December 13, 2015

An unexpected child

Theo CaldwellArchive

Recently, this column took issue with those who claim the Syrian refugees are just like another Middle Eastern family seeking shelter at Christmastime.

Drawing an equivalence between Mary and Joseph stopping over in Bethlehem for the census and tens of thousands of people arriving for good from a terror-rife part of the world is, as my mother would say, bollocks on stilts.

Nevertheless, while I reject the premise of that analogy, please allow me to present another which, while perhaps not much better, is at least no more craptacular.

To wit, the Christmas story is, in part, the tale of an unexpected pregnancy.

As you know, gentle reader, this column takes pride in its rapier, nonpareil lampooning of the left. But as you further know, we would rather light a candle than curse the darkness.

With that latter sentiment in mind, and directing my comments particularly at our leftward compatriots who join us from time to time, I’d like to take a stab at détente on this issue.

That is, you put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword and we try to kill each other like civilized people.

Please note that I extend you the courtesy of not calling you “friends,” as is the cheesy vernacular, since we’re not, really – you don’t play shinny and stop at Tim’s with me, I don’t compost and go to Starbuck’s with you.

Moreover, I possess some familiarity with your views of me and the dangerous crowd I run with, to which I reply the feeling is quite mutual.

All that’s to say, I don’t expect to achieve a lasting chumminess here.

But what I would like is to attain an understanding on a matter of life and death – not to you or to me, but to others.

Both you and I, gentle reader, are alive, conscious, capable of rational thought (to varying degrees), and protected by the law. If someone were to harm or kill us, there would be consequences.

We reason together from that privileged position as to the fate of a third party that does not enjoy these attributes: children yet to be born.

Let’s pause right there and consider our nomenclature.

You are no doubt familiar with the tendency of both pro-life and pro-choice advocates to box in their adversaries by choice of words. That is, the former insist on saying “babies” while the latter call a kid a “fetus” even as it’s crowning.

While I have my preference between the two approaches, I promise I’m not doing that here. I genuinely do want to see if there is common ground and then, like German and British soldiers after the Christmas Truce, we can go back to fighting.

Let us consider that 9-month-old fetus and work our way backward.

If, like the vast majority of people, you see a third trimester pregnancy, in which the child not only appears fully human but can survive outside the womb, as something to be preserved, then we have a basis for discussion. The rest is a matter of degree.

Conversely, if you are among the immovable minority who insist that a baby is not a person until after it has fully emerged from its mother – or even, until the family brings it home – then I wish you Merry Christmas and excuse you from the remainder of this conversation.

To those who remain: I am not a politician and I hope, for your sake, you’re not one either. For many reasons, this is good, particularly since culture is more powerful than politics.

This, like every significant policy issue, is a question of culture, from which politics follows, because it’s not primarily a political or a legal matter. It’s a human thing.

Can we agree to that, and weigh the merits of both sides?

If you lament the loss of people we will never know, but understandably wish to avoid the acrimony of this particular policy debate or make things even more difficult for unhappily pregnant women, almost-born babies are the simplest place to start.

Culturally, numbers and sentiment are with you in opposing the termination of nearly full-term pregnancies for any reason other than life and death complications.

North American political progress on this point has been mixed but, if you need a law to tell you it’s wrong to do away with a fully formed baby, you are surely among the minority I amicably dismissed above.

From there, however, it gets more complicated and necessitates some discussion of politics, law, as well as something else we hear a lot about in policy debates: science.

Now, my Master’s degree is in a science so soft it’s practically flaccid. That said, I’m not shaking too badly to match wits with, say, Leonardo DiCaprio or Prince Charles (speaking of science, technically alcohol IS a solution, but I digress).

Science, like culture, must always be willing to face questions and able to withstand scrutiny.

As scientific advances tell us more about the development of babies in the womb, including their capacity to feel pain, and increase the likelihood of survival for premature births, we must re-evaluate the concept of personhood and the consequences of our actions.

Again, this is both a cultural and political matter, in that order. If we know that terminating the life of a 20- or even 8-week old fetus will be excruciating for it, and if we further know that this child could survive outside the womb, are we still okay with that? If so, what does that say about us? And if not, how should the law reflect our view?

As to that last, both the United States and Canada have inverted the order of culture and politics through Supreme Court decisions – the US in 1973 and Canada in 1988.

For some, this constitutes a cultural stare decisis, putting the issue beyond debate. But to say we cannot discuss a literal life and death issue because a few lawyers made the decision for us decades ago is not only misbegotten, as we have seen, but an abdication of our God-given responsibility to reason.

