Thursday, December 19, 2013

What is Personhood?

What is humanity? What is personhood? What makes a human being so uniquely a human being? Are all human beings equal? These are questions we must answer.

Not answering these questions – as individuals and as a society – means we have no way to apply the law equally to all human beings. If we don’t know who is a human, how do we know who has human rights? If we don’t know what a person is, how can we tell if we are mistreating one? There has to be a conclusive answer and we have to find it. It’s not good enough to say that no one knows and leave it at that. If it’s really true that no one knows, then we are guilty of criminal ignorance because we have not answered this extremely important question. How can we even pretend to have a just law or any measure of equality if we can’t even determine who it is that is supposed to be equal?

Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy question to answer. Defining personhood is difficult. But not because it’s too complicated or esoteric or unanswerable. It’s difficult because we don’t like the obvious answer. We want to make it more complicated so we can avoid the question or relegate it to the realm of unanswerable mysteries. The implications of the obvious answer are as profound as they are unsettling.

The simple truth is that all living biological organisms with human DNA are human persons, regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, stage of development, location, gender, disability, or any other characteristic. Those things are only ways of describing a person. They don’t define one.

The problem is that we humans are really good at ignoring or denying this simple fact. We have a really bad track record when it comes to how we treat other humans. We’re very good at rationalizing our prejudices and bad behavior. One way we rationalize this mistreatment of each other is to deny that the other person IS a person. We tend to explain away the humanity and worth of our fellow humans so as to justify treating them differently. We say we want equality, but we really mean “equality” for people like ourselves.

History is full of examples. Trying to separate humanity and personhood, as if they were different things, has been done throughout the ages by those who wish to trample on the rights of others. In Nazi Germany, it was the Jews, the physically and mentally disabled, and the gypsies (among others) who weren’t “persons.” In US pre-Civil War times, it was the African Americans who weren’t “persons.” Even women were once considered less of a person than men. And those are just a few of the more recent examples. But every time we have tried to separate humanity and personhood, we have been wrong. And it has led to horrific crimes against other people.

On this side of history, we see the mistakes of the past and we wonder how anyone could think it was okay to murder, rape, and enslave other human beings. Couldn’t they see how wrong it was? And yet we still haven’t learned our lesson. We still try to define personhood as some esoteric property that some humans do not possess.

I’m referring, of course, to abortion. The murder of the unborn.

We aren’t as enlightened as we think we are. We’re still trying to pretend that some humans aren’t people so we can justify mistreating them. We just changed the criteria. Rather than looking down our noses at people of another skin color, we are ignoring the rights of the youngest and weakest among us. Why? Well, they look different. Same argument, different wrapping paper.

Not only do we ignore the rights of the unborn, but we pat ourselves on the back for our cleverness in defining personhood in the process. We’re so proud that we’ve given up defining personhood by superficial characteristics like skin color or gender. We have better criteria now.  Personhood has to do with self-consciousness. Or maybe it’s about being able to survive outside a womb. Or maybe it’s a heart beat. Or brain waves. Or eating chocolate. Ok, maybe we aren’t sure. But we are sure that those unborn children aren’t the same as us. The details aren’t important. They don’t have whatever it is that makes us a person, so it’s not like it’s murder to kill one. Until they develop that property – whatever it is – it’s okay to end their lives.

The problem with this argument is that “human-ness” or personhood – this elusive quality that makes us uniquely valuable and gives us human rights – is an either-or proposition. You either have it or you don’t. You either are a person or you aren’t. There are no gradations of humanity. We can’t be partially human or almost human. We don’t have some people that are more of a person than others. We have people that are bigger or older or more developed. We have people that are richer or poorer, taller or shorter, more or less capable. But we’re all equally human and equally valuable. We don’t gain our humanity by gaining any physical or mental abilities; nor do we lose it if we lose those abilities. We have this personhood attribute when we begin to exist and we have it for as long as we exist. There is no in-between.

Since development is a gradual process, taking tiny steps of growing ability, it cannot bestow humanity. Personhood must be gained all at once – going from “not a person” to “person” in one giant leap. It cannot be achieved gradually because there are no gradations of humanity or personhood. You can’t gradually develop personhood as you gradually develop consciousness or body functions.

In the end, we see that all attempts to separate humanity and personhood fail. Race doesn’t provide a logical basis for denying personhood. But neither does development. We have to face the facts, no matter how uncomfortable we find them.

The ONLY event that objectively and categorically produces a new human being where there wasn’t one before…

The radical event that we can all point to as the beginning of life…

The time when development starts and a new and unique individual is formed…

…is fertilization.

Only fertilization meets the criteria for an event that creates a new human life. All humans must be persons. Fertilization creates a human. So at fertilization we achieve our humanity and our personhood. The two cannot be separated.

Nothing else makes sense.


Monday, November 18, 2013

15 Facts About Me

For those of you who are wondering who this blogger is who writes about inalienable rights and abortion and conservatism and marriage and who posts recipes's a list of 15 facts about me. This list thing has been going around facebook so I thought I would join in.

1) I met my husband at a Creation Research Society conference. We're both science nerds and we hit it off right away.
2) I talk loudly when I get really excited or upset about something.
3) I've lived in 6 states: Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia. I've been to 21 states and Canada.
4) I am the oldest of 7 kids and the youngest is 21 years younger than I.
5) I like snakes, but hate spiders. My first response to hearing there is a snake (or pretty much any reptile) about is to immediately look for it and try to catch it.
6) I raised guinea pigs for several years as a teenager. Anything you want to know (or don't want to know) about guinea pigs, I can probably tell you.
7) My husband was my first and only boyfriend, and I was 24 before I went on my first date.
8 ) I've never broken any of my bones.
9) I'm the oldest child, my mom was an oldest child, and her mom was an oldest child. We're three generations of firstborn girls. And then I had a girl first too.
10) I learned to read when I was 3 and I've loved reading ever since.
11) I didn't learn to drive until I was almost 22...mostly because my younger brother made a great chauffeur. I finally learned to drive in desperation after realizing that he was not going to be attending college with me any more. It took me 3 weeks.
12) That saying about being pregnant and barefoot in the a summation of my married life, and I love it. When Katelyn was born, I had been pregnant for roughly half of our marriage.
13) I have never colored my hair.
14) I am not artistic or sentimental. All those cute baby books and scrapbooks and artsy crafts are totally foreign to me. I have no idea how to do them and it doesn't interest me.
15) I love to cook and create new dishes. I almost never make anything according to the recipe. I have to modify it. And I never measure unless I'm baking. Thankfully, my husband never complains about being a taste-tester.

