Deborah Gyapong: November 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please read this

During Evening Prayer (see below tonight) these words from 1 Thess. 5 came alive:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

12And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19Quench not the Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

25Brethren, pray for us.

26Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. 27I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Evening Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer

Evening Prayer (Want to join me?)

Minister. O Lord, open thou our lips;

People. And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.

Minister. O God, make speed to save us;

People. O Lord, make haste to help us.

Here, all standing up, the Minister shall say:

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and the the Holy Ghost;

People. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Minister. Praise ye the Lord;

People. The Lord's Name be praised.

Then shall follow THE PSALMS.

Psalm 50

Isaiah 2:10-end

MAGNIFICAT. St. Luke 1:46

MY soul doth magnify the Lord, / and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded / the lowliness of his handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth / all generations shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me; / and holy is his Name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him / throughout all generations.

He hath showed strength with his arm; / he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, / and hath exalted the humble and the meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things; / and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He remembering his mercy / hath holpen his servant Israel;

As he promised to our forefathers, / Abraham and his seed for ever.

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, / world without end. Amen.

Or Cantate Domino, Psalm 98, page 455.

Then THE SECOND LESSON as appointed. 1 Thess. 5

NUNC DIMITTIS. St. Luke 2:29.

LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, / according to thy word.

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, / which thou has prepared before the face of all people;

To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, / and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, / world without end. Amen.

Then shall be said or sung the Confession of the Faith, called the Apostles' Creed.

I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.

And after the Creed these prayers following, all devoutly kneeling, the Minister first pronouncing:

The Lord be with you;

People. And with thy spirit.

Minister. Let us pray.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

OUR Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Then the Priest standing up shall say:

O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;

People. And grant us thy salvation.

Priest. O Lord, save the Queen;

People. And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

Priest. Endue thy Ministers with righteousness;

People. And make thy chosen people joyful.

Priest. O Lord, save thy people;

People. And bless thine inheritance.

Priest. Give peace in our time, O Lord;

People. And evermore mightily defend us.

Priest. O God, make clean our hearts within us;

People. And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

Then shall follow THE COLLECT OF THE DAY, together with any other Collects appointed to be said, and these two prayers in order.

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, now and ever. Amen.

The Second Collect, for Peace.

O GOD, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

The Third Collect, for Aid against all Perils.

LIGHTEN our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Here may follow an Anthem or a Hymn.

Here may be said the prayers found at this point in Morning Prayer or selections from the Prayers and Thanksgivings or such other prayers as are contained in this Book or set forth by lawful authority, always ending with the Prayer of St Chrysostom and the Grace.

A Prayer of Saint Chrysostom.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests: Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.

2 Corinthians 13:14.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Advent Readings for the First Sunday of Advent

Today's readings:

Morning Prayer:

Isaiah 1:1-20

Matthew 24: 1-28

For the Mass:

Romans 13:8-end

Matthew 21:1-13

Evening Prayer:

Isaiah 2:10-end

1 Thess. 5

Celebrating Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year in the Church calendar.

It's not only a time to prepare one's heart for Christmas, but it's also a time to ponder the Second Coming of Christ. The Anchoress writes:

Advent coaxes us out. We look up and there is a darker sky than before. The stars show more clearly, and they inspire us to hack through the stuff that has begun to imprison us within the year so that we may walk a freer path, made clear. Engaged and with a certain goal, our awareness shifts and becomes heightened. We hear a memory: “All things, all senses, all times, all places are alive in the sight of their King.” And the King makes everything new.

Without Advent - without the putting up of purple in the midst of all the red and green in the tiring rush between Thanksgiving and the New Year - we might forget to mark this time, make straight this path, and ponder what transpired in a lonely cave in Bethlehem, 2000 years ago; what it meant then, and what it still means for all of us, today.

Because it is monumental, this Coming - it is the Coming of Love in a way never before (or since) encountered.

And yes, it has “already happened.” But if God is outside of Time, and we know He is, then that momentous event “is happening” right now.

A star is shining brightly.

A people are moving towards the places from whence they came.

A young woman is great with child.

Wise men are lifting their eyes to heaven, and wondering.

The place of our own origin, from whence we came, beckons and sends a flare, and One who is All in All will come - in love, and breathtaking humility - to show us the way back to the Creator.

We are great with expectation.

We raise our heads from the wilderness of our lives, and look about, and wonder. And hope.

For much of this fall, I have been heavyhearted as I watched the election coverage south of the border. And now there is more reason to be heavyhearted in Canada as we contemplate either another election within weeks of the last one or a a coup engineered by the socialist New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois, a party dedicated to the break up of Canada. The coup-plotters have the ear of the lame duck Liberal Leader Stephane Dion,who must step down after a convention chooses a new leader in May. So Dion has nothing to lose by this deal to topple the minority Conservative government and everything to gain, i.e. the keys to 24 Sussex Drive, the Prime Minister's residence.

As someone told National Post columnist John Ivison:

The source in the Ignatieff camp said Mr. Dion is making all the running on coalition talks with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, and is not consulting with leadership candidates, Mr. Ignatieff, Bob Rae or Dominic LeBlanc.

“Dion is like Frankenstein’s monster - he’s on the slab and just had a jolt of life injected into him. He’s going full tilt ahead with this coalition but his caucus isn’t going with him,” the source said.

If this coalition gets into power, then we can kiss any political gains on the freedom of speech front good bye. The three opposition parties are all--to put it kindly--convergence liberal---the one-size-fits-all-pantyhose new-fangled liberals who believe society is moving to a new consensus that will replace the former Judeo-Christian consensus of western civilization with multicultural relativism and fundamentalist secularism.

A less kind but appropriate word for the pantyhose style is soft totalitarian, or liberal fascism with a smiley face. It will be hostile to dissent, especially Christian dissent that holds that there is a power over and above the state.

But, I am choosing to reject heavyheartedness over Advent, except the heavyheartedness that comes with genuine repentance for my own sins. I choose to be joyful in the Lord, to put my hope in Him. Why don't you join me in the Advent readings for Morning and Evening Prayer?

As part of my Advent discipline, I am going to try to post the readings for Morning and Evening Prayer each day.

How to make yourself a laughingstock around the world

This will go down in history as a recipe for how to make yourself a worldwide laughingstock.

Mark Steyn writes:

So I wonder what it is Professor Ethics-Bore thinks I should have “checked”. That the Ayatollah disapproves of post-coitally chowing down on your barnyard sex partner? Check! Indeed, check mate. On the other hand, the E-Bore didn't check anything - not my original book review, not Oriana's original quote. He pronounced magisterially on the non-existence of any such "Blue Book" without checking a thing.