I have precious little faith in politics, politicians, and lawyers, so how about the following: We make the law irrelevant.

That is, if we all agree that little lives are important and that those of us already born have a responsibility to give the same chance to others, if we are able, it will not matter what excesses the law allows.

As Saint Paul instructs, all things are lawful but not all things are good. Eventually, perhaps a legal and political solution may come to pass, but not without a cultural shift in favour of life – and not until people believe they have better options. By then, it won’t matter.

What, then, to say to those who are skeptical or disagree and, most important, to women who are pregnant and did not plan or wish to be?

Perhaps something like this: It is not my job to judge you. Whatever, if anything, you know about me, I’m actually much worse than you think. It is a safe bet that you are a far finer person than I am.

Moreover, despite whatever caricatures you may have seen, many who share my views feel the same things: compassion for you and appreciation of their own shortcomings.

We believe you, and the child within you, are created in God’s image and worthy of respect.

Returning to that unexpected pregnancy at the first Christmas: Mary had faith and courage but, unlike many surprised mothers-to-be, she had been told in no uncertain terms by the Angel of the Lord that her child would be a big deal.

Justin Bieber’s mum presumably received no such assurance (whether or not Bieber is the Antichrist, I leave to those possessing of more advanced theology).

It’s easy for those of us not in that position to say “have faith” or “choose life” when there is little consequence to us. I’d like to improve on that.

I don’t believe in coincidences. If you or someone known to you is on the horns of a dilemma with an unexpected pregnancy and planning to terminate it, have the child and I’ll find a way to raise it for you.

This isn’t a first-come, one-off proposition. I’ll do it for as many as ask. If you’re wondering how such an undertaking could be accomplished, as the Irish philosopher Paul Hewson put it, “The God I believe in isn’t short of cash, mister.”

I’m not doing it because I think your kid is the Messiah. In fact, if the child grows up with much exposure to me, chances are he’ll be a world-class jerk. Nevertheless, he has a right to live.

Now, this is a sincere offer, but let’s please not make it the focal point of this prose. What I’m saying is that if those of us who are pro-life mean what we say, we must be part of the solution beyond stating what the law should be or what other people should do.

And to those on the other side, I reiterate the words of another Theo: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Happy Christmas, everyone.

(Theo Caldwell can’t feel his face when he’s with you. Contact him at



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commented 2016-01-10 22:12:31 -0500
Karin Bougie
1. Unborn babies have a body of their own.
2. This goes outside and far above the las of the land. It is about how society sees human life. It is our culture that dictates norms and values that may become the law of Canada or whatever country we live in.
3. The holier than thou comment cuts both ways. The pro-choice people seem to have their own corner of he smug superiority market monopolized as much as some religious pro-life people do.
4. Abortion is never going to be illegal in my lifetime. Like slavery and the holocaust a shift in the culture will need to happen. We live in a very rich, decadent, selfish, and valueless society. Until our culture changes abortion will continue.
5. Abortion is killing western culture. The west has fewer children all the time. This creates a vacuum in our society that is filled by cultures who value children and human life in greater degree than we do. Some of the cultures that are filling the demographic space left by those aborting their children do not have liberal democratic values.
6. Legislatures can not mandate morality. They never have been able to do that. They do reflect the values and culture of the people’s they represent. One day we will look at our governments unwillingness to protect the unborn in the same way as slavery or the German genocide of Jews and political descenters.

As a man I can understand how a woman or young girl might abort a child. There are circumstances that are unfortunately not that hard to imagine, many very tragic. Certainly a conversation on how we try to look after these mothers and the unborn are important to all of us.
commented 2015-12-23 10:02:03 -0500
As a woman, I would never abort a baby. Plain and simple. That’s me.
But also as a woman, I would never think of trying to tell another woman what she can or cannot do with her body.
Even if abortions were banned, as many holier than thou people think they should be, they will still be performed, they will still be done by some person that will maim and ruin lives by horrible mutilating surgeries and recipes from medieval times.
There needs to be safe places women can go to get information and support so they can make up their minds without pressure or guilt.
commented 2015-12-20 12:13:11 -0500
Just getting to this good post now… Theo, the moment your sensible and honest column is hot off the press and already the first comment is a Leftist remark against Israel and the false platform of anti-Islamic or anti-abortion stands being “racist”. So Sean Penson doesn’t even know what racism is. But I digress (Bravo Zulu gave a superb reply).

