October 31, 2014

“If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more”

From The Corner on National Review Online.

Sitting in an airport, on his way home to Michigan, Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, is chagrined. “They’re ignoring me,” he says, in a phone interview with National Review Online. “That’s their strategy now. The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care bill without us. At this point, there is no doubt that they’ve been able to peel off one or two of my twelve. And even if they don’t have the votes, it’s been made clear to us that they won’t insert our language on the abortion issue.”

According to Stupak, that group of twelve pro-life House Democrats — the “Stupak dozen” — has privately agreed for months to vote ‘no’ on the Senate’s health-care bill if federal funding for abortion is included in the final legislative language. Now, in the debate’s final hours, Stupak says the other eleven are coming under “enormous” political pressure from both the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). “I am a definite ‘no’ vote,” he says. “I didn’t cave. The others are having both of their arms twisted, and we’re all getting pounded by our traditional Democratic supporters, like unions.”

Stupak says he also doesn’t trust the “Slaughter solution,” a legislative maneuver being bandied about on Capitol Hill as a way to pass the Senate bill in the House without actually voting on it. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” he says. “I don’t have a warm-and-fuzzy feeling about what I’m hearing.”

Stupak notes that his negotiations with House Democratic leaders in recent days have been revealing. “I really believe that the Democratic leadership is simply unwilling to change its stance,” he says. “Their position says that women, especially those without means available, should have their abortions covered.” The arguments they have made to him in recent deliberations, he adds, “are a pretty sad commentary on the state of the Democratic party.”

What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

If Obamacare passes, Stupak says, it could signal the end of any meaningful role for pro-life Democrats within their own party. “It would be very, very hard for someone who is a right-to-life Democrat to run for office,” he says. “I won’t leave the party. I’m more comfortable here and still believe in a role within it for the right-to-life cause, but this bill will make being a pro-life Democrat much more difficult. They don’t even want to debate this issue. We’ll probably have to wait until the Republicans take back the majority to fix this.”

“Throughout this debate, even when the House leaders have acknowledged us, it’s always been in a backhanded way,” he laments. “I’m telling the others to hold firm, and we’ll meet next week, but I’m disappointed in my colleagues who said they’d be with us and now they’re not. It’s almost like some right-to-life members don’t want to be bothered. They just want this over.”

And the politics of the issue are pretty rough. “This has really reached an unhealthy stage,” Stupak says. “People are threatening ethics complaints on me. On the left, they’re really stepping it up. Every day, from Rachel Maddow to the Daily Kos, it keeps coming. Does it bother me? Sure. Does it change my position? No.”

UPDATE:

Congressman Stupak called NRO to clarify his comments. In recent conversations, he says that some Democratic members, not Democratic leaders, have been citing a Congressional Budget Office report that says his amendment will cost $500 million to implement over ten years. “I did not mean to infer that the leaders are using financial arguments to deny my amendment,” he says. “We have spoken about the CBO and my amendment’s costs, but the leadership has not said that it costs too much money. My point here was that if cost is becoming a concern about my amendment, then that should be addressed, since this is the sanctity of life we’re talking about. We can address those costs. Cost should not be a reason to deny my amendment.”

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    I’m afraid that the sovietization of America via health care “reform” is a done deal. Perhaps we should find ways to live off the grid.

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    When human life is measured only by its cost, then you know there are wider and very concerning implications about what such people believe and will do.

    Thugs in Washington
    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2010/03/15/thugs-in-washington/

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Chris, we’ve reached that point (passed it actually) which Tocqueville warned us, when democracies cease being republics and start degenerating into mobocracies. At the risk of sounding elitist, we should have never done away with poll taxes or property requirements as being criteria for voting. There are too many unproductive people who exercise the franchise and who’ve taken it upon themselves to line their own pockets from the treasury. Of course, this will come back to bite them when the new “healthcare” regime starts depleting their ranks through mandatory abortion and euthanasia. (Or effective euthanasia –being in healthcare myself, I can tell you that the increased waiting periods will result in additional deaths.)

