Slaughtering the Innocents

Matthew writes:

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

We call this The Slaughter of the Innocents, and those Innocents are the first Saints of our church. That is as it should be. But we in the United States, have butchered over 61 million children even younger than that since 1973. We will kill another 840 today. That is the entire population of the town I grew up in – every day.

Why? The excuses are legion, and few of them amount to anything more than a woman’s convenience. That seems to be enough reason to butcher a child using methods that would cause a packing house to be shut down in horror.

But even this isn’t enough, the left thinks a woman should be able to kill her baby even after it is born, or as it is being born, that is what the new New York law allows, as does the one the Virginia Senate defeated last week. Virginia’s governor proudly proclaimed that it would allow the killing of an infant after it was born.

Georgi Boorman writing in The Federalist reminds us. I quote little of it, read it all, it’s exceptionally well done.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who just made deeply troubling comments on abortion, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who just signed the country’s most radical abortion law, have been the subject of intense ire in recent days. The outrage is coming not just coming from “radical” pro-lifers, but people from across the political spectrum.

Why? Because virtually no one but the far left believes it is morally acceptable to allow infants to be murdered seconds before birth, or to be left to die after delivery at the behest of the mother.

Yet the nation has been shocked by radical left’s boldness in their mission to define preborn human beings as disposable non-persons. Where is this evil coming from, and how do we stop it?

The Slaughter of the Young and the Elderly

Abortion and infanticide have historically been common practices. In the first century AD, infanticide was a common and culturally accepted practice across the world. The murder of infants was a regular occurrence in Europe into the Middle Ages and beyond, despite being condemned by both church and state.

The practice was not confined to the desperate, illiterate, impoverished masses, as if “enlightened” thinkers knew better. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law, admired by Cicero, contains the command that, “A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed.”

Likewise, the wealthy first century Roman philosopher Seneca once wrote, “We doom scabby sheep to the knife, lest they should infect our flocks. We destroy monstrous births, and we also drown our children if they are born weakly or unnaturally formed; to separate what is useless from what is sound is an act, not of anger, but of reason.” This from a Stoic, who supposedly believed virtue to be the highest good. Notably, Seneca was Nero’s tutor.

Infanticide was an acknowledged option for any child who was deformed, sickly, of uncertain paternity, the wrong sex, or simply unnecessary to the household. Aristotle, revered by many a university professor, wrote that, “As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared,” and “if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it before it has developed sensation and life.”

The Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans all practiced child sacrifice to appease their gods. The Chimú civilization, located in what is now Peru, sacrificed more than 140 children at one time some 550 years ago. The children’s chests were slashed open, presumably to remove their hearts.

The citizens of the powerful ancient city Carthage in Phoenicia ritually sacrificed their infants. Archaeologists believe the preferred age of sacrificial infants was less than three months old. According to the writing of early AD Greek biographer Plutarch, “But with full knowledge and understanding [the Carthaginians] offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds.”

The residents of the broader region of Canaan (late second millennium B.C.) were condemned numerous times by the ancient prophets of Israel for their child sacrifice. The prophet Jeremiah, in his judgment against apostate Israel, foretold that the valley of Hinnom, where the Israelites were sacrificing children to Baal, would be called “the valley of Slaughter” (Jeremiah 19:5-6).

Evidence for both ritualistic and utilitarian murder can be gathered from around the globe. In times of famine, the Inuit would abandon the elderly (both with and without consent) or dispense of them by quicker means. The Bactrians of ancient Persia were reported to have fed their sick and elderly to dogs trained especially for this purpose. Nearby cultures were supposed to have had similar senicidal customs. Among the Massagetae, Herodotus wrote that, “Human life does not come to its natural close with this people,” but that the people sacrificed their elderly, boiled their flesh, and ate it.

Not every single community on earth had such evil practices, but the embrace of death as the first solution to a family or tribe’s problems has been wickedly banal, historically speaking.

This ended as Christianity spread its influence until most of us are horrified reading such accounts, but as Christianity starts to recede these practices come back. Infanticide (including what we euphemize as abortion) leads the way, but killing the elderly and infirm lurks not far behind. In fact, they too have made their appearance, especially in government-run healthcare, such as the British NHS.

 Tertullian, an early church father, wrote in “Apologia”: “In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb…To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.”

Somehow it’s always those who think they are our betters, like the Democrats (and a fair number of Republicans as well, although fewer than they used to be). It seems to be a mark of the elites, to murder those they deem less exalted. Like Herod, and like Governor Northam. I see no difference between them.

