Saturday, April 13, 2013

Can we face the truth, deal with reality?

My good friend Frank Weathers, who is scribe over at Why I Am Catholic, in his post "Anderson Cooper Tacks To Windward, Asks Hard Questions About the Gosnell Case," makes an important point, namely that given the refusal of our failed fourth estate to provide coverage of the Gosnell case (I posted about this more than two years ago, when it first came to my attention), it is important to give credit where credit is due. I'm glad Anderson Cooper took up the Gosnell case (it's horrifying) and did ask some of the hard questions. However, I think by focusing mainly on questions about where the regulatory officials were, he rather misses the point, which is that abortion is murder and late term procedures are, as anyone who cares to pay attention now knows (if they didn't before), infanticide. To wit: Gosnell's house of horrors is NOT an isolated incident.

Here's a newflash for my fellow Christians: yes we should be Christ-like when discussing these issues, speaking the truth in love, especially to pregnant women in difficult circumstances. We need to do more than speak to them, we need to materially help them - BUT if you think abortion and legalized infanticide are Christian issues you're wrong and being reductive. These are human issues, life is the most fundamental human rights issue in the world! If you don't have a right to life all of your other rights are pretty meaningless.

The prophet Jeremiah, by Michelangelo

Speaking the truth in love is not about letting your mouth, or your fingers typing on a keyboard, become dispensaries of cheap grace. What it means to speak the truth in love depends on who you are speaking to and the forum you are speaking in. I think of the prophet Jeremiah, who spoke the truth in love to power, which means he said a lot of things that weren't "nice." I am not assuming the prophetic mantle, but merely pointing out that sometimes just telling the unvarnished truth is the most loving thing we can do. When we speak the truth in love to power it is often that way. I have no qualms about challenging any member of Congress, either in the House or the Senate (or any state legislator) who has voted to keep partial birth abortion (i.e., infanticide) legal to read the transcripts of the Gosnell trial and then contemplate your complicity in this evil. Don't kid yourself, you're complict! I also challenge those who think and vote this way to do the same. I write this as someone who is not on-board with the whole right-wing agenda. I have written plenty of things critical of that as well on these pages- though I post much less about political matters these days.

This morning I came across something that struck me, by that I mean had the the effect of hitting me in the chest, by Jack Shafer, writing for Reuters: Our national pastime: Press criticism. I am an unapologetic critic of the news media. I truly believe the U.S. has a failed fourth estate, one that, with some exceptions, is ideologically driven and blind, that is, not all that interested in the truth. I would be happy to debate anyone on the issue. Warning: if you take me up on the challenge it'll be no-holds-barred because it is too important an issue to beat around the bush  (to give you an indication- instead of Gosnell we get Rainbow flags outside the Supreme Court and Jodi Arias porn from a Phoenix courthouse). Shafer draws attention to a conversation that my beloved Camus, who was not a professing Christian, had way back in 1946 with press critic A.J. Liebling.

In the conversation about which Shafer writes, Camus spoke of an idea he had for a newspaper, one that would be published an hour after the other newspapers and "would evaluate the probable element of truth in the other papers’ main stories, with due regard to editorial policies and the past performances of the correspondents. Once equipped with card-indexed dossiers on the correspondents, a critical newspaper could work very fast. After a few weeks the whole tone of the press would conform more closely to reality." If anyone could've pulled this off it was Camus, who was relentless in the face of reality. So relentless, in fact, that he wondered this about his own idea- "But do people really want to know how much truth there is in what they read? Would they buy the control paper? That’s the most difficult problem."

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