17 Tips for Professionals Addressing Abuse

Dr. Tchividjian, an accomplished leader in law ethics and in churches offers 17 tips to address abuse. Tchividjian told Roys Podcast that he was motivated by a shortage of lawyers who understand the distinct needs of sexual abuse victims. “Many of them (lawyers) should not be doing this,” he said. “They don’t understand victimization. They don’t understand the church … And they end up re-victimizing their own clients. I’ve encountered so many of these survivors who’ve been actually re-victimized by the very lawyers who are supposed to be advocating for them.”

Dr. Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, the grandson of Dr. Billy Graham; a Florida attorney who served as an Assistant State Attorney in the 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida, where he created the first Sex Crimes Division at the Office of the State Attorney and served as Division Chief; Founder and former Executive Director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), an internationally recognized non-profit organization that equips faith-based organizations with the tools they need to correctly respond to allegations of sexual abuse and educates them on how to create safeguards to protect children and other vulnerable people within their communities; who published scholarly articles such as, “Predators and Propensity: The Proper Approach for Determining the Admissibility of Prior Bad Acts Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Prosecutions” (American Journal of Criminal Law) and “Catching American Sex Offenders Overseas: A Proposal for a Federal Mandated Reporting Law” (UMKC Law Review; Boz also currently serves as an adjunct professor at Stetson University; and is an Assistant Professor of Law, Liberty University School of Law, Lynchburg, VA, and offers professionals tips to professionals that address abuse, When the Child Abuser Has a Bible: Investigating Child Maltreatment Sanctioned or Condoned by a Religious Leader, and Practical Suggestions for Legal Protections ….

17 Tips for Professionals Addressing Abuse

1. Review penitent privilege and other potential legal issues with the prosecutor prior to commencing the investigation.

In some states, various laws and privileges may make a criminal investigation of a church leader more challenging. If the investigator is not fully aware of these laws and legal issues, review them with a prosecutor well-versed in the subject. 

Although some states may have laws or court rules recognizing that certain communications between an ordained minister and a penitent are confidential, these states often have exceptions if the communication pertains to child maltreatment.14 It is equally important to determine who has the authority to waive the privilege. Generally speaking, penitent privilege is designed to protect the confidences of the penitent, not the clergy person. Accordingly, if the child victim or even a child abuser waives any confidentiality concerning communications with a church leader, the government may be able to access these communications, and any documents generated as a result. 

It is also important to review the state criminal code on aiding and abetting criminal conduct, before or after the fact, as well as state law on conspiracy to commit criminal activity. In many instances, the pastor or church leader may not have directly committed the criminal conduct but will have encouraged or provided instruction on the commission of the criminal conduct. 

It is equally important to review the state mandated reporting law. If the pastor is a mandated reporter and failed to report instances of child physical or sexual abuse to the authorities, this conduct is criminal in many states. 

Finally, review state laws pertaining to emotional abuse. Although these statutes are rarely enforced, many states prohibit egregious conduct that inflicts mental harm on a child. For example, forcing the child to publicly or even privately confess responsibility for being sexually abused may violate the law in some states.15

2. Understand the general dynamics of secrecy in a particular religious setting. 

In many churches condoning or sanctioning violations of the criminal law, there are numerous steps taken to disengage the church from the local community.  Even when parishioners interact with the general public, some pastors stress the importance of maintaining distance from those outside of the church community. In one instance, a pastor teaching that babies must be struck with dowel rods urged parents not to physically strike infants at Walmart or in public settings simply because others outside the church “may see this as abuse.”16

3. Understand that faith issues are often distorted and manipulated in order to coerce victims to submit to abuse. 

Child abuse within religious environments is often carried out by those who use common scriptural terms and twist their meaning to accomplish and justify their criminal acts.  For example, physical and/or sexual abuse may be justified as a necessary expression of “God’s love.”  Thus, the victim is manipulated into believing that such criminal conduct is condoned by God and therefore acceptable.  These environments also tend to be very legalistic, whereby children are taught that God’s approval of them is based upon their “good behavior,” which is usually determined by their obedience to the very adults who inflict the abuse.  It is critical to understand these dynamics when approaching and interviewing children and adults living in such an environment.  Oftentimes, they will initially be very defensive of the abuse and the abusers because they have been conditioned that such behavior has been ordained by God. Wes Stafford, who endured physical and sexual abuse at a Christian boarding school, writes:

The boarding school staff abused us in every way a child can be abused—not only physically and emotionally but spiritually as well. We were terrified of their powerful and vengeful God, reminded daily that we were little sinners in the hands of their angry God.17

4. Understand the unique spiritual blocks and problems the child victim may have.

A child who has been forced to “confess” her sins to a pastor or congregation will likely accept that he or she is responsible for her abuse and may be worried about the wrath of God if she cooperates with a governmental investigation. Some child abuse victims have been “shunned”— a period of forced isolation as a means of discipline or to otherwise reinforce the belief the child is actually to blame for his or her own abuse.18

Given familial, religious and societal pressures to be strong, some boys may be reluctant to acknowledge abuse out of fear of being labeled weak. C.S. Lewis notes this was a factor in his reluctance, and the reluctance of his classmates to disclose the physical and emotional abuse inflicted at their boarding school: 

Vanity helped to tie our tongues…A boy home from school…would hate to be thought a coward and a crybaby, and he cannot paint a true picture of his concentration camp without admitting himself to have been for the last thirteen weeks a pale, quivering, tear-stained, obsequious slave.19

Accordingly, the forensic interviewer may need to spend additional time in building rapport, offering reassurance, and in otherwise earning the trust of the victim.20 The MDT will need to select a mental health professional competent to address the child’s emotional and spiritual injuries.21

5. Understand that exploitation of authority is at the heart of abuse perpetrated and/or ignored by those within the faith community.

From the earliest age, children are taught to respect and obey their elders.  Unfortunately, abusive church leaders often distort their role and authority by claiming to speak for God.  This type of environment provides no accountability for those in leadership.  This form of authoritarian control tends to cultivate over time and usually results in an environment where; 1) leadership is unresponsive to concerns raised by parishioners regarding suspected abuse; 2) reporting abuse to outside authorities is discouraged or even prohibited, and; 3) adults are openly valued more than children.  Such environments produce parishioners (adults and children) who are initially unwilling to report criminal behavior and are uncooperative with criminal investigations.  Investigators must make every effort to communicate with these individuals away from their authoritarian leaders with the understanding that it will take patience and time to gain their trust. 

