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…some right-wing, right-to-life, so-called Christians can be?

Third Minnesota sextuplet dies;
others in critical condition

Have I mentioned that I have been a nurse for nearly 23 years? And that I worked 14 of those in a high-risk perinatal setting. In a hospital with a Level 3 designation, providing high-tech, high-quality obstetric care.

Here is the entire text of the brief piece, which CNN got from the AP. And I’m sure they paid the royalties to them, too.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — Half of the sextuplets born prematurely to a Minnesota couple have now died, while the others remained in critical condition, hospital officials said Saturday.

A third boy, Lincoln Sean Morrison, died Friday. Two of his brothers, Tryg and Bennet, died earlier in the week.

The four boys and two girls were born last Sunday about 4½ months early at a Minneapolis hospital. Doctors had advised the couple to selectively reduce the number of viable fetuses to two, but they declined.

Parents Ryan and Brianna Morrison released a statement saying it has been “a difficult week” for them, and they thanked everyone for their prayers and support.

“We continue to trust in the Lord and are hopeful for a good outcome for Cadence, Lucia and Sylas,” the statement said.

Hospital officials said no further information would be released.

Can I tell you how frustrating this is for an OB nurse?

When I worked in my last life, I worked with two women with fertility problems. Actually, I worked with quite a few with fertility problems but these two stand out in my mind particularly at the moment.

Linda was in her thirties, happily married and Christian. I can’t remember all the specifics but Linda underwent fertility treatments including drugs like Pergonal and Clomid, the use of which frequently gives rise to conception of serious multiples (quads or greater). Mary was in her twenties, married, Catholic and Italian. I have no idea of her fertility treatment but she conceived quads.

Linda was initially pregnant with four babies, selectively aborted one and carried three babies to over 35 weeks gestation before delivering them, all in the vicinity of five pounds. None of them needed assistance with breathing. They all fed. They may have had a few bumps but, pretty much, were as near a term pregnancy as any triplets are likely to get.

Mary, being from a staunch Catholic upbringing, opted not to selectively terminate and tried to bring her quads to term. I believe they delivered in the vicinity of 33 to 34 weeks, considerably earlier and lighter than Linda’s triplets. Mary required much intervention during her pregnancy, developing preterm labor necessitating medications. Some of those PTL meds are not the kindest or best things for even a relatively healthy, childbearing age woman.

I don’t think any of Mary’s babies was able to leave the hospital with her. If I remember correctly, they all required feeding tubes. Some of them may have had assisted ventilation (probably with nasal C-pap.) I think at least two of Linda’s three went home with Mom…it might have been all three.

I had the pleasure of taking care of Linda in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, when she was confined to the hospital. I also took care of her afterward and helped her to learn to breastfeed. Those are some of the fondest memories I have of my years as an OB nurse.

I never had to deal with Mary when she was hospitalized, thankfully. She was one of those nurses who claimed a moral and religious objection to caring for women during elective terminations. Frankly, I always thought she was just lazy and not really so morally offended, more of a selective Catholic, but that’s an even snarkier post for a really snarky day.

If the Minnesota couple had chosen to reduce the number of fetuses in the pregnancy to three, they might all have left with Mom. Had they reduced the number of babies to four, they would all probably still be alive.

As it stands, they delivered six babies at roughly 22 weeks. A 22-week singleton stands, at best, a 50-50 shot, in my estimation. And that’s a 22-weeker that didn’t have to spend those weeks sharing his environment with five siblings.

As it is, the six babies have required a tremendous amount of health care resources. I’m sure not one was able to breathe on his or her own at birth meaning 6 full teams of neonatal nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists needed to be present. Every effort is made to save any neonate, regardless of gestational age, after the point of potential viability (around 22 weeks when I left OB in 2001).

The three boys who’ve died were each treated by a team of those professionals along with all the ancillary departments necessary for a very sick infant. The three surviving babies, I’m sure, remain in a neonatal intensive care unit, fully ventilated, unable to eat, unable to see yet. Totally unprepared for survival in the environment into which they’ve been thrust.

I don’t begrudge them the medical care, which will run into millions of dollars if many more survive. God bless them that they were able to provide care for their children. I begrudge their parents’ complete lack of foresight via blind devotion to a religious ideology. It is my opinion their ideology is flawed, is too literal and basic and lacks any sense of nuance. I’m of the opinion that four of those babies might be alive today had two of them been selectively terminated early in the pregnancy.

