Tag Archives: Chen Guangcheng

Is Life No Longer an Inalienable Right?

The Declaration of Independence stated that the signers believed God had granted to every person a right to life. Everything that happened after that in the colonies that became the United States of America claimed its roots in that Declaration. When the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America brought the new nation into being, the principles espoused in the Declaration were fleshed out in a form of government that respected citizens and specifically protected the God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. After the passage of 236 years, it now appears that the right to life is being discarded. There have been several years of hints that this right was devalued, but until now, we have not had a president and an administrative team that fleshed out a blatant disregard for the value of human life, along with complete disregard for the value of human liberty.

Christians believe that life is God’s best gift to us. When Eve bit into the forbidden fruit, she showed a blatant disregard for life, too. God had said that on the day she ate of that fruit, she would die, but she forgot all about it in a rush to satisfy the desires her Self foisted upon her. Self is always focused on getting what it wants. That is why she was so eager to believe the serpent when he said, “You will not die.” As a third-grader, I had a similar experience of being lured by a friend into behavior my mother had forbidden, carefully naming the specific consequences of any disobedience. Just like Eve, I wanted to believe that my friend had privately obtained permission from my mother instead of believing that if my mother wanted to give me that permission, she would give it in person. Just like Eve, I wanted what I wanted so much that I believed a lie. Death was not the consequence of my misbehavior, but even if it had been threatened, I believe that Eve and I are kindred Selves who can selectively forget about what annoys us. I know very, very well what it was like for Eve to reject life and choose death. Our national leadership is, wittingly or unwittingly, doing the same thing.

If we had doubts before, they should now be cleared away as we contemplate something that would have been unthinkable till now. The Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng was treated like an unwanted child by the staff at the United States embassy in China.(I use this imagery advisedly. You will see how it fits the situation.) It is hard to imagine, let alone accept as factual news, the scornful and dismissive treatment received by Chen Guangcheng, who speaks out for the right to life and liberty. Chen has exposed the brutal means by which China enforces its cruel one-child policy, reporting on forced abortions, forced sterilizations, and other enforcement practices which most of us would consider both cruel and unusual, yet the United States Department of State did not welcome this man when he fled house arrest that included frequent beatings of him and his wife. They used every means at their disposal to get rid of him. Why?

If you recall the way our president refused to respect the rights of Catholics to decline to purchase for themselves or others insurance coverage for contraception, abortion and sterilization, then you will have a basis for understanding why our president and his administration want to avoid any association with Chen. Unfortunately for all people whose principles include a fervent commitment to protect life and liberty, regardless of whether the commitment grows out of religious or humanist belief systems, our president and his administration have a larger agenda that was heretofore unknown to me. I have not seen it publicized in the mainstream media. I have not even heard it discussed on conservative talk shows. I found it at www.lifesitenews.com.

The Chen affair, however, only threatens an amicable and highly profitable relationship between the U.S. and China, and presents no “upside” for the American bottom line.

Worse for Chen is his uncomfortable and embarrassing opposition to China’s population control agenda, a policy supported by the Obama administration and in particular the State Department, which is spending tens of billions of dollars on such programs worldwide. Although the administration gives lip-service against coercive abortion and sterilization, it is simultaneously helping to finance the Chinese population control machine with tens of millions of dollars in subsidies to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which helps to administer China’s brutal one-child policy.



Our president and his State Department are helping to pay for the Chinese population control machine. The taxes you pay and the taxes I pay and the taxes the Catholic Bishops pay and the taxes paid by all citizens are being used to pay to enforce the Chinese one-child policy. Many years ago when the policy was first reported, I remember reading that people who chose to have another child might discover that the government would not allow the child to go to school, or would not provide healthcare for the child. The story was that if the parents were able to pay for whatever services the child needed, everything was fine. Apparently, either that report was incorrect, or the government has simply increased the pressure of enforcement. Today, the one-child policy is enforced by dragging pregnant women away from their families and forcibly aborting their babies, even if the baby is only days from a full-term delivery. Our taxes are paying for this atrocity. Today, men and women are being forcibly sterilized if the government loses patience with their determination to have more than one child. Today, in China there are signs on the walls of buildings that order women to take contraceptive drugs because it is good for the State. Taxes collected from United States citizens are paying for these outrages. Taxes collected from Christians who believe in the right to life and the right to liberty are paying for these policies.

You need to know that in 2002, George Bush withdrew US funding for UNFPA precisely because of this problem. And on March 12, 2009, the new president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, reinstated that funding to the tune of $50 million. On that occasion, he used the same terminology he and his administration used in regard to their determination to force the Catholic Bishops and Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage for free contraception, abortion and sterilization: women’s health.

The snarky demon in my heart wants to make some really snide remarks about health services that rip full-term babies from the wombs of weeping mothers and drown them in buckets. I try instead to hear Christ himself tell me to love the people that do these things, to pray for them, to be a blessing to them. I am having a very hard battle with my sarcastic tongue. Still, the calm and balanced analytical part of my mind reminds me that name-calling and insults can turn a tentative opinion into a deep-rooted commitment much faster than any amount of education and persuasion. I pray not to descend to that level.

Rather, I ask my readers and all citizens to think about what it means to define women’s health services around methods of preventing or ending pregnancy. I further ask why we as a nation would ever want to fund murder and torture under the guise of family planning. Above all, I ask if we can reconcile our stated belief that the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable and self-evident with a willingness to suppress expression of religious faith and to participate in a population control policy articulated and enforced by acts of extreme brutality. These are questions every citizen must ask.

Citizens who also claim the name of Christ must ask a few more questions.

·         How do I learn to love someone who regards pregnancy as a medical complication which must be prevented or forcibly ended?

·         If our government continues to fund population control through the UN and to demand that medical means for population control be administered in the USA through health insurance citizens are required to buy, what do faithful Christian citizens do and say about it?

·         How do I sustain hope in God and faith that his sovereignty works in all things for good when I see our government and other governments participate in such policies?

·         Do I believe that the right to life and liberty are given to humans by God? Or not?

 I have a lot of fears for the future, despite my faith that God is sovereign. History teaches me that evil rulers often thrive much longer than the oppressed believe possible. Yet history also teaches me that faithful believers do not give up their faith because God’s judgment on evil is delayed. I pray for you and for me, that we may live our faith and testify to our hope in the love of God who works all things for good and never abandons us, till the end of time. I pray for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and all who have signed on to the agenda that says pregnancy is a disease. May they come to know and value God’s gift of life and his gift of the right to life. If all my prayers are answered, then at least one horror will be reversed.


What Chen Gaungcheng and the Catholic Bishops Have in Common

Each of us lives in a variety of relationships and roles. Our experience in all the various situations affects our behavior in each. Nobody can actually divide all those elements of life into separate non-communicating compartments.

This is the reason I write about political issues along with posts on spiritual growth. Nobody can have a political opinion that has no relationship to his personal values that are shaped in part by spiritual convictions. We human beings are complicated.

This post is about a complicated subject, and some people who like everything in neat, orderly packages will not like this post. Don’t get comfortable. Read attentively. Argue with me if you like. Promise me you will pray about the problem and study your Bible, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States of America for understanding and perspective on this issue. Blast me in a comment or an email. I am open to conversation, but please do not sweep this issue under the rug.

Until today I was only vaguely aware of the news articles about Chen Gaungcheng. I knew that the Chinese government did not like him. I knew that the US government was waffling in their appearance of support. I knew that human rights activists were outraged that the US did not rescue him.

When I know only a little of any news item, I am hesitant to have an opinion. Today I took the time to dig a little deeper. I asked myself why our government would tiptoe around this man that human rights leaders around the world support so strongly. After doing a little research, I think I see the problem. It can be summed up in one word: abortion.