6. Look for church records. 

Increasingly, pastors and other church leaders use social media in spreading their message.22 Accordingly, examine church websites, Facebook pages and other sites for sermons or other messages relating to a case of child abuse. If, for example, a parent who beats his baby with a dowel rod says this was taught in church sermons or parenting classes, obtain any recordings of these messages. If there are no recordings, ask the pastor if he has a written copy of the sermon or sermons. If this form of “discipline” was taught as part of a parenting class, obtain all records and course materials. 

If a child abuse issue has been brought to a church council or otherwise addressed within the church body, obtain any minutes of the meeting and interview anyone who may have been in attendance. These witnesses may have significant knowledge about the abuse, the parties involved, and the role of a religious leader in protecting an abusive party, and in ostracizing a child victim.

7. Determine the absence of church child abuse policies. 

A growing number of churches have policies in place to protect children. These policies may include background checks, limiting or excluding situations in which a church worker or volunteer is alone with a child, and some sort of training on child abuse for those working with children.23 However, churches that condone or sanction abusive behavior will usually not have taken the time to develop or implement child protection policies.   Documenting this absence may assist an eventual jury in seeing that a particular religious leader was fully aware that the policies he was promoting violated state law—and he and other church leaders had no intention of confronting  known  or potential child abusers.

8. Explore the educational background of the religious leader. 

Some church leaders have received little or no formal Bible education (Bible School, Divinity School or Seminary) and thus have never studied scripture in its original Hebrew or Greek languages or otherwise mastered the very scriptures they are citing in support of abusive practices. Obtaining this information, as part of the interview or interrogation of a religious leader, may help an eventual jury understand why it is the pastor or church leader could stray so far from generally accepted interpretations of scripture and could otherwise establish him or herself as the definitive source of knowledge on all things related to God.24 This information may also be relevant to determining whether the pastor or church worker is properly ordained or is otherwise leading a recognized church for which penitent privilege and other legal rights pertain. 

9. Look for evidence documenting whether the criminal behavior is a result of the religious leadership’s uniquely held beliefs. 

When a religious leader expounds extreme views—such as hitting infants for “selfish crying”—it is helpful to establish that these views are uniquely held by the pastor and/or local church leadership being investigated.   Many churches are part of a larger body of churches which make up a denomination.25  Each denomination has certain governing rules and leadership structures that each church must follow. Furthermore, most denominations have some degree of centralized authority that is exercised from its headquarters. The investigator should always contact the denominational headquarters to assist in determining if such positions are endorsed by the denomination or whether they are simply the result of the peculiar beliefs of the local church.26   Non-denominational churches are those that do not have any formal association with other churches and are usually not subject to any form of central authority.  Since non-denominational churches do not have a centralized leadership structure that can be contacted,  the investigator should attempt to communicate with the religious or educational institutions the leader has attended  to determine if they have taught, currently teach, or in any way adhere to these extreme views. If the investigator can establish that the educational institutions the leader has attended condemn particular views, it becomes much easier to establish that a religious leader’s views are distinct from mainstream religious views—including those who taught him theology.  

10. Check with prior congregations that have been served by members of the church leadership.  

Many pastors and staff have served numerous congregations and, in some cases, a congregation removes them because of their unbiblical teachings or behavior. Accordingly, it is important to ask where else the church leader/s may have served and then contact church elders, leaders, and/or congregation members of those churches. In some cases, the investigator will be able to show a pattern of an individual who is out of control in his teaching and practices. This evidence will assist the prosecutor in proving that a particular leader was not practicing religion—he was practicing child abuse in the name of religion. 

11. Look close to home for evidence of abuse

Leaders who espouse beliefs that foster abusive church environments often practice these beliefs in their own home. In his autobiography, C.S. Lewis describes a childhood boarding school as a “concentration camp”27 and notes that the headmaster’s physical and emotional cruelties were also inflicted on his own family.28 

Investigators must make every attempt to contact and interview family members of the suspect.  As in most abuse cases, the family members who no longer live under the same roof as the perpetrator will often be the most willing to disclose the abusive home environment. Joy Davidman (the wife of C.S. Lewis) found that after she left Douglas Gresham (an abusive first husband) that she was able to confront him and to protect her children. Davidman wrote Gresham: “It must be a great surprise to you that I now have such powers of resisting your commands and persuasions. Throughout our marriage you could always make me knuckle under one way or another, and I’m sure you find difficulty in understanding that them days are gone forever.”29

Just as Davidman and her children 30 were able to speak of their terror once separated from the abusive party, investigators may find that family members who have some distance from an abusive religious leader will likewise be able to speak more freely. Oftentimes, investigators will discover a common thread between the pastor’s spiritual rhetoric, his behaviors at home, and the behaviors replicated in other church families. 

12. When interrogating a religious leader, be prepared to play in his ball field. 

Perhaps the most famous, and one of the most effective cross-examinations in history, was

Clarence Darrow’s cross examination of William Jennings Bryan in the “Scopes Monkey Trial.”31 Darrow, an agnostic, understood the value in using scripture itself to undermine the religious tenets espoused by William Jennings Bryan.32 Investigators and prosecutors confronting a religious leader using scripture to justify their conduct will gain little traction in citing child maltreatment laws or other “secular” institutions or regulations—but religious leaders are oftentimes very willing to discuss the biblical basis for their conduct and teachings.  It is important for investigators to realize that the church leader will most likely have a greater familiarity of scripture and thus will attempt to use such knowledge to manipulate its meaning to justify and/or explain the abusive behavior.  Prior to the interview, the investigator should seek out the opinions of local clergy and biblical academics who can provide insight to the precise scripture passages the investigator expects to address in the interview with the church leader. It will also be helpful to find out what translation of the Bible the religious leader is using. If the suspect cites a passage from scripture, the investigator will want to be able to read the passage in the same translation the suspect uses. It is crucial that the investigator remember  the objective is not to win a theological argument, but to simply expose the leader’s condoning or sanctioning of criminal behavior.   

As an example of possible investigative questions to pose, consider these:

Pastor, you told us the Bible requires parents to discipline their children with a rod. In Proverbs 13:24 it states “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Is that the verse you are relying on in support of hitting children with a rod? What does it mean when the verse says to be “careful” in disciplining a child? Is there anything in that verse, or any other part of scripture, that teaches the necessity of hitting babies? Is there anything in scripture that teaches where on the body a baby should be hit? That teaches a child’s clothes should be removed and it is the bare bottom that needs to be hit? That it is acceptable to cause injuries or even draw blood? Are there other theologians or religious leaders at the university you attended or at the other churches you served who would disagree with you? Why would they disagree? Is it possible they may be right? 

