To Russ on Abortion

Finally, here is my reply to Rev. Young’s letter to me about abortion.

I don’t mean to hide behind semantics where abortion is concerned. Abortion ends life. Where I disagree with you is in treating newly conceived “babies” as the equal of newborns. Yes, pregnant women call the offspring in their wombs “babies.” However, forced to make a “Sophie’s Choice,” virtually every parent I know would choose the child in their arms to the one nine months from birth. The choice, no matter how wrenching, wouldn’t even be a close contest.

You say that calling a baby a fetus, or “little one” in Latin, is deceitful but it strikes me that calling a fertilized egg a baby is also a deceit. In common parlance babies need suckling, burping and changing. You can’t do that with something the size of a punctuation mark.
You have graphically described the gruesome realities of surgical abortion. Yet one of the ironies of the pro-life movement has been its complicity in driving up the number of abortions because of its opposition to birth control.

You are too young to remember the days prior to Roe vs. Wade before the anti-abortion movement began calling itself “pro-life.” Back then the people who opposed abortion were more upset about the possibility that access to birth control and/or abortions would encourage young people to have pre-marital sex. In fact, pregnancy was typically viewed as a fitting punishment for the sin of sex. “If you’re gonna play you gotta pay.” So severe was the disgrace faced by unmarried mothers that back-alley abortion mills thrived.

Even after the movement adopted the pro-life label it did not give up its opposition to birth control. I’ve always marveled at this because I agree that rescuing “babies” in the womb is noble. But apparently the pro-life movement is less concerned with saving the lives of unborn babies than it is with discouraging illicit sex.

The folly of this anti-sex priority was revealed in yesterday’s news story which reported that the rate of premarital sex has held very steady since World War II. Since that time roughly 19 out of every 20 Americans, of both sexes, have engaged in premarital sex. With “pro-lifers” doing everything in their power to discourage contraception it is no wonder that America leads the world in the dismemberment of the unborn.

You have said that it would be wonderful if every child in the womb could be held in its mother’s arms. Yes, it would, but pro-lifers have tried to prevent contraceptives from being distributed in the third world where infant mortality is rampant. Pro-lifers even oppose birth control which could prevent mothers from contracting and dying from AIDS. Orphans have no mothers to hold them.

Infant mortality drops when women can choose when to conceive. I look forward to the day where all women can expect to see their children reach maturity. I’d like to think that this is because I care deeply about people but you find fault with my “heart condition.”

Well Russ, you worship a God whose son will send me and others like me to a fate worse than any surgical or saline abortion. What’s more our suffering will be eternal. How does that reflect on your heart?

I asked you whether you believed aborted babies would go to heaven but you gave me an equivocal answer to this question. Perhaps this is because you believe that heaven is reserved for those who have been “reborn.” That is what some of your pro-life allies believe. For all I know you expect aborted babies to spend eternity with me in Hell rather than with you in Heaven.
Instead, you explained that my being glad that aborted children might be destined for Heaven is like being glad that Dietrich Bonhoffer was hung on a meat hook so that he could enter heaven. Russ, I don’t think either of us is confused by the difference between a brutal death and the hope for a heavenly afterlife.

At the end of your letter you offered me blessings and I thank you. If I can’t have your God’s blessing I’ll be happy to accept yours.Sincerely,
Harry Welty

I’m going to Hell

I’ve been cooresponding with Russ Young. He recently demanded that I correct a ten month old entry in my website. That entry was a reply I’d sent to a local newspaper regarding a column that Russ had written condemning pro choice people like me.

I was about to correct my website when I began pondering his warning to me that I was sitting under the “wrath of God.” So I asked him what he meant.

He was not optimistic for my future unless I adopted his or, I should say, God’s ways. When I fix my website I will post all of our coorespondence.

Until then here’s my reply:

Rev Young,
  We began our email exchange with questions regarding life, babies and abortion. I will return to these subjects in a few days but only after commenting on the biblical foundation which supports your arguments.
  According to your interpretation of the Bible and the verses you have chosen I face a grim afterlife. Not everyone has the courage to tell others that they are doomed so I thank you for your warning and your forthrightness. Christ told his disciples to spread “the word” throughout the world and you are following his example. I will try to be just as candid.

