Harrisonburg’s March for Life

IMG_2432Today marks the annual March for Life in Washington D.C.  The event commemorates the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  Along with the companion decision of Doe v. Bolton, these cases struck down a multitude of states’ anti-abortion measures.

Locally, a smaller gathering of pro-life activists and supporters congregated on the steps of the Rockingham County Courthouse to remember the day.  Attendees spoke, prayed, sang songs, and walked around the courthouse grounds in the frigid weather.

The event lasted about an hour and was also covered by WHSV TV-3.

A Few Facts About Planned Parenthood

Today, my former employers, Students for Life of America, are promoting a video exposing many truths about Planned Parenthood.

In order to spread their message, they are encouraging their supporters across the nation to post the video to their Twitter account.  I did so several minutes ago, but for those of you who don’t subscribe to me on Twitter, which is admittedly most of you, I’d like to share SFLA’s video with you on this blog as well.  In case you are wondering, given that some of my first impressions regarding Twitter revolve around the adventures of Jeff Frederick and Ralph Northam in early 2009, I don’t think it is the best medium for spreading political information.

The promotion of liberty requires the protection of life, especially the most defenseless among us.

The G.A.P. At JMU

On Thursday, I received a rather negative comment on this blog regarding an event going on at James Madison University.  After reading such news, I decided to head over to the university to see what all the fuss was about.  Well, it seems that the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform had put up their Genocide Awareness Project (or G.A.P.) in the middle of campus.

For those who haven’t heard of G.A.P. before, it is a colorful display that contains graphic images of both abortions and various mass murders through the ages such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan butchery.

Now, I can understand why these pictures would upset most people, like the person who sent me the comment yesterday.  After all, when I first started working for Students for Life of America, I had a rather negative impression myself.  Who wants to see such horrible pictures?  Of course the answer is no one.  Won’t they just serve to turn people off from the movement?

But then I got to thinking about my own experience.  Back in high school, what motivated me to be a pro-life activist?  Wasn’t it the same terrible pictures adorning literature from Heritage House 76?

Dukes for Choice Protest

But don’t these images serve to weaken the pro-life cause?  Well, how many people do you suppose are either so disgusted (or so pleased) by these pictures that they decide to have an abortion as a result?  I doubt anyone could make such a claim.  Abortions aren’t pretty, nor are the images that result from this choice.  Some pro-lifers may reject these tactics, but if any choose to abandon the movement when confronted with them, then I doubt they had a very strong commitment in the first place.

No one likes to see these pictures, nor should they.  They are meant to show the real-life consequences of abortion.  You can argue the philosophic merits or detriments of abortion all you like, but when you face the brutal images of the deed, you cannot help but feel revulsion.  It is both natural and human.

After touring the Buchenwald concentration camp outside of Weimar and seeing the photos of what went on there during the Nazi regime, I gained a new-found understanding of the barbarous ways that a man can treat his fellow man.  It wasn’t a journey for fun or pleasure, but it was nevertheless important.  Hopefully, by making such knowledge public we can decrease the likelihood of such events happening in the future.

So too is the goal of the G.A.P.  The organizers don’t like these pictures anymore than you or I.  So then why do they do it?  Well, as a result of this gross panorama the life of even one unborn child is saved, is it worth it?  I believe the answer is yes.

Below are several thumbnail pictures of Thursday’s event.  You are free to look at these graphic images or not.  If you have never seen pictures of the results of an abortion, I encourage you to do so.  Consider yourself warned; you won’t like them, of course, but they do serve as a valuable tool.

So what will your reaction be the next time G.A.P. and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform comes to your campus?  Will you protest, like one reader and Dukes for Choice, demanding restrictions and squelching the 1st Amendment right of free speech?  Or will they motivate you to take a stand for those who cannot speak for themselves?  I suppose that there is only one way to find out.

Planned Parenthood Exposed

Remember the Acorn sting operation from a few years ago?  Well it seems like the fine folks at Planned Parenthood have no qualms about knowingly aiding illegal activity too.  Will this video be the critical piece of evidence to finally defund Planned Parenthood?  Watch and decide for yourself.

Thanks to Mr. Armstrong for bringing this video to my attention and to Live Action for the video itself.