Are you familiar with the passage in Luke 17:2 whereby Jesus says, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones”?  Would you agree that Jesus has some extremely harsh words for those who hurt children?  Do you believe Christ’s words are applicable to the man who sexually assaulted this girl?  Do you think it is possible that blaming the child for “seducing” the adult into a sexual relationship may also cause that child hurt?33  

Questions along these lines will force the religious leader to justify his teachings and practices and will either force him to back away from his words and conduct—or will expose the extremity of these views. For example, there simply is no verse in the Bible explicitly stating that babies should be hit with dowel rods, or that children are responsible for being sexually assaulted. Advocating for such positions will expose the leader’s self-created doctrines which will be very clear to anyone who subsequently listens to the interview with the religious leader. 

13. Explore the concept of “submission” during the investigation.

If the pastor or church leader justifies abusive conduct toward women and children in the congregation by citing Bible verses pertaining to submission,34 it may be helpful to discuss his views on portions of scripture requiring church leaders to submit to the government.35 As one example as to how this might work, consider the following set of questions:  

Pastor, in the book of Romans, it states: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God

has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”36 Do you agree with the teaching contained in this verse? Are you aware that it is a crime to have sexual contact with a child? Are you also aware that you are required to report to the authorities whenever you have a reasonable suspicion that a child has been sexually abused? Accordingly, when you failed to report the abuse of this child to the police, you not only violated state law, you violated the teachings of your own church? 

14. If the religious leader cites materials or sources outside of the Bible—find them. 

A religious leader teaching that infants should be struck for “selfish crying” or who advocates any other unlawful behavior towards children will often cite non-scriptural resources such as “parenting books” or pamphlets, which are loosely based upon unconventional and warped interpretations of particular biblical passages.37 For example, one survivor of child physical abuse explained that her parents precisely followed the disciplinary techniques contained in a book written by Roy Lessin.38 The victim describes the procedures used as follows: 

My first spanking was when I was six months old. My mother spanked me for crying after she put me to bed. She had to spank me repeatedly to teach me not to cry when she put me down. I know about this incident because my mother used to tell all the new mothers about how young I was when she started spanking me. My last spanking occurred when I was thirteen years old. The Roy Lessin spankings that I remember most vividly took place between the ages of three and seven…My father would explain the reason for the spanking…I had already developed irritable bowel syndrome and would feel my guts cramp up with anxiety during his speech. Then he would ask me to take off my pants and underwear. I would feel deeply embarrassed because my father was not supposed to see me naked….The stick, paddle inscribed with Bible verses, or belt would swish violently through the air before slapping painfully…I would scream in pain and anguish…My parents were never concerned about the marks they left on my body…Pulling up my pants was incredibly painful…After we prayed, it was time for me to be happy. But my insides would be a mess…It would be a lesson I’d learn for life—being falsely happy regardless of how my body felt…39 

If a religious leader or parent informs the authorities that they discipline pursuant to a book or manual such as the Lessin book, it is important to obtain a copy of the book and ask the party inflicting or encouraging the abuse if the procedures taught in the publication were routinely followed or recommended in a particular home or church. Such a book  is evidence that should be seized and turned over to the prosecutor. In essence, you have  discovered a “how to” manual for abusing children. 

When seizing the material, note its location and photograph it. Materials of this nature found in the pastor’s office closely connect him to the book. If the book or other materials are in the church library, determine if the pastor must review and approve all materials placed in the library. Also, check with congregation members to find out who has borrowed or checked out these materials. The investigator may be able to establish a clear pattern of a church leader recommending these materials to particular families, and the children in these families being subjected to abuse.   

15. Ask for a “demonstration.” 

If a religious leader advocates hitting babies with a dowel rod, ask him to produce the rod and demonstrate the force he would recommend by striking a doll. Make sure to video record the “demonstration.” If the pastor strikes the doll with excessive force, this is evidence there are few, if any boundaries when inflicting blows. If, on the other hand, the pastor strikes the doll lightly, this may assist the prosecutor in establishing the pastor’s beliefs are disingenuous. After all, if a baby has bruising or other injuries, it likely required a blow more significant than a light tap. 

If a pastor claims that infants should be hit for “selfish crying,” show him some video or audio tapes of infants crying and ask him to distinguish between needful and “selfish” cries. It is critical to record the pastor’s attempts to distinguish or explain these various cries. This will likely be powerful evidence that there is little rhyme or reason to the pastor’s teachings. 

16. Confront the religious leader with evidence. 

Generally speaking, confronting a suspect with physical evidence increases a chance for a confession.40 If the investigator has physical evidence of children being abused in a congregation, such as photographs of bruises or other injuries, it may be helpful to confront the religious leader with these photographs and ask him if the injuries depicted are excessive. If the leader says no, it is evidence that he does condone excessive discipline in violation of the state’s penal code. If the leader acknowledges the injuries are excessive, he is conceding that some of his church members have violated the law.  

17. Objectivity and respectfulness is critical. 

An investigator should not assume that everyone in a particular congregation agrees with the pastor’s views or conduct. In addition to the children abused, there may be parents or others who are skeptical but may be afraid to speak out because they fear ostracism or are worried about damaging the church. Accordingly, an investigator who remains respectful of religious views during the course of the investigation is more likely to find witnesses willing to speak with him or her. Although the nature of the crime will necessarily involve a discussion of theology, the investigator must be mindful that his role is to collect evidence—not to reform a particular church. 

An investigator may want to attend worship services or otherwise make him or herself available at public gatherings of the congregation. The investigator should freely distribute his card and otherwise express his concern about the welfare of children. Making himself known as a resource to the entire congregation increases the chance the investigator will receive a phone call, perhaps in the middle of the night, from a worried parent or parishioner who believes that children are being abused—and that can lead the investigator to evidence. 

Part of the Criminal Law Commons, Criminal Procedure Commons, Law and Psychology Commons, Religion Law Commons, and the Sexuality and the Law Commons

References at Tchividjian, Basyle and Vieth, Victor, “When the Child Abuser Has a Bible: Investigating Child Maltreatment Sanctioned or Condoned by a Religious Leader” (2011). Faculty Publications and Presentations. 53. https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lusol_fac_pubs/53

Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address

A mentor sent a few words for thought today. I almost wrote about the words that were sent, but could not find justice in shredding the speech that President Lincoln so thoughtfully presented.