  Assuming for the sake of argument that your interpretation of the Bible is correct I find little to love in the God you worship. I will not worship a God who torments kind and generous people through eternity. If it is true that I am complicit in the murder of innocents my fate may be deserved but according to your faith God will also mete out eternal suffering to pro-lifers who have chosen not to worship him.
  In addition to Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, pro-life or otherwise, Hell must be full of other luminaries of indeterminate religiosity like Gandhi, Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. The later, who seems to have outgrown his youthful atheism often talked about God while he confronted the Civil War but he still skipped church services.

  It doesn’t seem right that people such as these would have to share the same fate as Stalin, Hitler and Mao. It is particularly irksome that this fate has been dealt us by a creator who gave us intellects (in his own image I presume) powerful enough to second guess his Bible. Worse yet, God has sown the universe with so much evidence that undermines the stories in Genesis that it positively invites the curious to fill in the blanks. I suppose Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin are also writhing in Hell for challenging the Bible’s literal truths. Its too bad God didnt personally intervene with them as he did with the Patriarchs. God wrestled with Jacob and he spoke to Moses as a burning bush but for me God only sent Russ Young who merely burns with conviction.

  Had I been a disciple of Christ I would have been Thomas for I too would have required proof of his resurrection. And yet, even though I have never touched Christ’s wounds, I am sufficiently impressed with his teachings that I have tried to make them mine. When Jesus tells us to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” Mat 10:16, RSV; I rejoice in his wisdom.

  Russ Young’s God will almost certainly sentence my sister the Buddhist, my Mother the doubter, and my son the religiously indifferent, to eternal agony. This cruelty seems at odds with Jesus’s instruction to love one’s neighbor. And yet Russ, if I am to believe you, it will be Jesus himself sitting on the right hand of God who casts down this judgment as though he were no better than a guard at Auschwitz directing Jews to the crematoria.
  It is possible that I am missing some exculpatory information which might put your wrathful God in a better light. Until I can learn what this evidence might be I will resign myself to spending a hellish eternity with the people I love and respect. While I am there I’m sure to bump into Pastor Bond. My heretical old minister once told me that his God was so merciful that if he saw people suffering in Hell he would go there to rescue them. I could worship his God.

Harry Welty
An agnostic in the Church Choir

&$#@*&% Computer problems

Among the problems that have cropped up I’ve lost my navigation system on my primary website This means that on the thousands of pages I’ve put on it over the years all of them have lost the bar on the left hand side that took you to the pages under them. Its Christmas so I don’t want to take the time to fix it as it could require a day and, depending on what caused it, the navigation might come undone again. Oh well.

Oh yeah, and my computer died

I don’t know what caused it by my computer crashed a day ago and took all my old email and everything that I had organized on my desktop. I seem to have all the desktop files except that they are all hiding from me and having them, no matter where they are is a blessing but I’ve lot hundreds of email addresses and a great many emails that I had been keeping.

Somehow the navigation of my snowbizz website crashed too but I don’t know if that was a seperate calamity of just one more sign of God’s judgement against me. The several hundred links to various websites I’d set up over the years as favorites have also disappeared. My computing will be slower now just as my compter seems to be slower. I’ve restored the virus blocker and the firewall but I have the sneaking suspicion that something unwelcome has crept into my computer.  Maybe its Hubert’s ghost.



Master of the Senate

I finally finished Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate and not a moment too soon. I began it last Spring but set it aside to campaign. I read a bit of it on our trip to Denmark but at a thousand fifty pages of small print and with my slow methodical reading pace it was taking forever.

A week ago I told Don Boyd that I needed to finish the last hundred pages before I finally resumed reading his 700 page tome but’ in fact’ I had over 200 pages left to read. Well, I finally got the job done.

The book gave me more insights into the ambitious people who become slaves to their desire for political advancement. HHH who is one such figure was an important figure in Caro’s book just as he is in Don Boyd’s.

