Public School Kids Get Assembly on Sex Changes

By Cathy Ruse, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Legal Studies

Amy Ellis Nutt

A Northern Virginia public school held a school-wide assembly before Christmas break featuring transgender crusader Amy Ellis Nutt. George Mason High School in the City of Falls Church brought in Nutt, a Washington Post reporter, to lecture students on her book Becoming Nicole, about a boy who “identified” as a girl as a toddler, had his puberty suppressed as a child, and was castrated as a teenager.

Nutt’s lecture hit all the usual notes. Your gender is “assigned at birth” by people who might get it wrong. Toddlers can be transgender. Moray eels change sex and female reef fish produce sperm when there are no males. “Gender is a spectrum,” everyone must get “comfortable” with new gender language that is “changing every day.” Asking a biological boy to use the teachers’ rather than the girls’ restroom is “bullying.”

The full assembly can be viewed on YouTube:

The sponsor of the event was the Falls Church Education Foundation.

Did the school make plain to the students that they could decline to attend? That’s not clear. In her presentation, Nutt quipped: “Thank you for coming, although I know you’re probably required to be here.”

Nor is it clear whether parents were fully informed about the assembly in advance. At least one shocked George Mason teacher, who remains anonymous, says parents were not.

What does seem clear is that this public school will not hold another school-wide assembly featuring other views on the issue: such as first-person accounts of the negative consequences of “transitioning,” health warnings from pediatricians and other medical experts, or condemnation from the feminist community, from which the term “female erasure” has sprung to describe the transgender program.

Transgender ideology in children is extremely controversial, not least because so many children who experience gender dysphoria later desist and accept their natal biology. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) as many as 98% of boys and 88% of girls will “grow out of” their gender dysphoria and accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.

There is no medical or psychological test to show which 2% of those boys will persist in their gender dysphoria as young adults. Protocols that encourage school-wide affirmation of every case of gender dysphoria could impede the overwhelming majority of children from accepting their natal biology, as well as sow confusion in other vulnerable children.

There has been a spate of articles in recent weeks on the phenomenon of “rapid onset” gender dysphoria in teen girls, thought to be a “social contagion” like anorexia 30 years ago. Details of these cases reported by therapists are heartbreaking.

At the end of the talk, Nutt was asked two student questions, written on index cards.

“What is gender dysphoria and how does the transgender community respond to the idea that they are glorifying the mental health condition known as gender dysphoria?”

That was a good question, and evidence that at least one student at George Mason has held on to his critical thinking skills.

Nutt’s answer was not good: “Gender dysphoria is not a mental health condition,” she said, continuing:

It is included in the DSM, which is the bible of mental illnesses, of psychiatrists, but only because gender dysphoria isn’t the inability or confusion of a transgender child to understand why they are the way they are, it’s the failure for [sic] other people to understand that. It’s the confusion that comes because of the cultural misconceptions and not being able to fit into that.

So a person is diagnosed because other people are confused? It’s in “the bible of mental illnesses” because it’s a healthy condition that the culture doesn’t understand? Now I am confused.

The DSM defines gender dysphoria in children as “clinically significant distress” from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender” manifested by, among other things, “a strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy.”

The ICD – the International Classification of Diseases – calls it a “childhood disorder” characterized by “persistent and intense distress.” Diagnosis requires “a profound disturbance of the normal gender identity.”

If Nutt is trying to dismiss their distress as a cultural condition, she’s freelancing.

The final question was also a good one: “Did Nicole undergo reassignment surgery and if so was there any risk to it?”

Nutt’s answer was bad, and sort of creepy. “Yes. She was 17 at the time…I was there.”

“It was not the most important thing…but it was the last thing that she needed to do,” said Nutt.

“What was important for her early on was to have her puberty suppressed as a child, so that she knew what she really wanted.”

Puberty-blockers are serious business. Puberty suppression and cross-sex hormones can stunt a person’s growth and render him completely infertile, never able to have genetically-related children, even by artificial means. You cannot walk back up this road.

What’s more, there are no scientific studies on their use by growing children. None.

Nutt’s cavalier treatment of puberty blockers was awfully reckless.

And isn’t her logic backwards? How does blocking your natural development tell you what you really want? Isn’t it, rather, tipping the scales toward an ideologically pre-determined outcome?

Did Nicole even have the capacity to consent to this untested, irreversible medical treatment in the first place? “There is a serious ethical problem with allowing irreversible, life-changing procedures to be performed on minors who are too young to give valid consent themselves,” cautions the American College of Pediatricians.

Nutt went on: “When the time for puberty came, she took estrogen, and she made the puberty that all girls do at the right time.”

Making the puberty that all girls do is strange phraseology. But of course this teen could not make the puberty that all girls do without ovaries and a uterus. Were the teen girls in the audience misled? Were the boys?

As to risk, Nutt brushed it aside: “You know, there’s always a risk to surgery, it’s actually not that complicated.”

“She will be, for all purposes, physically and biologically a girl. A woman.”

Wrong. Biologically, Nicole will never be a girl. Every cell in Nicole’s body contains male sex chromosomes. A lifetime of male-suppressing hormones will never change that fact.

At one point in her lecture, Nutt said: “I’m not trying to be funny, I’m trying to be factual.”

She should have tried harder.

Children suffering from gender dysphoria deserve our compassion. Surely their suffering is genuine, and profound. But they also deserve an adult response: first and foremost, our recognition that the distress and confusion they are experiencing will give way to acceptance of their natal biology in the vast majority of cases.

The person with persistent dysphoria who ultimately chooses radical surgery and a lifetime of hormones deserves compassion, too. As well as great sympathy, in my opinion, for treating a healthy body as sick and a troubled mind as healthy.

Nutt obviously disagrees. There is great disagreement on this issue, especially among medical experts.

When a public school takes sides, nobody wins. But students, and taxpayers, lose.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLE: What You Can Do to Fight Sex Trafficking

Al Gore Blames the ‘Climate Crisis’ for Cold Weather. But Actually, it’s Just January.

Remember when global warming meant the planet was supposed to, well, warm up? Temperatures would rise, and all manner of ecological calamity would ensue?

Me too. So it was surprising to find myself shivering, like other Americans, through several days of arctic chill and extreme cold, only to hear Al Gore blame it on global warming.

He didn’t use the w-word, though. “It’s bitter cold in parts of the U.S., but climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains that’s exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis,” Gore tweeted on Jan. 4.

See, it’s a “climate crisis” now. But it’s hard to blame him for trying some rebranding. After all, prediction after prediction has come to naught.

But no matter: Like other Doomsday prophets, Gore just acts like the last missed deadline didn’t happen and comes up with a new one.

Which is why it’s important to remind ourselves of what Gore has said in the past.

Consider, for example, how he said global warming would cause the north polar ice cap to be completely free of ice within five years. When did he say that? Nine years ago.

News flash: The Arctic still has ice. Indeed, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, “ice growth during November 2017 averaged 30,900 square miles per day.” Oops.

So how about the evidence for the latest cold snap?

Gore’s source, Michael Mann, says the ultra-chilly temps we’ve been enduring are “precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” As the planet warms, he says, we’ll see more cold snaps and “bomb cyclones.”

Seems counter-intuitive, but Mann suggests this is because warming is “causing the jet stream to meander in a particular pattern” that leads to these cold spells.

I use the word “suggests,” however, because this is simply a theory—one that other scientists are not sold on. (Gore and the rest of the climate-crisis crowd often act like their ideas are universally accepted—that the scientific community is in complete agreement with them. But there is more room for doubt and disagreement than they care to admit.)

Just ask Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“Winter storms are a manifestation of winter, not climate change,” he recently told the Daily Caller. “The Arctic is greatly affected by climate change, and it has a feedback effect—but not in winter.”

Even if Gore and Mann are correct about the link between global warming and cold snaps, the record works against them there, too.

“The frequency of cold waves have decreased during the past 50 years, not increased,” University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass says. “That alone shows that such claims are baseless.”

The term “bomb cyclone” is new to most of us, but it’s been around for a while. Climatologist Judith Curry recently told the Caller that it was coined almost 40 years ago by Fred Sanders of MIT, who spent a lot of time studying such storms.

Moreover, there are about 50 or 60 bomb cyclones every year, but most of them occur too far out to sea for us to notice.

Gore and his fellow travelers may have trouble admitting that they could be wrong. But their never-look-back crusade isn’t helping scientific research.

“It is very disappointing that members of my profession are making such obviously bogus claims,” Cliff Mass said. “It hurts the science, it hurts the credibility of climate scientists, and weakens our ability to be taken seriously by society.”

That’s what happens, though, when we bend facts to fit theories—and not the other way around. And remember, Al, as the old song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

Originally published by the Washington Times.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ed Feulner

Edwin J. Feulner’s 36 years of leadership as president of The Heritage Foundation transformed the think tank from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas. Read his research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: NYC Mayor De Blasio Sues Oil Companies for Global Warming – The Week After NYC Records All-Time Record Cold

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: Photo: Pedro Fiuza/SIPA/Newscom.

