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|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
Washington Post blow hard E. J. Dionne opines about 'fact bending' by conservatives opposing the murder of Terri Schiavo and asks for apologies in the light of the 'facts' of her autopsy.
Of course, Dionne hasn't read the autopsy report himself - he's just repeating the spin - and he's taking Bill Frist to task for 'fact bending' by bending the facts himself.
In typical double standard speak, Dionne decries innuendo, and then proceeds to innuendo up a storm:
"As I understand it," Frist said on the Senate floor, "Terri's husband will not divorce Terri and will not allow her parents to take care of her. Terri's husband, who I have not met, does have a girlfriend he lives with and they have children of their own." No accusation here, just a brisk walk through innuendo city.
Hey EJ - He wouldn't divorce Terri. Fact. He wouldn't allow Terri's parents to care for her. Fact. He does have a girlfriend. Fact. They do have children together. Fact.
But, despite the official finding by the Neuropathologist: "Neuropathologic examination alone of the decedent's brain - or any brain, for that matter - cannot prove or disprove a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state or minimally conscious state." (Page 9, Neuropathoogist Stephen J. Nelson, In re: Theresa Marie ("Terri") SCHIAVO, deceased Your Medical Examiner Case No. 5050439), Dionne attacks Frist for questioning, prior to an autopsy, whether Terri was in a persistent vegetative state - and calls him a quack for good measure. Facts? No, innuendo city. Despite the findings, Dionne derides opinions by Frist and DeLay that Terri demonstrated evidence of minimal consciousness (which is on equal footing with PVS in the autopsy finding) by calling them dishonest ignoramuses. Fact? No, just more innuendo.
Of course, if Dionne had actually read the autopsy, he might be asking why the architecture of Terri's brain was remarkably intact - that specifically the cortex and thalamas were, though damaged, extant - instead of the 'mush' the PVS proponents had been hoping for. He might have asked, why with all the references to the literature on PVS in the autopsy report, there was almost no discussion of correlating evidence in the examination of Terri's brain.
He might have asked why the centerpiece of the neuropathological analysis was the weight of a severely dehydrated brain.
He might have asked why a defense against conducting an MRI while Terri was still alive was presented in an autopsy report. (Uh, EJ, to explain this clearly to you - Isn't it strange that in an autopsy report there is an editorial paragraph that basically says: "It was correct not to conduct an MRI on Terri while she was still alive because of the therapeutic implant she had in her thalamus. We were out to kill her - not to hurt her." For what purpose was this paragraph produced? Is it, in effect, an apology? An apology to radiologists and neuropathologists that will look at the autopsy evidence and exclaim "Oh, my God, we just purposefully killed a woman who had a remarkably intact cerebral cortex and thalamus" - the "centers of consciousness".)
Now, those are some innuenda worth examining. Don't you think EJ?
He's not answering. After his expectorant explication, he must be enjoying some time on the respirator.
Terri's autopsy report was issued yesterday and aspects of it were discussed at a press conference by the medical examiner.
The LSM dutifully reported the findings.
The St. Peterburg Times in Tampa Bay Florida today laud the 'voice of science' that brings the unhappy matter to an end. Referring to Pinellas-Pasco ME Thogmartin, the Times writes :
His words, and the way he delivered them, stood in stark contrast to the insistent, even shrill voices heard during Schiavo's last days. Where Schiavo's advocates on both sides had appealed to emotion, Thogmartin called for reason. Where they cried and prayed, he explained.
Please, his words implored, listen. There are things that science can reveal and things that are unknowable. There is nothing left to uncover, no tissue left to dissect, nothing more to fight over.
One of the centerpieces of the autopsy report is from the part that was produced by Dr. Stephen Nelson - in his capacity as Neuropathologist:
Around the world, this 'half brain weight' story is repeated over and over again like some mantra that proves a point.
It really doesn't seem that anyone wants to subject this particular lynchpin to any critical thinking. Shall we?
