Pelosi's Delusion: Catholics Can be Pro-Choice

No doubt the fires of Hell burned a little warmer and brighter at the Vatican this weekend as Pope Francis met with U.S. speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The geriatric speaker, 81, and the daughter of a mobbed-up family of Baltimore politicians whose brother Franklin D. Roosevelt d'Alesandra was once arrested for statutory rape, and of course skated on both that charge and another for perjury, was lucky in her choice of popes. Although Francis has called abortion "murder," as the Church has long taught, he has also resisted the notion of some American bishops to deny the sacrament of communion to nominally Catholic politicians who support it.

Indeed, Pelosi was recently criticized by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, her place of residence, after the Speaker claimed to be a devout Catholic who supports a woman’s right to have an abortion.

No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,The right to life is a  fundamental—the most fundamental—human right, and Catholics do not oppose fundamental human rights. To use the smokescreen of abortion as an issue of health and fairness to poor women is the epitome of hypocrisy: what about the health of the baby being killed? What about giving poor women real choice, so they are supported in choosing life? This would give them fairness and equality to women of means, who can afford to bring a child into the world.

There are really three distinct ways to look at human life. One, that human life is unique and involves a God-given soul that is given to each person at the moment of conception. Anyone who believes that cannot and should not support abortion in any way. If you are of this frame of mind, then no one has a “right” to an abortion any more than any person has a “right” to blow away an annoying two-year-old.

We should certainly be tolerant of women who choose abortion, as we should be tolerant of all sinners since, after all, we  too are sinners. But to love the sinner does not mean one should approve of the sin.

Why is this man smiling?

The second way to look at human life is to say that we are uncertain of its significance. Perhaps it is unique and perhaps it involves a soul. Perhaps it is neither. Perhaps one applies, but not the other. We simply do not know and it is up to each person to figure out what he or she believes.

This is of course the classic path that justifies the legality of abortion. Since people can disagree about when human life begins and what makes human life different, each prospective mother should be able to make a choice that is consistent with her beliefs.

Speaker Pelosi is free to be an advocate of this line of thinking, but she needs to be crystal clear that to a Catholic – specifically the “devout Catholic” she claims to be – this reasoning is completely and unalterably inconsistent with the Catholic faith. It is as inconsistent as claiming to be a devout Catholic who supports a communicant’s “right” sell the Eucharist to devil-worshipers.

Catholics believe some things are sacred, such as the Eucharist and human life from the moment of conception. There is no “wiggle room” that allows us to say its all right for someone to abuse or destroy what is sacred.

It is worth noting that the original Roe v. Wade decision recognized that medical advances would make the life of a fetus outside the womb more and more possible at earlier and earlier stages of pregnancy as medical science advanced. Thus the “trimester formula” was part of the decision: no abortions allowed in the third trimester, abortions possible but limited in the second trimester, and abortions allowed in the first trimester. (And yes, I’m over-simplifying, but this is a column, not a legal treatise).

So why are late term abortions routinely performed? Because there were two escape clauses incorporated in Roe: 1) the court said that a fetus is not a person and thus not entitled to protection under the 14th amendment (thanks Potter Stewart), and 2) if the health of the mother was at stake, then abortions could happen at any time. In a subsequent decision the court decided that the “health of the mother” essentially included her emotional state, ergo if being pregnant made a woman sad, she could have an abortion whenever she wants, ergo any woman can have an abortion whenever she wants.

There is third way to look at human life: that it is neither unique nor involves a soul. It is a mere accident of nature. This is the depressing view of the atheist, a materialistic doctrine that values human life no more than that of a rat or a stalk of corn. It holds that we blinked into existence for our short stay in the material world and will blink out of it, never to manifest any other form of existence. We just disappear.

You can say that again.

This mindset not only finds abortion a perfectly reasonable proposition, it eventually leads to the horrors of eugenics and euthanasia. Indeed, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was primarily interested in using birth control as a means to prevent the spread of what she considered to be “mongrel races” like our black- and yellow-skinned brothers and sisters. It is an evil way of thinking that spawns systems like Nazism and Communism.

