The Greatest Scandal in American Orthodoxy

After seeing an article about the clash over abortion between US Rep. Patrick Kennedy and his diocesan bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI, I decided to look into the voting records of the one senator and five representatives who are members of the Orthodox Church. The results are not surprising, but equally as shameful. I almost don’t know where to start.

The teaching of the Orthodox Church concerning abortion is just as clear and just the same as the teaching of the Catholic Church. It doesn’t matter that it is an issue the Ecumenical Patriarch skirts around, perhaps because it takes away from his main job of opening evironmentalist conferences and exhibitions. And just like the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church has members who have been elected to public office and act in direct opposition to the Orthodox Christian faith. It is not a matter of what they do in their private lives, for which they should go to confession and after which their priest should happily partake with them of the most precious body and blood.

Rather, it is a matter of what they lead their country to do. They have chosen to take a public stand against the teaching of the Church. They have appropriated the public purse for the killing of unborn children. They have otherwise refused to protect the unborn and directly facilitated those who would kill them.

It is the duty of the diocesan bishops of those members of the Orthodox Church who openly and knowingly pay for, or otherwise facilitate, the killing of the unborn to excommunicate those persons. Any bishop who knows what a Congressperson who claims to be under their spiritual authority is doing in this regard is failing in their responsibilities if they to otherwise.

Any Orthodox bishop, including the Ecumenical Patriarch, who praises or elevates such a person in the Church should be causing a scandal far worse than the misappropriation of funds in the OCA, or a drunk Antiochian touching up girl in a casino. Every clergy and every lay person of such a diocese who cares about the integrity of the Orthodox Church should be writing to their bishop.

I already knew the views of Olympia Snowe. She has been one of the most social liberal Republican members of Congress since she entered the US House in 1979. She has been in the Senate since 1995. She has consistently voted against the unborn. Has Metropolitan Methodius of Boston spoken out against her? No.

Pro-abortion senator and archon of the Orthodox Church, as conferred by Black Bart himself, Paul Sarbanes may be out of the upper chamber, but now his son John represents Maryland’s 3rd district. Equally as pro-abortion, this year Rep. Sarbanes has voted to fund the State Department under Hilary Clinton to promote abortion projects throughout the world, fund abortions in the District of Columbia, fund Planned Parenthood to provide abortions, and to provide federal subsidies to insurance companies to pay for abortions. Has Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey taken a stand against him? No.

Rep. Zach Space of 18th District in Ohio may be a Blue Dog Democrat, but he voted with Sarbanes on all but the last of the four legislative measures mentioned above. He also voted with Sarbanes for the DeGette clone-and-kill bill, and the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, among others. I’d like to hear something from Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit on this. If you hear anything, let me know.

Rep. Niki Tsongas is the widow pro-abortion Sen. Paul Tsongas and has been elected serve the 5th district of Massachusetts. She has also voted against unborn life 100% of the time. Still nothing from Metropolitan Methodius…

The Greek do not have a monopoly on Orthodox representation in Congress. The Serbs have Melissa Bean of Chicago in Illinois’ 8th district. Bean actually lives in the adjoining 10th district, but it’s all the same for our purposes. She has also voted against the unborn 100% of the time. Bishop Longin of the Diocese of New Gracanica – Midwestern America needs to say something and do something.

The one that stands out the most as a bad example of Orthodoxy on Capitol Hill has to be Alice Costandina “Dina” Titus, from the 3rd District of Nevada. Not only had she voted against the unborn 100% of the time like the others, she makes the strongest public claim to Orthodoxy. On the home page of her website, she boldly declares “Congresswoman Dina Titus Sworn-In on Grandfather’s Greek Bible” (if it has moved from the home page by the time you read this, try this direct link to the article).  The article, written by Andrew Manatos, notes “Congresswoman Dina Titus’ rise to national prominence is a story that will make all Hellenes and Orthodox Christians proud.” Clearly for Manatos, like so many Greeks, Hellenic culture and background and Orthodoxy are the same. And clearly for Manatos and for Congresswoman Titus, the important thing about being Orthodox is being Greek, not adhering to the unchanging teaching of the Church, particularly about the sanctity of life.

Let me make this clear: Dina Titus’ rise to national prominence is a story that should make all Orthodox Christians, Hellenic or not, ashamed. Has Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco denounced Congresswoman Titus’ votes to fund the killing of the unborn?

