Divided Opinions over a Swastika on a church bell

Divided Opinions over a Swastika on a church bell

Out of all places in the world, I would not expect nazism to occur in Germany, another country I consider home. Afterall, Germany has outlawed the glorification of nazism.

This leads me to question: is the engraved swastika on a church bell in Herxheim Am berg, Germany a matter of glorification? In other words, should the swastika be taken down? Many native Germans had various positions in regard to my question.

The swastika on the bell was put up in 1934 by a Nazi mayor in Herxheim am Berg, a village composed of 750 people in the wine country. The swastika reads, “everything for the Fatherland- Adolf Hitler.”

Herxheim native and former organ player for the church, Sigrid Peters, refused to continue playing her organ during church services after finding out about the bell.

“People have been getting married under the swastika and they didn’t even know it,” Peters said.

When Peters spoke up, this “Nazi bell” became popular among German news. The local church ordered the ringing to stop, the church body offered to pay for a replacement and Jewish organizations insisted it be taken down.

Despite the Herxheim village deemed a “Nazi village,” mayor Georg Welker will not take down the bell.

“We will not allow the rest of the world to dictate what we do with our bell,” Welker said.

Welker also mentioned the pertience of the bell’s history.

“It’s a monument of history,” he said. “We shouldn’t forget that history or pretend it didn’t happen. That is why the bell should stay.”

Despite the importance of history, Germany, a country I call home and adore; it is scarred. The country was dictated by a man motivated by hate responsible for the mass killing of six million Jews and other groups such as homosexuals, those with mental or physical challenges and other races.

Germany has moved forward as a country and should not allow to have what happened in the past occur again.

Markus Krass, a metal worker and Herxheim native, shares my view agreeing that the bell must go and does more harm than good.

“We’re talking about a bell that was hung during National Socialism and is dedicated to a mass murderer,” he said. “Our whole postwar identity in Germany is built on a break from that history.”

The bell must go, there is no doubt.  Neo Nazis already organized a march in the village since the bell became of popular German news. One native villager noted her experience.

“It was scary. They were very professional,” she said, who saw the march with her 2-year-old son and 90-year-old father.

Moreover, I understand the emotional ties the bell has for some individuals, much like Dora Jetter, who has lived in the village her entire life. She was 12 when she wrote a school essay about the 1934 bell arrival ceremony. She described it as “splendid.”

I also understand this perspective. I understand the nostalgia, but I believe it should be taken down as it spews hate, it is seen as living in the past and it leaves a huge scar from what happened in the past.

Having the swastika remain on the bell will demonstrate a practice of hate to younger generations. What kind of example would that be if their parents and grandparents supported a belief of hate?

The village should not have to worry about marches coming to town. Most importantly, history should not repeat itself.

Although, I do not live in Herexim, the situation still has an affect on me. I was heartbroken to find out this issue still occured today, in my other country.  I do not condone this behavior. Our world has enough suffering and problems, this bell shoudn’t add to the fire.

No one is born with hate, it’s something that evolves overtime. If Germany were to get rid of this bell, it would be a step to assuaging hate. History should not be repeated, especially if it had a terrible outcome.

Rob Tibbets and aunt Billie Jo Calderwood against the hatred of the Hispanic community

Rob Tibbets and aunt Billie Jo Calderwood against the hatred of the Hispanic community

 

On Jul. 18, 20-year-old, Mollie Tibbets thought it was the perfect evening for a run in Poweshiek County, Iowa. Then on Aug. 21, she was proclaimed dead. 

At no suprise her family was heart broken. “Our hearts are broken.” Her family then went on to express their thankfulness the support this nation and worldwide gave to their daughter. “We thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl…again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name. We remain forever grateful.”

Despite, the fact that Tibbets was killed by undocumented immigrant, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, and regardless of Republicans pressing for harsher immigration laws – Tibbet’s father, Rob, diminshed the virulence of hate against Hispanics. On his daughter’s funeral this past Sunday, he spoke of his positive feelings for the local Hispanic community. “The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans.”

As authorities searched for his daughter, he ate at numerous Mexican resturants. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food, ” he said.

While, it is not made clear if the family forgives Riveria, it is evident that they are taking the step towards being tolerant toward the person who brutally stabbed their daughter to death and then hid her body in a cornfield.

In the period of debate circulating around Riveria’s immigration status, Mollie’s aunt, Billie Jo Calderwood, doesn’t want her niece’s tragedy to catapult in the sea of political opinions surrounding the tragedy. “I don’t want Mollie’s memory to get lost amongst politics.”

Although, immigration status and laws are pertient to our nation, it is not okay to proclaim bias against a race of people, simply because one happened to kill a college student. As Tibbet’s aunt, puts it, “evil comes in every color.”

In the lieu of hate and controversy, I commend Tibbet’s father and the rest of her family for clininging to an optimistic spirit. Instead of focusing on the hate toward Riveria and instead of treating it as a complete tragedy, it is admirable that the family chooses to focus on who their daughter was as a person; her Instagram bio reading, “it’s a good day to be alive.” In this time of turmoil, it is also wonderful to look at this incident as a celebration. After his daughter’s death, he asked moruners to join him and his family to celebrate her.