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      Eliot Ryan says:

      … the increased waiting periods will result in additional deaths

      I am far more concerned about us being exposed to untested vaccines with unknown long term consequences, about institutionalized lie and official version of the facts. By now most of us have heard of “Climategate”. Now even the scientists lie too.

      The astonishing pro-death policy can go further. Not only the unborn and the elderly be at risk, but all of us. I would not find it surprising in the context of “moral equivalency between the value of human lives and those of animals”.

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        George and Eliot, This issue has bothered me for many years. Obama and most of the Democrats care nothing about protecting the life of unborn children; why would we trust them to protect and care for the lives and well-being of our elderly mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and grandfathers? If they are willing to so easily encourage, promote, and champion the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children (they wear their Pro-Abortion Policies as a Badge of Honor), then our property, our health, our freedoms, our liberties, our homes, our families, and our very lives mean nothing to monsters like that. That is the issue that truly scares me!

        We have allowed too many career politicians without a conscience to centralize enormous power and spread this evil for years on end. George you’re absolutely correct, we’re rapidly approaching the point of no return. If history is any guide, if we continue down this path, there’s some serious darkness about to descend on this once blessed land and people.

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          Eliot Ryan says:

          Chris, I wish I could say that you worry too much … but it is not the case. Your concerns are justified and we are indeed rapidly approaching the point of no return.

          Some of those supporting these aberrations will become themselves later victims of the system. It happened in the past. Some of the supporters of Communism became victims and only then they realized the injustices committed against their own people, against their own relatives.

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            Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

            This reminds me of what I read in Solzhenitsyn. He recounted how fellow prisoners were astonished that Communism imprisoned them even though they were committed Marxists. They thought their imprisonment was due to a clerical mistake and could not grasp that the system ate their own.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    All we can do is pray. And perhaps have a massive Tea Party that floods the halls of Congress barring anybody entry and hence aborting legislation?

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Saint Luke, Bishop of Simferopol and Crimea, the Blessed Surgeon

    As a physician he was Unmercenary and never asked for money treating all his patients with immense love. He shared his patients’ pain and anguish for he saw each person as an image of God, unique and unrepeatable.

    Without true compassion for people’s pain and suffering, medicine not only can’t be science, but becomes a shameless, bestial scam.

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    Kevin Allen says:

    Does it bother anyone else, that during the recent debate on the issue of healthcare in this country, with the exception of one hiererach signing the Manhattan Document (or whatever it is called), our hiererachs never said anything, even when abortion was an issue?

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      (Manhattan Declaration) Yes, it bothers me a lot. Some bishops could have said something, even in an interview. I don’t expect much from the GOA, they compromise routinely. The AOA, ROCOR, and OCA however, have not betrayed the moral tradition. Something could have been said. And it could have been measured, like the Catholic Bishops did.

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    Kevin Allen says:

    I am disappointed in us for being invisible – or AWOL – on one of the defining issues of our day (healthcare). We allowed the Catholics (once again) to speak for traditional “Christianity” in this country. Then we speak triumphalistically among ourselves – outside of public view! – about being the “true” traditional Church. I cannot imagine a Saint Basil or Saint John Chrysostom being silent about an issue of such import.

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      Eliot Ryan says:

      Does it bother anyone else that the Evolution which leads to atheism and leads to eugenics is still considered science and is being taught in schools? Eugenics led to the Holocaust, atheism led to the Communist Holocaust. Millions of Orthodox faithfuls were killed… while the Westerners lived comfortable lives. Would you stop blaming the Orthodox please? Let the Catholics do something …

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        Kevin Allen says:

        Eliot,

        I’m not connecting your dots at all. Sorry! I see no connection between your comment and my disappointment with the fact that we Orthodox are unengaged and AWOL on issues of the day, especially on healthcare, while claiming (rightly) to be “the one, holy…” etc. We have been making all sorts of excuses for our lack of engagement and leadership and moral courage and (no offense) yours is but one more of them. The facts you point to have no relevance I can see to my point. Blessed journey to Holy Pascha, though!

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      Geo Michalopulos says:

      Nor can I Kevin, nor can I.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    My point is that we are trying to cure some symptoms. The root of the problems is a more serious illness: atheism

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    Geo Michalopulos says:

    Eliot, you are right. However it’s bigger than evolution. It’s Darwinism, not evolution per se that led to this present morass. There were many pioneering evolutionists who were devout Christians (George Cuvier, Asa Gray, etc.) and deists (Alfred Russel Wallace) who believed in evolution or species-transformation over time. (Cuvier was the founder of paleontology, Wallace was the co-founder of natural selection.)

    Darwinism is the “magic bullet” which made it possible to be “an intellectually fulfilled atheist,” otherwise, atheism refutes itself if one is talking about biogenesis. Darwin supposedly found the magic bullet which reconciled atheism with biogenesis. It’s all coming apart now however.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    I would dispute many of the assumptions and historical interpretations presented by Eliot and George. (Gross over simplifications follow):

    1. Atheism did not lead to nihilism. The ascendence of ‘Christian’ humanism within the western confessions which includes various strains of deism led to nihilism. Nihilism is not a denial of God it is a hatred of God, i.e. the desire to kill God and replace Him with man. In the U.S. Ralph Waldo Emerson provided the intellectual force that came to permeate much of American letters. He sounds distrubingly like Nietzche did several decades later.

    2. Ultimately, such hatred of God leads to a self-hatred as well and the desire for self-destruction which we see all around us.

    3. The intial impluse of many the Darwinists was not relgion but to free the white male from the strictures of Christian sexual morality as well as to provide a base for keeping the ‘herd’ (women and non-whites) down.

    4. Such diminuation of humanity also fueled the excesses of the industrial revolution and the twisting of the stucture and purpose of the family. Politically it lead to statism particularly various strains of Fascism.

    5. Atheism was used as a prop, a means to the end. It is a symptom of a far deeper even more demonic destructiveness.

    6. The Church (however we define her) has, in her human incarnation, equivocated during this entire time primarily because of the desire of the human leaders of the Church to curry political favor, worldly power and wealth. (RC’s, Orthodox and Protestants are all equally convicted here IMO)

    7. We are the cause, our lack of dedication to Jesus Christ and our own unwillingness to engage in the struggle for holiness. We have all been AWOL. Except for a few examples who were largely unable to raise the rest of us to any consistent genuinely Christian effort in the public sphere, we have been derelict.

    8. The RCC’s dedication to public action stems, IMO, largely from the vestiages of its tremendous political and social authority as the inheritors of the Roman state in the midst of the barbarian invavsions and medieval feudalism. Their efforts are quite a mixed bag reflecting the confused anthroplogy bequeathed to them by the Augustinians and the Scholastics.

    9. The Protestant dedication to iconclasm and the individual relationship with Jesus Christ led to similar results

    10. Our experience of centuries of oppression by the Turks and the Soviets as well as by the humanism of the west drove us into what I feel is a false understanding of being not of this world and a concomitant over-emphasis on what are preceived to be monastic virtues. Withdrawal from the world and the Christian struggle in the world is not what we are called to. It can become a hatred of humanity ever bit as virulent as the humanistic nihilism of the west. If not, it becomes a kind of gentle despondency ruled by a false vision of a golden age of Orthodoxy that never existed.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Michael, I have no essential quarrell with your assessment. In my view, Atheism is the other side of the same coin as Nihilism. If there is no God (a theos) then there is nothing, because God fills all things, the unseen and the seen.

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        Michael Bauman says:

        George, simple non-belief (a theism) does not compel one to the destructive tryanny of mind and body that nihilist ideology does. Nihilism is that active attempt to replace God with iconoclastic humanity. It is anti-incarnational and full of satanic hatred.

        Of course they are related in spirit, but there is such a thing as “Christian” nihilism that is not atheistic at all. Satan after all knows the reakity of God more surely than we do.

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          Geo Michalopulos says:

          Michael my point is that those who call themselves atheists –if they are to take their argument to its logical conclusion–must become nihilists. Just as Darwinists have to give up the pretense of humanity and decorum. There is no evolutionary advantage in reasoned debate, civil discourse, courtesy, and so forth. If Darwinism were literally true, then we humans would be acting as the rest of the biosphere –red in tooth and claw. But we don’t, even in war we strive to abide by rules.