Notably, Abraham Lincoln’s first recorded speech was made at the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838. He was only 28 years old at the time that he spoke these shining words that travel well through time and space to harmoniously adapt to the world today.

Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address (1838)

As a subject for the remarks of the evening, the perpetuation of our political institutions, is selected.

In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People, find our account running, under date of the nineteenth century of the Christian era.–We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them–they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their’s was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; ‘tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

I hope I am over wary; but if I am not, there is, even now, something of ill-omen, amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice. This disposition is awfully fearful in any community; and that it now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit, it would be a violation of truth, and an insult to our intelligence, to deny. Accounts of outrages committed by mobs, form the every-day news of the times. They have pervaded the country, from New England to Louisiana;–they are neither peculiar to the eternal snows of the former, nor the burning suns of the latter;–they are not the creature of climate– neither are they confined to the slave-holding, or the non-slave- holding States. Alike, they spring up among the pleasure hunting masters of Southern slaves, and the order loving citizens of the land of steady habits.–Whatever, then, their cause may be, it is common to the whole country.

It would be tedious, as well as useless, to recount the horrors of all of them. Those happening in the State of Mississippi, and at St. Louis, are, perhaps, the most dangerous in example and revolting to humanity. In the Mississippi case, they first commenced by hanging the regular gamblers; a set of men, certainly not following for a livelihood, a very useful, or very honest occupation; but one which, so far from being forbidden by the laws, was actually licensed by an act of the Legislature, passed but a single year before. Next, negroes, suspected of conspiring to raise an insurrection, were caught up and hanged in all parts of the State: then, white men, supposed to be leagued with the negroes; and finally, strangers, from neighboring States, going thither on business, were, in many instances subjected to the same fate. Thus went on this process of hanging, from gamblers to negroes, from negroes to white citizens, and from these to strangers; till, dead men were seen literally dangling from the boughs of trees upon every road side; and in numbers almost sufficient, to rival the native Spanish moss of the country, as a drapery of the forest.

Turn, then, to that horror-striking scene at St. Louis. A single victim was only sacrificed there. His story is very short; and is, perhaps, the most highly tragic, if anything of its length, that has ever been witnessed in real life. A mulatto man, by the name of McIntosh, was seized in the street, dragged to the suburbs of the city, chained to a tree, and actually burned to death; and all within a single hour from the time he had been a freeman, attending to his own business, and at peace with the world.

Such are the effects of mob law; and such as the scenes, becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order; and the stories of which, have even now grown too familiar, to attract any thing more, than an idle remark.

But you are, perhaps, ready to ask, “What has this to do with the perpetuation of our political institutions?” I answer, it has much to do with it. Its direct consequences are, comparatively speaking, but a small evil; and much of its danger consists, in the proneness of our minds, to regard its direct, as its only consequences. Abstractly considered, the hanging of the gamblers at Vicksburg, was of but little consequence. They constitute a portion of population, that is worse than useless in any community; and their death, if no pernicious example be set by it, is never matter of reasonable regret with any one. If they were annually swept, from the stage of existence, by the plague or small pox, honest men would, perhaps, be much profited, by the operation.–Similar too, is the correct reasoning, in regard to the burning of the negro at St. Louis. He had forfeited his life, by the perpetration of an outrageous murder, upon one of the most worthy and respectable citizens of the city; and had not he died as he did, he must have died by the sentence of the law, in a very short time afterwards. As to him alone, it was as well the way it was, as it could otherwise have been.–But the example in either case, was fearful.–When men take it in their heads to day, to hang gamblers, or burn murderers, they should recollect, that, in the confusion usually attending such transactions, they will be as likely to hang or burn some one who is neither a gambler nor a murderer as one who is; and that, acting upon the example they set, the mob of to-morrow, may, and probably will, hang or burn some of them by the very same mistake. And not only so; the innocent, those who have ever set their faces against violations of law in every shape, alike with the guilty, fall victims to the ravages of mob law; and thus it goes on, step by step, till all the walls erected for the defense of the persons and property of individuals, are trodden down, and disregarded. But all this even, is not the full extent of the evil.–By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.–Having ever regarded Government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations; and pray for nothing so much, as its total annihilation. While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a Government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose. Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocractic spirit, which all must admit, is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed–I mean the attachment of the People. Whenever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, this Government cannot last. By such things, the feelings of the best citizens will become more or less alienated from it; and thus it will be left without friends, or with too few, and those few too weak, to make their friendship effectual. At such a time and under such circumstances, men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity, strike the blow, and overturn that fair fabric, which for the last half century, has been the fondest hope, of the lovers of freedom, throughout the world.

I know the American People are much attached to their Government;–I know they would suffer much for its sake;–I know they would endure evils long and patiently, before they would ever think of exchanging it for another. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.

Here then, is one point at which danger may be expected.

The question recurs, “how shall we fortify against it?” The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;–let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap–let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;–let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made.–I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say, that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed. So also in unprovided cases. If such arise, let proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible delay; but, till then, let them, if not too intolerable, be borne with.

There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. In any case that arises, as for instance, the promulgation of abolitionism, one of two positions is necessarily true; that is, the thing is right within itself, and therefore deserves the protection of all law and all good citizens; or, it is wrong, and therefore proper to be prohibited by legal enactments; and in neither case, is the interposition of mob law, either necessary, justifiable, or excusable.

But, it may be asked, why suppose danger to our political institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?

We hope there is no sufficient reason. We hope all dangers may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise, would itself be extremely dangerous. There are now, and will hereafter be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not existed heretofore; and which are not too insignificant to merit attention. That our government should have been maintained in its original form from its establishment until now, is not much to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed, and crumbled away. Through that period, it was felt by all, to be an undecided experiment; now, it is understood to be a successful one.–Then, all that sought celebrity and fame, and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it:– their destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired to display before an admiring world, a practical demonstration of the truth of a proposition, which had hitherto been considered, at best no better, than problematical; namely, the capability of a people to govern themselves. If they succeeded, they were to be immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties and cities, and rivers and mountains; and to be revered and sung, and toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called knaves and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful; and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so. But the game is caught; and I believe it is true, that with the catching, end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?–Never! Towering genius distains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.–It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.

