Religious Freedom at Guantanamo

Baptists, Catholics, Mainline Protestants, Seventh-day Adventists and Jews rarely agree on anything, but representatives of all of those groups are … Continued

Baptists, Catholics, Mainline Protestants, Seventh-day Adventists and Jews rarely agree on anything, but representatives of all of those groups are working together on a closely-watched court case that involves the religious rights of Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Monday, in a decision applauded by all of those groups, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the four former detainees deserve another day in court to make their case against the federal government, which they claim tortured them and denied them their rights to practice their religion.

The four British Muslims, who were captured in Afghanistan and detained at Guantanamo for two years, were released without charges. They claim that during their detention their beards were shaved, their daily prayers were banned or interrupted, copies of the Koran and prayer mats were denied to them, and one copy of the Koran was thrown in a toilet bucket in their presence.

Their case hinges, in part, on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which provides that the “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously ruled against the men, an opinion that included a fascinating nine-page discussion on the Constitutional definition of a “person.”

“We believe that RFRA’s use of ‘person’ should be interpreted consistently with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of ‘person’ in the Fifth Amendment and ‘people’ in the Fourth Amendment to exclude non-resident aliens,” the appellate court said. “Because the plaintiffs are aliens and were located outside sovereign United States territory at the time their alleged RFRA claim arose, they do not fall with the definition of ‘person.’

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court threw that ruling out and ordered the appellate court to review the case in light of a ruling earlier this year that Guantanamo detainees do have some constitutional rights as persons. Christian and Jewish religious groups who filed briefs in the case on behalf of the four Muslim men applauded Monday’s ruling.

“When anyone’s God-given religious freedom is denied, everyone’s is threatened,” J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee and On Faith panelist, said in a statement.

Other groups that joined the case included the American Jewish Committee, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It’s encouraging that those varied religious groups would agree on any issue, but especially on a truth as self-evident as who qualifies as a person.

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  • CCNL

    Eradicate the flaws and errors in all religions and there will no longer be any disagreements among said religions.A synopsis of said flaws is available upon request.

  • lufrank1

    To ProLifeActivistBorn59:

  • sparrow4

    lufrank- I never put prolifeactivistborn59 in the same sentence with the word “logic.” her thing is to make everything about babies that were never born. Forget the living- she doesn’t care.

  • Nevermore53

    ProLifeActivistBorn59:And to add to LuFrank1’s coment, every time a man has a wet dream, he is killing potential children.I would strongly suggest that you stay our of other people’s bedrooms and bodies. No one is forcing you to have an abortion, but it is not your right to prohibit that choice for the rest of the female population.

  • TomfromNJ1

    I agree on conservative courts. But I suspect this definition has little to do with this case, but is probably geared at protecting the current people running it from being tried for war crimes. But I suspect GWB will pardon all such before he leaves office because otherwise they are sitting ducks — and all the more so if they leave the U.S. shores where such a pardon would not hold.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    All the “non-persons” according to US law should take morbid comfort in the fact the unborn children are also non-persons. At least four thousand of them lose their right to life every single day, and that too without a court case in which they can prove their innocence and plead for their lives.

  • CCNL

    Considering the flaws and errors in Islam as found in the Worst Book Ever Written i.e. the koran, the book belongs in the toilet as does the Second Worst Book Ever Written, i.e. the bible.

  • KBurchfiel

    “And to add to LuFrank1’s comment, every time a man has a wet dream, he is killing potential children.”The big difference here is that a sperm (by itself) is not a child, whereas a fertilized egg will become one if all goes well.

  • spencer1

    Re “unborn children:” When does life begin? The answer is – Never. Everything in nature, including humans and except perhaps for the Big Bang, proceeds continuously from a previous state. Thus to define when life begins is just a necessary legal fiction.

  • bobritter

    While I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to return the case to the Court of Appeals resolve the case consistent with its habeas decision, I am troubled by J. Brent Walker’s comment: “When anyone’s God-given religious freedom is denied, everyone’s is threatened.” I know that Mr. Walker know’s better that the U.S. is a secular nation and our rights — including religious freedom — are defined by the Constitution, not a god or gods.