What is the brain composed of?
That's 77-78% water. Other references say up to 85% of the brain is composed of water.
The same autopsy that concluded that Terri died from dehydration (and specifically not from starvation) noted her weight in preparation for the autopsy:
Terri Schiavo had experienced massive weight loss during the 13 days that she was deprived of her feeding tube.
I can't find a reference to her weight prior to the tube being removed - but from pictures I would venture that she weighed somewhere between 155 and 175 pounds.
There are, fortunately, limited scientific studies on the weight loss effects of forced dehydration. But we have a contemporary example that demonstrates the massive weight loss involved.
You may remember the story of uber-hiker Aron Ralston, who in a 2003 freak hiking accident, had an 800-1,000 pound boulder pin his arm to a canyon wall inside of a crevice. To survive, Ralston eventually amputated his own arm. In his book Between A Rock And A Hard Place, Ralston says this in the epilogue:
Ralston lost 40 of his 165 lean, conditioned pounds in six days - during which time he consumed a little water and resorted to drinking his own urine to survive.
How much weight did Terri Schiavo lose in 13 days?
It's certainly difficult to make an exact determination, but she clearly would have lost at least, and probably more than one-third of her body weight. It is not unreasonable to conclude that her brain tissue lost the same or even more percentage of weight as well.
Which brings us to the 'atrophied brain'. Here we are in the middle of a detailed autopsy report addendum and the Neuropathologist determines to make a comment that amounts to advocacy rather than reporting medical findings. He focuses on Terri's brain weight as the significant pathology and then makes a comparison to Karen Ann Quinlan's brain.
I'm old enough to remember the controversy over Ms. Quinlan when her parents were allowed to unplug her respirator - and she shocked everyone by breathing on her own. No one in the 1970s could conceive of the barbarism of pulling Ms. Quinlan's feeding tube so she lived on it until she died of pneumonia nine years later. When Ms. Quinlan died she was at least reasonably hydrated.
We can be certain that doctor Nelson is aware of these facts.
What am I saying? Am I saying that Terri Schiavo didn't have brain damage? No, not saying that. It was obvious. Am I saying that there's no medical truth in the autopsy? Nope. Not saying that either.
What I am saying is that the discussion of pathology of Terri's brain due to brain weight is medical fraud - prior to the removal of the feeding tube Terri's brain weight would have been at least 922 grams and could have easily been over 1,000 grams. These doctors know this. Her significantly reduced brain weight was due to the dehydration and starvation that was imposed on her.
It is telling that there is such an effort at the ME's office that performed this autopsy. Why the need by those pledged to 'first do no harm' to introduce advocacy in a scientific document which should be free of ideology? Why tell such a significant lie?
UPDATE: A reader wants to know if all brains aren't dried out in an autopsy so there's a standard of moisture content. Nope. It is quite rare to autopsy a dehydrated subject so there's been no need to establish some water content protocol (I would think that it's safe to say that any other autopsy that has ever been performed on someone as dehydrated as Terri Schiavo was would result in a criminal investigation). Here's a good (safe to look - just cartoons) description of the process of autopsy.
UPDATE 2: At Sue Bob's Diary, Jerri Lynn has a great series of posts - asking great questions about the details of the autopsy report - and asking the 'dehydration' question before I did. The first post is here. In the post that is tracked to this one she asks:
What is more important, brain weight or brain architecture?
That's a great question.
Jerri Lynn also references an article in the medical literature: Dehydration confounds the assessment of brain atrophy. (Full article requires a paid subscription).
Taking that lead, I've also found: Fluid intake affects brain volume: a possible confounder in the assessment of brain atrophy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain in Diabetes (look for 'dehydration' in the article - a reason for brain atrophy), and Biomarkers and Surrogate Outcomes in Neurodegenerative Disease: Lessons from Multiple Sclerosis (look for 'dehydration' again in the article - impact on brain volume).