There is one Orthodox member of Congress who has not sacrificed the children of America to Moloch. Gus Bilirakis repesents the 9th district of Florida. He has a 100% pro-life voting record. Whether his votes have been guided by his Orthodoxy or by his adherence to the Republican Party and conservativism, I don’t know.

As for the others, I think every American Orthodox Christian who adheres to the teaching of the Orthodox Church has a responsibility to write to every Orthodox Congressperson who votes in opposition to Orthodoxy and call them to account. Likewise, they should write to every Orthodox hierarch who has refused to demand the protection of the unborn and refused to excommunicate those who lead the nation in opposition to the moral teaching of the Orthodox Church and call them to account.

If the Orthodox hierarchy will not stand up, the Orthodox laity must stand up. I’m not so naïve to imagine that either the Congresspersons or the hierarchs will actually listen. The Congresspeople have shown that their loyalty lies with their political party and the hierarchs have shown that their loyality lies with their ethnicity. No matter. Orthodoxy doesn’t change because of either. The unborn are being murdered in their thousands every day and the faithful need to declare to those who are complicit in these murders: You do not speak for me! You do not represent the Holy Orthodox Church, the Holy Tradition and it’s unchanging inerrant understanding of the Holy Scriptures.

I think every Congressperson should be free to vote their conscience. If that conscience says the teaching of the Orthodox Church through the Holy Scriptures is wrong, then they should leave the Orthodox Church. They should excommunicate themselves and go be Episcopalians or whatever semblance of Christian form suits them.

Bill Clinton’s Biological Ignorance

I saw this on the Mere Comments blog. I clicked on the link thinking surely this can’t be true. Surely Bill Clinton knows what an embryo is. Surely someone is capitalising on a slip of the tongue. Nope. Bill Clinton is against using embyros if they have been fertilised and could become a baby. He says it more than once.

You gotta see this.

I have to agree with Bill Clinton. Experimentation on unfertilised embryos is perfectly fine by me.

Obama’s Deadly Confusion or Diabolical Deceit

It is hard to believe that President Obama hasn’t made the connection between science and theology. He’s either not so bright or ever so dishonest. First of all, he calls it difference between facts and ideology. It is nothing of the sort.

I’m sure all readers have seen the video clip of Obama signing the executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for killing embryonic humans. Here’s what he said: “As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.”

Here’s what he means: “As a person who wants to claim to be a Christian while offending no one, especially my liberal constituency, I believe we are called to care for those humans whose lives do not offend the abortion rights lobby and work to ease the suffering of a select group of humans at the expense of the lives of others. I believe we have been given this capacity by a Generic Non-judgmental Supreme Being, and the ability to choose our will to pursue this research — and the inhumanity and lack of conscience to think we can take innocent lives responsibly and call it science.”

So what drives Obama? It appears that the US can’t afford to let scientists in other countries get ahead of research in the US. Why? The only thing I can think of is that all of this federal funding will go to creating treatments  that will then make millions and millions of dollars for the health care industry. As Obama said, “When government fails to make these investments, opportunities are missed. Promising avenues go unexplored. Some of our best scientists leave for other countries that will sponsor their work. And those countries may surge ahead of ours in the advances that transform our lives. No, we can’t let other countries transform people’s lives!

And why shouldn’t it be us? “But in recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values.” That’s right if scientists say they are doing something based on facts, then there can be nothing wrong with it. It’s the fact, ma’am, just the facts.

So how can Obama then flip around and say “We cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse. And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.” So killing humans is not profoundly wrong and has a place in our society. And how, exactly is Obama going to guarantee the government never opens the door to human reproductive cloning?

After all, he has just opened the door to non-reproductive (in other words, embryonic experimental) cloning. Where is the ethical distinction that reproductive cloning is profoundly wrong yet killing embyronic human life is not? What if scientists decide that there is either great research value in a birthed clone or that even greater life-enhancing suffering-easing advancements will be accomplished this way? If those are the scientific facts, what right has ideology or theology to stand in the way?

Joe Biden’s Disabled Thinking

I’ve been quite busy with work, so I haven’t had a chance to write anything the last couple of days. I had ideas about which subjects to broach, but having just seen this story, I know now what I want to say.

At a campaign stop in Columbia, Missouri, Joe Biden said: “I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy … and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well, guess what, folks? If you care about it, why don’t you support stem cell research?”

This was clearly aimed at Sarah Palin, because John McCain supports stem cell research. I don’t agree with him, and neither does Sarah, but he does. But it exposes Biden’s attempt to appeal to emotion without any regard for logic or reason. Biden assumes that to care about children with birth defects, it is necessary to choose doing something about them as the ultimate moral action, trumping all others.