Linked up with WLWW.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Pro-Choice" means Pro-Abortion

When I discuss the issue of abortion, I usually refer to the other side as “pro-abortion.” They like to refer to me as “anti-abortion” and it seems appropriate to identify the sides of the issue using terms that clearly spell out what they are for or against. But for some reason, the pro-abortion side doesn’t like that term applied to them. They consistently reject the term and substitute “pro-choice.”

However, the distinction they are trying to make between pro-abortion and pro-choice doesn't really exist. The reason they like the pro-choice label is because it sounds better. It’s a euphemism. And, like most euphemisms, it’s designed to cover up the reality of the topic being discussed by framing it in more palatable terms. We use euphemisms to refer to things we find distasteful or embarrassing. We use euphemisms for sex and sexual organs. We use them to refer to a death. We use them to make crimes and bad choices sound better. And we use them to obscure the reality of horrendous acts like abortion.

Not only is “pro-choice” a euphemism, but it isn’t even accurate. The “pro-choice” liberals aren’t talking about being for choice in every regard. They’re usually against school choice and school vouchers, for example. They’re typically against the choice to own guns. They don’t want women to choose to stay home with their children and home school them. They don’t want parents to have the choice of what their kids eat for lunch at school. They don’t want choice in health insurance. The only time they trot out the “choice” rhetoric is when the topic of abortion comes up. So what is this choice they are so adamantly in favor of?

They only apply this issue of choice to a woman’s pregnancy. But it can’t be the choice to have the baby they’re talking about. Everyone agrees that a woman has a right to choose to have her baby. It can’t be the choice to put the baby up for adoption. No one disagrees with that choice either. So what is the choice that differentiates the two sides? What choice is it that the "pro-choice" crowd is in favor of? It's the choice to have an abortion. The fundamental issue is that "pro-choice" people think it is okay to make the choice to abort, and that makes them pro-abortion.

As an analogy, let’s look at some other topics. If you think a person should have a legal choice to take someone else’s property if he so chooses, you’re pro-theft. If you think parents should be able to abuse their children if they feel like it, you’re pro-child abuse. If you think it's okay for a man to choose to rape a woman if he wants to, you're pro-rape. You don’t have to think every man should rape every woman to be pro-rape. All you have to do in order to be pro-rape is think that rape is a legitimate choice a man has a right to make. So, by the same token, if you think it is okay for a woman to choose to abort her unborn child if she wants to – in other words, if you think that’s a legitimate choice a woman has a right to make – you're pro-abortion.

Really, the “pro-abortion” term is already a sanitized version. Abortion is such an innocent sounding term to describe such a horrific reality. We’re tearing an unborn baby limb from limb, crushing his skull, or burning him alive with a strong saline solution. We’re taking the life of an innocent human being in some of the most inhumane ways possible. But we don’t talk about that. We refer to it as “aborting,” like we do when we start a computer program and need to stop it before it completely loads. It sounds like just an “oops” we need to fix. Just something we started and decided not to finish. No big deal, right? We describe it as anything but the reality of what it is: the gruesome and purposeful murder of the smallest and most needy among us.

For the sake of clarity, I’ll give them the pro-abortion label, even though I would rather call them pro-murder, pro-torture, and pro-death. But I won’t refer to them as pro-choice any more. The millions of unborn babies sacrificed in the name of “choice” deserve better than to have me euphemize their deaths and disregard their lives like that. Ending their lives isn’t just some innocent choice and I won’t pretend that it is.

Not only does the pro-abortion side euphemistically label themselves “pro-choice,” but they label their opposition as “anti-choice.” Like their own self label, this one is inaccurate. I’m not against choice. I think people should have a lot of choices. Remember all those choices I mentioned above that liberals don’t want you to have? Well, I’m in favor of them. I think people should have the freedom to make any choice that doesn’t harm another person or otherwise infringe on their rights.

As for pregnancy, I think women should have a choice of whether or not to be pregnant. But a woman exercises that choice when she consents to sex. Once her choice to engage in sex creates a child, the time for choice is past. A new human being exists and she shouldn’t have the choice to murder him. So, I’m all for choices, including reproductive choice. But once conception has occurred the choice to reproduce has already been made. The only choice remaining is whether or not to kill the child. I don’t think anyone should have that choice.

As for the term “anti-abortion” that is often applied to my position, I really don’t mind that one. I know it is usually used as a put down. It’s supposed to paint me in a negative light by pointing out what I’m against rather than what I’m for. But in this case I don’t mind being described by what I am against. Yes, I’m against abortion. I’m proud to be against abortion. I’m also anti-rape, anti-theft, and anti-child abuse. Nobody thinks those are bad labels. I lump abortion right in there with the rest of those crimes. So I’ll wear the anti-abortion label with pride. All the pro-abortion people are welcome to call me that.

Linked up with WLWW.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Do Christians Force Their Beliefs on Others?

Whenever Christians take a stand on moral and political issues in public, you are likely to hear liberals counter with “You can’t force your beliefs on other people.” I totally agree that no one should force their beliefs on another person. However, I disagree with the way the liberals use that phrase.

The way liberals use the phrase, they talk of Christians "forcing religion" on people when they are simply voting according to what they believe is right or practicing their faith in public. But forcing your beliefs on someone is when you use force (whether your own or the force of the government) to make them observe your religion or to try to coerce them into believing as you do. I don't see Christians doing that. I haven't heard anyone saying that government should force people to become Christians, to tithe to the church, to say prayers, or do any other religious observance. If anyone knows of such things happening, let me know. I’ll be first in line to say that it should not be happening.

The fact of the matter is that it is not, and should not be, illegal to practice your faith in public as long as you are not infringing on anyone's rights. In fact, the Bill of Rights specifically states that Congress may not "prohibit the free exercise" of religion. Allowing people to act and vote according to their religious beliefs is precisely what the First Amendment was designed to ensure.

One thing that confuses a lot of people is that a lot of Christians do vote (and otherwise participate in government) in ways that are consistent with their faith. For example, Christians believe that abortion is wrong, according to the Bible, and thus want it to be illegal. However, that is not forcing religion on anyone. They are not forcing anyone to agree with them, but are simply using their voice in government according to their own beliefs just like everyone does (including liberals). Everyone votes according to their own beliefs. The political views of Christians are informed by their religion, but that does not make any and all stances that they take a forcing of religion on others. If Christians were trying to force people to go to church on Sunday, that would be forcing religion on others. Having your faith influence the way you vote is simply exercising your religion in the public square, which is a Constitutionally-protected activity.

So there is nothing wrong with someone citing the Bible as reason for the way they vote and the laws they advocate. Christians have every right to do that, just as people of other belief systems have every right to use their beliefs to inform their political stances.

