Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fellow ProLifers, Beware: Trump Is Desecrating the Sanctity of Human Life!

This is not a matter of politics. It is not about being Democrat or Republican. It is not about religion either. It is just about common sense. Who can believe that Trump is trying to foster the right to life? Who can be so gullible as that? From a moral standpoint, Trump has already proven that he doesn’t care for anyone. From a practical one, anyone who wants to further a cause knows better than soiling it as a right-wing “thing”. Seriously? If some of you want to get fooled, I don’t.

    With his last-minute revision of his terrible Trumpcare bill that thanks God didn’t pass, Trump provided me with the proof I needed to show what I have been saying from the beginning--even before the results of the 2016 election became known. No, I'm not talking about his collusion with Russian hackers, which means that he resorted to dirty play to win. That alone makes him an unlawful president--on top of being a totally unfit one. Yet, as crucial and true as that is, it is not my main point here. From long ago I have been saying that Trump is NOT (sorry for the capitalization) truly ProLife. He is only ruining the ProLife movement by soiling it with his apparent, fake endorsement.

Needless to say, trying to take healthcare away from millions of people is certainly not what someone who believes in the sanctity of human life does. With his latest revision of that atrocious Trumpcare that he wanted to see made into law, flat out he proved my argument. He was not only taking away prescription drug coverage but was also taking away maternity health care. How can he even dare pretend to defend the unborn??? And now he's charging back with another equally bad healthcare plan project.

Let's make it straight:
- Someone who is ProLife does NOT take away health care from expectant mothers--or from anyone who, regardless of ability to pay, needs medical attention.

- Someone who is ProLife does NOT try to eliminate environmental protections for the benefit of the big oil rigs and large manufacturing companies. Aren't unborn babies among the most vulnerable and worst affected victims of pollution and contaminants?

- Someone who is ProLife does NOT want to punish those women who had abortions, but tries to help them heal. That's why so many Catholic Parishes have ministries reaching out to women and to anyone else, such as husbands or boyfriends, dealing with post-abortion guilt and assisting them to heal, find peace, and embrace life in the future.

- Someone who is ProLife does NOT push forth legislation that, by reducing and taking away health insurance coverage from millions, will unavoidably result in a significant reduction in the number of special needs adoptions--and in the concomitant and sadly uncontrollable increase in the abortion rate.

    So, Donald Trump is damaging the ProLife cause much more than any pro-abortion propagandist can. That's what friendenemies do. That's what those who hit below the belt do. That's what those who play dirty do. That's what, through him and all his

 right wing scoundrels as its best allies, Satan is doing---right here, right now, endangering unborn babies, the whole ProLife movement, the needy, the immigrant, the minorities, the physically and mentally challenged, and all humankind at large.

    Think about it. When children, no matter how small, want to have a dog, they don’t approach their parents with a bunch of stories about bad dogs attacking their owners or their owners’ guests, about neighbors complaining because of the barking, about dogs running away and getting killed by passing vehicles, about puppies chewing on everything, or about dog health care resulting in huge veterinary bills. From very early age kids are smart enough to surround their request with real life stories of dogs saving lives, of nearby examples of well-behaved dogs, and of facts about the many psychological benefits of having a dog, most likely wrapping it up with some cute puppy images. Just common sense, isn’t it?

    Similarly, when parents want to make their children have salad, they don’t use the dressing their children hate the most, don’t play their children’s least favorite music at dinnertime, and don’t hire a nasty, unfriendly nanny to help in the process.

    In the business world, it is a proverbial habit to meet for lunch in order to go over and close important transactions. Why? Common sense again. A nice restaurant and a good meal create a comfortable, pleasant, and thus more favorable atmosphere for people to find it easier to arrive to a meeting of the minds and go ahead with the deal.

    All that is easy enough, correct?  My examples speak for themselves. Now, let’s think about Trump and what he is doing. Do you get the idea? Do you really believe that he wants to further the cause of life if at the same time and in all other areas he does the worst things he can think of and surrounds himself with the worst people possible so as to get the just condemnation of the vast majority in U.S. and all over the world?  He only has the temerity of insulting the ProLife movement by falsely alleging to favor life while his action clearly shout out otherwise.