New Offshore Drilling Plan Will Reverse Obama Restrictions, Unleash U.S. Energy Dominance

America is moving forward in its march toward energy dominance, and the Trump administration just took an important step forward in achieving that goal.

In unveiling its draft five-year Outer Continental Shelf leasing plan on Thursday, the Interior Department is reversing the Obama administration’s “Keep it in the Ground” anti-energy policy.

An abundance of untapped energy lies beneath America’s ground and off the coasts. For six years, America has been the world’s largest petroleum and natural gas producer, supporting more than 10 million jobs and contributing more than $1.3 trillion to the economy.

The increase in energy supplies has lowered prices for households and businesses. Families are saving hundreds, if not more than $1,000 each year on electricity bills and home-heating costs, and paying less at the gas pump.

It also means companies around the country devote less money to paying energy bills and more to investing in labor and capital.

All of these benefits have accrued to Americans, despite the fact that the Obama administration made a majority of America’s coastal waters off-limits to natural resources exploration and production.

In fact, 94 percent of federal offshore acreage is off-limits to development. The United States is the only country in the world that has placed a majority of its territorial waters off-limits to natural resources extraction.

Until now, that is.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s draft plan is the first part of a multiyear process that would make more than 90 percent of the total federal acreage available, which includes 98 percent of the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf.

As highlighted by Interior’s press release:

The Draft Proposed Program … includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas—19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic region. This is the largest number of lease sales ever proposed for the National Outer Continental Shelf Program’s five-year lease schedule.

The 47 potential lease sales top the number of sales listed in President Ronald Reagan’s two submissions of 41 and 42.

At several points in time, offshore drilling was not such a partisan issue. When President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, made his 1979 energy speech, he said, “We will step up exploration and production of oil and gas on federal lands.”

As a result, the Carter administration’s Interior Department proposed 36 lease sales. As recently as 2013, both Democratic senators from Virginia offered legislation to open parts of the Atlantic to offshore development.

It’s understandable why.

Offshore drilling is a critical component of the Gulf of Mexico economy, one of the limited areas where offshore activity takes place in federal waters.

Recognizing that offshore resource exploration is systematically safe, the energy industry has a very strong relationship with the seafood and tourism industries. In fact, Louisiana hosts a Shrimp and Petroleum Festival each year.

Despite the Deepwater Horizon incident that adversely affected the Gulf environmentally and economically, there was a broad recognition among these three industries that the blanket drilling moratorium was bad policy and bad for the region as a whole.

The economic benefits of realizing America’s true energy potential could be significant. Opening the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves and the eastern Gulf of Mexico could create more than 800,000 jobs by 2035.

Increased supplies, which could equate to as much as 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, would lower prices for families.

Furthermore, federal and state governments would stand to benefit as well, since increased production would increase revenues from bonus bids (for new leases), royalties, rents, and increased economic activity.

By 2035, the federal government could collect more than $200 billion in revenue. With the country burdened with massive amounts of federal debt, policymakers should welcome the potential for revenue generation.

No one knows where oil prices will be once the Interior Department finalizes the plan. Therefore, it’s difficult to fully project where the industry will invest.

Nevertheless, the market will determine what areas the oil and gas companies will pursue. The federal government should not stand in its way.

It’s encouraging to see Interior take a hatchet to a long-standing barrier to energy dominance and improved economic well-being.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

The House’s Born Ultimatum

Like a lot of pregnant women, the young mom who visited Planned Parenthood in St. Paul last summer wasn’t sure she wanted to have the abortion. Already well into her second trimester, she was started to have second thoughts about whether this was the right decision for her or her baby. But, pressured by doctors to go through with it, she agreed — giving her permission for them to start the painful, two-day procedure. When the time came, she watched in shock as the male abortionist started “jamming that needle in and out” of her stomach. Finally, she was told: he couldn’t reach the baby’s heart to inject it with the fatal drug that would kill it. Panicked that her child might survive the abortion, she asked, “What if the baby was to come out alive?” The female doctor paused and said, “Most likely, we would break the baby’s neck.”

Horrified, she asked them to stop the dilation and went home. Her baby survived. But dozens of unborn children, who cross that same threshold every day, aren’t so lucky. As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, the killing of a tiny child — whether she’s in the womb or breathing on her own — is what “choice” is all about. The decision of destroying a life, they’ve argued, even one who’s lived through the worst our world had to offer, “should be between the patient and the health care provider.” Even if it’s murder. They’ll deliver a baby alive to harvest its organs or they’ll cover up a botched abortion by leaving the little survivor to die. Either way, they’re breaking the law. And Republicans in Congress have had enough.

For more than two years, they’ve held hearings, launched investigations, and turned over reams of damning evidence to the FBI. Now, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says, it’s time to act. “Next week– the week of the annual March for Life, when tens of thousands of Americans come to Washington to give voice to the voiceless unborn — the House will vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act,” he announced. The bill, which easily passed the same House in 2015, never got a vote in the Senate. This time, leaders vow, it will. Although a similar measure was signed into law by President Bush in 2003, it never had the teeth pro-lifers needed to hold the abortion industry accountable. Under this version, the law would not only criminalize people who let newborns die (or actively kill them) but gives moms a private right of action to sue.

“…[I]f a baby is born after a failed abortion attempt, he or she should be given the same medical care as a baby born any other way,” McCarthy explained. “There is absolutely no ambiguity here. This is about protecting babies who are born and alive, and nobody should be against that.” Tell that to Planned Parenthood. They’ve argued that the bill would have a “chilling” effect on the “provision of abortion services.” “I cannot think of a more chilling effect,” Arina Grossu fired back, “than continuing to let abortionists get away with infanticide, the intentional killing of born-alive, breathing babies after an attempted abortion.”

But how often does that happen? According to David Daleiden’s videos, a lot more than we think. Yet even on the stand, under oath, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards denied it. “There was one specific video,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) reminded Richards, “…describing harvesting the brain of a late-term boy. She said she wasn’t sure if the baby was alive since its heart was still beating and she harvested its brain by cutting his head open starting with the chin. Do you recall that?” She said she didn’t. “There is nothing she has ever described,” Richards claimed, “that I could attest to has ever happened.” Based on hours of footage, the findings of the House Select Panel on Infant Lives, and the testimony of this one (out of who-knows-how-many) young Minnesota mother, it does happen. And obviously, the practice is far more widespread than Planned Parenthood, its president, or our former president will ever admit.

Murdering an innocent human being is not, and never has been, a constitutional right. That’s true whether the person is nine seconds old or 90 years old. Join Leader McCarthy, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and 60 of her co-sponsors by calling your House member and supporting the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act. Even one lost baby is too many.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLEOpen Doors Shows Others Are Closing on Christians

Here’s the History of the 25th Amendment

After failing to gather any real momentum to impeach President Donald Trump, some Democrats are now floating the idea of using the 25th Amendment to oust him.

This little-known constitutional amendment serves as an escape-hatch measure for removing the president if he is incapacitated. It is quite different from impeachment.

Impeachment is the method that the Founders set up to prosecute cases of presidential criminality. It requires members of Congress to bring specific charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

But absent these charges, some of Trump’s detractors are now embracing other methods to overthrow him.

Anti-Trump commentators and the few Democrats now suggesting use of the 25th Amendment have suggested that the president is mentally unstable.

“The judgment [about the president’s mental state] is not mine to make,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said to reporters after proposing a commission to examine Trump’s mental health, according to Politico.

“The judgment constitutionally is to be made by the vice president and the Cabinet, or the vice president and a new body. We have an institutional responsibility to set that body up.”

Pulling out the 25th Amendment is the logical next step for those who have been looking for a way to depose Trump since he entered office, though it’s a serious departure from the intent of those who passed the amendment.

Democrats have trotted out psychologists on Capitol Hill to prove that Trump is unstable and should be removed from office.

This alone seriously flirts with violating the “Goldwater Rule,” which prevents psychologists from offering a “professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”

The American Psychiatric Association created this rule after Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater successfully sued a magazine that had published a survey of psychologists deeming him unfit for office.

The survey was misleading, clearly partisan, and damaged the reputation of psychologists as a profession. Moreover, the idea of removing a president based on the whims of an elite group of supposedly neutral psychologists is an affront to democracy.

This is not to say the 25th Amendment doesn’t serve a valuable purpose. If a president suffers a disability that would make him unable to perform his duties, this tool is an emergency stopgap to solve the problem.

It was never conceived of as a partisan tool to depose a hated president.

‘We Stumbled Along’

Perhaps been the most obvious case where the 25th Amendment was needed occurred a generation before it was actually passed.

On Sept. 25, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a collapse and a massive stroke while campaigning in Colorado for the U.S. to enter the League of Nations.

The League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations, had been Wilson’s pet project, and despite warnings from doctors he had pushed himself to the limit on its behalf.