Theo, in regards to the phrase “or women who are pregnant and did not plan or wish to be?” It must be remembered that no matter what the circumstances of conception (including rape victim), the child is not at fault so it must not be murdered for the convenience of the mother. I once heard Harper referred to as anti-Christian by a Liberal, yet Harper voted in favor of a bill to protect the fetus ands a person.

Abortion is cold blooded murder, period. God our creator will hold the murderer to account for that act against an unprotected child. Abortionists are barbarians.

Note to Nathan W: the unborn chills is also not the property or part of the mother’s body – it is a separate human being with full rights.
commented 2015-12-15 05:06:08 -0500
At its base, a very good point.
Joseph took Mary and the child into Egypt, shortly after birth, because of political threat.
Astonishing for all us Christians that our Lord was born in “such mean estate”.
Hopefully some commenters on this site will realize how ignorant they are and go comment on the Globe and Mail page.
commented 2015-12-14 19:51:53 -0500
Anyone can know that it is a human being in there and you don’t have to be a scientist. …Let’s face it, we want the right to kill our own kids. People want this right and they do not care if it is a baby or whatever. They want the FREEDOM to CHOOSE …pro choice.
commented 2015-12-14 16:57:47 -0500
The debate could never be argued in its present form (pro-life vs pro-choice) were it not for the diabolically clever phrase “pro-choice” , a euphemism created to direct the debate away from the fact that human life is being terminated, exterminated, killed , and yes aborted.
You see ,words like kill , terminate , abort and death all describe something that challenges the base morality of the act. That is why they choose to argue points based on amorphous arguments about “rights”. Standing up for the rights of a woman and her right to “choose” is all so righteous , so virtuous and so liberal. But when you introduce words from the reality dictionary , harsh words like death and kill , it most certainly is a different discourse that takes place. Next time some self righteous liberal progressive talks about choice, change the language and use real words and you will soon see that they can’t handle the truth or win the argument.
commented 2015-12-14 14:07:14 -0500
Well said, humm, written.
commented 2015-12-14 13:07:16 -0500
Excellent article, Theo! Here’s my take on this important Canadian issue. Please check it out if you get the chance.
commented 2015-12-14 09:43:38 -0500
A brave proposal and, considering the source, surprisingly libertarian. How do you plan to follow up?
commented 2015-12-14 04:32:28 -0500
Glad that you ask people who are pro-life to have concern for how the child will be taken care of after birth. A great number of pro-lifers are the very same people who strongly oppose efforts to help the poor raise children.

My take is this: Abortion is one of the worst things, but it’s not my body and I would never hesitate to condemn someone who want to heap crap onto a women who has felt the need to make this choice. Let’s let women lead this discussion.
commented 2015-12-14 02:48:15 -0500
The protection of human life is the greatest underpinning of civilized society. The question of when we become human is a fundamental one. The cavalier way in which Canada and other countries has treated this question has been disgraceful to a country and civilization that believe itself to be modern, progressive, liberal, and free.
It is interesting to note that people in western democracies are having fewer children and that our birth rates cannot even sustain our populations. Other cultures have growing birth rates and are immigrating to places like Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, and others in the 100’s of thousands. Nothing wrong with Immigration but in the morally relativistic west with our progressive views on human life we are culling the very progeny of western civilization to make way for other cultures or another culture to dominate the globe. I don’t think I am over stating things here because I believe statistics will substantiate my point.
I find the notion of culture preceding politics a great jumping off point to many interesting conversations. For conservatives and free thinking people everywhere this concept should serve as a self evident truth that should inspire us to take our lives seriously. If culture can shape politics it can shape the world and if culture is largely the collective set of values of a group of people or nation what will history say about western culture and our disregard for the unborn? Perhaps the culture of the liberal progressives will be its own undueing? When there is no realization of the profound transcendent aspects to human life and no sense of destiny with the divine then it seems inevitable for a culture to kill itself. Maybe we can find our way again? At this Christmas season, the old story of a special baby boy born in the humblest circumstances can point the way if we are not too proud to accept his truth and grace and mercy. It was his story that has served the culture of western civilization until now. It can serve us again if we will accept it. If not I think it is safe to say a different god will occupy that space. And that god has begun to demonstrate how death and killing of the innocent unborn will corrupt and destroy western civilization. Two thousand years ago they tried to blot out the light of the world by killing a little baby boy but today we abort countless lives because that light has gone out of us.

Oh little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts the blessing of his heaven
No ear may hear his coming but in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in
commented 2015-12-13 18:34:09 -0500
Amen Theo!
commented 2015-12-13 15:49:18 -0500
Bravo, I think Ron Christensen was referring to the 38% plurality the Liberals received in the last election. Certainly, they proved their misogyny in answering Ms. Rempel’s questions; and their racist bigotry in focussing on Syrian refugees that are non-Christian, non-Yazidi, etc and also ignoring refugees from Africa in this focus; and their racist paternalism in kicking the violence to First Nations, Inuit and Metis by kicking it down the road with yet another inquiry designed to give jobs to white bureaucrats.