Imagine that…abortion might have saved the life of a child that is now dead.

Theirs is a black and white world. Too bad most of the world comes at us in lovely and varied shades of grey.

What a waste.

Oh, I’ll link it up later…I’ve got a bath waiting…

Moses, Jesus and a little, old man are playing golf.

Moses tees off and his ball heads straight into a water hazard.  No problem.  Moses simply parts the water, walks onto the pond basin and taps onto the green.

Jesus is up next.  He gives His ball a whack and sends it careening into the same pond.  Jesus saunters out onto the water and, with a mighty swoosh, sends His ball onto the green a little ahead of Moses’.

The little, old man toddles up to the tee and drives his ball completely off the course.  It bounces onto the windshield of a passing truck and caroms to the water hazard where it bounces off a lily pad.  The ball is then flicked into the mouth of a bullfrog.  Just when all seems lost, an eagle swoops down from above, clutches the frog in his talons and flies away over the course.  As they pass over the green, the frog spits out the ball which promptly drops right into the hole.

Moses turns to Jesus and says, “I hate playing with your Father.”

Ba-dum-bump.

Do you think it will feel like the killer orgasm of all time?

I sure hope so!

If so, I’m wearing these.

Here’s where you can meet the woman who designed them.

Finally, here is where you can click up a pair for yourself.

Cheers!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

That’s what I used to read to my sister every night when she was little, and to my son when he was small. That and Clement Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before ChristmasEvery Christmas Eve.

I miss my sister this Christmas.  And I miss my dad; oh, how I miss Dad.

I have a wonderful son and daughter-in-law and a spectacularly bright and adorable grandboy.  I have my mom and brother, as always, the reliable ones, the constants.  I have love in my life and more coming in, I can just feel it.

But I miss the old times and the lost loved ones and feel selfish.  I decorate my home with relics from a long ago past, a secret childhood I never had and always had.

I raise my glass ( lovely, simple Australian Merlot) and toast the birth of Christ, the love in my life and those I love and those…newly and long…gone from my life.  But never gone from my heart.

Happy Christmas to all and, on earth peace, good will toward humanity.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. A day (or more) late and a dollar short, that’s me. Actually, several dollars shorter than I was yesterday since I spent the day out Christmas shopping with my mother. (We actually didn’t do too bad, considering, but that’s another post, another blog, another day.)

Four Things I Bloody Well Hate About the Christmas Season

1) Rude Drivers: Why is it necessary to place your vehicle square in the middle of the intersection when the light is turning yellow? Will it really hurt so much to wait out one more traffic light sequence? Is that lost 90 seconds going to keep you from baking one more holiday cookie for the unfortunate family that lives down the street? Or is it going to keep you from putting yourself further in debt in an assinine attempt to impress the neighbors and the neighbor kids (see holiday decorations, below)?

C’mon…is the “Christ” now so far removed from “Christmas” that we can’t even display a little common courtesy? An iota? A smidgeon???

2) Commercialism and commercials: Fortunately, by listening to public radio most of the time and working until 11 PM, I’m not exposed to much commercial television. This was a great blessing during the recent congressional elections. It’s also a boon every Christmas holiday season.

3) Christmas Muzak: Don’t get me wrong, I like a little Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby or Peggy Lee…to a degree. But to hear them continually pumped from the day after Hallowe’en until Christmas is more than any sane human can tolerate. About the only thing worse are the champagne commercials between Christmas and the New Year. [See 2, above]

4) Holiday decorations: Even in my small apartment complex (maybe 60 or 70 units) there is this infernal competition! In the summer, it’s gardening. In the Christmas season, it’s decorations! There is a lawn to one apartment which I’m amazed hasn’t caught on fire due to the wiring.

Every year I’ve been here, it’s gotten worse. The McMansion communities have incubated their evil offspring and it’s now infested my little community! Anybody have a recipe for a good, organic pest control agent?

I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, getting older. I justlong for the “old days” which seemed like such simpler and happier times. Back when we cared less about impressing the neighbors and more about helping them, caring for each other. Do I really remember a time when things were better, when there was less tension and more peace or is it just a figment of my imagination or the yearning regrets of a woman who’s becoming more familiar and comfortable with the concept of her own demise?

