If you don’t care much for football, don’t even know who’s playing in the Super Bowl, or you’re just dreading what Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction will be tomorrow…this may be a good weekend to check out the newly-released film, Gimme Shelter*.
This isn’t just another run-of-the-mill pregnant teenager from a broken home who ends up on the streets movie. Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Agnes “Apple” Bailey, a young girl who is trying to break the cycle of poverty, abuse, welfare and addiction that has surrounded her for all of her 16 years. She is determined to change her family tree, right from the beginning, when we see her chopping off her long hair (probably in an effort to be as different from her mother as possible) and telling her drug-addicted, abusive mom (Rosario Dawson- also doing some excellent work here), “I’m done.”
The story follows her on her quest to find her birth father, whose only contact with her came in the form of a letter that he sent to her before she was born. Her father Tom, played by Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), is now a wealthy Wall Street guy living in New Jersey with his wife and two young children. They agree to help her, but when they find out she’s pregnant, they want her to end her pregnancy. Her father tells her to “turn the page” and put “this” behind her. When Apple refuses to do that, she ends up back out in the streets. However, even in this darkest of dark times, she prays to God for help.
As so often happens in real life, help doesn’t seem to come when or how we want it to, but it’s at this point in time that Apple meets a Catholic priest, Frank McCarthy (James Earl Jones), who reaches out to her with God’s love and truth from the Bible. At first, Apple is less than receptive to anything about God as she angrily asks Father McCarthy, “Where was God when I was being abused and suffering all those years?”
Without beating her over the head with it, Father McCarthy gives her the Good Book and tells her to “turn to page 72”. She does, and reads the words from Jeremiah 29: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
While these brief mentions of God and the Bible may be enough to turn off some people, the film is definitely not preachy. Just as Father McCarthy is non-assuming in his dealings with Apple, this film brings a very life-affirming and hopeful message without beating the audience over the head with it. Apple begins to learn to trust, and with Father McCarthy’s help, finds shelter in a home for young un-wed mothers and mothers-to-be. The shelter is run by Kathy Difiore (Ann Dowd), the woman on whose real-life story this movie is based. It’s here where she begins to face the truth about herself and her life through the bonds she develops with the other girls in the house. Even as she learns to live in a more stable setting, her old life keeps trying to drag her down as her junkie mother refuses to let her go.
There’s a lot going on in this film, and it’s extremely well-acted and directed. So many of the movies coming out of Hollywood take stories like this and wallow in victimhood, darkness and hopelessness— never showing that something good can still happen even in the worst situations. While Gimme Shelter doesn’t shy away from showing the grim hopelessness of a life on the streets or a life of growing up in chaos, it doesn’t stay there.
In fact, director Ron Krauss had a hard time getting this movie out. Krauss told National Review that he faced criticism from the Hollywood machine and tried for a year to get this movie in theaters. He said, “A lot of people in Hollywood actually went out of their way to make sure this movie would not come out. People tried to pay me off”.
Fortunately for us, the movie is out and it’s message of what love can do to change lives, hearts and futures is out there for anyone who wants to see it. If you’ve ever asked, “Where was God when____?”— this movie is for you.
But bring Kleenex…lots of it.
- This is an Amazon Affiliate Link
“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”-“A Plan for Peace” by Margaret Sanger published in Birth Control Review, April 1932
Forty-one years ago today, the Supreme Court decided the case of Roe v. Wade which gave women the right to end the lives of their unborn children. The legacy of that decision is 55 million lives that have gone un-lived. Since common sense and my faith tell me that the greatest resource any society has for survival is more people, this isn’t a happy anniversary.
The words above came from the founder of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the United States, which in fiscal year 2012 received $542 million from taxpayers. Using public funds to aid in the snuffing out of our posterity–who according to The Declaration of Independence, also have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”– makes as much sense as spending taxpayer funds to burn our food supply for fuel (ethanol).