I will say, however, that we Christians should have independent reasons for the laws we advocate for. "The Bible says it is wrong" is not sufficient reason to make something illegal. After all, coveting and lust are wrong according to the Bible, but shouldn't be illegal (and how could you tell if someone is lusting or coveting, anyway?). Not all wrong things should be illegal. Not all good things should be required by law. We should keep this in mind whenever we take any political stance. When Christians give only religious reasons for making an activity illegal, we open ourselves up to the charge of forcing religion on people (even if it is not the case). Instead, we should also be giving informed and independent reasons why things like abortion should not be allowed by government. (Click here for my secular argument against abortion.) In other words, Christians need to be able to give reasons, not only that an activity is morally wrong or against our beliefs, but that a secular government should disallow it for all of its citizens.

Friday, September 27, 2013

No-Crust Coconut Custard Pie

I case you haven't figured it out yet from reading my blog, I love coconut. I have recipes on here for Coconut Cake, 2-Layer Coconut Cake, Coconut Pecan Pie, Coconut-Topped Chocolate Cake, and Coconut Macaroons. So here's another delicious coconut recipe to add to the collection.

This pie is SO easy. Usually, the most complicated and time-consuming part of making a pie is the crust. It's also, often, the most fattening part of the pie. So why not save yourself time AND calories by cutting out the crust? Like my No-Crust Pumpkin Pie recipe, this recipe is often said to "make its own crust," but it doesn't really make a typical crust. It just firms up and doesn't need a crust. This particular pie actually has a thin layer on the bottom that is somewhat crust-like, though it isn't flaky or dry at all. But since you don't have to mess with making a real crust, you can put this pie together in 5 minutes. The other handy thing about this recipe is that all of these ingredients are things I keep on hand on a regular basis. So this is a great recipe for when I want to make something extra for after dinner and don't have time to run to the store for special ingredients.

This pie is best served warm. It is homey and comforting. It reminds me a little of my Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe (which, sadly, does not contain coconut, but is still very good) in that it doesn't have a strong flavor, but is just smooth tasting and good with hot tea or a glass of milk.

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup biscuit mix (e.g. Bisquick) or all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

Mix all the ingredients until thoroughly blended. Pour into a greased, 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until pie is set and coconut is browned on top. How easy is that? Enjoy!

Note: You can also make a gluten-free version of this pie by using gluten-free flour or Bisquick.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Birth Announcement

Katelyn Rachelle Harold is here! She was born August 20th at 11:14 am weighing 7 lbs 9 oz and with a length of 21.5 inches. We are happy she is here safe and sound. Today was my due date, but Katelyn came 8 days early and so she's 8 days old today.

For those interested in how it happened, here's the birth story. For those not interested in labor and delivery, you can skip this. No hard feelings. It's really not that interesting except to some of us moms.

Anyway, my water broke sometime on the 19th. I kept getting little trickles of fluid, but it wasn't nearly as obvious as what happened last time with Reagan. I knew when my water broke that time. But I finally convinced myself that it must be amniotic fluid that evening. So I called the doctor and, at their insistence, went to the hospital to be checked. It was an hour drive and I really didn't want to go, especially since I knew they wouldn't let me go home if my water was broken. I wanted to go to bed (it was after 10 pm) and see if my body would get going on its own. With Reagan, my water broke and I started labor a few hours later. But nothing was happening. So there I was on my way to the hospital with no contractions going on and hoping they weren't going to induce me.

Yep, my water was broken alright. I wasn't going home that night. So they gave me the option of just waiting to see what happened or to start things off with an oral prostaglandin, which was supposed to be gentler than inducing with pitocin. Considering that it had been hours since my water broke and I wasn't having any contractions yet, I decided to go ahead with the prostaglandin in hopes of avoiding pitocin.

It worked...sort of. I started having contractions, but they didn't get very strong or regular, even after 7 hours. So they recommended pitocin to get things moving and avoid the risk of infection from having my water broken for too long before delivery. It was a greater risk for me since I am Strep B positive and we weren't exactly sure when my water had broken. So I ended up taking pitocin and deciding on an epidural. Call me chicken, but pitocin with no pain relief is no joke. Unfortunately, it took awhile to get the anesthesiologist started and then the first time didn't work. So I ended up sitting there, back hunched (which is NOT a comfortable position for labor, by the way, since it puts a lot of pressure on the abdomen), for about an hour while they did and then re-did the epidural. And then it didn't completely relieve the pain. It made my legs completely numb, but rather inconveniently left certain other regions with pretty good sensation, although it did help some.

And just as I was starting to get some pain relief from the epidural and hoping to FINALLY get some sleep, or at least some rest...

I started getting a lot of pain and pressure. And it got worse. I thought my cervix was going to rip in two. Seriously.

They had just checked me before they did the epidural and I was at 5 centimeters. So I figured I had quite a ways to go yet. But no, in the space of about 3 minutes I went all the way to 10 centimeters. Maybe it was laboring in that uncomfortable position. Maybe it was being able to relax a bit after getting some measure of pain relief. But I went through transition in a big hurry. And all the sudden they are calling the doctor and telling me not to push yet (which is easier said than done, by the way).

The doctor came in and got ready pretty quickly and then it was just a few minutes of pushing later that Katelyn made her entrance. But she was blue and not responding very well. The cord had been wrapped around her neck twice, which I didn't find out until later. I was a little worried, but after some rubbing and suctioning, she finally started crying and turning pink. It's a good thing I didn't have to push any longer or she might have gone without oxygen for longer. But she is fine and we are so thankful. God is good.

We even got to go home just 24 hours after the birth. So here we are in the land of wakeful nights and round-the-clock feedings and learning to juggle a newborn and a toddler. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Linked up with WLWW.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Abortion and the "Hard Cases"

I received the following comment on my post entitled "Demolishing Pro-Choice Arguments."

"If raped you feel the woman should be forced to carry to term? If an 11 year old is raped by her father or other relative, she should also carry to term? If prenatal testing identifies gross anomalies, the fetus should still be carried to term even if it will die shortly after birth? If the mother of that poor fetus is carrying her second or third child with gross anomalies and says she will kill herself if forced to watch another infant die, she should be forced to carry to term anyway?

Your world view doesn't work for all of us. I've been pro choice (not pro abortion) for decades. Judge not lest ye be judged."

I responded there, but I thought I would also respond (with a few modifications) in a separate post because these kinds of questions are often asked by the pro-abortion crowd.

First of all, I'll point out that her distinction between "pro-abortion" and pro-choice" doesn't really exist. I use the terms interchangeably because they mean the same thing. If I said that I thought a man should have a choice of whether or not to rape a woman, I would rightfully be charged with being pro-rape. In the same way, to be in favor of allowing a woman to choose whether or not to abort means being in favor of abortion.