But, beyond all that J-school snoozeroonie stuff, what I find even more perplexing is why Prof Miller, M J Murphy and the nellies at Law Am Cool are so weirdly obsessed with insisting that somehow the Ayatollah's rulings about eating shagged sheep and having sex with nine-year-olds must be some malicious rumor got up by Oriana and me and a couple of other neocon buffoons. No one who knows anything about Khomeini or Shia jurisprudence would be in the least bit surprised, so why would a prissy PC drone like Prof Miller be so cavalier as to expose himself as entirely ignorant of the subject he’s loftily pontificating on? Not for the first time you realise that, for the lazy white liberal, driving around with a "CELEBRATE DIVERSITY" sticker absolves one from having to take the slightest interest in other cultures.

You have to read it all.

Kathy Shaidle adds her two cents:

The pitiful picture that emerges from this long and detailed post is a "battle" between mature, sophisticated world travelers who've studied their subjects firsthand for decades, and spindly, spiteful, envious little keyboard jockeys who never venture farther than the corner Starbucks yet fancy themselves instant authorities on any subject after a couple of quick Googles.

Iowahawk writes over at Big City Lib's comment section the following (BlazingCatFur has copied the comment so you don't have to drive Lib's traffic up:

Having just read Steyn's rebuttal in its entirety, I must say congratulations. You and "Doctor" Miller have just immortalized yourselves as the bumbling self-inflicted subjects of the single most exquisite literary evisceration in the history of the internet, nay, the world.

In fact, scratch "evisceration." Make that vaporization. At this point your next of kin will be lucky to find intact bits of "Doctor" Miller's reputation quivering in the treetops of Ryerson, let alone complete dental records.

No mind though, for your immortality is secure. For centuries to come students will study this marvelous episode: the pompous, clueless PC prof and his eager internet buttlick attempt to bell the famous cat Steyn, with completely predictable results.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Read the great Binkster

I'm going to take a break from the computer today, so please go on over to the Mighty Binkster's website for an array of interesting and crucial links.

And check out his excellent and respectful apologetic to a Muslim reader who was concerned for his soul.

I just got a stack of books out of the library, including F.A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" which I can see was that generation's "Liberal Fascism" and more. I got a bunch of David Horowitz books and a Michael Dibdin Aurelio Zen mystery. So I'm going to read a bit, snooze on the couch, maybe head over to the gym for some leisurely reading while on the elliptical trainer and try to enjoy a day off.

But first I have to read some of Binky's links.

I'm with Ezra on the Ahenakew thing

My newspapers were filled with Ahenakew's kooky and repulsive ideas about Jews this morning. Thousands of people read the Ottawa Citizen and the National Post. His second criminal trial on hate speech charges is the reason why his ideas are spreading far and wide.

Ezra writes that the man is now a celebrity because of the coverage:

My point is that Ahenakew is a kooky old man. He's racist. I doubt it's a deep racism, frankly -- I mean, how many Jews does Ahenakew bump into in a typical year in his home province of Saskatchewan, especially in his circles? It sounds like he's spent too much time surfing Left wing conspiracy theory sites -- I bet he's a 9/11 truther, too. The fact that he's Indian is just an interesting wrinkle -- he's basically a cranky old coot who has a long list of grievances, and the Jews are one of his many scapegoats.

Is Ahenakew violent? No, Does he advocate violence? No.

Does anyone in the world actually give a damn about what he says? No, other than his grandchildren who have to listen to him whenever they visit. But they probably ignore the old man, too.

David Ahenakew is a former somebody, who is now a nobody, who has views that are distasteful.

If a reporter hadn't been at the conference, none of us would know about it.

A reporter was there, and the resultant publicity marginalized Ahenakew even more in life, including stripping him of his Order of Canada. He was denounced nationally. He became a pariah.

And that's how it should be.

And it should have ended there, in 2002.

I agree.

Maybe when hate crimes charges are being laid, the officers should think about the capacity a person has to incite violence. I'd be a lot more worried about some religious leader in a religious institution full of people with similar hatred having their anti-Jewish hatred fomented than I would about a kooky old man making some remarks among aborigional Canadians who are not known for hatred of Jews and who were probably ashamed right on the spot of Ahenakew's ramblings.

There are real dangers to Jews in Canada but Ahenakew is not one of them.

Eclipse of the Moon

Well, thanks to the Tory's financial statement and the little matter of a $30 million subsidy for political parties, the Moon Report and its recommendation to axe the Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act the impending doom of the minority Harper government has eclipsed just about everything else.

Of course the Liberal non-confidence motion reads like a gargantuan gilded fig leaf that complains of the Conservatives' lack of response to the economic crisis. No stimulus package, no help for families, no job creation, blah blah.

And the consensus on the Hill is not that good. No one seems to be buying the talking points of either side: it's about the $30 million, not the lack of a significant "bail-out" package and Harper's getting criticized even by friends for being too provocative and Machiavellian, and the other parties for suddenly developing a backbone over their venal self-interest when the Liberals managed to cave on every important issue during the last session of Parliament.

It'll be bad, bad news for any reform of the Canadian Human Rights Commission if the proposed coalition Liberal/NDP government takes power. Imagine, Prime Minister Stephane Dion and Finance Minister Jack Layton and an NDP Environment Minister.

If this happens we might start yearning for the days of Jennifer Lynch and the "enlightened" dismissals of complaints against the likes of Steyn and Levant.

I had wished on many occasions during the last Parliament that the Tories would just bring forth a confidence motion on the Canadian Human Rights Act---at the height of the time when Dion was caving on everything else because he so feared an election. Well Dion doesn't care now. The man has nothing to lose since he is stepping down in May anyway. But he could gain the keys to 24 Sussex for as long as he can keep his strange bedfellows, including the separatist Bloc Quebecois happy.

The National Post echoes that sentiment this morning, expressing some dismay in an editorial that Harper didn't choose a more elevated hill to die on. The editorial says:

If Mr. Harper is looking for a worthy hill to die on, so that he can go into a 2009 election with a significant moral advantage, there are plenty to choose from -- an elected senate, a reformed Human Rights Act, health freedom, to name just a few. The key is to ensure that Canadians know he is looking out for the best interests of their country --not just his own party.

The Conservative party-financing ploy does not fit into this category. If the Prime Minister persists in this course of action, those who haven't already voted for him will never consider it. He may even accomplish the seemingly impossible: Making Stephane Dion Canada's prime minister.

