.

For instance, during a committee meeting on July 9, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland slipped in an amendment that would provide public funding for abortion. At, they recount the interaction between Mikulski, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania as they query Mikulski as to just what her amendment is providing. She is evasive, but it is clear that she is pushing an amendment that will provide for federally funded abortion in a health bill. So much for freedom of choice.

Meanwhile, a Guttmacher Institute review of literature found that in 20 of 24 studies, the number of abortions went down where public-funding restrictions were in place. The results were inconclusive in the other four studies. If  President Obama, who as Candidate Obama stated that he wanted to reduce the need for abortion, is serious about seeing that happen, then he would not be in such a hurry to pass a health care bill that pushes abortion on all taxpayers. But, based on his record in his short time in office, he doesn’t appear to take the words he spoke on the campaign trail or to Pope Benedict seriously. And that is a tragedy.

Click on image to see video of Sen. Mikulski as she answers questions from Sens. Hatch and Casey about her amendment.
Click on image to see video of Sen. Mikulski as she
answers questions from Sens. Hatch and Casey about her amendment.

My Friend, my Friend indeed

Click on the image to hear Matthew Smith's excellent rendition of this great song
Click on the image to hear Matthew Smith's excellent rendition of this great song

I am very excited that one of my favorite artists, Matthew Smith, will be releasing this fall a new CD comprised on songs off two of his “road” albums. If you’re not familiar with him, what he does is take hymns — many that have been long forgotten — and refreshes the music and smoothes out in some cases archaic lyrics. Great lyrics are wed with great music. The song below is a perfect example. Guitarist Clint Wells provides a musical vehicle for profound lyrics written by Samuel Crossman. I love this song and what it says about a wonderful savior we have in Jesus. I hope it speaks to you as well.

My Song Is Love Unknown

My song is love unknown

My Savior’s love to me

Love to the loveless shown

That they might lovely be

O who am I, that for my sake

My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

O who am I, that for my sake

My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne

Salvation to bestow

But men made strange, and none

The longed-for Christ would know

But oh my Friend, my Friend indeed

Who at my need His life did spend

But oh my Friend, my Friend indeed

Who at my need His life did spend

Here might I stay and sing

No story so divine

Never was love, dear King

Never was grief like Thine

This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise

I all my days could gladly spend

This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise

I all my days will gladly spend

Remembering those who pay the price to advance the gospel

Filling Up the Afflictions of ChristTwitter and Facebook, for all that they offer, will never give us anything like the biography and what it offers. What you get is perspective, something that is sorely lacking in the let-me-tell-you-about-me world of social media.

So, it is with great pleasure that I can tell you about the latest round of biographical accounts by John Piper, this time called “Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel the the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton.” The book, the latest in his The Swans Are Not Silent series, is now on sale at Desiring God. Here is how it is described at the site:

The history of Christianity’s expansion proves that God’s strategy for reaching unreached peoples with the gospel includes the sufferings of his frontline heralds—the missionaries who willingly die a thousand daily deaths to advance God’s kingdom.

The price William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton paid to translate the Word of God, pave the way for missionary mobilization around the world, and lead the hostile to Christ was great. Yet their stories show how the gospel advances not only through the faithful proclamation of the truth but through representing the afflictions of Christ in our sufferings.

These aren’t big books, yet there is much to be gained through being introduced to the lives of these men who “the world was not worthy of.”

To read and hear biographical messages on these men, visit the links below.

Why William Tyndale Lived and Died

Suffering and Success in the Life of Adoniram Judson

You Will Be Eaten by Canibals! Lessons in the Life of John G. Paton

The high price of life at the White House

Teleprompter with the man he made famous and powerfulPerhaps it was the stress of propping up the most powerful Man in the World, but whatever it was, it was too much. On Monday night, the Teleprompter, barely 2, died in action at a White House while serving at the side of Barack Obama:

The fragile, overused speech aid was little more than 2 years old. No immediate cause of death and no autopsy were announced.

The passing of the celebrated speech-giving helper happened suddenly and unexpectedly. The president was looking right at the teleprompter, giving remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House. He was rigorously defending his economic stimulus package, which has been rigorously criticized recently for being like many political speeches, not very stimulating.

While the Teleprompter was a key member of the administration, his passing was barely noted even by the president himself:

But all that came to a crashing and dramatic end Monday night. As the president launched into his 11 minutes of stimulating remarks, according to eyewitnesses, the old teleprompter simply expired, came loose, fell silently as if in movie slow motion before the stunned eyes of watchers and smashed into many pieces on the hard floor.

“Oh, goodness!” Obama exclaimed. “Sorry about that, guys.” The heartless audience of mayors, urban policy wonks and administration crowd-packers laughed out loud at the sudden death.

As if it was a mere machine, the 47-year-old president displayed no sign of concern or compassion whatsoever for his departed friend. He simply continued his speech with the surviving teleprompter on the other side.

The teleprompter’s remains were removed later by janitorial personnel for private burial. An official period of mourning was not announced. Not even a moment of silence. That’s the Chicago way.

Tonight, we celebrate the great indoors

Because I am a native Minnesotan, I am taking my son to see what calls “one of the worst venues in baseball,” The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.

The Metrodome

It may not aesthetically pleasing, but we won’t be swatting at mosquitoes as we watch the Twins take on the dreaded Chicago White Sox in all its 72-degree beauty. Ah, summer! Next year, when the Metrodome will be abandoned for the great, new outdoor Target Field, we can talk about the wonders of outdoor baseball. But, for tonight, we’ll take what we can get.