In discussing the rest of her post, keep in mind that this type of question is often asked as a "gotcha" question. The pro-abortion advocates seem to think these cases "prove" that it is okay to kill an unborn child in at least some cases. The cases mentioned are all referred to as "hard cases." These are the troubling stories that make some people, who would otherwise be pro-life, start to waffle and sweat. They think of how difficult it would be in that situation and their emotions make them want to offer such woman a way out - to fix her situation with an abortion. However, when you apply logical principles to these cases, they aren't as hard to solve as you might think.

Before I talk about these cases specifically, it should be mentioned that even IF abortion should be allowed in these difficult cases, that does not mean that abortion should be allowed for all cases. The vast majority of abortions do not involve rape, incest, or deformities of the child. These cases do not provide any reason to think that a woman should be able to kill a perfectly healthy unborn child, who resulted from consensual sex, simply because she doesn't want him.

In addressing the hard cases, we should do so by applying the same facts and logic that we apply in all other cases of pregnancy. As I have written elsewhere, science tells us that the unborn child is a separate and unique human individual who must, logically, have the same rights that all other human beings have. Applying this knowledge and some additional logic to the hard cases clears up a lot of confusion.

In cases of rape or incest, any child produced is still just as human as any other unborn child. There is no difference between a child conceived in rape and one conceived through consensual sex. And, of course, the child is innocent of any wrong doing. It isn't the child forcing himself on the woman - it was the rapist who forced her. So killing the child isn't the right or fair thing to do. The child doesn't deserve to die for the crime of his father. We don't consider those born from rape to deserving of death, so why give a death sentence before birth for those same children? Nor does having an abortion un-rape the woman. Two wrongs don't make a right, so killing the child is not the answer.

Oddly enough, the incidence of abortion is actually low among women who have been raped. Many rape victims have testified that giving birth has helped them to see themselves as overcomers who found a way to make something good come from their terrible ordeal. They may not have had a choice over what happened to them, but they can choose to do what is right after the fact and give life. On the other hand, having an abortion has been described by some as being raped all over again. Of course, these experiences of women do not determine what is right in these cases, but they do show that an abortion isn't the easy fix for rape that it is thought to be.

As for children with terrible birth defects and other issues, that would be a very difficult situation to be in. But to cut the life of these unborn children even shorter than it already will be seems the opposite of compassion. We don't kill people because they are going to die anyway. We make their short lives as comfortable as possible until natural death. That's what we do for people who are born and it should also apply to those unborn, because they are human beings too.

In cases where the mother threatens suicide or other self-harm, the baby still doesn't deserve to die. A woman who is threatening to harm herself needs help. If someone threatens suicide if you don't kill someone else, you don't for that reason kill the person they want dead. That's insane. You treat the one threatening suicide.

While these hard cases are often fraught with emotion and tough situations, the right thing to do is not dependent on how difficult or emotional it is. Emotion is not a valid basis for making decisions, especially when talking about the life of an innocent human being. Applying logical principles shows that the right thing to do is always to protect the unborn child.

Linked up with WLWW.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cheesy Baked Chicken

This recipe is one I saw on facebook and modified slightly. It's a really moist and tasty way to eat chicken and our family loves it. This recipe takes a little more time than some of my chicken recipes (like this, this, and this), but it's worth it and it's easy to make enough to have leftovers.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup milk
2-1/2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese (I actually use a fiesta cheese blend that contains cheddar and other cheeses)
About 20 Ritz crackers (I use the Walmart brand crackers instead of the name brand)
Salt and pepper to taste

1 10-oz. can Cream of Chicken soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

Trim any remaining fat from the chicken breasts and cut into 3-4 strips each. You want all the strips to be approximately the same thickness for even cooking.

Crush the Ritz crackers into crumbs and add a little salt and pepper. Place the cracker crumbs, shredded cheese, and milk in separate bowls. Grease the bottom of one or two baking dishes. I like to use two because I want to leave enough space for the cheese to melt and get crispy in between the strips. The crispy cheese in the bottom of the pan is really good.

Dip each chicken breast strip into the milk, then the cheese (pressing the cheese into the chicken), then into the cracker crumbs. Place the strips in the baking dish. If you have leftover cheese, you can sprinkle it over the tops of the chicken strips.

Here's one pan of chicken all coated and ready to bake. Notice that I usually do sprinkle a little extra cheese on top. I had another pan about half this size as well.

Cover the baking dishes with aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the tops are browned and crispy.

To make the sauce, combine the Cream of Chicken soup, butter, and sour cream in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring frequently, until heated through and bubbly. Serve over the chicken or on the side.

Note: This chicken works really well with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans, especially since the sauce tastes good on potatoes too.

Linked up with WLWW.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Are Embryos People?

Pro-aborts often claim that "Embryos are not people." They claim that the unborn are somehow different from those who are born, and that only the born are worth protecting.

However, that is merely a statement of opinion - an opinion which is contradicted by science, by the way. Scientifically, a new human individual comes into existence at fertilization. Embryos are just as much human beings as any other person. Embryos are smaller, weaker, less developed, and more dependent than other human beings, but we do not use these criteria to allow the killing of those who are smaller, weaker, less developed, or more dependent among those who are born. Thus, the distinction they are trying to make between the born and the unborn is not based on any objective criteria. They are just trying to arbitrarily create a division between the born and the unborn so they can feel it is okay to kill the unborn. They're assuming what they're trying to prove. They're making the choice of where to draw the line based only on what they want it to be, not on facts or logic.

The thing is, people have been trying to make arbitrary divisions between those who are "worth" protecting and those who aren't for centuries. In the past, for example, those who were white and male were considered worthwhile and those who were female or black were not considered "persons" under the law. But this distinction between who was and was not considered a "person" was totally arbitrary and was only there to allow discrimination against certain groups. In other words, there wasn’t any evidence that females or blacks were any different or had any lesser worth. The same thing happened in Nazi Germany where the Jews were not legal “persons” under the law simply because the rest of the society didn’t want to consider their rights. In all these cases, the distinction was simply made because the people who made it wanted it to be true. I think we can all agree that these false distinctions, which denied legal "personhood" to some human beings, was wrong. Females and blacks and Jews have always been persons because they are human beings. In fact, EVERY time in human history where one group has claimed that another group of human beings are not “persons,” they have been wrong and this false distinction has led to many injustices.