I rebuffed Don a week ago when he asked to have a cup of coffee because I felt embarassed that I kept putting off reading his work. In the next couple days I hope to wade into it with the same doggedness that helped me finish Caro.

LBJ may have been the “master of the Senate” but after HHH’s death the historians of America listed Hubert as the second most important Senator in US History. To help make better sense of him I got on the Internet a week ago and ordered half a dozen books on Humphrey. Most of them have arrived and I’m looking forward to digging into this little research project. I wish I had some super skills like the Heroes I’ve been watching or like Harry Potter. Then maybe my reasearch would go more quickly.


We can no go back to Harry Potter.

I’ve been rereading the Harry Potter series out loud to Claudia. I’ve read them all outloud as they were published starting with the first one but in preparation for the final book in the series I started up again to make sure Claudia and I both don’t forget what all has happened. That evening entertainment ended a couple weeks ago when we happened to watch our daughter’s favorite new show Heroes.

NBC happened to have two of the episodes back to back the tenth and eleventh in the series. “Save the Cheer leader save the world.” That is the line that my daughter repeated when she was up for Thanksgiving. So much had happened leading up to the last two episodes that we were both quite confused. Claudia happened to mention that all the episodes could be watched on NBC so we watched the firsta two to make sense of the last two we’d seen. Watching them hooked us.

Tonight, after getting up to date each evening for the past week we saw episodes 9 and rewatched the tenth again so that it would make sense. It appears we will have to wait until January 22 to see the twelfth episode. Sylar is a really bad guy kind of like Voldmort. We like our bad guys to be irredeemable.


Greenwood Township results are finally in

My wife spoke to an Iron Range voter to told her a funny story while we were in the Twin Cities today. Apparently this Ranger’s wife voted for me in Greenwood Township. When the vote totals were announced it was reported that I got zero votes. She went and raised hell with the County and they recounted the township votes. They found five votes for me. Because Greenwood is in the Iron Range you can be sure it was Democrats who were doing all the counting.

So, I that pushes my vote total up to 5,513. I wonder what it would be if we recounted every precinct in the District?

Bush vs Bush

Years ago when the current President was still out of control his father had him talk to Billy Grahm to help straighten him out.

As President the junior Bush made a point of saying that he listened to his Father…the one in heaven implying that he wasn’t inclined to pay any heed to his own Father’s advice. Now, many people are pointing to the Iraq Study Group as the latest intervention by the elder Bush to help his struggling Son.

Yesterday the former President broke up repeatedly in talking about the honor of his son – Florida Governor Jeb Bush. 

Andrew Sullivan speculates that it is because the former President is grateful to have at least one son who wh is living up to the high standards the elder Bush would like, or would have liked, both his sons to live up to.

More fencing with Vic

Vic keeps needling me by sending me links to articles he thinks will get under my skin.

He sent one today with nothing more than a link to this page. Its about a scientist debunking the media “hysteria” over global warming. You can see from my reply to Vic that I wasn’t overawed.


Researcher Demmings anecdotes are interesting. If the warming nuts have indeed
succeeded in sweeping the medaevil warming out of their results and projections
it is damnable. I wish Demming had named names. I couldn’t help but wonder if
he’s a researcher who has been bought out by the corporations funding the NCPA
who put bread and butter on his table much as the tobacco companies found
scientists to downplay the danger of tobacco to health. Could Demming be a kept

Today there was a story in the Trib about the loss of sea grasses and a story on
NPR about the loss of plant life in the oceans which has been documented by
satelite photos over the last decade which confirm that the oceans are getting
which has coincided with the warming of the surface. One consequence of
this change is the increasing acidification of the waters which threatens
corals. This warming also undermines fish stocks at a time when we are
increasingly able to seign more fish from the ocean.

Although it was left unstated in the NPR story I thought about how the ocean
surface composes 2/3rds of the Earth’s surface. I wondered what percentage of
Earth’s overall plant biomass the oceans acount for and then wondered how much
less sequestering of CO2 resulted from the loss of this photosynthesis. The less
sequestering the more global warming.

I hope my curiosity isn’t enabling the media hysteria.



Delaying action

I’ve just sent the following email to Russ Young under the subject heading “Some answers are required.”

Rev. Young, I’ve just sat down to think through my reply to you but before I do I’d like you to elaborate on your last paragraph where you said: “Harry, as you now sit, you are under the wrath of God, but if you turn from your own way and seek God, it may be that he will show you mercy and yet bring you into his kingdom, and into his arms. That is my prayer for you.” 

I would like to have a better idea what the consequences are for me for sitting “under the wrath of God.”  Does this simply mean that I will be excluded from Heaven or does this also mean I will be condemned to an eternity of suffering in Hell? Or will the wrath take other forms?  

I would also like to know whether this consequence would befall me because of my support for permitting some abortions, or because I am not a Christian. (I am an agnostic)


Harry Welty 



Fun with paranoia

Last night I was up till midnight again reading Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate. What a great book! Oh, I’m sorry. I think I’ve said that before.

Before going to bed I googled Billie Sol Estes and came up with a JFK assassination website which had lots of interesting information in it. I sent the site’s author an email inquiring about a mysterious news story I’d read in the late 1980’s about a man who had just claimed on his death bed that Lyndon Johnson had ordered another man’s murder. (Not JFK but someone else who was in a position to blackmail the President about his personal corruption)

Having just read Caro’s book the story seemed considerably more credible but my newspaper never followed the accusation up. This was in the days before the Internet or Google so the story just receded from view. Then last night after finding the site (one of many such JFK sites) I sent an inquiry about that mysterious old news story (along with a link to my web page about the Boyd Scandal) to the website’s author.

He wrote back this morning and said he would post my question on his site. He also invited me to send him a biography which he also offered to post for people who might have information about my research.

Here’s the email I just sent him.

Thank you John, After I sent you the email I realized that I probably saw the news story shortly after reading Robert Caro’s first book in 1984 or 85. The news story must have come out between 1985 and 1990. Caro’s book so impressed me with LBJ’s mania to be President and his ties to Brown and Root that it enhanced the credibility of the death bed confession I’m trying to locate. It was such a potent accusation – US Senator/President orders the murder of a political threat – that I could never understand why it was never followed up by our newspaper. I am a JFK conspiracy skeptic but I am open to serious research about the interesting little dust bunnies that history tried to sweep under the rug after JFK was murdered. Coincidentally, conspiracy enthusiast, Jim Fetzer, is a neighbor of mine but I’m non-plussed by his theory that Paul Wellstone’s charter plane was brought down by an electromagnetic pulse. In my opinion Fetzer’s work mostly serves to discredit other assassination researchers. I’m a local eccentric in Duluth, Minnesota. I’m an ex-liberal Republican (I’m still a liberal) who has failed to establish much of a political presence in our very Democratic oriented part of Blue State, Minnesota. I’m best known in town for my winter snow sculptures. I was a history teacher and served on the Duluth school board for eight years. I run for office promiscuously. I just ran a Quixotic race for Congress. It was my 12th campaign but my 5,508 votes were about 150,000 votes short of a victory. I was a columnist for our local tabloid the Reader Weekly and my columns and other miscellaneous stuff can be found with a little poking around on my Internet closet: I also blog every so often at Six months ago an interesting lead from another JFK website wetted my appetite to dig deeper into the 1973 Boyd Scandal which is closely tied to HHH. The new lead involved yet another long-forgotten Minnesota scandal from a decade earlier, 1963-64, that threatened my Father’s pension. My father was particularly chagrined about this at the time because he had been a fraud investigator for the Kansas State Insurance Commission prior to moving us to Minnesota. This time period coincided with LBJ protégé HHH’s, move from the Senate to the Vice Presidency when money would have been at a premium for the 64 presidential campaign. This earlier scandal involved a failed Minnesota insurance company (like the kind my Dad used to investigate) which managed Minnesota‘s state pensions. One of the company’s leaders threatened to expose the state’s Democratic party to charges of corruption (he never did) while another executive who was sent to prison later claimed to have information about the Kennedy Assassination. I don’t know where my research is headed but it is an interesting little cul de sac. Feel free to use this email as my biography. Harry Welty

“a correction is required”

I got this email the other day from our local columnist, the Rev. Young. Its subject heading was “a correction is required.” I emailed back and said that I would respond to it when I could find the time. I also told Rev. Young that I never received his letter and that no one brought a subsequent correction in the Duluth Budgeteer to my attention.