Thanks for the link Michelle!
Katie Wernecke is 12 years old. She was diagnosed this January with Hodgkin's lymphoma - an extremely fast spreading and deadly lymphatic cancer.
So far, she has been through four chemo treatments - she was so weakened by those treatments that she required blood transfusions. Her parent wanted her own blood stored up for blood transfusions or for her mother's blood to be used for transfusions - based on their religious view of wanting only transfusions from family members.
After the four rounds of chemo doctors decided to introduce radiation therapy. The parents wanted alternatives and were concerned about the impact of radiation therapy on their child. They have been actively seeking other medical opinions and are very interested in any alternatives to radiation that could be utilized.
At the beginning of June, after a series of warnings, the parents were charges with neglect and through a series of events an AMBER alert was issued and Katie's mother was arrested, and the other children in the family were siezed by Child Protective Services (CPS).
Yahoo news (quoting AP) reported:
Texas Child, Denied Cancer Therapy, Taken from Parents
Texas child welfare authorities have seized a 12-year-old Corpus Christi cancer patient from her parents, who had refused on religious grounds to allow the girl to get radiation treatment, the Associated Press reported Friday.
Last week, authorities issued an Amber Alert to gain custody of Katie Wernecke after receiving an anonymous tip about alleged neglect, the AP said.
Michele and Edward Wernecke have asked a judge to bar radiation therapy for their daughter, saying they are members of the Church of God and oppose blood transfusions except from a family member. The judge could rule as early as Friday, the wire service said.
Katie has Hodgkin's disease, a cancer affecting the lymph nodes. Her parents say she's in remission and has already undergone chemotherapy.
Katie was found late last week with her mother at a family ranch. Her father was arrested on charges of interfering with child custody, and was released Monday after posting $50,000 bail. The Werneckes' three sons were placed in a foster home, the AP said.
Of course, the MSM fails to mention that the blood transfusion issue and the radiation therapy issue are not the same thing and that the parents opposition to radiation therapy is not on religious grounds.
Yes, we live in a country where the parents of a minor child cannot seek alternative treatments for their child that they dearly love and that they want the best for without having the government take their children from them and throw the parents in jail - should those parents oppose the heroic and barbaric modern blood letting at the hands of the 'first do no harm' physicians.
On the other hand, if you are completely helpless and cannot defend yourself and are a brain damaged woman (and not technically a child) and your husband wants to murder you, there is no government institution or executive that will stand in your way.
Katie and her family have been blogging throughout their ordeal so far. It's a good place to visit and give a hand if you will.
I know it's early in Colorado, so maybe we can call this a 'pre-post' trackback. I beg Jeff's forgiveness for being off topic - this has nothing to do with burnt broccoli, a Scotch-Irish woman's feet, or educational English lessons from Mrs. Hapke ...
I was just coming in to Narita Airport to head back to Seattle, when I noticed a new addition to the 'endangered species' case. I could have sworn that last time I looked at this there was an Ocelot or Manx or something - this time, be still my heart - there's Jeff''s Armadillo.
Now, I know that Fridays, Jeff usually promises to trot out that Armadillo - but for the last many, many weeks, there has just been excuse after excuse proffered like like so many Michael Jackson missed court appearances. I know that it has been rumored that the little guy has been on the lamb, and, occasionally, sad pictures have been offered up as to one fate or another.
This time it looks like - now I'm just saying it appears to me - the little guy has given his life for others of his kind to stop the callous importation of the many coveted Armadillo parts.
Last time I looked into it, there were 1,432 Armadillos per capita in Texas, and 1,107 per capita in Alabama, so I surely hope that the little guy didn't become some messianic armadillo offering for nothing.
I'll grant that it is possible that Jeff has another explanation - but, sir, you must produce the Armadillo and he must dance, dance, dance or he will be oft remembered as the one that landed in an endangered species case - displacing a more common feline species - because no one in Japan had ever seen anything like it in their entire collective experience.