It is the same with the unborn. There is no evidence that the unborn are any different from all other human beings. The distinction is merely made through wishful thinking. Those who claim there is a difference, that born human beings are persons and the unborn aren’t, only do so because they want to discriminate against the unborn. They want it to be true so they can justify killing unwanted unborn children. But, as with every other time that this kind of claim has been made, this distinction is false and has led to many injustices. It must stop.

Note: I have discussed this issue elsewhere on my blog as well. I have made a secular case against abortion as well as demolished some of the most common arguments for abortion.

Linked up with Time-Warp Wife, WLWW, and WFMW.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on a Baby

As the title of this post indicates, I'm waiting on this baby to be born. I'm 38 weeks today and feeling pretty good...most of the time. But I am quite ready not to be pregnant any more. And quite ready to meet this little girl who has been wiggling and kicking inside me for so long.

Not only am I ready to meet this little one, but my husband and my daughter, Reagan, are too. Reagan, at almost 21 months, loves babies. Every time she sees a picture of any baby, she points and says "Baby" over and over. She usually notices baby pictures before I do. For instance, I can be scrolling through facebook and there will be an ad on the side with a tiny picture of a baby in it and she will notice it. Every time. If you ask her where her baby sister is, she will point to my belly and say "Kiki" (her name for Katelyn). If you ask her if she wants to hold the baby, she makes a motion like she's rocking a baby in her arms. It's so cute! I think she's going to be a good big sister.

I've got all the baby clothes washed and folded and put away in Katelyn's dresser, which is my old dresser. We realized a month or so ago that it would be a good idea to have another dresser for the new baby, but furniture can be expensive. Thankfully, we were able to find a nice dresser and headboard on Craig's List for $50 (for both of them). We put the new dresser in the master bedroom, and then moved my old dresser into the girls' room for Katelyn. So that concern was taken care of without breaking the bank. Just one of God's little blessings when we needed it.

Another blessing is the lack of pain. For awhile, a couple weeks ago, I was having some lower back pain and a splitting pain in my pelvis. I could barely walk for a day or two. Every step and every movement of my lower body caused a shooting pain. I don't know if it was the position of the baby or what, but it was not fun, and I was really hoping and praying it wasn't going to stick around for the rest of the pregnancy. And it didn't. Whatever caused it, it went away after just a couple days. That has made the last weeks much more pleasant. It really hasn't been too bad being pregnant, overall, although it obviously isn't exactly the most comfortable. I am thankful that I have been blessed with two healthy and uneventful pregnancies thus far. And all the discomforts are worth it to have another precious child to love.

Meanwhile, I'm showing signs that labor is on the way. But, unfortunately, those signs don't tell me exactly when it is coming. It could be any day now. Or it could be 2-3 weeks. I'm hoping for the former. But babies come when they're ready. So I'm just waiting, and reminding myself that no pregnancy lasts forever. The birth will come eventually, and I will finally be able to meet and hold this little gift from God that we have been entrusted with.

Linked up with Time-Warp Wife and To Love Honor and Vacuum.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sour Cream Pound Cake

Here's a recipe for a delicious pound cake that's easy to make. It doesn't have a strong flavor. It's just homey and comforting. You can eat it at room temperature, but it is best served warm with coffee, hot tea, or a glass of milk.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla butter & nut flavoring (not vanilla)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Beat the butter, sour cream, and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flavoring. Gradually add flour and baking soda until well-mixed.

Pour into a greased and floured bundt cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

My little girl, Reagan, wants to know if it's done yet. She's mommy's little helper already.

Here it is - fresh from the oven.


Linked up with NOBH and WLWW.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Announcing: It's a...

It's a girl!

We are having another girl - due at the end of August. Her name is Katelyn Rachelle. Reagan will have a little sister. And I can re-use all the baby clothes from the first go-round. Yay!

I'm now 25 weeks and everything looks perfectly normal, which is quite a blessing. I'm feeling good too, except that it's getting more uncomfortable to sleep at night. And this one may be a little more active than Reagan was. If that's even possible.

Just the other day, Reagan felt Katelyn kick for the first time. She usually won't hold her hand still long enough to feel, but this time Katelyn kicked her right away. She's been hearing for a few months now that mommy has a baby in her tummy and she will point to my stomach and say "Baby." But I think she was a little surprised to feel her little sister kick. Now if I say that Katelyn is kicking, she wants to put her hand on my tummy.


In other news, we are moved into the new house and enjoying the bigger space tremendously. Our old house was about 700 square feet. We've approximately doubled that and we also have a garage/workshop (which is heaven for my husband), a 700+ square foot guesthouse/schoolhouse/science lab (a homeschooling dream come true), and several sheds. These were things we wanted, and hoped to eventually build once we got a place of our own. But they're already here. There is no way we could have afforded to build all these buildings for what we paid for this place. God has blessed us immensely.

I haven't been posting lately because pregnant mama + active toddler + moving in = no time for blogging. However, the worst of the moving in is over now. There are still boxes to unpack and projects to do, but they're things that can wait a little. So, hopefully, I'll be back in action posting more things for you to read. Stay tuned.

Linked up with NOBH, WLWW, and Yes They're All Ours.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Today is the one year anniversary of this blog! One year ago today, I posted my very first post answering the question "What are Inalienable Rights?" Since then I have received almost 18,000 pageviews from people all over the world. It's pretty cool to me that people all over the place are reading my thoughts.

Today is also another anniversary. Three years ago today, on top of a mountain in North Carolina, my then-boyfriend presented me with a diamond ring and asked me to marry him. It was the perfect moment. The day was beautiful - the first day of spring. We hiked up the mountain and found a special place that was isolated and had a great view. He gave me a book containing photos from our dating journey and snippets of emails we had sent to each other. It had many memories. The program from the conference where we met. The looms from our first few dates (seriously, we kept seeing weaving looms everywhere we went - it was freaky). The words to our song. Pictures from our various hikes. And at the end he wrote out a special note to me. When I got to the last page, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Of course, I said yes. And I've never regretted it for a moment.

In honor of these two anniveraries, I'm posting some of my best and most popular posts from the past year. Some of them had a lot of pageviews and some were simply ones I thought were very important. So, for a quick overview of my main posts for the past year, take a look at these:

What Are Inalienable Rights?
I've already mentioned this one above (my first post), but it starts a 5-part series on inalienable rights. Everyone should know what inalienable rights are and where they come from, so this series is some of the most important material on my blog. You can read all the other posts in the series by clicking on the links in this one.

Items to Discuss Before Engagement
This post seems especially appropriate today considering that it's the anniversary of my engagement. Here I give a list of questions that my husband and I asked each other during dating in order to determine if we were compatible for marriage. I highly recommend that all dating couples discuss these issues (among others) before becoming engaged.