          Think of it: when did you last hear that your neighbor killed his neighbor, drove off his children away, then raped his wife so that she could bear his children? If Darwinism/atheism were true, we would be behaving this way constantly.

          I guess my point is that even most atheists aren’t really atheists in that they don’t live by the logical consequences of their belief system which by necessity leads to nihilism.

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            Michael Bauman says:

            George, that’s all true but I’m much more concerned about Christians who profess belief in God but really don’t believe at all. They harbor a
            hatred of God in their hearts. I think that is found amongst many of
            those who support the tragedy of abortion and/or homosexual unions, etc.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Withdrawal from the world and the Christian struggle in the world is not what we are called to. It can become a hatred of humanity ever bit as virulent as the humanistic nihilism of the west.

    I simply do not see it possible to compete with the power centers of atheism/nihilism : news media, the entertainment industry, and academia. There are “one-sided debates” such as “minorities rights”, “abortion rights”, global warming, the origin of life, and so on. The worlds of politics, science and academia not only crush debates on certain subjects but also crush the careers and reputations of people/professors who dare to question some theories.

    If not, it becomes a kind of gentle despondency ruled by a false vision of a golden age of Orthodoxy that never existed.

    I believe that we are at the point when only miracle-workers can influence and change people’s minds and hearts St.Seraphim of Sarov advised many: “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.”

    The Church [...] equivocated during this entire time primarily because of the desire of the human leaders of the Church to curry political favor, worldly power and wealth. (RC’s, Orthodox and Protestants are all equally convicted here IMO)

    I don’t think that RC’s, Orthodox and Protestants are all equally convicted. You probably meant the Western(ized) Orthodoxy. If we look at the history of Christianity there is an obvious difference between Orthodoxy and rest:
    The devil always attacks what is best and tries to destroy it, therefore his greatest enemy is Orthodoxy.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Eliot, you say:

    I simply do not see it possible to compete with the power centers of atheism/nihilism : news media, the entertainment industry, and academia. There are “one-sided debates” such as “minorities rights”, “abortion rights”, global warming, the origin of life, and so on. The worlds of politics, science and academia not only crush debates on certain subjects but also crush the careers and reputations of people/professors who dare to question some theories.

    The real victory has already been won. What is left for us is to particpate in the witness to that victory despite what the satanic influence is. In the fallen world that does often mean oppression, persecution and even death. That is nothing new, and in fact exactly what Jesus promised would happen to those who follow Him.

    Fr. Stephen Freeman has a relevant comment on his blog today

    When our leaders eschew the Cross and seek worldly power in its place we are all betrayed. When we do the same we do likewise. The Orthodox Church has not lived up to her calling to witness to the truth in this society. Certainly the blood and prayers of the Russian martyrs and the New martyrs are there strengthening us if we allow them to. That is Holy Tradition, not how many metanias we do or how often we say the Jesus Prayer. A holy life prepared to witness as Christ calls will include the Jesus Prayer and metanias to be sure, but not as a substitute for refusing to enter into the real stuggle in our own heart against the self-will and nilhism that infects each of us.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    I agree (I think) with most of what Michael wrote in post 10 above.

    The question we Orthodox have to ask ourselves is “Who are we?” and “What are we to do now?”

    “Who are we?” – If we are a communion of undisciplined hedonists with a thin veneer of Orthodox ethnicities with icons overlayed, then we are done. By and large that is what we are now in North America. If we follow the Church’s traditional teachings on morality and theology and there is a serious price to pay if we do not, to be exacted by those charged with oversight of the flocks (the bishops), then we have a future. I won’t mince words here, if there is no drift toward liberal attitudes in the Church (as measured by pre-20th century norms), then it would be impossible for our people (the Orthodox) to rationalize their bad behavior or remain in good standing with the Church. This will not happen in all of our jurisdictions at the same rate, if ever. Some will take this necessity more seriously than others. Those that do will gather the Spirit more quickly. Those that don’t will stagger sideways or lose ground or expire.