    Even leaving aside for a moment the moral considerations and the intrinsic repugnancy of each and every one of the measures taken by Trump in his very short time in office, it appears as if  he had been looking for which actions could be the most unpopular ones of all—so as to scandalize and horrify the public opinion by going forward with them.     Let’s just mention banning immigration from certain countries, discriminating against one religion, sending refugees back, constructing pipelines that will very negatively impact the environment and will violate Native American rights, surrounding himself with neo-Nazis and KKK sympathizers, praising a foreign dictator, among many other, and besides trying to bring back the C.I.A.’s torture unit, creating insecurity around health care coverage and social security benefits, and favoring an increase in mortgage rates.

    For God’s sake, don’t you see it? I’m coming up with another example.  Whether you prefer to place yourself in the shoes of a food manufacturer or of those of a stay-at-home parent trying to make some extra income, imagine that you’re selling a healthy snack—whichever kind you’d like it to be. Now imagine that a couple of people who hate you start posting all over the place very negative reviews of your product. They claim it to have no nutritious value, result in significant weight gain, and have no real taste like it’s supposed to have.  Obviously. your enemies will cause some relative damage, but—how big can that damage be?  Most likely people will realize that those post are no more than the result of hatred—not against your product but against you. With very little effort on your part, you may be able to curb the damage—and if you handle the situation properly, chances are that far from deriving any loss of business due to such negative publicity, the hostility, animosity, hatred breathing through it may even help you build your venture even stronger. People will view you as the victim of defamation, as the target of someone’s hatred for whatever reason . . . and thanks God, people tend to be more likely to help crime victims than perpetrators, to help those who are victimized by hatred than those who hate, those who suffer from someone else’s wrongdoing than those who do wrong. In other words, your enemies are not very likely to ruin you that way.

Now let’s imagine that instead of openly trashing your product, your enemies take a much more sophisticated approach. They come up with online posts and  traditional posters that start describing your snack as the best one in the world.  They praise how nutritious, energizing, yummy, low-calorie, and easy-to-carry it is, suitable for all ages and not messy at all. It couldn’t get any better, could it? But then the advertisement keeps on going to say that it gives so much energy that had it been available in nazi Germany, Hitler himself would have endorsed it, and that it’s now endorsed by neo-nazis, white supremacists, and lingering KKK members. Oh, and as a closing, the posts and posters address males and tell them that your snack will be so stimulating that they’ll feel like grabbing their “chicks” by you-know-where and do whatever they want with them, with some explicit images included. Now, my question is: Which kind of approach will be most detrimental to your business? The first one where it is only too obvious that you’re being the victim of hatred, or the second one, which pretends to praise your product but then aims at presenting you as a hater with very dubious moral values?

Isn’t the second one a much cleverer, more sinister, more diabolic way to ruin not only your business but also your personal reputation and your standing in the community while stripping you of the support and affection of your true friends? Furthermore, the second approach is likely to cause your real friends to split up between those who still believe that you were not responsible for those posts and posters and those who don’t want to have anything to do with you any more?

    Fellow ProLifers:  Do you get it?  Don’t you see the parallel?  For the sake of  the unborn babies, of the brain damaged, of the terminally ill,  I urge you all to avoid biting into Donald Trump’s diabolic, satanic plan to destroy the ProLife cause.

    That is exactly how Trump is ruining the ProLife movement, how he is attacking the sanctity of human life, how he is undoing what had taken years for ProLife activists to build. The public opinion was getting increasingly shaken, disgusted, sickened at the atrocity of dismembering babies alive or sucking their brains off their little skulls. The public opinion was getting shocked to learn about babies being left to die and even strangled to death if they had survived a third-trimester abortion. The public opinion was getting revolted to learn that Planned Parenthood was, and is, profiting in huge amounts from the sale of baby body parts.

    Yes, more and more people were turning proLife. It was something natural, something that was coming as a given, the same as constantly increasing longevity in the light of always advancing medical technology, the same as fairer and always improving anti-discrimination, inclusion, labor, and consumer protection laws and policies in the light of deeper and always deepening social conscience.  Improved ultrasound images and pain capability findings were changing minds. They were changing hearts.