  • Chagasman

    The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is known to be an extremist right-wing court. No wonder it cannot decide on what to call a human being! Are they all idiots, that they can twist the definition of “person” so that it does not apply to all human beings? No, they are conservatives, appointed by radical facists like George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, presidents who claimed that they knew God but were actually hypocritical facists who care nothing about the rights of man, not if it comes between them and their blind ambition and agendas. This is the problem with conservatives: they love to blather about their compassion, their concern for freedom, for human rights, for patriotism, but they are really control nazis that use social issues and convoluted legalisms to supress dissent and commit crimes against humanity.To keep the peace, keep religion out of politics, and keep your religion to yourself.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    Nevermore53:ProLifeActivistBorn59:And to add to LuFrank1’s coment, every time a man has a wet dream, he is killing potential children.I would strongly suggest that you stay our of other people’s bedrooms and bodies. No one is forcing you to have an abortion, but it is not your right to prohibit that choice for the rest of the female population.December 17, 2008 2:01 PM +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Nevermore53, I can only repeat what I wrote to LuFrank1 – take the time to read a standard textbook of human embryology. A sperm, like an egg, is a specialized cell, that has only half the number of chromosomes. In a wet dream, or a ?dry one, about 600 MILLION sperms are released. If all the circumstances work out right, just one out of 600 MILLION fertilizes an egg. In a wet dream even that chance doesn’t exist. Sperms die within 48 hours in the female genital tract. I speak on behalf of the unborn “non-person” the growing child who has no voice. The woman should likewise not interfere with a separate human being who happens to live in her womb for the first nine months of its life. She brought it to life with her free act, she has a business to protect its life while it is dependent on her. It is called taking responsibility for one’s actions and not destroying an innocent life out of convenience. I’m sure you know that the German Constitutional Court accepts human life begins at conception and considers abortion a violation of the human being’s right to life.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    spencer1:Re “unborn children:” When does life begin? The answer is – Never. Everything in nature, including humans and except perhaps for the Big Bang, proceeds continuously from a previous state. Thus to define when life begins is just a necessary legal fiction.December 17, 2008 7:34 PM++++++++++++++++++++++++Spencer1, your ignorance is appalling, so I won’t even bother to comment except to say that your ignorance is appalling.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    Maybe I should simply add that this personhood that is granted to a child only at its birth, business is the legal fiction.

  • justillthen

    My good God people, no pun intended, can you not stay on point for just a moment? This discussion in CONCIEVED TO BE on several men that spent years in confinement by the US government and allegedly denied the right to practice their religion, among other accusations. There are not two posts in sequence that come anywhere near addressing the issue presented. How disconnected are you all from this question? ProLife. Not everything is about abortion. You make it so in everything. Stop being a hijacker, please, and have some respect for other issues that are also important in the world beyond your favorite. Abortion is very important and pivotal. But you, in the second post of this thread, showed NO compassion or care for the men who spent years in US detention without reason, indeed ridiculed them, using them to rant on your own agenda.If you were a caring type I would have more interest in your postings. You tend toward zealotry and rantaholicism. I would love to hear you dialogue ANYTHING other than your same old on abortion.That is not meant to demean abortion. It is meant to dis your tactics. Please try to stay on subject. That or the subject is meaningless and is just a jumping point for personal rants. And that gets awfully boring. Even if the rant is on something as vital as abortion.

  • avp_65

    Where were these groups when Bush was in power? All credits goes to president elect OBAMA

  • jessteshara

    I’m sorry, but aliens is still PEOPLE, under the law, I assume, unless it says SPACE aliens (although they might be people, too). Also, no matter the religion, my fundamental belief is that humans actually agree on far more than they disagree on (contrary to the first paragraph), (lol).Let’s not be stupid. A person is a person no matter where they’re from, how they’re made, or what they think, say, or do. A’ite??

