Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 44th Inauguration

You watched it. You read about it. Thoughts?


Erin said...

I have been waiting to discuss the inauguration with some like-minded friends.

I have had a mixed reaction to this inauguration. Initially, I was too upset to want to watch any of it. All I could think of are all the advances the pro-life movement has made in the last few years going by the wayside with FOCA. The pro-abortion agenda that President Obama has seemingly promised to support in the past is so radical it can only be described as evil. Why then, I keep asking myself, is he so attractive and hopeful to so many people if he is truly the harbinger of evil? is it the nature of evil--it disguises itself in attractive and tempting things? Or is it me that is off-base? Maybe what I am scared of (i.e., three branches of unyielding pro-abortion government) isn't really that evil after all and I am the one blowing it out of proportion?

My mind keeps coming back to one idea-- will we, the ones standing up for the lives of unborn babies, one day be vindicated or justified by history the way the abolitionists were? Looking back, we now think of the abolitionists as the good guys, although in their day they were probably thought of as a bit crazy. Will the pro-lifers EVER be thought of as the good guys? the only ones sensible enough at the time to say "this is not right."? This question leads to two more: First, if history does jusify our efforts one day, will all the millions of people who are excited about President Obama and supporting him be thought of as the bad guys? If so, are we culpable if we are excited about his election and inauguration? Second, if history never ever justifies our efforts, does it matter? The true judge, we know, is God, not the historians.

Part of me is excited to watch what really is an historic event. I watched the swearing in and eve the Neighborhood Ball. I enjoyed seeing what the First Lady and the daughters were wearing. Am I bad for enjoying the moment, or am I bad for having so much resentment toward the moment? I keep wondering, were people this excited for Hitler? Not knowing what was actually in store for humanity under his reign? I don't think people now truly understand what is in store for humanity now.

I am trying to think of positive things that might come from President Obama's election. I am truly happy that our country can elect an african-american to the Presidency. I am happy that he is bringing hope and optimism to inner-city black children who have previously felt oppressed by the cycle of teenage pregnancy, absent fathers, crime and drugs as a normal way of life. I am optimistic that Obama can inspire others to achieve great things despite their circumstances.

President Obama spoke of freedom and justice for all in his inauguration speech. I am saddened that he does not include the unborn in that promise.

Anonymous said...

FOCA probably won't pass. I was also wondering what the lawyer mamas here thought about FOCA- read the text of the bill- I don't understand how it would do any/all of the things that the pro-life blogosphere says it will. Some of the claims seem ridiculous- like that FOCA would do away with doctor-only abortions. Or restrictions on minors (the bill says "women" which only applies to adults). The most ridiculous assertion I've heard is that "if FOCA passes, the law could easily be amended to require that women abort in cases of Down Syndrome or only have two children." Whoever started that accusation seems to think that amending a law doesn't require bicameralism and presentment. And besides, bearing children and bodily integrity (right to refuse medical treatment) are already fundamental rights protected under substantive due process.

I am pro-life, but I feel like the pro-life movement here has really overblown FOCA, which probably won't pass, and even if it does, won't be nearly so radical as everyone thinks. The biggest effect I think it would have would be to effectively maintain Roe as the status quo in the event it gets overturned. Which is totally unlikely to happen, BTW. And even so, the law might be unconstitutional because it is outside Congress's power to pass it (commerce clause, MAYBE, but not s5 of 14th Am power, there aren't enough findings and can't really define right; I am reminded of RFRA).

Any thoughts?

sophie said...

Erin's thoughts seem to echo many of mine. In addition, for me, I hear too much that people seem to be excited by him ONLY because he's the first African American pres. That seems sad to me. Isn't there more to a person than his race? Isn't there more important we should look for in an inspiring president?

I go back and forth on the viability of FOCA. If you look at roe v. wade, it too seems implausible that it would pass given what is laid out in the constitution. Lawyers for many years, even pro-abortion ones agree that it was a poor legal decision. Yet, there it is, legally putting to death millions of babies.

I don't yet have enough faith in our government leaders to say that they could never pass such a horrific piece of legislation as FOCA. I wish I did, I hope someday I can. But for now I don't. And I'm scared.

Merciful Father, we need miracles...

Joanne said...