Update #1:  Planned Parenthood has fired the employee in this video, Amy Woodruff, for her actions. 2/2/2011

Update #2:  Supporters of Planned Parenthood have claimed that this example from a New Jersey clinic must be an isolated incident.  Well, today Live Action has released a video from our own Richmond, Virginia with similar results.  Although the tape is less damning than the first, the employee in the video still suggests circumventing immigration and prostitution laws.  The real question becomes, how many more Planned Parenthood employees would or have acted in the same way?  Thanks to Richard for sharing this info. 2/3/2011

A Critical Step to Protect the Unborn

During my most recent adventure in retail, when one particular customer came into the store he regularly thanked me for my efforts on behalf of the pro-life community.  Although I’m uncertain how he knew of my work in Tennessee, I did appreciate his support.  Toward that end, he offered to donate to my political campaign should I ever seek office…but that is an issue for another day.  Now I know that while many of you aren’t as politically active as I, you are as intensely as pro-life.  Well, I’m pleased to announce that you can take a stand to help prevent the wholesale slaughter of the next generation.  On Friday, I received word from our friends in Botetourt that you can help in this noble cause.  The message is as follows:

According to our Attorney General, the state of VA could enforce
higher standards on abortion clinics in Virginia.  Planned Parenthood
says if these standards were enforced, 17 of their 21 abortion clinics
in the state could close.  The Governor has not done this yet.

Can you help me encourage the Governor to do the right thing?  We want
Gov. Bob McDonnell to instruct the state Board of Health to enforce
the regulations on abortion clinics that the Attorney General says is
within the Governor’s power to do.

You can read the Attorney General’s opinion at:

So please:

1. Contact your GOP Delegates and state senators ask them to tell the
Governor to take a stand on this by instructing the state Board of
Health to enforce the regulations on abortion clinics.  You can find
and contact your state reps at:

2. Contact the Governor: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/Contact.cfm

3. Write letters to the editor of you local paper & call in to radio talk shows

4. Pray

5. Ask others to do steps 1-4 – forward them this email.

Remember tell them you want Gov. Bob McDonnell to instruct the state
Board of Health to enforce the regulations on abortion clinics.

Thank you for taking the time to speak up for those who can not make
their voices heard.

Even though we’d like to eliminate all abortion facilities in the Old Dominion, this effort is a key step in the right direction.  Regardless if your Delegate or State Senator is a passionate advocate for the unborn or not, we must contact them about this matter.  Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, most politicians will only act when spurred by their constituents.  So here is your chance to join me as we work to shut down many of the so-called “clinics” in our Commonwealth.  Although one person can make a difference, an entire army of motivated citizens is worth far more.  You must call or write Governor McDonnell and your representatives in Richmond and tell your friends and family to do likewise.  We can save the unborn, but only if you’re willing to help.

Update:  I just sent an email to the Governor.  What are you waiting for?

Further Update:  An online petition is now available too.

A Memo From Myself

I spent a good part of Saturday digging through boxes of old stuff that I’ve picked up over the years and it is quite amazing the stuff I found.  There are stacks of books, bumper stickers (Dole/Kemp baby!), yard signs, and employment rejection letters from members of Congress.  How many of you can say you have a letter signed by Idaho’s disgraced former Senator Larry Craig or one where former Representative Virgil Goode spells your name incorrectly?  But one of the most interesting items is a one page political brief written by yours truly.  Unfortunately, I cannot recall why I wrote it.  The only clues as to its purpose are its title and the fact that it bears my social security number.  Although I’d change quite few things if I were writing it today, I want to share my early political thoughts with you.  Again, these words are coming from thirteen years in the past, not today, though I have slightly modified a bit of the spacing, punctuation, and added just a few words for easier reading and clarification.

One social controversy that interests me greatly is the subject of abortion.  After spending much time researching the subject, I have written two essays on the subject and one poem.  Let me state that I am in the camp referred to as “Pro-life.”  I believe that abortion is wrong and should only be used when the mother’s life is in danger or the child is a product of rape or incest.

One concept needed when analyzing the issue of abortion is the question, “When does life begin?”  I believe that life begins at conception of sperm and ovum.  Now if we were to consider the question in terms of biology, the biologists’ school of thought states that a cell is the simplest unit of life.  There is no argument that when the two units combine, they form a single-celled organism.  Therefore, according to biology, this single-celled unit is, in fact, a living creature.  However, I find this case not to be true.  When I took biology in 10th grade, my teacher actively encouraged the practice of abortion and thought the procedure can be used to create “organ farms” that can be harvested in order to help humans with failing organs.  Although I do not deny that doing so would help many individuals with health problems, I object to the process of killing children so that others may live.  Not only that, my teacher went on to say that this process is not wrong because the fetus is not alive anyway.  This [viewpoint] strikes me as hypocrisy.  How can my teacher, who holds a college degree in biology, claim that organ farms would cause no problems because the fetus was not alive anyway?  Even though I wished to confront him publicly about his misconceptions, I unfortunately did not have the courage.  Since then, I have become much more self confident and assertive thus earning the rank of “most opinionated” senior.

Another problem facing us in the abortion dilemma is the idea of morality.  I consider myself a very moral person and like to promote my moral values to others.  When thinking of abortion as the killing of a human, then my belief system would forbid the practice of abortion.  I believe that all human beings are created by and in the image of God[;] therefore to kill a human would be a mortal sin.  My religion also dictates my above belief that life begins at conception as stated in Psalms 139.  It seems to me that since this country was founded on the motto, “In God we trust,” it is incomprehensible as to why this country has taken such a moral backslide.

