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Politics/Current Affairs

Bush Invents National Holiday For His Mates

Monday, January 22nd, 2007 at 19:42 by Stephen Ball

Yesterday in the U.S. was ‚??National Sanctity of Human Life Day‚?Ě. The President issued a proclamation reminding everyone how great this is. I‚??ve included the URL at the bottom of this article, just to prove he actually signed this stinking piece of crass, manipulative spin, and it‚??s not a parody from the anti-Bush website whitehouse.org instead. No, I checked, it‚??s on the real government site and he really means it.

I realise many of you will be familiar with the situation around abortion and the Evangelical Christian Right already, but just to recap for a second:

George Bush (and the evangelical Christians who are about his only remaining supporters right now) want to make abortion illegal, mainly for religious reasons. They’ve been spending money on overturning Roe vs Wade for years, and the first “NSoHL day” (catchy) was in 2002, I think. It comes at a good time for him this year, though, and this statement is either the groundwork before he announces something nasty or just a publicity shot to remind his religious voters that he’s still around. Either way, it’s bad news for liberals whether they’re pro- or anti-abortion. I‚??ll explain why:

“America was founded on the principle that we are all endowed by our Creator with the right to life…”

Is that the primary founding principle of America? I’ll ignore for a moment that the most important word to George in that sentence seems to be “Creator”, and just comment that the US currently follows the idea that there is a ‚??Separation of Church and State”. Church stuff should not make it into laws, because there‚??s freedom of religion (allegedly). Also, there‚??s bits of the Constitution which say “We specifically aren’t talking about the Christian God”, but I‚??ll leave that debate to the experts. The next bit is a real doozy:

“National Sanctity of Human Life Day helps foster a culture of life and reinforces our commitment to building a compassionate society that respects the value of every human being.”

What the hell is he talking about? Does he think his policies on the poor, healthcare, imprisonment without trial, illegal phone tapping, etc etc “respect the value of every human being”?

“Among the most basic duties of Government is to defend the unalienable right to life, and my Administration is committed to protecting our society’s most vulnerable members.”

No, the most vulnerable in society are the poor, the ill, the old, and pregnant teens. Foetuses aren‚??t yet part of “society”. The more pro-abortion people would say that they’re just a collection of cells. It’s the *potential* human life that has the religious anti-abortion campaigners upset (because God has a plan for each of us, and only God should create or take life. But the US Christian Right are often pro-death penalty and pro-gun ownership, and anti-muslims/heretics.) Also, you didn’t do a great job on the vulnerable members of New Orleans, slappy.

“We are vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups.”

He actually says this in a real statement. As though it’s good. Abstinence education which has been proven to not work in any way, and “the vital work of faith-based groups” in regard to pregnancy is not what I would have put as one of the main successes in contraception. Also, these are all to do with pregnancy and not any other issue that could affect “the sanctity of life” at any age.

“Through the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002,” the “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003,” and the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004,” we are helping to make our country a more hopeful place.”

These are actual titles of actual laws. I am not making this up. “Unborn victims of violence” ‚?? emotional manipulation, much?

“One of our society’s challenges today is to harness the power of science to ease human suffering without sanctioning practices that violate the dignity of human life. With the right policies, we can continue to achieve scientific progress while living up to our ethical and moral responsibilities.”

Quick jab at Stem Cell research there. I see he’s not above using science for GM crops, nuclear power, increasingly lethal weapons or more intrusive security and monitoring systems, but we mustn‚??t ‚??violate the dignity of human life”.

“National Sanctity of Human Life Day serves as a reminder that we must value human life in all forms, not just those considered healthy, wanted, or convenient. Together, we can work toward a day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected.”

Trivialising abortion as only for unwanted or inconvenient pregnancies, so we should ban it entirely. Nice. And again with the move to give foetuses the rights of a “person” ‚?? the point is one for debate, but he decides it for us in the text.

Y‚??see, “Sanctity” means:
1. Holiness of life or disposition; saintliness.
2. The quality or condition of being considered sacred; inviolability.
3. Something considered sacred.

So “Sanctity of Life” doesn‚??t just mean life has inherent value, it means life has inherent pure, HOLY value. Value *because* it is a holy thing.

Which is exactly why he‚??s brought this day in ‚?? religion. Never mind that he‚??s also pro-death penalty, pro-hunting and pro-war, but no‚?¶ life must be protected at all costs. Ignore that any study of people in America having a ‚??right to life and dignity‚?? would need to exclude the enormous number on the poverty line (and increasing numbers of middle class, as well as anyone who gets unexpectedly sick and can‚??t pay bills). And families don’t get the same protections under law if the parents are both the same gender. But hey! Have fun celebrating the mandatory new national holiday that decides America is anti-abortion and celebrates it!

(When I first wrote this out, I forgot to include one point in the “Ways for Bush to value all human life”. It was the little one about “not starting an illegal war that kills at least 68,000 (and probably more than 100,000, but the official US military policy was not to do any counting) because you want the other guy‚??s oil.”)

Ironically, today is the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, and ‚??Blog for Choice Day‚?Ě. Those crazy internets.

The recently published list of ‚??The 50 most loathsome people in America‚?Ě says that George Bush “is clearly annoyed to be president at this point”. This is possibly true. His recent mood seems to be one of “look, don‚??t blame ME, I didn‚??t even want to be here but they MADE me. I‚??ve tried taking a record-breaking number of holidays and the shortest working day of any President in memory, but Dick Cheney still wants me to stand up on camera and tell people what he‚??s decided. And don‚??t make me do a debate again, it‚??s really hard.”

So how does all this recreational Bush-bashing link to the UK?

Well, once again we‚??re arguing about a politician‚??s religion affecting the laws they make. Ruth Kelly (I believe I‚??ve mentioned before that she‚??s rubbish and should resign) is trying to modify the impending gay equal rights law, so that Catholic adoption agencies don‚??t have to comply with it. Because it‚??s okay to be prejudiced and have a problem with gays on ‚??moral‚?Ě grounds if you‚??re religious: using religion to discriminate against people has always ended well. Tony Blair is backing her, along with‚?¶ er‚?¶ no-one else. In fact, everyone apart from those two seems to be saying things like

“We do take the view in this country that you shouldn’t be discriminated against on that basis and think that applies to everybody, whatever your religion‚?Ě ‚?? Lord Falconer.

and

“We are absolutely committed to bringing forward effective protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and fully recognise the value of gay and lesbian parents. There is no question of preferential treatment for an individual faith.” ‚?? The Department for Communities and Local Government.

So this‚??ll be comedy, then. Notice how only Catholics get excluded from having to treat people equally. How about other religions, or people who feel they shouldn‚??t have to deal with other areas of society, such as women? Or, y‚??know, look at them?

Here’s the proclamation in full, on the official WhiteHouse pages. Remember, George ‚??calls upon Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies‚?Ě, and I‚??m sure you‚??ll have some ideas for banners.

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