A VOICE FOR DARFUR
Perhaps, if you live in the Kansas City area, you saw this story in The Star yesterday about Google Earth partnering with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to show people more about the human catastrophe in the Darfur section of Sudan. If you go the the Holocaust Museum site, you can download Google Earth and take a look. At any rate, this is more evidence that the Jewish community is among the most consistent voices on behalf of the people of Darfur. Why? Who else knows genocide so well?
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THE VALUE OF LIFE, ROUND 2
I have a bit of an assignment for you today.
The other day here on the blog, I quoted 1920 words that presaged the Nazi move to do away with life that Hitler and other German leaders considered unworthy. Click here to read that.
In response, one reader asked how the disturbing words I quoted from Dr. Karl Binder differed from positions taken today by a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, Peter Singer (pictured here).
Well, I knew about Singer and some of his controversial writings about animal rights and the value of people with mental disabilities and so forth, but I haven't read enough of him to draw any firm conclusions on whether his positions differ markedly from the ideas that led to eugenics and other Nazi horrors.
However, in the "Frequently Asked Questions" of Singer's Web site, I did find some words that, though perhaps different in tone from Binder's, seem to suggest that it is possible for us not only to draw conclusions about the worthiness of an individual human's life but also to adopt policies that might lead to ending that life. But perhaps I'm reading too much into it.
For example, one question raised of Singer is this: "You have been quoted as saying, 'Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person.' Is that quote accurate?" The start of Singer's answer: "It is accurate, but can be misleading if read without understanding what I mean by the term 'person'. . . (K)illing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is a being who wants to go on living."
At any rate, my assignment for you today is to tell me what you know about Singer and his writings and indicate whether you think he's moved down the slippery slope of what we might call Binderism. If you have never read anything by Singer, spend a bit of time on his Web site today, especially in the FAQ section, and see what you think.
As I've said before, all religion worthy of the name insists that human life -- all human life -- is precious. The only serious argument is when such life begins. Once it's begun, however, religion insists it must be protected and even cherished.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.