Here, then, is a probable case, highly dangerous, and such a one as could not have well existed heretofore.

Another reason which once was; but which, to the same extent, is now no more, has done much in maintaining our institutions thus far. I mean the powerful influence which the interesting scenes of the revolution had upon the passions of the people as distinguished from their judgment. By this influence, the jealousy, envy, and avarice, incident to our nature, and so common to a state of peace, prosperity, and conscious strength, were, for the time, in a great measure smothered and rendered inactive; while the deep-rooted principles of hate, and the powerful motive of revenge, instead of being turned against each other, were directed exclusively against the British nation. And thus, from the force of circumstances, the basest principles of our nature, were either made to lie dormant, or to become the active agents in the advancement of the noblest cause–that of establishing and maintaining civil and religious liberty.

But this state of feeling must fade, is fading, has faded, with the circumstances that produced it.

I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are now or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like every thing else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the bible shall be read;– but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. Even then, they cannot be so universally known, nor so vividly felt, as they were by the generation just gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family– a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of wounds received, in the midst of the very scenes related–a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned.–But those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done; the leveling of its walls. They are gone.–They were a forest of giant oaks; but the all-resistless hurricane has swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.

They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.–Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our WASHINGTON.

Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

To read more of President Lincoln’s speeches click here

Divorcing millennial parents choosing to keep their children in their homes by Birdnesting.

So what is birdnesting? Birdnesting is like nesting. Parents take turns going back to the nest to care for their little ones. Separated parents rotate in and out of the family homes so the children do not have to bounce back and forth from one parent to the other. Exes may stay in a spare bedroom, built in apartment, or some other way that the house is converted for nesting.

Many millennials believe this is the best way to raise stable children. Others disagree. Malin Bergström, a scientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and a child psychologists disagrees that birdnesting parents are doing the right thing for their children. “This is a type of protecting children and sheltering them from reality, basically. I think that is a threat to mental health.” Instead she thinks that moving the children about makes them resilient and gives them the “tools they need”.

A health equity study Malin Bergström was involved in shows little difference in the mental health of children who lived in a traditional nuclear family with two parents and children that live with typical joint custody arrangements. Nonetheless. Divorce can be unsettling for children as well as for the rest of the family and many parents are choosing to birdnest as a way to keep family stability.

Lawyers say that birdnesting is on the rise in family courts. A study by Coop Legal Services out of the United Kingdom says that 11% of divorced or separated parents have tried it. In Sweden, divorced parents have rotated homes since the 1970s. Recently westerners are picking up on the idea and it is showing through pop culture. Mad Men’s Anne Dudek and Matthew Heller went public about nesting after their divorce in 2016. Splitting Up Together is a television show about birdnesting on-again off-again parents. Off duty parents get the garage which seems kind of “normal” to me.

A family law attorney from Britain Stephen Williams, says that birdnesting cuts court fees and is a cost-effective solution for parents that split up. Another British lawyer from Ashtons Legal believes that birdnesting is more about an increase awareness to children’s mental health. “People have become far more savvy about needing to think about their children’s development,” he says. “I think that is a really, really good progression, basically, because often those issues were pushed to the background, and it was the parents’ often problematic separations which came to the fore.”

Birdnesting parents believe that they are raising healthier children. Linnea Andersdotter who was birdnested as a child and is now 36 says that “It felt like a very dramatic thing when they first let me know that they were going to split up, and when I found out I didn’t have to move, that really helped me not freak out about the situation,” she says. “I was kind of kept in a safe little bubble whilst they were sorting out the break-up thing.”

But critics argue it can create a “halfway house” situation which doesn’t help children process the reality of their parents’ separation. Eline Linde, who lived in a nesting household says she found the experience “strange and confusing”. “I didn’t know if it was mum or dad’s house, or if they were working out if they were getting back together”.

Family-law solicitor Ben Evans believes it works for some couples because it can help “buy them a bit of time and ease the pressure on them. Both parties can mull over future steps, he argues, and avoid knee-jerk or costly decisions”. Buscho says a nesting period also provides “breathing space” that can facilitate reconciliation or help partners figure out what they want their long-term co-parenting plan to look like. t Bergström argues that nesting stalls the divorce. Åse Levin, a 50-year-old graphic designer agrees with Bergström’s argument and says that birdnesting made it difficult for her to move on with her life. “I know that both of us had real anxiety being in that apartment… you didn’t have your things, so it wasn’t a cosy place to go to,” she recalls. “You’re stuck in some kind of bubble or something, you cannot do anything. You cannot go forward.” I wonder though of maybe the apartment was too small to feel like a home to begin with and if a bigger home would have made a difference in her perceptions about birdnesting. Nesting can raise new challenges for parents though because they may have to change their routine. Bodil Schwinn says birdnesting is working well for her and her former partner, “You need to have a good relationship with your ex,” she states.

I like the idea of birdnesting parents and believe that this new trend will make stronger healthier families. Let me know what you think.

Think it won’t happen to you? Mom, who got $9.6M in same case, daughter sued Orange County. A look at the Right To Lie Case.

A look at the “Right To Lie” case where Mom got $9.6M and then, the daughter sued Orange County.

Child Protection workers costs taxpayers billions every year in lawsuits that most people are completely unaware of, and would be outraged about if they understood. I found Kathlee Arthur a few years ago in my research on the subject. Kathlee Arthur is a woman from Washington State who advocates nationally for foster children and their biological families. She informed me about the “Right To Lie” case that at the time she was using to raise awareness to legislators to show how devastating it is when social workers get away with lying on the stand to keep children separated from their biological families.

Deanna Fogerty-Hardwick lost custody of her minor children, Preslie and Kendall. Deanna Fogerty-Hardwick filed suit and won. Later, her daughter Preslie filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the County and employees of the SSA. In 2011, a jury awarded Fogarty-Hardwick $4.9 million in damages. Orange County then appealed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court at the taxpayer’s expense. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. During that time though, interest and additional attorney fees were racking up the costs that Orange County was charging taxpayer’s to fight for the “Right To Lie”. The total payout came to $9.6 million. The county also incurred an additional $1 million for its own legal costs on the case. None of the social workers that fought were ever held accountable for lying in court to destroy the family. None of the people making the decisions to fight for the right to lie in court ever had to pay out of their own pocket to make that argument.

Preslie showed the courts that the social worker employees acting under color of state law maliciously used perjured testimony and fabricated evidence to secure her removal from her mother and that the state abused it’s power when it violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights to her familial relationship with her mother. Federal appellate court No. 15-55563 D.C. No. 8:13-cv-01390-JLS-AN opinion affirmed that Orange County is not immune from liability when workers perjure themselves to adopt a child out to complete strangers.

The ruling issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is based on the same events that caused a jury to award Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick $9.6 million from Orange County in 2011 after she alleged that social workers used fabricated evidence to cause a court to remove her two daughters from her custody for six and a half years! The district court denied absolute and qualified immunity to the individual defendants.

Preslie’s complaint targets conduct well outside of the social workers’ legitimate role as quasi-prosecutorial advocates in presenting the case. The court concluded that Beltran v. Santa Clara County disposes of the issue. In Beltran, the court held that social workers are not entitled to absolute immunity from claims that they fabricated evidence during an investigation or made false statements in a dependency petition affidavit that they signed under penalty of perjury, because such actions are not similar to discretionary decisions about whether to prosecute. The court also concluded that defendants’ use of perjured testimony and fabricated evidence in court in order to sever Preslie’s familial bond with her mother was unconstitutional. In this case, Preslie has produced more than sufficient admissible evidence to create a genuine dispute as to whether her removal from her mother’s custody violated her clearly established constitutional rights, and defendants’ case for qualified immunity from these charges is not supported by the law or the record. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. (Justia, Hardwick v. County of Orange, No. 15-55563, 9th Cir. 2017)

The County could be on the hook to pay out once again. Still, California’s social worker employees that are fighting for the right to lie in court have not been held accountable for perjuring themselves. Those workers did not lose their jobs, go to jail, or spend any money out of their own pocket. Instead, after trying to destroy this family completely and then lying about it, they get to spend money they can access that we put in the Social Security Fund for retirement and disabled people. And Congress let’s state employees get away with this every day.

“No official with an IQ greater than room temperature in Alaska could claim that he or she did not know that the conduct at the center of this case violated both state and federal law,” Judge Stephen Trott wrote in the opinion. “Perjury is a crime under both federal and California state law, as is the knowing submission of false evidence to a court. … Because they are supported by the record as a whole, we construe the facts Preslie offers in support of her allegations in the light most favorable to her.”

Hardwick’s allegations are the same as her mother’s. In 2000, Orange County Social Services agents Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak fabricated testimony “that (Fogarty-Hardwick) had caused her daughters to skip a mandatory visit with their father, when in fact the problem was caused by a visitation monitor.”

Hardwick said that there are other lies that the social workers delibertly and maliscously told the court; when they said that Fogarty-Hardwick had turned her daughters against their visitation monitor and when they told the court that Fogarty-Hardwick had told her children that their father was trying to take them away from her.

Thankfully the court disagreed with the assertion that Orange County attorneys argued that it was not clearly established in civil court at the time of the events in question that in situations such as Hardwick’s, those involved had “the right to be free from deliberately fabricated evidence.”

Orange County officials have maintained that its social workers never wronged Fogarty-Hardwick or her family. Neither employee was disciplined and Vreeken was later promoted to a position in which she trains other social workers. County records show Vreeken was still employed in 2015, when she earned $132,466 in total compensation. County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said that social workers often face difficult decisions when deciding when and whether to separate a child from their parents and that it was important for those employees to know that the county backs their decisions. “Social workers have an immense responsibility to protect children, and I’d much rather have a social worker err on the side of taking a child from the home than leave a kid where there might be suspected child abuse,” Spitzer said. “It’s a delicate balance, and social workers needs to know that if they do that the county will back them up.”

I have to disagree that social workers are lying In court to protect children. They are lying in court to get away with destroying the very people they are created to serve. I hope others will consider this case and seriously ask themselves if anyone should ever have a right to lie about another in court.

Related Articles : What I wish I had known. Case Preparation Child Welfare CasesFrom a mom shoved in the system:,How to approach a legislator, lawyer, judge, and any other important person in a legal case.

NOT ᗰY ᑕᕼIᒪᗪ — Samantha Waters

For all those who see the purple banners during overdose awareness month or see the videos of people with substance abuse disorders passed out and you scroll on by thinking, “I’m sure glad that doesn’t affect me, I’m glad I taught my kids better” or “someone should have gotten them some help”. I applaud you. […]

NOT ᗰY ᑕᕼIᒪᗪ — Samantha Waters

Ethics regarding cloning

Are clones property, or human beings? What rights do clones have? And what rights do others have over clones?

Cloning is something that I think we need to discuss more. I agree with you that healthcare professionals are constantly challenged. Saving lives and making lives better are not easy tasks. The idea of cloning humans raises so many questions in my mind. Why should humans be cloned? What purpose does cloning humans serve? Why would someone want to produce individuals, entities or populations, identical to the parent or original organism from which they were obtained or derived (Iqbal et al., 2020)?

I agree that the idea of saving stem cells from umbilical cords can be useful and ethical, but how many people can afford to store the stem cells once they are harvested? Cloning organs this way is probably the most ethical way to clone organs, and it is certainly better for the patient receiving identical body parts. Are scientist considering cloning people for their organs? That is scary! I would hate to know that the only reason for me being on earth is so that someone could harvest my organs.

Cloning can be useful and improve some people’s lives, but there are still so many unanswered questions about it that I hope the experiments would be limited to plants although I have read about experiments using animals. Legal and ethical issues arising from the human genome project at the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington in 2001 included discussions about the methods used to clone, whether or not cloning is feasible, and property rights issues (Hilmert, 2001).

There are two methods used in cloning; blastomere separation which involves splitting an embryo soon after fertilization and the somatic nuclear technique (SNTC) that was used to clone Dolly (Collins, 2006) which is a technique that removes the egg cell and replaces it with the nucleus from a somatic cell (Hilmert, 2001). Both methods are capable of creating clones.

Back in the early 2000s when lawmakers were making legislation to ban cloning, a former ethicist for the NIH, John Fletcher, commented, “the reasons for opposing this are not easy to argue.” (Hilmert, 2001). We are now twenty years down the road and scientists are cloning organs. Therapeutic cloning, which is also known as organ cloning, is the process of creating new human organs and tissues, never newborn babies, from the cultivation of stem cells. As such, the resultant organ has an identical gene structure as the recipient such that there are theoretically little chances for rejection (Surfcrs, 2011).

