Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Plumb Line

Amos 7:7 (New Living Translation)

“Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was checking it with a plumb line to see if it was straight.”

Kansas is making national news again. In late February, columnist Ellen Goodman took Phill Kline, Kansas’ Attorney General, to task, calling him a “racketeer.”

What was it that made Kline a racketeer? Goodman said it was Kline’s unique legal theory:

“The Kline Theory goes something like this: if sexual activity between teens is illegal, there's no such thing as consensual sex, and thus every act is harmful. These acts, by the way, include “any lewd fondling or touching of the person ... with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires.” In short, health care workers have to rat on 15-year-old sexual criminals who are lustily and mutually “abusing'” each other in the back seat of a Toyota.”

Kline responded in an op-ed piece in today’s Kansas City Star. Goodman, he said, didn’t understand the nature of the lawsuit:

“Goodman fails to understand the true nature of this lawsuit and the danger posed to children by adult sexual predatory behavior directed at children.”

Kline then further clarified:

“Kansas has, as do all states in the nation, statutory rape laws making it illegal to have intercourse with children. Although states have varying ages of consent, all states have such limitations.”

“In Kansas, sexual interaction with children is by law called “sexual abuse,” and all medical professionals are required to report such abuse.”

“As attorney general I was asked whether abortion providers must report the rape of an underage child to state welfare officials when the child presents to receive an abortion. I concluded that since the rape of a child harms a child and is a felony crime in Kansas that the report must be issued.”

In response to Goodman’s claim that Kline, and Kansans, believe that there is no such thing as consensual sex, Kline had this to say:

“This case is not about, as Goodman would contend, criminalizing necking in the back seat of a car. No one prosecutes truly voluntary activity between two teens or children of a similar age.”

“What does happen, however, is that while the 11-year-old is seeking an abortion, stating that she “necked” with her boyfriend, the 37-year-old abuser is out in the car, having told her that if she doesn't say that she won't be allowed to come home.”

What do I think this is all about? I believe there is a clash of agendas. The Kansas Attorney General wants to prosecute child rapists who are using privacy to cloak their evil deeds. Ellen Goodman wants to get the word out that abortion must be protected at all costs. That’s what this argument is all about.

Goodman claims that Kansans are backward, only one of twelve states in which “underage sex -- under 16 in this case -- is a crime even when it involves teenage peers.” Kline has said that the Kansas statute on statutory rape isn’t being used to prosecute consenting teens of “similar age.”

I checked Massachusetts’ criminal law today and according to it, the commonwealth must be among the twelve unenlightened states. Chapter 265, section 23 of the Massachusetts criminal code is explicit about the matter of statutory rape:

“Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under sixteen years of age shall, for the first offense, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction, and for the second or subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, but not less than five years; provided, however, that a prosecution commenced under the provisions of this section shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding.”

Further, Massachusetts law has a law criminalizing adultery (chapter 272, section 14), incest (chapter 272, section 17), bigamy (chapter 272, section 15), and bestiality (chapter 272, section 34).

Even further, the Massachusetts Family Institute has noted the devastating effects statutory rape by adult men preying on young girls:

“It is impossible to calculate fully the damage done to both children and society by the crisis of statutory rape in Massachusetts and around the nation. The following are just some of the devastating human and social consequences of adults committing statutory rape:
Sexual coercion and abuse of the child involved
Increased rates of teenage pregnancy
Increased rates of fatherlessness
Higher rates of child poverty and welfare dependency.”

Does any of this law and social commentary make the Commonwealth of Massachusetts a Stone Age throwback? Of course not! Are the Commonwealth’s prosecutors and lawyers chasing down teenagers, philandering spouses, and gays? No! Their goal, as they said is to “stop adult men from preying sexually on young girls and, increasingly, young boys.”

Well, the same holds true here in Kansas!

To be honest, the manner in which the legal authorities in Massachusetts conduct themselves is not a major concern to me now. I left Massachusetts many years ago. But, as a citizen of Kansas I do have concerns about the manner in which legal authorities conduct themselves. While I don’t want our Attorney General to chase teenagers, I do support his effort to bring criminals who have preyed on under-age children to justice.

Is there room for any compromise? I wish there were, but there doesn’t seem to be. Why? Because abortion supporters here in Kansas, and other places, don’t want to compromise. It seems they would rather young girls, victims of heinous crimes, be relegated to even more abuse. To ensure that abortion is protected above all else, they’re fighting Phill Kline tooth and nail.

Yes, there is a clash of agendas. Ellen Goodman sees things differently than Phill Kline. Some people in Massachusetts see things differently than a lot of us here in Kansas.

As a citizen of Kansas I have this to say to Ellen Goodman and her supporters in Massachusetts. If you want to protect your agendas, if you feel comfortable with the notion that abortion rights trump all others, feel free to do so. If you don’t mind adult predators preying on children, feel free to do so. Massachusetts isn’t Kansas and Kansas isn’t Massachusetts. You’re free moral agents, responsible for your behavior. Just remember that you’re every bit as responsible for your sins of omission and commission as we here in Kansas are responsible for ours. Also, keep in mind that there’s a plumb line against which our actions will one day be measured.

I was tempted to close this essay with a warning about the dangerous ground Ellen Goodman is standing on, but I decided against it. She wouldn’t listen. Her mind is made up. Her agenda is fixed. Therefore, I’ll simply close with these words from Holy Writ:

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”


Lucas Stephens said...

Here! Here! Phil. You have done very well, again. I think you made clarity out of this argument and that unfortunately, there are those who have there concerns about abortion and they are unwilling to look at the whole of the picture. I am grateful to have an attorney general who takes a stand and sticks to it and does not waiver because of undue pressure. Thank you for your post on this very important and sensitive issue.

James Fletcher Baxter said...

As long as some choose to abdicate their personal reality
and submit to the delusions of humanism, determinism, and
collectivism, just so long will they be subject and re-
acting only, to be tossed by every impulse emanating from
others. Those who abdicate such reality may, in perfect
justice, find themselves weighed in the balances of their
own choosing.


Marti said...

Best wishes for a lovely St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow!