Sunday, February 28, 2010

Watching a Nation Commit Suicide

As a result of legalized euthanasia in the Netherlands over 2300 people are now reported as having been killed by doctors each year. The number rose by 10% last year and is expected to rise again. No one knows how many people actually die in unreported cases. You might think that euthanasia campaigners, having attained their goal of people facing "unbearable suffering" with "no prospect for improvement" being able to choose to die, they would be happy. But of course, they are not - because it is not about suffering people choosing to die sooner rather than later. That was just a talking point to get the public to allow pro-euthanasia legislation to be adopted in the first place. But it was just a wedge, not the endgame.

Now, pro-death activists are calling for legalized euthanasia for anyone over 70 years of age who is just tired of living. Radio Netherlands reports:
"All Dutch people over 70 who feel tired of life should have the right to professional help in ending it, demands a citizens' initiative in the Netherlands called Out of Free Will. It will start collecting signatures on Tuesday in support of this proposed change in Dutch legislation, hoping to place the matter firmly on the parliamentarian agenda. A number of prominent Dutch citizens have come out in support of the initiative, including former ministers and artists, legal scholars and physicians. Under current Dutch law, euthanasia is only legal in cases of “hopeless and unbearable” suffering, which in practice means it is limited to those suffering from serious medical conditions and in considerable pain. Only doctors are allowed to assist in euthanasia. Helping somebody commit suicide who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the current euthanasia law is illegal. The Netherlands legalised euthanasia in 2001 and is one of the few countries in the world to have done so."
Here is how these pro-death activists envision it working:
"Out of Free Will does not only want to decriminalise these acts, it wants to found a new profession to assist those weary of life in ending it. The group has suggested this task be carried out by specially trained and certified nurses, psychologists or spiritual professionals who could verify the request for assisted suicide in a series of conversations with the patient. Only after a second healthcare professional has confirmed the patient’s death wish, would they be provided with lethal drugs. The same caretaker would finally supervise the patient as he takes them.

The group paints the following scenario: the specialists should ensure that the patient is of sound mind and that their request is explicit, logical and consistent. The assistants must make sure the death wish is more than a rash impulse, the product of depression or the symptom of another illness, and that the patient has considered the consequences of his actions for those who will survive him. Once the patient has taken his own life, the suicide assistant writes a report that can be reviewed by the municipal coroner. The case is then assessed by the regional euthanasia approval commission, which has already been instituted to oversee the application of the current Dutch euthanasia law."
No doctor has yet been prosecuted for breaking the rules under the 2001 legislation and it is unofficially acknowledged that a lot of "looking the other way" goes on. What we see here is the culture of death seeping into the public consciousness and taking possession of the collective mind of the people. Note this comment:
"Former minister and self-described feminist Hédy d’Ancona (72) said arguing for the right to choose one’s time of death was a natural extension of her lifelong battle for emancipation."
So the final act of rebellion and self-assertion against the Creator and Tradition and all the other boogey men that modernist like to conjure up is taking one's own life. Is it any wonder that the Scripture says that "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death?" (Prov. 14:12)

Modern Western culture is rooted in the assertion of the will of the autonomy of the individual. All else that is specifically modern flows from this - revolution, moral relativism, existentialism etc. What begins with "I think therefore I am" ends with "the will to power." The culture of death, we have to recognize is not an anomaly but the logical outgrowth of the assertion of the will of the individual as higher than natural law, higher than the king, higher than the Bible and higher than God. Yes, the individual can assert himself in this way, but the end result of the process is not life, joy and fulfillment, but rather, despair, fear and death.

If there ever was a society firmly in the grip of the Devil it is that society that believes in death as the answer. This is how the Devil operates. In the Garden, he said "You will not surely die." But Jesus Christ said: "Whoever believes in my shall not die but have eternal life."

When a country chooses to believe the lie, it finds that the slippery slope into a death-dealing, death-loving culture is the result. Strictly speaking, it is a matter of mass psychosis brought on by embracing a lie so long that one loses touch with reality. This is the condition of the Netherlands today. Abortion on demand is not enough. Euthanasia of the incurably ill is not enough. Euthanasia for depressed seniors will not be enough either. Next up is a debate on euthanizing sick infants. I suppose the next logical step might be to euthanize unwanted infants (those the mother changed her mind about too late for abortion or the handicapped.) Then there is the debate over euthanasia for the handicapped and the mentally ill. There is literally no end to the culture of death other than cultural suicide.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Unraveling Global Warming Scam

The Global Warming scam continues to unravel one thread at a time. Here are some links for those interested in keeping abreast of the scandal de jour.

1. The Times of London Online has an article by Ben Webster that rips into the University of East Anglia for attempting to mislead the Parliamentary investigation into the Climategate scandal at the Climate Research Unit at that university. It is entitled: "University 'tried to mislead MPs on Climate Change Emails." Ouch.

2. The blog, Watts Up With That, has an excellent post on the "Institute of Physics on Climategate." What is the Institute of Physics? Here is its website and here is what WUWT says about it:
"It is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of over 36,000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics."
And what it has to say to the UK Parliamentary Committee investigating Climategate could be described as blunt talk mixed with barely concealed contempt for sloppy advocacy science that gives real science a bad name. Double ouch.

3. Rajendra Pachauri, the embattled chief of the IPCC, has been the target of a lot of criticism lately. For example, see this Times Online article "UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri 'got grants through bogus claims'" from a few weeks ago. Despite calls for his resignation, he has steadfastly refused to do so. Now, the Daily Telegraph reports that Pachauri is to face the music in this article entitled: "IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri to face independent inquiry." It appears that even the UN is tiring of his act - Nobel Peace Prize or no Nobel Peace Prize. (Note: It was not a Nobel for science.) The Daily Telegraph article today by Christopher Brooker is entitled "A perfect storm is brewing for the IPCC."

4. The indispensable James Delingpole has an interesting blog post and article in The Spectator on "Post-Normal Science" and the role of Marxist philosopher Jerome R. Ravetz in popularizing it. Delingpole notes that without "Post-Normal Science" the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming scam might never have got off the ground.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why the Christian Church is not Authorized to Change the Traditional Understanding of Marriage

Something has happened in the past half century in North America that is far more rev olutionary than any Marxist-inspired uprising and of far greater importance to the future health and happiness of the human race than any other event or trend in our culture since the dissolution of the metaphysical realism that provided the intellectual foundation for the Christian culture of Medieval Europe during the fourteenth century.

In some important ways, the sexual revolution is the outworking of that intellectual shift that centered on the rise of nominalism, that is, the doctrine that there are no universals and that Divine laws are nothing more than arbitrary commands. The sexual revolution is a denial that there is a Divinely created order in the world to which we either must submit or against which we must rebel. The sexual revolution is the endpoint of an intellectual decline that we know as “Modernity.” This decline witnessed the loss of teleology, that is, the loss of the understanding that the human body (like everything else) has been created for a reason and understanding the purpose of the body is central to understanding sexual morality.

The Church of Jesus Christ does not have the authority to alter traditional doctrines concerning the nature of the human person, sexual morality and the nature of marriage because the Church did not create these doctrines in the first place. The Church is the creation of the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ; her role is to receive joyfully the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.

Part of the Gospel is the doctrine of original sin, which enables us to understand ourselves as rebellious sinners who have broken God’s law and come under God’s righteous wrath. Sin means rebellion against the Divine Logos inscribed in creation that is there because a gracious Creator has built it into His creation. The Church Fathers, the Medieval theologians and much of the continuing tradition both Roman Catholic and Protestant in the West has recognized the creation, including the human body, as part of God’s good creation and as being the work of the Logos, who is Jesus Christ. In Matthew 19, Jesus points to Genesis 1-2 To reject the meaning of creation inscribed in it by God is to join in the rebellion of modernity in which human beings regard nature as just so much raw material for the human will to modify, use and abuse as we humans see fit.