    When I was drafting this post, I happened to meet with someone who said something that hit it right into the core issue. Although we had met for a totally unrelated reason, our conversation touched upon all the havoc that Trump is causing in such a short time. I took the opportunity to set forth that Trump may claim to be ProLife but is not. The other person agreed with me. As literally as I can recall her words, she said, “No, he is not ProLife. He is whatever he thinks is going to make him win and give him power.”

    She couldn’t have phrased it any better. If claiming to be proLife helped Trump win the elections, what does that mean? It means that the public opinion was already tilted towards the cause of life. It means that more people were being ProLife, that many were turning already from pro-abortion to ProLife.

    Thanks to many brave men and women who had spoken up and continued doing so, awareness was slowly arriving to reach the unborn.  As early as in 1984, after having performed over 75,000 abortions, after having co-founded N.A.R.A.L. Pro-Choice America, and after having directed in New York City the Center Reproductive and Sexual Health for years, Dr. Benjamin Nathanson had been stricken, impacted, and forever touched by the ultrasound screen in front of him showing the baby he was murdering open his mouth as if trying to shout in pain.  It was too late to stop that killing, though.  That little baby died but saved millions of others as from that day on and until God called him in 2011, Dr. Nathanson became a prominent crusader for life and against abortion.

    And he was not the only one. Nurse Jill Stanek got horrified to witness the atrocious deaths of little abortion survivors who were painfully murdered by denial of medical care and even by direct killing action. Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson got nauseated by the butchering of innocent babies and became a proLife advocate as well.  After having performed 1,200 abortions, Dr. Anthony Levatino had a total change of heart and began producing videos that exposed, and keep on exposing, the barbaric cruelty of different abortion procedures. Norma McCorvey, who was Jane Roe in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal in U.S., also became an eloquent ProLife activist and vowed to devote the rest of her life to overturning such regrettable decision.  Norma followed through to her last day on this earth. A few days ago, on  Saturday 18, 2017, God called her—-and this is my tribute to her for having the courage to face what she had done and trying to remedy it, for becoming a true, wholehearted, energetic ProLife advocate whose honesty about her past and her guilt over it had made her an ever stronger champion for the cause of the unborn.

    So, yes, it was happening. Many former pro-choice supporters were turning proLife. It was the normal course of history, the triumph of good over evil. In the past there used to be slavery. Then slavery was abolished, but there was still segregation. Then desegregation came, and integration started, and kept on progressing, but still wasn’t full and still there was no true equal opportunity. Maybe there is still not total integration. Maybe there is not true equal opportunity yet. But as time goes by and social conscience deepens, we keep on getting closer and closer.  Lately, with an increasing number of interracial marriages and adoptions, we’re almost there.

    Something similar had already happened and was still happening with respect to those with physical and developmental challenges. Slowly people began realizing that the disabled did not bring any shame to their families. People with disabilities were no longer sent out to waste away in cold, bleak mental institutions. They started to be kept at home and cared for.  But there was no inclusion yet—until the fight for inclusion began. And, no matter what schools may claim, inclusion is at its initial stages still. Nevertheless, it’s there, and getting better.

    That happened in all fields of human life. In the old times there were horrendous executions. Then they became a little faster and slightly less barbaric, but still cruel, painful, and dehumanized, like death by electrocution. Then those methods were replaced by lethal injections that reduced the pain. Finally, some tragic mistakes brought increasing awareness of the irreversibility of potential error, and nowadays most civilized societies have abolished capital punishment altogether.

    The same upward trend included many other areas of human life and human relationships, such as landlord and tenant, labor, consumer protection, products liability, and environmental laws. Everything was becoming fairer and tipping more and more towards the weak.

    That increasing sensitivity was reaching out to animals as well. Obviously, it should have reached babies much sooner than animals—but was finally coming up anyway.

    It was an always upwards way—until only a few weeks ago. In such short time Trump is curving everything back—not just in a downward slope but in a vertical chute. Everything that humankind had been conquering over the years has been either already attacked or targeted for attack.