It may be too late for Harper to pull the party-financing thing off the table, because there is too much of a vested interest in the other parties in appearing to care more about the economy than about their petty financing. The gilded fig leaf has taken on a life of its own.

I bet though, if the financial statement had appeared without the $30 million cut, the other parties would have whined, they would have complained, but they would have waited to see the budget in Jan. or Feb.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How are you going to celebrate Advent this year?

I love being a Traditional Anglican, because Advent, which begins Sunday, is marked with great solemnity. A new liturgical year begins at Advent and I always resolve to make a better effort to do the daily Morning Prayer and Evensong readings and canticles so that I live inside that calendar in a spiritual sense, to0.

Joseph Bottum as a great piece over at First Things (h/t CERC) on The End of Advent.

What Advent is, really, is a discipline: a way of forming anticipation and channeling it toward its goal. There's a flicker of rose on the third Sunday -- Gaudete!, that day's Mass begins: Rejoice! -- but then it's back to the dark purple that is the mark of the season in liturgical churches. And what those somber vestments symbolize is the deeply penitential design of Advent. Nothing we can do earns us the gift of Christmas, any more than Lent earns us Easter. But a season of contrition and sacrifice prepares us to understand and feel something about just how great the gift is when at last the day itself arrives.

More than any other holiday, Christmas seems to need its setting in the church year, for without it we have a diminishment of language, a diminishment of culture, and a diminishment of imagination. The Jesse trees and the Advent calendars, St. Martin's Fast and St. Nicholas' Feast, Gaudete Sunday, the childless crèches, the candle wreaths, the vigil of Christmas Eve: They give a shape to the anticipation of the season. They discipline the ideas and emotions that otherwise would shake themselves to pieces, like a flywheel wobbling wilder and wilder till it finally snaps off its axle.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Siddiqi makes sense at the end of his piece

Mark Steyn takes Haroon Siddiqui to task for his op ed today.

He writes:

*By the way, re Mr Siddiqui, the day after a Muslim terrorist assault on key landmarks of a major Indian city that left dozens dead, saw British and American tourists taken hostage, and the city's anti-terrorism chief and other municipal law enforcement figures gunned down on the street doesn't seem the most appropriate moment for him and Alan Borovoy to protest at Maclean's even raising the subject of how many Muslims support terrorism and its goals. That's an entirely responsible subject for the media to raise. And, given what's going on in the streets of Bombay, it's irresponsible for the media not to raise it - unless, that is, like Mr Siddiqui, you see yourself not as a journalist but as an enforcer for PC orthodoxy.)

Here's the quote from Alan Borovoy Siddiqui used:

Alan Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Union, a lifelong proponent of free speech, told me:

"Let's just take one statement that Steyn made: `Not all Muslims are terrorists, though enough are hot for jihad to provide an impressive support network.' I interpret that as saying that a significant number of Muslims support terrorism ... How much worse can you get? Doesn't that expose them to hatred? This looks to me like an awful exercise in rationalization by those who say this isn't hatred."

Borovoy has consistently argued--in interviews with me and with everyone else--that Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, with its lack of a defense of truth, makes it impossible for journalists to cover any conflict around the world, because true coverage of the conflict in the Middle East, or of Rwanda or of Northern Ireland could be deemed by one side or the other to be likely to promote hatred or contempt against them. I imagine Borovoy was using the Steyn example in the same vein. I'm rather shocked by the last sentence though: "This looks to me like an awful exercise in rationalization by those who say this isn't hatred." [More thoughts: Mark points out that he would love to hear what was cut out as represented by the [ . . .] in the quote. I expect that it was something along the lines of this: If Section 13.1 defines hatred (a definition Borovoy thinks is ridiculous and should be removed) then to say that the America Alone excerpt did not fit that overly broad censorious definition is an "awful exercise in rationalization." So in effect, Borovoy is saying the law was not applied in the same way against Macleans as it was against the basement Nazis and the hapless Christians who got ground to powder by the HRC process. He's NOT defending the law. He's NOT saying that from an objective, rational standpoint the article was hateful only by the provisions of the Act that would make just about any factual discourse on conflicts around the world hateful. If the contents of the quote represented by the ellipsis are what they think they are then "misheard" may be overly charitable on my part.

Frankly, I would have to hear an audio recording of Borovoy saying that for me to believe he said it. I doubt very much Borovoy would say Mark Steyn's book excerpt was an exercise in hatred. He might say that it could expose a group to hatred or contempt based on the very loose Section 13.1 "likely to" that never needs to be proven, but for him to impute a motive of hatred? No. I don't believe it for a minute. I think Haroon misheard. He ends his op ed thusly.

All these divisions cannot possibly be papered over by restricting the human rights tribunal's mandate, or tightening the definition of hate or even criminalizing speech, as Moon suggests.

We either go the American route and do away with all anti-hate laws or keep them, ideally in the non-criminal arena, but apply them equally to all. More immediately, all the key players need to rise above their self-serving agendas and pursue the common good, which is often best advanced through self-restraint rather than under the hammer of the law.

Well, I'm for going the American route before the Obaminator ushers in Canadian-style censorship.

The other alternative of applying them equally to all? Then you had better include us Christians in there, too. Imagine: Bill Maher and his stupid "Religulous" banned as hate propaganda by Jennifer Lynch's burgeoning department of censorship. Imagine getting hauled before the CHRC for their disgusting cartoon of the Pope giving a Heil Hitler salute to a statue of the Virgin Mary. But we Christians know it will not be applied equally. All the hallmarks of hate will be used against us by our own government, while no criticism will be allowed against any other group. We can be depicted falsely as evil, as perpetrators of colonialization and genocide, as racist and creators of systemic discrimination, stereotyped as theocrats who want to take over governments to impose Old Testament Laws and if one of us complains to the HRC our complaints will be ROUTINELY dismissed, as they have been. No, instead, there is a litany of people who hold deeply-held Christian beliefs who have been persecuted by HRCs. [A shortened version of that litany appears in Tyranny of Nice, by the way. ]

I agree with Haroon though on the idea of pursuing the common good through self-restraint. But if we ignore the threat that violent jihad poses to our security, there will be no common good. We need Muslims to join us in fighting the violent in their midst, rather than trying to shut people up from warning people about them.

You know, for once, it would be nice if Haroon and other Canadian Muslims would have a flurry of op eds denouncing the violence in Bombay or other parts of the world as it pops up, instead of whining about how they are depicted in the media ever since 9/11. Then maybe Canadians like myself would feel an upswelling of warm solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters because we would know they hold the same freedoms dear.