UPDATE: So no dancing armadillo today... It's called denial.
Perhaps in an effort to attract the most diverse set of Google ads for a single post - but more likely to express utter disdain at the prospect of confabulated presentments in public education, Commissar Stephen at Politburo Diktat decries such - a "thinking" waste.
In a plaintive call for the status quo, Stephen does summon Simplicio's cast for a retort.
Pedant Simplicio: 'To support our astronomical observations, we must learn cosmological law. Now repeat after me, Big Bang, inflation, red shift - these are the things that are evidenced in the heavens.'
Student Salviati: 'But, professor, I observe a consistent relationship between quasar fields and nearby galaxies, in particular the decreasing red shift of the quasars with increasing distance from the galaxy of interest.'
Pedant Simplicio: 'PUT DOWN THAT TELESCOPE! - I said repeat after me, Big bang, inflation, r...'
Student Sagredo: 'But, professor, it is apparent that quasars don't obey the law of Hubble. Here's a DVD with a number of Nobel Laureates and leading figures in the field that think an open dialog on the subject may allow progress on difficulties with existing theories...'
Pedant Simplicio: <spitting, grabs the DVD and smashes it with his feet> 'We will not explore any out of the mainstream pseudo-science in this class - Nobel Laureates or not!'
Student Salviati: 'But, professor, empirical observation...'
Pedant Simplicio: 'Shut your trap! If you do not repeat after me, I will make you write it on the board 1,000 times - and if you do not internalize it, you will never get funding and you will never get published. Do you hear me?'
Pedant Simplicio: 'And then, out of these pre-biotic, pro-biotic conditions, the simplest cell emerged.'
Student Salviati: 'But professor, I can see in this electron microscope that even the simplest cell is a combination of extremely complex systems and has hundreds of millions of components.'
Pedant Simplicio: 'STEP BACK FROM THAT INSTRUMENT! - They should have never invented those things!'
Student Salviati: 'Sir, it is so highly improbable...'
Pedant Simplicio: 'Improbable? Are you some religious fruitcake? We're not talking about probability here, we're saying that LIFE WILL EMERGE!'
Student Salviati: 'Professor, I have here only a pad of paper, my calculator, and my statistics text. I have learned that combinatorial...'
Pedant Simplicio: 'This is Chemistry class - NOT Math class. The issue is we are here aren't we? LIFE WILL EMERGE!'
Student Sagredo: 'But, professor, Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickersham, who certainly had no religious affinity, calculated1 that the probability of a single bacterium of E. coli arising from a chance combination of chemicals is 1 in 1040,000. That number is so large as to defy...'
Pedant Simplicio: 'Probability really has no place in this discussion. After all, LIFE was trying to EMERGE in all places at all times in the universe - you must understand that the number of trials...'
Student Sagredo: 'Professor, with a number like that you could have all particles in the universe interacting billions of times per second for trillions and trillions of years, in fact could have trillions and trillions of universes conducting such trials and we still really haven't scratched the implication of such a number...'
Pedant Simplicio: 'Look, we don't base our understanding of this science on probability...'
Student Salviati: 'But sir, we've been learning in Physics class that the entire basis of particle reality is the probabilistic wave function in quantum mechanics and ...'
Pedant Simplicio: 'This is not Physics class, this is not Math class, this is Chemistry class - this is not about probability, this is about LIFE WILL EMERGE!'
Student Salviati: 'Uh, professor, I've been reading this book that has this story about the great scientist Louis Pasteur ...'
Pedant Simplicio: 'What, are you reading from some script from the creationists? I am so tired of talking about the biogenesis/abiogenesis question!'
Student Salviati: 'No, no, sir, I'm talking about his discovery of chiralty in salts and the resulting optical experiments he did.'
Pedant Simplicio: 'Chiralty, so? Many compounds have either right or left 'handedness'. What of it?'
