Deborah Gyapong: January 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Worrying signs on the religious freedom front

A Kamloops City Councillor gets fined $1,000 by a human rights tribunal for saying in public what the Catholic Catechism says.

A higher court upholds a similar fine levied on a public official in Belgium.

The Catholic Church in Britain is told its adoption agencies must serve gay couples contrary to Church teaching.

What kind of future do we want to have together? One in which people get fined or worse for disagreeing with the new party line?

Here's a link to a story I wrote on some alarming trends in the debate on religious freedom.

OTTAWA , Canada (CCN) – A prominent Canadian public intellectual has set off alarm bells for suggesting the Catholic Church and other religions that don’t comply with so-called Canadian values should lose their charitable tax status.

Daniel Cere, who heads the McGill University Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture, sees “troubling features” in the “growing conversation about religious freedom” in Canada, especially in a an article in the Fall 2006 edition of the Literary Review of Canada by Janice Gross Stein, a political scientist who directs the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Affairs.

Entitled “Living Better Multiculturally,” and headlined “Whose values should prevail?” the essay raised a series of questions about multiculturalism and religious freedom, when religions have values that go against what Stein described as Canadian values or Charter values.

Of course, to those who identify with so-called Charter values, reining in those who depart from them is a nobrainer. And we do need to have some underlying moral norms we all agree on, otherwise we fall into relativistic chaos. The problem is our modern, pluralistic, western democracies rest on a foundation of Judeo-Christian morality to nourish and support them. Without that---and that foundation's roots are being hacked and gutted--we will collapse into a new tyranny. As the article states, we need to find a way to live together and share public space while respecing differences.



My Master's Artist post today


The last week has been glorious in the life of my obscure little faith community and in my personal life. I feel as if I have had a glimpse of God's plan, not only for my life but that of our struggling little band. Not that I know what the end result of that plan will be, except for a few days it was as if the clouds parted, light broke through and I have felt I am exactly where God wants me, doing exactly what I am called to do and everything I have ever done in the past has been preparation for these moments. Oh that these glorious days could last forever. But I thank God for these consolations, because they will help tide me over when the cloud cover returns.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Canada has two new Anglican Catholic bishops






The last several days have been full of celebration in my Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, part of the worldwide Traditional Anglican Catholic Church (TAC), which is actively seeking communion with the Holy See.

Our Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth was here to consecrate two auxiliary or suffragan bishops for the Diocese of Canada. Not only were we blessed with Arch. Hepworth's presence, but also our retired Bishop Robert Mercer returned from England for the ceremony as did our Diocesan and Metropolitan Bishop Peter Wilkinson. The service took place at St. Basil's Roman Catholic Church, graciously lent to us by the Archdiocese of Ottawa, as our little cathedral is too small.

The last several days have been glorious. The two new bishops are Bishop Carl Reid of the Ottawa parish of the Annunciation. And Bishop Craig Botterill who is based near Halifax.

I had the joy of interviewing all the bishops for Salt and Light TV about the progress of the informal talks with Rome.

Great news about Archbishop Collins


There are media stories about Archbishop Thomas Collins who will be installed as Archbishop of Toronto tomorrow. Salt and Light TV and Vision TV will be covering the ceremony at St. Michael's Cathedral tomorrow starting at 11:30 a.m.

Read about this wonderful man and rejoice that we have spiritual leader of this caliber in Canada.

Fr. Tom Rosica writes in his Toronto Sun column:

Collins will succeed very well in Toronto because he has never lost the common touch, and has not forgotten that real authority is born of humility and is ultimately exercised by charm and selfless service, for the building up of the church and society. We need a bishop like this who is not afraid to be visible in the world of faith, culture, politics and media ... someone who is convincing because he himself is convinced.

What do we desire in a new bishop and shepherd? A preacher who can convert souls; a prudent administrator and disciplinarian, shrewd in finances and not governed by human respect; honest; experienced as a parish priest -- not symbolic, but a real, lifelong pastor; highly intelligent and learned in theology and scripture; familiar with secular culture and able to address it in its terms, and effective with -- and not intimidated by -- the media.