After the stroke, Wilson went blind in one eye, was paralyzed on the left side, and lay unconscious. While he eventually awoke from the coma, he was never the same. For the most part, he was a barely-functioning invalid.

Incredibly, Wilson’s wife practically ran the White House for the two remaining years of his term, only leaving the most serious acts of policy and politics to her husband, which by that point he was barely able to perform.

“This is the worst instance of presidential disability we’ve ever had,” said historian John Milton Cooper. “We stumbled along [for eighteen months] … without a fully functioning president.”

Few around the country even knew that the West Wing was in such bad shape, as both the press corps and the White House carefully kept the truth of the president’s condition from coming out.

Wilson even considered running for what would then be an unprecedented third term, but Democratic Party leaders carefully selected a compromise candidate who would run instead.

While Wilson’s Cabinet and the Washington political establishment were wary about forcing the president out of office, many fretted about what could be done if a president couldn’t perform his duties in an emergency.

The debate went more or less dormant for half a century until the assassination of a president forced the nation to seriously reconsider legal ways of replacing—either temporarily or permanently—a president for health-related reasons.

A Re-Evaluation

While health scares for President Dwight Eisenhower led to some informal agreements about transmitting the duties of the president in a time of crisis, nothing was enacted until the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The line of succession had been laid out by the Presidential Succession Act, but some began a push to clearly define these ambiguous rules in the Constitution while also addressing what could be done if the president was alive but experiencing a sudden health crisis.

The idea of being without a functioning president, particularly in the rapid-response world of instant communication and the Cold War, concerned Americans in a way that it hadn’t in earlier times.

“In an age of nuclear weaponry—and now, global terrorism—America can ill afford to be leaderless for long, or to have unclear rules about who is in charge,” wrote constitutional scholars Akhil Reed Amar and Vikram David Amar.

“The 25th Amendment, proposed and ratified after JFK’s assassination, fills many of the gaps left open by the Founders.

The 25th Amendment, enacted in 1967, set up a clear line of succession in case the president or vice president died, and included the section that some anti-Trumpers are now looking to: the method for removing, or putting a pause on, the official powers of a debilitated president.

The crucial Section 4 states:

Whenever the vice president and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president.

Congress then has 21 days to determine if the president is able to continue performing his duties and can remove him from office with a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Since its passage, the 25th Amendment has been used several times, but never for the purpose of removing the president from office.

Some have alleged that officials wanted to remove President Ronald Reagan from office using the 25th Amendment after his attempted assassination—but those allegations have been debunked.

The amendment has only been used to temporarily transfer power from presidents to vice presidents during medical operations that would leave them incapable of responding to an urgent crisis.

Reagan himself did invoke Section 3 of the amendment on himself during a routine medical procedure in 1985, in which Vice President George H.W. Bush assumed the powers of the presidency for several hours.

And President George W. Bush also used the law to transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during a couple of operations, again for only a few hours.

Dangerous Precedent

While some are now itching to use Section 4 of the 25th Amendment on Trump, many have urged caution or outright blasted the move as nothing but naked partisanship.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway suggested that this overheated effort to boot the president with the 25th Amendment is akin to a “coup.”

“Talk of mental health and a 25th Amendment removal, ‘by force if necessary,’ is talk of a coup,” Hemingway wrote. “Responsible parties should consider how this is perceived by the part of the electorate they rarely speak to and cease.

Harvard Law School professor emeritus and lifelong Democrat, Alan Dershowitz, also denounced the movement as “dangerous” and a “fool’s errand.”

“Now that they couldn’t criminalize political differences, they’re trying to psychiatrize political differences,” Dershowitz said on Fox News.

Right now, this push is little more than creative fan fiction, since impeachment would require a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove the president, while the 25th Amendment would require a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Yet this won’t stop left-wing activists from trying to wield this amendment as a weapon against the Trump presidency.

At least they’re arguing from the Constitution. If only they cared for its intent.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Read the Heritage Guide to the Constitution’s Explanation of the 25th Amendment

Can the Cabinet “remove” a President using the 25th amendment?

Contraception: Intrinsically Evil

In 2018, over twenty conferences worldwide (so Janet Smith tells me) will celebrate Humanae Vitae (HV) on its 50th anniversary, but will also conduct a concerted attack on its teaching, which will not have been discouraged by various actions of the Vatican.

The mode of the attack is not difficult to guess. It will not take the form of direct contradiction but rather subversion – changes that would empty HV of its content through a putative “deepening” of its meaning.

The leaders, we can surmise, will be certain bishops, mainly from wealthy countries, and theologians from academic establishments. It will be claimed that because 80 percent of Catholics in certain countries (never mind how well they know or practice the faith) reject HV, the teaching was never “received” and therefore was never valid – at least in those countries, and therefore pluralism will be urged.

The consensus among enlightened people of goodwill in favor of contraception will be cited as a “sign of the times” and evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit. We will be told that the Church must “listen” to these people in dialogue. Indeed, the Paul Erhlichs of the world have already told the Vatican that, in light of Laudato Si’, couples should have no more than two children. But how “feasible” is that policy without artificial contraception?

Elizabeth Anscombe and Peter Geach (British philosophers married to each other) are said to have toasted Paul VI when HV was promulgated. They were convinced it was the teaching of the Church, but clearly “it could have gone either way.” You need only read the history of a contentious general council – Nicaea or Ephesus, for example – to see that the orthodox party never took things for granted. The Church prevails because followers of Christ act heroically.

That is why Catholics who practice traditional chastity, and love HV for defending it, need to recognize the attack and take steps to counter it. These steps ought to be mainly spiritual – more frequent and more intense prayer, fasting, Mass attendance, and recourse to Joseph and Mary, those twin guardians of chastity in the Holy Family. Perhaps too, a greater refinement in living holy purity is called for. “As for impurity of every kind . . . there must be no whisper of it among you; it would ill become saints.” (Eph 5:3, Knox) But for readers of this column, there will be work of leadership and persuasion as well.

The contours of the attack may be discerned from the writings of prominent “dissenters” from HV back when the previous milestone anniversary was celebrated, 25 years ago, such as a telling piece in America magazine by Fr. Richard A. McCormick, S.J.

To understand the attack, we must think ourselves into an alien and abhorrent worldview. I have in mind mainly those humble Catholic parents of the “JP II” generation, who have been going about their business of bearing children and rearing them, making many sacrifices to that end. They treasure the “theology of the body,” which they rightly view as a full, satisfactory, personalist development of the doctrine of HV. Perhaps they even made a pilgrimage to Rome for the funeral, beatification, or canonization of this obviously “Great” pontiff. Such persons will likely be shocked to learn that these dissenters from HV have thought something entirely different.

For these dissenters, HV was obviously a mistake. It was (allegedly) affirmed merely to protect papal authority, on the poor grounds (dissenters think) that for a pope to reverse an earlier pope is to undermine his own authority. In that perspective, it was similarly enforced, in a small-minded way, by John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger only by arbitrary exercises of that authority, by “rigging” synods and Church appointments. That’s how things are done in the Church, after all. So in a similar shrewd and political way, the “impasse” that the Church has been brought to through these misguided efforts must be reversed.

Humane Vitae, in general, can stand, they think. It’s true, of course, that there’s a general connection between the procreative and the unitive meanings of marriage and the marital act. One may admit, too, that these are inseparable, in the sense that it would be evil to be married and not wish in general to be fruitful, and that it would be evil to view children as other than fruits of married love. These are the core teachings of HV. The doctrine of “responsible parenthood,” too, in HV is capable of a much fuller development, in light of “integral ecology.”

But what should not stand, say dissenters, is the claim that to vitiate an otherwise fruitful act is “intrinsically evil.” That is the sticking point; that is what needs to be gently put to the side. “The single issue that provoked the hailstorm of reactions,” writes McCormick, “was the teaching that every contraceptive act is intrinsically disordered (intrinsece inhonestum, No. 14). . . . Absent that teaching, Humanae Vitae would be bannered as a beautiful contemporary statement on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.”

Some of these dissenters, therefore, reject entirely the concept of intrinsically evil acts. Or, what amounts to the same, they say that what counts as intrinsically evil can change over time. They haul out misconstructions of Church teaching on usury and religious liberty as examples of something “intrinsically evil” becoming permissible. Slavery, on the other hand, was permissible but now is “intrinsically evil.” Capital punishment works perfectly for them, too, as shown to be per se contrary to the gospel” through the Spirit, but previously permitted.

St. John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor seems a difficult problem for them, however. After all, it teaches that intrinsically evil acts are so, semper et pro semper. (n. 82) It attributes this teaching to both the constant tradition of the Church and Sacred Scripture. Worst of all, it cites acts of artificial contraception as a clear example. (n. 80) How could it be put aside?

This year, we will doubtless see clever efforts to do just that.

Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk, an Aristotle scholar and Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, is professor at the Busch School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America. He lives in Hyattsville, MD, with his wife Catherine, also a professor at the Busch School, and their eight children.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Paul VI elevating the future John Paul II, 1967. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

The Dangerous Case of Bandy Lee: Examining the Mental Health of the Mental Health Examiners

The Democrats are desperate. They have been trying to derail, discredit, and destroy President Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president. One year after his stunning victory over Obama’s deeply flawed legacy candidate Hillary Clinton, the Desperate Democrats have renewed their efforts to destroy President Trump and derail his extraordinary presidential accomplishments.

False allegations of misogyny and inappropriate sexual behavior failed. False accusations of election improprieties failed. The false Russian collusion and falsified Russian dossier case is collapsing and has boomeranged to expose the Democrats’ own crimes. The Leftist Democrat party is increasingly desperate to remove President Trump from office.

They are feverishly trying to destroy President Trump because his booming economy is demolishing their hopes for 2018 midterm victories and the required House Democrat majority to impeach. Without a Democrat House majority the only option left is imposition of the 25th Amendment – removal for mental impairment. So, the Left is shamelessly shopping for a justifying diagnosis.

Bandy X. Lee

Enter Dr. Bandy X. Lee, the Yale trained psychiatrist “warning” America that the President is going to unravel. REALLY??????

Professional? Lee’s opinion has been politicized beyond professional recognition. Her singular purpose is to provide the necessary diagnosis for imposition of the 25th Amendment.

Lee is quoted as saying, “We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency.” In her partisan professional opinion, “We have an obligation to speak about Donald Trump’s mental health issues because many lives and our survival as a species may be at stake.”

Lee’s chief piece of “evidence” is TWEETING??? It is specifically by tweeting that President Trump bypasses the colluding media and speaks directly and plainly to the American people. It is laughable that tweeting is considered symptomatic. The only threat that tweeting poses is to the mainstream media echo chamber that has been exposed as a propaganda tool of the Left. If this were not so serious it would make a great comedy routine.

Bandy Lee is a chilling example of what happens when a Leftist psychiatrist defies industry norms and allows her fractally wrong political ideology to inform her “professional” opinions. It is madness to accept a political diagnosis as a medical diagnosis. Bandy Lee’s belligerent political dogma is not medicine, it is a staggering abuse of her position as a licensed psychiatrist for political purposes. Lee has totally discredited herself and Yale University.

A previous article, “The Fractal Wrongness of Leftist Ideology” exposes the dangerous tyranny of Leftist ideology that considers anyone who disagrees with their narrative as mentally unfit. It is the same end justifies the means rationalization used in Communist Russia to send political dissidents to the Gulag on mental health grounds to be “rehabilitated.”

Mental health “professionals” like Bandy Lee who have never examined the President are publicly “diagnosing” him in direct contravention of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Principle’s of Medical Ethics” section 7 – the Goldwater Rule:

On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.

The history of the Goldwater Rule is extremely important. In 1964 Fact Magazine published an article on presidential candidate Barry Goldwater titled, “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.” The magazine polled psychiatrists and asked if Barry Goldwater was mentally fit to serve. It was a thinly disguised political strategy to discredit Barry Goldwater on mental health grounds. Senator Goldwater sued the magazine and won. The court ruled in favor of Goldwater finding that the defendants knew they were publishing defamatory statements motivated by actual malice.

History is repeating itself in a parallel partisan political attempt to similarly discredit President Trump on mental health grounds. Malicious defamatory statements are being released by unethical partisan psychiatrists like Bandy Lee on behalf of the Orwellian National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts (NCCMHE) saying:

“We believe that he [Trump] is now further unraveling in ways that contribute to his belligerent nuclear threats… We urge that those around him, and our elected representatives in general, take urgent steps to restrain his behavior and head off the potential nuclear catastrophe that endangers not only Korea and the United States but all of humankind.”

So, who are the experts of the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts? The NCCMHE is a political organization of Leftists in the mental health community determined to remove President Trump from office by challenging his mental fitness. Sound familiar? It is the same unethical partisan politics disguised as a medical diagnosis that is expressly forbidden by the Goldwater Rule.

Mental fitness assessed by political enemies is not credible – it is disingenuous and extremely dangerous. It was the basis of the Russian Gulag method for re-education of wrong-thinking dissidents having “socially dangerous, disruptive, suspicious, and whose deeds and thoughts were not contributing to the dictatorship of the proletariat.”

The tyrannical ends justify the means mentality of Bandy Lee and her organization are deceitfully using their professional status to unethically “diagnose” President Trump in a political effort to unseat him. It is unapologetically stated in the organization’s Mission Statement!

OUR MISSION

THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

In a historically unprecedented fashion, we have come together as mental health experts to warn that Mr. Trump, in the office of the president, is a danger to national and international security.

Usually, we mental health professionals have an ethical rule against diagnosing public figures unless we have personally examined them and gained their consent. However, as health professionals, we are charged with protecting the health and well-being of our patients and the public, and there are superseding rules. When a person is a danger to others, we have a duty to report, a duty to warn, and a duty to protect potential victims, including the public. In an emergency, we do not have the choice not to treat someone as a patient.

A diagnosis is irrelevant when someone is dangerous. We need first to contain the person, to remove any access to weapons, and to perform an urgent evaluation. Mr. Trump has already shown numerous signs that he is dangerous. From our perspective, his personal characteristics, combined with the power of the office and his access to the nuclear arsenal, put the ultimate safety and survival of humanity at risk.

One of our mandates as mental health professionals is to improve public health through education: we have an obligation to bear witness when something is not normal. Our mission through the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts is to inform and educate all sectors, from the public to the governmental.

Pressure makes unstable people worse. Collectively, we warn that the worst is coming. Anyone as mentally unstable as this man simply should not be entrusted with the life-and-death powers of the presidency, and the public deserves protection.

Every sphere of American life, including the mental health field, was politicized under Obama’s Leftist ”hope and change” movement whose hope was to change America from a Constitutional Republic with a capitalist infrastructure into a socialist state. The Left has decided that any political opponent challenging their ideological worldview is unhinged and unfit for office. The Gulag of the Left should alarm any patriotic American who understands the dangers of politicizing oppositional speech to mean unhinged speech.

The Leftist attempt to install itself as the Orwellian Ministry of Truth must be vehemently opposed – including the outrageous political diagnoses of the unethical Bandy Lee and her posse at the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts.

RELATED VIDEO: Dershowitz – Dangerous for liberals to diagnose Trump.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Goudsmit Pundicity.

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-District 16) sends out unscientific, biased survey on drilling in Gulf of Mexico

On April 19th, 2011, one year after the Deepwater Horizon incident, CNN released a national poll on offshore drilling. CNN reported that their scientific poll found:

One year after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, support for offshore oil drilling has rebounded despite concerns that the federal government cannot prevent another massive oil spill, according to a new national poll.

[ … ]

Although support for increased drilling in U.S. waters is highest among Republicans, a majority of Democrats also favor it,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Fifty-six percent of Democrats favor more offshore drilling, compared to 70 percent of independents and 86 percent of Republicans.” [Emphasis added]

At the start of March, 2017 U.S. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke announced that 73 million acres in the Gulf would be open to drilling for five years starting in August. Up for reelection Republican Representative Vern Buchanan (FL – District 16) sent out the below in email on Sunday,  January 7, 2018.

Buchanan’s email survey is seriously flawed in four ways. First, the survey is unscientific. Second, respondents have no way of knowing who got the email and their level of knowledge on the topic of drilling for oil and natural gas in the Gulf Coast. Third, an individual on our staff answered the survey multiple times without be told that he had already voted. Fourth, the second possible answer to the question invokes the “precautionary principle.” Perhaps a better survey would have asked:

Do you support or oppose drilling for oil and natural gas off Florida’s Gulf Coast?

  1. SUPPORT…we need all the oil and natural gas we can produce.
  2. OPPOSE..we do not need all the oil and natural gas we can produce.

Conclusion: The results of the survey cannot be used as a basis to form public policy on offshore drilling.

Does Buchanan’s unscientific and biased survey change anything?

The answer is no!

In January, 2011 Fortune magazine published an article titled “A short history of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico” by Doris Burke. Burke in his article asked: Who’s gulf is it? The answer:

Drilling was so lucrative that governmental squabbles developed over who owned the rights. The fight was resolved when [Republican] President Eisenhower signed the Submerged Lands Act in 1953, giving states most rights to natural resources within three miles from their coastlines. The feds could then auction leases for gulf blocks outside the states’ jurisdiction. [Emphasis added]

Today more than 80% of the oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico comes from deepwater wells located more than three miles off of Florida’s coast line.

The Submerged Lands Act was enacted in response to litigation that effectively transferred ownership of the first 3 miles of a state’s coastal submerged lands to the federal government. In the case United States v. California (1947), the United States successfully argued that the three nautical miles seaward of California belonged to the federal government, primarily finding that the federal government’s responsibility for the defense of the marginal seas and the conduction of foreign relations outweighed the interests of the individual states.

