February 1, 2011

Is the Tea Party Ducking Social Conservative Issues?

There is broad agreement among Tea Partiers on issues of the economy, jobs, fiscal responsibility, Obamacare and adherence to the Constitution, especially in regard to cutting government spending. However, rifts in this coalition become apparent when the major cause of current government overspending and future insolvency, entitlement spending (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), is considered for modifications that would produce real savings and sustainable entitlements.

Similarly, there does not appear to be as wide-spread support among Tea Partiers for a good number of constitutional issues that don’t involve commerce, fiscal matters, and smaller government, including many so-called conservative “social issues”. A good number of Tea Partiers believe that other priorities must take precedence at this time when our nation is in an extreme economic/fiscal crisis and the fact that our judicial system and leaders in Washington are moving the country away from our traditional constitutional republic towards a totalitarian and redistributionist “nanny” state.

Many, even members of the Tea Party movement, have been critical of other Tea Partiers expressing their belief that social issues should also be addressed. While I may not agree with all that’s said on social issues, I do commend anyone who stands up for freedom, the Constitution and other Tea Party values, and I stand fully behind their right to speak their mind as dictated by their conscience. Any honest person understands that no one person or group speaks for the entirety of the Tea Party movement. It is the Left that seeks to silence any opposition voice. There is no place in the Tea Party, or for that matter, among any people believing in freedom, for suppression of differing or opposing ideas.

“Social issues” can indeed be controversial and divisive, as many of the primary principles espoused by the Tea Party movement can be; but being controversial or divisive does not make them any less valid. In addition, these issues are not foreign to rights expressed as God-given in the Declaration of Independence and confirmed in the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence speaks of the innate right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Constitution puts into law the right to life, liberty and property, and that these rights cannot be limited in any way except by “due process”. Due process in consideration of the right to life is exemplified by the lengthy court process involved in the eventual execution of a person sentenced to death under the law. This kind of consideration, which we provide to the most evil of criminals, is entirely lacking in abortion, where the life of the innocent unborn is terminated without a hint of due process.

No one educated in the field of biology rejects the fact that, at fertilization, life begins with a full complement of genetic material that identifies the life as human. It is clear that at some point after fertilization and during gestation, this life becomes a living, breathing, self-aware and feeling person. Controversy surrounds the question of exactly when a human life becomes a person. Traditionally, life was thought to begin at “quickening” when the baby’s movements inside the womb are first felt by the mother, and personhood was thought to begin at birth.

Today, we know that life begins at fertilization, and that the fetus develops, in utero, qualities that confer personhood. With modern ultrasound we can see the fetus startle in response to a loud noise, some will be sucking their thumb, and during abortions the fetus is seen to grimace, scream, and recoil with physiologic pain responses to the operator’s probe. In addition, it is apparent that even the tiniest of premature infants in Newborn Intensive Care, are born with their own personalities and clear cut likes and dislikes, respond to parent’s faces and voices, and respond to positive and negative stimuli in an organized fashion.

The dialogue about abortion has been co-opted by those in favor of abortion by expressing the two predominant viewpoints as either “Pro-Life” or “Pro-Choice”. Since the choice they are talking about involves the willful termination of a life, the correct term for those who want to be able to choose abortion is “Pro-Death”. Abortion takes the life of a human being based solely on the interests of a second party, the pregnant woman, without any regard for the baby’s rights. The aborted baby is denied his right to life, his right to enjoy liberty, inheritance rights he may have had to property, and his right to pursue his own happiness, all without due process. Both Pro-Life and Pro-Death sentiments continue to run hotly among the American people, and controversy surrounding abortion is unlikely to diminish over time. Abortion is very much a constitutional issue that involves the freedoms of everyone and cannot be ignored.

Gay activists insist on special rights and recognition that are contrary to many peoples’ religious views. These activists want to change the definition of marriage, force full fellowship with organizations that are opposed to the gay lifestyle, and silence “hate speech”, which includes reading scripture or preaching in church against the destructive gay lifestyle. Gay activists want to be able to “marry” the same-sex partner they love, and that gay “family” to be recognized and appreciated the same as traditional marriage between and man and a woman with a real family. These activists claim that all they want is equal rights, when they already have equal rights and what they are asking for is special or “more-equal rights”.

In conformance with the Constitution and most state laws, all citizens have the freedom to marry someone of the opposite sex, while no one has the freedom to “marry” someone of the same sex. There is no inequality inherent in these laws. There are many established cultural norms (often founded on religious beliefs) written into law, that few responsible adults would question.

For example, adults do not have the right to marry or have sex with a child, even if they love each other and the child or family give their consent. Adults do not have the right to marry a sibling or parent. Adults do not have the right to marry or have sex with animals. This fully conforms with the “equal protection clause” of the Constitution, with Natural Law upon which the Constitution is based, and with thousands of years of multi-cultural tradition that has worked successfully to preserve and sustain society and culture.

Another example is adoption agencies that hold religious beliefs that oppose gay adoption and raising children in that environment, being forced to allow gay adoption or cease doing adoptions. This is a violation of the constitutional rights of free association, free speech and the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference. The Left also seeks to nullify or restrict the constitutional right to free speech by suppressing any views that oppose the current administration, the right to “keep and bear arms” (where keep means possess and store and bear means carry, display and use), and the right to work free of union control if so chosen by the workers with a secret ballot and without intimidation. While these anti-Constitution attacks do not deal directly with the economy, jobs or fiscal responsibility, the persistent assault on liberty cannot be ignored and must be countered.

Once the country is back on the path to restoration of economic/fiscal and governmental constitutional practices and principles, these social issues will need to be addressed with some urgency. Basic human inalienable rights can be put on the back burner only so long and at great risk to freedom. True freedom and our Constitution cannot exist if some in the country are more free than others and where any constitutionally guaranteed rights are abridged.

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