Jun 01 2009

Violence against abortionists: incredibly rare

Category: abortion,media,societyharmonicminer @ 9:24 am

An abortionist who specializes in late-term abortion has been murdered in church.

Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few providers of late-term abortions despite decades of protests and attacks, was shot and killed Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher.

It was, of course, morally wrong to kill the abortionist. However, if there are so “few providers of late-term abortions,” they must be awfully busy to do the 10,000 or so abortions that are done each year after 21 weeks development in the womb.

Survival Rates

* Babies born at 23 weeks have a 17% chance of survival
* Babies born at 24 weeks have a 39% chance of survival
* Babies born at 25 weeks have a 50% chance of survival
* From 32 weeks onwards, most babies are able to survive with the help of medical Technology [EPICure data]

Continuing with the report:


Police did not release a motive for the shooting. But the doctor’s violent death was the latest in a string of shootings and bombings over two decades directed against abortion clinics, doctors and staff.

I always thought a “string” meant something that happened often enough to have a pattern with some kind of frequency.  Can you remember the last time something like this happened?  Be honest now…  what year was it?  What happened?  Did you have to look it up on Wikipedia to remember?  I thought so.

Stolz said all indications were that the gunman acted alone, although authorities were investigating whether he had any connection to anti-abortion groups.

Well, of course.  Anti-abortion groups are full of well-known killers, aren’t they?

Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

This is a flat lie.  Open your telephone book.  Look up abortion providers in the Yellow Pages, in any reasonably large city.  You’ll find “clinics” advertising “procedures to 24 weeks” and some to 28 weeks.  In any case, most hospitals will do late abortions that are truly required to save the life of the mother.   These specialized late term clinics serve women who have some “reason” other than saving their lives.  And this glaring error alone should create doubt in your mind about the accuracy of the rest of the reporting.

“We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down,” Troy Newman, Operation Rescue’s president, said in a statement. “Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning.”

And you can be pretty sure they mean it, since these people tend to take the ten commandments reasonably seriously.

The last killing of an abortion doctor was in October 1998 when Dr. Barnett Slepian was fatally shot in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. A militant abortion opponent was convicted of the murder.

Wait… didn’t someone say there was a “string” of this sort of thing? From where I sit, it seems to be safer to be an abortionist than a university professor. Several have been murdered on campus in pretty recent times.  And it’s LOTS more dangerous to do research on animal subjects than to do abortions….  those animal rights people are SERIOUS.

Federal marshals protected Tiller during the 1991 Summer of Mercy protests, and he was protected again between 1994 and 1998 after another abortion provider was assassinated and federal authorities reported finding Tiller’s name on an assassination list.

Another flat lie. The “assassination list” was merely a list of late-term abortion providers, and the text accompanying the list specifically “accused them of ‘crimes against humanity’ and offered a $5,000 reward for the ‘arrest, conviction and revocation of license to practice medicine’ of these physicians.”   If it was an “assassination” list, why have there been no murders of abortionists since 1998?  If abortion foes have ANY significant percentage of people in their ranks who are capable of doing an act like this, how is it that the last one was 1998?  Calling that list an “assassination list” is a capitulation  to the PR strategy of the abortionists…  of course, that’s exactly what the media have done, isn’t it?

So don’t look for reason or balance in the coverage of this murder.  Look for over-heated rhetoric, fulminating with barely concealed hatred for anyone who simply wants to save the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable among us.  Look for an attempt to connect pro-life groups to incitement to murder, without any factual predicate.

While you’re at it, consider this: because of the confluence of political issues, and the fact that anti-abortion people tend to hold traditional values on a range of issues, a larger percentage of them than the general population are also gun owners.  Does anyone think, if any measurable percentage of pro-lifers were willing to kill abortionists, that there would be very many abortionists left?

I am guessing that more abortionists and abortion mill employees have died in car accidents driving to work, since 1998, than this single murder.  There are a LOT of them (abortion providers, that is).   I don’t expect any news coverage of that fact, however.

But that’s the measure of the actual risk of what they do (risk to themselves, that is).  They’re in more danger from tailgaters than rabid pro-lifers.

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May 29 2009

Obama and his “pro-life voters”

Category: abortion,left,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:38 am

CSPAN coverage of Panel on Sanctity of Human Life

Catholic University of America hosted a discussion on “The Obama Administration and the Sanctity of Human Life: Is there a common ground on life issues? What is the right response by ‘Pro-Life’ Citizens?”

The panelists are Professor Robert P. George (Princeton University) and Professor Douglas Kmiec (Pepperdine Law School). Well worth watching. A bit long, but if you’re a Christian who voted for Obama on the grounds that his overall social policies might reduce abortion, you owe it to yourself to watch it. These are two very articulate representatives of their positions, and the issues are fairly laid out. 

For reference, here are earlier dialogs involving these two academics.

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May 15 2009

Conflicted Christians

Category: abortion,church,higher education,Obama,religionharmonicminer @ 9:39 am

As previously observed, President Obama will receive an honorary doctorate from Notre Dame in a few days, and address a commencement exercise. And although there is a considerable amount of Outrage Over Obama Speaking at Notre Dame, the plain fact is that 53% of Catholics voted for him, in direct contravention of their bishops’ advice and admonition.

One graduating senior, Matt Degnan, is selling T-shirts he designed that say “Obama? Fine By Me.” When I asked him whether the shirts represented enthusiastic support of the president or merely tacit ambivalence, he simply responded, “I think that the shirts speak for themselves.”

But he told the paper that faculty members have been the most frequent buyers, which comes as no surprise to anyone who’s ever met a college professor.

Furthermore, Catholics themselves helped put Obama in office, after voting for him 53 percent. Obama secured the largest advantage among Catholics for a Democrat since Bill Clinton.

So although I’m empathetic toward the outrage, and a Catholic school honoring a pro-choice activist like Obama is nothing short of outrageous, the numbers tell a different picture. The state of Indiana, St. Joseph’s County, South Bend, and the University of Notre Dame all supported candidate Obama, with alacrity, as did Catholic America.

Right-to-life issues are important, but this supposed scandal is muddied by the inconvenient underlying facts: Obama has huge support here, and some of the groups that are railing against his visit are the very groups that helped put him in office, in a position to then be invited.

But voting him into office was apparently one thing, and allowing him to speak at a college commencement, another. Catholics should get their message straight if they want to regain the kind of influence that makes them a credible voice of reason, compassion, clarity, and morality. Right now they just seem tongue-tied.

Christians should not be tongue tied.   Ever.   They should be willing to speak out on straight-up moral issues, especially those involving life and death of the most innocent.  Shame on us.  And count me as one evangelical who feels more in common with the other 47% of Roman Catholics than with all too many protestants.

In the meantime, here’s a protestant to admire, for his conviction, and his willingness to tell simple, unobstructed, unconflicted truth:

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Apr 29 2009

A courageous, principled Christian does the right thing

Category: abortion,higher education,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

Mary Ann Glendon: An Open Letter to Fr. Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, re: Obama receiving honorary degree

April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision-in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops-to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,

Mary Ann Glendon

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Apr 25 2009

Welfare spending doesn’t reduce abortion

Category: abortion,Obama,religion,Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:59 am

WAY too many Christians voted for Obama, believing or pretending to believe that his social policies would “reduce abortion,” even though he has supported the most radical pro-abortion policies possible.  These Christians seem to have fallen for the canard that a more fully funded “social safety net” would reduce the felt need for abortion, and that such policies would be more effective in reducing abortion than straightforward legal restrictions and limitations.   Some of these Christian groups have touted studies that do not, in fact, demonstrate the relationships they claim between social spending and reduced abortion.  Here is a takedown of “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good”:

An August 2008 study released by the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good had Obama supporters (and some editorial boards) swooning. Analyzing state level abortion data from 1982 to 2000, it purportedly found evidence that increased spending on various welfare programs resulted in substantial reductions in state abortion rates. The spin given to the results was that many pro-life laws, such as those requiring parental notification for abortions performed on minor girls, had little effect. So the paradoxical message to pro-life voters was that they could best advance their interests by electing pro-choice Democrats instead of pro-life Republicans.

Not surprisingly, this study had a substantial impact on the debate over sanctity of life issues during the 2008 Presidential election. Self proclaimed pro-lifers who support Democratic Presidential nominees can be found in every election cycle. However, this study gave Doug Kmiec, Nicholas Cafardi, and others intellectual legitimacy in arguing that pro-life voters should vote for liberals, even if they favor abortion-on-demand and its public funding, in order to advance the pro-life cause. At last, there was a methodologically sophisticated study which allegedly demonstrated that the welfare policies favored by Democrats were more effective in preventing abortion than the pro-life laws supported by Republicans. It seemed too good to be true.

