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January 22, 2007


John Keenan

Thanks Esau,you have something there.

Dennis Mansfield

Why, Esau,how terribly short sighted of you...afterall, it was only your life...but it was her right to choose.

Good thing you weren't a slave in the 1860's - they used the same arguments then. Choice isn't a choice if it involves the callous use of one person by another...no matter how utilitarian it might be.


Hmmnn..good stuff. I have met Pete and worked with him he is an interesting character. Glad to hear he is true to his nature. I am also glad that Dennis is doing the same. I like your "Discourse" D' - I don't find it to be discord. R2L could take a lesson from Broncos and try a celebration. What would that look like? Party for the unborn- party for the moms and dads that made a good choice. Just a thought from a guy who's mom did not listen to a young confused dad who suggested she get an abortion.

Dennis Mansfield

Jason, I appreciate you visiting the blog. I also appreciate your willingness to write. Keep in contact.

My 3 decades in public policy trace the line of time from Roe v Wade to now.

Those who know me realize that recently I've had a bit of an epiphany about life and God.

The march, attended by my family and me for at least 16 years took on a sort of surealistic feel to it this year. The contrast between the joyless offerings of a beaten-down minority vs the joyful celebration of 20,000 was too poetic/tragic to let lay dorment.

My resume of pro-life legislation is open for all newcomers to read. The fact is, that our culture does not believe abortion is the taking of precious life. If it did, the cries of our nation over the deaths of the defenseless Amish school children would echo hourly over the daily loss of 4,500 babies in the wombs of American women.

Americans don't buy it. Our pro-life outreach plans just don't work. Maybe it has been the methods, the marches, the meanness...don't know.

This I do know, based on the recent epiphany - listening to people is so close to loving them that in time the two become the same thing.

Have we lost the overall pro-life struggle? Heavens no. Is Right to Life the best spokesman to communicate the loving truths of life and choice...no, I don't believe so.

Theory met reality recently and reality won. I'm glad it did.

Jason Herring

I apologize for the type error on the date. January 22 not 23 was intended in my posted comment.
God bless.

Jason Herring

It is almost a week since the RTL rally but I was just informed of your blog on the subject. I am not disputing anything you've posted, but I would like to make a clarification. You mentioned that one speaker referred to "lost the fight", and "lost in the Courts". I regret that these comments gave you a negative impression of what I intended. First, a war is not fought in a single battle. You can lose battles but still win the war and achieve ultimate victory. We did lose the initial battle in the Courts. I believe it was Roe v Wade that legalized abortion and I believe that it was decided in the Supreme Court. I think that's why RTL holds a rally on the weekend closest to January 23. It is not a "victory rally." It is not a "feel good" pep rally. It is sobering, annual wake-up call for Boise. It is a rally commemorating the deaths of millions and hopefully, encouraging people to continue or begin involvement. I rejoice over life at my son's birthday and when I visit people in the postpartum ward, not on the anniversary of Roe v Wade.
Yes, I always feel good when I see the crowd of supporters, I feel good about the prospect of hope for the unborn, but I feel deep sadness when I reflect on the impact that Roe v Wade has had on America. Can you believe one third of my generation gone?
However, I was not trying to convey a negative outlook. Your ears perked on the words "lost" and tuned out on the words that followed "re-won". I said that although the battle was lost in politics it could be re-won in prayer. Lost in the Courts, re-won in the prayer closets of God's people. It was meant to be a message of encouragement to not give up the fight. Yeah, we lost some battles, i.e. we win on Partial Birth, the Courts throw a roadblock immediately, but the war rages on and all those who stand on the side of life will be the ultimate victors. I may be naive but I firmly feel that Roe v Wade will be overturned in our lifetime. Thank you for keeping me on my toes. I am encouraged to know that there are soldiers like you fighting alongside in this cause. May God bless you.
Jason Herring

Dennis Mansfield

Well, it's almost been a week and I've appreciated the comments posted here. Each of you makes some good points and I appreciate that.

Here's where my "snarkiness" (great word, btw) seems to be content-true and not emotion-based: the annual march should be focused on the unborn, not the death penalty, not illegal immigrants, not anything else...or should it? If it involves the elimination of the death penalty for example, count me out. The vital nature of life is that every single life is precious, because it is in the charachter and nature of God ("I am...the life.") hence, for someone to murder someone else, they must pay with the most valuable thing they have: their own life. That's how precious it is.

On to another issue: Democrats.

Mark, your blog-comments seem to label me as a GOP-only guy, hmmm...not so. I choose the GOP because it is the closest party that embraces traditional pro-biblical values. If it stops doing so, I suppose I will not be welcome there, will I? Gay rights, failure to protect our borders and an inability to police ourselves by peace through strength may indeed be bibilcal values....only they are examples in the bible of what countries negatively did (and they ultimately disappeared).

John, thanks for your well-constructed arguments. We disagree on this one. No prob. RTL was AWOL with me many times in the past, I'm just calling the game on them (and their organizational friends) evaporating before my very eyes! You are still my friend of friends!

