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Moral Equivalence: Osama bin Laden Murders Innocents–American Society Murders Their Unborn

Alan Keyes Excerpts

Alan Keyes Commentary in World Net Daily

Immediately below are excerpts from Alan Keyes' new show "Alan Keyes is Making Sense" on MSNBC, Monday through Thursday, 10 p.m., ET.

JANUARY 22, 2002

We have come to that portion of the show we call "People Just Like You." And that's what we gather here. These are not professional pundits, not folks who have their axes to grind and are constantly up in front of you, and not that I'm demeaning anybody there. We have some very bright folks who do that on a regular basis on all the different networks. But these are folks who are just brought from different walks of life to come together with me here and try to think things through and make sense of some of the challenges we face.
We have with us today, Stan Dean. He is a theatre director and producer. He's also a retired high school English Teacher. Jean Weinberg is a Georgetown University student, and the Reverend Joe Watkins is with the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia--welcome, everyone.
KEYES: And thank you for taking the time to come and chat with me today. What I'd like to do right off the bat, we have been seeing in the last few minutes some reminders of the horrific damage that was done to the people of New York, the lives that were taken, to this country on September 11. But I want to ask each of you a question here. We talk about the evil that struck us. From your vantage point and your mind and your heart, what was the evil that hit us that day? What was the nature of it? What lay at the heart of it? What would you say to that?
STAN DEEN, THEATRE DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: For me, I think the fact that it was premeditated--that this was not something that just occurred, but a group of human beings knew that they were going to board planes and actually go right into the Towers or into the Pentagon.
KEYES: So it's kind of the cold-blooded, self-conscious aspect of it...
DEEN: Yes. Yes.
KEYES: ... that really struck you. Jean, what would you say?
JEAN WEINBERG, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY STUDENT: For me, it was the innocent lives that were lost. The people that went to work one day and couldn't say goodbye to anyone and for no reason, no fault of their own, were not engaged in a war, but almost became involved. And for me, it's really the loss of that innocent life.
KEYES: So the innocent lives that were just kind of cut off without warning...
WEINBERG: Right. No (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of their own, so...
KEYES: ... on that day. Reverend Joe, what would you say?
REV. JOE WATKINS, CHRIST EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH: Well, I'd say that life is really a gift. It really is a gift from God, and any time anybody takes innocent lives, that's absolutely evil. And that's what happened. And in my case, there is a personal side. I had three siblings--I have five siblings. I have three sisters and two brothers, but two--both of our brothers and one of my sisters were directly impacted by what happened in New York. And one brother was in World Trade 7, and another sister was in Liberty Plaza, and thank God, they all managed to survive. But that's evil. What happened was absolute evil.
KEYES: See, I think that's fascinating, because sometimes when we are looking at the images, as we just were, and seeing the devastation, we might get confused, because of the magnitude of this and think that somehow or another it was the bigness of it. You know, the big buildings came down, and the enormous loss of life. But in fact, there is a threat that runs through it that whether it was big or small, it still confronts us, I think, with--well, I think of it as the principle of this, the principle of the evil that struck out against it.
Because after all, there have been other times in history when there has been a lot of massive destruction, right? And one of them that naturally occurs to me, in the context of our own background in America, is Hiroshima. But would you say that Hiroshima, Nagasaki is anything like what we witnessed as a result? Even though the physical damage might have been larger, even the lives lost were larger. And yet, to say that there was an evil involved in it, would it be right to do that?