Now, although some who heard my earlier speeches about abortion might think I am some kind of extremist, I say that this [claim] is not true.  I have no plans to picket [neither] abortion clinics nor plant bombs in them.  In essence, the people who commit such [murderous] acts  are no better than the abortion doctors themselves.  What good would come from the killing of another human life?  It would only renew tensions between the pro-life and pro-choice camps.  Instead, I think any such wars over abortion should take place in the floor of the United States Congress.  This [conflict] would result in less death and violence and would be legal.  In any case, I am opposed [to] the idea of abortion by my moral and scientific beliefs.

So what do you think of the 17 year old activist Joshua?  Moved at all by his words?  I should point out that although you might assume that he was opposed to the death penalty, I assure you he was (and still is) an avid supporter of the practice.  In addition, my position on abortion has changed slightly and I no longer view picketing abortion clinics as extreme.  Personally, I’m amazed at the folly of youth.  Back in those days, I thought a Bible verse and a bit of data were all you needed to win the day.  We have discovered that such tactics are grossly insufficient.  For the record, “In God We Trust” did not become the nation’s official motto until 1956.  And do any political poets even exist in the modern age?  Moving on, although I lamented my trepidation then, I regret to say that it still holds me back even today to some extent.  I think Thucydides gets it right in his History of the Peloponnesian War when he writes, with some people “ignorance makes them brave and thinking makes them cowards”.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into my political past.  I’d like to say my writing has improved with thirteen years of practice.  Back then I had such high hopes for the future.  Unfortunately, those dreams have been horribly weakened by waves of political decay and moral relativity.  Will I be as passionate in 2028?  I’ll let you know when we get there.

Dour Cuccinelli

Whenever the Daily News Record contains an article about our Attorney General, it contains a rather dour-looking picture of him much like this one.

(Picture credited to Steve Helber of the AP)

I believe that if you knew nothing of Ken Cuccinelli, you would instantly dislike him solely based upon the above picture.  Here is a rather stern man who is almost scowling.  It is almost as if the picture says, “Oh no.  Hide anything fun. Here comes Captain Killjoy!”  Now I know that some of our liberal colleges likely view or would like to paint Attorney General Cuccinelli in such a light, but I believe that such a caricature is erroneous and shortsighted.  One must remember that one of our Attorney General’s primary duties is to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth.  Although doing so may make him unpopular in certain circles that is the task he is assigned to do and just because he does his job zealously we should not condemn him for doing so.

Going back to our recent newspaper article, not only does it feature a less amicable picture of Ken Cuccinelli, the article is entitled, “Clinics Fear Closure”.  Your gut reaction might be, “not our clinics!  We need those!”  When one reads the article however, fear gives way to reason.  What Cuccinelli is suggesting is that abortion clinics in the state should be subject to the same medical scrutiny that hospitals undergo.  Is this concept so fearful?  Shouldn’t all clinics and medical facilities be subject to the same standards?  If some facilities in Virginia are unable or unwilling to obey at least some minimal standard, then shouldn’t they be shut down?  Should the Hippocratic oath be completely ignored in today’s day and age?

Although some members of our community have sought to demonize or vilify Ken Cuccinelli, I know it stems from his willingness to fight for Virginia values and liberty.  Unfortunately, most politicians have learned it is easiest to do nothing.  After all, being ineffective ruffles no feathers and does not upset the status quo.  Fortunately, our Attorney General is not such a leader.  Sure, he is often a serious man, but it is not a somberness the average Virginian should fear.  My concern is that if you only rely on surface scans of sources like the DNR you likely don’t know the real Ken Cuccinelli.

Oh Bob…

Earlier today, a story began circulating concerning Delegate Bob Marshall.  I first read about it in the News Leader, a publication based in the Shenandoah Valley, under the provocative headline, “Disabled Kids are God’s Punishment”.  On Thursday of last week, while advocating defunding Planned Parenthood, Delegate Marshall stated, “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.  In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”  As a result of this article, a number of bloggers and activists have been questioning his words and motives such as Bearing Drift and The Right-Wing Liberal.  In addition, some folks (661 as of this post) have signed a petition asking Delegate Marshall to both apologize and resign.

So here are my thoughts on the matter.  First, after reading a bit more, I think the headline should have read, “Disabled Kids are sometimes God’s Punishment”.  The quote doesn’t say that all disabled kids are punishment from God, but the disability maybe as a result of sin.  Semantics I know, but I feel for the sake of accuracy the point should be made.  Nevertheless, a comment like the one Delegate Marshall still raises a boatload of questions and is still grotesquely offensive at worst and poorly worded at best.  Now I don’t know if the chance of birth defects increases as a result of a previous abortion, but even if so, the comment seems callous and vindictive.  More troubling still in my mind is the attempt to pronounce God’s will.  Even though we in the pro-life community believe abortion to be a sin, I would never call a birth defect as a “punishment from God”.  For a more personal example, when my grandmother (a God-fearing woman) was struck with Alzheimer’s was it as a result of genetics or was it God’s wrath?