Mark Steyn's latest on Canada's censorship regime

He writes:

It's now time for Parliament to act. A day or two ago, Deborah Gyapong expressed sympathy for the Justice Minister's predicament. But what's the political downside in promising to enact a proposal by the CHRC's own investigator and support a motion by a Liberal MP? What are the political risks? That Warren Kinsella will call you a Nazi of horrifyingly Toronto Star-like proportions? I have had just one encounter with Michael Ignatieff in my life - a long-ago dinner party for expats in London - but, granted the political realities that have required him to back pedal away from his muscular liberalism of five or six years ago, nothing I know of him suggests he would be comfortable supporting the totalitarian impulse of Section 13. As Ezra suggests, if you drop a line to the Prime Minister, drop one to the Igster, too. Let's keep it bipartisan.

Deborah Gyapong thinks nothing will happen until Iggy, Rob Nicholson and Jennifer Lynch start getting scrummed. Well, maybe. That may be one of those insider/outsider things. I got "scrummed" outside the courthouse in Vancouver and Iit struck me as just a bit of media theatre, a way of signaling to viewers that something's a real story. But, scrummed or unscrummed, this story is real. You can help keep it so by signing this online petition.

There are no substantive defenders of Section 13. It's time to move from talk to action. And the day that this ugly law and censor's charter is consigned to the garbage will be a true day of thanksgiving in Canada.

Be thankful we are free--Spencer

Robert Spencer, one of the world's foremost experts on violent jihad, has this to say on Jihadwatch today in honor of American Thanksgiving.

In past years I've written on this day that I'm thankful that there haven't been more jihad terror attacks on U.S. soil. I am thankful for that this year also, but this year's Thanksgiving comes in the shadow of the jihad attacks in Mumbai -- and we must not forget that their defense is our defense, their murders threaten us, they are facing the same jihad that we continue to face, although most Americans don't know it.

Above all this year I am thankful that I'm still able to write this. Now that the UN has approved an "anti-blasphemy" measure that is in reality an obvious and crude attempt to restrict open speech about the Islamic jihad threat, we shouldn't take for granted that those who are threatened by Islamic supremacism and jihad will always be able to speak freely about that threat -- and that includes Americans as well.

But this year, as hard a year as it has been in so very many ways, we have for the most part been able to do so (with the notable exception of some unlikely thoughtcrime states like Canada), and for that today we should give thanks, and hope and pray that we will continue to be able to do so long enough to turn back the tide of jihadist encroachment upon free societies everywhere.

If you don't trust the mainstream media to give you the full story on what's happening in Mumbai, then check out Atlas Shrugs and Gateway Pundit.

Mark Steyn weighed in yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt show:

And Bombay is, you know, to play demographics bore for a moment, Bombay is typical of a lot of parts of India. As you know, the largest number of Muslims in the world actually live in democratic India. But they’re birth rate is significantly higher than the Hindu population of India. And so remorselessly, cities that once had a relatively constrained Muslim population, that Muslim population is growing in relation to the Hindu population.

HH: Mark Steyn, when I first saw this starting to occur and unfold, I’ve been watching it for about two and a half hours now, my thoughts went back to the SWIFT program, which had previously successfully interdicted Hambali, one of the great sub-continent terrorists, caught him in Thailand. Of course, the news of the SWIFT program leaked by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and others, this is a massive attack involving many, many terrorists at many different locations, the sort of attack where vast amounts of money had to be deployed. And you have to wonder whether or not these security leaks over the years has made it very, very difficult for us to track these people.

MS: Well, I think the New York Times’ view of this situation, and indeed as far as one can tell, Barack Obama’s view, I don’t rule out, by the way, that this might be, insofar as it’s connected to Obama, it might be a preemptive response to his planned invasion of Pakistan, which should be taking place in two or three months time. But that aside, I mean, essentially the view here is, of the New York Times, is that terrorism is a law enforcement matter. Obama feels terrorism is a law enforcement matter. Well, what law enforcement means is you investigate a crime after it’s occurred. You wait until the liquor store’s held up, and then you investigate it and find out who held it up. I don’t think that works with terrorism. At the last count, dozens of people are dead, whatever it is now, 80-90 people are dead. British and American visitors in those luxury hotels like the Taj Mahal Palace have been targeted and singled out and taken hostages. And that is not a law enforcement matter. You don’t want to be investigating that after it happens. You want to stop it before it happens. And that’s where things like leaking the details of the SWIFT program by the New York Times are actually quite disgraceful, and in fact in most societies throughout human history would have been regarded as an act of treason.

By the way, Mark's celebrating the 6th anniversary of his site. Congratulations, Mark! Your site is another thing for Americans and freedom loving people all over the globe to be thankful for today.

The growing wave of anti-censorship public opinion

Ezra Levant has links to a range of editorials and op eds from across the country that urge the government to act on Professor Richard Moon's chief recommendation--to axe Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act so these "popcorn" bureaucrats can no longer censor unpopular opinion.

This is all well and good. It is a sign the tide is turning. But you know when I will know it's time to get on the surfboard and enjoy the ride into victory? When we start seeing flying scrums of outraged journalists that follow Justice Minister Rob Nicholson or Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff or any other person they want to hold accountable on freedom of speech right to the bathroom door, down the stairs and across the lawn on Parliament Hill.

You know those tight clusters of journalists, bristling with boom mics, glaring with the bright camera lights that make an angry "arrah! arrah! arrah!" braying sound as they all try to ask questions at once? They're like some monstrous, glittering hedgehog that was nuked too much, to borrow a phrase from Kathy Shaidle.

We'll know the tide of public opinion is unstoppable when Jennifer Lynch can't leave her office on Slater Street without encountering a paparazzi-like mob laying in wait for her, ready to make her defend the practices of her investigators.

During my short stint in politics, I worked for Stockwell Day while he was leader of the Canadian Alliance. For a brief time, three months or so, Ezra Levant was the Opposition Leader's director of communications and therefore my boss.

Thus, Ezra knows about these flying scrums. He used to get surrounded by them as one brown-enveloped "scandal" or caucus defection popped up after another. Stockwell Day couldn't go anywhere on Parliament Hill without running a rude gauntlet or being surrounded by a flying scrum with camera operators and sound techs in front of him, walking backwards as fast as they could.