    “What are we to do now?” – Pray. Without ceasing.

    I have believed for some time now that the only way for the Orthodox to have a beneficial effect on ourselves (with God’s help) and the culture we live in is through focusing on personal and parish holiness. Without the grace of God in our personal lives and in our parish lives all our fussing and moaning about the decline of society amounts to pounding sand. Without a clear communal vision of where we need to go and to lead others, there is no real witness, just noise.

    Hopefully, as it has in the past, this movement will begin (I believe it already has) in the monasteries and among those committed to restoring a traditional Orthodox way of life. There will be much criticism of this. In fact, it will not be the non-Orthodox that are the most vocal opponents, it will be liberals and modernists within the Church. They simply do not want the Church to become what it once was. That vision is too “regressive” for them because they live with one foot or both feet in the spirit of the world. If you think about it for a moment though, and you have some appreciation of history, the difference between pre-twentieth century Christian values and the values that have taken hold in the Western world could not be more dramatic.

    Each of us faces a personal challege to focus on our own demons and weaknesses. The communal challenge, and it’s a tall order which enjoys nothing like majority support in the Church here yet, is to make our communal life traditional (in terms of orthopraxis) so that those who wish to be of the world simply can’t survive within it and those who wish to be of the spirit would not dream of trying to survive without it.

    “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

    Unfortunatly, there is going to have to be a battle within the Church over who we are and what we are to do.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      Scott, IMO those who really want to participate in the Holy Tradition rather than just reading about it will gravitate toward particular bishops across jurisdictional lines. Those bishops will be despised within their own jurisdictions more than likely or at least have tremendous pressures placed upon them to conform to the way of the world.

      Whether this will result in a schism of some sort or not I don’t know, but it could.

      If overt persecution comes, those who are are CINOs (Christians in name only) which I hope I am not, will have a decision to make.

      The more the secular elites take control and exercise power, the more likely a split between an official Church and an underground Church is.

      I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing BTW, just not pleasant.

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    Kevin Allen says:

    I too agree with much of what Michael in his ten points says, especially point number ten, an over-emphasis on what are preceived to be monastic virtues. There is a tradition – maybe someone would argue a “liberal” tradition within Orthodoxy – of social engagement and social action, IE Mother Maria Skotbsova, St Elizabeth the New Martyr. I am not a monk and I care about the poor, the homeless and the unborn. Should there not be an Orthodox Christian, incarnational response from our bishops and laity when social-political conditions (on the ground) are such that we see suffering or potential suffering being inflicted by practice or through legislation? The sad truth is: we are small and disunified and our voice is not heard. Does this matter? No – if one thinks of Orthodox Christianity exclusively or primarily in terms of monastic withdrawal, or contemplative practices or egghead intellectualism. Yes – if it is the Truth and if God loves the world He created and if we are His Church. We say we are the Church, but I wonder whether we really believe it?

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      Eliot Ryan says:

      The present social-political conditions are awfully complicated and did not occur over night. There should be an Orthodox Christian response… What can be done? How can we be effective? I really do not know. I did sign the Manhattan declaration …

      In such debates there is the ‘enlightened’ side and the ‘idiotic’ side (the religious).
      I used to be on the first one for quite a while. If anyone would express anything in opposition to my aspirations and ideals I would have regarded it as an intrusion into personal matters. I would remain polite but look at him/her with some disdain. Now I am totally on the other side and I do not consider it ‘idiotic’ anymore. The problem is with the other side but blaming won’t solve anything, on the contrary.

      My transition happened when I decided not to commit anymore a certain sin no matter what the cost is. The attack of the devil was frightening and I survived only through prayer. It takes strong determination to renounce old ways of living, worldly aspirations, etc. I am on this side, I was on the other side, and still I do not know how to convince anyone that we are correct. I do not know how to help someone to get over the “I don’t like what you say” or I am too lazy or to ignorant to pay proper attention to this matter. I would say it takes God’s mercy to turn a soul to Him in repentance.

Care to comment?

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