WATKINS: Well, I'd say Pearl Harbor was analogous to what happened on September 11. That was a sneak attack, and that, again, was the loss of innocent life. What happened on September 11 was awful. I mean, had it been done on the battlefield, had there been a declaration of war by our  enemies, that would have been different. But this was a sneak attack, and the people that were killed were regular folks, innocent people, people who were going to work, who were doing their job who were trying to do their business.
WEINBERG: And I think the loss of life--our tolerance for loss of life in terms of innocent people going to work vs. people who are in the military, and even the reaction of the Pentagon was different than that at the World Trade Center. In terms of people taking that a lot more to heart, regular people were just going to work vs. people who were engaged in military battle, and people who almost--not that we expect them to lose their life, but know that that is part of, you know, what could happen.
KEYES: It's interesting, because what seems to be running through all of the comments, and it keeps coming up over and over, naturally obviously, is this word "innocent." Fascinating word. Does anybody here know what the root of innocence is, where it comes from? It's a fascinating word, and it's a little bit--well, it's expected and yet unexpected. As I recall, the root of that word is "nocere," which is a Latin word meaning like noxious. We get the word noxious from, and it means to harm something. So what is an innocent person? An innocent person is a harmless person...
DEEN: Yes.
KEYES: ... somebody who had done nobody any harm. And the key to understanding what hit us that day, as I hear you all talking about it, it seems to be this innocence.
DEEN: Oh, yes.
KEYES: If somebody hits you first, and you hit back, that's one thing. If they give you fair warning, and you're going to war, that's one thing. But out of the blue to just stomp on innocent folks, it seems that there is a special quality of wrongness and wickedness in that. Wouldn't you say?
WEINBERG: I would agree.

KEYES: And it strikes me that one of the symbols of that in our life has always been, and it's the one to mind most poignantly. Think of a terrorist or somebody like this goes out and they blow up a bus. If they tell you that it was a bus full of tourists--adult tourists, that's one thing. If they tell you it was a bus full of schoolchildren, that's something entirely different, isn't it?
DEEN: Yes, yes.
WEINBERG: I think our tolerance for loss of mothers and children is somewhat different than, you know, regular folks and/or people in the military. I think it's a completely--I think we have more compassion. You know, knowing that children lost their parents, you know, that's something that really hits home.
WATKINS: ... life is a gift, Alan, and also from a spiritual standpoint, life is really a gift from God. And we aren't guaranteed a single day. I think if September 11 taught us anything, it taught us just how little we are guaranteed. We aren't guaranteed a single day. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow or next week, even though we make plans as if next week is promised to us. We really aren't guaranteed that time.
KEYES: Stan?
DEEN: Well, I was going to say I, probably being the oldest one here, I remember back my parents talking about the blitz on London and killing and the fact that in Word War II there were like 22 million people eradicated; 50 percent of those being civilians. I was a small child, and I remember watching films like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List," and I'm thinking I was the age of those children. And I have to tell you, we had air raids, I remember vividly. It scared the daylights  out of me.
KEYES: Well, now tell me something though, because and here is something that unfortunately given the way my mind works, it's going to occur to me (UNINTELLIGIBLE), because we talk about this, and this was an evil that struck us from outside. And we'll say to ourselves, that's incomprehensible and so forth. But what do we know about this?
And as I sit here and talk, and the children who are the symbol of that innocence for us, we really seem to sum up that innocence. And well, we're talking as if, well, that's terrible evil taking the lives of children. How can we do this? And we really speak as if we know nothing about it. But do you want to know the truth, this is my opinion? I think that's actually false and phony in America today. I'll be honest with you. Because I think sadly, Americans know a lot about this, and we just won't admit it to ourselves. See?
And what do I mean? Well, what I mean ought to be obvious. Today is January 22, right?
DEEN: Yes.
KEYES: It is the anniversary of the decision Roe vs. Wade, and which our Supreme Court decided that we have the right, not just to take the lives of children, but to take the lives of our own children, and to do so, if it's convenient and convenient (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I mean, what have they done? They are innocent, just like those people sitting in the World Trade Center. As innocent as you can possibly get, because you haven't been around yet to do anybody any harm. And this is one of those things that really deeply, forcible strikes me, because we act as if we couldn't possibly comprehend this.