And here's yesterday's Toronto Sun coverage about Archbishop Collins.

He's one of Canada's most powerful men of the cloth, but conversing in the modest library of St. Michael's Cathedral this week, what is most striking about Toronto's new Archbishop Thomas Collins is how supremely human he is.

Talking to him is like talking to a thoughtful, engaging next-door neighbour, excited about his future responsibilities, yet clearly in touch with his roots.


Make sure you read to the end of this story to find out in the Q & A portion what piece of Arch. Collins' past no one knows about. Hilarious. Toronto is going to love him.

Stories about vaccines derived from aborted fetuses

I've done a couple of stories about how all the vaccines currently in use in Canada are derived from fetal cell lines derived originally from aborted fetuses. As Dr. Leiva said, this issue has gone beneath the radar of the pro-life community, but has serious implications for embryonic stem cell arguments and human cloning.

Here is a link to the most recent story:

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – According to Alberta and Ontario health ministries, ethical vaccines to replace a brand made from cell lines derived from aborted fetuses will soon be available in Canada.

This is a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Rene Leiva, an Ottawa-based family doctor and spokesperson for Canadian Physicians for Life. “This way we are avoiding being coerced into using a medical treatment that violates the consciences of many parents.”

It is unclear, however, when the change will take place, as a bulk contract with Sanofi Pasteur is up in March 2007 and the company may face competition when Public Works Canada opens up the bulk contract to other bidders. So Leiva is urging Canadians to continue to pressure their respective provincial health ministries to make ethical vaccines available.

And here is a link to the original.

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – Canadian Physicians for Life is urging provincial governments to replace a vaccine made from aborted fetuses with a morally-acceptable vaccine already approved by Health Canada.

The organization wrote to all provincial health ministers in early December, urging the ministries to replace Pentacel, a vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, polio and other illnesses, with Pediacel, a similar vaccine made by the same company Sanofi Pasteur.

Dr. Rene Leiva, a family physician in Ottawa and member of Canadian Physicians for Life hopes Catholics will pressure provincial governments to provide Pediacel. In Ontario, the contract for Pentacel comes up for renewal in March 2007, leaving a small window of opportunity for concerned parents, doctors and lawyers to demand change.

Leiva said there is a precedent for the government buying two kinds of vaccines, because it does so in the case of Mumps, Measles and Rubella.

“This is not just about vaccines,” said Leiva in a Jan. 8 telephone interview. “This is just the tip of iceberg. This is about moral coercion of the conscience.”

“It’s a wake up call for all of us,” he said. “If we do not do anything right now we cannot complain about embryonic stem cell research.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Canadian Catholic Church faces big challenges


OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – The Canadian Church faces major challenges in the next five years as more than 20 bishops reach the age of 75, several dioceses already lie vacant, and decreasing priestly vocations leaves a shrinking pool of possible candidates.

“It’s the challenge that we face in every aspect of ministry in the church,” said Halifax Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. “We have fewer young priests to be pastors and to be bishops in the long run. We have to pray that God will help us.”

Yet Archbishop Prendergast remains optimistic. “I’m confident we’ll find the right people.”

How does the pope find the right people? Is there going to be a difference in Benedict XVI bishop, or will there be continuity with those of John Paul II? How does the church combat the relativism, subjectivism and pluralism that the pope has identified in Canada? Is there a special kind of bishop needed for that job? What role do Canada’s bishops and ordinary Catholic play in the choice?

While Prendergast compares to trying to discern who might get appointments to tea leaf reading, some insight might be gained through a close look at the process for selecting candidates.


A most interesting story to work on. The picture show Archbishop Prendergast and St. George's Bishop Douglas Crosby, taken at the Catholic Women's League national convention last August in Halifax.

The Anchoress on martyrdom and forced conversions

The Anchoress is reposting some excellent essays. Well worth rereading.

