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Survivors All

Our culture reveres survivors … and rightly so! The stories of concentration camp and holocaust survivors so stir our emotions, we often see these stories turned into movies. The Diary of Anne Frank was produced multiple times. I’m surprised The Hiding Place (from 1975) hasn’t been remade. In 2014, Unbroken was produced and directed by actress Angelina Jolie who deemed the survivor story of Louis Zamperini compelling.

Cancer survivors have their unique stories. Sexual assault survivors reveal horrific tales of abuse and torture. Given the admiration we accord survivors today, marketers exploit our curiosity by producing numerous movies, games and television series with a survival theme. (I must confess my fascination with Alone, now in its third season on the History Channel.) Continue Reading →

Supreme Poetaster

Here’s a word that doesn’t get much use these days: Poetaster. One of the memorable ways to define this word – as well as to remember its pronunciation – is to take the word Poet, marry to it the last two syllables of disaster, and you have Poetaster.poetaster-n-s

A Poetaster is simply “an inferior poet, a writer of indifferent verse.” There’s some latitude in the word I think. A Poetaster might be someone who fancies himself (or herself) a fine poet because of a perceived ability to witness flowery and inane rhetoric flowing from his or her pen. By definition, what flows from a poetaster‘s pen is insipid, even foolish. Hence, my personal mnemonic, explained in the first paragraph. Continue Reading →

The Right to Define

UPDATE:  Yesterday (6/17/15) on the World Magazine website, Editor Marvin Olasky made a similar comparison to this post, also citing the quote below.

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” If you’re not familiar with this quote, you may find it to be an interesting statement. I have. (I’ll wait a bit before I tell you who said it.)Liberty

If ever this statement applied to our culture, I think it would be today. At first blush, the statement carries the veneer of ringing true. Liberty, one of the lofty concepts on which our country was founded, has become the cry of many … and seemingly understood only by the few. Continue Reading →

Better To Have A Millstone

In other countries around the world, “marriage” often looks remarkably different than the celebrations we have in America. In recent days, reports from the Middle East (specifically countries where ISIS continues to gain more ground) have revealed even prepubescent girls are being married off to adult men. Other girls are being sold into sexual slavery. Either way, the situation is dire.6.00658986000024

According to Zainab Bangura, a special representative to the UN general secretary, facts on the ground reveal the disturbing and inhumane treatment of young girls who are stripped naked, exposed to “virginity tests,” and many of them are sent to “slave auctions” after their villages have been attacked, and they’ve been subjected to the “killing their husbands, fathers and brothers.” Bangura speaks of one girl who was traded off 22 times to different men. Other girls are exposed to repeated rapes and subsequent surgeries to “restore” their virginity. Continue Reading →

A Woman’s Right to Know

One of my dear friends is serving her first term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This week, she presented a bill that addresses a 2001 Arkansas law entitled The Woman’s Right to Know Act of 2001. After some 14 years, it’s reasonable to think changes in the law are timely and appropriate.Ingraham

My friend’s efforts to advance this bill through both legislative chambers and deliver it to the Governor’s desk were noticed by radio talk host and syndicated columnist Laura Ingraham (see Tweet above) as well as The Washington Times. The bill asserts women who are considering abortion have a right to know and have informed consent about risks associated with abortion. Further, by increasing the waiting period from 24 to 48 hours, the bill provides a greater period of reflection for women to weigh the possible psychological and physical costs of an abortion. Continue Reading →

March For Life

An event that took place in our nation’s capitol today, the annual March for Life, attracts a huge crowd of marchers … but often fails to garner more than cursory attention from the nightly news. (Digital accounts usually offer some attention.) In the March for Life, people from around the country gather to mark the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Sanctity-of-Human-Life-MonthAbortion is an issue that tends to make people squirm … as it should. Some people consider abortion a “necessary evil” we must tolerate because of the number of unplanned pregnancies that occur; opponents of abortion maintain that unplanned pregnancies can be (and should be) addressed apart from destroying the precious, unique lives of unborn babies. Supporters of abortion uphold the procedure as an important choice – a woman’s sacred right to choose; opponents argue at least two individuals are involved in every abortion “choice” and the humanity of unborn babies is casually denied and ignored. Continue Reading →

Disperse! Ye Shades of Night

Variously characterized as an “English writer and philanthropist,” “a British playwright, abolitionist and philanthropist,” “an Evangelical philanthropist,” “an educator, writer and social reformer,” poet Hannah More’s name is one with which I was unfamiliar. A contemporary of John Newton and William Wilberforce (among others) and a woman who mingled with many of London’s literary elite, More lived from 1745 to 1833.