But the fact that we do at one level comprehend it, because aren't we tolerating ourselves something that reflects the very same principle of evil--Jean?
WEINBERG: I wouldn't put a woman's right to choose on the same wave length as victims of terrorism. I don't think you can put them on the same plate.
KEYES: No, but see, people always say the right to choose. This is the way we talk about it. But what are we choosing? What are we choosing?
WEINBERG: We are choosing whether or not we want to have that child.
KEYES: No. Whether or not we want to have that child, and the consequence of that choice is what? We are actually choosing to do what with that child?
WEINBERG: I don't believe that a fetus in a woman's womb is the same equivalent as a grown adult who has a wife, a husband, a child, whatever it may be, I don't think you can put that on the same (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KEYES: Reverend Joe?
WATKINS: Well, it's interesting, you know, my wife and I have been married for 27 years. And we just had our first grandchild. Our daughter and her husband, my son-in-law, Mark Portlock (ph) and my daughter, Courtney Portlock (ph), just had our first grandchild, a little boy, Mark, Jr., who was 8 pounds and 3 ounces when he was born on January 5. And to see the miracle of life, to see him come into this world, to see him in my daughter's womb, and to see the pictures of him in my daughter's womb as he grew over the months, to see him sucking his thumb in my daughter's stomach. And I was so very...
KEYES: It's (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but that would mean that you're suggesting that that is a person, and that you responded to it as you would respond to somebody sitting at a desk in the World Trade Center.
WATKINS: I used to rub my daughter's stomach and talk to my grandson.
DEEN: From my perspective, I am single, so I've never had that experience. But teaching school, my biggest--the biggest thing for me was seeing young people who were brought into this world and so many being abandoned, like 400,000 like in 1996 when I retired of young people that needed love. They needed care. And nobody wanted them. And I was teaching in a rather rural community, and I would look at these young people, and I'm thinking, where are their dads? Where are their moms?

KEYES: See, the thing that I wonder about, because we look at the hard heartedness. You're talking to giving the cold-blooded nature of the terrorist action and just targeting innocent people and so forth and so on. But in a certain sense, we have adopted a language of euphemism, like the people who want to call terrorists "freedom fighters" and talk about that action they took against the United States. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Jean, the right to choose is a camouflage.
WEINBERG: I don't think of it...
KEYES: It keeps us from talking about the simple fact that what we are choosing to do is to take a life, just like Osama bin Laden chose, on the basis of his believe that we're wicked people, that our life degrades and that it somehow in that degradation threatens his way. That's his argument. These aren't really people we have to take account of, and therefore, we can kill them. Honestly, aren't we saying...
WEINBERG: I'm not saying I'm pro-abortion.
KEYES: But wait a minute. Aren't we saying about these children in the womb that these are not people we have to take account of, and therefore, we can take their lives?
WEINBERG: No, I mean, I think it's great Reverend Joe had this positive experience.
WATKINS: Well, I've also had three children, but my wife (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
WEINBERG: I agree and that's great, and maybe you had the economic stability. You had the other stability. You had a nice home to bring the child up in. I think we overlook these cases where these children are better off perhaps, you know...
KEYES: But don't you think--but let me raise it (UNINTELLIGIBLE), because I know we don't like to listen to the voice of the evil that has struck us. But it's not as if Osama bin Laden says, all those nice people in America and I killed them. No! What he said is all those people living in the midst of sin and degradation and corruption, whose lives don't have the quality spiritually and morally that justifies their existence, and since their existence is not of the quality he believes is necessary under his fanatical views, he is going to come kill innocent people. And we say that's different, that's terrible. How is it different from saying that this life in the womb doesn't have the quality which demands our respect? How is it different?
DEEN: But, Alan, didn't he always say that he heard this from Allah. Allah told him to do this.
KEYES: But see, but I think that's irrelevant. It doesn't matter where the injunction to violate the dignity of another comes from. The result is quite simple. Based on my sense that your life is unworthy, I am going to kill you. And he said that to our innocent people in the World Trade Center. But aren't we saying that to our innocent children in the womb? Aren't we saying that our right to choose means that we can take the same approach, basically, that he does, devalue their lives and snuff them out?
And that's why I say, we pretend we're unfamiliar, that we were suddenly introduced to this evil, as our president suggested at one point on September 11. But I think we're lying to ourselves.
WATKINS: Alan, I'd love to respond to Jean. I know that you are sincere, and I know this is an issue that's been so greatly publicized and that people are on both sides of the aisle and banging heads. And let me share with you. You have mentioned about...
KEYES: Reverend, I have to stop there, because this has been wonderful, and I appreciate...
WATKINS: Is our time up already?
KEYES: No, I appreciate the honesty--well...
KEYES: I appreciate the honesty that y'all have brought to this discussion, because I knew that this was going to be hard today. That I was taking a turn into something difficult for us...
DEEN: Yes.
KEYES: ... difficult not only--for all of us. But I think that one of the things we're going to have to realize, if we want to be strong over the course of the years that I think this struggle is going to take, then I think we're going to have to do some examining of our own lives and consciences to find that kind of consistency that will allow us to face this evil without a sense of our ambiguity. I think in this Guantanamo business and other things that ambiguity is starting to emerge.
I really appreciate it, y'all. Thank you so much for joining with me today. As I said before we started, I didn't think we were going to have a whole lot of fun today, but I thought we might do some good, and I think we did.
We'll be back right after this with Dr. James Dobson. We're going to have a little chat on "The Bottom Line"--stay tuned.