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Slaughtering the Innocent

I suspect many of you remember Charlie Gard, I certainly do. He was a baby with a disease that doctors in Italy and the United States thought maybe they could help, but the British NHS absolutely refused to let him go, essentially killing him. I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. In this post, we referred to a National Review article that mentioned another case was lurking out there. This is that case.

I heard about this from a British friend, who wrote an article about it on her blog, which is here. I’ll let Caroline describe it.

To recap, Alfie doesn’t have a diagnosis of terminal illness, in fact he doesn’t have a diagnosis at all, but that hasn’t stopped Alder-Hey hospital which is treating him, from coming to the conclusion that he would be better off dead.

In their legal submission Alder Hey claims that Alfie is insensate and unaware of any kind of stimulation or sensation. You need only to look at some of the videos on his Facebook page, to see that this is not the case. In one extremely poignant photo, baby Alfie is seen opening his eyes when his mummy picks him up for a cuddle. In another you can see Alfie clearly responding to his father’s voice and even stretching.

The reason why Alfie is in what appears to be a comatose state is because he is drugged up to the eyeballs on 4 different anti-convulsant medications in order to prevent the seizures which he was experiencing, which could cause brain damage. These drugs not only sedate Alfie, but also depress his breathing, making Alfie more reliant on his ventilator. The cumulative effect of all of them together increases their side-effects.

Alfie’s family have a number of questions surrounding his care, one of them being why he has been intubated for so long without ever being offered the option of a tracheostomy? Intubation is never intended as a long term option – it is uncomfortable and the tube which Alfie has fitted has been identified as being too large for a child of his age and size. One of the reasons why Alfie needs sedative drugs is order to suppress the gagging and discomfort which accompanies intubation.

Another effect of intubation is that of long term damage to the trachea, vocal chords and muscles required for breathing. It is considered best practice to perform a tracheostomy after 3 weeks of intubation in order to lessen these risks. A tracheostomy does less damage to the trachea, doesn’t required sedation and makes it much more likely that the patient could be weaned off the ventilator and in many cases, even allows for the patient to go home.

While it cannot be guaranteed that this would have been the outcome for Alfie , it calls into question Alder Hey’s submission that all options have been exhausted, because clearly this one has not been tried and as a result Alfie has potentially missed out on an extra year of babyhood and development.

Despite previously recommending a brain biopsy for Alfie, Alder Hey state that this procedure is too invasive.

Another hospital in Europe has agreed to take Alfie and perform a tracheostomy immediately.

On the subject of tubes Alfie also has a feeding tube fitted through his nose and down his throat, along with the ventilator tube. It’s quite a lot of equipment to be fitted into a baby’s tiny throat for an entire year, especially with the large uncomfortable tapes across his face.

As with the intubation, when internal feeding is required for a long time, normal practice is to fit a PEG feeding tube directly to the stomach, yet Alfie has not received one. The nasal tubes were not designed to be fitted long term and are insanitary. Last time Alfie’s feeding tube was changed it was blocked with deposits from meds and food. Alfie’s current tube has mould on a connecting piece and apparently the hospital hasn’t responded to repeated inquiries about changing it.

There’s quite a lot more and you really need to read it.

Again there is an Italian hospital that is willing to at least make him more comfortable by installing the proper tubes, and then they can perhaps do some real good. Also again it has been fully funded by a go fund me, so the British government is not on the hook for the cost.

Alder-Hey is, of course, the hospital that got itself in all sorts of trouble back around the turn of the century for improper handling, retention, and disposal of human tissue, including children’s organs. That led to the Human Tissue Act 2004, which may, but likely does not, have a connection with this case.

But what does have a connection with Charlie Gard is the hospital’s disdain for the child’s parents, and their insistence on effectively torturing him until he dies, and the sooner the better. Just before Christmas, there was a hearing (as Caroline mentioned) to remove the parents’ control and appoint a guardian. When this was done In Charlie’s case, the guardian appointed was Victoria Butler-Cole, the chairman of Compassion in Dying, a euthanasia charity. In this case, the judge, in a rare human decision, said there would be no decision until after the holidays.

What we have here, once again, is British institutional disdain, at best, of parent’s rights, to have a say in their child’s healthcare, like the baby is the property of the state. Well, that probably is what they believe but we, and many Britons, know better. It’s also curious that most of these cases seem to come up in families with normal heterosexual couples, who live together and love their baby. Wonder why that is.

Caroline again:

I can only speculate why this might be, perhaps it’s because his parents are both very young working-class blue collar types and some kind of snobbery is in play. Or maybe it’s because it’s thought that Alfie will be too much of a drain on the NHS in the long-term and perhaps if his parents could have been persuaded to accept that he ought to be taken off life-support, his organs could have been used for donation?

