Observations of an Irishman: Lessons from Alder Hey Hospital and the fight for Alfie Evans

Today, media and social media are filled with shiny irrelevant objects that catch our attention and spur lively “debates.” We talk about Stormy Daniels, listen to an FBI director hawk a book about “honor,” celebrate the Royal wedding and discuss who is and is not invited.

Can we have a discussion about something more meaningful?

There is a major story in the UK that is only now starting to get mainstream attention and it affects everyone in America and around the world. It is the account of young Alfie Evans who is fighting for his life. I want to tell you why this matters and what everyone in America can learn from it.

Who Is Alfie?

You may remember the tragic saga of Charlie Gard who we lost last year. Alfie Evans is in a very similar situation, and if we do nothing, we will also lose him.

Alfie is the baby boy of Tom Evans (21) and Kate James (20). Over his first few months on this planet, young Alfie missed several key developmental milestones. After catching a chest infection, he was admitted to Alder Hey Hospital in December 2016 and sadly has never left. To this day, doctors have not diagnosed him with any illness (apart from saying he has severe brain damage), and now want to want to remove his life support machines because it is supposedly "unfair" on Alfie.

Photo credit: Thomas Evans

The Pope has gotten involved several times, pleading for Alfie's life and there is an open offer from the Vatican-linked Bambino Hospital in Rome to care for and to try to diagnose him. But the hospital refuses to release Alfie. Earlier this week, Italy officially gave Alfie Italian citizenship, but this changed nothing. His parents have gone to every court possible, starting with local courts and all the way to the European Courts to fight for Alfie's right to life, but at every juncture, they have sided with the doctors and Alder Hey.

There are countless issues and principles to be discussed, including:

  • Is life precious?
  • Is life worth fighting for?
  • Parental rights?
  • Socialized medicine
  • How doctors and judges are NOT GODS
  • Why doesn't the media care?

I have been following these events very closely for several weeks, and on Monday, I traveled to Liverpool for the day to find the truth. Here is what I learned.

Shocking Absence

I arrived at Alder Hey around 10 am, and found a group of people playing music off a portable speaker, which was connected to an iPhone (or iPod), and singing along in the park beside the hospital. Among the popular songs played throughout the day was "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias and "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner. The group used famous chants and songs and adapted the words to include Alfie.

Behind the group were several banners and posters of support for Alfie, including a tall picture of Jesus with the words, “I stand with you.”

Where are the Protestant pastors? Where are any religious leaders? Why are they silent?

I am a quiet and reserved person at the best of times, so I stayed quiet, respectful and simply observed. This did not last long. A gentleman came up to me and asked if I was a priest (I wear a cross a lot), and I told him I was not a priest but that I do my best to share the word as a Christian. This started several conversations with a common question no one knew the answer to --- where are the Catholic priests? The Pope spoke out for Alfie --- where are they? Where are the Protestant pastors? Where are any religious leaders? Why are they silent?

Every time I heard this comment, one phrase kept repeating in my mind: “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”

Photo credit: Thomas Evans

When you research the account of Alfie, I hope you realize the magnitude of work we must do to fix our broken society. If you are reading this and are a Christian, I really hope you understand why we must lead by example and get OUR HOUSE in order. We can rightly point blame at others, including doctors, judges, laws or socialism, but where are the leaders of the Church stepping up to make a difference and be the leaders? Remember we are told in scriptures to worry about the log in our eye before worrying about the speck in another’s eye.

Media Bias

The media is something to behold when you see them up close. It was clear from looking at them, they had an agenda and that agenda had little to do with standing up to this injustice. Sadly, pro-life issues don’t equal ratings, and this is a reflection of our society. A small scattering of media --- nothing compared to the press camped outside another hospital waiting on the birth of a prince --- were there to do the bare minimum and wait for something “news-worthy” to report.

Sadly, they got what they wanted on Monday.

The people protesting are very passionate and care deeply about Alfie and his family. I believe they are there are many reasons --- in part because they want justice, in part because they know politicians have forgotten about them and don’t care about them so they are rallying around as a community, but also because they know this could happen to any of them or their children and they know they would not want to be alone.

We were told by the family Alfie's life support machines were going to be turned off at 1:30 pm. People were filled with emotions ranging from hurt, despair, frustration and anger that this was actually going to happen. With a minute to go, they felt they were out of options and I heard someone near me say, "we have to do something" --- ever hear that argument before? "Let's run and storm the hospital."