But I don't think most journalists get the fact that their freedom of expression is in danger. Seems like their editors are starting to get it, at least the ones who write editorials. But we have to make sure the assignment editors and the line up editors get it, too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gee, Tories, when even the Toronto Star says axe it . .

Maybe it is time to act now.

In today's Star, this editorial:

Canada's Criminal Code is tough on hate speech, and rightly so. Those who incite or wilfully promote hatred against identifiable groups can spend two years in jail.

Beyond that, does society need to cast additional chills on freedom of speech and spirited public discourse, to combat hatred? In the Star's view, no.

But a controversial section of the Canadian Human Rights Act does just that. Section 13 makes it a "discriminatory practice" to communicate "any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" via the Internet. That can be interpreted to cover defaming or stereotyping, a wider net than inciting hatred. Unlike the Criminal Code, there's no need to prove intent. And the penalty is serious. The federal rights tribunal can order the offending party to desist, to smarten up, and to pay as much as $30,000 in damages and penalties.

Given Criminal Code protections, this needlessly chills free speech.

That's why Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government should heed the advice of Richard Moon. In a cogent report released this week, the University of Windsor law professor argues that Section 13 should be repealed. The report says the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) should let the courts police hate speech advocating violence. Moon is right.

Stop Muslim immigration? I have a better idea . . .

Kathy Shaidle recently wrote a book review of Robert Spencer's latest book Stealth Jihad.

She writes (her bolds):

When we hear the phrase "Muslim terrorism," we tend to visualize the mass murders of September 11, 2001. Yet as that day's events recede into memory, and might as well be considered forgotten by some Americans, we need to understand that the jihadist threat to our culture and security takes many forms.

These alternative methods of jihad aren't as dramatic as the attacks of 9/11, but in their own way they represent a kind of slow motion, under the radar attack on America.

Robert Spencer's new book delineates these low level attacks. Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs makes for depressing reading, not just because Muslim supremicists are trying to take over the U.S. through our courts, charities, colleges and even public elementary schools, but because -- as the election of Barack Obama (the ultimate "September 10" candidate) seems to indicate, millions of Americans couldn't care less.

Using their own words against them, Spencer (a Koranic scholar who is fluent in Arabic) reveals that, according to one high level Sheik, 80% of the mosques in the US are controlled by Muslim supremicists.

Spencer also reveals -- again, merely by quote their own words -- that many so-called "moderate" Muslim spokesmen actually hold radical, anti-American views. Some of these leaders have even been welcomed to the White House, and served as trainers in "ethnic sensitivity" to the Armed Forces and law enforcement.

Spencer's diagnosis is dire, and his prescriptions are dramatic and definitely politically incorrect; halting all Muslim immigration to America is his most daring suggestion.

That's politically incorrect, all right. But I have what I think is a better, more permanent solution that would still keep America a welcoming beacon of light to the world, one that could include people of all faiths.

My solution is also politically incorrect.

Why not instead a revival of the Christian faith? I'm not talking just about campground meetings where people get the shakes and see visions. I'm talking about a real, deep, return to the faith as witnessed by the Apostles and handed down carefully from generation to generation.
We can all start right now in doing our part to pray that it happens.

I'm talking about a revival that includes not only a deep-seated faith formation of heart and mind, but an intellectual formation to go along with it. I'm talking about a revival that even atheists like the late Oriana Fallaci would appreciate because she described herself as a Christian atheist.

Why can't we start having babies as we revive Christian hope and love and a commitment to family and church and civic society institutions?

If we're too old for having our own babies, why can't we send some money to help a child go to a school like St. Timothy's, so that families who dearly want to pass a well-formed faith onto their children through a classical Christian education can do so.

Kathy writes: "Muslim supremicists are trying to take over the U.S. through our courts, charities, colleges and even public elementary schools . . "

Well, why shouldn't they try to do 'the long march through the institutions, following in the footsteps of all the rebellious hippies and Marxist revolutionaries like unrepentant terrorist Billy Ayers and his wife (who thought the Manson murders were a great political statement) who now hold respected positions as educators and opinion makers and shapers of elementary school students. (Be an interesting cage match once the temporary alliance these groups have formed against the remnant of Western Civilization breaks down and they battle it out between themselves.)

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure Muslim supremacists would be worse than these totalitarians, who thankfully do not run everything despite their pernicious influence. Remember that the Weather Underground was talking about eliminating up to 25 million Americans if they didn't get with their revolutionary program. Maybe I'd rather pay the special tax and wear the clothing identifying me as a Christian and other second-class citizen treatment than die in some gulag because some people's tribunal decides I'm not politically correct enough.

Better idea. Why not have Christians start taking back the courts, the charities, the colleges and the public elementary schools. Our own long march through the institutions. Shoot! We created them! And that doesn't mean a theocratic take over. God forbid. No, just a quiet, joyful, intelligent, well-informed and God-inspired and led movement to make a difference for good, while understanding the limits of human nature, the need for limited government and robust intervening social institutions.

Christians must to stop whining and start praying and fasting and feeding their souls with the Word of God and the vast riches of our intellectual and artistic heritage. We have so much to be thankful for. So much richness to rely on.

Every time I write about radical Islam, I think about a Muslim I know who acts as one of my financial advisors. I imagine how he might feel were he to read my blog. I would never want him to think I was in any way hostile to his being here.

He's done a great job on my small portfolio even in these troubled times. We have great talks when I see him. He comes from a troubled part of the world where he'd probably be dead now if he had not been allowed to come to Canada. He is grateful to be here. He also loves America and hopes she never loses her position as a super-power. He's seen enough of the world to know things would be far worse if say China were to supplant the U.S.

On the other hand, I think we need to pay attention to what people like Spencer discover.
Kathy plays a role in drawing that attention through her provocative, even jolting headlines.
She's issuing wake-up call.

Spencer specializes in keeping track of what's going on on the jihad front---the lawfare, the ways in which jihadists use our own liberal Western institutions to destroy them. I'm sure my Muslim friend could add to the litany of horror stories. He knows what extremists are doing to his home country.

Maybe there needs to be a better effort in distinguishing between those who have the intent to colonize the West to replace it with the Ummah vs. those like my financial advisor who just want to raise a family and worship Allah in a free country. Maybe something needs to be done to stop the jihadi money from funding mosques.

But the better solution is to be strong in our own culture, our own faith and to have the babies to prove it.

Then we can afford to be welcoming and we will have a culture we are proud of helping newcomers assimilate into.