KEYES: Now we get to "The Bottom Line." In the course of the program, we started out taking a fresh look at the horrors of September 11th and talking with my guests in the "People Just Like You" segment about the nature of the evil that struck us, the theme running through the whole thing: that conscious targeting of innocent human life.
And then I introduced what is in my heart, which is the thought that at the end of the day, that targeting of human life is not something we're totally unfamiliar with, because here at home in the controversial issue of abortion, we confront the reality of a sanction given to something that in principle involves, in my view. the same: targeting of innocent human life. Joining us now to talk about that is Dr. James Dobson, familiar to a lot of you, I know, as the founder and head of Focus on the Family and of a very popular radio program by the same name, someone I've known over the course of years and have often told people Dr. Dobson is one of those folks who not only do I admire, but Jim, as I've often told you, when I am considering my own actions and activities, you are one of those people who is a standard in my mind of what I believe to be the integrity we need to bring to important questions of moral truth that we confront.
I want to thank you for joining me on the show, especially on a day like this when in the context of America's confrontation with the evil of September 11th, we pause to remember the decision, Roe v. Wade, and what I deeply believe to be the evil involved in it. Do you think that seeing that common principle in these evils is a stretch?
DR. JAMES C. DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY FOUNDER: Well, Alan, first of all, let me congratulate you on your new show, and thank you for having me as a guest. I have great respect for you and I'm delighted that MSNBC has given you this platform. I've been watching the show here as I've been waiting, and I've been fascinated by the things that you're saying, especially your use of that word "evil."
You know, we've gotten away from that. In recent years, we've kind of bought into the post-modern notion that there is no right or wrong, there is no truth, there is no immorality or morality, there's no good or bad. And it turns out that after September the 11th, we've discovered again, what do you know? Some things are evil. And we should have known it all along. And what's evil about what happened--and your guests said this--what is evil about it is not the loss of those beautiful buildings or that our economy has suffered or that our planes have been grounded. What is evil is the loss of human life. And the reason is because of the sanctity of human life. And I believe in that.
KEYES: Well, do you think that folks are willing to take a hard look, though, at that principle, because running through the whole discussion in the group that joined us was the concept that we just don't have the right out of the blue consciously to target for your own purpose innocent life, the life of the harmless, especially we discovered, the life of children, people who have been throughout history our type of representatives of the innocent human being, the one that you don't have the right to harm. And yet, it is taken for granted in ways that use all kinds of language that somehow or another, this practice of abortion doesn't fall under that principle. Why do you think it's so hard for people to see that, in point of fact, these two things involve the same principle of evil?
DOBSON: Alan, I'm not sure we want to see it. I mean, the facts are there. Just today, I was considering some of the scope of what has happened since the Roe v. Wade decision. January the 22nd, 1973 to today, 29 years exactly, 102 million people, 102 million Americans have been born and 41 million have been aborted. The scope of that is incredible. Twenty-eight percent of this generation, the Roe v. Wade generation, has been destroyed. They never got a chance. That's evil. That is wicked.
KEYES: And I would think--because one of the things that came out in the discussion, of course, about New York was the fact that the human cost of this is the physical lives lost but also the terrible void that is left in the lives of families, in the life of the nation, in the life of the community, and we can appreciate that. But in a sense that I think we find it harder to appreciate, there's actually a terrible void left by all those millions of Americans who never got here and who's contributions we will never be able to appreciate because we gave this sanction to a practice that eliminated their lives even before they started. Isn't there a kind of hard heartedness involved in that unwillingness to see what we're doing to ourselves?
DOBSON: Yeah. Part of the tragedy, again, is what it's done to the rest of us. There's been a callous effect on the rest of the culture. You know, when--you'll pardon me if I give you an illustration and a name, but Senator Barbara Boxer from California stood on the floor of the Senate and talked about the fact that a baby was not a baby, was not human, could be killed until taken home from the hospital so that it's up to the parents even after that baby has been born to decide whether they're going to let that child live or not.
Now we wouldn't have said something like that--certainly a U.S. senator would not have said it--in 1973. But we have become immune to this killing. Partial-birth abortion, if people had to watch that, Alan, their knees would buckle. It is so horrible to see a full-term baby murdered, and yet we've come to the point where we don't want to think about it.
KEYES: One of the things we hide behind, though, is the notion that somehow or another, this is not human life and we don't consider it human life, and we don't consider it worthy of our attention. What bothers me, what really disturbs me about that is that it kind of takes back the judgment that in the course of our history from its beginning, we actually felt to be in the hands of God. Our founders said that we are all of us created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. We acknowledge that it was by God's authority that human beings get their dignity, not by a human decision. And that means that whether it's me or you or a mother deciding about her child or whether it's Osama bin Laden applying the fanatical standards of his moral Puritanism and so forth, we don't have the right on the basis of our judgment to withdraw that respect from other human beings because we consider them somehow not of the right status or not of the right quality or not quite human enough for us. But through abortion and that doctrine, we seem to be taking back the right to make these kinds of judgments about other human beings.