“Today, we had to turn the page. We’re at the end of a long ordeal,” he said. “But we need to turn toward life – Mollie’s life – because Mollie’s nobody’s victim. Mollie’s my hero.”

 

Abortion’s disproportionate impact on black America

Abortion’s disproportionate impact on black America

Columnist Jason L. Riley describes abortion’s “outsize toll” on the African American population in an opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

Riley hopes to reshape the conversation on abortion sparked by President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: “As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination tees up another national debate about reproductive rights, is it too much to ask that abortion’s impact on the black population be part of the discussion?” Riley asks.

Riley first documents blacks’ evolving views on abortion since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Prior to Roe, African Americans viewed abortion less favorably than their white counterparts, according to Riley. Fannie Lou Hamer and Whitney Young, both prominent civil rights activists, regarded the practice as genocidal. Jesse Jackson, meanwhile, deemed abortion “murder” and stated that blacks “used to look for death from the man in the blue coat and now it comes in a white coat.”

Now, however, African Americans espouse radically different views on abortion: modern black civil rights leaders routinely partner with abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood, Riley notes. A telling Pew Research report conducted in 2016 reveals that 62% of black Americans believe abortion should be legal “in all or most cases,” compared with 58% of whites and 50% of Hispanics.

Pro-abortion attitudes have taken a devastating toll on America’s black population. Riley points to New York City, where every year the number of aborted black babies outweigh the number of black children who survive pregnancy. As a result, ugly inequalities mark comparisons between black and white abortion rates: black mothers in New York terminate pregnancy at three times the rate of white mothers, while births heavily outnumber abortions among whites and other non-black ethnic groups.

Similar disparities exist in other regions of the United States: Riley cites a 2014 study which found that nation-wide, black women received 36% of all abortions, even though they account for just 13% of America’s female population. Higher abortion rates among black women persist even after controlling for income.

Riley concludes with a sobering assessment of abortion’s impact on black Americans:

“When you combine the amount of black violent behavior directed at other blacks with the number of pregnancies terminated by black women, the rate at which blacks willingly end the lives of one another is chilling. . . . Racial disparities in abortion rates are no less disturbing than racial disparities in income, crime, poverty and school suspensions. Why are people who want to lecture the rest of us about the value of black lives pretending otherwise?”

Email Jason L. Riley at Jason.Riley@wsj.com or reach him via Twitter at @jasonrileywsj

An Independence Day Reflection

An Independence Day Reflection

As the United States of America celebrates its independence this week, it is important to reflect on the progress that our nation has made in our quest to protect the sanctity of all life. Additionally, it is in our best interest to analyze the journey ahead, especially as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee looms ahead. 2018 has proven quite eventful for the Pro-Life movement, giving us much reason to celebrate, and we expect many great changes to come before our next Independence Day.

February marked a key month for the Pro-Life movement, as President Donald Trump was the first sitting president to attend the Washington, D.C. March for Life. Joining him was Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. All key politicians delivered addresses in support of the cause, as a massive number of participants marched in support of life.

In May, President Trump attended the Susan B. Anthony List annual gala. The organization is well-known for its defense of life campaigns, as well as its support and endorsement of Pro-Life politicians. At the fundraiser, he announced his commitment to halt taxpayer funding of abortions in the Title X mandate, which notoriously provides money to organizations like Planned Parenthood. Later that month, Iowa passed a heartbeat law that protects fetuses with detectable heartbeats. More information on this momentous decision can be read here.

June marked a significant victory for hospitals in California, as the Supreme Court narrowly deemed it unconstitutional for the government to force pregnancy centers to list abortion clinics for women. There is no doubt that the court’s most recent addition, Justice Gorsuch, was integral to this 5-4 ruling.

President Trump has announced his nomination for Justice Kennedy’s replacement, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh sat on the D.C. Circuit Court. And as midterm elections approach, it is now more important than ever for the momentum of the 2016 elections to carry over to Congress, as we await legislation for more permanent guarantees to life. Additionally, several states continue to battle decisions made by the Trump Administration and the Supreme Court, so it is important for Americans to remain aware and vigilant of developments in the fight for life. So far, this year has brought many positive developments for the right to life, but these next few months could prove integral to the cause, but it is even more important for the Pro-Life community to stay committed to the movement for the remainder of the year.

Abortion in the Middle East

Abortion in the Middle East

While the United States’s priorities in the Middle East are primarily dictated by war, oil, and trade, social issues often escape the limelight of public awareness. Islam, a conservative force that shares roots with other Judaic religions like Christianity, is often misunderstood, thus preventing interest in the culture’s policies towards abortion. And as the religion continues to dictate policy in the Middle East, spilling into Western Europe, it may be valuable to better understand the culture associated with the right to life in these countries.