The solution for everyting--a massive early learning program for young children

A friend of mine up in the Press Gallery and I have a running joke. The solution for many disparate problems facing Canada invariably seems to be an expensive Medicare like program to provide an early childhood learning system, aka. institutionalized daycare run by professionals who will save the kids from their families or lack thereof.

I went to the first press conference of rookie Liberal MP Justin Trudeau last week where the annual Campaign 2000 report card on child poverty in Canada showed that in the two decades since the promises were made in Parliament to eliminate the scourge, little has changed.

The advocates from an array of poverty groups pointed to Quebec as a model for tackling child poverty and said its daycare system should be a model for the rest of Canada. No one mentioned, and I didn't see it soon enough, that the child poverty rates in Alberta are even lower than those in Quebec and there isn't any institutional approach to daycare. Instead the province stresses supporting families so they can choose the childcare options they want, including having a parent stay at home.

My friend went to a health conference the other day and came back amused that the solution to health problems in Canada was--you guessed it---a system of institutionalized early learning for children.

What bothers me is that so often massive government programs are considered the compassionate option, the one that has the most concern for the common good. Often this is directly conflated with Catholic social teaching. It's why so many Catholics love the idea of Barack Obama and his progressive plans for America, despite his terrible record on abortion.

Catholic teaching stresses subsidiarity. David A. Bosnich at the great Action Institute site has this explanation. An excerpt:

One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.

This is why Pope John Paul II took the “social assistance state” to task in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This “leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

In spite of this clear warning, the United States Catholic Bishops remain staunch defenders of a statist approach to social problems. They have publicly criticized recent congressional efforts to reform the welfare system by decentralizing it and removing its perverse incentives. Their opposition to the Clinton Administration’s health care plan was based solely upon its inclusion of abortion funding. They had no fundamental objection to a takeover of the health care industry by the federal government.

Why the troubling contradiction between Papal teaching and the policy recommendations of the U.S. Bishops? Part of the problem may rest with the reliance the Bishops have placed upon commentators such as Monsignor George Higgins. In the spring of 1994 Monsignor Higgins gave a lengthy talk on the principle of subsidiarity to the Albert Cardinal Meyer Lecture series. Higgins stated that the “principle of subsidiarity is concerned with the relationship of the state to other societies, not with the nature of the state itself.” This view is wrongheaded. Subsidiarity applies to all human institutions, including the state. When the federal government usurps the rights and responsibilities of state and local governments, a flagrant violation of the principle of subsidiarity has occurred. If upper echelon bureaucrats in a Cabinet department operate in a top-down manner and deny any flexibility to their subordinates, the effectiveness of this department will be diminished. Higgins’s interpretation of subsidiarity exempts the internal operation of the various levels and branches of government from any critical scrutiny.

The ultimate purpose of Higgins is to defend the welfare statist philosophy which he and his allies in organized labor have advocated for decades. This leads to serious distortions in his analysis of the principle of subsidiarity, especially in his treatment of Alexis de Tocqueville. Higgins cites de Tocqueville’s praise for voluntary associations as part of a larger discussion in which he endorses an enhanced role for government in fighting poverty. But Higgins ignores other aspects of Tocqueville’s work which would devastate his thesis. As Russell Kirk observed, Tocqueville strongly opposed the centralizing impulse which afflicts modern democracies. In accord with subsidiarity, true democracy is a product of local institutions and self-reliance. Consolidation is the weapon of tyranny, but the friend of liberty is particularism.

Something like a massive institutionalized daycare system of "early childhood learning" on the order of Medicare, a universal program, may help the poorest of the poor and the offspring of single moms, helping them get into the workforce.

But it would further dissolve the institutional family and its responsibilities for the rearing and education of children. The high costs of the daycare model and the one-size-fits all solution would force mothers into the workforce. High costs of living have already forced way too many families to decide they can't afford to have a parent stay home with young children.

Yet studies show most families would prefer a parent stayed home.

Here's the problem folks. There is a phalanx of anti-poverty groups, social policy think tanks, holding daily news conferences on Parliament Hill, constantly drilling a progressive mindset that frames any conservative approaches as lacking compassion, as deleterious to the common good, and as selfish, dog-eat-dog materialism.

If conservatives want to change the culture, there needs to be a phalanx of anti-poverty groups offering solutions based on conservative principles, and social policy think tanks that drum a pro-freedom, pro-market and pro-family and pro-religion and pro-small government antidote.

That's why there's no real debate on the Hill, because we're totally relying on politicians to do all the work. Civil society groups need to be supported and funded and new ones created. And they have to get onto the Hill and getting their message out.

Otherwise, it will never occur to anyone in Ottawa that there actually are legitimate and thoughtful responses to the challenges we face.

Is Keith Martin's Motion enough?

I interviewed Liberal MP Keith Martin yesterday for the piece I filed for Catholic papers. He continued to say there is a great deal of bi-partisan support for changing the Canadian Human Rights Act and that the Moon Report put the ball in Parliament's court, and not the Canadian Human Rights Commission's, which is continuing with its own study of the issue.

Keith has an Op-Ed in today's Post that reiterates some of what he said to me:

There are few true rights in our free and democratic nation. One of those, which is central to our freedom, is the right to free speech. This issue inadvertently came to the forefront last year due to a number of actions taken by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and its application of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) in a number of high-profile cases. The furor sparked by the CHRC’s actions compelled the commission to undertake an independent study of its own activities. Well respected human rights expert Professor Richard Moon was tapped to lead the investigation. His report, just released, is a lucid exploration into this sensitive issue; his recommendations, courageous.

Read more »

All that glitters in the Moonlight is not gold

While there is momentum building for a restoration of our fundamental rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, it is only that--momentum--and we are very, very far from seeing the abolition of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and an overhaul of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

As much as Justice Minister Rob Nicholson drives me crazy with his boring talking points and his inaction on this file, and as much as I'd like to hear a really effective apologetic for conservative principles coming from the Harper government (with legislation to match), I must confess to some sympathy for the position Harper is in, even though I share Mark Steyn's frustration. He writes:

With the greatest respect to a Minister of the Crown, this is why people despise politicians. Earlier this month, Mr Nicholson was one of that 99.5 per cent of Tory delegates that voted to repeal Section 13. Did his vote mean what it appears to mean in plain English? Or was he just fearful of sticking out as one of the 0.5 per cent of dissenters? Or has he got some nuanced-up-the-wazoo John Kerry I-voted-for-it-before-I-voted-against-it thing going on? The Attorney-General gives the impression, as was said of the British Tories in the twilight of the Major years, of being in office but not in power.

But one thing seems clear. He's in no hurry.

