The New York Times takes a firm stance against slavery. The “Gray Lady”—as the authoritative “newspaper of record” was once known–wants everyone to know that she won’t tolerate backsliding on the great moral issue of the nineteenth century.
I take no issue with the Times on slavery or on segregation. The liberal conscience of America—for so the editors see themselves—had an honorable record on those twin evils. In the American Civil War, the Times staunchly defended Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation. Similarly, during the modern Civil Rights era, the Gray Lady thundered daily against Jim Crow. It was for many of us the great moral issue of the twentieth century.
In the 1960s and 70s, I was a daily reader of the Times. But recently? Not so much.
And the reason is simply that I cannot abide the Times regularly railing against the defenders of human life. The Times routinely excoriates the Roman Catholic Church. Don’t even ask them about Evangelicals and Lutherans who speak up for the unborn.
Since that grim gray day in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was handed down, the Times has not found a single abortion it could not defend. Of 53,000,000 innocent lives lost, there is not one that should have been welcomed in life and protected by law. At least according to the Gray Lady.
Now, the Times is again putting Thomas Jefferson under its moral microscope. The Gray Lady is perplexed by the paradox of this “Apostle of Liberty” keeping hundreds of black Americans in bondage. Jefferson himself was perplexed. So were virtually all those members of the Founding generation who found themselves “entangled” with the serpent, human bondage. Patrick Henry anguished in a letter to a friend: “Would any one believe that I am Master of Slaves of my own purchase!”
So if they were so anguished about it, why did so many of the Founders own slaves? Henry candidly confessed: “I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. . . “ Well, how hypocritical of Henry. He can’t put up with the inconvenience of not owning slaves.
Isn’t it ironic, therefore, that the Times has nothing but praise for Supreme Court jurisprudence in the area of abortion? Consider Justice O’Connor’s opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992):
To eliminate the issue of reliance that easily, however, one would need to limit cognizable reliance to specific instances of sexual activity. But to do this would be simply to refuse to face the fact that for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives
In short, men and women have a “reliance” interest in abortion-on-demand. O’Connor thinks it’s necessary to keep legal lethal violence against the unborn so that people can order their lives as they wish.
What an insult to professional women like my wife, a high ranking military officer, and the millions of other professional women, including, presumably, Sandra Day O’Connor herself to say that without legal abortion they could not have achieved their honors and status.
We can point to many, many moves the Founders made in an attempt to arrest the expansion of slavery. Jefferson, in particular, sought as a Congressman to ban slavery west of the Appalachian Mountains. He lost in the Confederation Congress by one vote.
“Heaven itself was silent in that awful moment,” he mourned. But Jefferson applauded a partial victory when Congress approved the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which banned slavery north of the Ohio River.
The First Congress under the Constitution affirmed the Northwest Ordinance and President Washington willingly signed it. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass would point again and again to Jefferson’s approval and Washington’s signature as indisputable proof that Congress could prevent slavery in the territories.
The Founders called slavery wrong and treated as a wrong. They tried in many ways to work for its elimination.
As President, Thomas Jefferson prodded the Congress to take action, early action, to stop the “execrable commerce” [his words] of the Atlantic Slave Trade. He asked Congress in 1806 to act, even though the Constitution prevented the bill from taking effect until January 1, 1808. Jefferson pleaded against this violation of the “human rights of unoffending Africans.” [Again, his stirring words.]
The Times rightly criticizes the author of the Declaration of Independence for failing to follow George Washington’s splendid example of freeing his own slaves. Fair enough.
But the Gray Lady makes no mention of his oceanic achievement in banning the Slave Trade. President Jefferson had no constitutional obligation to act as he did. He didn’t even want the slave ships to depart from Africa’s shores if they would arrive here after January 1, 1808.
Hillary Clinton has said “abortion is wrong” (Newsweek, 31 October 1994), and her husband said it should be “rare.” But their public lives have been dedicated to expanding abortion at home and abroad. The Times has applauded every pro-abortion move by Hillary Clinton, and by Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Never has the Times asked why it is wrong, if it is wrong, or why it should be rare. And the Gray Lady is even less curious about what Mr. Obama or the Clintons have ever done actually to make abortion rare. In fact, the only place President Obama has made abortion rare is on the Moon. He achieved that only by grounding NASA.
The Gray Lady has a positive genius for seeing motes in her neighbor’s eye. She is utterly blind to the beam in her own. And, frankly dear lady, your slip is showing.
LifeNews Note: Robert Morrison writes for the Family Research Council. Morrison was educated in New York Public schools and earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He has also done graduate work in education at Hofstra University and in history and communications at the University of Washington. Since coming to Washington in 1984, Bob has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. He was the first full-time Washington, D.C. representative of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.