It was a five-star evening with great friends, profound speech, wine, music, laughter and fine food at the Bellevue Club for our seventh LLDF Banquet on Saturday, November 11.
Before getting started with the dinner itself, our excellent pianist, Anika Zimmer, played, while guests were greeted and hors d’oeuvres passed. Meanwhile, our illustrious speaker, Wesley Smith, just back from speaking at a Canadian medical conference, personalized copies of his book, Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder (available from LLDF for a $25 donation). His next book, Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America (contact LLDF for advance copy info), will be out shortly.
Colonel Ron Maxson, who inspired the founding of LLDF, was asked to represent our valiant veterans and lead the pledge of allegiance on this Veterans’ Day evening. Gracing the head table was our elegant hostess, Bellevue Club member Virginia Sanseau. We are so grateful to her for sharing this marvelous location, overlooking Lake Merritt. Joining her were the speaker, Wesley Smith, John and Kathi Hamlon of the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, Advisory Board Member Dr. Raymond Dennehy, renowned pro-life speaker, professor and writer, with his lovely wife, Maryann, and LLDF President John R. Streett, Esq., and his loyal and obedient wife, Mimi.
This glittering evening was brightened with LLDF Board Directors Steve Lopez, Terry Thompson, Tony Wynne, and Executive Director Dana Cody and Doug, her husband and on-site photographer. Also in attendance were Kelly Connelly, Anne Starr, and John and Darlene O’Rourke, without whose efforts and talents Lifeline would not be possible.
Dana’s presentation of the LLDF Year in Review was notable for its listing of several “wins for life.” Dana also reluctantly surrendered the beautiful Thomas Kinkade painting “Chapel of Light,” which had been in her keeping for several weeks. The painting, donated to LLDF by Lightpost Publishing, was won by John Leahy of Virginia, the top bidder in our silent auction.
Terry Thompson won the millenium year Attorney of the Year award, presented by LLDF Legal Director Katie Short. A surprised Terry was cheered by his glowing wife Dee, and former Attorney of the Year winners Janie Siess and Richard Katerndahl. A belated toast is offered to Jim and Judy Barrett of Chateau Montelena Winery, David O’Reilly of Sineann Winery and Caymus Winery, who donated wine for the dinner.
John Street introduced the main speaker of the evening, author Wesley Smith, everyone was awed by Mr. Smith’s thought-provoking and incisive discourse on euthanasia and moved by the compassion he shows towards suffering and defenseless people in our utilitarian society. In a genuinely poignant moment, he turned to Robert Wendland’s attorney, Janie Siess, and said: “Janie, you saved a life in a ‘case which couldn’t be won.’”
Mr. Smith gave numerous examples of worldwide acceleration of acceptance of the culture of death and articulated how it is being defended and propounded by self-styled “bioethicists.” Despite their adherence to ideologies antithetic to the sanctity of human life and defiantly at variance with what most people think to be moral, these “experts” direct and shape the policies being used to deny life-saving medical care. Notable bioethicists are arguing a “higher moral good” of harvesting organs from “them,” (i.e., those persons with special needs) so that they can be used by “us” (i.e., people who don’t). Some have gone so far as to assert a “moral’’ right for parents to destroy a child within the first 28 days after the child is born. These utilitarian policies are being used by hospital ethics committees to define a standard of care that will be very difficult, if not impossible, to litigate. Likening our current situation to the intellectual and moral climate presaging the rise of National Socialism in the 1930s, he called upon us as pro-lifers to embrace the cause against euthanasia because it is the same fight as that against abortion—we can only stop abortion and euthanasia by restoring the respect for human life that has been destroyed by selfishly motivated philosophy of separating “them” from “us.”
Rev. Larry Goode closed the dinner with a prayer, indicating how inspired he was by the evening’s message. All of us were moved and strengthened and challenged to continue the fight for life in the coming year.