Those who do not live in Ottawa and work inside the Queensway on the Hill may hate the fact that doing so cuts one off from real grassroots Canadians, but the Tory government has to live with the fact that two-thirds of Canadians voted for Left-wing parties and that is reflected in the House. It's reflected in the make-up of the committees, where Tories will not hold a majority of seats on any of them as far as I know. So yes, the Tories are in office, but not in power in some ways that require some patience on all of our parts. Patience and persistence.

The Tories are also surrounded by a public service that is default Liberal, even though they are supposed to be non-partisan. This public service, in "Yes, Minister!" fashion can be prone to doing what it thinks best, regardless of the wishes of their political masters, especially in a shaky minority government situation. So no wonder Harper and his team are sticking to practical, tiny, incremental and achievable goals and want to damper down anything controversial.

While the editorial boards of all the major newspapers and many of the most prominent columnists are onside with the freedom of speech movement, I would say the National Press Gallery is ---uninterested for the most part.

How can I tell? Little things. Like the other day when I tossed a question out to Conservative MP Rick Dykstra as he was going into Question Period. The camera operaters dutifully turned on their lights and started recording and the boom mics descended, but when a couple of journalists came over to find out what it was about and I told them, they nodded and flitted off, uninterested. This was the day of the Moon Report. I can't tell you how many disinterested journalists I came across on Monday. There was more talk in the Commons foyer about the fact that Canwest and maybe CTV were not going to pay for everyone's tickets to the Press Gallery Dinner coming up this weekend than about the Moon Report.

There was the time I was printing off The Tyranny of Nice in the Press Gallery's Hot Room in Centre Block and a member was drawn to the cover picture. He thought it was a great cover, really catchy. But when he found out what it was about, he smiled dismissively, and went back to his cubicle.

This is still seen, apparently, as a fuss being raised by Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant, two columnists/writers who are seen as right-wing and over-the-top though some like them and find them amusing.

You'll note in this piece by Don Butler, Richard Warman is the go-to person for comment to defend CHRC.

But the piece has nothing about the controversy surrounding Warman.

As I said yesterday, we have to be prepared for the long haul on this front. And it is not something that can only be won politically. Hearts and minds have to be changed. Civil society needs to be rebuilt. We have to think of our own long march through the institutions. We're talking decades, folks, not months or even years.

Norman Doidge--A Canadian treasure

Dr. Norman Doidge used to have a must-read column in the National Post, back in the days of Conrad Black's ownership. A man with a breadth of classical and medical education and a terrific writer to boot, he should be a treasured public intellectual. Today I was treated by a long op-ed by him in my Post. Sounds like his book The Brain That Changes Itself is something I must buy. And it sounds like a great companion to Denyse O'Leary and Dr. Mario Beauregard's The Spiritual Brain. I hope people pay attention to his findings, because they blast the mechanistic and materialist models that so many people think is scientific, when it fact cutting edge science has moved well beyond them.

Doidge writes:

On Thursday night, on CBC’s The Nature of Things, Canadians will get to see the things that have led me to claim that we are now experiencing the biggest change in our understanding of the brain in 400 years — the discovery that the brain can actually change itself, its very structure and function, with the use of thought. Viewers will watch a blind man sink a basketball; a woman with half a brain functioning in life; learning disorders, strokes and brain traumas improved and cured; and chronic pain alleviated.

For 400 years we have been using the wrong model for thinking about the brain, thinking of it as a machine. Ever since Galileo explained that the planetary orbits could be understood as inanimate objects moved by the mechanical laws of motion, scientists have believed that for an explanation to be scientific it has to be mechanistic, or machine-like.

Read more »

The "shock doctrine" of the Left

Terence Corcoran writes:

Obama and the rise of Disaster Socialism

By Terence Corcoran

As is now well known, Barack Obama’s new Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, told a Wall Street Journal conference last week that, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” He added, his eye on the worsening financial environment, that “This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.” President-elect Obama appears to be taking the crisis strategy to heart. Announcing his economic team yesterday, Mr. Obama spoke of an economic crisis of “historic proportions” that requires immediate response: “If we do not act swiftly and boldly, most experts believe we could lose millions of jobs next year.”

The crisis mentality, the idea that disasters should be seized and used as springboards for the imposition of radical ideas, appears to be gaining favour in all circles.
Read more »

Obama apppoints Bill Clinton president--Iowahawk

This made me laugh. Go read the whole thing. Here's a taste:

WASHINGTON DC - Ending weeks of speculation and rumors, President-Elect Barack Obama today named Bill Clinton to join his incoming administration as President of the United States, where he will head the federal government's executive branch.

"I am pleased that Bill Clinton has agreed to come out of retirement to head up this crucial post in my administration," said Obama. "He brings a lifetime of previous executive experience as Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States, and has worked closely with most of the members of my Cabinet."

Clinton said he was "excited and honored" by the appointment, and would work "day and night" to defeat all the key policy objectives proposed by Mr. Obama during the campaign.

Tyranny of Nice the American sequel?

Tyranny of Nice co-author Pete Vere warns Americans a bogus "human rights" regime might be in their future.

G.K. Chesterton once observed that “When orthodoxy is optional, it will sooner or later be proscribed.” With a new government about to be sworn into Washington, there is talk about implementing hate speech legislation similar to what we have in Canada. Unfortunately, as we have learned north of the border, tolerance and anti-hate legislation quickly becomes a euphemism for silencing orthodox Christian teaching.

Such is the case with Canada’s human rights commissions and tribunals — state-established quasi-judicial tribunals in which Christians are regularly hauled to account for their Christian convictions. These commissions and tribunals have a 100 percent conviction rate against Christians. Several of these cases are documented in Tyranny of Nice, a book I recently co-authored with Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle, which features an introduction by conservative columnist Mark Steyn — himself a victim of three Canadian human rights commissions and tribunals for his bestselling book America Alone.

Vere includes an excerpt from the book on the case of Christian printer Scott Brockie. You would do well to acquaint yourself with this case.

Better yet, buy the book either through FiveFeetofFury or Mark Steyn's online store.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Very interesting---U.S. Bishops resisting Obama's FOCA promise

At the Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez quotes extensively from an article at Slate.

Here's a portion of what she quoted:

And the most ludicrous line out of them, surely, was about how, under Obama, Catholic hospitals that provide obstetric and gynecological services might soon be forced to perform abortions or close their doors. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago warned of "devastating consequences" to the health care system, insisting Obama could force the closure of all Catholic hospitals in the country. That's a third of all hospitals, providing care in many neighborhoods that are not exactly otherwise overprovided for. It couldn't happen, could it?