Characteristics of a Biblical Dating Relationship
This is the first part of a series on Biblical dating which is still unfinished. I do intend to finish it eventually. However, the posts that are finished are all quite popular. Learn what dating should look like for a Christian and avoid some of the common pitfalls that lead relationships away from a Biblical foundation. You can get to all of the posts in the series from links on this post.

Opposite Sex Friendships After Marriage: How to Guard Your Heart
This one is the most popular post on my blog and gets lots of regular pageviews (including a lot from Google searches), which tells me a lot of people struggle with this issue.

How to Settle Disagreements Without Arguing
Assuming the Best of Your Spouse
Both of these posts deal with resolving conflict in marriage. The first one gives a plan for settling disagreements without arguing (which has worked for us, since we still haven't had an argument). The second is a newer post that deals with your view of your spouse and their motives and how that affects the way you communicate.

The Art of Writing Love Notes
Here is another of my most popular posts which gives tips on writing special and memorable love notes for your spouse. Writing a short note or a longer letter can be so encouraging to your spouse and will remind them of your love and bring you closer together.

Cohabitation is Not Practice for Marriage
This post is another one that is very popular and gets a lot of traffic from search engines. Here I give several practical reasons not to cohabitate before marriage.

Sunday School Fairy Tales (or Why the Bible Should Be Taught as History)
This post explains how the Bible should be taught to children as history instead of making it sound like fictional fairy tales. The Bible needs to be real to our kids if they are to find it believable. In this post I identify several ways that people inadvertently make the Bible sound less realistic and thus undermine the authenticity and historicity of the Bible in the eyes of others. Every sunday school teacher and parent should be aware of these pitfalls in order to avoid them.

Why the United States is a Republic
Back on a political note, this post contains a short video that explains the different forms of government and why we have a republic (not a democracy). All children should know this before they leave middle school. All voters should be able to explain this. Unfortunately, many cannot.

The Difference Between Liberalism and Conservatism
Also on a political note, this post explains the major difference between the worldviews of liberalism and conservatism. It's probably not what you think.

The Good Thing About Guns
With all of the recent controvery about gun laws, this post is very relevant. Here I argue that guns are actually good. In a world without guns, the weak are defenseless against the strong. Guns allow the physically weak to defend themselves and thus provide protection for themselves and others from those who would harm them.

Demolishing Pro-Choice Arguments
Why We Need a Secular Case Against Abortion
Both of these posts deal with abortion. The first debunks many of the popular arguments for abortion while the second explains why we should be arguing against legal abortion using science and logic rather than the Bible.

I hope you find these posts thought-provoking and helpful. Please comment or share if you find something especially noteworthy. Thanks for reading.

Linked up with NOBH, WLWWWFMW, and To Love Honor and Vacuum.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Assuming the Best of Your Spouse

One of the things that often causes friction in a marriage is when one spouse assumes the other has wrong motives. In many cases, this happens when they take what the other person has said in a way that was not intended.

Of course, all of us say things that can be taken in a different way than we intend from time to time. For example, I remember a time several years ago when my mom was trying out a new vacuum cleaner. She really liked it and exclaimed “Wow, this thing really sucks.” My brother immediately quipped “Mom, isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?” Of course, we knew what she meant, but we immediately saw the other possible meaning as well. She was referring to the suction of the vacuum and saw it as a good thing. But it would be really easy for someone to misinterpret what she said as saying that the vacuum was no good – the exact opposite of what she meant. When she said it, she didn’t even think of how it could be interpreted until we started laughing.

The same kind of thing happens to all of us. We say something slightly wrong or in a less than clear way. We use the wrong word. Or maybe we say something that is perfectly fine on the surface, but could easily be misinterpreted. Think how awkward it would be to have people always assume the worst possible interpretation of our words. Yet that often happens in a marriage.

The problem arises when one person says something and the other assumes a hurtful meaning that was never intended. We women are especially prone to assuming the worst or reading between the lines (when there might have been nothing there), although both sexes do it. This often leads to strife and hurt feelings that could have been avoided. A good many marital arguments could have been avoided entirely if not for this kind of misunderstanding.

She says that they need to sit down and look at the finances. He hears that he’s not providing properly and needs to step up. Thus, he’s defensive and wants to avoid talking about it. But she didn’t say anything of the sort and may not even have thought such a thing. She may have just wanted to have his involvement and help with an issue that she finds difficult to navigate. She should be able to count on him to work with her as a team, especially in something as important as finances. But he’s too busy hearing wrong motives and insults in her words to be the help she needs.

He says that he’d like to spend more time alone together. She hears that she’s not giving him enough sex and starts defensively talking about how busy she is all day and how he should help more with the kids and the housework. But all he was doing was sharing a need for more time with her. She is too busy being defensive (and perhaps feeling guilty) that she isn’t hearing the need of his heart.

These kinds of situations are common. At their root, they are a failure to communicate. When you assume hidden motives and interpret the other person’s words accordingly, you are effectively silencing what they are really trying to say. And usually it leads to reactions that aren’t warranted. Then the other person gets defensive while trying to explain what they meant, and they’re aggravated that you so obviously assume the worst of them when they love you and didn’t mean what you thought they meant. It can become a vicious cycle of misunderstanding and hurt feelings that tears couples apart.

In one way, it’s understandable that we get in this habit of assuming the worst. After all, in this dog-eat-dog world we live in, we can’t assume the best intentions of everyone. It would be dangerous and foolish to assume that everyone out there has only our best interest in mind. It’s easy to get a little cynical in order to protect ourselves. But if there’s anyone in the world we should be able to count on to have our backs and be on our side, it is our spouse – the one who vowed to love us forever. If our heart should be safe with anyone, it should be with our one true love. So why do we so often assume that our spouse is hiding an insult in their words or trying to hurt us? Why do we assume they have wrong motives? Why can’t we instead assume that we are misunderstanding if it seems that their words are hurtful or insulting?

When your spouse says something that sounds hurtful or accusing, the first words out of your mouth should ask for clarification. Don’t jump to conclusions and react. You should immediately assume that you heard wrong or that you are misinterpreting their words and that they didn’t mean what they said the way you took it. Remain calm and ask what they meant by that. If it turns out that they are insulting you, there’s plenty of time to get mad then. But most of the time that isn't the case. Assume the best and it will save both of you a lot of needless heartache and stress.

I’ve found that this approach works in my marriage to avoid arguments and it will work in yours. It just takes some time to train ourselves to see our spouse as a teammate and supporter rather than an opponent and to learn to ask for clarification rather than jumping to erroneous conclusions.