    Moreover, the enormous increase in special needs adoptions had opened many people’s eyes to how incredibly precious those little lives are.  No matter how hard the abortion industry tries to push and sell the myth of the “unwanted child,’  people were realizing that such image was, and is, only that: a myth, an invalid excuse, a total lie.  For real there are numberless families ready and willing to adopt babies, children, and even teenagers with the most severe physical and developmental challenges, with serious and even life threatening diseases, with chronic and even degenerative conditions, with the most difficult acting out behaviors, and, although in a lesser number, even with terminal illnesses.

So, birthmothers who were unable or unwilling to raise a child presenting with any or certain kind of special needs were progressively becoming more and more aware that all they needed to do was to continue their pregnancy for a few more months, and then their babies would have loving, caring, stimulating homes where they’d be encouraged to develop their full potentials and would be cherished no matter how unlimited or limited those full potentials might prove to be.

    Yes, I’ll say it once more. It was arriving. Protection to the unborn was almost there. Planned Parenthood’s evil dealings had been exposed.  Multiple factors were pulling more and more people towards the proLife cause. The public opinion was getting nauseated after learning about little abortion survivors being left alone to die if not directly killed,  about the dismembering of tiny humans limb by limb, about the suction of their brains out of their skulls. The public opinion had been shaken by scientific proof that unborn babies do feel pain. Clearer ultrasound images allowing pregnant women to see the little ones they were carrying in their womb were making it even more difficult to kill them. Special needs parents and disability advocacy groups were working hard towards increased awareness of the joys that children with physical and developmental challenges bring to their families, whether biological or adoptive.  People were getting horrified at the findings that Planned Parenthood had been profiting big from the sale of baby body parts.

    You may wonder how I came up with this ludicrous, childish, kind of disgusting comparison, but I dearly love both the ProLife movement and family pictures. Everyone who knows me knows that.  It would tear me apart to see a family picture smeared with feces—and, even if the metaphor may be somewhat inelegant, that is exactly what Trump is doing to the ProLife cause.  He is soiling it by attempting to associate it to his racist, discriminatory, insensitive right wing agenda. Think about one of your most cherished family photos. Think that you didn’t arrive to digitalize it yet, and only have that single old print. There is no other image that could be used for further reproduction. Now imagine that your neighbors didn't pick up after their dog, and that the wind pulls your beloved photo off your hands and it ends up on the ground, stuck to doggie excrement. Would you still touch it? Most likely, in order to try to save it, you and your family members would still touch it, even if with disposable gloves—but nobody else would. If some friends of yours were there with you, you wouldn't even expect them to hold that  soiled photo, would you? Now, do you see the analogy? Trump is dragging the ProLife cause to the mud, to the dirt, to the execration of a bigot right-wing agenda. So, only those of us who are totally, firmly, solidly ProLife with no exceptions will keep on embracing the ProLife cause, will try to save it, and will try to clean it up from the bad publicity artfully launched against pro-lifers by those who try to portray the ProLife movement as as a hardline position that is only for those who have hard hearts.  Yes, that’s what is happening. The baby killers accuse the baby savers of hardness of heart—and the most effective detractors of the ProLife movement are those infiltrated into it who pretend to be baby savers but who associate themselves with baby killers who couldn’t care less about those families that are unable to procure private pre-natal care for themselves, about undocumented and refugee expectant moms, and about the very harmful effects of environmental contaminants on unborn and newborn infants.

    So, all those who had already made it from being pro-abortion to becoming Pro-life but who were not too invested in the ProLife cause yet may end up moving away from it.  Going back to the family picture metaphor, your friends may have enjoyed seeing it in the past, but would no longer touch it if it's soiled all over.  Why? Simply because they are not as invested in it as you and your family are. Remember the common adage that says that "birds of a feather flock together."  As defenders of the sanctity of human life, we cannot flock together with a border wall, an immigration ban from certain countries, a registry for members of a certain religion, massive deportations, a total disregard for environmental health, the praise of torture, mockery of the disabled, reductions in health insurance coverage and social benefits, and the proliferation of hatred and divisiveness in what, even if not perfect, used to be a relatively harmonious and welcoming society.

