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Mr. Gingrich your mask is slipping. Again!

In my current WND column I point out that the “juxtaposition of apparently principled lip-service with statements and positions that openly contradict it has become characteristic of the GOP’s current campaign season.” Over the past two years I have observed this pattern of self-contradiction in several GOP leaders being touted as “principled conservatives”- from Sarah Palin, to Ron Paul and some of his supporters, to Herman Cain. In the column I raise the possibility that this “is a deliberate ploy by the GOP elites:

Paying clever lip-service to principle attracts a constituency for the sham two-party system that includes many people loyal to the Declaration’s ideas. Once they jump on a party’s bandwagon, false pride leads more than a few to cling stubbornly to their choice, no matter what. If and when the GOP nominee wins office, such people w ll be reluctant to recognize and react against actions and decisions that betray the views they mistakenly believe the party espouses, especially when the record will show that the nominee’s statements during the primary campaign foreshadowed the betrayals, (in which case voters who admit their error will also be admitting that they were careless or inattentive before casting their vote).

In the GOP race at the moment, as Herman Cain stumbles off the course, the touts and modern oracles (pollsters) begin harping on the latest “fad” in conservative lip-service, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Coming up on the inside(r) track, he seems poised to take a commanding lead over the rest of the field. But the head rush associated with suddenly breaking into the lead affected his stride a bit, leading him to show a flash of his true form at this too early turn, before the race is in the bag.

Thus Jake Tapper of ABC News reports an interview with the headline “Gingrich breaks from some in anti-abortion community on when [human] life begins.” Tapper asks the question “When do you think human life begins?” Their reported exchange then goes on in this way:

GINGRICH: Well, I think the question of being implanted is a very big question. My friends who have ideological positions that sound good don’t then follow through the logic of: ‘So how many additional potential lives are they talking about? What are they going to do as a practical matter to make this real?’

I think that if you take a position when a woman has fertilized egg and that’s been successfully implanted that now you’re dealing with life. Because otherwise you’re going to open up an extraordinary range of very difficult questions

TAPPER: So implantation is the moment for you.

GINGRICH: Implantation and successful implantation. In addition I would say that I’ve never been for embryonic stem cell research per se. I have been for, there are a lot of different ways to get embryonic stem cells. I think if you can get embryonic stem cells for example from placental blood if you can get it in ways that do not involve the loss of a life that’s a perfectly legitimate avenue of approach.

What I reject is the idea that we’re going to take one life for the purpose of doing research for other purposes and I think that crosses a threshold of de-humanizing us that’s very, very dangerous.

Once his head cleared Mr. Gingrich apparently realized that his comments were guaranteed to stir opposition from principled pro-life voters, and not only among people who share his membership in the Roman Catholic Church. His campaign issued a statement vehemently reiterating his belief “that human life begins at conception.” Unfortunately, it’s easier to believe a candidate whose spoken words correct a campaign statement, than a campaign statement offered to correct a candidate’s own words. Christ said “out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So when Mr. Gingrich mouthed his criticism of what he called “friends who have ideological positions”, from what place in his heart did his disdain for their ideology overflow?

Though the leftist abuse of the term has given it a bad name, the term “ideology” simply refers to an account of the ideas that form the basis of a human endeavor or institution. The capacity to give such an account is one of the distinctive hallmarks of human intelligence. Anyone sincerely committed to the perpetuation of constitutional self-government in the United States should be especially aware of the importance of ideology in this sense. The independent existence of the United States began with just such an account of ideas: the self-evident truths and unalienable rights America’s founders held to be the basis of just government.

Of all the candidates on the GOP stage, a professor of American history such as Newt Gingrich is the one we’d least expect to speak without regard for this fact. That’s especially true when he is speaking about the issue (respect for the unalienable human right to life) that in our day most explicitly raises the question of the nation’s adherence to those Declaration principles. Mr. Gingrich is well aware of the fact that the American revolutionaries who promulgated the Declaration looked to the Creator as the origin and source of human life, and to “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God” as the source of each individual’s unalienable right to life. Yet in his answer to the question “When does life begin?” he makes no reference to God’s creation. He speaks as if the issue of the beginning of human life is simply a matter of human opinion; what Newt Gingrich, or Alan Keyes, or any other merely human being thinks about it.

Mr. Gingrich treats the issue of respect for life as if it is simply a matter of personal opinion. In such merely human contentions, the strongest opinion (which usually means the opinion of the strongest) is most likely to rule. If the contest comes to blows, this means military strength. Or it may mean wealth, or the force of greater numbers. If, however, the right and wrong of it depends on a will that transcends human power (which is what the Declaration of Independence declares), then a right judgment about when life begins cannot be made without reference to that will.

The Declaration of Independence articulates the idea of justice that is the basis of the identity of the American nation, and of the Constitution adopted to govern it. According to that idea of justice (of right and wrong) the beginning of human life has been determined by the Creator. Its moment of origin depends, therefore, on the Creator’s intelligence; on the workings of His mind. But created things are the consequence of that work; they follow from it, somewhat the way human actions follow from the workings of our minds.

The moment when life is present is therefore God’s decision. It does not depend on our will and decision, but on His. As we cannot claim to be privy to all the workings of God’s mind, we cannot claim to know with certainty how or when His decision is made. In that respect life is like a manuscript prepared in secret, which we can read only after it is published in a form accessible to our understanding. As human beings come more and more to decode and understanding the language in which it is conveyed, we can better ascertain which is the first page; the first sentence; the first word of that publication.

There was no doubt a time when human comprehension of life’s beginning went no further than the moment of the child’s emergence into the world at birth. But today’s scientific techniques allow us to read signs once invisible to our mind’s eye. We can make out the male and female information that combine into one expression of humanity at the very moment of physical conception.

In light of this greater understanding, and contrary to Mr. Gingrich’s assertion to Jake Tapper, the Declaration’s account of the source of human life leaves no “extraordinary range of very difficult questions.” At the moment of physical conception God’s manuscript is already done, His program for each human being complete. Faced with a fact of undeniable human nature, justice demands that we respect the right as God has determined it. We have no more leeway to disregard this right in others, because of our opinion of their physical condition, than others have on that same account to disregard it in us. This is the first fruit of what it means to say we are all “created equal.”

Given his academic background, I find it hard to believe that Mr. Gingrich has never considered this reasoning. Rather his supercilious contempt for “ideological positions” suggests that he has considered and rejected it, as have other elements of the GOP elite, who use the term “ideological” as disparaging code word for anyone who seriously applies the nation’s God acknowledging founding principles.

All this leaves the question unanswered: From whence came the unprincipled words Gingrich spoke to Jake Tapper? In this regard I cannot help thinking about a lesson I learned in 2006 whilein Missouri helping with the campaign against the constitutional amendment that committed the people of Missouri to support stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos. Research using stem cells harvested without harm to human life (such as placental stem cells, or those obtained from umbilical cord blood which, in the Tapper interview, Mr. Gingrich mistakenly identifies as embryonic stem cells) has been the source of the therapies that are actually working to improve health. Why insist on approaches that involve destroying human life? Is this the result of some devilish strategy to extend the constituency of the culture of death beyond the abortion industry and its victims? Is it meant to make sure that no assertions of proprietary right (involving personal ownership of adult stem cells) interfere with the lucrative profits liable to be reaped from large scale deployment of successful stem cell based therapies?

My experience in government and politics over the past thirty years makes it impossible for me to ignore the fact that those most likely to reject “ideological positions” have ears to which money speaks with a voice so loud that its din drowns out reason and principle. I’m hard pressed to understand why people who truly wish to preserve America’s constitutional republic are tempted to back leaders deafened by money’s din, especially at a time when the income and credit of the America people and their posterity are being systematically looted and abused by the money powers responsible for the ruckus. Instead, our nation’s plight desperately calls for leaders who respect the rights of property that sustain free enterprise precisely because they listen instead to the voice of principle; the voice that also warns them to remember that true prosperity is endangered, not restored, by government leaders and policies that pretend to achieve it at the expense of God endowed right.

Some may be willing to trust that Newt Gingrich listens to that voice. I understand why they desperately want it to be so. But behind a mask of conservative lip-service, Mr. Gingrich has shown time and again that, much like Mitt Romney or John McCain, he’s a rewarded and willing servant of the elitist faction that is working to tear down America’s constitutional republic. I earnestly pray that at some point the scales will fall from the eyes of the goodhearted but pitiable patriots who still think that Mr. Gingrich, or any of the touted GOP politicos, really mean to restore the party’s allegiance to Declaration principles. In Mr. Gingrich’s interview with Jake Tapper the GOP mask of conservative principle slipped again, as it has already done more than once too often, on more than one too many of the GOP’s supposedly conservative politicians. Tragically for America, the face we glimpse behind the mask is, like Barack Obama’s, turned towards a path that leads the nation away from God, and right, and liberty. Doubtless we will again be told we get no choice but to follow that path. If so, we will just have to show them that we are still Americans: trail blazers born to a heritage that gives us the courage to do whatever we must to prove them wrong.

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