But that’s the kind of “logic” and “compassion” you can expect from a progressive and the organization that was supposed to help poor women gain the knowledge and resources they needed to plan the size of their families in an effort to eliminate poverty, disease and other social ills. That sounds like a very noble idea, but if you go deeper into Sanger’s life and her other writings, you find something else. She was an elitist–definitely a complicated person who, while maybe not overtly endorsing eugenics, she had some twisted ideas on how to win people to her side in the contraceptive debate of her time. She was big on believing that overpopulation led to all of the world’s troubles. So, even as she claimed to be working for the welfare of women, she was also blaming them for all the problems because they were having too many kids.
She even proposed that Congress get more involved in controlling population—the progressives answer to everything! She thought it would be a good idea to appoint a “Parliament of Population” which would, among other things, give “the whole dysgenic population” the choice between segregation and sterilization.” Congress would put those choosing segregation on farms where they “would be taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives”. [Emphasis mine]
Who exactly would be “dysgenic”? In her own words:
“The first step would thus be to control the intake and output on morons, mental defectives, epileptics. The second step would be to take an inventory of the secondary group such as illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, dope-fiends; classify them in special departments under government medical protection and segregate on farms and open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.”
Margaret Sanger was much like the organization she founded. She worked for things that appear to be good, but there’s a thread of something sinister running through her mindset. Planned Parenthood, while it does provide some health care services for women, has a nice little “side business” in abortion that rakes in millions for them each year.
The frightening thing about Sanger and others like her is that her hit list, as described above could include lots of people. Who gets to decide who’s a moron or a mental defective? Could those with differing political or religious beliefs than those in power be defined that way? Progressives always use the word “moral” when making their arguments, as if they and they alone are capable of deciding who or what is or isn’t moral, and who should or shouldn’t be allowed to live as a free person. It was true then. It’s true now.
***UPDATE 5/13/13: Dr. Kermit Gosnell was found guilty today of 1st degree murder in 3 of the four deaths of infants at his clinic and is guilty of manslaughter in the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar. The jury spent 10 days deliberating the 258 total charges that he had against him, inlcuding charges of infanticide and racketeering.
***UPDATE 2: 5/15/13: To avoid a possible death sentence, Gosnell agreed to waive his right to an appeal and will serve the rest of his life in prison.
In January of 2011, I posted an article titled “Blood Money” where I wrote about Dr. Kermit Gosnell. He’s been on trial in Philadelphia for the past six weeks, accused of over-medicating a woman who came into his clinic for an abortion that resulted in her death, and for performing illegal abortions on 4 babies who were born alive and were past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit. He was originally charged with killing 7 children, but three of those charges were later dropped.
Witness after witness testified that Gosnell and others snipped the spinal cords of the children after they were born alive and had been breathing on their own, one as long as twenty minutes. Investigators described his clinic as a “house of horrors”, where patient files were stained with blood; the bodies and body parts of aborted babies were kept in containers (including jars, plastic milk jugs and bags) in freezers and on shelves; and flea-ridden cats roamed freely in areas where patients would be treated.
There were no nurses at Gosnell’s clinic, Women’s Medical Society, and no actual doctors other than Gosnell. Without supervision, untrained and unlicensed staff members (including a 15-year-old high school student!) routinely performed medical procedures and administered drugs to patients, most of whom were low income black women and immigrants. It’s interesting to note that Gosnell had a different set of rules for the few suburban white women who walked through the doors of his death house. The grand jury reported in those cases, Gosnell insisted that he be consulted at every step. When an employee asked him why, he said it was “the way of the world.” By the way, Gosnell himself is an African American. A former employee told the grand jury that Karnamaya Mongar, the immigrant from Nepal who died at the clinic, would have received the same treatment as the “rest of the Africans and Asians.” In other words, no doctor overseeing the medication she was given, the same filthy waiting areas and linens, and she wouldn’t have been led upstairs where the only clean room was as the white patients were. Also, the clinic had no working monitoring or resuscitation equipment, which could have made the difference between life and death for Mrs. Mongar.
All of this went on, even though multiple state and local agencies were aware of the substandard conditions. The local Planned Parenthood also knew, and in fact had been told by some of Gosnell’s former patients. What they decided to do was leave it to the women to report the incidents themselves. As a result, Gosnell’s business went on as usual for decades.
