The furor over the off-the-cuff remarks made by the former floor leader of Republicans in the United States Senate, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, continues even though he has been replaced by Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, who will became Senate Majority Leader when the 108th Congress convened this year. Lott's remarks, which were made at a party to celebrate the 100th birthday of former Senator Strom Thurmond (R-South Carolina), stated that "a lot of the problems we have today" could have been avoided had Thurmond been elected President of the United States on the States' Right (Dixiecrat) Party ticket in 1948. As is well known, that remark was interpreted as being an endorsement of de jure racial segregation, a practice that was once supported by Lott in his youth as a student at the University of Mississippi from 1959-1963.
Trent Lott will never be confused with a political philosopher. He is a thirty-third degree Mason who has cared principally about the acquisition and retention of political power as an end in of itself, which is why he groveled so much in the aftermath of his now infamous remarks. As is the case with many career politicians when they deliver extemporaneous remarks, Lott has been known to contradict himself in mid-sentence. People who lack core principles and who are the products of the ethos of Protestantism and Freemasonry regularly contradict the principle of non-contradiction. Living in a world of relativism and individualism, men such as Lott do not even remember what they have said on this or that occasion, giving rise to the contradictions, inconsistencies, and absurdities that flow forth so freely from their mouths. Thus, whatever Lott meant to say at the Strom Thurmond birthday party aside, the furor created by his remarks is a case-study in liberal hypocrisy and a career politician's inability to cave to the forces of political correctness in the face of withering criticism.
Lott's remarks did seem to indicate that the country would have been better off if a segregationist had been elected President fifty-four years ago. That may not have been his intent. However, it is not an unfair reading of what he said, especially in light of some of his previous comments over the years. To term, however, his remarks as "racist" and an outright endorsement of segregation, as many broadcast news reporters did so blithely, was unfair and unjust. Kaity Tong, the co-anchorwoman of the WB-11 News at Ten on WPIX-TV in New York, repeatedly called Lott's remarks "racist." Various reports on the CBS radio network newscasts termed Lott's comments as having been an overt endorsement of segregation. Such reporting was simply dishonest. The most that could be said honestly is that appeared to have endorsed a segregationist. The dishonest reporting, however, fueled the feeding frenzy that cost the incompetent, unthinking Lott his Senate leadership position.
Lott did not help his position any by appearing on Black Entertainment Television (BET) to claim that he was a born-again supporter of affirmative action. Yes, the man who once supported the injustice of racial segregation embraced another form of racial injustice, affirmative action, to curry favor with people whose support he could never win in a desperate effort to save his leadership post. As I noted in a piece in The Wanderer about nine years ago, there is no affirmative action program in Heaven. We are not judged by God at the moment of our Particular Judgments on the basis of our race or national origin or ethnicity. There are no "set aside" or quota programs in Heaven. Adultery is not less wrong for a person from a certain racial or ethnic group than for others. To make such distinctions in this life is thus unjust on its face, leading fallen men to develop resentments over the use of "reverse discrimination" to reward people who come from racial or ethnic groups who suffered at one time from unjust, invidious discrimination under cover of law. Lott's endorsement of the injustice of affirmative action cost him a great deal of support among his "conservative" supporters.
A desperate man who made an unfortunate remark at a party honoring his fellow Mason, Thurmond, found himself unable to deal with the firestorm generated thereby precisely because he believed ultimately in nothing other than his own political survival.
That having been noted, it is always interesting to note the hypocrisy of professional leftists. Lott made a stupid, unthinking, emotionally-charged remark. He did not refer to black Americans by the use of the "n" word, as had former Ku Klux Klansman, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd. He did not refer to "New York Jews as Hymies" or New York as "Hymietown" as had the Reverend Jesse Jackson in 1984. He did not use the phrase "white interloper" to refer to a Jewish merchant in Harlem as had the Reverend Alton Sharpton. He did not call for the extermination of the "colored race," as had Margaret Sanger. And as Joe Sobran noted astutely, Lott did not call for the separation of the races, as Abraham Lincoln believed would have been necessary after the War between the States and Malcolm X proclaimed in the early 1960s. There is a double-standard that exists for anyone deemed to be "right" of center. Thus, Lott fell, partly as a result of his own stupidity and desperation, partly as a result of the hypocrisy of his leftist critics. Lott's political execution was accomplished by the machinery of President George W. Bush's White House, which demonstrated an ability to work behind the scenes with the ruthless and efficiency unseen in Washington since the days of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, as a former Johnson aide Robert Strauss noted recently.