Well, the problem is larger than that one word, but that word is the touchpoint for everything else. It is the word that stood out in all the reports of Chen’s activity, and it appears to be the gruesome pinnacle of China’s efforts to control its population. After our president’s confrontation with the Catholic Bishops over contraception, sterilization and abortion, I don’t believe I expect our government to come out publicly as the champion of a man who resists China’s rules about contraception, sterilization and abortion. Chen Gaungcheng and his family have been imprisoned and tortured for objecting to and exposing to the eyes of the world China’s one-child policy and the procedures by which China enforces that policy. The Chinese government uses forced abortion, forced sterilization and other severe punitive measures against Chinese citizens who do not comply with that policy. Our own president and his administration strongly support contraception, abortion and sterilization under the fraudulent heading of “women’s health.” The fact that no executive order declaring a one-child policy in the US has been issued yet does not mean that it has not yet been contemplated.

I do not expect our government to advocate that China let up on someone who objects to exactly the same thing the Catholic Bishops object to: government policy requiring contraception, abortion and sterilization.

Why should Christians in general care about this dissident or the president’s policies? Unless they are Catholic? Or at least practicing Catholics?

Christians, and Hindus, and Muslims, and atheists should all be appalled at the president’s blithe disregard for the religious convictions of any American citizen. Our Constitution was written specifically to assure the right to liberty claimed in our Declaration of Independence. Liberty was understood to be something the government could not grant, because God granted it, and the government had no right to take away freedoms. The recognition of the freedom and dignity of the individual has shaped even the way our nation treats prisoners who have been convicted of horrendous crimes. One of the important freedoms protected by this declaration was the freedom to exercise faith or no faith as the citizen freely chose to do. Freedom like this is not protected in China, and in China, religions believe and act as they are allowed to do by the government. When our president flattened a fundamental tenet of the Catholic faith by requiring Catholics and Catholic institutions to comply with a policy in complete opposition to their faith principles, he emulated the cold oppressive force applied to Chinese citizens by a government which is not loathe to do physical harm in the name of enforcing its laws. In that moment he behaved more like the president of China than the president of the USA. We can look to that moment for some idea of his reaction to Chen’s behavior.

The fact that our president cannot in good faith come to the rescue of Chen Gaungcheng is simply one more evidence that the culture of the USA has undergone some dramatic changes in recent years. We used to believe that our Declaration and our Constitution accurately defined the shape of our government. Until recently, we would all have assumed that our country would speak out and even act in opposition to the flagrant abuse of the God-given rights of women who choose to celebrate life and fertility and become pregnant and have more than one child. We would furthermore have expected our Secretary of State and our president to speak up and demand that such abuse be stopped. We used to believe that our Secretary of State and our president would be vocal and active in their support of a person being persecuted for the “crime” of exposing such human rights abuses. But then, we used to believe that our government would never bulldoze anybody’s freedom to exercise his religious principles.

Not anymore. Not if the “crime” interferes with the administration of a policy using the “women’s health services” of contraception, abortion and sterilization to assure that no baby rejected by the government or by the parents lives after they decide to get rid of “it.”

In Christ, no baby is “it.” Before that baby is conceived, that baby is loved and planned for by our heavenly Father. In our limited understanding, we may call a baby an “accident,” but no baby is an “accident” in God’s eyes. The whole idea of aborting a baby is repugnant to a Christian understanding of God’s sovereignty and his love. The idea of forcing a woman to abort a baby against her will is an extreme example of government run amok, acting to destroy rather than protect the citizens it exists to serve. The evidence of disregard for Catholic principles in opposition to contraception, abortion and sterilization make me fear that our own government today does not stand for what is right. God will not force either Barack Obama or the Chinese government to do things against their will. God gives people freedom to choose their behavior. That is the God-given right to liberty claimed in our Declaration of Independence. Nevertheless, I will pray that the Holy Spirit works in this situation to make people world-wide recognize the extremes to which advocates of contraception, abortion and sterilization will go to enforce their will on other people, with or without their consent.

What do you think?