Thursday, January 22, 2009

Presidential Promises

President Barack Obama has kept his promise to put an end to the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. Today he signed an executive order that the prison for terrorist combatants be closed within a year. Naive? Certainly. The men held at Gitmo are not nice fellas and no country in the world wants them. Perhaps we can put them into a job training program. Perhaps that can be established in Berkeley, California.

President Obama also promised Planned Parenthood that his first act as president would be to sign the "Freedom of Choice Act" which will put an end to all restrictions on abortion. It is a truly evil piece of legislation. At this point he has not kept his promise. His first act was to allow for the release of enemy terrorists. We must pray that God changes the heart of our President so that he will come to embrace the preciousness of life within the womb.

Here is a blog post from John Piper that I found quite appropriate:

On January 12, 2009 Samantha Heiges, age 23, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for drowning her newborn in Burnsville, Minnesota. If she had arranged for a doctor to kill the child a few weeks earlier she would be a free woman.

What are the differences between this child before and after birth that would justify it’s protection just after birth but not just before? There are none. This is why Abraham Lincoln’s reasoning about slavery is relevant in ways he could not foresee. He wrote:

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly? You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest; you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you. (“Fragments: On Slavery")

There are no morally relevant differences between white and black or between child-in-the-womb and child-outside-the-womb that would give a right to either to enslave or kill the other.

19 comments:

Nicholas said...

Todd, any thoughts on Gitmo in the wider context of the War on Terror? To me, it seems the disbanding of the prison there is a PR focused first step in showing others we mean to change. And by change I mean we will end the terrible torture and other questionable practices of the past few years. If we aren't leading by example then what are we doing?

Mike said...

not to mention suspense of habeas corpus...some of the detainees are American citizens.

Mike said...

meant to say "the suspension" of habeas corpus in previous comment...

T & K said...

Yes exactly! And let's send them home with a gift basket... Then they'll stop hating America because we're finally moving in the right direction and working so hard to make things right over here. Now I can see that they were only torturing and beheading their prisoners because they were following our poor example.

Todd Pruitt said...

Nicholas,

PR does not work with Islamists. They are already burning our new president in efigy in the Arab street. Being "nice" to them will only serve to embolden them. They killed our citizens in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Islamists attacked us during the presidencies of Carter and Clinton both of whom tried to appease them. President Clinton's innaction led to the 9/11 attacks.

I am unaware of any torture going on at Gitmo. I do know they were given Korans and allowed to keep their schedule of prayers. I also know they gained weight. Considering how they treat their enemies I DO consider this leading by examples.

As for the American citizens, I agree Mike. Let's not detain them. Treason calls for a firing squad.

Mike said...

Treason assumes they have been tried and found guilty...if they are guilty I am OK with your firing squad idea...otherwise we have suspended the rule of law....not a good thing.

Don't get me wrong...I don't think these guys detained at Gitmo are nice guys...I just want to see us follow the rule of law which is what makes America the great nation that she is...when we stop doing that we cease to be great.

Harley A. said...

When we stop the killing of babies at a "rule of law" in our nation, then perhaps I'll worry about supposed mistreatment of hardened Islamic war criminals. John McCain would have welcomed the "torture" these guys were receiving in his days at Hanoi Hilton... Give me a break !

Does anyone else see the incredible irony in President Obama's two "first acts" as our leader? Frightening.

Mike said...

...so as long as we allow abortion it is OK to suspend habeas corpus and defy the Geneva Convention? I guess I really have lost my way...

Tim said...

Calm down Mike... Remember that the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to prisoners of war apprehended fighting without a uniform (they're technically classified as spies and should also face a firing squad if found guilty). Your position on habeas corpus (although I think it's shaky constitutionally, SCOTUS doesn't) is your strongest position, and I'd stick with that. I think we can agree that if we are going to close down Gitmo, it should only be so that these people can finally stand before a military tribunal or be shipped back to the justice system of their home countries (where it is unlikely that they'll get better treatment - unless they're French). My primary fear is that they'll face less than justice (which seems to be a popular word among Christians these days). I salute you for standing for more issues than abortion, but we all have our pet issues. Try not to accuse an entire group of people of myopia when none of us see ALL of the issues. I'm pretty sure that we're all on the same side here. You haven't lost your way... yet.

Harley A. said...

To compare the Geneva Convention to God's moral law is a confusion of categories in the first place.