While you’re out shopping for the holidays, consider doing an old broad a favor? Be kind to other people. Let someone out into traffic. Don’t rush to clog up the intersection. Choose not to flip off the idiot behind you who beeped. Go ahead…be that daring! It’s Christmas, for Christ’s sake!

You can flip him off again on January 2nd.

It all started out, as it so often does, at AlterNet. That’s where I found this terrific article about a Baptist pastor musing, “What if we’re wrong about homosexuality?” Given the ever-rising mountain of scientific evidence suggesting that being gay is no more a choice than being blond or left-handed. (I am neither of these but I do happen to be gay.)

Anyway, I noticed the article was written by Melissa McEwan, who blogs as Shakespeare’s Sister. I’ve really got to go visit there more; there’s some good stuff there. I took a side trip to The Heretik‘s long enough to become depressed about Pam and Kid’s break-up. They say it’s a sign of the coming Apocolypse. Phew, glad I’m in good with the Lord! Seriously, I don’t follow many B-level personalities but Pamela Anderson‘s got to be the most tragic woman around. I mean, look at that boob job! I’d be on a permanent bummer following that surgery, too. I hope things start looking up for her soon.

Anyway, A link in the Pam Anderson story led me to the Boston Globe online. While there, I noticed a headline in the sidebar which read, “The Anti-gay Obsession.” Well, of course I had to go check that out. Well, this wonderful op-ed piece “highlights” some of the recent activity among religious types with regard to homosexshality. I’d highly recommend it.

But one part stood way out for me and that is this. South Africa voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

While all this nuttiness was going on here, the South African parliament this week voted 230-41 to legalize same-sex marriage. This vote came after South Africa’s highest court ruled that existing marriage laws discriminated against gay and lesbian couples. The post-apartheid South African Constitution passed about a decade ago was noteworthy for being the first in the world to explicitly outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

South African Defense Minister Mosuia Lekota was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “The roots of this bill lie in many years of struggle. . . . This country cannot afford to be a prison of timeworn prejudices which have no basis in modern society. Let us bequeath to future generations a society which is more democratic and tolerant than the one that was handed down to us.”

The tone of affirmation in South Africa had been set years before by the likes of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who lost a son to AIDS, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, who has repeatedly criticized homophobia in the church. “This is crazy,” the retired archbishop said eight years ago. “We say the expression of love in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship is more than just the physical but includes touching, embracing, kissing, maybe the genital act. The totality of this makes each of us grow to become giving, increasingly God-like and compassionate.

This is the part that wriggled its way into my consciousness. Read it again:

“The roots of this bill lie in many years of struggle. . . . This country cannot afford to be a prison of timeworn prejudices which have no basis in modern society. Let us bequeath to future generations a society which is more democratic and tolerant than the one that was handed down to us.”

Are they not the most glorious word combinations you’ve ever seen? “Timeworn prejudices.” “Modern society.” Leave our community a better place than when we came into it. Isn’t that what’s it’s all about?

I’m very heartened to hear and read more about the rising social consciousness of many Christian movements, even some evangelicals. (These are not the first stirrings I’ve heard. When I’m off on Thursday, I’ll have to research some more…a recent interview on Radio Times here on Philly’s NPR station. Tonight, I’ve got to get to bed! It’s 2 AM now.) This is what it’s all about. Leaving the world not only unspoiled but better in some ways than when we were put here. Like packing out your hiking trash, moving or cutting that log in the tail.

This coming from Africa. If there’s one place on earth that is still perceived by the “western world” as primitive, dark, dangerous, backwater it’s Africa. Asia is garnering her respect via India and China. South America has its bright spots. But Africa is still widely viewed as more ‘uncivilized’ than we Eurocentric snobs here in the good, ol’ US of A. Yet they’ve gone ahead and done the “right,” the “progressive” thing. And we in the US lag far behind even the “darkest continent.”

We should hang our collective head in shame.

I thank Debra Haffner and Sexuality and Religion for the inspiration for this post. Rev Haffner referenced the WaPo (AP) article which I have included, in full, below.

Fired Evangelist Asks for Forgiveness

By COLLEEN SLEVIN
The Associated Press

Monday, November 6, 2006; 11:49 AM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Members of the New Life Church were stunned and brought to tears by the Rev. Ted Haggard’s confessions of “sexual immorality,” then accepted his plea for forgiveness with open arms.

Haggard, who had been a leading evangelist and vocal opponent of gay marriage, apologized Sunday in a letter read from the pulpit of the 14,000-member church he founded.