So Bravo, there is no doubt that Ronny meant the Liberal Party of Canada, as it has ever been.
commented 2015-12-13 14:54:35 -0500
@ Ron Christensen commented 3 hours ago
The racists and bigots will never grow past 30% and we will always have to put up with them.

If someone tells the truth why does that make the a racist and bigot?

Other than your opinion, you have added nothing to this conversation – you did not even address the issues I mentioned – yet you started name calling.

Perhaps it is you that has the problem.

No, it IS you that has the problem – have you saved enough of your welfare cheque for Christmas, or have you decided to use the food bank this year?
commented 2015-12-13 13:40:12 -0500
Nice one Theo! Thank you.
commented 2015-12-13 12:36:11 -0500
As BILL ELDER commented, " Ignore Penson, his tinfoil hat is on too tight to allow any reality in. He’s a walking endorsement for spacious abortion options." Recalling Jimmy Da Silva, who may have reincarnated himself under another pseudonym, and his frequent reference to “bat shit”, the troll, a “useful idiot” that we are dealing with is a “moonbat”.
According to the Urban dictionary, moonbats are defined as: “Irrational and mentally unstable persons of a decidedly liberal political affiliation”, and, according to the Oxford dictionary: “A person with extreme left-wing political views”.
Theo Caldwell provided us with the appropriate response for a moonbat: “if you are among the immovable minority…….then I wish you Merry Christmas and excuse you from the remainder of this conversation”!
commented 2015-12-13 11:57:42 -0500
The racists and bigots will never grow past 30% and we will always have to put up with them.
commented 2015-12-13 11:52:46 -0500
Ignor Penson, his tinfoil hat is on too tight to allow any reality in. He’s a walking endorsement for spacious abortion options.
commented 2015-12-13 10:57:57 -0500
Sean Penson…clearly just a troll since his comment has nothing to do with the article, so should be ignored. However…

Assuming he is not just a troll, but simply mis-wrote his comment by saying 1M refugees instead of 1M babies, then he has a point. We do have the land, wealth and resources to raise one million babies to adult-hood, and we do have a commitment to the UN to oppose genocide as in abortion of female babies. So Sean-boy is perfectly correct, we need to recognize the terrorism perpetrated on the un-born baby and use our resources to bring them to term, place them in caring families, and make them good citizens of Canada.
commented 2015-12-13 10:43:56 -0500
Name calling? You have lost the battle already.


A badge of honour – because it does not represent a fear or a racism – it represents realism – and a recognition of today’s realities.

Time for you to move to one of these countries and see if you want to stay – perhaps you come from one of them under your assumed name.

I have lived, worked and in some cases fought in most of these countries.

I actually dare you to watch the video not only with an open mind but with the thoughts that we are bringing this to Canada.

Have you ever Googled “Sweden islam and rape”? Probably not.

Have you ever Googled “crime, rape, islam and Europe”?

Probably not

Do you not wonder why honour killings, homosexual murders, female genital mutilation and the killing of people who leave islam is coming to Canada?

Do you not find it disgusting that islamic marital rape, wife beating and the selling of young girls into marriage with old men is now becoming common in Canada?

Do you not find it disgusting that a woman is held prisoner in her own home in many islamic homes in Canada – unable to leave unless with a male “guardian”?

Are you not astounded that western woman’s rights groups have kept silent on what we are bringing into Canada?

Do you not find it astounding that the homosexual and lesbian communities have not complained about what we are bringing into Canada?

Can you name 5 good things that have come from an islamic country within the past 10 years?

Can you name 5 islamic countries that have a peaceful, no human rights issue population?

I suspect not.

Even though everything I have written is factual – you will deny it with name calling – which tells me lots.

I am certain you are not a “Sean” – most likely an islamic under cover – are you also on welfare?

Seems all the islamics are – after all they are for the most part illiterate, uncaring and hate the very people who feed them.

Almost sounds like you

Have a nice day
commented 2015-12-13 10:24:35 -0500
We have the wealth, land and resources to take in at least one million refugees. We owe it to humanity and we are obligated to the UN. I am ashamed off all the racist and Islamiphobic comments from people. Did you not know that the State of Israel was created with terroristic tactics? The Zionists terrorized Britain out of the Palestine for their home state