DOBSON: Yeah. If the life is inconvenient, we can get rid of it and tell ourselves that it's not human. You know that it is a $25,000 fine to kill an eagle's egg? I mean, an egg is not an eagle, and yet, it is protected because it is a small eagle. And yet it is not an offense against anybody, according to the law and the Supreme Court, to kill a baby in the process of being delivered. And as long as he's got one toe in the birth canal, he's not human. I mean, this is a contradiction here.
KEYES: Do you think--and of the things that tragedy often does is it softens the heart and it opens us to the grief and pain that then leads us to look at our own lives differently. Do you think that America is likely to look at the tragedy we perpetrate against our own offsprings in a different light given the terrible evil that was brought on us by a hand that showed this kind of callous disregard for innocent life?
DOBSON: Well, I do. It's had a profound effect on us in many, many ways, and it may be years before we fully understand what it's done to us. There are changes going on. The polls show this, that right now, Alan--and you won't read this in any newspaper, none that I've seen but the polls show--61 percent of American women say abortion is murder. Sixty-one percent.
KEYES: Well, I think that hearts have been affected by the terrible tragedy, hearts can change. And I continue to pray myself for a change in the heart of America. Dr. Dobson, thank you so much for joining me tonight. It was a special privilege for me to have you as a guest in my first week and on this program in particular for us to share some thoughts with folks about the meaning of this day. And thank you so much for joining me.
DOBSON: Thank you, Alan.

KEYES: We've come to that portion of the program that we call "On Your Mind," because we're looking at some of the things that came in over the electronic medium through e-mail and other things. We'll be taking some calls.

Let's go to K.C. in California. Welcome to MAKING SENSE. K.C., are you with us?
K.C.: Yes, I am.
KEYES: Welcome.
K.C.: Yes, I think my problem is I was born an orphan, and my question is: Why aren't men made more responsible for the children that they produce with women?
KEYES: Well, you know, I think that that's one--in my opinion, that's one of the unintended consequences of the abortion mentality, because in order to make the false argument that supports abortion, we have really had to ask that if the child in the womb is simply somehow the property of the mother. And that has totally excluded the father from the picture. That means that in a sense, the father is suddenly supposed to become responsible after the child is born when we have in essence written him out of the picture in terms of the child from the moment of conception. It just doesn't make any sense, I'd say. But I do think it has devalued the proper understanding of the father's participation in that child's life and it has devastating impact. Thank you for your call.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Legal Kill

By Alan Keyes

For a reason I will mention below, this past week was a most appropriate time to focus again on the nature of the evil that struck America on Sept. 11.

The terrorist destruction of that day was evil in many ways, but at the heart of its evil was the deliberate deadly assault on innocent human life. The root of the word "innocent" reveals that the notion of innocence is connected to harmlessness. An innocent person is a person who does no harm. And we see immediately that there is a special quality of wickedness in premeditated violence against such people.

Since Sept. 11, many Americans have spoken as though taking the lives of innocent people by the thousands represents violence and hardheartedness that are incomprehensible to us. But is the spirit that could commit such evil really a stranger to our own souls? In fact, Americans know a lot about that spirit and its fruit - we just won't admit it to ourselves.

For four months now, Americans have been proclaiming with one voice that no one has the right consciously to target innocent life for his own purposes. And yet it is still unreflectively taken for granted by many of these same people that, somehow or another, the practice of abortion doesn't fall under that principle.

Last Tuesday was the 29th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, in which our Supreme Court decided that we have the right to take the lives of our own children whenever it is convenient. But the unborn are more innocent than anyone sitting in the World Trade Center on that terrible day. Are we not tolerating the same principle of evil that animated the attack of Sept. 11? Within the practice of abortion, do we not give public sanction to the targeting of innocent human life?

We have adopted a language of euphemism to disguise this evil, just as some call terrorists "freedom fighters" and speak about their "action" against the United States. Similarly, we speak of the "right to choose," without ever naming the choice. Thus we avoid the simple fact that abortion is the deliberate taking of innocent human life.

Osama bin Laden chose to kill those whose lives, in his fanatical and puritanical view, don't have the spiritual and moral quality that justifies their existence. The abortion choice denies that the unborn life in the womb has the quality which demands our respect. And in each case, once it is decided that certain people need not be respected, the door to killing is opened wide.

Our founders said that we are all "created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights." We acknowledge that it is by God's authority, not by a human decision, that human beings have dignity. And that means that whether it's a mother deciding about her child or Osama bin Laden applying the fanatical standards of his moral puritanism, no human power has the right to withdraw respect from other human beings because we consider them not quite human enough for us.

Tragedy often softens the heart and leads us through our grief and pain to look at our own lives differently. Will America look at the tragedy we perpetrate against our own offspring in a different light given the terrible public evil that was brought on us by a similar callous disregard for innocent life? In uncounted millions of individual lives, this has undoubtedly already happened. Sept. 11 was a wake-up call to the conscience - for who could see what our fellow man did to us on that day without seeking in his own heart for the source of such evil?

And yet the hundreds of thousands of people who marched and prayed in Washington last Tuesday to observe in sorrow and repentance the 29th anniversary of legalized destruction of the unborn in America were met with even more than the usual disregard by the national media. The media blackout of the March for Life makes it clear that our national soul-searching in the wake of Sept. 11 has not yet reached the media elites. Those elites are still trying to suppress national deliberation and repentance for our complicity in an evil that has already dwarfed anything Osama bin Laden has done.

The terrorists attacks are like signs written in the sky for all to see, warning us to remember the evil men can do. I pray that we as a people can come to acknowledge the full range of our capacity for inhumanity to the innocent and the powerless. Reminded that evil is real, let us recover the courage to shun it in ourselves as readily as we do in our enemies.


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