Some in the standing-room-only crowd wiped away tears and embraced each other as they heard Haggard’s words read by a member of the board that fired him a day earlier.

“The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem,” Haggard wrote. “I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life.”

After services, Patty Erwin kneeled near the back of the 8,000-seat auditorium and said a prayer for Haggard.

“We all love him because he’s a part of our family. You don’t just throw away a sister or a brother,” said Erwin, who’s been coming to the church for 15 years. “Desperately, we love him, and we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.”

Haggard, 50, resigned last week as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 30 million evangelical Christians, after a man claimed to have had drug-fueled trysts with him.

He also placed himself on administrative leave from New Life, which he founded in the 1980s. Its independent Overseer Board fired him Saturday.

In his letter, Haggard said “the accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from the ministry.”

He did not specify which accusations were true. Haggard had acknowledged Friday that he paid Mike Jones of Denver for a massage and for methamphetamine, but said he did not have sex with him and did not take the drug.

The letter was read to the church by the Rev. Larry Stockstill, senior pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, La., and a member of the board that fired him. Haggard asked for forgiveness for himself and for his accuser.

In a separate letter, Haggard’s wife drew laughter when she promised to remain with her husband and said church members no longer had to worry about her marriage being so perfect she couldn’t relate to them.

Neither Haggard nor his wife, Gayle, attended.

Youngsters were sent from the room before elders began discussing the church crisis.

“Worshippers are always challenged by crisis. And when tragedy and crisis strikes it is at that moment that you truly decide if you are a worshipper of the most high God. And today as the worship pastor of this church I am very proud of you,” said the Rev. Ross Parsley, who has replaced Haggard.

Ryan Price and his fiancee, Karen Geyer, were impressed. “It seemed genuine _ from the heart. It’s unfortunate but it happens,” said Geyer.

“He’s reaching out and asking for forgiveness,” said Price.

Jones, who said he is gay, said he came forward because he was upset when he discovered who Haggard was and that New Life opposed same-sex marriage _ a key issue in Colorado, with a pair of issues on Tuesday’s ballot.

“I wish him well. I wish his family well,” Jones said Sunday. “My intent was never to destroy his family. My intent was to expose a hypocrite.”

The scandal has disappointed Christian conservatives, whom President Bush and other Republicans are courting heavily in the run-up to Tuesday’s election.

Many were already disheartened with the president and the Republican-controlled Congress over their failure to deliver big gains on social issues even before the congressional page scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley.

Haggard, who had been NAE president since 2003, has participated in conference calls with White House staffers and lobbied Congress last year on Supreme Court nominees.

Imagine you are a 15 year-old who attends a 14,000-member megachurch. Although the…

Youngsters were sent from the room before elders began discussing the church crisis

…news of Pastor Haggard’s exploits has made headlines nationwide. The teenagers, at least, have got to know and understand the implications of Haggard’s actions. The action he took on Sunday was to have a letter of apology he’d written read to his congregation. Rev. Haffner is right to wonder which sins Rev. Haggard feels must be forgiven. What, precisely, was his “sexual immorality?” Is it repressing his innate sexuality? Was it marrying a woman when he really wanted a relationship with a man? Was it denying to himself all his life what he really is? Was it lying…to himself, his family and his congregation? I think we understand his meaning when he writes, “There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life.” What else could be as repugnant to an evangelical Christian male as homosexual urges?

Remember, you’re a 15 year-old evangelical kid…

Imagine you live with parents who rant and rave regularly about those horrid gays and lesbians. Imagine that you’re taught that gay men are pedophiles, sexual predators. Imagine you’ve never received any real sexuality education except to abstain from sex until marriage…always with the understanding that, for you, there would be marriage. Imagine you attend rallies to promote legislation barring gay marriage or any other form of legally sanctioned gay relationship. Imagine that “fag” or “lezbo” or “homo” is the most awful ephitet a schoolmate could hurl at you. Imagine your parents and your pastor and your friends tell you that all gays are doomed to an eternity in a fiery hell.

Now imagine you’re gay.

It’s not the being gay which is the sin. The sin lies in the failure to accept other people regardless of their color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or lack of same. The repugnance is to be found in the closed minds of those who poison their children with images of boogeymen which don’t exist, who teach their children that they should revile themselves. That is the sin. Therein lies the shame.

Before that she bitched about: