Terry Jeffrey

Take a leap of faith. Assume Sen. Joe Biden is an intellectually rigorous man who never fails to act on his own convictions when he votes in the Senate -- and that he is especially careful in thinking things through when he votes on matters of life and death.

Now, try to entertain Joe Biden's logic -- on a matter of life and death.

"I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "But that is my judgment."

Biden's implication is that it is equally plausible to conclude that life does not begin at conception and that this conclusion ought to command as much respect from rational people as the conclusion that life does begin at conception. For Biden -- if you take him at his word -- the question of when life begins is not determined by science but by religion. It is not only a multiple-choice question, but a question with multiple correct answers.

"It's a personal and private issue," he said. "For me, as a Roman Catholic, I'm prepared to accept the teachings of my church. But let me tell you. There are an awful lot of people of great confessional faiths ... who have a different view. ... They believe in their faith, and they believe in human life, and they have differing views as to when life (begins)."

Now, try applying Biden's reasoning to a mammal other than homo sapiens.

Try it with polar bears -- a species whose life is so highly valued by our political establishment that the Bush administration listed it as "threatened" even though its numbers have been increasing.

Let's say one religion says polar-bear life begins at conception; another, when the polar-bear fetus is viable; another, in the third trimester of polar-bear pregnancy; another, at polar-bear birth; and yet another, not even at birth -- if the polar-bear cub is disabled.

Of course, no organized movement is demanding a "right" to kill unborn polar bears, so no organized movement is promoting the propaganda that polar bear lives don't begin at conception, and so Biden does not have to be conflicted about whether to act on his own convictions about polar bears or someone else's. On "Meet the Press," Tom Brokaw -- in a half-hearted way -- challenged Biden on the contradiction between his affirmation that life begins at conception and his pro-abortion voting record.

"But if you, you believe that life begins at conception," said Brokaw, "and you've also voted for abortion rights --"


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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