As unjust and evil as racial segregation under cove of law was in this country (one of many evils that have been sanctioned by American law), it is a lesser evil than the killing of innocent children under cover of law by means of abortion-on-demand, which has been practiced by various states since 1967 and in the nation-at-large since the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973. Roe v. Wade was simply the logical fruit of the large-scale social acceptance of contraception and of the Court's own decision overturning laws against contraception in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965. However, those who support the evil of contraception, which denies the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity of marital relations, and the evil of child-killing, which violates the binding precepts of the Fifth Commandment, are considered to be in the "mainstream" of American thought and practice. The consignment of an entire category of human beings to the status of nonpersons or property, who can be disposed of by the exercise of the choice of others to unspeakably cruel and unjust deaths, is considered to be a sign of one's sophistication, not of the barbarism it signifies in actual truth. Those who support this fundamental injustice are viewed as political heroes. Those who oppose it are viewed as being as "bigoted" against women as segregationists were against blacks. Only a few people, such as the American Life League's Judie Brown, have pointed out this particular hypocrisy on the part of professional leftists.
Trent Lott's replacement, Bill Frist, is no friend of the babies. Oh, he says he is "pro-life." However, Frist makes "exceptions" to the sanctity of innocent human life in the womb in the cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of a mother. In other words, as I keep reminding people, he is not pro-life, only less pro-abortion than those who support abortion without restrictions. No one who supports a single abortion is pro-life. The fact that Frist supports baby-killing in certain circumstances should be enough to alert authentically pro-life Americans that it will be business as usual in the United States Senate. That is, there will be no efforts to legislatively reverse the Food and Drug Administration's marketing of the human pesticide, RU-486, nor certainly any efforts to reverse the so-called "Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Bill," or funding for stem-cell research, or an unconditional ban on all partial-birth abortions, to say nothing of the funding for chemical abortions in this country and around the world. Frist is a pro-abort. Period.
As is usually the case, however, the so-called National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), which itself supports the slicing and dicing of little babies under cover of law when it is alleged that a mother's life is in danger and which takes no position against contraception, has termed incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist "pro-life." Frist has a 100% "pro-life" voting record on the very subjective, self-serving "scorecard" kept the NRLC's political action committee, which does not "score" those things (such as funding for family-planning programs or judicial confirmations) that might reflect negatively on its political clients. NRLC will thus deceive the average pro-lifer into thinking that Frist is a friend of the babies who will work as hard as he can "in light of the political realities" we face in a society that is "not yet ready to reverse" Roe v. Wade.
In actual point of fact, however, Frist is even more pro-abortion than is indicated by his support for legalized child-butchering in certain cases. He supports embryonic stem cell research. He supports so-called "family planning" programs here and around the world, consigning millions of fertilized babies to deaths by means of chemical poisons. And, most importantly, as Jeff Johnson of CNSNews.com has noted in a report dated December 20, 2002, Frist has a blind-trust in a not-for-profit hospital company that was founded by his late father and brother that kills babies every single day of its operation. Consider the following excerpt from that CNSNews.com report:
" 'Bill Frist is not pro-life,' said Judie Brown, president and co-founder of American Life League, whose members believe in the sanctity of 'innocent human life from fertilization to natural death; without compromise, without exception, without apology.'
" 'He's made all kinds of strange statements,' Brown said of Frist, 'and is a shareholder in a huge for-profit hospital company that does abortions.'
"She is referring to Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). The senator's late father, Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr., and brother, Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr., founded HCA in 1968. The company merged with Columbia Hospital Corporation in 1994 to become Columbia/HCA.
"Stephen Ally of the Timothy Plan, a pro-life, pro-family, biblically based mutual fund group, confirmed to CNSNews.com that the plan does not invest in Columbia/HCA stock, primarily because of the hospital chain's policy allowing abortions to be performed at its facilities. Columbia/HCA representatives have not responded to multiple press inquiries about the company's abortion policy.
"According to Senate records, Frist held a minimum of $5,000,001 in Columbia/HCA stock in a blind trust originated in December 2000 and just over $560,000 in 15 other companies.
"The amount of Columbia/HCA stock could be as high as $74,930,085, but is not specified because of the value range ($1,001 to $15,001) within which senators are allowed to classify their holdings.
"Terence Jeffrey, editor of Human Events, noted that, regardless of the dollar amount in question, the report indicates that 89 percent of Sen. Frist's stock holdings are in Columbia/HCA. He believes that fact forces other Republican senators to face what could be a politically uncomfortable question.