John Keenan


My friend. Your commentary regarding the March for Life was overly snarky. It wasn’t like you! Above all, however, your interpretation was wrong. Sorry, Dennis, but it was flat wrong!

Full disclosure. I am a member of the board for Right to Life. Fuller disclosure. I have met, but do not know Peter Espil. More disclosure. I carefully reviewed Pete’s speech on Adams blog here:

http://www.adamsweb.us/blog/index.php/a/2007/01/ , and here


Dennis, I think you could be a source of instruction, shepherding, and discourse, not discord. Your blog is nice, but you got it wrong. It was not a march of death.

Yes, it may seem a negative, and it gets that way sometimes. No one declared death,. The message was life! The march declared life.

The march of the dead? Lighten up!

Peter Espil challenged our thinking, but he didn’t carry the message of death!

You need to re-think this approach, and as you stand in the vanguard with so many other people, you can challenge other’s thinking as well.

I think you were trying to be positive by referencing the march for BSU. Yet, wouldn’t it have been better to see both as one and the same, that life—all life—begins in the womb, and the young men who rallied on that football field just a few weeks ago were living and breathing because their mothers’ choice was life and not death.

Pete says he is a seamless pro-life Catholic. I believe he is in earnest about his views. However, in some ways he was wrong. He talked about the dignity of all human persons. Was that so wrong?

He definitely comes from a different point of view—especially from the typical evangelical point of view. Yet, was he so wrong?

Yes and no. It begins a discussion out of respect. I listened to his speech again, and recognized the over-reaching theme of his talk was the dignity of all human persons. Is that so wrong? I don’t entirely agree with him; and I am seamless pro-life Christian—a seamless pro-life Catholic.

I don’t agree with him about spending more government money to solve problems. Government is a part of the problem—it is not the solution like so many people believe. That is simply bad economics. Discourse, not discord.

I believe the Church needs to teach that materialism and over-consumption is wrong, that abortion is wrong, that adultery is a sin full of death, that immorality whether sexual or stealing (or whatever) in any form, is wrong. (We need good preachers, not good politicians!). All of these things rob us of our ability to help the poor. Many in the Christian church teach more government money for this or that, as if all problems will be resolved. I didn’t agree with him about more government money, but did he make you think?

Discourse, not discord or dismissal of the message.

He challenged us to support free medical clinics. He challenged us to re-look at the option of war. While I agree we must protect ourselves, was the Iraqi war right? After four years, I don’t know. Was it so wrong to make you think?

He spoke of the death penalty. If in time, a condemned man repented and the mercy of God visited his heart and soul, and gave it all to Jesus, would it be so bad that he lived life in prison, instead of ending it by state-sanction?

Discourse, not discord or dismissal.

The same for immigrants. I want illegal aliens to obey the law. It is essential that foreign governments re-align their governments and economies to recognize political and economic freedom. Only then, will this onslaught of immigrants, refugees, and the like end. But, as a beacon of hope here in America, shouldn’t we treat our fellow human beings with dignity? Is that so difficult? That is all Pete was asking that we uphold the dignity of all human persons.

His message was about human dignity. We may approach it differently, but his message is pro-life. Your dismissal of Peter Espil’s message was short-sided—and may I say, so unlike you!

After all, he needs help. He is pro-life. He is a Democrat. That combination is so sparse in Canyon County, that when they have their state convention, they fill up the southern-most booth at the Little Kitchen restaurant in downtown Nampa!

Finally, Idaho Right to Life is quite alive and the dear old emperor has the robes on. If you disagree with something, engage in discourse, be resourceful and hopeful. The message is clear, life is good, life is worth living, there is hope, and BSU wins!

Your friend,

John Keenan

Mark Gross

Dennis, Dennis, Dennis, shame on you. To make allusions that the
speaker is a supporter of gay marriage; that is an insult way over the

Are you offended that a Democrat spoke? Gee, Dennis. You are a self
appointed representative of "the party that won't." We heard from
someone trying to make inroads to "the party that can't." We are
getting nowhere in a state dominiated by one party that has pro-life
as part of its platform, so what gives? The unborn need allies
wherever they can get them, so, please, do not turn you back on those
who would like to restore right-order to their party. The Lord will
send the solution, but you need to be open to the fact that it might
not be the one you are looking for.

The war was won on a cross 2000 years ago, but the battles will rage
to the end of time.

Adam Graham

I didn't think he was that bad. He had some points worth considering, though I would agree we could have done much better without the Iraq, the Death Penalty, or Government spending.

Readers can judge the speech for themselves. You can listen to Espil's speech (following Gerry Sweet reading a statement from Bill Sali) here:


Lee Gaupp

WOW Dennis what a powerful commentary on the marches. I feel the same way about many of the "core" public points of the "right" in general that you captured concerning Right to Life and Pro-Life movement. So what does this mean???? we need a part two. "Help us OB1 - you're our only hope" Except for Hillary - she's the bomb!

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