As a Catholic, I fully recognize the problems my church has had and the mistakes that it has made. It is a human institution and human beings are fallible. But there is no mistaking the Catholic view that abortion is the taking of a human life and no Catholic should support it. Pelosi, like Joe Biden -- another nominal Catholic -- needs to pick a lane.

Mother Gaia Likes it Hot

If you've noticed that the greens are in an especially reverent mood of late, it is because the holiest months of their neo-pagan religion are now upon us. What we call summer is referred to semi-officially in their calendar as "Air Conditioning Antipathy Season," and it is traditionally celebrated with the proliferation of various and sundry bits of anti-A/C propaganda whose object is to berate the unenlightened among us for preferring not to be roasted alive from June through August.

Time Magazine recently released a perfect example of this pious genre. Written by Eric Dean Wilson, author of the unpleasant sounding "After Cooling: On Freon, Global Warming, and the Terrible Cost of Comfort," the piece begins by mentioning the heatwave that hit the Pacific Northwest last month, with temperatures far exceeding 100ºF and department stores predictably running out of A/C units.

"Unfortunately," Wilson asserts, dutifully, "air-conditioning is part of what’s causing the unusual heatwave in the first place." He then walks us through the supposedly disreputable history of air conditioning, which he says contributed to socio-economic divides (because it was initially prohibitively expensive), was a marker of structural racism (because southern whites got it first), and, more recently, contributed to a near environmental calamity, namely the depletion of the ozone layer which was related to the use of chlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants.

One of the reasons folks used to go to the movies. (YouTube)

The article is strange reading for outsiders, as is often the case with religious texts. The race and class references seem awkwardly inserted, perhaps to appease other factions within their broad church. But there are some difficult-to-comprehend passages even within the purely environmental sections.

For instance, you'd think the fact that CFCs were banned in 1987 and have been largely replaced by the much more environmentally friendly hydrofluorocarbons (or HFCs) would be a relief for Wilson, but you'd be wrong. While HFCs don't deplete the ozone layer they still contribute to global warming, he says, as does air conditioning generally, simply because it uses energy.

But if "thou shalt avoid excess energy" is just part of their decalogue, air conditioning is an odd target. As Megan McArdle explained in Bloomberg a while back," Americans still expend much more energy heating their homes than cooling them." This might seem surprising, but it makes sense upon reflection:

The difference between the average temperature outside and the temperature that is comfortable inside is generally only 10 to 20 degrees in most of America, for most of the summer. On the other hand, in January, the residents of Rochester, New York... need to get the temperature up from an average low of 18 degrees (-8 Celsius) to at least 60 or 65. That takes a lot of energy.

Heating homes often seems natural in a way cooling them does not, but this is illogical. Both extremes can (and do) kill people every year. Moreover, McArdle points out that one of the environmental benefits of air conditioning is that it has enabled Americans to progressively move in the direction of the sunbelt, where heating needs in winter are minimal, meaning that less energy overall is used in regulating temperature.

In any event, Wilson's own solution to the  "problem" suggested in his piece is not for his co-religionists to move south, but rather to drastically reduce the amount of A/C used by both elect and reprobate alike. This he would apparently accomplish by banning home air conditioners and having us all become "more comfortable with discomfort." If A/C is allowed to remain legal, it should be available only at "public cooling centers" where, presumably, rich and poor alike can gather joyfully together to gather together to avoid the scorching heat.

If you can't take the heat...

This seems about as realistic to me as the idea that there was a soul-saving spaceship following the comet Hale–Bopp -- how well would those public cooling centers have worked in, for instance, Portland, Ore., when the mercury hit 112º? More than likely people would have rioted to get in and to stay in.

But I guess that (apocryphal) St. Thomas Aquinas line holds true here -- "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." Happy A/C Antipathy season to our devout readers.