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    sparrow4:prolifer wrote: “I’m sure you know that the German Constitutional Court accepts human life begins at conception and considers abortion a violation of the human being’s right to life.”Yes- and we’ve seen how Germans treat the living in recent history. Not to mention, this is the USA, not Germany. So, what’s your point?December 18, 2008 9:32 AM**************************************We are discussing the definition of “person” in this instance. And I jumped in with my anti-abortion activism to point out how a mere legal definition was causing nearly four thousand completely innocent, defenseless unborn babies their life every single day. With no right even to argue their case or plead for their life. Roe vs Wade gave women the right to kill their unborn child starting 1973. That means clearly that there was a time when it was NOT legal to kill unborn children. In order to grant the right to kill, the unborn child had to be deprived of its right to life, and that was done with a mere definition – “non-person.” A legal definition can mean life or death to an unborn child. I brought up the case of the German Constitutional Court ruling because it has been argued by pro-abortionists times without number that abortion is a legal right and the law proves it is right. Not really. Not if the law is flawed, and the flawed law came about because it was based on distorted interpretation of the Constitution. It is the business of lawyers specialized in constitutional law to find out if any law is unconstitutional. In this case, Roe vs Wade and its even worse additions are unconstitutional to the extreme. It is to prove that point that I brought up the ruling of the German Constitutional Court, which made its ruling AFTER Roe vs Wade came into effect, and BASED on the very same arguments in Roe vs Wade came to the OPPOSITE conclusion. How? Read Roe vs Wade CAREFULLY. The flaws of the reasoning to allow abortion on demand is there for all to see. The German Constitutional Court saw it and acted on it. Abortion is allowed in Germany under certain circumstances, but it considered a non-punishable offense rather than a right. The attitude towards abortion is very different because it acknowledges the existence of the unborn child as a separate human being within its mother’s womb.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    sparrow4:Yes- and we’ve seen how Germans treat the living in recent history. Not to mention, this is the USA, not Germany. So, what’s your point?December 18, 2008 9:32 AM********************************No other nation has acknowledged its mistakes as Germany has. It has learned its lessons so well that it is illegal to even express approval for its Nazi past as an expression of freedom of expression. Germany not only bans extremist groups with any hate, nationalist agenda, but is constantly on the lookout for such groups in order to nip their activity in the bud…In fact it has been said that Germany serves as a model in the way it has handled its terrible past. Don’t forget there was a Germany before the Nazi era (btw, Hitler was an Austrian) and there is a Germany after the end of WW II. If Germany was in denial of their Nazi past or doing nothing to change the Nazi influence, then it is a different matter. However the topic for discussion is the legal definition of personhood, which I pointed out costs an unborn child its right to life and how the US Supreme Court definition of personhood with regard to the unborn child is not shared by the German Constitutional Court. It has been shown how it is possible to permit abortion under certain circumstances while not denying an unborn child its humanity; without making the killing of unborn child a constitutional right of the mother.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    baddabing1:*Shakes head* That’s what comes of allowing the pro-life crowd to capture the discourse and insert inaccurate terms – and just how did unborn children wander into a discussion of the rights of enemy combatants anyway?”Person” is a legal status having to do with certain rights, most of them having to do with property or with the capacity to take actions in court. A “person” need not be alive or be a human being (a corporation, for instance, is considered a “person”). A person can own, inherit, bequeath, buy, sell and borrow against property. A person can sue and be sued. Generally, the personhood of all born-alive human beings is presumed, even if they lose legal capacity for whatever reason; guardians or conservators may act on their behalf. Our courts have already recognized the legal status of enemy combatants in other matters, thus this “non-person” argument is just another piece of Bushery. One wonders where the justices of the D.C. Circuit got their law degrees.As for unborn children, they have never been considered “persons” under the common law. At best, they are potential persons (in probate, for instance, an unborn child’s share of an estate is not distributed until that child is born alive). Without a specific statute, it is not a crime or even a civil tort to cause the death of a fetus (I’m talking about cases where a pregnant woman miscarries as the result of an injury).So framing the abortion argument in terms of “life” (a fetus certainly meets the biological requirements for life: it grows, it reacts to stimuli, it takes in nourishment, it excretes waste) or species membership is simply clouding the issue.December 18, 2008 11:15 AM************************Read Roe vs Wade carefully, especially the arguments put forward by the American Medical Council at an earlier time. It pointed the legal flaw in which an unborn child is treated as a legal person in inheritance law – when a third party claimed the unborn child as a person in an inheritance will, then the mother could be charged with murder for aborting the child, if she stood to gain financially or otherwise from the death of the child. Let’s take for example two instances: 1. A woman gets pregnant by a millionaire who does not want to marry her or cannot marry because he is already married and does not want to divorce his wife. But he loves his child, so he makes provisions for his child which does not include anything for its mother, or provisions for both. The woman stands to gain if she aborts the child if the will permits her to have the money meant for the child. Or she could abort the child to take revenge on the man. In both cases she is committing a crime. The other instance when the child is treated as a person is when a third party hurts a pregnant woman. If the violence or assault leads to abortion, then the person is charged for a crime. If mother and child are killed, the person is charged with murder of mother and manslaughter of child. (Forgive the lack of legal expertise on the use of terms such as murder, manslaughter.) I hope I have made my point anyway about the personhood awarded to the unborn child when a third party claims it as a person or the baby is hurt against the wishes of its mother. In other words in one case it is treated as mother’s property as she pleases, and in another is it given worth if someone treats it as a person. Of its own the child seems to have no right to its life. That is what the whole morality of abortion as a right is all about.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    The American Medical Council pointed out the discrepancy in the law which treated the unborn child as a person when a third party gave it the right to exist, and how the unborn child had been denied its right to life if its mother did not want it.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    BADDABING1:When a man kills a pregnant woman, he is charged with double murder. When a pregnant woman has an abortion if the child is claimed in an inheritance law, the woman is guilty of murder.

  • sparrow4

    prolifeactivist- in case you haven’t been keeping up with these things- there happens to be still a nice little group of nazi thinkers yet. there are still plenty of WW II era german still alive today- I hardly think I’ll be taking any moral or ethical teaching from them anytime soon.that said, you don’t need to hijack every thread with your particular obsession. I don’t believe a person is created at conception. that doesn’t happen for quite a few weeks, and prior to that, a woman should have the right to a choice. You need to stop ranting about unborn, murdered children because 1. It makes you sound like a wingnut, 2. As soon as you drag out the slogans, people turn off. You aren’t making your point because you’re alienating the very people you want to listen to you.Your other problem is the insistence that the law is flawed, and only your interpretation is right. You’re intransigent, and you refuse to hold an openminded dialogue with people who have very profound and powerful reasons to disagree with you. If you expect us to respect your opinions, you have to respect ours. Calling pro-choice people murderers ain’t gonna do it.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    sparrow4:No- my point was Germany cares more about embryos and blastocysts than it does about human beings. while you are all concentrating on developing and dividing cells, children die every day of starvation, disease and abuse.If the anti-choice group really cared about children they would care about them. Instead they are happy to waste time and money invade women’s bodies and hold them hostage, and let the world go to hell in a handbasket.When they care first about living children, born and suffering, I’ll take them seriously.Until then I find them to be supreme hypocrites.December 18, 2008 10:04 AM********************************Be ready to be surprised: Germany cares very much for born persons. Where have you read that German children are dying of starvation, disease and abuse? It has a much better social support system than the US. The rich pay much higher taxes (it doesn’t suit the American capitalist system, where the rich are supposed to get richer) and the gap between the middle class and rich is not so great. Even the poorest have their basic needs met, even it they don’t have their German dreams fulfilled.West European countries are proof that social support systems alone is not sufficient to reduce abortions. Tougher laws and restrictions to access for abortion of convenience has a major role in keeping abortions lower. Compare Sweden with Ireland. Both have very good social support systems. Sweden has constitutional right to abortion like in the US but laws in Ireland are tough. The rate of abortion in Sweden is extremely high, despite its very good social support system. Just in case anyone has failed to notice, the US is the richest country in the world. To talk as if it were a third world African country is an insult to all those poor Africans.

  • Garak

    Repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Act goes well beyond “not substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion.” It grants special privileges to religion that are unavailable to the rest of the public. It effectively exempts churches from zoning laws, for example. It allows churches to win attorneys’ fees when the church wins a zoning lawsuit, but denies other parties the same right.

  • sparrow4

    “The American Medical Council pointed out the discrepancy in the law which treated the unborn child as a person when a third party gave it the right to exist, and how the unborn child had been denied its right to life if its mother did not want it.”and when you allow a third party the right over a woman’s body, you are opening up the door to enslaving women to every vagary of the law or strangers. that won’t wash under the Constitution because it makes women into second class citizens.I’d also point out that some of these laws have not been challenged. I wonder what would happen if a murderer challenged the double murder charge? Of course if you’re talking about the case several years ago where a husband murdered his wife and (6 or 8)month old baby she was carrying, you’ll have no argument from me. but if you charge a man with a double murder, and the fetus is a week along- you open the way to charge women as murderers for aborting it. Again- wiping out the rights and equality of women under the law. Take a hundred giant steps backward for civilization.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    sparrow4:prolifeactivist- in case you haven’t been keeping up with these things- there happens to be still a nice little group of nazi thinkers yet. there are still plenty of WW II era german still alive today- I hardly think I’ll be taking any moral or ethical teaching from them anytime soon.that said, you don’t need to hijack every thread with your particular obsession. I don’t believe a person is created at conception. that doesn’t happen for quite a few weeks, and prior to that, a woman should have the right to a choice. You need to stop ranting about unborn, murdered children because1. It makes you sound like a wingnut,2. As soon as you drag out the slogans, people turn off. You aren’t making your point because you’re alienating the very people you want to listen to you.Your other problem is the insistence that the law is flawed, and only your interpretation is right. You’re intransigent, and you refuse to hold an openminded dialogue with people who have very profound and powerful reasons to disagree with you. If you expect us to respect your opinions, you have to respect ours. Calling pro-choice people murderers ain’t gonna do it.December 18, 2008 7:18 PM************************You are the one who has not been keeping up with events in Germany. The intense denazification work that has been kept up relentlessly ever since the end of WW II and the enactment of laws to prevent such a thing happening again. You might also like to read up on the Israeli-German relations at the political level. The serious work in the area of reconciliation and building a new generation of reconciled Jews and Germans. Right wing groups which propagate hate are banned. They are considered the copouts of German society, bottom of the barrel Germans, people who have nothing worthwhile to do. When those tiny groups emerge from their woodworks, and take to the streets, they are confronted by law enforcement.To the best of my knowledge WW II ended in 1945, sixty three years ago. Even the seventy three year olds of today were only ten year old children when the war ended. Since there was an intense anti-Nazi program implemented in every area of society, it is hardly likely that any of them ever had the chance to develop Nazi feelings. In fact the Nazi era is looked upon with national shame and revulsion.

  • sparrow4

    and it would be nice to go back to the topic at hand- that so many groups and faiths came together to defend the rights of the men in Guantanamo. It says so much about our system of justice and Americans in general. I find much hope in the fact that so many will set aside their differences, and even their fears, to defend Muslims the US government has accused of terrorism. even in an atmosphere like today’s, there are still the righteous who will stand up, popularity be damned.

  • ProLifeActivistBorn59

    sparrow4:”The American Medical Council pointed out the discrepancy in the law which treated the unborn child as a person when a third party gave it the right to exist, and how the unborn child had been denied its right to life if its mother did not want it.”and when you allow a third party the right over a woman’s body, you are opening up the door to enslaving women to every vagary of the law or strangers. that won’t wash under the Constitution because it makes women into second class citizens.I’d also point out that some of these laws have not been challenged. I wonder what would happen if a murderer challenged the double murder charge? Of course if you’re talking about the case several years ago where a husband murdered his wife and (6 or 8)month old baby she was carrying, you’ll have no argument from me. but if you charge a man with a double murder, and the fetus is a week along- you open the way to charge women as murderers for aborting it. Again- wiping out the rights and equality of women under the law. Take a hundred giant steps backward for civilization.December 18, 2008 7:29 PM************************When Roe vs Wade was decided upon, it must be remembered there was case pending in the courts against an abortionist, a repeat offender according to the old law in which performing abortion was a punishable offense. So protecting the abortionist was treated as the greatest priority. If all the Supreme Court judges had spent time reading a standard textbook of human embryology instead and visited the museum with human embryos and fetuses preserved for medical study, they would have been better informed on how to define a person. However after the introduction of ultrasound technology from 1976 onwards (three years AFTER Roe vs Wade came into effect) to monitor the life of the unborn child in the womb, there is even less excuse for abortion as a right.Second class citizen because a woman is asked to take responsibility for her sexual act without killing an innocent child? What about the innocent child who did not ask to be conceived, and wants to live, use its gift of life granted to it by God? What is this right to kill that is supposedly an expression of freedom?