" 'If it is disqualifying for their Senate leader to make offensive remarks interpreted as endorsing an immoral policy that denied African-Americans equal rights,' Jeffrey asked in Friday's edition of the national conservative weekly newsmagazine, 'is it also disqualifying for their Senate leader to make money from a hospital chain that denies unborn babies the right to life?'
"The answer to that question, according to Brown, is an unwavering, 'Yes!'
" 'I'm horrified,' she said at the thought of Frist becoming Senate majority leader.'"
"His support of Clinton nominee, Dr. David Satcher, to the post of surgeon general also irritated many pro-life activists. Satcher was routinely criticized for his endorsement of the 'safe-sex' philosophy promoted by the Clinton administration."
As Patrick Delaney of the American Life League asked in an e-mail that included the CNSNews.com report, "When will pro-lifers realize that they are being played like fiddles by the Republican Party?"
Well, the answer to Mr. Delaney's question is simple: most pro-lifers, unfortunately, believe in the salvific nature of politics and in the Republican Party and its politicians as saviors who represent the only defense the babies have against the Democrats. This naive placement of blind faith in career politicians who have betrayed the cause of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate over and over again saves good people the angst of having to actually consider the reality that almost every single Republican politician is worse than their Democratic counterparts. Why? Well those who say they are pro-life while supporting baby-killing in some instances and while supporting anti-life candidates and policies give unthinking pro-life Americans a false sense of security, setting them up to vote for total pro-aborts in the Republican Party such as former City of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. After all, a Republican pro-abort is less evil than a Democrat pro-abort, right?
Well-intentioned efforts to "do something" about abortion are sometimes based in tragically flawed premises. A desperation to save the lives of the innocent preborn in their mothers' wombs leads a lot of pro-life activists and public officials to embrace policy measures that actually wind up further corrupting our law and our national discourse. Thus, many efforts to "limit" abortion are founded in legal concessions that women have the right to kill their children in certain circumstances and that third parties, such as grandparents, may give their consent to their minor children to murder their grandchildren.
Human law may never licitly permit the destruction of any innocent human life. Human law must be conformed in all instances to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. One of the ways that the pro-aborts pushed for the decriminalization of baby-killing in the 1960s was by citing the fact that many states permitted abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of a mother. Some states permitted only the latter "exception" while others permitted all three. The pro-aborts argued that the exceptions were really loopholes for the wealthy and for the famous to procure a "legal" abortion in a state that did not permit abortion-on-demand. Women who were rich enough to consult a physician and/or a psychologist to qualify for one of the "exceptions" could obtain an abortion without threat of arrest and under "safe" medical conditions. Why not make those "safe" medical conditions available to all women? Thus, the existence of "exceptions" in many states' pre-Roe abortion laws actually wound up giving us abortion-on-demand, first in California and Hawaii and California and New York and New Jersey before the decision of the United States Supreme Court on January 22, 1973, in the case of Roe v. Wade.
As I have noted on many other occasions, supporting legislation that includes "exceptions" to the sanctity of innocent human life is not only morally illicit. No, it is also prudentially stupid. Not one single life has ever been saved by any legislation that permits an "exception" to the primacy of the Divine positive law and the natural law. Not one. Do we really think that those who kill for a living are not low enough to lie in order to qualify a women for an "exception"? If one can kill with impunity, he can lie with more impunity.
That is why, for example, the partial-birth abortion ban that will be passed by Congress in the near future is tragically flawed. It contains a needless life of the mother exception (and it will probably have a health of the mother exception to pass muster with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor). Not one child will be saved by this flawed bill. It will make many pro-lifers feel good. Professional politicians will convince themselves that they have done all they can do in light of the circumstances that exist in our culture at present. Not one child, though, will be killed. Baby-killers will use the exceptions to their utmost. Failing that, however, they can always turn to the other methods of child-killing (the hysterotomy, the dilatation and evacuation, the saline solution abortion) in the later stages of pregnancy that will remain perfectly "legal" even after the "feel-good but do-nothing" conditional ban on partial birth abortions is passed by Congress and signed into law with great fanfare by President George Walker Bush next year.