Linked up with Yes They're All Ours, Time-Warp Wife, To Love Honor and Vacuum, More of Him, Mom's the WordWhat Joy is MineWFMW, Messy Marriage, The Alabaster Jar, WLWW, and NOBH.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Well, if you're wondering why I haven't been posting much lately, there's a number of reasons. But probably the biggest one is that I've been feeling very tired and nauseous lately. Actually, I have been for the last 3 months or so.

That's because...I'm pregnant! Yes, my husband and I are expecting our second child in late August. I'm now in the beginning of the second trimester and starting to have more energy (although the nausea hasn't completely gone away).

On top of that, I've been battling some sort of cold-like virus since Christmas. I just can't seem to get rid of the cough and the congestion. I think I'm finally on the mend now, though it's not completely gone yet. My husband and daughter have also been sick. It's just been a bad winter for that kind of thing.

On top of that, we've been looking for a house. With a new baby on the way, this little bitty house that we are about to burst out of is just not going to work anymore. We now have a contract on a house and hope to move by the end of this month. I'm in a short break between searching for houses, loans, homeowner's insurance, etc and the craziness of packing and moving. I am not looking forward to that, but I am looking forward to being in our new home.

So there's a lot going on here and life had to take precedence over writing. What little energy I did have was already spoken for. Hopefully, things will get easier once we're moved in to the new place and life settles into a new routine. And just maybe, having more space, I can organize things better rather than having to pile things up everywhere. That would make life so much easier.

Stay tuned for more posts as I have time. I'm hoping to post some more on abortion and inalienable rights as well as marriage issues in the near future. And I'm sure I'll throw in some updates and commentary on the pregnancy and some new recipes as well.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why We Need A Secular Argument Against Abortion

Many pro-life advocates use the Bible in making their arguments. While the Bible does have a lot to say about the unborn and about the value of human life in general, the use of Biblical arguments in the discussion of abortion’s legality is often well-intentioned, but misguided.

You see, laws in this country are not based on religion. In fact, our Founding Fathers specifically planned to create a nation where religious freedom was protected. In order to do that, one must have a secular country based on logical principles, not a theocracy. 

History has shown that government based upon religion inevitably persecutes those who disagree with the religion in power. Many, if not most, of those who came to America and founded this nation came to escape religious persecution. They knew firsthand the dangers of living in a church state. They wanted to ensure freedom for all, so they set up a secular government and laid out basic principles to limit the government’s power and prevent oppression of the people. Their principles were based on the concept of inalienable rights – rights that are innate in every human being and which government cannot grant or take away. These rights include the right to life, liberty, ownership of property, religion, a fair trial, and many others – all developed from basic logical principles. And, in this country, laws are to be made by the people, but only in accordance with these principles so that no one's rights will be violated.

Of course, these logical principles are quite consistent with a Biblical worldview – and not by accident. The concept of inalienable rights, for example, comes from the view that mankind is the product of a Creator who has endowed them with these rights. Religious freedom is also consistent with the Bible. After all, even God Himself does not force Himself upon anyone, but gives all people the free choice to choose Him or not. But one cannot enforce every doctrine from the Bible in a secular society. There are things that are wrong, according to the Bible, which cannot be made law. How would one, for example, make lust or coveting illegal? And while the Bible commands us to remember the Sabbath day, one cannot enforce this on all people within a society without violating their freedom of religion. Thus, not everything that is wrong should be illegal.
How does one decide, then, what should and should not be legal in a secular society? The answer lies in applying these basic logical principles and in protecting the human rights of all the people. Thus, murder should be illegal – not because the Bible says it is wrong, but because such a behavior violates the inalienable right to live of the victim and because allowing such behavior is bad for society. Similarly, theft should be illegal – not because the Bible says it is wrong, but because theft violates the right to own property of the victim, and because theft is bad for society.
If we hope to make abortion illegal we must use these same basic principles and develop a secular argument for the rights of the unborn. It is this secular argument we MUST be making if we are to succeed. Many of us who are pro-life are Christians and have religious reasons to believe that abortion is morally wrong according to the Bible. However, that does not mean that abortion should be illegal in a secular society. We have to make the right argument if we are going to produce change.

So here is a secular argument that abortion should be illegal.

To begin our argument we must first show that the unborn are living human beings. After all, only humans have human rights. To do that, we use science.  

Science uses criteria such as growth, responsiveness to the environment, movement, and metabolism (using food for energy) in order to distinguish life from non-life. Living things, including a single-celled human zygote, show these characteristics and non-living things do not.

So, it’s quite obvious from science that the unborn are living things. What kind of living thing depends on what the parents are. Obviously, the offspring of human parents is human. This is confirmed by the presence of distinctly human DNA and a human pattern of development. Thus, it is clear from science that the product of human sperm and egg is alive and human.

Of course, even sperm and egg cells show characteristics of being alive and they have human DNA, but they are not separate organisms. A sperm or egg cell is simply a piece of an adult human’s body that is essentially broken off and on its own (just like a skin cell can be removed from the body and stay alive for a little while). So sperm and eggs are alive, but not capable by themselves of being anything more than a piece of the body they came from. But once a sperm and egg meet, a radical event takes place that forms a completely new entity. This new cell, a zygote, has a complete and unique set of human DNA that lays out the entire plan for its whole body.

Individual cells that are part of a larger body work to grow and preserve the larger body and are not important in themselves. All that matters is that the body survives, even at the expense of some of the cells. Thus, each cell works for the goal of supporting the body, not preserving itself. Once a zygote is formed, however, this new individual now works as a separate unit toward the goal of growing, preserving, and developing himself. He no longer functions as a part of another body, but forms a new body all his own. The zygote is in fact a new individual, different from both parents, that is already either male or female and which follows the distinct pattern of human development. It just takes time for him or her to grow. But all the information for building the adult body is there from the beginning. The development of the organs and organ systems is just a matter of time, but the instructions are already in place in the zygote, as is the ability to function as a separate entity. This is all well-understood science and can be found in any introductory biology textbook.

So, it is very clear from science that a zygote is a separate, living human individual. The argument that a human zygote is not alive or is not human has already been thoroughly debunked by science.

The newer argument put forth by the pro-choice bunch is that a zygote or embryo isn’t a person (which is a question of value, not science, and thus can’t be answered by science). Basically, the pro-choicers are trying to claim that not all humans are people, which is a very dangerous thing to claim.

The million-dollar question is, if not all humans are persons, then how do we know who is a person? When does personhood begin? Some say at birth. Some say at viability. Some say when the heart begins to beat. Some say when they’re self-conscious. So who gets to decide which definition of personhood is right? And what if they’re wrong? What if they’re allowing real persons to be killed? History says that’s what happens when you try to separate personhood and humanity. We’ve used other definitions of personhood in the past – definitions that excluded some members of the human race. But every time we have claimed that some human beings were not persons, we have been wrong.