Biden is saying that if you really care about birth defects, you cannot believe that the human life of the embryo is sacred. Only people who believe in the disposability of embryonic life can call themselves caring.

Biden also ignores the fact that stem cell research will do nothing for those parents who already have a child born with a birth defect. It will not ease their difficulty one bit. So why would someone who is going to “work in dealing with parents who have both the joy … and the difficulty of raising a child” with birth defects have to support stem cell research? Biden is only playing on the ignorance of his audience.

And Sarah Palin does not opposed stem cell research. She only opposes embryonic research. There is a lot of research that is ongoing using the stem cells of adults. After all, we all produce stem cells. Why doesn’t Biden mention that?

Is this the best attack he can make – to combine logical fallacies and factual errors? Is this what Sarah Palin is up against?

I thought Joe Biden might put some substance to Obama’s empty platitudes. I thought we might see something more than smoke and mirrors- something more than unsupportable policies built on the sandy foundation of emotional appeal and the politics of envy. Is it really any surprise that the Republican ticket is moving ahead in the polls?

Culture of Death is Alive and Well

Well, the great debate is over. I’m sure there have already been plenty of post-vote post mortems in the blogosphere, though I have trawled through to read them. Between marking exams and getting ready for the arrival of the grandparents, I haven’t had the time.

The culture of death is alive and well in Britain. We will continue to have some of the most liberal laws in Europe and babies will continue to die at a rate exceeding 500 per day. There has been no change to 24-week social abortion limit. Supporters tried to play this down by emphasising that only 1.5% of abortions occur between 20 and 24 weeks, Of course if you do the math, that’s over 3000 babies chopped up and pulled out of wombs each year. That’s more than eight per day. It’s also an increase of 44% over the last ten years. For those aged over 17 weeks, and there were 7,123 abortions, or more than 19 per day. Those children were also removed one amputated part at a time.

And speaking of eight, that’s the highest number of previous abortions recorded. In other words, in the statistics available, they only note individuals (we can’t really call them mothers, can we?) who have had eight or more previous abortions. This number obviously continues to increase. The 2006 figures – the latest available – show that 54 women had procured at least eight abortions. There were 65 who had six abortions before they were 30 years old.

Then the numbers get really scary. In just the year 2006, 1300 women had their what was at least their fifth termination. More than 3,800 were on their fourth and nearly 15,000 were killing their third child. I suppose it is some comfort that of those achieving a hat trick, only 82 of those were under 18.

Most all of this is at taxpayer expense. Don’t be fooled by hearing that less than 25% are carried out by the NHS. A further 67% take place in private clinics that are funded by the NHS. That’s 92% in total.

As for the rest of the legislation, MP voted for human-animal hybrids, against children of IVF needing a father, and for the production of children as saviour siblings.

Muscular Christianity

I just saw Dr Evan Harris, MP – key proponent of hybrids, embryo testing, and abortion – on BBC News The Record. He was discussing the upcoming legislation.

“I’m actually relieved that we’re not in the American situation, where I think there’s disproportionate influence in my view of white, extreme right-wing, muscular, evangelical Christianity.”

Dr Harris works better in an environment where the Church isn’t so strong.

Life and Death

According to the Daily Telegraph, Prime Minsiter Gordon Brown has been warned by his whips that his opposition to reducing the abortion gestational time limit is likely to fail. The mood of the House is to bring the limit down. With nine time-limit amendments tabled, the most likely compromise appears to be a fortnightly reduction to 22 weeks. I think 20 weeks should be a reasonable adjustment to even the most die hard pro-death supporter, but it would seem that even that extra two weeks will be too much for some to stomach.

The son of a Church of Scotland minister, Brown will vote against the pro-life position on any attempts to change the law. Even though less than one percent of abortions happen between 22 and 24 weeks, and those are the most gruesome (except for the very later abortions, which it appears will continue to be legal), Gordon doesn’t want to keep them from happening.

What is interesting to me about battle lines on this “women’s rights” issue is that the chief pro-life leaders in the House of Commons are women. The pro-choice campaign is led by men. Abortion is a very cross-party issue here. The Labour Party has long had significant support amongst Catholics.

So next week as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is debated by a committee of the whole House, it will be a matter of life and death.  On Monday, the debates will cover human-animal embryos and saviour siblings. Tuesday will start with lesbians and fertility treatment, before moving on to abortion. The preservation of the unborn and the sanctity of the entire human species is up for grabs.