Student Salviati: Well, any chemical reaction that has ever been observed that produces isomers produces 50% L and 50% R chiralty right? The same is true of amino acids right?
Pedant Simplicio: 'Get to it plebe. I don't have all day.'
Student Salviati: 'So in the formation of a strand of DNA, for example, all proteins are made up of L isomer amino acids right? So, to get 100% L chiralty from a mixture of 50% L and 50% R requires something to sort them right? I mean Pasteur used magnification and tweezers to separate salt crystals. What would play the role of Pasteur in selecting the thousands of L amino acids that make up a protein from a 50% L and 50% R batch given that they are chemically identical but optically different? And what would play such a role in selecting the billions of nucleotides that all have R (opposite of amino acid) chiralty? And why is it that when anything that is alive dies that its amino acids immediately begin changing chiralty back to 50% L and 50% R2? Information processing that is independent of chemical composition is a requirement...'
Pedant Simplicio: '<sputtering>Do not shove that ID nonsense down my throat! Call it 'chiralty magic' I don't care - the issue is that LIFE EMERGED! - now you will write on the board 1,000 times: LIFE EMERGED!' Do you understand me?'...Continue reading "Diktat summons Simplicio"
It is clear that the Brahmans of science - in this case those responsible in the obstetrics/gynecology field - have blood on their hands.
Abortion is a cause of breast cancer. (I didn't say the cause - I said a cause. There is a scientific, medical link between abortion and breast cancer - a link that is supported by dozens of scientific studies.)
This link has been known for some time. But now, it has been shown that the NCI, the American Cancer Society and medical journals - among others have produced fraudulent research and have deceived the public about this issue.
"The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) should be criminally investigated," declared Karen Malec, president of the coalition. "If German scientists had played the same shell game with women's health during World War II, they would have been tried at Nuremberg under American jurisprudence."
The release also cites this article in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly by Dr. Joel Brind (that's PhD not MD) - which was just published. This is an article of impeccable science - and I mean that in terms of objectively seeking the truth with evidence - that produces clear and damning evidence of science fraud in the highest reaches of the scientific community (from the Coalition press release):
Brind's paper reveals a disgraceful, 48-year record of scientific misconduct and a reckless disregard for women's health involving the NCI, the U.S. Department of Defense, Oxford scientists, medical journals, the American Cancer Society (whose legal department attempted to intimidate the coalition for exercising its free speech rights), and others.
Brind's article is well worth the long read and is a first rate education on the subject of linkage between abortion and breast cancer.
Two very important points emerge from Brind's excellent work:
The reputation of abortion as safe for women—which claim is explicitly part of the Roe v. Wade decision—has rightfully come under serious question for many reasons over the years since Roe. One of the reasons that “safe abortion” has come under question is the evidence linking abortion to an increased risk of breast cancer (ABC link). The ABC link has been an issue that has been in and out of the limelight in recent years.
Read: There is a significant 'safe abortion' lobby that has an agenda to prove that abortion is safe and has an agenda to squelch any data that is contrary to that agenda.
...the inherent conflict of interest between the NCI career scientists, who make the highly competitive grant funding decisions for the agency that funds most of the cancer research in the United States (and much of it elsewhere), and the supposedly independent research scientists who receive those grants, that dare not break with the party line.
Read: Money for cancer research goes to those 'scientists' that support the 'safe abortion' agenda.
Couple these overarching issues with Brind's explicit showing of repeated distortions of facts in 'scientific' studies and 'studies on demand' - and the fact that the NCI has altered its web site repeatedly in regard to this issue (anyone have cache's of this page over time?) - and you have a demonstrated showing of reprehensible fraud perpetrated on the public.