  • ebleas

    justillthen – thanks for keeping the discussion on track. This was a clear case of a person with a single minded cause hijacking the discussion and others taking the bait.Now back to the discussion at hand:”they do not fall with the definition of ‘person.'”Um, can anyone really write this a keep a straight face? They are not a ‘person’? Good grief Charlie Brown, what’s next. Will we be arguing what the definition of ‘is’ is?

  • ebleas

    zjr78xva wrote: Really, does it? There is only one mention of “God” in the entire Declaration of Independence:”the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them,”The passage that talks about unalienable rights is as follows:”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”The specific word used is “Creator”, not “God”. “Creator” could be interpreted as many things – a God for religious people, or simply Nature or evolution for secular people. Perhaps this was intentional and that the framers did indeed want to keep the document secular?

  • sparrow4

    prolifer wrote: “I’m sure you know that the German Constitutional Court accepts human life begins at conception and considers abortion a violation of the human being’s right to life.”Yes- and we’ve seen how Germans treat the living in recent history. Not to mention, this is the USA, not Germany. So, what’s your point? (apologies justtillthen- that’s the last I’ll bother with her).

  • jbuettner2

    Your are right, Sparrow4! With America’s abortion record we are no better than the death machine that was Germany. We are just better hiding our callousness toward life–unborn and otherwise–under the banner of “personal rights” rather than under the banner of National Socialism and the right to racial health and survival. As Pope John Paul said, “A nation that kills its children has no hope.” Just look at America: it’s malaise is not only economic, it is moral. We are the proverbial whited sepulchre.

  • sparrow4

    No- my point was Germany cares more about embryos and blastocysts than it does about human beings. while you are all concentrating on developing and dividing cells, children die every day of starvation, disease and abuse. If the anti-choice group really cared about children they would care about them. Instead they are happy to waste time and money invade women’s bodies and hold them hostage, and let the world go to hell in a handbasket.When they care first about living children, born and suffering, I’ll take them seriously.Until then I find them to be supreme hypocrites.

  • ebleas

    As Pope John Paul said, “A nation that kills its children has no hope.” A nation that cannot decide to define all human beings, regardless of nationality, as “persons” has no hope either.

  • jbuettner2

    Oh, Sparrow4, that old “hypocrites” saw is just a cop-out. It sounds all high and mighty to call people you disagree with “hypocrites” but it really denies facts. There are thousands of pro-life people who care for children; adopt unwanted children; care for the sickly and abused among us, young and old; and offer aid and support to women who are having unplanned pregnancies are who are suffering the emotional devastation after abortion. Witness Mother Teresa’s work, the Birthright Centers around the country, the couples who adopt (my wife and I are in the process). Of course, if you want to throw stones at barns, you’ll find a million hypocrites everyday, in all walk of life, from every political, social, religious, non-religious perspective ad infinitum. A quick example: Witness a wealthy politician such as Joe Biden who gives something like less that 1% of his income to charity. Sure, I could call him a “supreme hypocrite”, beat that drum loudly, and use that as an excuse to say until everybody as wealthy and powerful as VP Biden gives to charity, I won’t. But then I would be immature and denying my own moral agency and power to make positive change and do the right thing. Sure, if we gave 50% of our incomes, it probably wouldn’t be equal to 1% of Biden’s, but we still have the power to make a positive change. Shouting “hypocrisy!” is just an intellectual cop-out. No one is perfect but the moral law is: protect the innocent!