We have a moral obligation to cure diseases when we can, and to save lives when we can, but it is still unclear what rights a clone has and who owns the rights to a tissue. Could a clone ever be developed for the well being of the clone?  Cloning plays an important role in the development of stem cell research for embryonic stem cells transplantation into patients because the stem cells would be a genetic match for the donor patient. There would be no risk of rejection and for xenotransplantation which is the cloning of organs using animals that has a higher rejection rate.

Who owns the clones? Courts already recognize a property interest in living material.” Several different parties may potentially claim cloned organs or tissues: the DNA/tissue donor, the clone, and the scientist who developed the cloned tissue/organ or transgenic animal (Hilmert, 2001). Property law governing renewable and nonrenewable body parts addresses ethical and moral questions. The DNA donor to has an interest in his or her own DNA and any claim over the organs of the clone. In the cloning case, Moore v. Regents of the University of California, the court determined Moore had a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty, but the court declined to find a cause of action for conversion.’ To bring an action

for conversion, Moore had to “establish an actual interference with his ownership or right of possession” (Hilmert, 2001). In other words, he had to have retained ownership of his cells after they had been removed. The court in Cornelio v. Stamford Hospital” followed a similar line of reasoning. However, other cases indicate that there may be property interest in cryopreserved pre-zygote and the Hecht v. Superior Court that involved property rights concerning sperm(Hilmert, 2001).

Patentability of living things is addressed in the Diamond v. Chakrabarty case where the respondent filed a patent application for a genetically engineered bacterium capable of degrading oil, something which no naturally occurring bacteria is known to do. The patent examiner rejected the claim on the grounds that “micro-organisms are ‘products of nature,’ and… as living things they are not patentable subject matter.” But the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, Supreme Court found the bacterium is  patentable subject matter under § 101 of the Patent Act and reversed the decision (Hilmert, 2001).

Patent US 6,211,429, granted to the University of Missouri on April 3, 2001 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) was written so broadly that it appears to include human cloning and products of cloning in its protection (Cunningham, 2002). Cunningham’s vision of public policy concerning humans either conceived or created through science entails; a right to autonomy, i.e., that his or her bodily integrity must not be invaded or compromised by others; No person or entity has the right to enslave, own, or control any human being, regardless of stage of biological development; Any organism that is genetically human is a human being; A cloned embryo is distinct and separate from the person donating the genetic material, and therefore is a unique being protected in law; No person or institution has the right to control or profit from any process designed to clone a human being.

Related Articles: BioEthics of using Stem Cells, Cloning, Genetic Enhancements, Brain Machine Interfaces, and rapidly growing technological advances in science.

References

Collins, F. S. (2006). The language of God: A scientist presents evidence for belief. New York,          NY: Free Press. ISBN: 9781416542742.

Cunningham, Comstock, (2002), The Right to Patent a Human Being: Fact, Fiction, or Future Possibility?, The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, https://cbhd.org/content/right-patent-human-being-fact-fiction-or-future-possibility

Hilmert, Laura, J., (2001), Cloning Human Organs: Potential Sources and Property Implications, J.D., Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington 2001; B.S. Biology, Indiana, University, 1998, Retrieved from, http://ilj.law.indiana.edu/articles/77/77_2_Hilmert.pdf

Pozgar, G. D. (2019). NVPMD: Legal aspects of healthcare administration. 13E-Liberty Custom. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett. ISBN: 9781284170931.

Surfcrs, (2011), Organ Cloning Ethics, http://www.cloneorgans.com/organ-cloning-ethics/18/

BioEthics of using Stem Cells, Cloning, Genetic Enhancements, Brain Machine Interfaces, and rapidly growing technological advances in science.

Discussing bioethics and rapidly growing technological advances in science.

I was a little confused this week when I started looking at the different ways that scientists can use technology to enhance patient’s lives. Actually, I think I still am a little fuzzy on the subject and the differences between techniques. The discussion surrounding genetic enhancements is similar to the discussion about the use of stem cells. Cell therapy can be defined as a technique that infuses or transplants stem cells into patients to treat diseases or repair tissues. The key difference between gene therapy and stem cell therapy is that in gene therapy, genetic material is injected to patients while, in stem cell therapy, whole cells are injected to patients to treat diseases (Samanthi, 2017). Both bring up varying ethical issues about how this knowledge should be used and when it should be used.

The somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) that scientists used to clone Dolly the sheep stirred the entire world (Collins, 2006). People wondered how long it would be before scientists cloned people and when and if so, if those people would be spiritual human beings. The good that came from the experiment is that life-saving human organs can be cloned. Would it be ethical to clone a human for organs? It is scary to think of where this science is capable of going.

Technology is advancing faster than the ethical guidelines for it are. Karen Moxom created a mind-over-matter project decades ago to help patients regain use of their limbs (Moxon, et al., 2019). It sounded like sci-fi fiction back then and it still does to some people today. As with neurotechnology, stem cell technology is also a rapidly advancing science that can greatly improve patient’s lives. One of the most useful and least questioned techniques to harvest stem cells is from the umbilical cord. The cost of getting the stem cells and then storing them until they are needed is more than most people can afford though. Deciding right and wrong, costs, and equality concerns, and the overall benefit to humanity will help us put guidelines in place for future experiments.

Stem cell research and cloning raise the issue of clones having a living soul. I looked up the definition for personhood at dictionary.com and found it defined as; the state or fact of being a person, the state or fact of being an individual or having human characteristics and feelings. Genetics makes up our physical bodies, and environmental factors form our developed feelings. Maybe our DNA holds more than we think it does. Bioethics addresses complex issues about how vulnerable people should be treated (Pozgar, 2019). Clones would most definitely be a vulnerable population that people would want to know the answers to many questions about.

Related Articles: Ethics regarding clones

References

Collins, F. S. (2006). The language of God: A scientist presents evidence for belief. New York,  NY: Free Press. ISBN: 9781416542742.

Moxon, Karen,  Guglielmo Foffani, (Brain-Machine Interfaces beyond Neuroprosthetics, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Retrieved From, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.036

Moxon, K, Ph.D., Ignacio Saez, Ph.D., and Jochen Ditterich, Ph.D., (2019), Mind Over Matter: Cognitive Neuroengineering, The Dana Foundation, Retrieved From, http://dana.org/Cerebrum/2019/Mind_Over_Matter_Cognitive_Neuroengineering/

Pozgar, G. D. (2019). NVPMD: Legal aspects of healthcare administration. 13E-Liberty  Custom. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett. ISBN: 9781284170931.