As soon as this started, a quiet media went into over-drive, took their pictures and videos and started typing their stories, highlighting how these people charged the hospital. After reading many reports online, it is clear those there did not see, did not care or just ignored the facts.

Roughly half of the people protesting did not storm the hospital, but shouted loudly using colorful language to “come back,” “there are sick children in there.” I was alone, so I did not get recording right at the start, but I started a Facebook Live so we have the proof, which you can view here:

I am not defending the decision to storm the hospital (it is not something I would do). Look at this video and ask yourself an honest question --- do the majority look like they are storming the beaches of Normandy, or more like following the crowd because a group decided it was a good idea to go to the hospital doors?

Hard Life Questions

This whole experience has been life-changing for me. I have despised politics for a long time. I am blessed with a weekly show on TheBlaze where my focus is based on eternal principles and trying to find self-evident truths. People in America and around the world spend so much time focused on politics, which for many includes supporting the answers their side is currently promoting, automatically assuming the other is wrong and then condemning them as stupid and evil.

Photo credit: Thomas Evans

If we continue on this path, we will dehumanize the individual to a point where we only see the humanity and show empathy to those who agree with us. This will lead to balkanization, sides will weaken, extremes will gain attention and eventually, a strong man will take charge. If you don’t believe this, take a journey through history.

On Monday I spent 12 plus hours with protestors outside Alder Hey standing for Alfie’s right to life. We did not discuss any politics, but if we did, I would have been shocked if even one person I met shared any of my principles when it comes to the size of government and basic economic issues. I am sure many who attended might have even openly described themselves as socialist, and I am sure some would have said they don’t like Donald Trump and America. If your priorities are helping a young baby for the fight for life, does any of this matter?

Yesterday, we stood together as one (despite our disagreements) to stand for a common uniting principle.

Yesterday, we stood together as one (despite our disagreements) to stand for a common uniting principle: Alfie Evans and his parents' right to decide what is best for their children, their right to a second opinion and to seek additional treatment. These are all eternal principles. Imagine what we could achieve if we stopped looking for the Right-wing or Left-wing principles and focused entirely on basic human principles or the principles of nature’s law.

Or, we can continue to have teams, see everyone who has a different opinion as the enemy and seek to destroy them --- and then we ALL lose.

It Could Never Happen in America

This story should be a wakeup call for everyone, because it can and will happen anywhere, including America. If you know anything about me, I hope you know how much I love America. That being said, sometimes some people have an arrogance that thinks America is different, and that things like that could never happen. Please do not believe this line.

The situation in America is very similar to the UK, and BOTH parties are to blame. The government has been expanding into your health care for decades now with George W. Bush expanding Medicare, Obama introducing Obamacare and now, the GOP running on repeal and doing nothing. You combine this with a $21 TRILLION (as in $21,000,000,000,000) national debt, Congress's refusal to enforce basic budging principles like a balanced budget amendment, and judges ruling more and more with the side of government. This is the path both parties have put you on and if you don’t act soon, these stories could and will start happening in America.

Helping Alfie

If you are touched by this and want to help, please see below ways you can help:

  • If you are a person of faith, please pray for young Alfie, for his family and that doctors and judges see the error of their ways. We have witnessed a MIRACLE already. Doctors said when Alfie’s life support was switched off he would only survive a few minutes --- here we are nearly 48 hours later and Alfie is still fighting.
  • Please do your own homework and share it with as many people as possible. We need as many eyes and ears on this as possible to touch hearts. (Here is an 8-minute fact-based audio clip on the subject.)
  • Lastly, if you are in a position to financially help the family, please consider making a donation right now.

Keep the prayers coming, let's hope this miracle is the spark to make a change and turn the world to the side of life.

Jonathon Dunne is an Irishman with a lifelong dream of becoming an American citizen. After waiting for over 13 years, Dunne received a job offer from Glenn Beck so he could achieve his dream, but unfortunately, he did not meet the requirements to apply for a visa. Unless laws change or Dunne decides to break the law (he won't), his American dream is dead. Despite this setback, he still loves America and seeks to be a positive influence on society by promoting the idea of America and God-given freedoms. While on a recent vacation, Dunne delivered sixteen presentations (for free) in eight different states across the U.S. During this time, he kept notes and we asked him to share some of his experiences. As you read the column below, imagine the words are being spoken in a thick, Irish accent. If you're having trouble imagining how that sounds, you can hear it for yourself by tuning into Dunne's free weekly podcast, "Freedom's Disciple," on TheBlaze Radio, available on SoundCloud, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Google Pla

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.