My biggest worry about FOCA (well, not my biggest worry but one of my biggest) is the possibility that Catholic hospitals would have to have abortions done in them, and Catholic doctors and nurses and other medical professionals would have to perform abortions. Of course, Catholic hospitals would never do it and they would be forced to close down. However, my husband is an attorney and he said just this weekend that of course it would be tied up in court cases forever if the FOCA was passed because it would be unconstitutional to make a Catholic hospital perform an abortion, which the Church is so clearly against and has always been. The Church has rights, too.

So yes, I am not only nervous about the FOCA but about a country and a President that so badly wants such an act passed. It breaks my heart to think we are so wretched, as a people. In the state where I live, a mom was just charged with murdering her 14 year old Down's Syndrome daughter. With prenatal testing going up so much, and with the possibility of eradicating not Down's Syndrome, but PEOPLE with Down's Syndrome, I can't help but think it is related - if you tell people that their children are worth nothing, eventually they believe it. I don't blame the Pro Life movement for thinking or touting the worst that the FOCA could do, I consider it to be (somewhat) fair warning.

With regard to the President, I enjoyed and found the inauguration very moving. I am glad we have a black president, finally, and I'm sorry that it seems as if people ONLY like him because he is black but the fact is, it's long overdue. Things have been too uneven for too long in this country and I hope that the Obama presidency makes it better for all of us. As for his opinions on abortions, which I consider to be VERY ill formed, I pray daily that he has a conversion of heart. I am sending postcards and emails to my state representative and to my senators and to the President, letting him know that I hope they consider all Americans when they think about an act like the FOCA, including the unborn.

margaretjdmom said...

Regarding the inauguration, I think I am the only person in America who didn't watch it. I was just too busy and I never watch tv during the day. I didn't vote for him, but he's my President and I wish him well and pray for his conversion of heart on certain issues, especially abortion! My concern with Obama is that people think of him as some sort of a messiah and that he and the government are going to fix all of our problems. I am a less is more sort of person when it comes to government. I don't want America to look like Europe where they have super high tax rates (to subisidize day care and other things!!!). That being said, I am not for leaving the poor out in the cold either. It is a delicate balance. The fact of the matter is that our government is spending money hand over fist and there's still a lot of reform needed. Does anyone under 35 really think they are going to get social security? Our poor kids are going to be paying out the nose for the indiscretions of past congresses and presidents (Republicans and Democrats) who put off the hard decisions and prefer a band-aid approach to governance (i.e. a federal anti-dog fighting bill in the wake of the Michael Vick scandal- stuff like that the federal govt should just stay out of.)

Regarding FOCA, hate to say it but the fact that it wouldn't be constitutional certainly hasn't stopped congress before and won't do so now. I have read the text of the senate bill and from what I can tell it will essentially wipe out all restrictions on abortion. What's troubling too is the access angle- that's where doctors and hospitals will get into trouble- I fear for those physicians who don't want to perform abortions- they could be punished if a bill like this gets passed. I would like to think that Catholic hospitals can't be forced to do things like abortion, but look what has happened in Britain.

Anon, I have never heard of those outcomes you mentioned, but the ones I do know of are enough to scare me sufficiently. Text of the bill

Also, check out the USCCB on this issue.

margaretjdmom said...

oh, and on a totally non-intellectual front- am I the only one who didn't like Michelle's gown? It just didn't look right to me in the pictures online. I wasn't feeling it! Maybe I needed to be watching it on tv!!!

Right Said Red said...

Erin, I agree with your sentiments. My feelings are very similar.

Like Margaret, I also did not watch the Inauguration. I find our new President's stance on the life and family issues so depressing that I did not want to watch all the pomp and circumstance. From what I hear and read, it was quite a happening.

As for FOCA, Margaret, thanks for your response, I was going to type up a very similar comment. Anonymous, while some of the things you read and cited about FOCA are certainly exaggerations, the bill will codify Roe and wipe away hard fought-for abortion restrictions (such as parental consent, waiting periods, etc., restrictions on late term abortion procedures). There is also a fear that the mandates in FOCA will require all medical facilities performing obgyn services to provide abortion as a service. This is a major problem for Catholic Hospitals. The Catholic Bishops actually had a large meeting/conference regarding the impact of FOCA (so it must be pretty bad!) and I watched their thoughts on EWTN. Apparently, they are all very concerned that the passage of such a bill in that it could require the closing of Catholic Hospitals, or the removal of all OBGyn services from these facilities. What a sad fate for our country!

While there are things that could prevent such an extreme outcome ( the legislative process could amend the Bill, the courts could overturn it, etc.,) the bill as it stands is very scary, VERY pro-abortion, and very offensive to my faith.