Samanthi , (2017), Difference Between Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy, Key Difference – Gene Therapy vs Stem Cell Therapy, https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-gene-therapy-and-vs-stem-cell-therapy/

Fostered or Forgotten?

It is time to stop the foster care to prison pipeline.

See the source image

We have to stop the foster care to prison pipeline. There are people sitting in jails and mental hospitals that do not even know who their family is or where they came from and public defenders and social workers “drop the ball”. Leaving them there with no one to advocate for them, and do you want to know how it almost always ends? It almost always ends in solitary confinement until they kill themselves or a jailer loses it and kills them.

From a mom shoved in the system:

My advice to people who have to fight for their right to parent, based on what I have done right and what I’ve done wrong.

1. Never sign your rights away. Don’t sign an unfair mediation agreement, don’t sign a plea if you didn’t commit the crime. Make them take your rights away-that is appealable. Your signature is not. Good luck saying you were coerced. Even if you probably were, no one cares.

2. If you have to deal with a separation from your flesh and blood, your children, don’t let them see your grief. Find ways to let them know you are still home. You are still fun, you are still the boss, you are still the parent, you are still home. For me this has included sending their favorite groceries through amazon, creating structure in our two weekly 20 minute phone calls, singing songs I always sung to them, and always having a space that is theirs even if they have never slept in their new beds. I tell them stories about when they were little, we laugh, I make those moments “home”. Because I am their home. Always. And that is not an accident. It never was.

3. Don’t try and numb the pain. It doesn’t work and it will always make things worse for you. No matter what the battle is to be in your kids life-a clear head is necessary.

4. Go to therapy. This is really just good advice for life. Not just for parental rights battles. Therapy=good for all humans.

5. Find joy. This is a survival thing. My kids aren’t gone. So I can’t give up, or give in. I must survive, in order to do that, I must find joy. People,places, activities, products, food, smells, sights, and more. Find it. Hold it. Allow yourself to feel joy.

6. Don’t give up. This thing failed? Try something else. This person didn’t listen or care? Try someone else.

7. Be “see through”. Vulnerable. Healthy. Have nothing to hide.

Anyway, not sure if anyone needs this list. I hope you don’t. This shit is terrible. But here’s some stuff I’ve learned in the past few years. Happy New Year. Love, abby.

Reblogged from FB

Related Articles: What I wish I had known. Case Preparation Child Welfare Cases.

Should healthcare managers use social media?

The Use of Social Media as a Communication Tool in the Healthcare Industry.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media tools has become an effective way to gather and disseminate timely information, network with colleagues, and to advertise services. Consumers also now have the opportunity to research and compare treatments. And though social media is an effective communication tool, there are also lessons to be learned from the past that human resource managers have to consider when making an organization’s social media policy.

No one policy will work for every business so human resource managers will have to decide what is appropriate for each organization and each employee. Relevant labor laws, employer rights and employee rights are some of the things that HR will have to consider when crafting a social media policy.

The use of social media will have a positive effect on healthcare industries for several reasons. Social media is a way that healthcare professionals can communicate with each other and with consumers. Advertising a business or service on social media is cheaper than traditional methods such as billboards, radio stations, newspapers, and television. Consumers can also use social media to compare healthcare services and this will increase competition which should drive the costs down making going to a doctor more accessible and more affordable. Consumers are also now able to research diseases and treatments and that gives consumers more decision-making power and makes their healthcare treatment more patient-centered. Individual patients can also review the service received by their healthcare providers on social media sites. This can deter negative doctor-patient experiences.  Social media apps that track health are also increasing access to preventive healthcare instantly. Social media is evolving to be used in just about every aspect of healthcare. Healthcare professionals can use social media as a tool to share information with colleagues, patients, and the general public. Social media is also evolving as a training tool to educate and introduce new healthcare professionals.

There are risks to using social media. Patients can leave bad reviews on social media sites after having a negative experience. Another negative experience that seems to be common is that a hospital or government organization that has our private medical information has been breached and we are increasingly being told that we should change our passwords. There is controversary surrounding HIPPA laws and the use of social media. Previously I studied to be a family counselor and one of the issues the counseling profession is addressing is whether or not it is appropriate for professional counselors to be on social media. Should a counselor be friends with a patient? Does it violate HIPPA rights if a counselor accepts a friend request from a patient? What if it is a small town where everyone knows everyone? As online peer support groups grow this will become more of an issue that professionals will have to address. One of my friends recently graduated and at that moment she chose to deactivate her social media account.

Strategies to improve healthcare through the use of social media can include having clear communication objectives and identifying each goal that each professional in a healthcare organization will have for using social media. There will most likely be different reasons for professionals of an organization to use social media so each goal should be clearly identified. The target audience will also have to be defined so that relevant information will reach the intended audience. Developing trust with the audience is important. This can be accomplished by collaborating with other reputable organizations, and by offering science-based information in ways that make it easy for others to interact and communicate with the healthcare provider.

In conclusion, social media can be a useful communication tool for both providers and consumers. As we saw last year through the pandemic, the use of telemedicine grew. Patients are better informed to make personal decisions about their healthcare treatment and treatment is becoming more accessible because of information that is shared through social media. There are controversies about whether or not the use of technology will raise or lower the costs of healthcare, but I think that healthcare will become more affordable has healthcare technology and healthcare apps evolve. Social media is also increasing preventative measures that will make society healthier. On the other hand, there are consequences to using social media in healthcare. The biggest consequence is addressing ethical issues surrounding the use of social media.

While the use of social media is evolving, it does offer transparency and that is a good thing. It builds necessary trust between patients and doctors. Social media was not around in the days that the Bible was written, but people socialized with each other. Word got around that a King was born and when Jesus grew to begin teaching, people traveled and gathered to hear him. Values included in ethical guidelines for medical practitioners are similar to Jesus’ teaching. In other words, Jesus taught us to work for good (Beneficence), and he taught us to avoid harming others (Nonmaleficence). God also gave each of us free will and with that Jesus taught us to treat others as we want to be treated (Justice and Equity). As Christians, we also strive to deal truthfully (Veracity) with others and to fulfill our responsibilities (Fidelity) and promises to others. As Biblical scholars and human resource managers I believe that we can easily apply these principals to our every day use of social media and policy. When we write policies, I believe that each of these values is in our as we consider the rights and responsibilities of the companies that we work for, the people we work with, and the patients that we serve.