It was. In November, with no public announcement, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good removed this study from their website. A replacement version was uploaded shortly thereafter. The replacement version differs from its predecessor in a number of interesting ways. First and foremost, one of the authors of the August study, Professor Michael Bailey of Georgetown University, removed his name from the November version. Joseph Wright, a Visiting Fellow at Notre Dame, is the sole author of the current study.

More importantly, the results of the new version fall well short of the original press release. The original study argued that three welfare policies had significant effects on state abortion rates. First, family caps, which deny welfare recipients extra benefits if they have additional children out of wedlock, increased abortion rates. Second, increased spending on the Women Infants Children (WIC) program reduced abortion rates. Third, increased spending on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) also reduced abortion rates.

However, after the original study was released, the authors discovered that they used incorrect abortion data for the years following 1997. Furthermore, after some dialogue with me, the authors decided that it would be appropriate to eliminate data from states, such as Kansas, where abortion reporting was inconsistent over time. These changes have had a substantial effect on the study’s findings.

The new version provides evidence that welfare policy has no more than a marginal effect on the incidence of abortion. In fact, the new regression results indicate that none of the three welfare policies which the authors previously argued were effective tools for reducing the incidence of abortion have a substantial abortion reducing effect. Wright clearly states that “WIC payments are not correlated with the abortion rate in the 1990s.” Additionally, the regression results consistently indicate that the presence of family caps has only a marginal effect on state abortion rates. Furthermore, while Wright argues that increased AFDC/TANF spending reduces state abortion rates, his regression results raise serious doubts about the reliability of this finding.

Wright runs a series of regressions using only data from the 1990s which shows that increases in AFDC/TANF spending is correlated with statistically significant abortion declines. However, regressions run on data from 1982 to 2000 find that AFDC/TANF spending only has a marginal impact on the incidence of abortion. Furthermore, when Wright runs regressions on data from the 1980s, he finds that AFDC spending actually increases the incidence of abortion and the coefficient approaches conventional levels of statistical significance.

For social science findings to be reliable, the results should be fairly consistent across time. These findings certainly are not. Furthermore, Wright makes no effort to explain why welfare spending has such disparate effects on abortion rates during different time periods.

Furthermore, many of the flaws in the previous study’s analysis of pro-life legislation are still prevalent in the current version. Wright states that parental involvement laws, like the other state laws restricting abortion, have little impact on overall abortion rates. However, since parental involvement laws only directly affect minors, Wright should have mentioned that analyzing their effects on the overall abortion rate is not a methodologically sound way to gauge their actual impact.

Similarly, Wright continues to argue that informed consent laws are ineffective. However, he fails to acknowledge the substantial differences in the effects of nullified and enacted informed consent laws. In truth, by the criteria he sets forth on page 6, his results provide evidence that informed consent laws are effective. However, he makes no mention of this in the paper.

Unfortunately, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good continues to miss the boat and mislead the public. There exist plenty of peer reviewed studies which find that public funding restrictions and parental involvement laws reduce the incidence of abortion. However, instead of acknowledging the positive impact of pro-life legislation and constructively working with pro-lifers to promote social policies that will further reduce abortion rates, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good seems primarily interested in providing moral, political, and theological cover for supporters of Barack Obama and other Democrats who support “abortion rights.” Unfortunately, their latest study indicates that their original findings have been unable to withstand serious scrutiny.

Sadly, just weeks into his administration, President Obama has already demonstrated considerable disregard for the sanctity of human life. One of Barack Obama’s first acts as President was to revoke the Mexico City Policy. Now non-governmental organizations receiving funds from the U.S. Government can perform and promote abortions overseas. It is unfortunate that the faulty research of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good was used as political cover to help make such a thing possible. As the Obama administration continues its assault on laws and policies upholding the sanctity of human life, pro-lifers need to hold this organization morally accountable.

It’s worth mentioning here that “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” is far out of the mainstream of Catholic opinion, and that many Catholic bishops have been lions in defense of the unborn. That makes it doubly sad that some Catholics, and other Christians, were led astray by falsehoods in the debate about abortion-on-demand, and so voted for Obama.  I wonder when, or if, we will start to hear expressions of remorse, as the disastrous effect of Obama’s decisions and policies leads directly to many more unjust deaths.

