Helen Weir
July 29, 2009
Why the birth certificate?
By Helen Weir

"German men and women . . . Paragraph 21 of the Code of Penal Law is still valid. According to this, anyone who deliberately kills a man by premeditated act will be executed as a murderer." [1] Referencing existing German law specifically excluding the commission of euthanasia, Bishop Clemens von Galen thus reminded his countrymen, during the summer of 1941, that the ignominious hospital-based murders being perpetrated by the Third Reich were, in fact, illegal on the human level as well as the divine. In other words, what the Nazi-era doctors did to the handicapped, the elderly, and the otherwise "imperfect" among their own citizenry was actually against the law of the land.

This didn't matter in the long run because Hitler and his brown-shirted cabal had appropriated the authority to determine what would and would not be allowed, regardless of statutory provision or prohibition. If legal parameters happened to support Nazi conclusions, well and good; if not, they were cast aside as heedlessly as the corpse of a slaughtered Jew. As it became popular in Nazi Germany to believe, "It is not your job to determine if something is true, but if it is in the spirit of National Socialism." Isn't this how Sonia Sotomayor essentially understands her own job description — substituting "Obama-esque" Socialism for "National," of course?

Last week, Lou Dobbs called widespread attention to de facto President Obama's lingering lack of supporting documentation for something as basic as his very status as an American citizen. Why this wasn't done (not by Dobbs but by, say, the relevant federal authorities) a long time ago (for example, before Obama's name was permitted to be printed on any presidential ballot whatsoever) remains a mystery. Like a mole that has lately altered in color and shape, it may not seem like much, but of what invisible internal processes is such "change" ominously symptomatic?

The status questionis seems to be that there are some people — the vast majority of the denizens of the civilized world, the sane people, the right-thinking people, if mainstream media characterization from both the right and the left is to be believed — who have declared definitively, on their own authority evidently, that Obama-Soetoro was born in Hawaii. Then there are the other people — the denigrating, vitriolic, Streicher-like, and frankly deranged descriptions of whom will be intentionally omitted here — claiming virtual certainty that he was born in Kenya.

The problem with this false dichotomy is that — apart from Obama himself and perhaps a handful of other people — nobody actually knows anything. Our Commander-in-Chief and his army of well-paid attorneys have, so far, seen to that. The real division, then, is between those who believe that the American public (not to mention the Federal Elections Commission) has a right to know, and those who do not. It is between those who believe that this particular individual is as subject to constitutional stipulations as is any other citizen, actual or aspiring, and those who hold that, for unspecified and perhaps unspecifiable reasons, he is not.

What else are we to make of wild-eyed assertions like that of left-leaning talk show host Steven Collins who alleged that those demanding production of Obama's long-form birth certificate (and/or his baptismal records, financial aid statements, passport, comic strip from his most recently-chewed chunk of Bazooka bubble gum, or just about anything) are actually attempting to "reduce the greatness of his purity as a person who is serving this nation." [2] Excuse me, but what is that supposed to mean? And do you really think that there are people out there with nothing better to do than to "reduce the greatness of the purity of Obama's person" — during a recession, no less? The real question underlying the commendable and necessary "Where's the Birth Certificate" campaign is: If Barack Obama does happen to turn out to be a natural born citizen, then why isn't he subject to the same constitutional and legal requirements as the rest of us?

Here is something quite serious, and it didn't originate with Obama, to be sure. During the administration of Bush 43, for example, we saw the "non-birther," "pro-choice-about-the-equitable-application-of-the-law" mentality egregiously on worldwide display as Judge George Greer pitilessly put Terri Schindler-Schiavo to death by starvation and dehydration — a method most favored by Nazi executioners, and most feared among their innumerable targets for its prolonged brutality. Schindler family attorney Pat Anderson even gave this societal dynamic a name, dubbing it "the Rule of Terri." As she observed firsthand, if "it will help her to die, then we definitely observe every nicety in the rule or the statute or the case law. If it will impede her death, we will ignore it completely." [3]

One cannot help thinking in this regard of what Obama supporter Professor Gates allegedly spluttered at the unfortunate if conscientious Cambridge police officer who had the painful duty of interacting with him last week. So, officers would be well-advised not to "mess with" men of his ilk? Why not, precisely? Because Gates is officially (which means unofficially) Obama-affiliated, and therefore effectively beyond the reach of what was formerly known as "the law"? To the objective observer, it certainly sounded that way.