Faith and Reason share a kinship, and within that kinship the natural and supernatural wave back and forth, like wind-stirred wheat in a field, but only to an point. The gift of faith is itself supernatural, but let’s call it a small-s-supernatural, one in which reason may be easily ascertained. I think once circumstances have led one - willingly or unwillingly - to confront capital-S-Supernatural, the waters become very deep, and reason must necessarily hang back near the shore.

The demand to “convert or die” is not a thinking demand, it is not born of reason. It is culled forth from a dark heart given over to something larger than a human sense or sensibility. It is an unnatural requirement; it is Supernatural. As such, it can only be properly answered through Supernatural means, through a heart that is not dark but which is equally given over to something larger than our rational and reductive imaginings. Can you reduce the response to a forced conversion into whether one “meant it” or not? Yes, you can, but in doing so you have taken your eyes off of something hugely in play but easy to miss - that the greatest feats of heroism written in the annals of human history have come about through a combination of faith and reason, but with reason bringing up the rear.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My first book club

On Sunday, a local book club discussed The Defilers and invited me along. What a great experience to have some intelligent readers discuss my novel and ask some interesting questions about the characters. As far as I know, this is the first and only book club that has chosen my novel.

On the couch: Jean Hammell (pink sweater), myself, and Shirley Moulton (blue sweater) Jennifer Thomas and Elizabeth Norris stand behind the loveseat.

Isn't it cool they all have their copies of the book!

Dion's pros and cons from a Catholic perspective

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN)—Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, potentially Canada’s next prime minister, gets mixed reviews from Catholic observers, who like his stress on a sustainable environment and social justice but raise concerns about his highly individualistic notion of rights.

That approach, they say, could mean clashes down the road with group rights, especially those of families, religions and nationalities.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dr. Sanity's happiness prescription

Any psychologist worth his or her salt could tell you that happiness is not tied either to wealth or poverty per se; but is only a by-product that comes about when individuals take responsibility for their own lives; and when they are able to pursue thoses lives, relationships and goals freely, without undue interference from the state or collective.

In other words, in a politically and economically free environment, an individual retains responsibility for his or her own happiness. When the state and those who rule the state say they will take responsibility--then beware.

Happiness is not a gift that any economic or political system can bestow on you or guarantee. The best any state or society can do with regard to happiness, is to strike down as many barriers that prevent a person from pursuing it in their own unique, individual way.


Read the whole thing. As usual, Dr. Sanity is most insightful. Also check out her post from yesterday.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thr3e --the movie--has been released

Mike Duran on the Thr3e the movie:

I strongly believe in supporting Christian artists. But endorsing mediocre work often perpetuates a stereotype that “Christian art” is really just second-rate propaganda. We are viewed as an insular fraternity whose sole aim is to further our cause — whether through film, literature or music — often at the expense of those mediums. As such, Christian reviewers of said works tend to be myopic cheerleaders for their creative counterparts, implementing a radical double-standard and eschewing objectivity in favor of four stars.

I’m afraid that double-standard is at work with Thr3e.


Read it all. Interesting difference between the Christian reviews and the non-Christian reviews.

I'll have to see for myself. I personally liked To End All Wars, which got panned by a number of non-religious reviewers.

For more on concerns about what Hollywood thinks Christians want or will settle for, go here.

Hilarious example of viral marketing

http://americancomedynetwork.com:80/animation.html?bit_id=25239

This is a great example of viral marketing. It deserves a wide audience. Enjoy!

Some great craftsmanship in this, too.

Should Christian fiction be message-driven?

Over at The Word Guild's new blog, author Keith Clemons launches a debate about message-driven fiction and mentions a panel we participated on together. I have no problem with explicit Christian material in fiction. In fact, I'd like to see more of it. And having explicit Christian content hasn't hurt Marilynne Robinson in her Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead, or Susan Howatch in her wonderful series on the Anglican Church that uses theological differences as great opportunities for conflict among her various priests and bishops.

Where I think Christian fiction has received a bad rap in recent years, is because some evangelical-market novels have been thinly disguised sermons masquerading as fiction. The characters have become cardboard mouthpieces for a preachy lecture.

Fortunately, Christian fiction is getting better and better over the years, and we can talk about message as something intricately bound up within a work of art. That kind of message I'm all for. Because of the bad reputation, however, many Christian authors have been shying away from explicit Christianity or a discernable message so that the story stands on its own. Has the pendulum swung too far?

Keith writes:

I used to read more secular fiction than Christian because worldly authors had less trouble illustrating the depraved nature of man. Christian authors tend to step lightly around evil. This sugarcoating of sin may make characters less offensive, but it also makes them less believable. Thank God—and I do―this is changing. I know several authors on this blog alone who are cutting against the grain, and from different angles. N.J. Lindquist writes her mystery fiction primarily for a secular market, but doesn’t shy away from putting God into the mind of her characters when it’s called for. Deborah Gyapong boldly writes characters with an expressed dark side, but publishes for the Christian market. Linda Hall presents a crossover, writing for both markets while skillfully showing the foibles of man and the need for redemption.

Now if we can only get Christian authors to stop shying away from delivering a message. Last year at Write Canada, a Canadian Christian writer’s conference sponsored by the Word Guild, I had the privilege of joining Deborah Gyapong on a panel that discussed the topic of message driven fiction. It was one of the better panels I’ve been on. The opinions expressed were as strong as they were divergent. Some said putting a message into fiction got in the way of the story and diminished the quality of the work. Others argued that a story without a message was mere entertainment, and had limited value.

On the careful use of statistics

Here's an interesting piece from Christianity Today's Books and Culture by Christian Smith about statistics and how some Evangelicals have been guilty of misusing them to magnify a sense of doom and gloom about the culture.

This year, while I want my eyes to be open to genuine doom and gloom, I commit myself to cultivating the Christian virtues of hope, faith and charity. This article also serves as a good check on any tendency in our camp to exaggerate problems and thereby sacrifice credibility.

Christian Smith writes:

The point is not that all evangelical leaders need an M.A. in statistics, or that all evangelical organizations need to hire statisticians. Indeed, let me be entirely clear here. I am not finally pushing for the authority of experts. The last thing the world needs is more worship in the cult of expertise. I am actually arguing for the opposite: for ordinary evangelical leaders, pastors, and organizational staff-people to better exercise their God-given minds on pretty basic matters of percentages, averages, trends, and logical inferences so as to not say indefensible and embarrassing things in public.

It's not that hard. People simply need to ask themselves things like: Is it really plausible that Christianity will be dead one decade from now because today's young people appear to be less religious? Of course not. Anyone who could think that is clearly so gullible, so ill-informed about what reality is and how it works that they have no business offering, for example, "high level briefings" involving "top voices" about "what must be done to reverse the 4% trend" that doesn't exist. It's an embarrassment, a disgrace. It reflects the lowest of standards of operation and the feeblest of thinking. Non-evangelicals paying any attention to this have every right to ridicule and dismiss such ill-informed nonsense. And evangelical programs that miscalculate reality in such ways—however well meaning and enthusiastic they are—surely undermine their own long-term credibility and effectiveness.

But I suspect that to squarely address this question, the self-criticism and raising of standards needs to go deeper. The real question is not whether evangelicals can clean up their statistical act. The deeper question is whether American evangelicals can learn to live without the alarmism that is so comfortably familiar to them. Evangelicals, by my observation, thrive on fear of impending catastrophe, accelerating decay, apocalyptic crises that demand immediate action (and maybe money). All of that can be energizing and mobilizing. The problem is, it also often distorts, misrepresents, or falsifies what actually happens to be true about reality. And to sacrifice what is actually true for the sake of immediate attention and action is plain wrong. It should be redefined as a very un-evangelical thing to do.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Anglican Catholic dean eviscerates the Jesus Project


The Very Rev. Carl Reid, dean of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Ottawa, considers the new Jesus Project asinine.

I agree with him.

In his homily on Epiphany II, he said:


I don’t know if anyone else experienced the sudden shift in emotions that I did this past Wednesday morning, if you also saw the front page of the Ottawa Citizen. Smack in the middle of the page was an array of nine different images of Jesus Christ, under the heading “Not Just a Question of Faith.” My immediate reaction, based on many favourable-to-traditional-Christianity articles that have recently graced the pages of that paper, was keen.

Alas, the other heading, under the images, “Scholars to debate if Jesus existed” dashed my hopes. For those who may not have seen it, the article goes on to inform us that there will now be a successor group to the infamous Jesus Seminar of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. In case any of you missed that, it was a group of scholars of truly varied disciplines, but frankly few if any of them, people of genuine faith, who, by the process of voting using coloured beads, concluded that 82 percent of Jesus sayings and 84 percent of his deeds were unreliable to improbable. Now they are picking up where they left off with something called The Jesus Project, which will now, presumably by some equally asinine procedure, decide whether Jesus even existed - a question that no historian of any worth whatever would doubt.


Read the whole thing here.

Fr. Carl is one of two Anglican Catholic priests who will be consecrated as suffragan bishops on Jan. 27.

Here's your invitation to attend.


Your prayers and presence are requested at the

Consecrations of

The Rev. Craig Botterill and The Very Rev. Carl Reid as Bishops Suffragan for The Diocese of Canada

Saturday, January 27, 2007

(The Feast of St. John Chrysostom and The Refounding of the Diocese of Canada)

1:00 o’clock in the afternoon

St Basil’s Roman Catholic Church, 940 Rex Avenue, Ottawa, Canada

Oprah's feel good gospel

It's hard not to like Oprah Winfrey, though the fact that she appears on the cover of her own magazine every month seems a bit over the top, even though I find them fascinating. One of the reasons why she has such mass appeal is that, despite her being a billionaire, we can all project ourselves onto her, assuming she believes the way we do. She's everyone's best girlfriend.

But here's the irony, noted journalist Marcia Nelson, author of "The Gospel According to Oprah." Winfrey has become a billionaire and one of world's most powerful women by baring her soul and urging millions of others to follow her example, resulting in what some critics call the "Oprahfication" of America. However, it's almost impossible to answer this simple question: What does Oprah believe?


and

The key is that Winfrey has been a trailblazer who symbolizes many contemporary religious trends.

* Many Americans, said Nelson, are drawn to a "practical, how-to, self-help, just-do-it" approach to faith and personal growth that meshes smoothly with the parade of counselors, doctors, writers and ministers -- of every conceivable faith -- featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." It's crucial that the host looks straight into the camera and says: "This works."

Thus, noted Nelson, Winfrey has "been roundly criticized for making the spiritual too psychological, too therapeutic, too soft, too easy, too self-centered. The gospel according to Oprah doesn't appear to require some kind of doctrinal commitment or a community to ensure that the life-changing 'Aha!' moment of decision is more than a new year's resolution that is quickly made in isolation and broken two weeks later."


Great stuff for those who consider themselves spiritual not religious, who don't want anything imposed upon them or any accountability within a faith community.

Sad. Once upon a time I used to be like that. It's much better being part of a church community.

Via Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dr. Sanity diagnoses media hysteria

Read the whole thing:

Let me give you an example from one of my own cases. A middle-aged woman was referred to the psychiatric emergency room when a rather thorough medical examination could not explain the sudden onset of a complete paralysis below the waist. Additionally, the Resident was concerned because her "affect" was rather strange. It seems that, despite what one might normally consider a rather devastatingly traumatic event--the loss of one's ability to walk or to experience any sensation below the waist--the patient was laughing and joking with the medical Resident.

Mrs O'Hara (we will call her that for reasons that need not concern you) was indeed cheerful for someone who was suddenly paralyed and in a wheelchair. She was also not particularly concerned that she had been referred to a psychiatrist. "Oh!" She told me cheerfully when I asked her how she felt about it, "I suppose you will all sort it out after a while!"