    It is not just my opinion, but an obvious fact that Trump is causing precisely the opposite effect than the one he intends or claims to intend to cause. An article from 02/16/17 by Laura Bassett in the Huffington Post is entitled in a way that summarizes precisely that opposite effect that, except for his fanatics, Trump elicits from everyone:
“Donald Trump Has Mobilized Women In A Way Hillary Clinton Never Quite Could - Regular Women with No Background in Politics Are Leading the Resistance.”

    In a totally different context, even though not that different as human issues are all intertwined, with reference to the Muslim ban, former Navy pilot John McCain meant exactly the same concerning this opposite effect that Trump’s personality and actions cause when in an interview he said that the Muslim ban might “give ISIS some propaganda.”

    The issue is that Satan was finding that Planned Parenthood was no longer strong enough. Yes, it had, and still has, funding—but funding is not everything.  People were getting disgusted at Planned Parenthood, at its butchering of babies alive and its profiting from their tiny body parts. So, what could Satan do to fight back against the ProLife cause? Exactly what it did: to come up with someone equally disgusting, equally nauseating who would falsely proclaim himself to be ProLife. It was a very clever plan. The sad issue is that some people fell right into the trap.

    But not all. Not the majority. Not those who truly care. That brings me to my next sub-title:

Proud to be Catholic. The Catholic Church Speaks Up

    I am proud to see how the whole Catholic Church spoke up against Trump’s racism and right wing agenda.

    Pope Francis  publicly voiced his concern about and disapproval of Trump’s ban on immigration from designated countries with predominantly Muslim population.

    Do you know what else I’m proud of? I felt proud, truly and deeply proud to learn that on the weekend of February 4 -5, 2017, around Rome some posters appeared against Pope Francis. Why against Pope Francis? Well, the accusations were that he was not “conservative”.  

It looks like the accusers were totally confused. Why should the Pope be conservative? Our Catholic faith is progressive. The Catholic Social Teaching is progressive. Jesus was born to a Virgin. He was born in a manger. He was born among people who already were and would be persecuted and oppressed. He preached humility. He preached equality.  He was committed to the poor.  He taught us that humans were more important than rules. He invited sinners to His table. He washed His disciples’ feet. He demanded fair pay for the workers.

One of those so-called “conservative Catholics,” who don’t seem to know that the core of Catholic Social Teaching is social justice, commented with vulgar language and in a very disrespectful way on my timeline—not just against me but against Pope Francis. What could make me any more proud than that? No matter how extremely limited what I can do is, I am standing up with our Pope against his detractors who dislike him because of his commitment to the poor, the immigrant, and the oppressed.

Back in February 2016, when Trump was only running for the presidency but was already indicating his intention to build a wall along the Mexican border, Pope Francis had clearly stated that walls between nations were “not Christian.” worried about Trump immigration order

    Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, two leading Catholic organizations,  not only spoke up against the Muslin ban and the executive order against refugees, but are also actively campaigned against Trump’s anti-Muslim, anti-refugee, and anti-immigrant bigotry, and urged Catholics worldwide to do the same.

    I’m quoting a paragraph of the letter that Catholic Relief Services and the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishop were urging Catholics to personalize a little and send to their senators:
“As Catholics and Christians, we have a moral obligation to offer shelter and assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to afford them refuge. As a Catholic, I support refugees because of my values and agree with Pope Francis: "There must be no family without a home, no refugee without a welcome, no person without dignity...." As people of faith we must act and send a positive message to those around the world who are suffering. In Matthew 25, Jesus is asked, "When did we see you a stranger and welcome you?" Jesus replied, "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least ones, you did for me." I ask that we follow this example and welcome the stranger, not turn them away.”

    Many prominent figures within the Catholic clergy have firmly condemned Trump’s actions as well. These are just only a few examples.

- In an interview with an Italian Catholic T.V. channel, and with reference to that same infamous executive order against Muslim refuses, Archbishop Angelo Beccia said that "Certainly there is worry because we are messengers of another culture, that of openness.”

 - In Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich referred to Trump’s executive over as “one of the darkest moments in U.S. history” and said that it was “contrary to Catholic and American values.”

- Sister Donna Markham, President of Catholic Charities USA also condemned the Muslin ban, the same as retired Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, as two of the most prominent figures among countless others.