Dear Harry, 

It was brought to my attention that you were still running your response, “A mass murderer replies,” to one of my columns on your site. I was a little surprised to see it yet, as I did write you back. A correction to your statement was even run in the Budgeteer. I had even copied Tom West with my response to you prior to your letter appearing in the Budgeteer. 

In any event, here it is again, in case you have the courage to post it, and make an apparently long standing correction. Russ Young 

Here is the letter originally sent 2/4/06, three days after I received your note. Dear Harry, 

Thank you for taking the time to write. After considering all that you wrote, it seems much could be accomplished if your objections to the use of the term baby could be satisfied. I will offer some legitimate answers to your objections in hope that you may yet be persuaded. To begin with, it is of note that female ovum are the largest cells humans produce. They are the only single cells which are viewable to the naked eye, and never microscopic. Upon fertilization they at once contain all the basic building blocks that define human life. Our entire biological, and genetic make up is present at conception. It remains unchanged in content from that moment all through the life span of an adult. In a very real sense the only biological difference between babies you hold in your arms and an adult is their physical size. The same is true for a fertilized egg and a newborn. In each case one is simply at a different maturational stage than the other. 

To say that a newly conceived life “is little more than DNA with no differentiated cells let alone a heart or a brain.,” only underscores your own heart condition, and indifference to what you hold as human life. Even those who are seeking to increase chemical abortions, and therefore push the killing process back as close to conception as possible, recognize that what is being terminated is a baby. Plan B and RU 486, though differing in their means, both seek to end pregnancy. All one has to do is ask “If a woman is pregnant, what is she pregnant with?” The answer is not undifferentiated DNA. The answer is always a baby. It is part of the deceit of abortionists to diminish the reality of what they are doing, by trying to deflect away from that reality, to refer to babies by other terminology to obfuscate and confuse the issues. The use of “fetus,” is a perfect example of this. Fetus is Latin for “little one,” in others words a baby. In an effort to deflect the reality of what the abortionist is doing, they have reverted to a Latin term to dehumanize that which is human. 

Finally, every expectant mother almost immediately begins to refer to her child in the womb as a baby. A local OBGYN (Scott Johnson) has said that in all his years of practice he never heard a mother refer to her unborn child as a fetus. Therefore, while the term “baby” is not a technical term, it is however, perfectly legitimate to refer to babies in utero, no matter at what point in a woman’s pregnancy. If it is “charged” to say “baby,” it is only because your soul recognizes the truth that babies are dying from abortions, not because of any misrepresentation. Your letter makes no recognition of surgical abortion, and how it is regularly practiced. It would be very profitable for you to go the Building for Women, and ask to watch the abortions. What you would find is that the abortionist carefully works to account for all the parts of the child he is removing. To do so they lay out all the arms, legs, heads and other body parts. These are all well enough formed to be recognizable by the time the vast majority of surgical abortions are done. As they remove the baby, their tiny limbs are set out on a table to make sure it is all there. They do so because, once killed, any remaining parts will cause an infection in the mother, if left to decay in her womb. 

It is another piece of misinformation abortionists use, to deflect from the reality of their trade, they suggest that what is being killed is only a blob of cells. A baby’s heart begins beating at least by the 8th week, and the brain has already begun functioning as well by the time almost all 1st term abortions are performed. Again, these are the most prevalent time frame for abortions, between 8 – 12 weeks. To perform them, the babies are burned out with strong salt solutions which act like acid on the baby’s skin, they are vacuumed out by a suction machine, or just pulled out by surgical tongs. These are the realities of 1st term abortions. The later an abortion is performed, the more gruesome the procedure. Your letter only seems to think of abortion in terms of chemical abortions. Do you presume to make your DNA analogy when a partial “birth” abortion is performed? 