My primary point, and I may not have communicated it well, was the lunacy of the two ideas justaposed against each other. That is - closing a base out of concern for military prisoners' rights, while being a staunch proponent of abortion (which to his defense he's not yet acted on), which violates the rights of the most innocent among us. A little ironic...

Mike said...

Thanks Tim, I considered the SCOTUS approach to this discussion, but since it was SCOTUS that ruled on Roe I didn't think it would gain much ground here...

I don't buy the Bush-created "enemy combatant" legal category...let's call it what it is...it is slieght of hand to do what we want to do to skirt the U.S. legal system which, as you rightly pointed out, SCOTUS agrees with. I am OK with trials and even the death penalty...it must be fairly and justly administered however.

toothdoc said...

I'm with Mike on this one. Gitmo has always troubled me from the dichotomy of our "laws" not applying outside our borders. If there is an absolute right and wrong it applies absolutely, knowing no border. "All men are created equal. . .inalienable rights. . ." This applies to bad men, good men, born, unborn, friendly combatants, enemy combatants, etc. How can we as Christians take a stand for the rights of the unborn (who may grow up to be Tim Mcvays) and not stand for the rights of the born and lost?
I'm bored and not seeing patients today, so bring on the beatdown :)

Harley A. said...

Not sure I understand. I don’t think Christians are pro-torture and pro-unjust treatment of prisoners. I’m sure not.

I see no moral dichotomy in having wartime provisions. We aren’t saying our laws don’t apply outside our borders. We aren’t saying somehow, we have laws in our country but then it’s a free-for-all anarchy once you leave our borders. No, we establish different criteria for wars because they are outside the civil norm – that IS part of our law. And, to our government’s defense, we were presented with a highly unusual situation when we were attacked by shadows and ideology. We had no country declare war on us and I believe we were in an unprecedented situation – in fact, a perfect scenario for some irregularities to go on. We didn’t have a plan for a “war on terror”. And we did have some folks in the military that probably did some bad things – maybe even high ups. But to infer (or as many do outright proclaim) there was wide-spread policy of torture is just wrong and inflammatory. But that doesn’t stop CNN from putting a camera in the face of a semi-coherent person that probably couldn’t locate Iraq on a map to parrot how we need “change” because America tortures prisoners now. What’s sadder is that many who should know better lap it up. Obama’s move is a purely Machiavellian tip of the hat to his “change” groupees…

There, Rick, take that ! :)

Now, back to my wild-eyed fundamentalist anti-abortion ranting…

toothdoc said...

Harley, the issue is, as they say in the real estate biz, location. . .location. . .location.Gitmo was established because it is an American base outside of America's borders. I live 30 minutes from Fort Leavenworth, the debate is raging now on where the prisoners will be moved (likely here). You cannot believe that we are somehow more safe b/c a prison is out of the country versus on a military base in the middle of the country. The reason they built Gitmo was that they, by their own admission, could circumvent or selectively apply US laws. I agree this is a new battle against an unseen enemy. My point was that, in my experience, a number of Christians see no issues with mistreatment (whether it has occurred or not) in this issue.

Web chats are not the best way to discuss this b/c I am rereading it and realizing that I sound very liberal (I may actually be to the right of Limbaugh on most issues). . .sorry, kids are not letting me finish, I'll try to gather my thoughts and "rant" later.

ps Hey Todd, what other major social issue have we avoided on this blog? These discussions are fun.

Harley A. said...

"...so as long as we allow abortion it is OK to suspend habeas corpus and defy the Geneva Convention?"

While not right, it would be morally congruent and perfectly logical to do so. I wouldn't expect a nation that condones the killing of its own babies on a large scale to worry about following the Geneva convention.

I thought it was a pretty simple and logical observation...

I'll quit belaboring it now.

Alan Willcox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Pruitt said...

Alan,

If you think President Bush pandered to his base then you are mistaken. Conservatives like myself were and are very disappointed in the Bush presidency.

Also, you are overplaying your hand on President Obama's promise. I am not bearing false witness.

Alan Thomas said...

I'm not sure that true conservatives were his base. My personal opinion is that he was a panderer to thoughtless consumerism as much as anything else. (I still can't believe that his response to 9/11 was "go out and shop".)

Again, you're right on forceful language--see my post on the "These People Scare me" thread.

Todd Pruitt said...

Alan,

You are absolutely right.

I too was stunned by the post 9/11 response to which you refer and even made mention of it in a sermon.