Former President Obama on December 20th, 2016 permanently banned oil and gas drilling in portions of the Arctic and Atlantic as a “poke” at then President elect Trump according to Politico. Dan Naatz of the Independent Petroleum Association of America said, “With exactly one month left in office, President Obama chose to succumb to environmental extremists demands to keep our nation’s affordable and abundant energy supplies away from those who need it the most by keeping them in the ground.”

Does it not make more sense and does it not potentially make it safer to drill closer to the Gulf of Mexico shorelines?

It appears that Rep. Buchanan is, like Obama, poking at President Trump and pandering to environmental extremists.

On his Facebook page Buchanan wrote, “Honored to have the endorsement of Oceans Champions.” But who is Ocean Champions? According to its website:

Ocean Champions is a 501(c)(4) organization with a connected political action committee – the first national organization of its kind focused solely on oceans and ocean wildlife. Our goal is to create a political environment where protecting and restoring the oceans is a national government priority.By helping to elect pro-ocean Congressional candidates and engaging with Congress to pass pro-ocean laws and shoot down bills that would harm the ocean.

What does Ocean Champions mean by having a goal to “create a political environment where protecting and restoring the oceans is a national government priority” and to “pass pro-ocean laws and shoot down bills that would harm the ocean?”

Under the Obama administration this meant implementation of the National Ocean Policy on July 19, 2010, known as “Ocean Zoning.” This policy was fully supported by Ocean Champions and twelve other environment groups.

Florida politicians are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). It is a maxim embraced by government planners and regulators in the Sunshine state at every level. They do not even want to determine what organic fossil fuels lay off of Florida’s coastlines. The precautionary principle worked to stop the building of nuclear power plants in the United States after the 3 Mile Island incident. Today the same tactic is being used to stop off shore drilling using the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Fear is not good public policy.

What is good public policy is insuring that Floridians have access to cheap and reliable power in the foreseeable future. Now is the time to take action. Waiting is not an option.

If the Florida delegation are committed to creating jobs, then they must diversify the economy by promoting energy independence. Energy independence will lead to reduced costs for electricity, gasoline and diversify the economy.

That is good public policy. This is the moral thing to do.

EDITORS NOTE: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  1. Geologists believe there may be large oil and natural gas deposits in the federal Outer Continental Shelf off of Florida’s western coast.
  2. Florida was second only to Texas in 2014 in net electricity generation from natural gas, which accounted for 61% of Florida’s net generation; coal accounted for almost 23%, the state’s nuclear power plants accounted for 12%, and other resources, including renewable energy, supplied the remaining 4% of electricity generation.
  3. Renewable energy accounted for 2.3% of Florida’s total net electricity generation in 2014, and the state ranked 10th in the nation in net generation from utility-scale solar energy.
  4. In part because of high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months, Florida’s retail electricity sales to the residential sector were second in the nation after Texas in 2014.
  5. Electricity accounts for 90% of the site energy consumed by Florida households, and the annual electricity expenditures of $1,900 are 40% higher than the U.S. average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Confronting the Gay Priest Problem

Recently, a priest who was prominent in the pastoral care of those with sex addictions received his fifteen minutes of fame when he revealed to his congregation at a Sunday Mass and to the National Catholic Reporter that he was “gay.”  According to news reports, his self-congratulation was met with thunderous applause. In a television interview, he proclaimed there is “nothing wrong with being gay.”

The game plan of a gay priest “coming out” was quite predictable and is politically effective. In revealing his homosexuality, the Midwestern priest was careful to assemble a string of ambiguous assertions that cannot be immediately assailed on grounds of orthodoxy, but when bundled together are morally subversive.  Here is the template:

  • Claim that sexual transparency is a matter of personal integrity.
  • Remind the public that you are a Catholic priest in good standing.
  • Proudly proclaim that you are “gay.”
  • Cultivate the adulation of your congregation by claiming victim status and the freedom that comes from such an honest revelation.
  • As a pre-emptive strike against disciplinary actions by ecclesiastical authorities claim that your self-revelation is truly courageous.
  • Feign humility and presume you have become a necessary role model for others.
  • Remind us that you and all gays (and members of the alphabet soup of sexual perversion) are created in the image of God (implying our sinful neglect).
  • Commit to celibacy (i.e., not to marry), but carefully avoid the term “Christian chastity.”

Each of these assertions, standing alone, would likely withstand ecclesiastical censure.  But when woven together, the gay agenda promoting the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle within the Church comes into a clear focus.

The priest’s bishop also responded according to a predictable contemporary ecclesiastical template: “We support [the priest] in his own personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation. As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion.”

The bishop probably succeeded in preventing a media firestorm. He also effectively allowed the priest to rise in stature as a gay freedom fighter. The studied moral ambiguity of the clerical gay activist proved to be an effective political buzz saw. The full and beautiful teachings of Christ on human sexuality, however, were further undermined.

Faithful and orthodox Catholics are at a political disadvantage in our gay-friendly culture.  We realize that same-sex inclinations – as with all seriously sinful inclinations – cause great suffering and, unrestrained, can become a true slavery that endangers others including adolescents and even young children. But our opposition to the gay agenda is often crudely characterized as hateful and unreasonable.  So it a brief sketch of natural law Catholic sexual morality may be helpful.

Male and female sex organs differ and have a unique reproductive function. The body of every human being contains a self-sufficient digestive or respiratory system. But it only contains half of a reproductive system and must be paired with a half-system belonging to a person of the opposite sex in order to carry out its function. These are undeniable biological facts.

“To engage in sex” is a relational term that implies male and female complementarity.  Only a male and a female truly “engage in sex.”  In contrast, same-sex “relations” involve the exercise of one’s sexual power, but not according to its self-evident nature.  Sodomy is not really relational “sex.”  It is merely a masturbatory use of sexual powers.  Similarly, there is no such thing as “sexual relations” with a “sex robot” (alas, an emerging technology).

When a priest claims to be “gay and proud,” he is revealing that he has assented to his same-sex attraction. Free and deliberate thoughts have moral implications, as Jesus asserted: “But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:28)   The difference between internal assent and external action is only a matter of a sinful opportunity. An unabashed and proud “gay” priest has already committed sodomy in his heart.

So how might an ecclesiastical superior defend Church teaching if one of his priests (or religious) claims a special dignity by “coming out” as gay?  The superior should invoke immutable Christian moral principles in dealing with a self-described gay priest:

  • Acknowledge that he is afflicted with “same-sex attraction” (SSA).
  • Admit that SSA is an inclination toward mortal sin that if not restrained will lead him and others to eternal damnation.
  • Identify and renounce any physical expression of SSA.
  • Properly define celibacy to include Christian chastity that precludes all sexual activity in thought, word or deed.
  • Invoke Scriptural references condemning sodomy (cf. Genesis and Saint Paul).
  • Renounce the use of the word “gay” because it is a political term that has its roots in the homosexual subculture.
  • Apologize for encouraging others to publicly reveal their mortally sinful inclinations. (The Eighth Commandment protects natural secrets.)

After a careful inquiry, the superior should release a public statement of clarification, prohibiting the priest from his homosexual activism and taking further personnel action according to the demands of Catholic morality and Canon Law.

Would a media firestorm ensue? Probably. But the superior would courageously confirm that the studied ambiguity of the gay agenda promoted by the priest is a lie.

During the rite of ordination for priests, the bishop says, “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.”  Priests – and everyone – are in a constant state of change, for the better or for the worse. Fulfilling the duties of Holy Orders or any Christian vocation with true moral integrity is a lifelong task.

If we are going to find our true and final happiness in Christ, we must not only recognize and understand our sinful inclinations, but make firm and constant efforts to overcome them. “Celebrating” those inclinations simply makes no sense – whether the inclination is same-sex attraction or any other deviation from God’s plan for us.

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia.

EDITORS NOTE: © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Planned Transgenderhood

Abortion giant Planned Parenthood released its annual report over the New Year’s holiday weekend posting record-setting income numbers for its fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017.

Again, the abortionist reported performing over 320,000 abortions this year, accounting for approximately 1/3 of the abortions performed in the United States. However, National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis points out “one glimmer of positive news” is the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood decreased from previous year, a result of the overall abortion rate continuing to drop across the country.

With fewer women seeking abortion, Planned Parenthood is apparently seeking to expand its business model. However, this does not mean actually providing more healthcare services for women such as mammograms or prenatal care. Instead, this year’s report highlights the organization’s new focus on providing transgender hormone therapy.

In other words, while masquerading as a “healthcare” provider for women, Planned Parenthood is apparently more invested in turning men into woman than expanding what are very critical women’s healthcare services.

The Washington Times reports “the nation’s largest abortion provider struggling to keep its doors open as fewer women undergo abortions and patients seek health care services elsewhere.” Overall patient visits are down 20% from 2010 and the latest financial numbers indicate a 43% decrease in assets due to the closing of dozens of clinics across the country.

