Moral Equivalence: Osama bin
Laden Murders Innocents–American Society Murders Their Unborn
Alan Keyes Excerpts
Alan Keyes Commentary in
World Net Daily
Immediately below are
excerpts from Alan Keyes'
new show "Alan Keyes is Making Sense" on MSNBC, Monday through
Thursday, 10 p.m., ET.
ALAN KEYES MAKING SENSE
JANUARY 22, 2002
We have come to that portion of the show we
call "People Just Like You." And that's what we gather here. These are
not professional pundits, not folks who have their axes to grind and are
constantly up in front of you, and not that I'm demeaning anybody there.
We have some very bright folks who do that on a regular basis on all the
different networks. But these are folks who are just brought from
different walks of life to come together with me here and try to think
things through and make sense of some of the challenges we face.
We have with us today, Stan Dean. He is a theatre
director and producer. He's also a retired high school English Teacher.
Jean Weinberg is a Georgetown University student, and the Reverend Joe
Watkins is with the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in
KEYES: And thank you for taking the time to come
and chat with me today. What I'd like to do right off the bat, we have
been seeing in the last few minutes some reminders of the horrific
damage that was done to the people of New York, the lives that were
taken, to this country on September 11. But I want to ask each of you a
question here. We talk about the evil that struck us. From your vantage
point and your mind and your heart, what was the evil that hit us that
day? What was the nature of it? What lay at the heart of it? What would
you say to that?
STAN DEEN, THEATRE DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: For me, I
think the fact that it was premeditated--that this was not something
that just occurred, but a group of human beings knew that they were
going to board planes and actually go right into the Towers or into the
KEYES: So it's kind of the cold-blooded,
self-conscious aspect of it...
DEEN: Yes. Yes.
KEYES: ... that really struck you. Jean, what
would you say?
JEAN WEINBERG, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY STUDENT: For
me, it was the innocent lives that were lost. The people that went to
work one day and couldn't say goodbye to anyone and for no reason, no
fault of their own, were not engaged in a war, but almost became
involved. And for me, it's really the loss of that innocent life.
KEYES: So the innocent lives that were just kind
of cut off without warning...
WEINBERG: Right. No (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of their own,
KEYES: ... on that day. Reverend Joe, what would
REV. JOE WATKINS, CHRIST EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH: Well, I'd say that life is really a gift. It really is a gift
from God, and any time anybody takes innocent lives, that's absolutely
evil. And that's what happened. And in my case, there is a personal
side. I had three siblings--I have five siblings. I have three sisters
and two brothers, but two--both of our brothers and one of my sisters
were directly impacted by what happened in New York. And one brother was
in World Trade 7, and another sister was in Liberty Plaza, and thank
God, they all managed to survive. But that's evil. What happened was
KEYES: See, I think that's fascinating, because
sometimes when we are looking at the images, as we just were, and seeing
the devastation, we might get confused, because of the magnitude of this
and think that somehow or another it was the bigness of it. You know,
the big buildings came down, and the enormous loss of life. But in fact,
there is a threat that runs through it that whether it was big or small,
it still confronts us, I think, with--well, I think of it as the
principle of this, the principle of the evil that struck out against it.
Because after all, there have been other times in
history when there has been a lot of massive destruction, right? And one
of them that naturally occurs to me, in the context of our own
background in America, is Hiroshima. But would you say that Hiroshima,
Nagasaki is anything like what we witnessed as a result? Even though the
physical damage might have been larger, even the lives lost were larger.
And yet, to say that there was an evil involved in it, would it be right
to do that?
WATKINS: Well, I'd say Pearl Harbor was
analogous to what happened on September 11. That was a sneak attack, and
that, again, was the loss of innocent life. What happened on September
11 was awful. I mean, had it been done on the battlefield, had there
been a declaration of war by our enemies, that would have been
different. But this was a sneak attack, and the people that were killed
were regular folks, innocent people, people who were going to work, who
were doing their job who were trying to do their business.
WEINBERG: And I think the loss of life--our
tolerance for loss of life in terms of innocent people going to work vs.
people who are in the military, and even the reaction of the Pentagon
was different than that at the World Trade Center. In terms of people
taking that a lot more to heart, regular people were just going to work
vs. people who were engaged in military battle, and people who
almost--not that we expect them to lose their life, but know that that
is part of, you know, what could happen.