In addition, an issue which Margaret failed to mention--the public funding of abortion. The whole gist of the Bill surrounds the right to abortion and access to abortion. Abortion is currently cheap and easy in every state, so I'm not exactly sure why we need to enshrine this situation in law, and then punish those who dissent (such as Catholic doctors, pharmacists, and others). Considering the dire financial situation in our nation, and the already serious discord in the political process, it seems a dumb waste of political clout and resources.

It saddens me that our President would be so supportive of this type of legislation. Abortion is already widely accessible, and cheap. I pray that he chooses to move away from Bills like FOCA, and instead focuses his energy on more unitive legislation. Just my prayer, but I'm very nervous.

Anonymous said...

But the bill only restricts state action, it has been well-established that Catholic hospitals, even those receiving federal funding, are not state actors (ie, receiving gov. funding does not make you a state actor).

Not that it isn't a terrible piece of legislation, because it is. But I don't understand how it would affect private hospitals.

Kerry said...

Erin, I also share many of your same sentiments.

The night before the Inaugeration, I started reading a book I got for Christmas- "Our Lady of Kibeho" by Immaculee Ilibagiza. Maybe some of you have read her other book, "Left to Tell".
This book is about the Vatican-approved Marian apparition site in Africa.
I thought, and suggested to my husband, that we pray to Our Lady of Kibeho for Obama's conversion, in especially his anti- lfe views.

What do you think?

Right Said Red said...

Catholic hospitals receive massive amounts of state funding, so without a specific exemption, they may be deemed a "state actor." For example, churches, when performing non religious services, are sometimes "state actors" and subject to the same requirements as state agencies.

MargaretJDMom said...

I agree with Red....with federal and state funding, Medicare, Medicaid etc. many a private hospital is infused with a lot of money from the feds. I think that's the huge concern. The other concern...(and I admit I am getting a little rusty on the law) is the sweeping statement of policy in the says and I quote "Statement of Policy- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman." Enshrining abortion as a fundamental right in law and having a provision that the state cannot discriminate against the exercise of said right will certainly open the floodgates against private actors. I think the crafters of this bill know that full well and that's why the language is the way it is.

Joanne said...

What kills me is that so many pro choice people talk about wanting abortion to be 'safe, rare, and legal' and then all discussion thereafter is more availability, less restriction, more availability and funding, less discussion, on and on with NO indication that anyone wants it to be rare. It's very disheartening but I am writing to my representatives and to our president and God willing, it won't be brought up and it won't pass if it is.

Un Corazon in Tampa said...

We seem to forget that the government can refuse the money but there
is something else we forget.

We forget that every time we sent labor or have things or buy things made overseas, we give money to those countries to give women abortions.

We do not control and have not controlled everything.

China is one example. They do abortions. Much of the money that we send over there comes via what we buy is because everything is made in China. We are very naive to believe that they do not matter. The Chinese government uses whatever money we send over there to do abortions. The so-called pro-life administration was not really pro-life.

We cannot ignore this.

Kat said...

Here is how FOCA defines "viability":

(3) VIABILITY- The term `viability' means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.

There was a recent study published that reiterated the importance of women carrying their babies to 39 weeks or beyond, if at all possible, for the sake of the child's short and long-term health. The purpose of the article was to discourage the early scheduled C-sections that have become so commonplace in the United States. Of course, there are babies born at 22 weeks who, with extensive medical support, survive and eventually thrive. However, I doubt that a doctor would place the age of "viability", if defined as the ability of the baby to survive independently outside the womb, at 22 weeks, right? Given these facts, I cannot imagine that most Americans would support FOCA.

Juris Mater said...

Thank you all for putting the same conflicted thoughts and impressions that I had into words so helpfully. I hope you will all keep posting and discussing this, because it's really helping me to make sense of the whole thing.

Kerry, thank you for the great suggestion of praying to Our Lady of Kibeho. I'm going to start tonight. "Left to Tell" was an incredibly powerful book... I'm still digesting it 6 months later.

JesusThroughMary said...

For the record, this was the 56th Presidential inauguration. (The oath of office has actually been taken 68 times due to 8 deaths in office, 1 resignation, and 3 presidents taking the oath twice - including Obama - due to the first oath being taken incorrectly.)