Planned Parenthood’s record setting income is the result of a 19% increase in private contributions and bequests, including corporate donations, over the previous year. Undoubtedly, the 2016 election cycle was a boon for Planned Parenthood’s fundraising efforts as the organization remains a major player in left-wing political engineering circles.

The big picture here illustrates the overall exploitative nature of Planned Parenthood’s work. 37% of Planned Parenthood’s income comes from “Government Health Services Reimbursements & Grants.” A reimbursement of this nature is typically a Medicaid-type payment, something that happens at every qualified healthcare provider for every patient covered under the program. These services are covered at countless clinics that don’t serve as a front for an abortion business.

When patients seek these services elsewhere, abortion, the most expensive service offered, becomes more important to the bottom line, which DeSanctis believes is the underlying motivation for Planned Parenthood’s abortion quotas.

Keep in mind, the abortion industry has been linked to truly exploitative criminal activity such as sex trafficking. Live Action’s undercover investigations have caught multiple Planned Parenthood employees turning a blind eye to potential victims who were brought to in get what would amount to a forced abortion.

Furthermore, the politicization of gender identity is exploitative in nature as well. Planned Parenthood’s newest business initiative of providing sex-change therapy hormones essentially supports an agenda that is determined mandate men be allowed to use women’s restroom facilities on the basis of how they feel, not their biological sex. The left aims to enable predators in support of the LGBT agenda on this issue, despite the well-documented incidents that show these policies do in fact cause safety concerns.

All in all, Planned Parenthood works more to exploit women, provide abortions, help men become women, and less to provide actual healthcare services to women. So why would any corporation partner with such an organization? Clearly, with the reported 19% rise in donations this year, Planned Parenthood is depending on charity to keep its doors open.

That is why we created our resource guide highlighting the companies and non-profits that fund Planned Parenthood’s exploitative work. Follow the link here to see which companies are supporting the abortion giant and use the links to contact their corporate headquarters and tell them to stop using our dollars to help advance Planned Parenthood’s agenda.

Help us continue holding companies accountable for supporting Planned Parenthood’s abortion business by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Key Numbers From Planned Parenthood’s New Annual Report

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on 2ndVote.com.

Why the Florida Congressional Delegation is Wrong on Drilling

At the start of March, 2017 U.S. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke announced that 73 million acres in the Gulf would be open to drilling for five years starting in August.

It appears that some members of the Florida Congressional delegation, lead by Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, are against President Trump’s effort to open up the Sunshine State’s shorelines to oil and natural gas exploration. Included in this group are Republicans Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Vern Buchanan. Interestingly both Rubio and Buchanan voted for the H.R. 1 tax bill which included a provision to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). So they voted for off shore drilling but are now against it?

Some members of the Florida Congressional delegation, including Rubio and Buchanan, are are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). 

Rep. Buchanan stated, “Florida’s coastal communities depend on a clean and healthy ocean and we shouldn’t jeopardize the state’s economy or environment by gambling on operations that lack adequate safeguards.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement after the Interior Department released its draft 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing:

“I have long supported the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which is not slated to expire until 2022, and introduced legislation to extend the moratorium until 2027. As the Department of Interior works to finalize their draft plan, I urge Secretary Zinke to recognize the Florida Congressional delegation’s bipartisan efforts to maintain and extend the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and remove this area for future planning purposes.”

What is interesting is that it is the U.S. Congress that has over site over the Interior Department which sets safeguards for oil and natural gas exploration. It is also important to note that Florida’s tourist, agricultural, transportation, healthcare based economy is dependent on cheap and reliable power.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  1. Geologists believe there may be large oil and natural gas deposits in the federal Outer Continental Shelf off of Florida’s western coast.
  2. Florida was second only to Texas in 2014 in net electricity generation from natural gas, which accounted for 61% of Florida’s net generation; coal accounted for almost 23%, the state’s nuclear power plants accounted for 12%, and other resources, including renewable energy, supplied the remaining 4% of electricity generation.
  3. Renewable energy accounted for 2.3% of Florida’s total net electricity generation in 2014, and the state ranked 10th in the nation in net generation from utility-scale solar energy.
  4. In part because of high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months, Florida’s retail electricity sales to the residential sector were second in the nation after Texas in 2014.
  5. Electricity accounts for 90% of the site energy consumed by Florida households, and the annual electricity expenditures of $1,900 are 40% higher than the U.S. average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Even as the population of Florida has grown dramatically and increased its use of fossil fuels, the Sunshine State has become a much better place to live, work and play.

Alex Scott reported:

A new report from Westwood Global Energy Group has revealed that whilst fewer exploration wells were drilled in the first half of 2017 (compared to the same period a year ago), the commercial success rates of these wells is up.

Overall, commercial success rates jumped to 53% in the first half of 2017 from a 30% success rate in the first half of 2016.

According to Westwood’s Global’s Head of Research, Andrew Hughes, the report indicates, ‘green shoots for exploration drilling, however overall activity remains subdued.’ He also added that ‘the lower well count is translating into more success and lower finding costs, proving that the old exploration mantra of “quality through choice” continues to hold true’.

The American Petroleum Institute (AEI) notes that some of the richest energy reserves in the world are just off of U.S. shores waiting to be discovered in a government owned area lying just 3 – 200 miles out to sea. AEI published a video of an advanced exploration technique called seismic surveying, which is the first step to unlock oil and natural gas resources needed to ensure Florida’s energy security.

Florida politicians are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). It is a maxim embraced by government planners and regulators in the Sunshine state at every level. They do not even want to determine what organic fossil fuels lay off of Florida’s coastlines. The precautionary principle worked to stop the building of nuclear power plants in the United States after the 3 Mile Island incident. Today the same tactic is being used to stop off shore drilling using the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Fear is not good public policy.

What is good public policy is insuring that Floridians have access to cheap and reliable power in the foreseeable future. Now is the time to take action. Waiting is not an option.

If the Florida delegation are committed to creating jobs, then they must diversify the economy by promoting energy independence. Energy independence will lead to reduced costs for electricity, gasoline and diversify the economy.

That is good public policy. This is the moral thing to do.

VIDEO: College Student Defends Killing a 2-Year Old Because ‘It Can’t Communicate’

Ronald Reagan, in an article titled “Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation“, Human Life Review, Spring 1984, wrote:

[W]e cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide. My Administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land, and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning. [Emphasis added]

StudentsForLife published a YouTube video of a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville bragged about his support for infanticide up to two years of age! Extremism from abortion supporters is one reason many people are moving towards the pro-life movement.

“The idea that someone could support infanticide is incredibly disturbing. Yet, it reflects the kinds of attitudes our staff members and students can face on a daily basis on high school and college campuses,” Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said. “Life is only valuable if I can talk to it?”

RELATED ARTICLE: GUILTY: Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Company Surrenders In First Successful Prosecution [+video]

VIDEO: The Cure for Toxic Masculinity Is Real Masculinity

Don’t ask us not to be men. Ask us to be real men.

Since the #MeToo phenomenon hit, I have started asking my female friends directly about their everyday experiences with men. For example, what proportion of men that they “meet” on a dating app send utterly inappropriate communications, and how often in everyday life does a guy disrespect them in a way that’s overtly or implicitly sexual?

While I am sure that my circle of male friends isn’t fully representative of the population of men at large, I was shocked to discover from my unscientific survey how many men have no clue about how to behave. Based on the combined responses of several women I trust, the number of men who say or do something offensive to a woman they don’t know on a dating app, almost right out of the gate, may be just shy of a majority.

And many a young woman can, if you ask her, relate tales of men making inappropriate remarks, shouting out of a car window as she walks down the street, whipping out his genitalia after one too many drinks, or being opportunistically crude at a coffee shop, even as she sits there with a very young child. (These were all stories I was told.) For some young women, these things seem to happen on a more or less monthly basis.

My recent conversations with female friends about the matter has led me to this question: what the hell is wrong with these men, and why are there so many of them?

What Has Happened to Men?

To me, this is not a question about sexual harassment. It’s a more fundamental one: an old-fashioned idea called manners. My female friends’ experiences with men have surprised me because they have to put up with a lot more, and a lot more often, than I could have expected based on the evidence available to me as a result of my interactions with other men.

Even though I have robust views about not calling gittish and crass people “predators” or those on the receiving end of rude behaviors “victims”, it must be horrible to have to put up with so much boorishness. I don’t think I’d have the patience for it.

How have we let this happen?

If you’re male and reading this with the same limited appreciation of the matter as I had before I started asking my female friends to list examples of ill-mannered, sexually-loaded behavior, you may be skeptical. I urge you, however, to do the same thing as I have done and ask a cross-section of your female friends to give you examples of their personal anecdotes of such behavior from the last few months. They may well provide more than you expect.Thinking on all of this, and being appalled by bad manners anywhere for any reason, I have started considering what I, as a man, should be saying to other men, if anything, about this problem. My long-held opinion (stated elsewhere) that Western culture is suffering a crisis in masculinity may well find sympathy among many of those who have been fervent in driving the #MeToo phenomenon, but I suspect my prescription for solving this crisis may be more controversial: I believe we need more masculinity, not less, and we need it because what the Louis C.K.s and the Weinsteins of this world have been doing is not an expression of masculinity in its true sense at all.

