Editorial: Candidates for mayor and city council in Durham should examine their values

Editorial: Candidates for Durham mayor and city council should examine their values

By Harlan Brown

DURHAM, NC, 2009/10/14 -- When I was in journalism school 40 years ago, I was taught to separate news coverage from editorial comments. Although I have been swayed by the more recent acceptance of advocacy journalism as being ethical and am in fact writing this editorial for a news organization (AIP News) that engages in advocacy journalism, I am still influenced by what I was taught.

At last night's candidate forum and while writing Lone candidate stands for right to life and traditional marriage at Durham forum I sought to gather and share information fairly and accurately. While recognizing the impossibility of being totally impartial on topics that I feeling strongly about, I tried to be impassive. I wrote the news story. I went to bed. I wept.

I don't know the candidates personally to any depth, but I have met, talked with, and listened to each of the candidates. They all impress me as individuals who sincerely want the betterment of Durham.

Although my wife and I have done volunteer work in Durham, I have no doubt that every one of the candidates has outdone me in volunteerism and service to the community. One of Cora Cole-McFadden's supporters who has epilepsy and no health insurance told me how Cora used her own resources to get her needed medication. Through a mutual acquaintance I know of Bill Bell's personal commitment to the Star Foundation and its work in helping at-risk youths in Durham. Howard Clement spoke eloquently last night of the need for more African American men to serve as mentors of black youths.

It seems that all of the candidates in one way or another want to help the less fortunate and "bind up the injured and strengthen the weak" as the prophet Ezekiel was inspired to write (Ezek. 34:16). Yet when it comes to the weakest, most helpless, most innocent among us, only one candidate out of the eight currently running for public office in Durham is willing to take a stand for preborn babies' God-given right to life the entire pregnancy. Only two of the candidates are willing to acknowledge that a right to life even exists before birth.

I am encouraged by the candidates who support the right to life. I am deeply saddened by those who don't. The Culture of Death is a modern-day reality in 21st Century America. It is also a tragedy.

We are not living in an age of ignorance about human reproduction. When fertilization occurs, a new human being is created. Of the more than 1,000 preborn babies killed each year in Durham, each tiny boy or girl has a beating heart, brain waves, and his or her own blood supply separate from the mother's. These are human beings guilty of nothing more than being unloved.

The right to life is one of the "unalienable Rights," as the founders of our nation put it. It comes from our Creator, not from human government. It applies to all human beings without regard to:

  • Size
  • Level of development
  • Environment
  • Degree of dependency

In 2006, following a series of school shootings, Brian Rohrbough, whose son Danny was murdered at Columbine High School in 1999, said, "This country is in a moral free-fall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value."

He continued, "We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children."

Since America's first permissive abortion legislation was signed in 1967, 50 million babies have been killed. Each year an additional 1.1 million are slaughtered. As a result of Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, issued in 1973 by five Republican judges and two Democratic judges, the constitutional right to life guaranteed to all persons under the 5th and 14th amendments is being denied to babies during all nine months of pregnancy.

The sanctity of human life and the God-ordained institutions of marriage and family are under attack. It is shame that so few politicians are willing to take a strong, principled stand in their defense. I urge each candidate to examine his or her values and consider the One to whom we owe our existence—the Creator, Life Giver, and Law Giver—the One who says, "Do not murder!" I also urge voters to take note of where candidates stand on the great moral issues of our day.

Morality trumps politics because obedience to God trumps everything.

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