As it turned out, Mrs. O'Hara was eventually admitted to our inpatient unit (yes, they actually used to admit patients like this back in those days). I did not follow her closely, but it turned out that her husband of many years had recently left her for a much younger woman. They were in the middle of a nasty divorce, fighting over how much money she was to get. The whole situation would have been quite upsetting to anyone, but Mrs. O'Hara insisted it didn't bother her at all--and, as long as she insisted such was the case, she was unable to use her legs. She literally "couldn't stand on her own two feet" and didn't seem to much care ("la belle indifference") until one day in a family meeting where her soon-to-be-ex-husband was also present. During this session, Mrs. O'Hara became enraged at something he said and suddenly stood up to confront him angrily. This seemingly obvious evidence of the health of her legs completely unfazed her, however, and she regained her good humor--and her paralysis--at about the same time.

Where do writers get their ideas?

J. Mark Bertrand ponders the mystery over at The Master's Artist.

Some stories, without being different from the rest, are somehow deeper. My mom told me about a relative who, haunted by an accidental death, did some strange things by way of mourning. (I won't reveal them here, since they will undoubtedly figure in some future story.) As I listened, I held my breath. The character -- and yes, I thought of this person already as a character -- made such a curious, profound gesture that the action struck me as emblematic of ... something. "This is the sort of story you could puzzle over," I thought. "It could unlock a mystery or two."

Different writers are on the hunt for different stories, from the lurid to the comic. Too often, we get our material -- our influence -- from other books, so that our storytelling suffers from a Hapsburgian lack of genetic diversity. All our novels suffer from nosebleeds. Or worse, they become the fictional equivalent of a water cooler conversation, a re-hash of stale Saturday Night Live skits. A solution to all this is to seek out stories in life.

The stories you find in life are raw material in the best sense. They're unfiltered. They haven't been passed down through another writer's sensibility -- or if they have, the transmission has been oral, giving the tale with pseudo-mythic dimensions. In their simplicity, these raw stories fascinate. Hearing them, the writer feels the same eschatological tension that the tailor experiences on handling a bolt of fine cloth. "This needs to be shaped, to be made into something."

Peggy Noonon on Iraq

and on Bush's speech delivery, and what Nancy Pelosi thought about wearing.

There was something unnerving about the speech, from the jumpy beginning to the stumbles to the sound glitches. A jittery affair, and some dusk hung over it. At the end I suspected the president's aides had instructed him again and again not to strut or have an edge. He perhaps understood that as: Got it--don't be me. He couldn't do wounded wisdom, but he could repress cocky cowboy. The result was that he seemed not chastened but effaced, not there. It was odd. One couldn't find the personal geography of the speech.


AND

When Nancy Pelosi showed up at the White House Wednesday to talk with the president it was obvious she'd spent a lot of time thinking about . . . what to wear. She wrapped herself in a rich red shawl. Dick Morris said it looked like a straitjacket. I thought she looked like a particularly colorful mummy. She complained that the president had not asked for her input as he put together his plan. He should have. But what would she have brought to the table if she'd been asked to it? It is still--still!--unclear.


She concludes:


But there are two vacuums in the Iraq story. The first is the vacuum that would be filled in Iraq if America withdrew tomorrow. The second is the power vacuum that will be created in Washington if the administration is, indeed, collapsing. The Democrats of Capitol Hill will fill that one. And they seem--and seemed in their statements after the president's speech--wholly unprepared to fill it, wholly unserious in their thoughts and approach. They seem locked into habits that no longer pertain, and absorbed by the small picture of partisan advancement at the expense of the big picture, which is that the nation is in trouble and needs their help. They are sunk in the superficial.

-snip-

What is paramount is a hard, cold-eyed and even brutal look at America's interests. We have them. I'm not sure they've been given sufficient attention the past few years. In fact, I am sorry to say I believe they have not.


Via Relapsed Catholic.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Manifestation of Christ

Father Peter had a wonderful sermon on Sunday. He said:

As we are told, a star guided these men to the new born baby and Jesus Christ was indeed manifested to the Gentiles.

The star is rather less important than what shone inside these men. There, in their hearts was the light of God, flashing the message of an event of unparalleled significance. To that heavenly urging these men responded, journeying many, many miles until they reached their goal, and there they were richly rewarded, …they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him.

We need no more reward, when Jesus is revealed to us, than to fall down and worship Him. For when we recognize Jesus Christ, as the wise men did, it is because we are in His presence, which is the greatest reward of all and one which is so completely worthy of our worship.

Jesus is not an artificial creation, born of man’s hands. He is neither a phantom nor a figment of our imagination. He is as real and living as when He lived as that baby in the manger. And He will manifest Himself to those who hear His call, see His light and then respond with the determination and sacrifice of those wise men of the East, following the star to the source of all light.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Spare me the paranoia of the left---or the right

Dr. Sanity diagnoses paranoia. I fear both. I sure don't want to see any form of paranoia or scapegoating become the basis of any country's foreign policy. What interests me is how often Jews become the scapegoats of both the right and the left.

The unlikely coalition between the paranoid left and the paranoid right since 9/11 is held together by what Richard Hofstadter described in the 1950's as The Paranoid Style in American Politics.

At the time he wrote the essay, Hofstadter was primarily concerned with the conspiratorial fantasies of the right side of the political spectrum. Our present political climate however, offers much support for those who suspect that paranoid strain now also infects the left side with a virulent case of the same illness.

As to which side exhibits more pathology, you can decide for yourself. Both are severely toxic in their own right; but together, they represent a mix that is absolutely lethal.

Psychologically, it is very difficult to abandon paranoia and psychological projection once they are taken on by a particular group, since both--along with the delusions and distortions that they generate-- serve the purpose of accounting for an unacceptable status quo. Without a scapegoat who is considered to be racially, sexually, physically, or intellectually inferior, onto which your own fears can be projected; it would be horrifying and untenable to look inside one's own heart and soul for the source of the fear.


Read it all. And bookmark her site.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Word Guild has a new blog

Check out the new blog by professional members of The Word Guild, a Canadian association of writers and editors who are Christian.

N.J. Lindquist and others have excellent posts up.

I felt like Eustace in Prince Caspian, when his dragon skin is first peeled and then ripped away. Every part of my self-worth was being stripped from me. And it hurt. In the end, all I had left was the core of who I am deep inside where only God sees.

But what I found at that core was faith. The irrevocable, unchanging knowledge that no matter what anyone else might think or say about me, nothing I could do would make God love me any more than he already did. Nothing! And all he wanted from me in return was for me to simply "be" the person he created me to be.

That's a scary thing to do. To rely on who we are, to accept and nourish the desires we have at the core of our being, and to build from them.

But that's what I did. I trusted that God had made me the way he wanted me. And by pinning all my hope on God's ability to use me exactly as I am, I became stronger than ever before.

LifesiteNews.com exposes the Grey Lady

UPDATE!!!!

Finally, the New York Times issues a retraction. Read more about it at LifeSiteNews.com.


LifeSiteNew.com's expose of an inaccurate story in the New York Times is, according to Michelle Malkin, one of the last nails in the newspaper's credibility coffin.

She writes:

Today's Vent covers ombudsman Byron Calame's stunning Sunday column calling the Times to task for its false, sloppy, and unrepentant pro-abortion propganda packaged as a New York Times Magazine cover story on abortion in El Salvador by freelance writer Jack Hitt.

The sensational piece alleged that women there had been thrown in prison for 30-year terms for having had abortions. Hitt described his visit to one of them, inmate Carmen Climaco. "She is now 26 years old, four years into her 30-year sentence" for aborting an 18-week-old fetus.

Cruel. Horrible. Outrageous. And utterly, demonstrably, false. Climaco had actually been convicted of murder for strangling her newborn baby.