The National Right to Life Committee has orchestrated the machinations with respect to the conditional ban on partial birth abortions from 1995 onward, resisting mightily all efforts to remove the needless life of the mother exception from that bill. It is also the National Right to Life Committee, which supports the killing of the preborn in cases where it is alleged that a mother's life is in danger and which does not oppose the chemical abortions induced by contraception, that is responsible for promoting "Parental Consent" laws at the state legislative levels. As horrible as the conditional ban on partial-birth abortions is, the parental consent laws are actually worse in that they use human positive law as the mechanism to concede that it is licit for a grandparent to consent to the murder of his grandchild. It is bad enough that needless exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life find their way into one "pro-life" bill after another both in Congress and in state legislatures (with almost no effort at all to educate legislators about the importance of being totally pro-life and thus seeking to push for solid no-exceptions legislation). It is tragically worse that good men and women, people who really do mean well, believe that the corruption of the law can produce good results.
No human being may licitly give his consent for another to be murdered. Parental consent laws, such as one pending now the state legislature in the Commonwealth of Virginia, are morally illicit. As noted earlier, they concede in law the right to consent to the murder of another. Advocates of such legislation believe that some lives may be saved by such laws, believing that parental suasion might be successful in convincing a minor girl not to have an abortion. As Judie Brown, the President of the American Life League noted to me, however, parental consent laws need to have a "judicial bypass" provision in order to pass constitutional muster. That is, the intent of the law to secure parental consent is vitiated if a girl believes that she absolutely wants to have an abortion despite being denied "consent" by her parents. All she has to do is to appear before a judge and plead her case. Lest we forget that it was a Virginia judge who consigned Hugh Finn to his death by starvation and dehydration in October of 1998, it is highly unlikely that any judge will turn down a girl's request to bypass her parents' refusal to consent to the murder of her child.
Additionally, there are instances in which parents actually convince their children to have an abortion. I speak from personal experience as one who has been involved in the pro-life movement from my early days as a college teacher of political science in the 1970s. I was informed by a student of mine in 1994 that she had killed the little baby in her womb. She is a Catholic who has been living with her boyfriend for five years. She told me that her parents, church-going Catholics, convinced her that "having an abortion was the right thing to do." Another student of mine, from St. John's University in New York nine years ago, killed her child after a Vincentian priest told her that 'abortion is a matter of personal conscience.' These are not isolated instances at all. Parental consent laws are two-edged swords that cut all too frequently against the babies they are intended to save.
Apart from their inherent illicitness, parental consent laws further corrupt the law by reducing the killing of a preborn child to the status of a mere "surgical procedure" for which parents of minor children can licitly provide consent. Pro-aborts have been trying to convince the world for the last forty years that abortion is simply a "surgical procedure" that is a part of a woman's non-reproductive "health." Abortion is no different than corrective heart surgery for an older woman or ear-piercing for a minor child. Abortion, however, is not a matter of surgery or a health to which a parent can (and in some cases must) give his consent to aid his minor child. Abortion involves the killing of a human being who belongs in the womb of his mother. Parental consent laws wind up ceding the pro-aborts' argument that abortion is just like any other form of surgery, which, of course, it is not.
The ends never justify the means, not even to save innocent human lives in the womb. Morally illicit means always wind up corrupting the law, clouding the truth, and further institutionalizing the very evils they are meant to retard. Always. Without exception, pun intended.
There is a general rule of thumb, my friends: if the National Right to Life Committee is behind some legislative proposal, it is usually full of moral and prudential flaws. Parents may be notified that their minor child is considering having an abortion, which provides them with the opportunity to counsel her against having one without having to consent to the murder of their grandchild. They cannot, as noted above, licitly give their consent. A Catholic has got to think and to act as a Catholic, which means he has to subordinate all human laws in all instances to the unchanging precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. To do otherwise is to cede ground to the Devil himself, who loves to use the horror of abortion to cloud people's judgment as they rush to do things that wind up giving more "rights" to more people to participate in the death of the preborn.
Mind you, this is not to condemn good people who want to do good in the legislative realm. However, it is to remind them that no good at all comes from that which is flies in the face of authentic justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate.
As I have said on a number of occasions, our salvation is in no political party. It is in the true Church created by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It will not be until we realize that we must restore the unity of Christendom and the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ that governmental systems will once again subordinate human law to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law in behalf of the common good. Contraception and abortion are the fruit of forces that rent apart Christendom and gave rise to the modern, secular, religious indifferentist state. We are not ending them, barring a miracle, without the hard apostolic work of planting the seeds for the conversion of men and their nations to the true Faith.
Invoking the intercession of Our Lady during this season after the Epiphany, may we come to realize that false friends are more dangerous than open enemies. May we come to realize that the exigencies of American electoral politics must fall to the demands of the little Child born us in poverty in Bethlehem to die in ignominy on the wood of the Holy Cross, a little Child Who is in solidarity with every child in every mother's womb without any condition or qualification whatsoever. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, pray for us
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.