As a jury decides his fate, it’s frightening to realize that none of this may have ever become known had it not been for the raid federal agents conducted on his clinic in February 2010. The raid came about because of Gosnell’s other income stream his clinic provided to him: selling drugs. Gosnell was one of the top OxyContin prescribers in the state of Pennsylvania, his “day job” which went on in his absence when he would leave blank prescription pads (with his signature) for his non-medical staff to dispense to “patients” and their friends. He came in the evenings, often late at night, to perform abortions. He was a drug dealer by day and a baby killer by night. As long as the women could pay, they could have whatever they wanted– drugs, late-term abortions, under-age abortions—money is what mattered to him. Not the law, not the health of the women, and certainly not the babies.
I’d never heard this part of the story until I started reading the grand jury report for myself. It’s probably because what went on at night was so ghastly and heartbreaking that the details of his other grand money-making scheme seemed insignificant. The current trial is dealing only with his murder, infanticide and charges related to that part of his business.
If the jury decides Gosnell is guilty, he should go down in history as one of the biggest serial murderers of all time, particularly of Black children. It may never be known by us how many women and babies actually died there before it was shut down. From the grand jury report: “Over the years, there were hundreds of “snippings.” Sometimes, if Gosnell was unavailable, the “snipping” was done by one of his fake doctors, or even by one of the administrative staff. But all the employees of the Women’s Medical Society knew. Everyone there acted as if it wasn’t murder at all. Most of these acts cannot be prosecuted, because Gosnell destroyed the files.”
As Thomas Jefferson once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
CLICK HERE to read the Grand Jury report. WARNING: very disturbing and graphic; I had to stop reading it.
A few weeks back, we were introduced to the fictional character “Julia” by the Obama re-election campaign. In case you missed it, she’s out there on the internet (as are many conservative take-offs of the hapless Julia). She’s the girl who’s got it all, just so long as she has Big Daddy Government to help her at every stage of her life. The campaign ad follows Julia from her pre-school days to her golden years, and tells how great her life is because of Obama’s policies compared to what a wretched life she’d have under Mitt Romney. She’s a socialist’s Dream Girl, but like all socialist dreams, they turn into nightmares when exposed to the real world.
In reality, if Julia were born today, all of the government goodies promised to her and her family in the video will most likely be gone as long as the nation remains on a path of entitlement spending that can’t be maintained. Her generation will bear the brunt when, somewhere down the line, common sense makes a comeback and taxes must be raised and programs must be cut. The extra taxation being levied on future generations because of today’s spending will do nothing but lower Julia’s standard of living, taking away her freedom and her choices. If she can somehow manage, by the grace of God and her own hard work and determination to stay independent of the government for her basic living expenses, she’ll have less money to save for her own future.
When your personal wealth is confiscated to support an over-blown government, it takes away your choices to spend your money that you earned as you see fit. Julia may not be able to afford college, or she may have to postpone getting married or having children or buying a home- all of the things that contribute to building a successful and meaningful life.
But all of this may be a moot point because in Obama’s vision for America, Julia may not have a chance to live in the first place. He was, after all, the Illinois state senator who voted not once, but four times against a law that would have provided medical care to babies who survive an abortion. Obama is now the president who gladly accepted Planned Parenthood’s endorsement this week of his re-election. According to The Hill the Big Abortion Provider that is PP will dump $1.4 million dollars into a pro-Obama/ anti-Romney ad campaign that will target women in the swing states of Florida, Iowa and Virginia.
Obama accepts their endorsement in spite (or maybe because?) of the news that hit this week that an undercover sting operation at a Planned Parenthood in Austin, TX revealed that at least one staffer (who has since been fired) is OK with encouraging a woman to abort a child based on the sex of the child. The chilling video was shot by the pro-life group Live Action (watch it at livaction.org), and shows the woman explaining to the counselor that she’d like to be able to have a boy first, and wants to terminate the pregnancy if an ultrasound shows that she’s carrying a girl. The counselor then goes on to explain to her how she can do that. This is insane and frightening.
Sex-selective abortions are more common in countries like China and India, where sons are preferred to daughters, but the practice is spreading in the United States. At least 168 lawmakers in Congress felt it was becoming enough of a threat here to vote in favor of H.R. 3541 yesterday. However, The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) went down to defeat in the House of Representatives when 246 of their colleagues voted against it. The law would have imposed fines and prison terms on doctors who perform abortions for the sole purpose of controlling the gender of the child.