Lifesite first exposed the truth after easily obtaining court documents in the case. Calame followed up and also independently obtained the documents easily—records which Hitt didn't bother to try and get for himself to verify the propaganda being fed to him.


In my 100 Huntley Street interview, I talked about the need for Christians to develop their own sources of media because the MSM cannot be trusted. I mention Lifesite's breaking of this story. Way to go, Lifesitenews.com.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Christopher Hitchens in Iraq

The distance between hope and despair, meanwhile, is measurable in vertiginous minutes. I flew to Baghdad from the northern city of Erbil, by the ordinary means of buying a local Iraqi Airlines ticket, boarding a plane that made a stop in Sulaymaniyah, and landing at the former Saddam Hussein International Airport. The whole exercise was almost weirdly normal. The plane was full of ordinary citizens carrying plastic hold-alls, with cheerful, unveiled hostesses handing out snacks and drinks. The terminal was quiet, and the airport road (which used to be known as "Route Irish" and was the scene of incessant mayhem) is these days considered fairly safe and has been stabilized by the Iraqi army. I stopped to be photographed with a unit of this force, a group of cheerful and professional young men.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Michelle Malkin's heading to Iraq

She's going to try find the oft-quoted, but suddenly unavailable source for so many MSM stories about Iraq.

She writes:

Our overarching goals are two-fold:

1) to report on how the troops perceive mainstream media coverage of the war (with a particular focus on the wire services relying on local stringers); and

2) to report on progress and interaction between U.S. troops and Iraqi Army trainees.

The "Jamil Hussein" story is one important item on our agenda, but not the only one. As Curt and other bloggers on this story have noted from the beginning, Jamilgate isn't just about "Jamil Hussein." Bryan and I plan to do as much on-the-ground reporting as we can to nail down unresolved questions--not only about Jamil Hussein and the Hurriya six burning Sunnis allegations, but also about the AP four burning mosque story discrepancies and the many other AP sources that our military has publicly challenged--including "Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq" and more than a dozen police officers listed by U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Michael Dean. There's also the issue of detained AP photographer Bilal Hussein. And we are looking forward to reporting first-hand on the security situation in Iraq outside the so-called "Green Zone" (International Zone) and talking to as many American and Iraqi Army troops with insights on these and other broader matters.


You can help Michelle pay for the trip over at her site.

Breathing lessons

My post over at The Master's Artist today:

In my childhood neighborhood, we used to play a game that went something like this: a group of us would be jumping and running around, then someone, the designated "It" would yell "Freeze!" and we'd all have to stop, even if one leg was still in the air. I think the name of the game was "Statue" and you lost if you fell over, or could not maintain your position.

We're going to play that game right now. FREEZE! Hold that position and make a mental note of what your "statue" looks like.

I'm slouching against my chair back, one leg crossed over my knee, but usually you would find me hunched forward from the waist, spine an S-shape. And I've discovered that my posture is the least of my worries.


I hope you read the whole thing. Let me know what you think and whether you'll try what I've suggested. If you do, let me know what happened.

Judge rules child can have three parents

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – The Ontario Court of Appeal has recognized three parents in the case of a child being raised by a lesbian couple and has accorded equal rights and obligations to the lesbian partner in addition to the child’s biological mother and father.

The Jan. 2 decision, overturning a lower court decision limiting rights to two parents, is prompting growing number of pro-marriage groups to call on the federal government to launch a royal commission on marriage and families.

“It is clear that courts will be asked to fill in many gaps that exist in traditional understandings of family, as a result of changes to the definition of marriage, and parent, in Canadian law,” said Catholic Civil Rights League president Phil Horgan in a Jan. 2 news release.

“Canadian courts have recognized lesbian parents on birth certificates to the exclusion of any father in the past year,” he said. “The Court of Appeal has now expanded the number of recognized parents to three in this case. Future cases can be expected to ask to expand that number.”

“In this case, the obvious question is that if a child can have three parents, who is to say three is the limit?” he asked.