Particularly galling is the latest update that the NCI has made to the mentioned page. They have included a link to a cryptic page that alludes to a dissenting opinion - with no way to reach the actual dissent submitted or any way to find the actual research underpinning the dissenter's view - and the dissenter in question just happens to be : Dr. Joel Brind. The site might be changed again under the scrutiny that should occur because of Brind's publication so I'll snapshot it here:
Brind covers what happened with the NCI workshop and his resulting 'minority report' and the subsequent cover up in the referenced article.
(This is, unfortunately, a familiar refrain in several areas of 'scientific research' that we have discussed before - but let's not digress from this important issue.)
Brind ends his paper with these sobering words:
It is indeed unfortunate that—even assuming the truth will eventually win out—it may not occur until the issue is forced into the courtroom. We have estimated that upwards of 10,000 cases of breast cancer each year presently, and up to over 25,000 per year in twenty or thirty years hence, are or will be attributable to induced abortion.
How many thousands of women will be subjected to the pain and suffering of this horrible life-threatening disease, only because the doctors, the public health agencies, the media, and even the voluntary anti-cancer organizations are under the thumb of the “safe abortion” lobby?
But there is more to challenge the “safe abortion” mythology. Even as politically correct studies have been promulgated to neutralize the data proving the ABC link, even stronger data has emerged in recent years that firmly links abortion to premature births in subsequent pregnancies (which in turn raise the risk of breast cancer in the mother and cerebral palsy in the prematurely born children), and to suicide and other forms of premature death in women.
Many adjectives may be used to properly describe induced abortion, but “safe” is assuredly not one of them. The day will surely come when this is common knowledge, and for every day sooner that this happens, thousands of lives may be saved.
Many of us just spent most of the weekend being enraged - and rightly so - that Newsweek published an ill-advised story that resulted in lost lives around the world.
We should be even more enraged that the very institutions that utilize our tax dollars to use science to protect us or deliver us from disease have actually succumbed to a disease - a disease of agenda and funding - and that by implication they have chosen to knowingly expose a particularly vulnerable portion of our society to a prescription of disease and in some cases death.
How many tens of thousands of women are you prepared to sacrifice in the name of "safe abortion"?
Hat tip: LifeSite News
UPDATE: Bill at INDC discusses the importance of including chemotherapy data in a recurrence study that evaluates the effect of diet on breast cancer recurrence. If data regarding the impact of chemotherapy is required for scientific analysis of a diet study - certainly the impact of induced abortion history should be included as well. That assumes, of course, that the scientific environment would acknowledge that abortion is a risk factor in the first place.
Judge Ronald Alvarez joins the list of death culture activists by ruling that a 13-year-old girl - a ward of the state of Florida - can kill her unborn child - this after a legal battle between the state and the ACLU.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A judge ruled that a 13-year-old girl at the center of an abortion fight with the state may terminate her pregnancy, and Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the state will not appeal further.
Juvenile Judge Ronald Alvarez ruled Monday that the teen, who has been in state custody for four years, would not be physically or emotionally harmed by the procedure. Last week, Alvarez blocked the girl's abortion until a psychological evaluation was completed.
Florida judges - already having pushed the envelope in the plight of Terri Schindler Schiavo: concluding that her lack of competence in the face of her husband's desire to kill her was sufficient reason that she die - now concludes that a 13-year-old is competent enough to choose to murder her unborn child. Hmmm ... it appears that Florida judges will just choose the side of death - even for opposing reasons on the same issue.
As well, the judge now makes argument on his own behalf and claims prescience saying that the girl: "would not be physically or emotionally harmed by the procedure" - with all of the credible evidence about both "physical and emotional harm" associated with "the procedure" for the mother, the judge ascribes to himself some god-like power. Who will oppose him?
The judge didn't rule about the "physical and emotional harm" suffered by the unnamed child. When the time comes (it may have come already), the flailing arms and hands and the expression of utter horror on the little face of the human being as it attempts to avoid the instrument of death has no meaning to this judge or the ACLU.