I’d like to see us turning to these men and asking them in a very disappointed tone, as opposed to a dramatic and scandalized one, “How pathetic are you — and why?” Because that question in that tone conveys the important message that their behavior doesn’t make them more manly; it makes them less so.

Toxic Masculinity Is the Problem, Not Simply Masculinity

Scientifically trained, I generally take care to get out of my own subjective way in my political articles, but this time, I’ll make an exception and happily admit that what follows is a subjective, almost intuitive suggestion offered in the hope of inviting constructive discussion.

The true masculine, or the “sacred masculine” if you prefer, is kind, honest, controlled, disciplined, heroic, protective, strong, rational, and even clever. Throwing out the baby of masculinity with the bathwater of disrespect is absolutely the last thing we need to be doing. Telling men that masculinity is inherently flawed or dangerous is to tell a lie born of misdiagnosis. The moral vacuum in which Weinstein and Franken and others of their ilk operate can only be filled by a celebratory masculinity that is held up as something to aspire to.

If there is such a thing as a spiritual law, none is more certain than, “What is focused on is made bigger,” so let us define that highest version of masculinity as an invitation to men – a north star, if you will, to guide them as they interact with others. That would enable those aspects of men that are gendered, sexual, and desirous to be integrated into the highest versions of who they are, rather than denied or pathologized only to be expressed in distorted ways that can, indeed, reasonably be called “toxic.”Treating toxic masculinity with real masculinity and pointing to the difference between the two has the benefit of engaging the irrepressible male ego on the side of good — of aligning maleness with manners rather than against them.

Perhaps most importantly, a culturally normalized notion of proud and positive masculinity would allow mothers once again to be able to say to their sons, “This is how you treat a woman, and, in so doing, this is how to be a man.” Boys want to be men, so we can surely only improve them by appealing to that desire rather than suppressing it and thereby creating a vacuum to be filled by a distorted and hollow replacement.

Attention: Men. Don’t Be Stupid.

Shocking as they are, it’s not all the male bad manners that astonished me most about the stories I’ve recently heard. It’s male stupidity. After all, if I were a man who wants any kind of sexual satisfaction or affirmation from a woman, and the most sophisticated play I had was to shout out of a car window, rub up against her on a train, or ask her if I can masturbate in front of her, then you’d hope that I’d eventually work out that my method isn’t all that effective.

How deficient, one may ask, does a person have to be to be unable to assess the results of his actions against his goals, especially as the results (or lack thereof) repeat themselves over and over? Indeed, a need for sexual affirmation or activity that is so great that they would cause me to leave my manners at the front door should, even if I were a sociopath, motivate me to start collecting the data. (Rationality is supposed to be a “masculine trait” too, isn’t it?) How long, then, before the thought hits that being rude to every second woman that I find faintly attractive isn’t getting me what I want from them?

In reaction to that level of stupidity alone, I can’t help but feel that men should be asking other men, “What is this nonsense?”

That would be an approach to making better men that makes more of true masculinity, not less of it. It’s an approach that says to those who are toxic in their approaches to women, “That’s the opposite of masculinity. That’s what you do when you’re not a man. That’s what you do when you haven’t got the basics.”

Holding the Feminine and the Truly Masculine Sacred

I love the polarity that exists between the masculine and feminine. Long before #MeToo, I was writing that no one benefits when men can’t be men because masculinity itself has almost become taboo. Men who can’t be, and feel like, real men cannot give women the pleasure of feeling like real women.

I stand by all of that, but when I first wrote it, I was missing something: there are a bunch of men out there on dating apps and shouting out of car windows who actually are making women feel very much like women – but not the kind of women they want to feel like being. You could say, rather, that toxic male approaches are causing women to have a toxic experience of their own femininity. How dare we do that to something so exquisite and delicious?

So, my message to men who are disrespecting women is that you are making it harder for the rest of us. By giving women good reason to be wary of any kind of male approach, you’re making all the women out there skeptical of me and the decent examples of my gender. And I’m not ok with that.But I also have a message for mothers. Mom, it’s okay to make your son a man. It’s okay to use that word. Only once you’ve used that word can you turn around and say, “This behavior isn’t masculine; it’s pathetic. And by the way, son, if you actually want to get with an attractive woman, here’s how not to do it. Don’t disrespect her; don’t throw crude one-liners out of a car window, and don’t send a picture of your genitals to her on a dating app. If you want to get the attractive women, the smart women, the kind of women you’re going to enjoy — and you should — then why don’t you learn a little bit about them? Indeed, why don’t you learn a little bit about the difference between them and you?”

And that last piece is so important because I have a sense (and I could be wrong) that many people who have been pushing the #MeToo phenomenon hard are of the more third-wave-feminist persuasion, wanting to collapse that distinction between men and women. (It’s all socialization, they say.) But I’m suggesting the exact opposite approach to solving the problem out of which #MeToo has arisen.

Why not tell our boys what’s great and beautiful about masculinity so that once we’ve built them up in what they are, they have no need to feel threatened or intimidated by learning about the feminine other — that other that will drive them through life in more ways than they will ever consciously realize? Let’s spend more time promoting models of positive masculinity than on telling guys, young and old, that, and why, we’re all awful. (We’re not.) Let’s talk up the good alpha-males: those who are comfortable in their masculinity — assertive while respectful, confident while polite, ambitious while kind. They exist in all areas of life. The next time you’re about to talk about Al Franken’s shenanigans, how about talking instead about one of those real men, who gets what he wants through respect? And draw the contrast between them explicitly.

Spoiler Alert: Sex Is Amazing. So Seek It Properly.

Then, as we start celebrating healthy, robust masculinity, let’s not slip back into thinking that the problem we are trying to solve has anything much to do with sex. As Oscar Wilde famously said, “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.”

That applies here and now – albeit not in quite the way Wilde meant it.

The unacceptable sexual behaviors of men who exhibit toxic masculinity are rooted in something to do with power – but not primarily in the conscious exertion of sexual power over another. Rather, their disrespectful treatment of women for a sexual prize (which they invariably fail to win) is reflective of a lack of inner power as men which leaves them resorting to aggressive behavior and exploiting the immediate superficial and circumstantial power that exists by virtue of a professional relationship or particular social or economic context.Men shouldn’t behave disrespectfully toward women not because there’s anything wrong with their sexuality, their desire, or their masculinity. No; they shouldn’t do it because no one should disrespect anyone, ever. Period. End of story.

We have to take care, then, that we don’t misdiagnose the disease just because it is more easily seen in certain situations than in others: disrespect from men is disproportionately observed in the sexual domain because the male sexual imperative is never really turned off, and it necessarily manifests in ways that are directly seen and experienced by women (assuming the men are straight).

Women, please help us good men police our own by talking up positive masculinity – the masculinity that you want more of. Celebrate the polarity between your femininity and the masculinity of the men you like. Tell us that it’s ok to be sexually assertive and thoroughly masculine – but only in the right context. And explain to us that that context always involves the prior establishment of mutual respect, a sense of safety, and trust. We are basic creatures. You, ladies, are gatekeepers. So let us know that respect and social competence will open that gate much more easily than will crude attempts to bash it down.

In short, don’t ask us not to be men. Ask us to be real men.

Robin Koerner

Robin Koerner

Robin Koerner is British-born and recently became a citizen of the USA. A decade ago, he founded WatchingAmerica.com, an organization of over 200 volunteers that translates and posts views about the USA from all over the world, works as a trainer and a consultant, and recently wrote the book If You Can Keep It.

Definition of Insanity: Fighting for women’s rights while allowing men to use women’s public restrooms

In 2016 and 2017 Americans witnessed a rise in accusations, founded and unfounded, made by women against men for sexual innuendo, sexual abuse,  sexual assault and rape.

Historically women “rights issues” have include but are not limited to: equality in pay, breaking the “glass ceiling” in business and politics, the right to choose and personal safety (from unwanted verbal harassment or sexual abuse).

The feminist movement considers itself to be the standard bearers of women’s rights issues. But are they?

For example, some noted feminist leaders have supported allowing LGBTQ individuals to choose to use women’s public restrooms based upon their “gender identity” rather than their biological sex (male or female). Wikipedia notes:

Some feminists, such as Judith Butler and Jack Halberstam, believe that transgender and transsexual people challenge repressive gender norms and that transgender politics are fully compatible with feminism. Additionally, some transgender and transsexual people, such as Julia Serano and Jacob Anderson-Minshall, identify as transfeminists.

QUESTIONS: How does this prevent the documented sexual abuse of women and little girls in public restrooms? Isn’t this incompatible with the idea/ideal of keeping women safe from sexual abuse? How can feminists fight for the safety of women and girls from sexual abuse while at the same time fight to have the LGBTQ community use the public restroom of their choice regardless of their biological sex?