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Apr 16 2009

Hard questions about embryonic stem cell research

Category: abortion,science,theologyharmonicminer @ 9:48 am

12 tough questions from Doug Kmiec, with excellent answers from Robert George.

This is a follow up to an excellent interchange between the two that is covered here.

Some of this is definitely college level reading, and requires you to think about the questions and the answers.  But it is rewarding, and thoroughly worthy of your time and attention.

The short story:  the hard questions do have answers.  This material is what you need to read to know what you’re talking about in the embryonic stem cell debate.

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Apr 12 2009

Listening, in vain, for the sound of feminist protest at sex-selection abortion

Category: abortionharmonicminer @ 9:11 am

China’s one child policy and abortion of females

The prevalence of sonograms in recent years has allowed parents to learn the gender of their fetus about 20 weeks into pregnancy, Hesketh said, leading to a rise in abortions based on sex. Abortion is legal and widely available.

China bans tests to determine the fetus’ gender for non-medical reasons but they are still commonly done, mainly by underground private clinics in the countryside.

Of course, the abortion “rights” activists in the USA cannot have a thing to say about people aborting girls because they want boys.  They have declared that abortion should be available for any reason, at any time in the pregnancy.  They have declared that the “mother’s” wishes trump all other considerations.

Can they now decry abortions for sex-selection?  China isn’t the only place where gendercide against females has been happening.  Others include India, Vietnam and the Phillipines.

Pro-Life Philippines – Sounds of Feminist Silence

…with gendercide, the feminists are truly caught in a dilemma which shows up their avoidance of this issue which threatens the survival of women. If they ignore the sex selection deaths of their sisters, then they have to take on board their support for the killing of their own gender, whose killing in any circumstance other than abortion they would widely protest. Yet, if they protest the killing of the unborn baby girls, they lose their case for a “woman’s right to choose” abortion for any reason. But the stark reality facing them is that the “woman’s right to choose” could potentially result in the death of most girls, in fact the deaths of feminists themselves. If feminists support a ban on sex selection abortion then they have already been ensnared onto the pro life side and it seems easier to accept discrimination against unborn girls that to accept that. The continuing feminists’ sounds of silence testify to a moral failure to even face the issue, much less comment on it. If women’s rights groups cannot express a wish for their own sisterhood to survive, then what is the point of their existence?


And the silence from pro-abortion groups is deafening

Sex-selection abortion has left mainstream abortion and feminists groups in a bind. The National Organization of Women and National Abortion Rights Action League have been quiet on the subject. Their Web sites yield no substantive discussion of the practice, which has resulted in millions of missing girls. Perhaps these organizations do not want to face the facts regarding abortion.

Pro-abortion groups are fond of saying that abortion is a woman’s choice. It is her electing to choose what to do with her body. How much of a choice is it really, when the women are under immense societal pressure to have a boy? How much of a choice is it for the millions of missing girls?

The popular feminist blog, Feministing.com, dealt with the issue of sex-selection abortion a month ago. Samhita Mukhopadhyay writes that the “Fertility Institutes is benefiting from sexism and hatred against the birth of baby girls in India and the Indian diaspora communities.” Ms. Mukhopadhyay does not appear to recognize the irony in her statement.

There is no one on the pro-life side who would disagree with her, yet groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood have yet to take up the cause.

For a very simple reason: to argue that there is anything wrong with sex-selection abortion is to acknowledge the intrinsic worth of the unborn child. The pro-aborts can’t do that, since it undercuts their entire position.


Apr 08 2009

MD’s must kill babies or quit?

Category: abortionharmonicminer @ 9:21 pm

Senate Rejects Amendment Protecting Abortion-Conscience Rights for Doctors

The Senate on Thursday night rejected an amendment from a pro-life senator that would have provided conscience protection on abortion for doctors and medical centers. The amendment comes at a time when President Barack Obama is considering overturning further protections.

Sen Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, sponsored an amendment to the Senate budget bill that would protect the right of conscience for health care workers.

His budget amendment was to “protect the freedom of conscience for patients and the right of health care providers to serve patients without violating their moral and religious convictions.”

However, the Senate rejected the conscience amendment on a 56-41 vote with most of the chamber’s Democrats voting against it along with a handful of pro-abortion Republicans.

