culture of death

The Mindless Iconoclasm of Our Age

Galla Placida, the regent for her young son, the emperor Theodosius III, was shocked when Saint Augustine died in 430 on August 28, three months into the siege of his city Hippo by the Vandals. He may have died of malnutrition, if not stress, because the wheat crop had not been harvested. As destroyers go, [...]

Double Standards for Two Death-Dealing Drugs

Vecuronium bromide is a drug that relaxes skeletal muscles and can be used in conjunction with surgical anesthesia. That is its usual medical application. Some states also use it in connection with capital punishment: it is one of several drugs used together to execute prisoners. Vecuronium bromide paralyzes the prisoner’s breathing. Potassium chloride is then [...]

Oregon Proposes Outright Legalization of Euthanasia

Oregon has long been ground zero for radical, end-of-life ideology and legislation. It was the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) two decades ago, and since that time the practice has grown both in social acceptance and legislative momentum. Currently, more than 20 states have PAS bills on the legislative docket, and three jurisdictions [...]

How Christianity Civilized Mankind

Anyone who knows anything about the Judeo-Christian tradition (an increasingly small group, I know) is aware that the Hebrew law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was intended to limit the bloodthirsty drive for vengeance. As Saint Augustine observed, “For who will of his own accord be satisfied with a [...]

A Torah Scholar Helps Explain the Age Of Foolishness

Maybe it takes a Torah scholar and religious Jew to help us understand the roots of the inverted values that animate Western civilization. For over ten years, author and radio talk show host Dennis Prager taught the first five books of the Bible verse-by-verse at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. According to Prager [...]

The Abolition of God and the Annihilation of Man

“It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man can organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can ultimately only organize it against man. Exclusive humanism is inhuman humanism.”   ∼ Henri de Lubac, The Drama of Atheist Humanism “If God does not exist … everything is permitted.”   ∼ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, [...]

The Gnosticism of Barack Obama

Eric Voegelin, one of the great political philosophers of the last century (1901-1985), professed no religion, but he recognized its falsifications. After extensively studying early Christianity, he found “Gnosticism” to render intelligible certain twentieth century movements like Nazism. Gnosticism, as he understood it, spins an ideology within which all reality becomes refashioned and so falsified. Gnosticism [...]

The Moral Wrong of Physician-Assisted Suicide

Though a New York Appellate court recently ruled that there is no right to physician-assisted suicide under the current laws of the state, the issue remains far from settled. Not only are the plaintiffs expected to appeal the decision, but a bill recently proposed in the New York legislature also seeks to legalize the practice. [...]

The Totalitarian Imposition of Assisted Suicide in Canada

The story of euthanasia in Canada officially began a year ago this February 6th, when the Supreme Court of Canada decreed that the laws forbidding murder-suicide for compassionate reasons were “unconstitutional,” and commanded the Parliament of Canada to frame a law legalizing such physician-assisted suicide. Now, for all of you constitutionally-minded readers out there, this [...]

Euthanasia Brings End to Belgian Monarchy

There has been no coup, no abdication, no revolution. It is an event that has gone largely unnoticed. The media have hardly spoken about it. Yet it is a reality. The monarchy in Belgium is done with, over, kaput. The king of Belgium has turned himself out of his royal throne by signing a law [...]

The Cultures of Life and Death in Poetry

The Culture of Death in Poetry We are all familiar with Blessed John Paul II’s description of the Culture of Death in his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae.  The good Pope, of course, was not the first to notice and give expression to this phenomenon. In 1922, T. S. Eliot released to the world his account [...]

Royal Euthanasia?

You would think that having a personal physician would guarantee excellent health care. However, the conviction of Michael Jackson’s doctor for involuntary manslaughter suggests that this is not necessarily the case. Prosecutors described Dr Conrad Murray’s care of the pop singer as an “obscene” pharmaceutical experiment. Even royalty are not exempt. One of the sensational [...]

Liar’s Paradox

Logicians have an exercise called “The Liar’s Paradox” which is used to illustrate a number of things. The basic scenario is this: Your ship goes down, and eventually you drift ashore, where you are greeted by a native who informs you that everyone on this island always lies. Can you believe him? If what he [...]

The False “Cure” of Embryonic Stem Cells

On August 23, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth issued an injunction prohibiting the use of federal funds to support human embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), because it violated federal law prohibiting the destruction of human embryos. Even if his ruling is overturned by the Supreme Court (it's unclear which way Justice Anthony Kennedy, who [...]

Be Not Afraid

  Four years ago, I was in the hospital, laboring to deliver our seventh child. My husband paced the floors, and a television tuned to Fox News blared from a corner of the room.   Terri Schiavo was dying. And the world was watching.   I watched, too. Between contractions, waves of nausea, and breathing [...]

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