Last May, a priest who is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain made some stunning, if underreported, remarks. Addressing a plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Father Michel Schooyans, referring specifically to the person and policies of our nation's Chief Executive, not Al-Qaida, said, and I quote: "We are witnessing the emergence of a politico-legal terrorism without precedent in history." If you don't want to hear it again, skip ahead one sentence, because I am going to repeat what Father said: "We are witnessing the emergence of a politico-legal terrorism without precedent in history."

What does Father Schooyans mean by making such a staggering assertion — an assertion from which, by the way, certain of his confreres saw fit to distance themselves not on the grounds that it is untrue, but on the grounds that it was insufficiently diplomatic? Father elaborates:

    Henceforth the will of the President takes precedence. In his own words the President no longer has to refer to the moral and religious traditions of humanity. His will is the source of law. [4]

For this reason, Father concludes that the United States is "well on the way to totalitarianism," and in danger of dragging the rest of the world down the path of diabolical destruction, too.

Some people — whose reading of history is cursory and whose intellectual allegiance to the zeitgeist obsequious — believe that this type of exaltation of the human will constitutes the very essence of liberty. Nazism demonstrates this correlation — so they have been taught to think — because it sought to crush all forms of choice, and therefore, choice in all things, including matters of human life and death, is its quintessential opposite.

Not so.

The unfettering of the will from legal and moral constraints leads to the will's final obliteration, on both the individual and societal planes. "Choice," so defined, and the cattle cars packed with human cargo, are but two sides of the same coin, two stages of the identical ideological process. National Socialism "was a religion of the will — the will as an all-encompassing metaphysical principle," observed researcher Robert Jay Lifton in his book The Nazi Doctors.[5] In the beginning, in other words, the Nazis too were "pro-choice." The Germans of the mid-twentieth-century may not have been able to flip ahead to the end of the story, but we are. As then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger pointed out in 1991, "By allowing the rights of the weakest to be violated, the state also allows the law of force to prevail over the force of law."[6]

Would we be correct in concluding, therefore, that Barack Obama is a Nazi? Of course not! Nazism was an identifiable cultural phenomenon, conquered militarily at the conclusion of the second World War and extinguished, Deo gratias, throughout worldwide society at present with the exception of some disconnected and nightmarish fringe groups. Nobody is saying that — wherever he was born — Obama belongs or has ever belonged to one of them. Father Schooyans was perfectly accurate in specifying that the Obama phenomenon is "without precedent in history."

That doesn't mean, however, that we can excuse ourselves from the task of learning from that dark episode what we can, if our cultural resolution "Never Again!" is to have any real traction. The point: you don't have to be a Nazi to commit anti-life atrocities, as many other episodes of human history have also tragically demonstrated. Even in Germany itself, people unaffiliated with the National Socialist Party took an active part in the slayings that have come to be known as the Holocaust, while history also records notable instances of Party members themselves refusing point blank to do so. It would be irrational indeed to conclude that genocidal eugenics, carried out by men in brown shirts, is morally wrong, while the same actions carried out by others magically become — how did Mr. Collins put it? — "great" and "pure."

Are we merely to ignore the fact that the very crimes denounced by Bishop von Galen are about to be implemented in America today — starting this very week, if Rahm Emanuel gets his way? The Obamacare bill, if passed (like the so-called stimulus package) without even being read by our elected representatives, let alone honestly and meticulously presented to the American people, would do for euthanasia what Roe v. Wade did for abortion. It will impose a crime against humanity upon every state in the Union, in utter disregard for the explicit statutory law of the vast majority of them.