Thank God today for John Calvin, a man who treasured God’s glory

Today is the 500th anniversary of the birth of reformer John Calvin, an important man in the history of the Christian church. To help mark the occasion, the Desiring God blog is doing a nine-part series on his biography. Here is the first part:

Five hundred years ago today, he was born Jean Cauvin in Noyon, France—about 70 miles north of Paris. His father was Gerard, son of a barrelmaker and boatman. Gerard was a lawyer, and it was his law practice that brought him into the everyday sphere of the church.

The young Jean benefitted immensely through his father’s ecclesiastical connections. He was able to be educated privately with the children of the wealthy De Montmor family and eventually garnered church support for his further studies.

Gerard originally planned a career for his son in the church. But when things later soured with the dioceses, he would redirect his son toward law.

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, and unknowingly launched the Reformation in earnest, the young Calvin was a mere 8 years old. He likely heard very little, if anything, about the rebellious German monk until he left for university in Paris at age 14. There he would hear more.

Portrait of CalvinAs part of the celebration, Desiring God is, today only, offering THL Parker’s 1954 biography of John Calvin, called “Portrait of Calvin,” for only $2. You can also download it for free. Why care about a man who lived hundreds of years ago and is not without controversy? I think John Piper gives good reason in his foreward to “Portrait of Calvin.”

“I am eager for people to know Calvin not because he was without flaws, or because he was the most influential theologian of the last 500 years (which he was), or because he shaped Western culture (which he did), but because he took the Bible so seriously, and because what he saw on every page was the majesty of God and the glory of Christ.”

Save rats? Kill people? GE looking for ways to further research

From comes this story about GE Healthcare, a subsidary of General Electric, and its efforts to use embryonic stem cell research to test drug toxicity and spare poor lab rats:

On June 30, GE Healthcare and Geron Corporation announced a multi-year alliance where Geron will provide GE scientists with an undisclosed amount of human embryonic stem cells.
The human cells will be used “to develop and commercialize cellular assay products derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) for use in drug discovery, development and toxicity screening,” according to a news release.
GE Healthcare, which is based in Britain, hopes that human embryonic testing will spare lab rats from having potentially toxic drugs in or on the animals.
“This could replace, to a large extent, animal trials,” Konstantin Fiedler, general manager of cell technologies at GE Healthcare, told Reuters.
“Once you have human cells and you can get them in a standardized way, like you get right now, your lab rats in a standardized way, you can actually do those experiments on those cells,” he added.

But this is all nonsense, says Dr. David Prentice, senior fellow for life science at the Family Research Council:

[Prentice said] that embryos must be killed before stem cells can be derived from them for research purposes.
“Human embryonic stem cell research is ethically irresponsible and scientifically unworthy, as well as useless for patients,” Prentice said.
Prentice explained that General Electric’s optimism in saving lab animals from testing by using hESCs is also largely unfounded.
“There is always going to be a problem on trying to rely just on cultured cells to do drug testing,” Prentice explained.

The problem, he said, is that many drugs are metabolized in the liver and other parts of the body and those metabolized substances then become the active ingredients of the drugs.
“Treating just cells in culture will give you some idea of toxicity or perhaps effectiveness on a certain cell type, but will not actually work for the whole organ, or the entire system, or the organism,” Prentice said. “So this is not going to replace all animal testing.

Prentice also pointed out that most of the research involving embryonic stem cells thus far has produced no valid therapies, while successful therapies for several diseases and conditions are already in place using adult stem cells, he said.

But, of course, the problem with adult stem cells, which have no ethical baggage associated with them, is that the president who said we must not put ideology over science has pulled government funding for that research.

Another controversial person: Sarah Palin. Why’d she quit?

John Fund, who writes the Political Diary for the Wall Street Journal online, writes that people misunderstand when they think that Sarah Palin’s decision to leave her role as governor of Alaska was a recent one. He contends that the people who hated her and what she stands for turned her job into a quagmire. In driving her from office they made it clear that she was not one of them:

She made many mistakes after being thrust into the national spotlight last year, but hasn’t merited the sneering contempt visited upon her by national reporters. She simply was not their kind of feminist — and they disdained the politically incorrect life choices she had made.

What kind of “sneering contempt,” you say? The kind that David Kahane writes about in National Review Online:

Did Sarah stand for “family values”? Flay her unwed-mother daughter. Did she represent probity in a notoriously corrupt, one-family state? Spread rumors about FBI investigations. Did she speak with an upper-Midwest twang? Mock it relentlessly on Saturday Night Live. Above all, don’t let her motivate the half of the country that doesn’t want His Serene Highness to bankrupt the nation, align with banana-republic Communist dictators, unilaterally dismantle our missile defenses, and set foot in more mosques than churches since he has become president. We’ve got a suicide cult to run here.

And that’s why Sarah had to go. Whether she understood it or not, she threatened us right down to our most fundamental, meretricious, elitist, sneering, snobbish, insecure, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders bones. She was, after all, a “normal” American, the kind of person (or so I’m told) you meet in flyover country. The kind that worries first about home and hearth and believes in things like motherhood and love of country the way it is, not the way she wants to remake it.

So, Fund writes, because she was so controversially “normal,” her critics relentlessly attacked her and paralyzed her in her role as Alaska governor. But the message they sent is not a good one, he says:

In helping to convince Sarah Palin that her road forward in national politics would demand even more sacrifices and pain than exacted from most politicians, the media did nothing to encourage women or people of modest means to participate in politics. By sidestepping her critics, Sarah Palin is now moving to another playing field where she has more control over the rules of the game. Her friends say her critics may call her a “quitter” now, but they should wait and see what new role she decides to fill. She may wind up having the last laugh.