So, if Julia manages to make it to pre-school, she still better watch out. If the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, toddlers and older citizens just don’t fare well under the “Complete Lives System” that governs it. I’ve already written pretty extensively about that in early 2010 when Obamacare was still being debated. Check out my post “The Value of a Life- Part II”. …it’s interesting, but not good reading if you’re an insomniac.
Many churches across the nation today will recognize this day as Sanctity of Life Sunday as a way to acknowledge the 38th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the United States. Since January 22, 1973, more than 53 million lives have been cut short in the name of choice. I’m sure that back then, the liberal feminists were ecstatic with this decision, because many of them believed that now that abortion is legal, women would no longer die from being forced into unsafe “back-alley” procedures.
But they were wrong.
Consider the news that came out of Philadelphia just before this sad anniversary. Last week, a grand jury there charged Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, with murder in the deaths of seven babies, as well as the death of a woman who died after her abortion at his facility in West Philadelphia. His clinic, located in an impoverished area, caters to poor, immigrant and minority women.
Gosnell is accused of running what investigators are calling a “house of horrors”, that was overlooked for years by regulators. He allegedly delivered the seven children alive, then used scissors to sever their spinal cords to kill them. District Attorney Seth Williams said, “My comprehension of the English language can’t adequately describe the barbaric nature of Dr. Gosnell.” Investigators say hundreds of babies likely died in Gosnell’s clinic that he ran from 1979 to 2010.
The conditions in the clinic were anything but sanitary. Investigators say animals were allowed to roam freely inside, bloodstained furniture and blankets were scattered around, and disposable medical supplies were used repeatedly. What’s more, only Gosnell was a licensed medical professional. However, other staff members, including his wife, a cosmetologist, administered drugs to patients, and performed late-term abortions.
One of the murder charges against Gosnell involves a woman who came to the clinic seeking an abortion in 2009, and was given too much of the painkiller Demerol and other drugs.
For all his “hard work” over the years, the twisted doctor and his associates raked in quite a haul of cash. Authorities say the clinic took in between $10,000 and $15,000 a day.
It’s no secret that abortion is big business…or maybe it is. After hearing stories like the one above, I can’t help but wonder how many other Dr. Gosnells there are? How many other abortion mills are flying under the radar of regulators, earning big bucks on the backs of poor women and what would have been America’s future?
Where is the outrage coming from the National Organization of Women and immigrant and minority advocacy organizations about this? Where are the media pundits commenting on how “rhetoric” from NOW and the National Abortion Rights Action League created a climate of violence that caused Dr. Gosnell to do this? That is the kind of commentary we’ll never hear from our media. When it comes to the “evils” of Big Oil, Big Business, Big Pharmaceutical, etc., they’re more than happy to talk. But when the issue shifts to the industry that is Big Abortion, all we hear are crickets chirping.
You’d be hard-pressed to look around anymore and not find evidence of the de-valuing of human life. From the violent cop-killing video games kids play to the questionable fashion statements of college students wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the faces of murderous dictators, a culture obsessed with death and violence lurks in some of the most unexpected places.
In Part 1 of this post (scroll down to read), I wrote about how early-20th century progressives have influenced the thinking of many of today’s leaders—in politics, the media, and in academia. The issues of life—and death—are coming up more and more in public affairs, nowhere more so than in the health care debate.
Last summer, Sarah Palin was lampooned for suggesting that the health care bills (still under consideration) contained what could only be described as “death panels”. (see George Bernard Shaw promoting that very idea decades ago in Part 1).
As anyone who’s followed this has come to realize, she wasn’t so far off. When you know who’s been advising President Obama on health care, it all starts to make a lot of sense.
The Special Advisor for Health Policy, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, has been the person giving advice to the president on the complete over-haul of the US health care system. Note that Dr. Emanuel is un-elected and accountable to no one other than Obama, and he is also the brother of the very gangster-like Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff.