  • baddabing1

    *Shakes head* That’s what comes of allowing the pro-life crowd to capture the discourse and insert inaccurate terms – and just how did unborn children wander into a discussion of the rights of enemy combatants anyway? “Person” is a legal status having to do with certain rights, most of them having to do with property or with the capacity to take actions in court. A “person” need not be alive or be a human being (a corporation, for instance, is considered a “person”). A person can own, inherit, bequeath, buy, sell and borrow against property. A person can sue and be sued. Generally, the personhood of all born-alive human beings is presumed, even if they lose legal capacity for whatever reason; guardians or conservators may act on their behalf. Our courts have already recognized the legal status of enemy combatants in other matters, thus this “non-person” argument is just another piece of Bushery. One wonders where the justices of the D.C. Circuit got their law degrees. The fundamental question, of course, is whether religious liberty and freedom from torture are privileges that America affords only to those we approve of, or whether they are fundamental HUMAN rights that NO nation may contravene without crossing the line that divides Civilization from Terror. Shoe pinches, doesn’t it? As for unborn children, they have never been considered “persons” under the common law. At best, they are potential persons (in probate, for instance, an unborn child’s share of an estate is not distributed until that child is born alive). Without a specific statute, it is not a crime or even a civil tort to cause the death of a fetus (I’m talking about cases where a pregnant woman miscarries as the result of an injury). So framing the abortion argument in terms of “life” (a fetus certainly meets the biological requirements for life: it grows, it reacts to stimuli, it takes in nourishment, it excretes waste) or species membership is simply clouding the issue.

  • sparrow4

    you,prolifer, are presuming to tell me, a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust, and who does read quite a bit on issues of antisemitism -you are going to tell me about it? very funny. trust me- you don’t know the half of it. YOU DON’T KNOW.and yes, second class because you aren’t telling men to take responsibility for their sex act (and don’t give me the men are different crap again either. Thanks for hijacking another thread with you complete obsession with other women’s bodies and what they do with them. You just like ccnl and spidermean2- (and do you really think you’re the only one in life who has ever read an embryology textbook? Don’t be that big a fool.)

  • zjr78xva

    bobritter, may I respectfully suggest you read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? The former says our rights come from God. The latter says NOT that it “defines” our rights, but simply THAT WE HAVE rights, some of which it enumerates without limiting the rest.Contrary to your mistaken assertion, America is anything but a secular nation. We are a religious people from many traditions with a non-sectarian government, founded above all to preserve the free exercise of religion.

  • politicallyincorrectworldcitizen1

    testing

  • politicallyincorrectworldcitizen1

    sparrow4 : …and do you really think you’re the only one in life who has ever read an embryology textbook? Don’t be that big a fool.December 18, 2008 11:39 PM *************I’m telling you what I know about the post WW II German response to the Holocaust. The information is publicly available. International media also covers the Israeli-German relations and reconciliation efforts. WW II ended sixty three years ago, and the generation of Germans born after WW II do not carry guilt about with them. The German government is doing all it can to prevent such things from happening again, as it has been doing for sixty three years. Having lost family in the Holocaust I can fully understand why you cannot find a closure. I have great sympathy and understanding for you. Only the younger generation can truly be open to a new beginning. As to human embryology: At no time did I claim that I’m the only one who has read a human embryology textbook. A standard textbook by its very definition is read by thousands and thousands of people who are pursuing the subject academically. The book I mentioned happens to be listed on most prolife websites and essays in defense of the anti-abortion position. I only tried to say that your knowledge of human embryology isn’t up to the mark and that your degree in anthropology with a biology minor doesn’t give you the university background to speak so authoritatively on human embryology. You wouldn’t write the stuff you did if you had really read a textbook on human embryology. Therefore I kept repeating that you really should read the book I recommended.

  • politicallyincorrectworldcitizen1

    Sparrow4:I jumped into the discussion with the legal definition of “person.” As per Roe vs Wade, it is the woman who makes the decision to abort her child, not the man. The law specifically denies the man the right to force her to carry the child to term or force her to abort the child. It is all about the woman’s right, and the woman’s right alone. I speak on behalf of the unborn child, its right to life.

  • politicallyincorrectworldcitizen1

    Sparrow4:As to the man’s role: a woman should discuss with her sex partner the possible consequences of failed contraception. From the beginning of human history, sex always came with the potential to produce a child, which is why traditional cultures never permitted sex outside marriage. Artificial contraception is hardly seventy years old. Even the best form of artificial contraception could sometimes go wrong, mostly because of imperfect use. An innocent child should not have to pay with its life for the irresponsibity of its parents.

  • sparrow4

    so prolifer- posting under 2 different handles I see. Next I expect yo will be posting conversations with yourself to win arguments.