Three Democrats joined most of the Senate Republicans in voting for the Coburn amendment.


Apr 04 2009

The courage of Richard John Neuhaus

Category: abortion,left,religionharmonicminer @ 9:35 am

Robert P. George describes the commitment of one time “liberal” Richard John Nuehaus to the unborn, and what that stance cost him in the eyes of the world, in an article well worth reading in its entirety. Concluding paragraphs:

He Threw It All Away

For Neuhaus, the liberal movement had gone wrong not only on the sanctity of human life, but on the range of issues on which it had succumbed to the ideology of the post-1960s cultural left. While celebrating “personal liberation,” “diverse lifestyles,” “self-expression,” and “if it feels good, do it,” all in the name of respecting “the individual,” liberalism had gone hook, line, and sinker for a set of doctrines and social policies that would only increase the size and enhance the control of the state—mainly by enervating the only institutions available to provide counterweights to state power.

The post-1960s liberal establishment—from the New York Times to NBC, from Harvard to Stanford, from the American Bar Association to Americans for Democratic Action—having embraced the combination of statism and lifestyle individualism that defines what it means to be a “liberal” (or “progressive”) today, could not understand Richard Neuhaus or, in truth, abide him. Far from being lionized, he was loathed by them, albeit with a grudging respect for the intellectual gifts they once hoped he would place in the service of liberal causes. Those gifts were deployed relentlessly—and to powerful effect—against them and all their works and ways.

And so Fr. Richard John Neuhaus did not go through life, as it once seemed he would, collecting honorary degrees from the most prestigious universities, giving warmly received speeches before major professional associations and at international congresses of the great and the good, being a celebrated guest at social and political gatherings on the Upper West Side, or appearing on the Sunday network news shows as spiritual guarantor of the moral validity of liberalism’s favored policies and practices.

His profound commitment to the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions placed him on a different path, one that led him out of the liberal fold and into intense opposition. As a kind of artifact of his youth, he remained to the end a registered member of the Democratic Party. But he stood defiantly against many of the doctrines and policies that came to define that Party in his lifetime. He was, in fact, their most forceful and effective critic—the scourge of the post-1960s liberals. He was not, as things turned out, their Niebuhr, but their nemesis.

May more of us have the same kind of courage, to take risks, to put our convictions ahead of our careers and public approval.

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Apr 01 2009

The Left At Christian Universities, part 10: Rewarding the indefensible

Category: abortion,higher education,Obama,university,White Househarmonicminer @ 9:42 am

The previous post in this series is here.

A Moral Exemplar?

The University of Notre Dame has announced that Pres. Barack Obama will be the principal speaker and will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the university’s commencement on Sunday, May 17. The invitation comes after the president has taken several official actions that directly oppose the Catholic Church’s most sacred teachings. National Review Online asked some of our experts on education and Catholicism for their comments.

At the link, an important discussion on what it can mean for Notre Dame to have invited President Obama to receive an honorary degree and deliver a commencement address, to students who will have been taught (we hope) that abortion is deeply immoral, and who will witness the honoring of a president who supports it.

What, exactly, would a president have to do to be found ineligible for such an honor by a putatively Christian institution?  Apparently, supporting abortion in the most radical way possible is not enough.

Perhaps if he actually ate the babies after the abortions?  An interesting question:  is cannibalism a greater sin than aiding, abetting and encouraging unjust killing in the first place?  I think not.  After all, they’re already dead, right?  It’s a shame to waste them.  (And besides, for the pro-abortion crowd, they never did have human rights anyway, did they?  I mean, being just lumps of tissue and everything.  How immoral can it be to eat something that has no civil rights, anyway?  Isn’t that the same as cattle ranching, or hunting and eating what you kill?)

So, I think we have conclusively demonstrated that even if Obama ate aborted babies, he would still get an honorary degree from Notre Dame, a Christian university, since abortion is a greater sin than cannibalism (if someone else did the killing), and promoting abortion did not disqualify him.

Ah, but if Obama was well known as an industrial polluter, shooter of wolves from helicopters, corporate raider/downsizer, Pentecostal snake handler, and believer in young-Earth Creationism, and had still managed to get elected, would Notre Dame have invited him to receive an honorary degree and address impressionable undergraduates ?

Probably not.  Some sins really do matter.

The next post in this series is here.

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