As for your theology, it apparently is a pragmatic as your biology, and holds the same pitfalls. Are you really suggesting that if one believes that all aborted souls go to heaven that we should rejoice in their murder? I believe Dietrich Bonhoffer went to heaven when he was murdered by Hitler, being stripped naked and then hung by a piano wire. Should I rejoice at that? Yes, I can rejoice that he entered Paradise and that his suffering ended. But I am horrified that another could act so barbarously. Were the men who committed this atrocity better off for having done so because Bonhoffer’s soul was saved? 

Harry, you are badly mistaken about the implications of such thinking. That you could be happy for the loss of so many who will never be held in their mother’s arms is a tragedy. The ends do not justify the means. Hitler wanted to make a master race: that doesn’t sound so bad. But his plan entailed the systematic murder of millions that did not fit his picture of what he wanted. Your rationale opens the door to the very same kinds of abuse that others have made who make decisions for pragmatic reasons alone.  The road is wide that leads to destruction, but the way that leads to life is narrow. I hope you will see your error and turn away from it, and turn to God before it is too late. 

Through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, it is possible to know if we have souls. More so, it is possible to know where we are headed in eternity. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him,” (John 3:36). Harry, as you now sit, you are under the wrath of God, but if you turn from your own way and seek God, it may be that he will show you mercy and yet bring you into his kingdom, and into his arms. That is my prayer for you. 

Blessings,  Russ Young   



Giving up the Reader

I told the new editor of the Reader Weekly that I would resume writing for them last week. I began a column on “Initial Politics” which was about LBJ, JFK, RFK and HHH. But after hammering out a rough draft I choked at the thought of spending a day to polish it up for publication.

My blogging is also being neglected because it too is a distraction for a project that sorely needs my attention. I want to get back to the story of the Boyd Scandal and to do it any kind of justice means that I’ll need to put 30 or more hours a week into it on a more or less regular basis for a year or two. Stopping for a day every other week to write a column demands too much time.

I’ve got other priorities, church choir practice, reading news for the blind, serving at the soup kitchen, trying to figure out how to raise money for the Duluth School Endowment. Something has to give so I decided it had to be the Reader, and dependable blogging - at least for the time being.

Oh, the blog isn’t done for yet. Who knows what will come? I’m even holding off on closing out my PO Box and bank account for my Congressional Campaign. I’m not ready to burn my bridges. Even the Duluth City Council is starting to look interesting. Poor Claudia. Please don’t tell her.


This past week I’ve been soaking in the politics of my distant youth. Part of this is research on the political climate leading up to the UGRLC scandal which I plan to resume writing about, but part of it has also a welcome change from the distraction of campaigning for Congress.

After plowing through a dozen old Discover magazines that had been collecting dust I read another couple hundred pages of “Master of the Senate.” I was up past midnight the last two nights reading it. What a great book about LBJ! I plan on spending some time with it today as well.

I also watched one excellent bit of television this week – PBS’s American Experience. Its program on Bobby Kennedy gave me a new apppreciation him. I was just a teenager when he challenged LBJ and I’ve carried my prejudices against him ever since. At the time I shared the common view of college whitebreads towards him; that he was simply taking advantage of Gene McCarthy’s courage and unexpected success in taking on LBJ. I also appreciated what David Brooks had to say about RFK in his recent column.

There is a  new hagiographic movie about Kennedy, Bobby, which is out in theaters now. I’m not sure I’ll rush to see it. Its about 22 characters each of which, in one way or another, is caught up in RFK’s campaign and with him on the night of his assassination. I have my own memory from that night.

My father was a real political junkie so everyone in my family watched the California returns after the news that night. We had an Ethiopian foreign student living with us that year. He was probably caught up under the Kennedy spell. Bedru kept watching the news coverage from California after the rest of us turned in for bed. He was alone when the assassination was reported live. He stayed up till the television went off the air around midnight then turned off the lights and came to bed without waking us.