KEYES: It's interesting, because what seems to be
running through all of the comments, and it keeps coming up over and
over, naturally obviously, is this word "innocent." Fascinating word.
Does anybody here know what the root of innocence is, where it comes
from? It's a fascinating word, and it's a little bit--well, it's
expected and yet unexpected. As I recall, the root of that word is
"nocere," which is a Latin word meaning like noxious. We get the word
noxious from, and it means to harm something. So what is an innocent
person? An innocent person is a harmless person...
KEYES: ... somebody who had done nobody any harm.
And the key to understanding what hit us that day, as I hear you all
talking about it, it seems to be this innocence.
DEEN: Oh, yes.
KEYES: If somebody hits you first, and you hit
back, that's one thing. If they give you fair warning, and you're going
to war, that's one thing. But out of the blue to just stomp on innocent
folks, it seems that there is a special quality of wrongness and
wickedness in that. Wouldn't you say?
WEINBERG: I would agree.
KEYES: And it strikes me that one of the
symbols of that in our life has always been, and it's the one to mind
most poignantly. Think of a terrorist or somebody like this goes out and
they blow up a bus. If they tell you that it was a bus full of
tourists--adult tourists, that's one thing. If they tell you it was a
bus full of schoolchildren, that's something entirely different, isn't
DEEN: Yes, yes.
WEINBERG: I think our tolerance for loss of
mothers and children is somewhat different than, you know, regular folks
and/or people in the military. I think it's a completely--I think we
have more compassion. You know, knowing that children lost their
parents, you know, that's something that really hits home.
WATKINS: ... life is a gift, Alan, and also from a
spiritual standpoint, life is really a gift from God. And we aren't
guaranteed a single day. I think if September 11 taught us anything, it
taught us just how little we are guaranteed. We aren't guaranteed a
single day. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow or next week, even though we
make plans as if next week is promised to us. We really aren't
guaranteed that time.
DEEN: Well, I was going to say I, probably being
the oldest one here, I remember back my parents talking about the blitz
on London and killing and the fact that in Word War II there were like
22 million people eradicated; 50 percent of those being civilians. I was
a small child, and I remember watching films like "Saving Private Ryan"
and "Schindler's List," and I'm thinking I was the age of those
children. And I have to tell you, we had air raids, I remember vividly.
It scared the daylights out of me.
KEYES: Well, now tell me something though, because
and here is something that unfortunately given the way my mind works,
it's going to occur to me (UNINTELLIGIBLE), because we talk about this,
and this was an evil that struck us from outside. And we'll say to
ourselves, that's incomprehensible and so forth. But what do we know
And as I sit here and talk, and the children who
are the symbol of that innocence for us, we really seem to sum up that
innocence. And well, we're talking as if, well, that's terrible evil
taking the lives of children. How can we do this? And we really speak as
if we know nothing about it. But do you want to know the truth, this is
my opinion? I think that's actually false and phony in America today.
I'll be honest with you. Because I think sadly, Americans know a lot
about this, and we just won't admit it to ourselves. See?
And what do I mean? Well, what I mean ought to be
obvious. Today is January 22, right?
KEYES: It is the anniversary of the decision Roe
vs. Wade, and which our Supreme Court decided that we have the right,
not just to take the lives of children, but to take the lives of our own
children, and to do so, if it's convenient and convenient
(UNINTELLIGIBLE). I mean, what have they done? They are innocent, just
like those people sitting in the World Trade Center. As innocent as you
can possibly get, because you haven't been around yet to do anybody any
harm. And this is one of those things that really deeply, forcible
strikes me, because we act as if we couldn't possibly comprehend this.
But the fact that we do at one level comprehend
it, because aren't we tolerating ourselves something that reflects the
very same principle of evil--Jean?
WEINBERG: I wouldn't put a woman's right to choose
on the same wave length as victims of terrorism. I don't think you can
put them on the same plate.
KEYES: No, but see, people always say the right to
choose. This is the way we talk about it. But what are we choosing? What
are we choosing?