No matter what the motivation, this case, along with that of Charlie Gard seems to be all about the normalisation of euthanasia. Edmund Adamus came under fire in 2009 when he called the UK, the geo-political centre of the culture of death, but you have to wonder what is going on in a country where if your child is critically ill, regardless of how fantastic a parent you might have been, the state determines that only they, not you, are able to determine whether they should live or die.

Edited Wednesday 20th December 2017: The first version of this blog was published on Monday 18th December 2017, the day before the Directions Hearing in the High Court. At this hearing, an anonymity order was put in place which prohibited publication in the UK media of the names of the medical professionals involved in the case. Out of courtesy for this order, passed on Tuesday 19th December, I have therefore removed the names of the individuals, even though this blog is published on an international platform, for an international readership.

I was able to verify the involvement of one of the named individuals in another well-known case via a number of independent sources, which I already knew at the time of the case.

While I respect Caroline’s decision and will comply, frankly it is bullshit. If you are not man enough to take responsibility for what you do, you have no business making decisions for yourself, let alone anyone else, especially a helpless baby. It makes a damning story even worse, I think.

And so it time to pray again, that the British government may be prevented from killing another innocent (very innocent) Briton. May not work, but then again it may, and what else can we do.

The title I chose will come into focus Thursday, when we will look at King Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents because frankly, I see very little difference between the current British medical system, backed by the government, and King Herod.

The angels of death threaten the sanctity of human life

nilsson_rm_photo_of_20_week_fetusThis is something we see more overtly, in Europe than here, but we have the same forces here. And if we don’t keep guard, they will become even more overt, and to be honest, if we don’t hold the line, who will? By Niall McCrae writing in The Conservative Woman.

A compromise between individual rights and ethical safeguards, said Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau of forthcoming legislation to legalise assisted suicide. From a liberal stance, overturning time-honoured beliefs is inherently progressive, and while no political leader could afford to overlook the latent conservatism of the electorate, the direction of travel seems set.

Maybe that’s why, maybe it’s because I’m an American, where we wrote things down, long ago, that I don’t believe there is any, not any, room to compromise individual rights. We have always believed they came from God, even if European believe they come from the state, we know better than that. But many of our liberal friends don’t see it that way. Often it seems if they believe ‘the collective over all’.

From foetus to centenarian, existence is being determined not by grace but by instrumentalism: Most people are not callous, but the prevailing secular relativism and narcissistic culture have licensed people to put their own needs to the forefront:  the woman whose career may be disrupted by an unwanted child; the son who sees his frail father’s assets disappearing into the coffers of a private care home. The vulnerable are protected by the State and its systems of health and social care, one might think. But attitudes are changing, and influential voices have swayed opinion in the health professions, which have abandoned a clear position on preservation of life.  The long march through the institutions continues apace, and dark forces will surely triumph if good women do nothing.

Think of the fully-formed boy or girl, nestling in the womb. Cathy Warwick, leader of the Royal College of Midwives, has pledged the support of her association to the ‘We trust women’ campaign of Britain’s most prolific abortionist. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service wants decriminalisation of abortion at any stage of pregnancy. In response to the furore, Warwick asserted the purpose of the RCM as ‘advocate for women’. Yet as observed by Ann Widdecombe, this obfuscates the role and responsibility of midwives, whose dual concern is for the pregnant woman and her baby. Midwifery serves humanity, not a feminist campaign. […]

At the other end of life, older people are imperilled by the euthanasia lobby. Although Lord Falconer’s Bill was defeated in Parliament, there is certainly momentum towards legalising medically-assisted suicide, and many among the health professions support this. Such thinking is informed not only by widely reported cases of severe neurological disability, from which a fully cognisant sufferer seeks final relief. Some doctors and nurses are openly doubting the value of patient’s lives, particularly those of older people with terminal conditions (which could include everybody in their later years).

via Niall McCrae: The angels of death threaten the sanctity of human life – The Conservative Woman

Incidentally, one of the many reasons I opposed and still oppose Obamacare is on display here because I suspect it infects the thinking of medical personnel in Britain. It is undoubtedly cheaper to abort babies than to care for them, especially if they are likely to have what we euphemistically call, birth defects. It is also cheaper to quit feeding patients who seem unlikely to us to recover, or even where we cannot see what, if any, quality of life remains. I fail to see how that can possibly be something for us to judge.

The Hippocratic Oath has traditionally enjoined doctors to above all, “do no harm”, indisputably doctors have done harm over the years, but as we have learned, so have they, so they do less inadvertently. It would be a shame if they offset that by doing harm to people intentionally.

Niall mentioned Mathew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach, and its one of my favorites, so let’s end on a beautiful if still sad note.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
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