ANSWER: Feminists use what is called the Hegelian dialectic. The Hegelian dialectic is usually presented in a fourfold manner:

  1. An agenda.
  2. Which leads to a thesis.
  3. Giving rise to an antithesis.
  4. Leading to a new thesis, which contradicts or negates the original thesis.

The Hegelian dialectic was used to further the feminist movement. But has feminism actually help women?

Diana M. PearcePh.D. faculty member of the University of Washington School of Social Work faculty and director of the Center for Women’s Welfare.

In a 1978 essay titled “The Feminization of Poverty: Women, Work, and Welfare” feminist scholar Dr. Diana Pearce coined the phrase “feminization of poverty.” Pierce lamented that while large opportunities were opening for women due to greater equality, “Poverty is rapidly becoming a female problem.” She blamed the significant increase in the number of female-headed families.

Pearse noted:

Poverty Is rapidly becoming a female problem. Though many women have achieved economic Independence from their spouse by their participation In the labor force (and in some cases, by divorce), for many the price of that independence has been their pauperization and dependence on welfare, in 1976, nearly two out of three of the 15 million poor persons over 18 were women. (Bureau of the Census, 1976) in certain groups, the imbalance was even greater: over 70% of the aged poor are women. Black women, who were only 6.1% of the population in 1975, accounted for 17.0% of the poor that year. (Women’s Bureau, 1977)

The economic status of women has declined over the past several decades. [Emphasis added]

Things have not gotten better for women since 1976.  A recent fact sheet from the National Women’s Law Center reported, “Women were 35% more likely to live in poverty than men.”

According to the September 2016 Fact Sheet, National Snapshot: Poverty Among Women & Families 2015:

  • More than one in eight women, more than 16.9 million, lived in poverty in 2015. More than 2 in 5 (45.7 percent) of these women lived in extreme poverty, defined as income at or below 50 percent of the federal poverty level. This means nearly 1 in 16 women lived in extreme poverty last year.
    Women (13.4 percent) were 35 percent more likely than men (9.9 percent) to live in poverty in 2015. Women were also more likely than men to be in extreme poverty: 6.1 percent of women versus 4.4 percent of men lived in extreme poverty in 2015.
  • Poverty was even higher for certain groups of women
  • Women in all racial and ethnic groups were more likely than white, non-Hispanic men to be in poverty. 9.6 percent of white, non-Hispanic women lived in poverty in 2015, compared to 7.1 percent of white, non-Hispanic men. However, poverty rates were particularly high for women of color:
    African American women: 23.1 percent of African American women lived in poverty.
    Native American women: 22.7 percent of Native American women lived in poverty.
    Hispanic women: 20.9 percent of Hispanic women lived in poverty.
    o Asian women: 11.7 percent of Asian women lived in poverty.
  • More than 1 in 6 (17.6 percent) foreign-born women lived in poverty in 2015.

The Witherspoon Institute published an article titled “Manhood Is Not Natural” by Glenn T. Stanton.  Mr. Stanton notes:

Ghettos are not created by city planners, crime by the police, or failing health by big pharma. Each of these social ills arises by inattention to the sexual behaviors of males. If he doesn’t have to marry before having sex (and potentially fathering children), the average man won’t. So he hasn’t. The feminization of poverty and the accompanying declines in female happiness and childhood well-being are the tragic results.

How do feministas and all women turn this around?

In Manhood in the Making, anthropologist David Gilmore provides an essential insight:

One of my findings here is that manhood ideologies always include a criterion of selfless generosity, even to the point of sacrifice. Again and again, we find that “real” men are those who give more than they take away; they serve others. Real men are generous, even to a fault. Non-men are often those stigmatized as stingy and unproductive.

Stanton notes,

“A good man is the fountain, not the drain. The formation of such men is the first task of human civilization, and its largest threat when ignored.”

Stanton asks,

“The question is, how can we recover manhood today? We must find the answer. For it is not only the fate of men that is at stake, but the fate of our women, children, and society as well.”

Women ignore virtue and morality at our own risk. It is time to restore the first task of human civilization – the formation of virtuous and moral men.

The only ones who can form virtuous and moral men are virtuous and moral women.

RELATED VIDEO: Problematic women.

The Paradoxical Structure of the Kingdom

In 1970, the noted Catholic philosopher Frederick Wilhelmsen published a little book entitled The Paradoxical Structure of Existence. Wilhelmsen was a great teacher and also a very clear writer who could make Thomistic metaphysics intelligible, even for us non-professionals. Following St. Thomas, Wilhelmsen glories in the transcendence of the principle of existence in both created an uncreated being, and thus he escapes the limited philosophical perspectives that have paralyzed our thinking for centuries now.

My subject here, however, is not the paradoxical structure of existence, but rather the paradoxical structure of the Kingdom of God – established by God’s Word made Flesh. I am not a metaphysician and I struggle with deeper matters of theology. But it seems clear to me that this structure of the Kingdom follows quite Theo-logically from the principle of St. Thomas that grace always builds upon nature.

So, if the created order of being, the natural order, has a paradoxical structure inherent in its very being, then the Kingdom of God created by grace would be expected to have a similar paradoxical structure. And there is all kinds of evidence of this fact in the Gospels and the New Testament as a whole. But it all begins with the Incarnation itself, the first manifestation of which we are about to celebrate on Christmas.

What Christians believe about the Incarnation involves, perhaps, the greatest paradox of all. The infinite Son of God, the creative Word, has quite literally become a finite creature – not by a synthesis of opposites (divinity/humanity, creator/creature, as understood by Hegelian dialectics). That would have suppressed both the humanity and the divinity: and resulted in something else altogether. Instead, there is a transcendent synthesis, in which divinity and humanity are both perfectly preserved in the transcendence of the Divine Person who is made incarnate.

Paradox is the only literary vehicle we have even to begin to understand this great mystery. The infinite becomes finite without ceasing to be infinite. Because the divine person is pure existence, Ipsum Esse Subsistens, which transcends being itself, He does not become a human person but remains what He is, the perfect image of God the Father, and Creator.

Theologically, everything flows from this paradox of paradoxes. And thus many aspects of the Kingdom that He came to establish can only be described in paradoxical terms. For instance, in the Kingdom of God, you only find yourself if you lose yourself. We cannot understand who we really are nor become what we are meant to become unless we “lose” whatever there is in our “self” that contradicts the purpose for which God has created us. The “ego” that we have corrupted by our sins and self-aggrandizement, has to be “lost,” i.e., purified and transformed into the image of the perfect Image of God whom we call our Savior.

That’s just one wonderful example of this paradoxical structure, and there are many others. For instance, when Jesus says to St. Paul  (2 Corinthians 12:9), “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Surely, this paradoxical principle of the Christian life is traceable back to the Incarnation itself: God’s divine power was made perfect here in this world in the weakness of the human nature assumed by the Son. The full manifestation of this paradoxical truth takes place on Calvary, when the weakness of Jesus reaches its zenith, and the power of God brings about the redemption of the human race. But it was first manifested in that stable at Bethlehem where an infinite divine person was born into this world in all the weakness and vulnerability of an infant. Isn’t this what fills us with wonder and joy every Christmas, this ultimate paradox of paradoxes?

Certainly St. Paul learned a great lesson from this supreme paradox, necessary to help him grow stronger spiritually “in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.” He learned to imitate Christ in His weakness, and thus he concludes with great confidence and even joy, “For when I am weak, then am I strong.”

A last example: this one from Luke 22. There Jesus teaches his disciples “let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.” This paradox echoes a similar text, earlier in the Gospels, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus is speaking here specifically to those whom he is calling to lead the Church, his Apostles. They above all have to learn the lesson of this paradox.

In the Kingdom of God, where the order of grace fully operates, true greatness is the result of humility and service of the other, just as Christ humbled himself in obedience unto death and was Himself the Servant of the servants of God. How interesting, then, that these very words have been used, since the time of Gregory the Great, to describe the office of the pope.

How wonderful and joyful it is to meditate on the multiple paradoxes found in the Gospels. Let me repeat: all of them are grounded in that ultimate paradox of the Incarnation and lead us constantly back to that mystery.

And all of them help us to understand how this paradoxical Gospel teaching and the order of grace not only changed the perception of the dignity of the human person, but they enabled the human person to transcend the very limitations of his sinful nature in order to become a true child of God, in and through that order of grace.

Even the greatest pagan philosophers never really understood the true dignity of the individual human person. Only with God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, was the transcendence and ultimate destiny of the human person made manifest.

Fr. Mark A. Pilon

Fr. Mark A. Pilon

Fr. Mark A. Pilon, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, received a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from Santa Croce University in Rome. He is a former Chair of Systematic Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, and a retired and visiting professor at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. He writes regularly at littlemoretracts.wordpress.com.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is titled Light of the Incarnation by Carl Gutherz, 1888 [Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN] © 2017 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.