WEINBERG: We are choosing whether or not we want
to have that child.
KEYES: No. Whether or not we want to have that
child, and the consequence of that choice is what? We are actually
choosing to do what with that child?
WEINBERG: I don't believe that a fetus in a
woman's womb is the same equivalent as a grown adult who has a wife, a
husband, a child, whatever it may be, I don't think you can put that on
the same (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KEYES: Reverend Joe?
WATKINS: Well, it's interesting, you know, my wife
and I have been married for 27 years. And we just had our first
grandchild. Our daughter and her husband, my son-in-law, Mark Portlock
(ph) and my daughter, Courtney Portlock (ph), just had our first
grandchild, a little boy, Mark, Jr., who was 8 pounds and 3 ounces when
he was born on January 5. And to see the miracle of life, to see him
come into this world, to see him in my daughter's womb, and to see the
pictures of him in my daughter's womb as he grew over the months, to see
him sucking his thumb in my daughter's stomach. And I was so very...
KEYES: It's (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but that would mean
that you're suggesting that that is a person, and that you responded to
it as you would respond to somebody sitting at a desk in the World Trade
WATKINS: I used to rub my daughter's stomach and
talk to my grandson.
KEYES: Stan--Stan, what (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
DEEN: From my perspective, I am single, so I've
never had that experience. But teaching school, my biggest--the biggest
thing for me was seeing young people who were brought into this world
and so many being abandoned, like 400,000 like in 1996 when I retired of
young people that needed love. They needed care. And nobody wanted them.
And I was teaching in a rather rural community, and I would look at
these young people, and I'm thinking, where are their dads? Where are
KEYES: See, the thing that I wonder about,
because we look at the hard heartedness. You're talking to giving the
cold-blooded nature of the terrorist action and just targeting innocent
people and so forth and so on. But in a certain sense, we have adopted a
language of euphemism, like the people who want to call terrorists
"freedom fighters" and talk about that action they took against the
United States. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Jean, the right to choose is a
WEINBERG: I don't think of it...
KEYES: It keeps us from talking about the simple
fact that what we are choosing to do is to take a life, just like Osama
bin Laden chose, on the basis of his believe that we're wicked people,
that our life degrades and that it somehow in that degradation threatens
his way. That's his argument. These aren't really people we have to take
account of, and therefore, we can kill them. Honestly, aren't we
WEINBERG: I'm not saying I'm pro-abortion.
KEYES: But wait a minute. Aren't we saying about
these children in the womb that these are not people we have to take
account of, and therefore, we can take their lives?
WEINBERG: No, I mean, I think it's great Reverend
Joe had this positive experience.
WATKINS: Well, I've also had three children, but
my wife (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
WEINBERG: I agree and that's great, and maybe you
had the economic stability. You had the other stability. You had a nice
home to bring the child up in. I think we overlook these cases where
these children are better off perhaps, you know...
KEYES: But don't you think--but let me raise it
(UNINTELLIGIBLE), because I know we don't like to listen to the voice of
the evil that has struck us. But it's not as if Osama bin Laden says,
all those nice people in America and I killed them. No! What he said is
all those people living in the midst of sin and degradation and
corruption, whose lives don't have the quality spiritually and morally
that justifies their existence, and since their existence is not of the
quality he believes is necessary under his fanatical views, he is going
to come kill innocent people. And we say that's different, that's
terrible. How is it different from saying that this life in the womb
doesn't have the quality which demands our respect? How is it different?
DEEN: But, Alan, didn't he always say that he
heard this from Allah. Allah told him to do this.
KEYES: But see, but I think that's irrelevant. It
doesn't matter where the injunction to violate the dignity of another
comes from. The result is quite simple. Based on my sense that your life
is unworthy, I am going to kill you. And he said that to our innocent
people in the World Trade Center. But aren't we saying that to our
innocent children in the womb? Aren't we saying that our right to choose
means that we can take the same approach, basically, that he does,
devalue their lives and snuff them out?
And that's why I say, we pretend we're unfamiliar,
that we were suddenly introduced to this evil, as our president
suggested at one point on September 11. But I think we're lying to
WATKINS: Alan, I'd love to respond to Jean. I know
that you are sincere, and I know this is an issue that's been so greatly
publicized and that people are on both sides of the aisle and banging
heads. And let me share with you. You have mentioned about...
KEYES: Reverend, I have to stop there, because
this has been wonderful, and I appreciate...
WATKINS: Is our time up already?
KEYES: No, I appreciate the honesty--well...
WATKINS: Are you going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
KEYES: I appreciate the honesty that y'all have
brought to this discussion, because I knew that this was going to be
hard today. That I was taking a turn into something difficult for us...
KEYES: ... difficult not only--for all of us. But
I think that one of the things we're going to have to realize, if we
want to be strong over the course of the years that I think this
struggle is going to take, then I think we're going to have to do some
examining of our own lives and consciences to find that kind of
consistency that will allow us to face this evil without a sense of our
ambiguity. I think in this Guantanamo business and other things that
ambiguity is starting to emerge.
I really appreciate it, y'all. Thank you so much
for joining with me today. As I said before we started, I didn't think
we were going to have a whole lot of fun today, but I thought we might
do some good, and I think we did.
We'll be back right after this with Dr. James
Dobson. We're going to have a little chat on "The Bottom Line"--stay
KEYES: Now we get to "The Bottom Line." In the
course of the program, we started out taking a fresh look at the horrors
of September 11th and talking with my guests in the "People Just Like
You" segment about the nature of the evil that struck us, the theme
running through the whole thing: that conscious targeting of innocent
And then I introduced what is in my heart, which
is the thought that at the end of the day, that targeting of human life
is not something we're totally unfamiliar with, because here at home in
the controversial issue of abortion, we confront the reality of a
sanction given to something that in principle involves, in my view. the
same: targeting of innocent human life. Joining us now to talk about
that is Dr. James Dobson, familiar to a lot of you, I know, as the
founder and head of Focus on the Family and of a very popular radio
program by the same name, someone I've known over the course of years
and have often told people Dr. Dobson is one of those folks who not only
do I admire, but Jim, as I've often told you, when I am considering my
own actions and activities, you are one of those people who is a
standard in my mind of what I believe to be the integrity we need to
bring to important questions of moral truth that we confront.
I want to thank you for joining me on the show,
especially on a day like this when in the context of America's
confrontation with the evil of September 11th, we pause to remember the
decision, Roe v. Wade, and what I deeply believe to be the evil involved
in it. Do you think that seeing that common principle in these evils is
DR. JAMES C. DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY FOUNDER:
Well, Alan, first of all, let me congratulate you on your new show, and
thank you for having me as a guest. I have great respect for you and I'm
delighted that MSNBC has given you this platform. I've been watching the
show here as I've been waiting, and I've been fascinated by the things
that you're saying, especially your use of that word "evil."
You know, we've gotten away from that. In recent
years, we've kind of bought into the post-modern notion that there is no
right or wrong, there is no truth, there is no immorality or morality,
there's no good or bad. And it turns out that after September the 11th,
we've discovered again, what do you know? Some things are evil. And we
should have known it all along. And what's evil about what happened--and
your guests said this--what is evil about it is not the loss of those
beautiful buildings or that our economy has suffered or that our planes
have been grounded. What is evil is the loss of human life. And the
reason is because of the sanctity of human life. And I believe in that.
KEYES: Well, do you think that folks are willing
to take a hard look, though, at that principle, because running through
the whole discussion in the group that joined us was the concept that we
just don't have the right out of the blue consciously to target for your
own purpose innocent life, the life of the harmless, especially we
discovered, the life of children, people who have been throughout
history our type of representatives of the innocent human being, the one
that you don't have the right to harm. And yet, it is taken for granted
in ways that use all kinds of language that somehow or another, this
practice of abortion doesn't fall under that principle. Why do you think
it's so hard for people to see that, in point of fact, these two things
involve the same principle of evil?
DOBSON: Alan, I'm not sure we want to see it. I
mean, the facts are there. Just today, I was considering some of the
scope of what has happened since the Roe v. Wade decision. January the
22nd, 1973 to today, 29 years exactly, 102 million people, 102 million
Americans have been born and 41 million have been aborted. The scope of
that is incredible. Twenty-eight percent of this generation, the Roe v.
Wade generation, has been destroyed. They never got a chance. That's
evil. That is wicked.
KEYES: And I would think--because one of the
things that came out in the discussion, of course, about New York was
the fact that the human cost of this is the physical lives lost but also
the terrible void that is left in the lives of families, in the life of
the nation, in the life of the community, and we can appreciate that.
But in a sense that I think we find it harder to appreciate, there's
actually a terrible void left by all those millions of Americans who
never got here and who's contributions we will never be able to
appreciate because we gave this sanction to a practice that eliminated
their lives even before they started. Isn't there a kind of hard
heartedness involved in that unwillingness to see what we're doing to
DOBSON: Yeah. Part of the tragedy, again, is what
it's done to the rest of us. There's been a callous effect on the rest
of the culture. You know, when--you'll pardon me if I give you an
illustration and a name, but Senator Barbara Boxer from California stood
on the floor of the Senate and talked about the fact that a baby was not
a baby, was not human, could be killed until taken home from the
hospital so that it's up to the parents even after that baby has been
born to decide whether they're going to let that child live or not.
Now we wouldn't have said something like
that--certainly a U.S. senator would not have said it--in 1973. But we
have become immune to this killing. Partial-birth abortion, if people
had to watch that, Alan, their knees would buckle. It is so horrible to
see a full-term baby murdered, and yet we've come to the point where we
don't want to think about it.
KEYES: One of the things we hide behind, though,
is the notion that somehow or another, this is not human life and we
don't consider it human life, and we don't consider it worthy of our
attention. What bothers me, what really disturbs me about that is that
it kind of takes back the judgment that in the course of our history
from its beginning, we actually felt to be in the hands of God. Our
founders said that we are all of us created equal and endowed by our
creator with certain unalienable rights. We acknowledge that it was by
God's authority that human beings get their dignity, not by a human
decision. And that means that whether it's me or you or a mother
deciding about her child or whether it's Osama bin Laden applying the
fanatical standards of his moral Puritanism and so forth, we don't have
the right on the basis of our judgment to withdraw that respect from
other human beings because we consider them somehow not of the right
status or not of the right quality or not quite human enough for us. But
through abortion and that doctrine, we seem to be taking back the right
to make these kinds of judgments about other human beings.
DOBSON: Yeah. If the life is inconvenient, we
can get rid of it and tell ourselves that it's not human. You know that
it is a $25,000 fine to kill an eagle's egg? I mean, an egg is not an
eagle, and yet, it is protected because it is a small eagle. And yet it
is not an offense against anybody, according to the law and the Supreme
Court, to kill a baby in the process of being delivered. And as long as
he's got one toe in the birth canal, he's not human. I mean, this is a
KEYES: Do you think--and of the things that
tragedy often does is it softens the heart and it opens us to the grief
and pain that then leads us to look at our own lives differently. Do you
think that America is likely to look at the tragedy we perpetrate
against our own offsprings in a different light given the terrible evil
that was brought on us by a hand that showed this kind of callous
disregard for innocent life?
DOBSON: Well, I do. It's had a profound effect on
us in many, many ways, and it may be years before we fully understand
what it's done to us. There are changes going on. The polls show this,
that right now, Alan--and you won't read this in any newspaper, none
that I've seen but the polls show--61 percent of American women say
abortion is murder. Sixty-one percent.
KEYES: Well, I think that hearts have been
affected by the terrible tragedy, hearts can change. And I continue to
pray myself for a change in the heart of America. Dr. Dobson, thank you
so much for joining me tonight. It was a special privilege for me to
have you as a guest in my first week and on this program in particular
for us to share some thoughts with folks about the meaning of this day.
And thank you so much for joining me.
DOBSON: Thank you, Alan.
KEYES: We've come to that portion of the program
that we call "On Your Mind," because we're looking at some of the things
that came in over the electronic medium through e-mail and other things.
We'll be taking some calls.
Let's go to K.C. in California. Welcome to MAKING
SENSE. K.C., are you with us?
K.C.: Yes, I am.
K.C.: Yes, I think my problem is I was born an
orphan, and my question is: Why aren't men made more responsible for the
children that they produce with women?