FierceConvictionsWith a recently released biography, author Karen Swallow Prior provides a portrait of Hannah More, a cultural figure who engaged her times and challenged the conventional norms of her time, including prevailing attitudes on slavery. The book is Fierce Convictions with the subtitle The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More:  Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist. Continue Reading →

Do Black Lives Matter?

One of the lead stories of this morning’s news was the monstrous traffic jam in Massachusetts I-93 caused by protesters, arms voluntarily inserted into sand- or concrete-filled barrels, positioned directly in the highway right-of-way reserved for vehicles. At least one report indicated the protesters wished to make a statement about “improving race relations” due to recent deaths perceived to have a racial component.

protesters2In the photo above, the white barrel includes this warning:  Caution. Moving barrel will cause injury and prevent disengagement. Of course, this message was a subtle warning for law enforcement, a means to coerce officials to take every precaution before resolving the traffic snarl … protect the protesters no matter the costs and delays.

The protester manifestos are available online, but I have no intention of providing any additional web hits they’d love to have, so I won’t link here. In a nutshell, their protests were designed to deliberately shut down the highways leading “from the predominantly white, wealthy suburbs” into Boston. Continue Reading →

GroupThink On Campus

At Oxford, no less! The story this week shows how discourse on college campuses has become utterly homogenized. It began when the Oxford Students For Life (OSFL) announced they planned to sponsor a traditional debate on the affirmative motion:  “This House Believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All.” Two individuals were scheduled to deliver their responses to this motion. Arguing in favor of the motion, historian Timothy Stanley is an author and blogger who writes for the UK Telegraph. Disputing the motion, Brendan O’Neill is a columnist and blogger who writes for the UK Spectator and edits Sp!ked, an online magazine.oxford debateThe debate was scheduled for Tuesday night, November 18th. When the chosen venue at Christ Church (the Blue Boar Lecture Theatre) withdrew its permission for the event and another venue could not be booked, the event was cancelled. If you want to read more about the controversy, these are some helpful links:  summary at BuzzFeed, the Oxford Students For Life website, a report detailing the “College Censors” vote to withdraw their permission, commentary by O’Neill after the event was cancelled, another summary from vox.com, and finally, links to the statements with which Stanley and O’Neill planned to present as their debate opened … if they hadn’t been banned from the public square.

I also want to include the blow-by-blow commentary of Executive Director of Right to Life Peter D. Williams, who carefully dismantles (with numerous additional links) the claims of those whose efforts successfully quashed this exercise of free speech. Continue Reading →

Rebranding Despicable

Lately, I’ve been wondering, when did it become okay to kill children? Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, I know at least 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States. Yes, they were “legal” based on the standard instituted through the Supreme Court’s Roe decision. Nevertheless, women who sought abortions used to drive to neighboring towns to obtain abortions; they didn’t stand on Main Street with signs and brag about having killed their unborn children.

4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram

4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram

A woman who had an abortion acknowledged there was a natural stigma about it, supposedly an admission that the procedure was the “only” choice rather than the “preferred” choice. Even politicians adopted the “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Why rare? Because of its moral component! Because having an abortion was thought to be a BAD choice (albeit in their minds a necessary choice, nonetheless)!

I haven’t heard the “safe, legal and rare” (SL&R) mantra in a long time. I think, in part, the phrase fell out of favor because there were those who recognized this specific phraseology carried a negative inference (specifically, the moral component) … and God forbid, any woman who has an abortion should feel shame (or moral condemnation) for taking the life of her unborn babe! Continue Reading →

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