At one time, our country claimed that blacks were not persons. Thus they were enslaved and mistreated as their inalienable rights were ignored and denied. The same thing has been done throughout history. Certain groups have been denied legal personhood in order to ignore their innate rights. In Nazi Germany, for example, the Jews were not legal persons, and thus the Holocaust, in which 6 million were slaughtered, was completely legal. It’s very convenient to claim that those you wish to kill or exploit are not persons. Thus, it’s a very common rationalization when one wishes to ignore the rights of others.

Every time we have claimed that some human beings were not persons, we have been wrong. Every time. And it led to horrific results. What is happening now is that we are saying that the unborn are not persons. And, not surprisingly, their rights are being ignored and they are being slaughtered.

But it’s not logical or right to claim that a human being must be born in order to be a person any more than it is to claim that a human being must be white or male or non-Jewish in order to be a person. Logically, all humans must be persons. To deny that is to use some arbitrary criteria for what constitutes a person and thus exclude some humans from that definition. Historically, that has always been wrong and has led to terrible tragedies of justice. What needs to happen is that we recognize and protect the inalienable rights of ALL human beings, born and unborn.

In claiming that the unborn are not persons, what the pro-choice side is really arguing is that we, as a society, decide who has rights. But rights don't come from society or from government. If government grants them, then government can decide, arbitrarily, to take them away from anyone they please. This country was founded on a different proposition – a radical idea that people have innate rights that are not dependent on government. That it is fundamentally wrong for anyone, even government, to violate these rights. These are known as inalienable rights – innate rights of all humans that cannot be taken away for any reason. It is on this fact – this higher law – that our case for the rights of the unborn rests. And it was this higher law on which our Constitution was built.


The truth is, the unborn do have inalienable rights. They are human beings with the same rights as all other human beings. And those rights should be protected in a secular society just as the rights of all other humans should be. This can be demonstrated with science and logic and can convince even those who do not believe the Bible. More importantly, this is WHY abortion should be illegal – not because the Bible says it is wrong, but because abortion is a violation of basic human rights. All people should be in favor of protecting the rights of all human beings, regardless of their religion.

Linked up with Time-Warp Wife, NOBH, WLWW, and WFMW.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Difference Between Liberalism and Conservatism

I think the real difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives believe in an objective and constant truth and morality. Society can be in line with it or not, but it exists, regardless of whether or not anyone believes it. One example of this objective truth is the concept of inalienable rights. These are rights that all humans have by virtue of being human. Government does not grant them and government cannot take them away. They apply to all people, everywhere, at all times throughout history. It is inherently wrong for anyone to violate these rights, regardless of what the law says. Good law is in keeping with these inherent rights while bad law violates these rights.

In the US, our government was founded on the principle that all humans have these inalienable rights and that good government exists to protect these rights. Many of these rights were spelled out in the Declaration of Independence and in the Bill of Rights. However, not all the inalienable rights were listed there (nor were these documents meant to be a comprehensive listing).

All of these inalienable rights can be worked out logically from basic principles. For example, if anyone has any rights, they must first have a right to life. Without a right to live, there can be no rights. The right to self-defense comes directly from the right to life (i.e. you have a right to protect your right to life). The right to liberty is also derived from the right to life. If someone has power over you to enslave you, they also have the power to take your life, thus you have a right to fight against being enslaved in order to protect your life. The right to liberty also entails that you have the right to choose how to live your own life and make your own choices. It also means that you have a right to the fruits of your labor (a slave works for the benefit of someone else, but a free person works for his own profit as he chooses). If you have a right to the fruits of your labor, you also have a right to own property. If you can’t own anything, then you end up working for nothing, which makes you a slave. So you see how all these principles are worked out logically from beginning principles.

The idea of inalienable rights also holds within it an innate limitation on behavior because of the rights of others. If I have a right to own property, then it must be wrong for someone else to steal my property. If they can steal it rightfully, then I have worked as a slave for them. But if it is wrong for someone to steal my property, then it must also be wrong for me to steal their property. My behavior must be limited by the rights of others around me. Thus, my liberty to do as I choose is inherently limited to those actions which do not violate the rights of others.

It is on these principles that all our laws about crime are based. Murder is wrong because it is a violation of the inalienable right to life. Theft is wrong because it is a violation of the inalienable right to own property. Of course, we have laws in this country that make murder and theft illegal, but that’s not what makes them wrong. They would be wrong even if the law allowed these behaviors. And it would be inherently wrong for the law to allow such violations of human rights. The law doesn’t decide right and wrong. Right and wrong are based on objective principles. It is our duty, as citizens, to discern what inalienable rights exist and to protect them with good laws.

Liberals tend to see things differently. They tend to see morality as changing and based on what society agrees is right or wrong. Since, in our country, society sets the laws, they see the law as determining right and wrong (or determining what is and isn’t a right). So if the society votes that it’s a right to have healthcare, then it becomes a right. Or if society votes that the unborn aren’t humans, then they aren’t. It’s a totally different view of reality and morality. And it’s totally opposed to the view that there is an objective truth and morality. One side must be right and the other side must be wrong.

Conservative positions are all worked out logically from the viewpoint of objective morality and these basic principles we believe in. For example, while the idea of government mandated universal healthcare sounds good and fair on the surface, it isn’t really. You see, no one has a right to any commodity (i.e. anything that costs money). If you look at the list of rights in the Bill of Rights, none of them costs money. You have a right to life, liberty, a fair trial, free speech, etc. But none of those require anyone to give you something that costs them money. If people have a right to healthcare (or housing or food or any other commodity), then someone is required to provide it to them (whether they can pay or not). This means that someone must work for it, but then be forced to give it to someone else for free. That makes that person a slave. People have a right to work in order to provide themselves with food or housing or healthcare. But they don’t have a right to force others to provide those things to them for free (thus enslaving those people). Oh, and by the way, having government pay for it just means you have a middle man that extorts the money from the people (the taxpayers, anyway) and then gives it to others. It’s still a case of enslaving people by forcing them to provide things to others for free.

The rest of our conservative principles are worked out in much the same way. You have to be able to think logically to understand conservatism. In contrast, liberal views are based primarily on emotion and on telling the people what they want to hear. They sound good on the surface, but either aren’t practical or are really a violation of human rights when you get right down to it.

So, on the one hand you have a group that bases its views on absolute morality and basic principles that are then applied logically while the other side is based on emotion and what feels and sounds good. That’s the primary difference between conservatives and liberals.