The moral law of God, as revealed in the Old Testament and re-affirmed clearly by our Lord and His apostles in the New Testament, teaches us the true meaning of the created order and, especially, of our bodies. The moral law coheres with the created order in such a way as to reinforce and interpret that created order with special revelation that leaves us in no doubt as to our responsibilities as human creatures. The Good News of the Gospel is that even though we have rebelled against God’s law and God’s created order, we can be forgiven and escape Divine judgment. But there is more: we also can experience transformation in our lives here and now as the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and fills us with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. This means that the moral law of God, which we find ourselves unable to keep in our own strength because of the enfeeblement of sin, can now be kept by the power of the Spirit.

The Gospel offers hope to fallen creatures – hope for forgiveness for past sins and hope for the overcoming of sin in the future as well. The Christian hope is that we will be enabled to experience the integrity of being at peace with God, with nature and with our own bodies. The Gospel is about sin and salvation, but it is also about the victorious, transformed life of sanctification. It is at once a call to holiness and a power for holy living. And that is good news!

Some today would have us give up the preaching of the Gospel of forgiveness and transformation in the name of inclusiveness and tolerance – those key words of the false gospel of the liberal Church. Liberal Christianity, which has lost its faith in the Christian doctrine of creation, has accepted the modern nominalist revolution and no longer views the human body as having been created by the wisdom of God for certain ends or purposes. This means that it can only view the body as raw material upon which the human will can work its own purposes as those purposes change over time. This leads to a rejection of the moral law of God and the natural law of creation – which are the same truths revealed in different ways – and it also leads to a denial of sin as the greatest problem facing human beings. Sin is redefined according to modern liberal concepts of tolerance and becomes a moving target – an evolving “common sense” or “tradition” of modern society as it evolves endlessly and purposelessly. The basic problem with modern, liberal Christianity, then, is that it denies that the human body is created for certain purposes – among them traditional, fruitful marriage between a man a woman – and it denies both the natural and the moral law as revealed in creation and Scripture.

Evangelicalism joins with conservative Protestants and Roman Catholics in affirming three things that are rejected by those who urge us to embrace the sexual revolution, with all its perversions, including homosexuality, divorce, fornication and cohabitation. These three thing are essential to the faith once delivered to the saints and cannot be abandoned by the Church except as the Church becomes sinful and rebellious.

First, we joyfully affirm the natural law of creation as clarified by the moral law of God in Scripture. We sadly admit that, although we are created in God’s image, we have fallen into sin and therefore we are in need of a Savior, of forgiveness and of salvation. As part of our fallen condition, we break the moral law of Scripture and the natural law of creation by using our bodies selfishly for pleasure instead of keeping them in holiness.

Second, we joyfully affirm the Good News that Jesus, the Divine Son of God, has come into the world to die for our sins and to provide forgiveness for sins by His atoning death on the cross. We preach Christ crucified and risen again to a world in need of salvation.

Third, we joyfully affirm that new life in the Spirit is given to all who repent of their sins and believe the Good News. Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and to be in Christ is to participate in eternal life and to experience progressively the holiness of God in our being. We are called to live lives of holiness by the power of the Spirit and to experience the joy of living according to the natural law of creation and the moral law of Scripture.

As Evangelicals we are part of the Christian Church and neither we ourselves nor the Church as a whole has the authority to reject either the natural law of creation or the moral law of Scripture in our natural desire to reach out in love to those who find themselves in the grip of homosexual or heterosexual temptation. We have been commissioned to preach the Gospel of grace through faith. Jesus says “Come unto me all you who are burdened and I will give your rest.” We, who have experienced this rest know that it consists not of indifference to sin or tolerance of sin, but the true rest of forgiveness of sin and the joy of holy living in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Scot McKnight on Brian McLaren

Here is a review of Brian McLaren's new book, A New Kind of Christianity, by Scot McKnight in Christianity Today. He begins with the following two sentences: "Brian McLaren has grown tired of evangelicalism. In turn, many evangelicals are wearied with Brian." He goes on to say: "If evangelicalism is characterized by David Bebbington's famous quadrilateral—that is, biblicism, crucicentrism, conversionism, and activism—then Brian has poked and, to one degree or another, criticized, deconstructed, and rejected each."

But, according to McKnight, McLaren is going much further in this book than simply challenging Evangelical distinctives. He is moving beyond orthodoxy itself. McKnight notes that McLaren has adopted an old way of reading the Bible, namely, the 19th century evolutionary approach of liberal Protestantism and then says:
"Reading the Bible through the lens of Jesus Christ is indeed the way to go. But to use Jesus against the God of Israel he worshiped and prayed to and loved and obeyed pits us against what Jesus himself is doing.

One must also ask the root question: How do we determine what is less or more "mature"?

In particular, the evolutionary theory of God contains another fatal flaw. It's not the fact that it was tried out in the 19th-century Religionsgeschichtliche Schule ("history of religion school") of Germany and has been shown inadequate (though it finds an occasional admirer in folks like Karen Armstrong). And it's not the fact that the category of "evolution" is about as modernistic and imperialistic of a category I can think of. No, the singular flaw is this: The flow of the Bible is not neat. It doesn't fit into an evolutionary scheme. There are as many mercy passages in the Old Testament as there are grace-and-love passages in the New. What's more, passages about God's grace stand side-by-side with passages about God's wrath (e.g., Hosea 1-3; Matt. 23-25). The evolutionary approach doesn't work because that's not how Scripture's narrative works. There is wrath in Revelation and there is covenant love in Genesis. And Jesus talks more about Abba and hell than does the rest of the Bible combined."

McKnight pulls no punches in this review and if this is what McLaren's friends think of his book, one wonders what those who have been suspicious of him all along will say. McKnight ends the review as follows:

"Alas, A New Kind of Christianity shows us that Brian, though he is now thinking more systemically, has fallen for an old school of thought. I read this book carefully, and I found nothing new. It may be new for Brian, but it's a rehash of ideas that grew into fruition with Adolf von Harnack and now find iterations in folks like Harvey Cox and Marcus Borg. For me, Brian's new kind of Christianity is quite old. And the problem is that it's not old enough."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rowan Williams and Tradition

This is kind of funny - hilarious actually: Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams (the pot) calling Zionism (the kettle) black. His reason for rejecting Christian Zionism is that it is - wait for it - a recent innovation!
"The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that the theology of Christian Zionism has no historical base and is a recent Protestant addition, according to Petra, the Jordanian state media agency.

Williams, who is on a four-day visit to Jordan, Israel and Palestine from Feb. 19-23, was reported by Petra as saying that the belief by some Protestants that the establishment of the Jewish state is a prerequisite for the return of Christ doesn't have a historical basis and only appeared as a result of "some biblical studies in the nineteenth century."
Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. Some Christian Zionists believe that the gathering of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. This belief is primarily associated with Christian Dispensationalism and the idea that Christians should actively support Israel."
Of course, Christian Zionism is a much easier issue to achieve clarity on than something as complex and historically controverted as sodomy. Romans 9-11 is a model of clarity compared to the mysteries of Romans 1.

How convenient that Tradition is so inflexible when it is needed to rule out something that is politically incorrect to modern leftists, but simultaneously so flexible when it becomes an issue of accommodating Christian doctrines to the leftist ruling elites of contemporary Western culture.

Please, Dr. Williams, we understand that you like homosexuals and want to enable leftist elites to hide their anti-Semitism behind anti-Zionism. But really, can't you see why nobody takes you seriously any more when you appeal to Tradition?

Brian McLaren's New Kind of Christianity

Brian McLaren now blogs at the liberal Huffington Post website. In a post on his new book, A New Kind of Christianity, he makes it clear that he is finished with conservatism and advocates a constantly evolving religion that has no fixed reference points and which is therefore able to develop and change along with its host culture in such a way as never to come into real, out and out conflict with the culture. He writes:

"It is the past around which many faith communities orient themselves - faithfully preserving a deposit or rule or articulation of faith that they inherited from their ancestors. That orientation engenders a sense of dignity and strength, along with an inherently conservative bias. In this past-orientation, most or all of the important questions are already answered once and for all. Our job, should we choose to accept it, is to learn and accept those answers, and make sure our children and grandchildren do the same.

