Not the Hospital Furnaces, But the Women’s Clinics

Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

Unacceptable, he says. Not simply unacceptable, but totally unacceptable (in case there’s any doubt about the degree of unacceptability we’re dealing with). And of course, I agree – it is totally unacceptable. But while “the civilized world” is out to lunch over the barbarism displayed here, a few of us remain conscious of the elephant in the room. Yeah, that elephant. The big fat one standing in a pool of blood and a pile of dismembered body parts.

Riddle me this: if tearing a child to pieces inside the womb is a perfectly acceptable way to do things – it isn’t a child, after all, only a clump of cells – why is it then so unacceptable to use the leftovers as fuel? How can these bodies be any kind of sacred, how can they merit any kind of respect, when the lives attached to them did not?

Using dead infants to heat a hospital is only “unacceptable” if they bear the stamp of the imago Dei. And if they bear that stamp (they do), our greatest concern should not be the hospital furnaces, but the women’s clinics. These babies were burned, yes. But they were murdered first.

Think about that and weep.

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Fretsawyers and Stamp Collectors

A beauty from the opening pages of Brave New World:

“Just to give you a general idea,” he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently – though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible. For particulars, as everyone knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers but fretsawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society.

On the Bookshelf XXVII

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Lessons in Music Form by Percy Goetschius
A fabulous little volume for music lovers of the thinking stripe: “There are two essentially different classes of music lovers. The one class takes delight in the mere sound and jingle of the music… The other class, more discriminating in its tastes, looks beneath this iridescent surface and strives to fathom the underlying purpose of it all.”
The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
It’s been ages since I’ve read a story so consistently, hilariously, brilliantly entertaining. Think Wodehouse meets Ian Fleming, and you have a fairly decent idea of what Laurie is up to here. He’s good at it, too. Very good. A full length review is forthcoming.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
One of those classics I never got around to in high school. It was Neil Postman’s thesis that Huxley was closer to the mark than Orwell: “In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls by Scott Snyder
The cotton candy in my literary diet. Good writing, great artwork. And Batman. So much Batman. What’s not to like?
A Landscape With Dragons by Michael O’Brien
I can already tell this is going to be fascinating: “… a controversial, yet thoughtful study of what millions of young people are reading and the possible impact such reading may have on them. In this study of the pagan invasion of children’s culture, O’Brien, the father of six, describes his own coming to terms with the effect it has had on his family and on most families in Western society.”

What’s on your bookshelf right now?

For Want of Wonder

ce113e_e_baby-shoesNext time you take a walk outside – please God you have a place outside to walk – you should try doing it the way my year-and-a-half old brother does it.

This is not to say that you should walk in circles, or trip over your own feet, or play at faceboarding (which is like skateboarding, but with your face). What I mean is – well, maybe what I mean is best illustrated with a story. Don’t worry. It’s only a short one.

My brother and I went for a walk last week. The weather was unusually pleasant for early March. We had our hats and jackets on and he held my finger and we walked on the road in front of our house, just the two of us. I had it in my head that we would go straight on for a bit, turn around, and come straight back. I might have known better.

His idea of a walk was more like this: Start. Stop. Turn around. Walk the other way. Turn around again, just to see if big brother is paying attention. Stop. Listen attentively to the strange noise coming from one of the nearby houses (a dog, barking). Walk a little more. Stop. Point at a tree in the neighbor’s yard. Look up at the sky. Smile. Laugh. Start walking again.

That’s the way my brother did it.

At first I would pick him up and turn him about and encourage him to “come on, bud.” Come on, bud – because going from Point A to Point B without pausing is the efficient thing to do. But then I stopped. I stopped because his way of walking made my way of walking seem pretty boring. 

A walk for him was not about the walking, not really. He had his senses working overtime, and it was glorious. Here was the world, all his for the wondering at. Efficiency be buried and damned.

Chesterton once wrote that we are not perishing for want of wonders, but for want of wonder. My brother has that wonder. He has far more of it than I. Which is another way of saying I have far less of it than I should.