As far as my thoughts on the inauguration, I am just glad that it's finally over, so that maybe people will finally realize that he can't possibly do everything he's promised to do, that he's a mere mortal and is constrained by the rule of law, by the realities of the global economic and political systems, and by the laws of nature. As far as FOCA, I still consider it a pipe dream for the crazies on the left. It's never gotten out of committee, much less through the full House and Senate. Of course, we need to storm Heaven and fight like Hell if we want to keep it that way, which means we need to take back the House. This country is not as pro-choice as they voted, they just didn't vote on that issue. If people vote on moral issues, morality wins. When the electorate is informed, they make the right decision - Obama won because he was able to garner an unprecedented number of uninformed votes. Our job in the next two years will be to inform those voters and take them out of the Democratic column.

Jennifer in MN said...

I wasn't going to watch, but broke down and watched on line (we don't have any tv signal/cable at our house). I knew the kids would watch at school (Catholic) and I wanted to be able to discuss it with them. I'm also glad it's all over and life can move on. The "cult of personality" around Obama is just disturbing. I wonder what's going to happen when people realize that he can't possibly do everything he's promised. I keep praying for a change of heart regarding his abortion stance. That's all we can do.

moira said...

I'm not at all excited about his pro-choice views, either, but the guy is really impressive. He has a very brilliant mind and a very strong commitment to his job, not to mention a truly exceptional work ethic. Just watch, this guy will NOT be vacationing when he should be working. He takes his duties very seriously, and his inaugural address (which he wrote himself, unlike many, many others) proved it once again.
Let's wait and see what he does. I truly believe that if his heart is changed on issues, it will be clearly reflected in his work. Let's pray, pray, pray for that.

Elena said...

Check out your new government's updates to the White House website.
Scary stuff.
(Oh, and yeah, I didn't like Michelle's white gown.)

cyrina said...

Just to be nit-picky. Did anyone catch in the beginning of his address where he said now 44 Americans have taken the sacred oath of office? 'Cause it's wrong, only 43 have. Grover Cleveland was President twice, one of the Harrisons was in between his two presidencies. William Henry, I think, who died 30 days into his presidency. Of course now I'm just being obsessive.

B-Mama said...

I have yet to chime in, mainly because the Obama phenomenon has been such a tough one to navigate as a committed Catholic Christian. I did not vote for him, but believe that I must hold him in high esteem as my president. I do not agree with him on many fronts, yet as Moira said above, I find him to be a very intelligent, dedicated, and an extremely admirable human being.

I do have hope in tomorrow. I believe God's will is at work. And I don't think Obama is going to be the end of us.

I am glad he appears to love his wife and family. I am glad he still appears humble, despite the hype. I am glad that he has put a freeze on salaries of those highest paid. He seems to have a relatively level head...

But most of all, I will continue to pray for his conversion of opinion on life issues.

Amy said...

I think I am most worried for the people who have this new found hope. What happens when he can not fulfill all of the hopes and dreams of the majority of his voters? What happens when he increases taxes? Yes, the lower class (which I am one) may not see any change, or may even get a little more in my paycheck. But the company I work for has to pay more, therefore cutting jobs? Maybe mine? What happens if he can not pull the troops out of Iraq in the timetable he has stated because it would leave too much instability in the region? How will people feel? Even more let down, even more frustrated, even more angry. It saddens me that so many people are looking to our new president to "solve" their problems.

As far as FOCA goes, it makes me sick to my stomach. I can not state it any other way. I teach NFP, and I have seen how life (whether planned or unplanned) can change a person in such a postive, wonderful way. I am praying that our president will reconsider his position on abortion. It will take God's intervention.

Un Corazon in Tampa said...

REali ty check :

the FOCA was already cy going on in other countries.

Our policy is such that every
time we go shopping and buy stuff
from other countries like China, a pro abort country -- we giv
them money to handle their anti life agenda. Most stuff at places like Walmart comes from China. When we spend it, it goes to the Chinese government = they spend it on abortion. They don't need our FOCA.

They have had it all along. Look
at the big picture. Argueing about this moot.

JesusThroughMary said...

Cyrina -

You're a woman after my own heart. I actually yelled at the TV (the first of many times during the speech) when he said that 44 men had taken the oath of office. Isn't that on the naturalization exam? And yet the President doesn't know it? Maybe he isn't a natural-born citizen after all.... (j/k)

Juris Mater said...

It cracks me up how Obama hasn't yet figured out how to "look presidential" and smile at the same time. But he's got four years to learn, God help us all.