- About one year ago,  in February 2016, when coincidentally with Trump’s increasing presence in the electoral campaign the anti-Muslim feelings were also increasing throughout U.S., Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego urged Catholics to fight against “the scourge of anti-Islamic prejudice.”  Bishop McElroy exhorted the Catholic community “to recognize and confront the ugly tide of anti-Islamic bigotry” and “to view with repugnance the "repeated falsehoods" that Islam is inherently violent, that Muslims seek to supplant the U.S. Constitution with sharia law, and that Muslim immigration threatens the cultural identity of the American people.”

    In addition, Bishop McElroy also exhorted Catholics to break through obsolete “patterns of social segregation” and to interact and associate more with others from dissimilar backgrounds, from faiths and cultures different from our own. Bishop McElroy found it to be a negative fact that  many Catholic may never have had the opportunity to get to know anyone within the Muslim religion.

 Ironically, some of the allegedly Christian leaders that support Trump pretend to defend his actions by claiming that the government is under no duty to follow the Bible that urges us to welcome the immigrant.
It appears to me that those Christian leaders should be reminded of Jesus’ teachings—just in case they are having some memory problems.

    On January 21, 2017, one day after Trump’s inauguration, following the 5:15 Saturday evening Mass, the Liturgy Committee at our Parish invited all the congregation for coffee at the rectory for all and everyone to be able to candidly express their views on how things were being done at the Parish and how they could be done even better.  I attended and started by praising how at different occasions both before and after the elections both our pastor and pastor emeritus had been very outspoken in standing up for immigrants and refugees and against Trump.  I praised them for that and said that it was important for us as Catholic to make it clear that we cannot be, and are not, with Trump, that we cannot allow anyone to think that because he now claims to be pro-life we support him. I took a deep breath, and was prepared to be met with both support and antagonism—but I was mistaken. Support was unanimous.  Even though that was prior to Trump’s infamous executive order, immediately someone added that Trump’s anti-immigration and anti-Muslim position was against the Catholic Social Teaching—and, again, we all agreed.

A little background information

     I was born into a very devout Catholic family, where Catholicism was always a pivotal aspect of daily life, not only in the Creed or profession of faith, but also and even more dramatically in the total, absolute, emphatic embracement of the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church. In such light, by word and deed my parents and grandparents invariably not only taught me but also enacted for me the values of equality, social sensitivity, and social justice. They always placed social sensitivity way ahead of socio-economic profile and social prestige. I was not even allowed to mention that our family background went back to the oldest Italian nobility. I used to be reprimanded every time I even mentioned that because, I was reminded, everybody’s blood is the same. Similarly, despite being surrounded by the strictest and most uplifting family values, I was taught to be open to people from all walks of life. I was raised to respect the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death with no exceptions, and to stick to such respect regardless of any circumstances.  I was taught that being Pro Life is not just a matter of  learning that “love waits” but of embracing life and, if necessary, defy society and its moral standards in those cases when love did not wait. I was taught that neither the worst medical prognoses nor the most forcible or even violent circumstances leading to conception justify the murder of an innocent child. I was only a teenager when my Mom told me that to point a finger at an unwed mother was paramount to promoting abortion. I was also a teenager when she told me that if one day I wanted to adopt children with special needs she and my Dad would do everything within their power to help me. I was an adult when she not only lived up to but went way beyond those words and that promise and sacrificed her own mobility and eyesight for the sake of my international adoption expenses.  She, my three biological children, and I prayed together every step of all three adoption processes, which resulted in the addition of five awesome children, two from Haiti and three from Bulgaria, to our family—all with special needs and special talents. My Mother spent her last six years on this earth almost blind and in a wheelchair but never had any regrets. That was a sacrifice that only a saint could have made—and that saint is now with God. I can also prove that at one point around mid 2008, it was my Dad’s intercession from Above what saved the adoptions of my two sons from Haiti when the U.S. Consulate in Port-au-Prince had made a serious and otherwise rather irreparable mistake that could have jeopardized the whole processes. My three older children are devoted to their five younger brothers much more than words can say to the point of quite often putting their own goals and dreams aside for the sake of theirs.

    Without denying that I do like to brag about my family, for the purposes of this article, the above information is useful to prove a totally and unambiguously solid family ProLife track record that lends even more force to it.


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