Cost-benefit analysis — as advocated in the 1920 work "The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value" by Binding and Hoche,[7] identified at the Nuremberg Trials as the spark which inflamed the Holocaust itself — will replace Judeo-Christian morality and the founding documents of our country as the guiding principles of the American healthcare system. And this will be not only for the innocent unborn, this time, but for the elderly, the handicapped, the marginalized, the (if history is any indicator) politically incorrect — ultimately, for anyone whom those in power find a reason to want to dispatch (I believe that that is approximately how American judicial luminary Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently put it).[8] Once again, in the words of von Galen, which were photocopied clandestinely and airdropped extensively to escape the Nazi censors, countless people stand to be snuffed out "because in the opinion of some doctor, in the view of some committee, they are 'unworthy to live': because in their eyes they belong to the unproductive citizens. . . . None of us then will be sure of his life." [9]

In 1979, a sociologist published a book entitled Values and Violence in Auschwitz. Anna Pawelczynska wrote with some authority, having survived the most notorious of all concentration camps herself. The initial problem, in her opinion, was that the National Socialists were not — as most people at the time simply assumed — a political party legitimately exercising public authority. Rather, they were, or became, a criminal "group that proved its strength by taking command of the machinery of government." [10] There is a difference. The difference is found precisely in whether those in power consider themselves under the law, or above it.

Barack Obama, by his imperious refusal to submit to the provisions of the Constitution he (fumblingly) swore to uphold, is not only attempting to circumvent its specific natural-born-citizen-related provisions. He is simultaneously trying to manipulate the American people into public "acceptance of force as (our) supreme authority" (Pawelczynska, p. 18). Will we not, if he succeeds, find ourselves in a situation functionally identical to the one Pawelczynska experienced and described, in which "the possession of limitless power divided those who exercised it from those who were subject to it"? (p. 46)

When we hear, then, that Obama's appointees magically evade the ever-burgeoning burden of the Income Tax that the rest of us are forced to bear; that they seem to feel that policepersons are but peons, mere putty in their all-but-omnipotent hands; that members of Congress (not to mention the Executive Branch) will excuse themselves from the healthcare rationing system from which no average American will be allowed to escape; that Planned Parenthood continues to violate existing legal restrictions on the commission of abortion, like informed consent provisions and mandatory reporting of statutory rape with all but impunity (see, for example, the courageous investigative work of Lila Rose and a report by Dr. Patti Giebink, "Sious Falls Planned Parenthood Must Obey the Law," dakotavoice.com, July 27, 2009); then it's time for those among us still placidly insisting that "it can't happen here" to wake up and smell the Zyklon-B. And that, in short, is why Barack Obama must be legally compelled to produce his long-form birth certificate or its functional equivalent, whether it turns out that he emerged from the womb in Honolulu or anywhere else.


[1]  Sunday, August 3, 1941, Sermon of Bishop Clemens von Galen, in The Bishop and the Nazis: The Documents in the Case, trans. and ed. Patrick Smith (London: Burns Oates, 1943), pp. 41.

[2]  Quoted in "Right Wing U.S. conspiracists question Obama's birth certificate" by Leonard Doyle, www.telegraph.co.uk, July 25, 2009.

[3]  Quoted in Lynne, Diana, Terri's Story: The Court-Ordered Death of an American Woman (Nashville: WND Books, 2005), p. 83

[4]  Quoted in "Priest tells Vatican academy Obama's policies lead to totalitarianism" by Carol Glatz, www.catholicnews.com, May 11, 2009

[5]  Lifton, Robert Jay, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. (New York: Basic, 1986), p. 16

[6]  Ratzinger, Joseph. "The Problem of Threats to Human Life." Address to the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals, in L'Osservatore Romano, no. 14, April, 1991, pp. 2-4.

[7]  English translation copyright 1975 by Robert L. Sassone

[8]  "Ginsburg: I thought Roe was to rid undesirables," WND.com, July 8, 2009.

[9]  August 3, 1941 sermon of Bishop Clemens von Galen, in The Bishop of Mόnster and the Nazis: The Documents in the Case, trans. and ed. Patrick Smith (London: Burns Oates, 1943), pp. 43-4

[10]  Pawelczynska, Anna. Values and Violence in Auschwitz: A Sociological Analysis, trans. Catherine S. Leach (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), p. 8.

© Helen Weir


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Helen Weir

Helen is a freelance writer based in western Wisconsin. (Her works have also appeared under her former name of Helen Valois.) She is a member of the Militia Immaculatae movement of Marian consecration founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe.


Receive future articles by Helen Weir: Click here

More by this author