KEYES: Well, you know, I think that that's one--in
my opinion, that's one of the unintended consequences of the abortion
mentality, because in order to make the false argument that supports
abortion, we have really had to ask that if the child in the womb is
simply somehow the property of the mother. And that has totally excluded
the father from the picture. That means that in a sense, the father is
suddenly supposed to become responsible after the child is born when we
have in essence written him out of the picture in terms of the child
from the moment of conception. It just doesn't make any sense, I'd say.
But I do think it has devalued the proper understanding of the father's
participation in that child's life and it has devastating impact. Thank
you for your call.
Saturday, January 26, 2002
By Alan Keyes
For a reason I will mention below, this past
week was a most appropriate time to focus again on the nature of the
evil that struck America on Sept. 11.
The terrorist destruction of that day was evil
in many ways, but at the heart of its evil was the deliberate deadly
assault on innocent human life. The root of the word "innocent" reveals
that the notion of innocence is connected to harmlessness. An innocent
person is a person who does no harm. And we see immediately that there
is a special quality of wickedness in premeditated violence against such
Since Sept. 11, many Americans have spoken as
though taking the lives of innocent people by the thousands represents
violence and hardheartedness that are incomprehensible to us. But is the
spirit that could commit such evil really a stranger to our own souls?
In fact, Americans know a lot about that spirit and its fruit - we just
won't admit it to ourselves.
For four months now, Americans have been
proclaiming with one voice that no one has the right consciously to
target innocent life for his own purposes. And yet it is still
unreflectively taken for granted by many of these same people that,
somehow or another, the practice of abortion doesn't fall under that
Last Tuesday was the 29th anniversary of the
Roe vs. Wade decision, in which our Supreme Court decided that we have
the right to take the lives of our own children whenever it is
convenient. But the unborn are more innocent than anyone sitting in the
World Trade Center on that terrible day. Are we not tolerating the same
principle of evil that animated the attack of Sept. 11? Within the
practice of abortion, do we not give public sanction to the targeting of
innocent human life?
We have adopted a language of euphemism to
disguise this evil, just as some call terrorists "freedom fighters" and
speak about their "action" against the United States. Similarly, we
speak of the "right to choose," without ever naming the choice. Thus we
avoid the simple fact that abortion is the deliberate taking of innocent
Osama bin Laden chose to kill those whose
lives, in his fanatical and puritanical view, don't have the spiritual
and moral quality that justifies their existence. The abortion choice
denies that the unborn life in the womb has the quality which demands
our respect. And in each case, once it is decided that certain people
need not be respected, the door to killing is opened wide.
Our founders said that we are all "created
equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights." We
acknowledge that it is by God's authority, not by a human decision, that
human beings have dignity. And that means that whether it's a mother
deciding about her child or Osama bin Laden applying the fanatical
standards of his moral puritanism, no human power has the right to
withdraw respect from other human beings because we consider them not
quite human enough for us.
Tragedy often softens the heart and leads us
through our grief and pain to look at our own lives differently. Will
America look at the tragedy we perpetrate against our own offspring in a
different light given the terrible public evil that was brought on us by
a similar callous disregard for innocent life? In uncounted millions of
individual lives, this has undoubtedly already happened. Sept. 11 was a
wake-up call to the conscience - for who could see what our fellow man
did to us on that day without seeking in his own heart for the source of
And yet the hundreds of thousands of people who
marched and prayed in Washington last Tuesday to observe in sorrow and
repentance the 29th anniversary of legalized destruction of the unborn
in America were met with even more than the usual disregard by the
national media. The media blackout of the March for Life makes it clear
that our national soul-searching in the wake of Sept. 11 has not yet
reached the media elites. Those elites are still trying to suppress
national deliberation and repentance for our complicity in an evil that
has already dwarfed anything Osama bin Laden has done.
The terrorists attacks are like signs written
in the sky for all to see, warning us to remember the evil men can do. I
pray that we as a people can come to acknowledge the full range of our
capacity for inhumanity to the innocent and the powerless. Reminded that
evil is real, let us recover the courage to shun it in ourselves as
readily as we do in our enemies.