In response to this story, Delegate Marshall offered the following statement:

A story by Capital News Service regarding my remarks at a recent press conference opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood conveyed the impression that I believe disabled children are a punishment for prior abortions. No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion. I have devoted a generation of work to defending disabled and unwanted children, and have always maintained that they are special blessings to their parents. Nevertheless, I regret any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created as to my deep commitment to fighting for these vulnerable children and their families.


Delegate Bob Marshall
State Delegate, 13th District
Prince William County, Loudoun County

I don’t think that one should rule out the possibly that Delegate Marshall’s comments were taken out of context.  After all, as Bob Holsworth points out (courtesy of Jason Kenney at Bearing Drift) no one fights harder for children with autism than Bob Marshall.  If he viewed such a condition as “punishment from God”, I doubt he would care too much about the topic.  In addition, if these comments were made on Thursday, why, with all of our instant communication, did it take several days for this comment to be made public?  As you well know, I greatly appreciate many of Delegate Marshall’s efforts in the General Assembly on key issues like abortion, states rights, and health care freedom and therefore so badly want to believe the best in this situation.  Nevertheless, assuming he was misunderstood, I fear that his comments have given great encouragement to those who oppose him and his politics.  Either way, it makes my heart heavy.  Delegate Marshall, you know I admire your principles and your courage.  This can’t be the real you.  And if this comment is just a misunderstanding, don’t let it destroy your good works.

Why Vote for Bob McDonnell?

Recently a reader of this blog asked me, “Josh – If you’re a Ron Paul conservative, why in the world are you supporting Bob McDonnell?  Dr. Paul is hardly enthused w/ McDonnell…”  It is certainly a fair question to ask. Why should I, as a constitutional conservative, support Bob McDonnell? Some might say that I should because he is the Republican candidate.  Although I typically support Republicans over Democrats, it is because of their principles, not simply their party affiliation.  We all know Republicans, like Arlen Specter (formerly a Republican) or Lincoln Chafee, with whom we agree little politically.  Principles and principles alone must be our guiding factor.  That having been said, what principles link both Bob McDonnell and myself?

Both the abortion issue and the second amendment are very important to me.  While one defends the lives of the most defenseless among us, the other protects our property and very freedom against the potential tyranny of our neighbors and the government.   I believe that Bob McDonnell upholds these same values and I’ll share with you a video clip about these issues.

How about taxes?  Obviously, in order to shrink the size of government we must exercise fiscal restraint.  Bob McDonnell has demonstrated his resolve on many occasions throughout his political career.  When I spoke to Delegate Brenda Pogge (Yorktown-96) about conservative support for Bob McDonnell, she pointed out, “Bob was also the Chief sponsor of legislation to kill the death tax.  Bob is definitely a conservative who believes in less govt.  He led the legislation in the house on most of the reforms initiated under George Allen.  Welfare to work comes immediately to mind.  His record will reflect that he voted over 50 times to cut taxes and has never voted to increase them.”

Need more? Try checking out the NetRoots Supporters’ Debate at Common Sense for Virginia on September 12.

Good President, Bad President

So we are less than a week into President Obama’s administration and already he’s made several controversial actions.

First, the bad news.  Several days ago, the president reversed a long-standing Bush policy on refusing funding to international groups who either perform or promote abortions.  This decision is terrible for several reasons.  From a limited government perspective, the government should not waste taxpayer dollars on international aid.  Then, from a conservative perspective, the government should not be in the business of aiding groups who slaughter innocent children.  Thus this action, traditional from modern-day Democratic presidents, is immoral, wasteful, and is downright unconstitutional.

Next, the good news.  One of Obama’s first acts was the closing of the secret CIA prisons operated on foreign soil.  Although my neoconservative friends will cry foul, I really think that such an action will, in the long term, enhance U.S. security.  How so, you might ask?  Well, think about the situation from a reverse perspective.   What if the Russians or the Chinese set up detention centers in Lightfoot, Falls Church, Louisa, and Dayton?  Would you, as an American, support this plan?  How about if one of your friends or relatives were captured and held at such a facility?  Would you consider it a violation of his or her constitutional rights?  Would you harbor a grudge against the intruding nation?  Of course!  No self-respecting American would tolerate such domestic interference from foreign powers.  Now why should we expect citizens in other countries to think differently?

As he promised on the campaign trail, that’s a fair amount of change for week one.