Unfortunately, once again, we see the Florida executive powerless in the face of tyranny by the judiciary. Apparently, that state has accepted murder by judicial fiat - whatever the guise - and however far the judiciary pushes the limits of common decency.
We have a bizarre morass of ages wherein people are held to be responsible enough to make decisions. A 13-year-old can't drive, purchase a pack of cigarettes, or have a beer for many years. On the other hand, they are often tried as adults if they kill someone. Unless it's a fetus, in which case a judge has to decide for them.
A ward of the state - who escaped the state for long enough to become pregnant - is still a ward of the state - and the state is responsible for the well being of that ward - and in this case that ward's progeny - just as if the state itself were the ward's parents. That the state is abdicating that responsibility without appeal continues the chilling ascendancy of the culture of death in our midst.
Japan is not untouched by the culture of death. Abortion has been legal here since a eugenics law passed in post WWII Japan in 1948. A new law went into effect in 1996 that updated the old law.
Remarkably, the total number of abortions annually has been reduced since 1955 - the highest recorded year. In 1995 the number of abortions was 49% of the number in 1975. Is the reason for this better birth control? Studies suggest that it is not. Corresponding studies show an increase in living births from 'unwanted' pregnancies - i.e. having the baby instead of aborting it - during the same period between 1975 and 1995. What could be the reason?
This is by no means a Christian country - practicing Christians number about 2 percent of the population.
Something that is little known about what the Japanese people do in response to abortion is their effort to assuage the terrible guilt they feel. Abortion is considered here to be primarily a social responsibility for family size and is considered a terrible, sometimes necessary evil. But the Japanese people are for the most part brutally honest with themselves and as a society they don't lie to themselves. There is little question for them that an abortion takes a human life.
This is what many Japanese people do to deal with abortion: They pay - from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a year - to a Buddhist priest to put a statue in a certain area of a shrine (usually at a shrine to the goddess Kannon) burn incense and pray for the departed soul.
There are thousands and thousands of little statues in the shrine where I took the photos shown here. My guide that was walking me through this shrine - a business associate - told me the little statues were for miscarriages and I thought it remarkable how people cared for those that were miscarried - but he told me that just to be discreet. Undoubtedly there are some here who represent those who were not lost intentionally - but for the most part almost all of these represent abortions.
No one tells these people to do this. The government doesn't request it. They don't have pastors and sermons in the practice of Buddhism.
They do it because of the terrible grief and guilt that they feel for taking a life. Many of these little statues are adorned with clothes and little flower necklaces from time to time.
Could it be that the abortion rate has fallen so dramatically in Japan over the last many decades because there is such a stark reminder at the shrines within this nation of the lives lost?
Can you imagine 30 million and counting little statues somewhere in the United States? I guess not - as a society we have found it too easy to lie and clinicize and eliminate the physical evidence - and drown the grief and guilt in a copious pharmacy.
A grief stricken world receives the news.
Here in Japan they are repeatedly showing a video clip of the pontiff a few years ago visiting Hiroshima. He spoke to the people there at the memorial - and spoke in Japanese.
As the President said - we lost a champion of freedom. But we also lost the greatest champion for life in the last many decades.
We just witnessed that while most of Christendom stood mute - with the exception of people like D. James Kennedy - the Pope stood strong for life and decried the murder of Terri Schiavo.
This Pope lived a great and full life and everyone should honor his ministry. It would be most interesting to hear his first conversation with someone like Martin Luther after his arrival at the pearly gates.
I have been unable to write down anything else after Terri's death. It is a loss that feels for me like the loss of a member of my family.
This process has certainly been a wake-up call for me.
When they began to kill the innocents, I didn't do anything because it was 'the law' - when they removed the 10 commandments, I didn't do anything because it was 'the law' - when they murdered Terri I realized that 'the law' is a travesty of justice that ignores The Law on which our country and its ideals are based.
It is time for the governed to remove their consent and throw off the shackles of tyranny again.