The Pew Research Forum provides a plethora of information about several major players in Middle Eastern policy. Iran and Egypt appear to have the strictest set of anti-abortion laws, having banned such practices unless the life of the mother is in danger. However, Iran has made efforts to revise and loosen such restrictions, though these efforts have been ignored by the Council of Guardians, which ensures that the laws of the nation reflect those of Islam, itself.

Turkey and Tunisia are more liberal in their abortion regulations, the former allowing abortion ten weeks after pregnancy. Additionally, fetal abnormalities and risk of the mother’s life can be cited as reasons to abort at any time. Tunisia’s policy is similar, though their time period extends to twelve weeks.

While some countries accept abortion in some circumstances, Islam has a general distaste for the practice, citing the Quran’s strict guidelines about killing, “Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though he has spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of mankind.” However, nearly all schools of Islamic law, according to the BBC, teach that abortion is permissible if the mother’s life is at risk. From here, several disagreements arise between competing sects of Islamic thought. Some scholars claim that abortion is acceptable during the first seven weeks of pregnancy, others as far as sixteen weeks. Some even permit abortions to happen if the child is believed to have a mental or physical disorder.

Islamic law varies on abortion practices. Unlike Catholicism, and other unified sects of Christianity, there is no formal doctrine that outlines the faith’s stance on the subject. As a result of the close ties between Islamic law and national law, pro-life outlooks vary between nations. Even so, it is important to note the region’s general negative outlook towards the practice. As the world grows closer, via globalization, it is important to recognize key future players in the movement for life, and the Middle East serves as a fascinating ground, that should be studied, where policy and morality intersect.

The valuable information about abortion in each aforementioned country can be found at:

http://www.pewforum.org/2008/09/30/abortion-laws-around-the-world

Four sports professionals who stand for pro-life

Four sports professionals who stand for pro-life

As the political landscape gets more heated, several people turn to sports to get away from the stresses of politics. Now though, it seems that politics has infiltrated that arena as well. Whether it is through protest on police brutality, feelings over the president, or some other stance on issue politics, sports professionals and teams have begun to voice their opinion.  When it comes to sport professional opinions about abortion there are four athletes who have been vocal about their pro-life position. First up, Matt Birk.

Matt Birk

Matt Birk most recently played for the Ravens as an offensive lineman. He won the Super Bowl with the Eagles and retired afterward. To congratulate the team on winning the super bowl, President Barrak Obama invited them to the white house.  Birk respectfully declined the meeting because he did not agree with President Obama’s position on Planned Parenthood. When askeabout it Birk said,

“I’m very confused by (Obama’s) statement. For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.” He has since been very vocal in his support for the National March for Life, evening speaking at the 2016 march.

Sal Bando 

Sal played for the Oakland A’s from 1966 to 1976 and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1977 until his retirement in 1981. It wasn’t until after his baseball career was over that Bando began to fundraise for the pro-life cause. He, along with other former and current players and coaches, endorsed the Battin’ 1000 campaign. The goal was to raise funds to create a baseball-themed fundraiser to draw more attention to the American Life League. The American Life League’s plan was to build a pro-life educational center in Virginia that would offer media-training, bioethics workshops and other resources. Bando helped draw in several endorsements, and eventually became the chair of the program. “What most of us see are the liberal media and celebrities standing out on this issue,” Bando said. “It’s time for those of us who are the silent majority to say,’ Hey, we’re pro-life!”

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is an obvious pick because what’s not to love about this guy. He is a polite, hardworking, down to earth guy who helps others as much as possible. After health complications abroad, Tim’s mom was advised to abort her baby, Tim’s parents refused to abort. From that moment, Tim has strived to live a modest, yet giving life. Tebow has been dedicated to building churches in foreign countries, just one example of his commitment to give to others.  In 2010, Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow ran a 30 sec Super Bowl Commercial explaining his birth. The add explained the complications and the incredible joy they both shared because of her choice to not abort Tim. Tim Tebow has always received hate based on his beliefs in Jesus and abortion issues. The criticism towards Tebow came forward in an interview with Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer when he said, “I wish he would just shut up about it.” The ad was described by several people from CBS reporters to sports fans alike calling it a “divisive ad” that is ruining the big game. Tim responded perfectly to their hate by saying, “I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe.”

 

John Stephens

Stephens is a Special Olympics athlete who fights for equal treatment for people with special needs, specifically Down syndrome. He criticised Ann Coulter after she ridiculed Obama following his second presidential debate with Mitt Romney. He made his way on this list after his speech at the UN regarding selective abortions targeting babies with Down syndrome. In his speech, Stephens asked, “How would the world react if a nation proclaimed that it would use genomic testing to make itself ‘Unpopular ethnic minority free’ by 2030?” Stephens hypothetical is not totally untrue, and his point was to shed light on the population control happening in Iceland.  In Iceland, 100% of the babies who are pre-diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.

In a nation divided by politics, businessmen need to remember to stay neutral politically so they can sell their product to a larger group of people. Professional Athletes are no exception to this. That is why it is remarkable that these four men are willing to take the heat and voice their opinion and stand up for life.