Of course I agree that we must preserve and conserve what is precious and good from our past, and even our embarrassments and mistakes must be remembered so we can learn from and be humbled by them. But there's another way to conceive of our faith communities, an identity that includes but is not limited to a conservative orientation. We can see ourselves at heart as creative, prophetic, progressive, emergent, missional, and forward-looking people on a quest. A quest orientation challenges us to retain all our memories from the past, but then turns our focus towards the future, a future we hope not merely to endure, but by God's grace, to help create.

A quest orientation unleashes for us the transformative power of questions. Instead of seeing ourselves as a community bound together exclusively by age-old answers, we see ourselves as a community animated by what humorist-philosopher Garrison Keillor calls (with a wink) "life's persistent questions" - the questions that each generation struggles with and then passes on to the next generation to become their own. On the macro scale, those questions are few and deep: Who are we? How and why are we here? What is the good life? What matters most? What dangers, toils, and snares must we be careful to avoid? What is sacred, and why? I think all of us know that simply memorizing rote answers to these kinds of questions, while it has some real value, shapes a life far less radically than spending a lifetime asking, re-asking, struggling, and grappling with them does."

Here he tells us that the frequent Old Testament calls to remember, teach your children, memorize the Torah and be faithful to tradition and the many New Testament calls to "hold fast to the faith," "guard the gospel," and "pass on what you have received" are really just obstacles that create the kind of faith that has an inherently conservative bias, which for him is a bad thing.

The key sentence comes after he tells us that: "Of course I agree that we must preserve and conserve what is precious and good from our past, and even our embarrassments and mistakes must be remembered so we can learn from and be humbled by them." The first part of this sentence seems encouraging: so he does admit that we have to preserve something. But what he gives with one hand, he takes back with the other by implying that there is just as much bad in our tradition that needs to be jettisoned as good to be preserved.

There is no hint here that there is any criterion by which the distinction must be made, that is, no fixed tradition concerning the life, death, resurrection, ascension and second coming of Jesus Christ that is constant and to which the rest of our doctrine must bear witness. Instead, in the next sentence, he tells us that there is a different way to conceive of faith communities (which for him replace the Church, being more amorphous and less defined) and he tells us that this better way is to be open to the future, which we will create, instead of being chained to the past.

One could hardly ask for a clearer expression of modern, liberal Christianity in the tradition of 19th century culture Protestantism. The fact that this is served up as "postmodern" and "new" is a deception that can only fool the gullible and the ignorant. Liberal progressivism is not new, not is it anything but a continuation of the same old same old of modernity.

What we see here is not so much a "new kind of Christianity" as an "old kind of heresy."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Are Global Warming Skeptics Just Shills for Big Oil?

Having read a bit on the controversial issue of global warming, I have been bemused by the frequent charge hurled by global warming alarmists that the "deniers" (that odious propaganda term) or "skeptics" (a more descriptive term) are just shills for "big oil." The implication is that anyone who disagrees with the party line is either stupid or corrupt.

(By the way, I refuse to call it "climate change" because climate change is (a) a constant feature of life on planet earth and (b) not a problem. Re-branding "global warming as "climate change" is a way of making their scare tactics not falsifiable and thus not refutable by the scientific method. If global warming is really a threat, then it is precisely global warming, not the amorphous "climate change" that is the problem.)

Donna Laframboise, a former print journalist and crusading blogger (There's No Frakking "Scientific Consensus" About Global Warming) puts this nonsensical charge in its proper context in a post entitled "Independent Bloggers versus Corporate Environmentalists". She writes:

"Another day, another smarmy accusation that people who are skeptical of climate change are being funded by a shadowy conspiracy connected in one manner or another to big oil, big coal, big tobacco or - horror of horrors - right-wing think tanks.

These accusations are tiresome. They're ugly. They're almost entirely unsubstantiated. Most of all, they're a waste of time. They amount to shooting the messenger rather than addressing the bleeping message.

So why do they keep getting repeated? I think I've sorted out two reasons. First: the lavishly-funded corporate nature of the environmental movement circa 2010. Second: modern technological wonders such as personal computers and the Internet.

Environmental organizations today bear little resemblance to the shoestring operations of yesteryear. As a book published 14 years ago observed:
While Greenpeace used to be a pair of bell-bottomed blue jeans, today it is more like a three-piece pinstripe suit.
Indeed. In 1971, Greenpeace was an "upstart peace group from Vancouver" that held meetings in a Unitarian church. After it chartered a 30-year-old "creaking fish boat" to protest a US nuclear arms test, it could barely afford to pay for the boat's fuel.

Last month, however, when The Guardian reported that Greenpeace had commissioned a brand new £14 million ($22 million US) mega-yacht, it observed that "cost should not be a problem for the group, which, with nearly three million supporters, is extremely wealthy."

How wealthy? According to publicly-available figures compiled by, over a 12-year period Greenpeace raised $2.4 billion. That works out to $200 million a year in resources.

If you think that's impressive, take a moment to ponder the fact that the World Wildlife Fund raised $3.1 billion in just six years (2003-2008). Which means that that organization has ready access to half a billion dollars annually.

When you're that big – and that loaded – suddenly everything costs a small fortune. Want to start a new blog? That'll require a series of meetings. You'll need to invite web design folks, IT folks, a contingent of in-house PR people, an ad agency person or two, a corporate strategy person, and probably someone from legal. You'll meet in shiny offices in a fashionable part of town and order-in sandwiches from the pricey, organic, fair-trade café at the end of the street.

Compare and contrast to how independent individuals of utterly modest means from all over the world currently behave. They sign up to a service like (which is owned by Google) and, within a few hours at most, for no cost whatsoever, have launched themselves as a blogger. Alternatively, for well under $10 in hosting fees a month, they can publish their own website.

For no money, therefore, climate skeptics in the early 21st century are in a position to theoretically communicate online with as many people as is Greenpeace. From their basements and their attics, in often non-trendy geographical locations, it isn't their funding that matters - it's their skill sets."
Read the rest here.

When you consider that global warming alarmists like Rajendra Pachauri and Al Gore own shares in and do consulting for companies that stand to make billions of dollars in new "green technologies" - none of which are financially feasible without billions in government subsidies - you realize that corporate interests are involved in this debate, but not on the side of the skeptics.

As is typical of leftists everywhere, they accuse their opponents of things of which they themselves are guilty. The moral of the story is that "Yes, corporate interests are skewing the debate, but not in the direction of the skeptics, but rather in the direction of the alarmists.

Have the Dutch Finally Had Enough?

Adam Brickley at the Weekly Standard gives a great little introduction to Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician currently on trial in the Netherlands for insulting Muslims by criticizing Islam.

"Geert Wilders of the Netherlands is one of the oddest men on the world stage. He's been banned from entering the UK, denounced as a fascist, and largely blacklisted throughout Europe due to his staunch and outspoken opposition to militant Islam. And in a few months he might be prime minister of the Netherlands. The coalition government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende collapsed over the weekend, and parliamentary elections are now scheduled for June 9. Recent polling shows Wilders' "Party for Freedom" in first place with the potential to win 27 seats in parliament, and several parties are grudgingly open to forming a coaltion with him if he wins.

Wilders' controversial film Fitna denounces Islam as a whole, and he wants the Koran - which he calls a "fascist book" - outlawed in the Netherlands (on the same grounds that Mein Kampf is currently outlawed in that country). His main campaign theme is halting the supposed Islamic takeover of his country, by way of dramatic restrictions on immigration--so naturally he creates a great deal of unease among Muslim citizens (whose numbers top one million out of a total population of over 16 and a half million)."

But Wilders is totally unlike "far-right" leaders in the rest of Europe. He is a harsh critic of racism and anti-Semitism, and he is no friend of "far-right neo-fascist" leaders such as the French National Front's Jean-Marie Le Pen or the British National Party's Nick Griffin. In fact, while those leaders are broadly anti-Semitic and isolationist, Wilders was actually shaped by years spent in Israel as a young man. Hence, he is one of the Jewish state's strongest European defenders, an advocate of the war on terror, and a firm critic of Jihad--stances which have won him fans among national security hawks in the U.S. Furthermore, his economic agenda is radically libertarian compared to most Europeans and could be a vanguard for European reform.

But you can be sure his campaign will be filled with controversy. The Netherlands should buckle up for a wild ride on the Wilders Express.

The degree to which the European (and Canadian and American) left-leaning political elites are bowing down toward Islam when they should be defending Western ideals like free speech and freedom of religion is alarming and it calls out for interpretation. Why are these elites failing our culture and how long before the get real pushback from the population?

Geert Wilders as Prime Minister? If it can happen in the Netherlands it can happen anywhere.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Anti-Semitism and the Left in Sweden

As Europe gradually comes under pressure from its Muslim population, one disturbing trend is open and unchecked anti-Semitic activity. In the following story from the Daily Telegraph, Jews Leave Swedish City after Sharp Rise in Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes" we have a snapshot of this trend in one Swedish city, Malmo.

The most disturbing aspect of this story is not the Muslim hatred of Jews on display in a series of ugly incidents itself - horrible as that is in itself - but rather the passive encouragement of such acts by elected representatives of the Left, in this case the mayor of the city. By interpreting anti-Jewish vandalism and intimidation by street mobs as the inevitable result of the activities of Israel in the Middle East, he creates an explicit link between old-fashioned, European anti-semitism right out of the 1930's with the Left's well-known anti-Zionism campaign.

It is impossible not to interpret the leftist, anti-Israel movement in this case as being in cahoots with radical, anti-Jewish, Islamo-fascism. This story makes it very difficult for the Left to hide any longer behind the fig leaf of pretending to be anti-Israel without being anti-Jewish. I have noted the key words describing the mayor's attitudes in bold.

"When she first arrived in Sweden after her rescue from a Nazi concentration camp, Judith Popinski was treated with great kindness.

She raised a family in the city of Malmo, and for the next six decades lived happily in her adopted homeland - until last year.

In 2009, a chapel serving the city's 700-strong Jewish community was set ablaze. Jewish cemeteries were repeatedly desecrated, worshippers were abused on their way home from prayer, and "Hitler" was mockingly chanted in the streets by masked men.

"I never thought I would see this hatred again in my lifetime, not in Sweden anyway," Mrs Popinski told The Sunday Telegraph.

"This new hatred comes from Muslim immigrants. The Jewish people are afraid now."

Malmo's Jews, however, do not just point the finger at bigoted Muslims and their fellow racists in the country's Neo-Nazi fringe. They also accuse Ilmar Reepalu, the Left-wing mayor who has been in power for 15 years, of failing to protect them.

Mr Reepalu, who is blamed for lax policing, is at the centre of a growing controversy for saying that what the Jews perceive as naked anti-Semitism is in fact just a sad, but understandable consequence of Israeli policy in the Middle East.

While his views are far from unusual on the European liberal-left, which is often accused of a pro-Palestinian bias, his Jewish critics say they encourage young Muslim hotheads to abuse and harass them.

The future looks so bleak that by one estimate, around 30 Jewish families have already left for Stockholm, England or Israel, and more are preparing to go."

Read the rest here.

Why do hard-line Islamic supremacists and the socialist left get along so well together? Why do they share a common enemy in the Jews? And why do they also share a hatred of Western civilization in general? The common thread is fascism. In the 1930's, the National Socialists (Nazis) and the International Socialists (Communists) both opposed liberal democracy, but fought each other for the privilege of replacing liberal democracy and seizing power in Germany. And when Hitler came to power he ruled, just like Stalin, with an iron fist. And we all know what happened next.

If the Left really was a humanistic, democratic movement open to Christianity, it would not be anti-semitic. Anti-semitism is the canary in the mine and we are finding more and more dead birds today all over post-Christian, socialist Europe.

The Population Crash in Germany

This article in the UK's The Guardian, "The Population Crash" is the first I have read that attempts to put flesh and blood people and particular places in the place of the many abstract numbers that characterized stories about Europe's impending demographic winter. I have written on this blog before about how Europe's native European population is in decline and how Europe is committing demographic suicide. But most people find it hard to relate to statistics and projections. This article makes it real.
"Hoyerswerda, a town two hours beyond Dresden close to the Polish ­border, has lost half its population in the last 20 years. It is an ­ageing ghost town. The young and those with qualifications have left – young women especially. And those that remain have given up having babies. Hoyerswerda (known to its citizens as Hoy Woy) seems a town without a purpose, in a corner of Europe without a future. . .

In its heyday in the 60s, Hoyerswerda was a model community in communist East Germany, a brave new world attracting migrants from all over the country. They dug brown coal from huge open-cast mines on the plain around the town. There was good money and two free bottles of brandy a month. But the fall of the Berlin Wall changed all that. It was here in 1989, in the towns and cities of Saxony, that the people of the east started moving west to ­capitalism and freedom. At the head of the queue were the young, ­especially young women.

Under communism, East ­German women worked more, and were ­often better educated, than the more conservative western hausfrau. But when their jobs disappeared in the early 90s, hundreds of thousands of them, encouraged by their ­mothers, took their school diplomas and CVs and headed west to cities such as ­Heidelberg. The boys, however, seeing their fathers out of work, often just gave up. In adulthood, they form a rump of ill-educated, alienated, ­often unemployable men, most of them ­unattractive mates – a further factor in the departure of young women.

Reiner Klingholz, director of the Berlin Institute for Population and ­Development, calls it a "male ­emergency" – but this is not just an emergency for men. The former ­people's republic is staring into a ­demographic abyss, because its ­citizens don't want babies any more.

"There has been nothing ­comparable in world peacetime ­history," says the French demographer Jean-Claude Chesnais. After the Berlin Wall came down, millions of East Germans who stayed behind decided against producing another generation. Their fertility more than halved. In 1988, 216,000 ­babies were born in East Germany; in 1994, just 88,000 were born. The fertility rate worked out at 0.8 children per woman. Since then it has struggled up to around 1.2, but that is still only just over half the rate needed to maintain the population. About a million homes have been abandoned, and the ­government is demolishing them as fast as it can. Left ­behind are "perforated ­cities", with huge random chunks of ­wasteland. Europe hasn't seen ­cityscapes like this since the bombing of the second world war.

And nowhere has emptied as much as Hoyerswerda. In the 80s, it had a population of 75,000 and the highest birth rate in East Germany. Today, the town's population has halved. It has gone from being ­Germany's fastest-growing town to its fastest-shrinking one. The biggest age groups are in their 60s and 70s, and the town's former birth clinic is an old people's home. Its population pyramid is ­upturned – more like a mushroom cloud. . .

Across the rest of Germany, Hoyerswerda is regarded as a feral wasteland – complete with wolves. Slinking in from Poland and the Czech Republic, they are finding empty spaces where once there were apartment blocks and mines. And the wolves, at least, are staying. . . The badlands of former East Germany are going "back to nature". And Europeans should be worried, for some fear that eastern Germany is, as it was back in the 1960s, a trailblazer for the demographic future of the continent.

Europe's population is, right now, peaking, after more than six centuries of continuous growth. With each generation reproducing only half its number, this looks like the start of a ­continent-wide collapse in numbers. Some predict wipeout by 2100.

Half a century ago, Europe was basking in a postwar baby boom, with 2.8 babies per woman in Britain, 2.9 in France, and 3.2 in the Netherlands. Then levels sank back. Demographers assumed that fertility would settle down at about the level required to maintain the population – slightly more than two babies per woman. The trouble is, nobody told Europe's women.

In the real world, the swinging 60s saw a great deal of sex and not a lot of procreation. By the mid-80s, alarm bells were ringing. "Europe is entering a demographic winter," ­declared ­demographer Gérard-François ­Dumont. Ron Lesthaeghe at the Free University of Brussels blamed "post-materialistic values, in which self-­development ­becomes the primary aim". . .

The 20th century began with western Europe producing 10 million babies a year; by the end it couldn't manage 6 million – 2 million fewer than it needs to maintain the population in the long term. That baby famine is now heading into a second generation; it is no longer a blip. Demographically, Europe is living on borrowed time. . . .

Thirty years ago, 23 European countries had fertility above replacement levels; now none does, with only France, Iceland, Albania, Britain and Ireland anywhere near. . .

Thirty per cent of German women today say they don't intend to have children at all.

Once a country has very low fertility for a generation, it begins to run out of young women able to gestate future generations. Germany is there already: it has only half as many children under 10 as adults in their 40s. Demographer Peter McDonald calculates that if Italy gets stuck with recent fertility levels, and fails to top up with foreign migrants, it will lose 86% of its population by the end of the century, falling to 8 million compared with today's 56 million. Spain will lose 85%, Germany 83% and Greece 74%.

Jesse Ausubel, a futurologist at Rockefeller University in New York, fears "the twilight of the west" as Europe's population thins and ages. "Civilisations have simply melted away because of poor reproductive rates of the dominant class . . . The question may now be whether, underneath the personal decision to procreate, lies a subliminal social mood influencing the process. The subliminal mood of ­Europe could now be for a blackout ­after 1,000 years on stage."

Far-fetched? Maybe. But ­population historian David Reher told ­the journal Science in 2006 that, "As population and tax revenues decline in Europe, urban areas could well be filled with empty buildings and ­crumbling infrastructure . . . surrounded by large areas which look more like what we might see in some science-fiction movies."

David, come and see Hoyerswerda. The future is already here – complete with wolves."

Read it all here. What a striking picture of the effects of the falling birth rate on a society: crumbling urban infrastructure and wolves!

Debunking the Great Witch Hunt Slur Against the Medieval Church

Mike Flynn has an excellent brief summary of the upside down truth about the Church, the State and witch hunts. The Left persistently smears the Church by claiming that the medieval Church was bound in superstition and a credulous belief in magic, which led to it hunting down and killing witches. Then, we are told, the age of reason and science began and as power passed from the Church to the State the witch craze gradually died out.

The only problem is that this account inverts reality. It is a story about what the Left wishes was the case, but it is not in accord with history. Mike Flynn's post "Witchcraft and the Dark Ages" summarizes the facts concisely. He begins:
"Although some folk apply the term "Dark Ages" to the entire medieval period, others apply it only to the early middle ages and refer to the High Middle Ages as the Early Renaissance. This is done in service to belief, of course. It is not how the historians generally view things. (In fact, those have been abandoning such propaganda labels in favor of century labels.) But in any case, one of the most cherished foundation myths of the Modern Ages is that of the West's struggle to free itself from the violence of religious intolerance. This is almost as basic as the myth of Galileo springing pristine from the brow of Copernicus.

One aspect of that violence was the witch mania. . .

Now, belief in sorcery had been common enough among the Romans, who distinguished three classes of witches and prescribed death for the worst class. It was common, too, among the Germans, though the details differed. So it's no surprise if the folk of the Middle Ages, who were after all the descendants of those self-same Romans and Germans, also believed in such things.

The Church however either ignored magic or treated it leniently; this for the very good reason that she taught that magic was a mere superstition. St. Patrick's Synod in the 5th century anathematized anyone who believed that there really were witches with magical powers. Charlemagne issued a Capitulary for Saxony that declared it criminal for anyone acting on a heathen belief in magic to burn or devour the flesh of accused sorcerers. (This suggests that pagan Germans did not treat sorcerers very nicely.) The Canon episcopi about the same time declares that women who believe they fly through the air in Diana's train are simply deluded and orders expelled from the congregation anyone who insists on the reality of it.

When Archbishop Abogard of Lyons (9th cent) learned that rustics in his diocese believed that witches destroyed their crops with hailstones and colluded with men from Mangonia (who sailed ships through the sky to steal crops). He felt obliged to tell his flock that men could not control the weather, sail ships through the sky, or wield any magical powers. Also there was no such place as Mangonia. He had to personally intervene to save four "captured Mangonians"."
The Middle Ages were the age of faith, but more accurately they were the age of faith and reason. When modern science arose, it did so in a period of intense searching for ways to gain power over nature. The Renaissance was a period of great interest in magic and also in experimental science. When the latter proved more effective than the former in giving humans power to manipulate nature, the former was discarded. But while the issue was still in doubt, magic was regarded as important and taken seriously in a way the Church never did. Flynn again:
"Things began to change as the Middle Ages waned into the Renaissance. The cult of Hermes Trismegistus and the Corpus hermeticum - a late Roman compendium of Neoplatonic, Gnostic, alchemical, magical, astrological, and devotional texts - was resdiscovered. (The Middle Ages went in for Aristotle and Euclid; the Renaissance went in for Neoplatonic woo-woo.)

The Malleus maleficarum was written by two Dominicans about 1486. The principal author, Heinrich Kramer, was widely recognized as a "demented imbecile" by contemporaries. The bishop of Innsbruck thwarted his attempt to convict women there of witchcraft and forced him out of town. The Malleus competed with the Carmelite Jan van Beetz's Expositio decem catalogie praeceptum, "an icily skeptical treatment of tales of black magic. Of course, exposés never get the circulation of the lurid originals. Look at The Da Vinci Code.

Two things were happening at the beginning of the Modern Ages. The power of the State was increasing and Science was revolutionized into its Baconian form. Jean Bodin (De la démonomanie des sorciers) wrote that witches should be burned at the stake and nations that did not seek out witches and exterminate them would suffer famine, plague, and war, and that torture should be used on the mere suspicion of sorcery. No one so much as accused of witchcraft should be acquitted unless the accuser's bad faith could be convincingly demonstrated. But Bodin was also the first great proponent of the absolute power of the secular state.

England made sorcery a capital crime in 1542 - after the State had nationalized the Church of England. In the same year, in the Concordat of Liège, the Emperor (Charles V) placed sorcery prosecutions entirely in the hands of secular tribunals.

The Great Witch Hunts began."
Flynn correctly emphasizes the role of the State, rather than the Church, in promoting the witch hysteria of the 17th century. He also debunks the widespread mis-impression that the Church in the Middle Ages promoted belief in magic and superstition. Read the rest here.

In the comments to his post, several readers ask for citations for his historical statements, which is a reasonable request. A good source that discusses the historiography authoritatively is David Bentley Hart's Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale U. Press, 2009).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A New President for Wheaton College

Wheaton College has announced that Dr. Philip Ryken, Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, has been appointed as the eighth president of Wheaton College. Here is the official announcement from Wheaton. Dr. Ryken is a Wheaton alumnus and has a D.Phil. in historical theology from Oxford. He is an inspired choice for this position and his selection bodes well for the future of the flagship Evangelical college in America.

Here is a video of Dr. Ryken defining the term "Evangelical."

The Top Ten Liberal Superstitions

I find that most liberals believe the most astonishing things for the most amazingly flimsy reasons. What I mean is that many liberals accept uncritically the talking points of the left without actually thinking the issues through for themselves.

It seems that they admire someone who is rich or cool or trendy, or perhaps someone who is admired by such people, and they simply take what that person has to say at face value. They are quick to accept what the "experts" claim and loathe to agree with what most people call common sense, which they see as the accumulated stupidity of the human race.

So I thought I would compile a list of the Top Ten Liberal Superstitions. These are beliefs for which I see no factual or logical basis and which are parroted uncritically by left-wingers or those who are trying to impress left-wingers.

10. Anthropogenic Global Warming - the idea that the earth's current warming cycle is not natural but caused by human activity since the Industrial Revolution. There is no scientific consensus despite the best efforts of activists, leftist UN employees and certain climate scientists to gin one up by a plethora of unseemly methods.

9. Condoms Lower the Rate at Which the AIDS Virus Spreads - this is the idea that despite creating a false sense of security, which is likely to lead to more sexual activity with multiple partners, condoms will reduce the number of people who get infected in a given country if enough of them are distributed. Liberals have a weakness for anything that involves replacing the need for personal moral restraint with technology.

8. Abstinence Education Doesn't Work - this idea that teaching young people the benefits of saving sex for marriage couldn't possible result in a higher average age of first intercourse or a lower incidence of sexual activity among teens. This reluctance to believe that teens cannot react in a rational manner to information demeans all of us.

7. Nuclear Disarmament
- the idea that all the US has to do is make up its mind to rid the world of nuclear weapons and it could do so in short order through treaties and by taking the lead in destroying its own nuclear stockpile - i.e. the idea that if the US goes first then all other nations (and terrorist groups) will follow suit.

6. Socialism Increases Social Justice - this is the idea that if you want more social justice you should elect a socialist government because Karl Marx was a great humanist thinker. Never mind the fact that the ideas of Karl Marx have brought blood and fire followed by stagnation everywhere they have been tried so far. He represents the future. This idea involves the belief that government employees can sit around a table and devise policies that can be implemented in such a way as to make a society in which everyone is more or less equal.

5. Feminism Means That Woman Have to Become Men in Order to Be Fully Human - this is the idea put forward by second wave feminism that in order to be fully human and reach their potential, women have to do everything that alpha males do in exactly the same way as the men do in competition with men. This means that a woman can be most fully a woman by leaving behind everything distinctively feminine. And this is called "feminism"? Orwell would be proud.

4. You Can't Go Back to Premodern Traditional Ways of Doing Anything - this is the idea that all modern "advances," including such winners as no-fault divorce and factory farming, simply cannot be undone. Progress is a jealous god and brooks no dissent. The Roman Catholic Ressourcement movement and the Baptist attempt to be apostolic are just impossibilities. The idea that we took a wrong turn and need to recover some wisdom of the past as the way forward is dismissed as "nostalgia."

3. That the Definition of Marriage Can Be Changed by Legislative or Judicial Fiat (or Just Because We Really, Really Want To) - this idea is that we can deconstruct and reconstruct the nature of marriage with the stroke of a pen. It supposes that thousands of years of human wisdom from every culture in the world can be undone just because some spoiled modernists believe they want to do so.

2. Materialistic Darwinism Has Nothing to Do with Morality - this is the idea that a whole society can (and should) accept a totally Darwinian account of the origin of species and can still hold to a belief in human exceptionalism and a moral code derived from our Judeo-Christian heritage. I can imagine why they do not believe Christian preachers on this point, but I can't figure out how they think they can ignore Nietzsche.

1. Killing People is a Good Solution to Social Problems - Abortion and euthanasia seem to be the answer for so many things for liberals. Getting rid of the unwanted, the elderly, the handicapped by murder is seen as humanism.

Maybe you have some additions you would rather see on this list instead of some of these beliefs. I welcome suggestions.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Today Europe; Tororrow the World!

Here is the new president of the European Union, Herbert Van Rompuy setting out his agenda. All he wants is "global governance." Notice how he attempts to manipulate his hearers with the politics of fear - the moral of which story is "Don't worry about a thing, big brother (the state) is here to wipe your nose, put you to bed and watch over you."

My son wants to know why I write so much about American politics. One reason is that if I didn't I would have to write more about depressing, statist, refugees from an Aldous Huxley novel like this one.

HT Daniel Hannan

So How About that New McLaren Book?

People have been asking me what I think about Brian McLaren's new book. I have not yet posted my opinion on it because I have this old-fashioned hang-up about actually reading a book before I trash it. (I know not everybody has this inhibition!) But seriously, it is coming as fast as can get it here and I will read it and respond as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Bill Kinnon has compiled a very handy list of responses so far to McLaren. From what I've seen so far, I would have to agree with one person who offered the view that the majority opinion is a hesitant tendency to admit that the cranky conservatives have been right about him all along. I would not be surprised if that were the case, but as I say I want to read the book first.

They Said Conservatism Was Dead, So What Happened?

Nile Gardner in the Daily telegraph writes in an article "Conservatism is the Future of America" about what a difference a year makes.
"What a difference a year makes. A year ago, the liberal media in America (i.e. about 90% of the print press) had written off conservatism as dead and buried. An avowedly left-wing president worshipped with almost messianic zeal across much of the world, from Paris to Nairobi, had swept into the White House, bolstered by a Democrat-dominated Congress in both the House and the Senate. The Right appeared broken, divided, and disillusioned, rudderless and leaderless, supposedly the political equivalent of the remnants of Custer’s Last Stand.

One year on, it is the Left that is imploding, weakend by faction-fighting, struggling to keep momentum, and increasingly lacking in self-confidence, led by the least popular American president of the modern era at such an early stage of the presidency. Liberals have been stunningly humbled by three catastrophic defeats in Virginia, Massachusetts and New Jersey, political earthquakes that have transformed the electoral landscape ahead of the November 2010 mid-terms. And worse was to come. Just this week, the White House was stunned by a CNN poll that showed that 52 percent of Americans believe Barack Obama should not be reelected in 2012, a powerful vote of no confidence in a president who’s big government agenda has been overwhelmingly rejected."

Read the rest here.

Barack Obama is now going around whining about the lack of bipartisanship in Washington and blaming Republicans for thwarting his plans to remake America into a European style social democracy. But he had 60 votes in the Senate and a 40 vote majority in the House and he still could not get more than half of his agenda through. The fact that he has to come to grips with (though he shows not signs of doing so) is that his agenda has been stymied by members of his own party.

In other words, it is conservative Democrats, who represent conservative constituencies and who have to be moderate in order to have any chance whatsoever of re-election, who have saved America from Obama's statist ambitions. They did this when the Republicans simply did not have the numbers to do it.

The rest of the world would do well to ponder this reality of American politics. There are simply not enough liberal congressional districts or states in which to elect a liberal majority of lawmakers - regardless of the party label. America is a predominantly conservative country. Let that sink in. It is the liberal media, liberal academia and the liberal elite of America that is in tune with Europe but out of touch with the majority of Americans.

America now stands alone as the only Western nation left which has not repudiated its history, its religion, its traditions and its principles. Those political leaders who believed that America's destiny is to follow Europe into the culture of death and then into a slow but accelerating cultural decline are now faced with becoming yesterday's news. They are losing their grip and soon will lose office.

Oh, the whining and the screaming will be terrible. I suggest that you might want to prepare yourself for the mother of all 60's rebellions. Why, they might occupy an office or two just to bring back memories of the "good old days." Maybe the homosexuals will have a "kiss-in" in front of Liberty University. Or perhaps they will have a march on Washington DC and leave a lot of garbage behind. But in the end, conservatives have nothing to fear from liberals whose bark is worse than their bite because their entire worldview is centered on being comfortable and cool. They may make a lot of noise but they are too preoccupied with free sex, consumerism and organizing children's choirs to sing praises to Obama to actually to make any sacrifices for their cause.

Just as European elites are destined to come under the hard yoke of Islam, so American liberals are destined to live under conservative rule. The American liberals, however, will have by far the easier lot, which means, of course, that their wailing and complaining will be proportionately louder. For American conservatives will respect their rights to free speech and their deviant lifestyles, while European liberals will find themselves facing the tender mercies of Sharia Law. Like the French Revolutionaries who themselves ended up on the guillotine, they will find themselves regretting their anti-Christian and anti-Western activities before the end. But their American liberal cousins will just whine until they die.

This is the Kind of Society Abortion is Creating: Do We Still Want to Be Us?

From the Globe and Mail, a heartbreaking story of what a woman has to endure in this age of a "woman's right to choose," which of course really means "a woman's duty to choose abortion."

"A word to the wise to those of you dying to ask a parent of a child with Down syndrome, spina bifida or an open neural tube condition if they had prenatal testing: Don’t do it. Bite your tongue. Shut up. Swallow it.

Because what you are really asking us is, “Why didn’t you abort your child?” And, similarly, “Why is this child even alive right now?”

Believe me, justifying the very existence of our beloved children hurts. It will not gain you any brownie points on the playground or when I’m writing up my Christmas card list.

A while back, funny things were happening to my son, who happens to have Down syndrome, in his preschool class.

Aaron went to his neighbourhood preschool, not to a special-ed site. I believe that inclusion in his community is the best thing for him. As his mother, I make decisions based on what is best for him. Other families make other decisions for their children. I’m not into judging since I got thrown off my pedestal of judgment when Aaron was born six years ago. But inclusion is the choice for us.

The problem with inclusion isn’t with the children. It is with a select few parents, who grew up in the era of special-education schools and segregation. They are scared of my kid. And they pass that fear on to their children.

A kid came up to Aaron, and shouted in his face, “Why is Aaron different?” (For some reason, little kids like to shout when they talk.)

Fair enough. We are all different, kid. Some kids have glasses. Some kids have dark skin. Some kids have earrings. See what I mean? This is easy enough to explain to children.

But then another kid said, “My mom says I have to be nice to Aaron because he is different.”

Now, this is a comment coming from a parent, through a kid. We don’t want your faux sympathy, folks. We want our kid to be accepted as part of a diverse classroom. With different skin colours, genders and abilities. Is a kid going to shout in another kid’s face, “My mom says I have to be nice to Johnny because he’s black”? I hope not.

But intellectual disabilities or developmental delays or mental differences are the last stance for discrimination.

I sat down and wrote a nice letter to the preschool parents. The teacher, who has been nothing but welcoming of Aaron over the past two years, happily handed it out.

The letter explained Aaron and his family. How he is the same as other kids. How he likes construction trucks and swimming. How we are all different in this world. Read between the lines and what I’m saying is that there is no such thing as perfect.

After the day we handed out the letter, a mom stopped me in the playground on my way to my car. She chit-chatted a bit, then said she was surprised by the letter. I said I was hoping if I explained a bit about Aaron it would help foster understanding. I was thinking she was the one who told her kid she had to be nice to Aaron because he’s different.

Then she got to her point. She really wanted to know why I didn’t get prenatal testing.

I looked at her, puzzled. It seemed like a funny question to ask, and staggeringly inappropriate to boot, but I had been asked it before. It was in a mom-and-baby yoga class when Aaron was only four months old. The sting of it then had not lessened almost five years later.

I thought, rationally, “Here’s your chance to educate – I am an ambassador against ignorance.” I answered her cheerily, “Well, testing wouldn’t have changed my pregnancy outcome, so I turned the testing down.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my car in sight. It was my escape hatch, but it was several metres away. I had to immediately extract myself from this conversation because I felt as if I was floating above my own body.

I said my (pleasant) goodbyes and motored to my vehicle as fast as I could in the winter snow. I slid into the driver’s seat, slumped over the steering wheel and burst into tears. I’m not much of a crier. But it was as if I had been slapped.

I continued crying all morning in parking lots in between running errands. I cried in the coffee shop drive-through and in the grocery store lineup. I had to bite my lip to prevent the tears from falling down my face in public.

Why do I have to justify my son’s very existence? Why isn’t it okay that he’s alive? What are you afraid of?

For those of us who have children whose extra chromosomes could have been detected prenatally, it is a long and lonely road. We get asked these questions. We get frantic calls from friends who are considering amniocentesis because their triple-screen prenatal test has come back elevated. The whole genetic testing thing is fraught for parents who have kids with disabilities.

One day it won’t just be “us.” With the clever mapping of genes, there may be tests for all the lovely imperfections of life that make us human. All in the quest for the blue-ribbon baby.

What I should have asked the mom in the playground was, “What if your daughter was in a car accident tomorrow and had a brain injury? Would you love her any less?”

When you can answer those questions, I will answer your questions."

If you support legalized abortion, don't even think about not taking responsibility for training that mother who asked if the mother of the Downs child if she had had prenatal testing. That is what abortion on demand does: it trains us to think of the child as a commodity we control by our choice.

It dehumanizes all of us, not just the disabled. Actually they are the most fortunate among us for to be intellectually or physically disabled does not imperil our eternal salvation, whereas to be morally disabled does.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Conservative Intellectual Makes the Case Against the Obama Big Government Agenda

This is a link to a post of the blog of the Weekly Standard in which you can find a video of a 25 minute speech given by George Will to the Conservative Political Action Conference, currently in progress in Washington, DC.

If you think that the conservative political philosophy is held only by uneducated, inarticulate, obscurantists who have no coherent worldview or alternative plans, then you owe it to yourself to watch this video. It is humorous, fluent, incisive and deeper than the folksy, self-deprecating style that characterizes George Will might suggest. If you start listening, you will not stop.

What I especially appreciated about this speech is its clear and masterful analysis of the deeper motivations of liberals in attempting to create an ever-expanding welfare state. He goes to the nub of the issue rather than being distracted by superficial issues. And he is not hesitant to say that the Bush administration deserves criticism for expanding government entitlement programs. The theme of the conference is that the US needs a conservative government, not just a Republican government and this is the kind of thoughtful conservatism that can provide a philosophical rationale for a government that serves people instead of enslaving them.

Sarah Palin, John Edwards and Media Bias

Here is a very interesting story from the New York Daily Post by Jamie Weinstein called: "Palin versus Edwards: A Case Study in Media Bias." Weinstein makes the valid point that the media bias against the conservative worldview that Sarah Palin holds it the real reason she is so vilified and hated. John Edwards is not objectively smarter or better qualified than Palin, but since he represented the worldview held by the liberal media he was not attacked or ridiculed as Palin has been:
"No one can confuse me for someone who is an enthusiastic supporter of Sarah Palin. I think Sen. John McCain's selection of Palin as his 2008 running mate will be counted among the very worst legacies in the Arizona senator's long and storied career.

Nonetheless, there is little question that Palin has been treated unfairly by the press, at least in comparison to other politicians.

And no comparison best illustrates the double standard the media has with Palin than how they treated another former vice-presidential nominee, Sen. John Edwards.

When in 2004 John Kerry picked Edwards, whose entire resume in public life at that point consisted of six years in the U.S. Senate, to be his vice-presidential nominee, few questioned whether Edwards was qualified for the post.

Search "Edwards is unqualified" in Lexis-Nexis from the time Edwards was tapped by Kerry through Election Day 2004, and you get 11 results. Do the same for Palin and you get 174 results - and the search period is nearly two months shorter for Palin, because she was picked by McCain much later in the 2008 election cycle.

We now definitively know just how much of a liar, cheat and phony John Edwards is. But if the media had been one half as interested in exposing Edwards as a fraud as they have been in excoriating Palin, perhaps it would not have taken the National Enquirer to discover the truth that has led to the downfall of a politician who had a very real chance of becoming President.

One of the media's favorite attacks against Palin revolves around her failure to tell Katie Couric what magazines and newspapers she regularly reads. The clumsy answer was an early flash point that led many to scoff that the Alaskan governor didn't read anything at all.

But guess who doesn't read very much either? That would be John Edwards, if you believe John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's new book "Game Change." According to their reporting, when a friend inquired if John Edwards read a particular tome, his wife, Elizabeth, apparently found the idea of her husband reading laugh-out-loud funny, saying, "Oh, he doesn't read books."

Yet this impression of her husband as an anti-intellectual "hick," as Elizabeth reportedly referred to him, never became a common undercurrent during his his 2004 campaign for vice president or his later run for President.

So why did Palin get painted so quickly as a bombastic dunce and Edwards escape without such a negative characterization?

It probably has to do with the fact that most members of the media bought Edwards persona. They liked his world-view.

They believed in his claim that there were "two Americas." So they didn't dig deeper to see if there was any substance beneath his shiny surface.

Palin was never given the benefit of the doubt, in large part because the world-view to which she subscribes is anathema to the one held by so many pundits and reporters."

Now there is nothing wrong with members of the media holding political opinions. But there is something wrong with pretending to be objective and then being allowed to get away with trying to manipulate public opinion by biased news reporting. There is a reason why Fox News exists and why it is now trusted by more Americans than the so-called "mainstream media." Things have come to a pretty pass when Fox is not the most biased media outlet in the US.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

There is No Way to Make This Sound Nice

HT: ProWomanProLife (the title of this post is Bridgitte Pellerin's comment on this poster)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Doug Farrow on the "Savior State"

Doug Farrow is one of the most penetrating writers around today when it comes to issues relating to the culture of death and the creeping fascism that is coiling itself around the neck of a feeble and declining Western culture. He has an article in Touchstone that everyone should read carefully. I endorse everything he has to say; in fact, he says here more effectively what I have been trying to say myself on this blog for quite some time. The article is called "The Audacity of the State."

"When I speak of the audacity of the state, the kind of state I have in mind is what we may call the savior state. The main characteristic of the savior state is that it presents itself as the people’s guardian, as the guarantor of the citizen’s well-being. The savior state is the paternal state, which not only sees to the security of its territory and the enforcement of its laws but also promises to feed, clothe, house, educate, monitor, medicate, and in general to care for its people. Some prefer to call it the nanny state, but that label fails to reckon with its inherently religious character. The savior state does have a religious character, precisely in its paternalism, and may even be comfortable with religious rhetoric.

We are familiar with such rhetoric from ancient times. Was Caesar not soter? Did his coinage not mark him out as divi filius and pontifex maximus? “This, this is he,” says Anchises in Virgil’s Aeneid, the one you’ve been waiting for—“the man you have heard promised to you so often, Augustus Caesar, son of a god, who will once again establish the Golden Age in Latium, in the region once ruled by Saturn.”

We are familiar with it from modern times too. The savior state is the kind of state that Hobbes envisioned, or that Louis Du Moulin had in mind when he said that “the Commonwealth is a visible church.” It is the kind of state that emerges when it is assumed, as Herbert Thorndike pointed out in objection to both “Hobbism and Independency,” that “a man may be heir to Christ’s kingdom and endowed with Christ’s Spirit without being, or before he be, a member of God’s church.” It is the kind of state that Obama had in mind when, during the presidential campaign, he invited a Christian audience in South Carolina to see him as “an instrument of God” and to help him “create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”"
This creation of a state which replaces God is the modern project, another Tower of Babel enterprise. It is not Christendom or Christian theocracy that constitutes the real and present threat to freedom and human dignity. It is "the Savior State."

"It is customary these days to associate the religiously audacious state with theocratic Islamic countries such as Iran, or with Christendom, and to see them as belonging to a “medieval” mindset. The savior state should not be associated with Christendom, however, but with the demise of Christendom. It is a great achievement of the Enlightenment to have taken credit for the doctrine of the separation of church and state, when in fact it effectively abolished that doctrine.

Separation of church and state was predicated on the eschatological reserve on which Christianity insisted, a reserve that required a doctrine of “the Two” and refused to combine the kingly with the priestly in a single office or person. To combine these offices (with their respective “swords”) belonged to Christ alone, and any other claimant to both was ipso facto a kind of Antichrist.

This same eschatological reserve, while supporting all manner of advances in civilizing social and political life, repudiated all utopianism, whether progressive or regressive. It sought no return to a Golden Age, nor did it trumpet “Change you can believe in.” It knew of two loves and two cities made by those loves, and it sought only peace as far as possible between them and within them."

I'd love to quote it all, but you can read it here for yourself. Please do.

Naked Totalitarianism in Hamilton Public Schools: It is Time For Revolt

Here is a story on the attempt of Hamilton Public Schools to take away the rights of parents to educate their own children on moral issues. If this does not cause a public revolt, the frog the kettle is certainly cooked.

This is naked totalitarianism: a power grab by the school board that deprives families of their God-given rights. It is anti-democratic and it is anti-Christian. Will we stand for it or capitulate to the State? I say protest, withdraw children from school en masse, organize, and never give in. Will we have religious freedom or will let the fascists take away from us?
''Public school children in Hamilton, Ontario will not be permitted to withdraw from classes that promote homosexuality, according to the Hamilton Mountain News. At the same time, according to a leaked document obtained by a local journalist, teachers are being instructed to tell parents who object to the curriculum that “this is not about parent rights.”

At the end of January, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) hosted a professional development day dedicated to “equity” training, where they distributed a sheet to teachers with “quick responses” they can offer to parents who object to the school board's “anti-homophobia” curriculum.

That document was obtained by journalist Mark Cripps, and posted on the website of the Hamilton Mountain News. Cripps observes that the handout “basically indicates parents have no rights when it comes to their child’s education at the HWDSB.”

In addition, Cripps reports that, “The board says no child will be excused from the class when topics of homosexuality are brought into the classroom.”

The school board is developing a new equity policy, as required of all boards under the Ontario Ministry of Education's equity strategy, announced last year. Among other things, the Ministry is requiring all boards, Catholic and public, to develop a plan for combating “homophobia.”

The sheet given to the HWDSB teachers specifies that teachers do not “condone” the removal of children from classes that deal with homosexuality. If told, “This is against our rights as parents to teach our own set of family values,” the board suggests teachers offer the following responses:

- “As teachers, we do not condone children being removed from our classes when we teach about Aboriginal People, people of color, people with disabilities or gays and lesbians.

- “You can teach your child your own values at home. Public schools teach everyone about respecting diversity and valuing everyone.

- “This is not about parent rights. Children have the right to an inclusive education free from discrimination.”

Jim Enos, President of the Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council (HWFAC), told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that he was struck by “the obvious point that parents who object [to the homosexuality curriculum] will be ignored, and that the schools educate your children in their ideology whether you like it or not.”

Since HWFAC was founded 14 years ago, they have fought hard with the school board to ensure that Judeo-Christian values are respected. On this latest initiative, Enos says that the school board's response has been to say, “'You can do what you want at home, we understand, but when you get to school, different matter.' In other words, they're saying that schools have priority rights in the education of children.

“That's wrong,” he insisted. “We are the educators of the children. [Schools] are an extension of us, we're not an extension of them.”

In addition to the examples above, teachers are advised to respond to the objection by parents that the homosexuality curriculum is “recruitment or teaching about sex!”, by saying that high school students need “accurate information about relationships and safe sex.” If parents insist that their child is too young for the subject matter, the teachers are to tell them that it is the teacher's job “to teach accurate, up-to-date information to every child, including yours.”

Enos says that requiring children to participate in the “anti-homophobia” classes is “forced indoctrination.” While the school board claims to provide “accurate information,” Enos pointed out that the program is “indoctrination because they won't give both sides of the story. They only give good news about [homosexuality].”

Enos sat on the school board's Sexual Orientation Steering Committee for two years. He explained that he had attempted to make a presentation to the Committee on the negative health effects of homosexuality, as documented by the Ontario Ministry of Health. The Committee would only allow him to distribute a handout, he said, and dismissed his concerns.

“We won't have any negative bias, just positive bias,” they told him, he said.

Journalist Mark Cripps also wrote that while he disagrees with the view that homosexuality is a sin, he questions the board's disregard for parents who hold that view. “Does the board believe faith has no value in its schools?” he asks. “Does the board really support the principle that parents have no rights over their child’s education?”

“Right or wrong, rejecting the dogma of specific faiths doesn't seem very inclusive,” he concludes.

Contact Information:

John Malloy, Director of Education
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
100 Main St. West
P.O. Box 2558
Hamilton, ON L8N 3L1
Phone: (905) 527-5092 ext.2297
E-mail: (through Executive Assistant)

The State was invented by the people; the family precedes the state ontologically and politically. The State has no right to infringe on the religious rights of the family. This is an attempt to take our children away from us and it probably is in violation of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights and as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Pray for justice and don't forget to vote while we still can.