In a 2009 article from the British medical journal Lancet, Dr. Emanuel and others wrote about the possible ways that medical resources could be disbursed among the population (i.e. rationed) in the event that there is a shortage of something—vaccines, hospital beds, medical personnel…or money, for that matter.
They debate the pros and cons of various rationing methods, such as a lottery, sickest first, what saves the most lives, etc. But after determining that most of these are subject to corruption (what human endeavor isn’t?), they came up with what they call the “complete lives system”.
The complete lives system basically boils down to the chart above. It brings in elements of the other forms of rationing, but “prioritizes younger people who have not yet lived a complete life.” The bulk of health care resources would be given to those aged 15 or so until 40, when it begins to steadily decline. It drops off sharply after 60.
So, just to give an example, in the event of a crisis (and what isn’t a crisis to a politician?), an 80-year-old veteran could be denied care in favor of, say, a 25-year-old illegal alien, just because the younger person hasn’t had a chance yet to be 80, but the older person has already been 25. Therefore, they say, this is not age discrimination. According to the article, “because all people age, treating people of different ages differently does not mean that we are treating persons unequally.”
The very young fare no better. If you’re “off the chart” on the other end, Dr. Emanuel and friends are just as compassionate. Get a load of this quote from the Lancet article: “The death of a 20-year-old young woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects.”
I bet the parents of the 2-month-old girl would see things differently.
So, who would make these decisions? Probably not you and your family doctor. Hmmm…maybe a group of people…who work for the government…sort of a panel of people? Deciding who lives—and who dies?
No, never! Not in America, right? Only a crazy woman from Alaska and extremist Tea Partiers think that.
When President Obama spoke to a group of rabbis last year about health care, he told them, “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” The arrogance of that statement is frightening. In the New Testament, Jesus– and only Jesus– is referred to as the Author of Life. Only He should be deciding when it starts and ends.
We’re already going into this health care legislation with a shortage of money– everyone knows that. Also, there’s been a nursing shortage for years. Is it really so hard to believe that in years to come, under the complete lives system, some “compassionate” government-appointed counselor couldn’t persuade a young mother to forgo care for her special needs baby “for the greater good”? Or that an elderly person couldn’t be talked into taking a pill, rather than have a surgery that would improve their quality of life?
As Thomas Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Thirty-seven years ago, on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that all women had the right to end the lives of their unborn children, calling it “reproductive freedom”. The legacy of the decision Roe v. Wade is more than 50 million lives lost, with that figure growing larger by the day.
We’re now living in a time when people in the highest places of power have questionable ideas about life…where it starts, when and how it should end, and shockingly, who should be allowed to have it at all? In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama made some outrageous comments about abortion and how he sees the unborn. In referring to his two young daughters, he said, “I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But, if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”
Punished with a baby. People everywhere longing to be parents would beg to differ with you on that one, Mr. President. Did his mother ever feel as if she were punished with a baby? I hope not.
An even more worrisome example of this de-valuing of human life is found in the words of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Last summer, in an interview with the New York Times, she stated, “Frankly, I had thought that at the time when Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly, growth in populations that we don’t want too many of.” [emphasis mine]
What?!!! Who and where are the populations we don’t want too many of? Who gets to decide that? This is truly alarming! It’s a classic example of the progressive ideal that was popularized in the early part of the 20th century with eugenics-loving “forward thinking” people like Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. She didn’t think the poor, blacks or immigrants should be allowed to reproduce. (I guess she really didn’t believe in “reproductive rights” after all did she?). Then there’s British playwright George Bernard Shaw. Click here to see rare film footage of him explaining his sinister ideas about how to get rid of “undesirables” in society. Part 2 of this post will have more on this modern-day death culture that had it’s roots in the early progressive era.
How can there be no adverse effects to a nation that has gutted a generation of its own people?
Among those whose lives were terminated before birth, there may have been another statesman (or woman) like George Washington (could we ever use him now!); or someone with the intelligence of Albert Einstein, who may have discovered a cure for AIDS or other diseases for which there is still no known cure. There may have been one–or many– individuals with benevolent hearts like Mother Teresa’s.
How do you measure the value to a society of songs and books that will never be written, businesses that were never started, and dreams that never had a chance to see the light of day? We’ll never know what might have been.
Just a blob of tissue?