You wouldn't think so. Only, I am increasingly convinced that it could. If the Freedom of Choice Act passes Congress, and that's a big if, Obama has promised to sign it the second it hits his desk. (Here he is at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event in 2007, vowing, "The first thing I'd do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing I'd do.") Though it's often referred to as a mere codification of Roe, FOCA, as currently drafted, actually goes well beyond that: According to the Senate sponsor of the bill, Barbara Boxer, in a statement on her Web site, FOCA would nullify all existing laws and regulations that limit abortion in any way, up to the time of fetal viability. Laws requiring parental notification and informed consent would be tossed out. While there is strenuous debate among legal experts on the matter, many believe the act would invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states. These are the laws that allow Catholic hospitals and health providers that receive public funds through Medicaid and Medicare to opt out of performing abortions. Without public funds, these health centers couldn't stay open; if forced to do abortions, they would sooner close their doors. Even the prospect of selling the institutions to other providers wouldn't be an option, the bishops have said, because that would constitute "material cooperation with an intrinsic evil."

The bishops are not bluffing when they say they'd turn out the lights rather than comply. Nor is Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis exaggerating, I don't think, in vowing that "any one of us would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow—to die tomorrow—to bring about the end of abortion.''

Some random Moon beams

In reading various posts on the Moon Report, I was struck by the print edition headline of Joseph Brean's National Post piece: "Ottawa urged to scrap hate speech law: It's just not practical."

He quotes Professor Richard Moon as follows:

"My position, which differs from quite a few people, is that it's not practical to deal with what one might generously describe as group defamation or stereotyping through censorship. It's just not a viable option. There's too much of it, and it's so pervasive within our public discourse that any kind of censorship is just overwhelming," Prof. Moon said in an interview. "I've tried to connect what we restrict to violence."

I read the whole report yesterday, all 45 pages, and it occurred to me after re-reading this quote that nowhere in the report does Moon ever say the kind of censorship the Canadian Human Rights Commission has engaged in is WRONG, and contrary to fundamental human rights.

While he makes a defense of freedom of speech in the report, it seems clearer to me that Moon is more disturbed by stereotyping and group defamation than he is by government abuses of inherent human rights. He seems to take a "functional" approach to the right of freedom of speech, in that it helps democracies function better, not that human beings have a God-given right to freedom of expression, of religion and of conscience.

I wonder if equality is a trump right for him as it is for many on the Left, who have replaced Western concepts of equality before the law and equality of opportunity with a utopian and statist model that requires equality of outcome and social engineering to achieve it. This perspective argues various inequalities among human beings are the fault of the system and we must make structural changes in society to level the playing field so that everyone has an equal outcome, even if that means muzzling or handicapping people who are more successful.

At least Moon recognizes that from the policing of speech perspective that's impractical, but it sure seems like he would like to see a society where there is never a disparaging word. At least he is trying to envisage using non-state actors to attain this kind of harmony in which all genuine difference is glossed over, so that we have a rainbow of outward diversity, but a fascist kind of one-size-fits-all pantyhose liberalism that "all cultures and religions are equally good and really the same underneath" because we have found ways to enforce social conformity, though without outward state coercion. It's called convergence liberalism and it's the opposite of a robust pluralism that allows for the accommodation of real differences in belief.

Yesterday I mentioned the the few paragraphs in the report where Moon he explains the process of investigating complaints. The only allusion --it's not really a mention--he makes to some of the disturbing techniques CHRC investigators have used such as joining neo-Nazi sites under assumed names like Jadewarr and writing anti-gay and anti-Jewish material on the Internet is in this paragraph:

"In preparing this report I repeatedly came across shocking misdescriptions of the CHRC's process. These misdescriptions appeared not only on marginal websites but also and all too often in the mainstream media. This was a reminder that there are commentators who will say anything to support a larger agenda and have no particular interest in being accurate."
Well, I've been following theses "shocking" "mis"-descriptions and I've seen lots of links to actual Canadian Human Rights Tribunal manuscripts where investigators have admitted doing these activities under oath.

In my conversation yesterday with the CHRC's senior counsel in litigation services Philippe Dufresne, I mentioned this paragraph and how I had actually seen examples of shocking real description in transcripts of CHRT hearings. He seemed to not believe me. I told him I would email him some examples.

Does someone out there have a list with hyperlinks to the various transcripts?

We do not need the Justice Committee to look at this mess. We need a Royal Commission headed by a real judge, with powers to subpoena witnesses. The Justice Committee will have a majority of MPs who love the idea of state censorship and state-imposed equality. Parliament, alas, is full of one-size-fits-all-pantyhose-convergence liberals.

I remain disturbed that Moon says hate speech is by definition untrue so therefore truth should not be a defence. He makes this claim in his second set of recommendations that would kick in should Parliament not repeal Section 13. He advocates a tightened up definition of hate speech (creating a parallel process to the Criminal Code only without the protections afforded by a real court--a lower standard of proof, for example).

Brean writes:

As it is now, neither truth nor intent is a defence, as they can be in libel law. Prof. Moon recommended that intent to advocate or justify violence be made a requirement for Section 13, replacing the test of "likely to expose."

He considered the possibility of truth as a defence, but did not recommend it, fearful that tribunals could become forums to debate, for example, the veracity of the Holocaust, the genetic inferiority of blacks, or the dangers of homosexuality.

I don't like the idea that government becomes the arbitrator on any of these things, or that courts become forums for people like Ernst Zundel to gain a platform for their odious views. I don't think government should be deciding between the Turks and the Armenians or the Palestinians and Israel or any other conflict where each side has a set of facts they use to make their cases.

Moon also objected to the discretion the Attorney General has in deciding whether on not criminal prosecutions of hate speech should go ahead. He noted that sometimes AGs have decided not to prosecute hate speech for political reasons--i.e. just so as to not give some obscure fulminator of hatred a forum. Frankly, I think that's a very GOOD reason for AGs to have that discretion.

Seriously, in Canada after World War II, where as Kathy Shaidle writes, we learned more about the Holocaust than we did about abortion, what danger, really, did Ernst Zundel pose to Canadian Jews? How many people would have even heard of his odious views if he hadn't been charged and prosecuted?

Kathy writes:

Most Christians of my generation (Catholic and Protestant) were raised in the post-Holocaust 20th century to believe that anti-semitism was THE worst sin; I certainly heard more about it than I ever did about, say, abortion. "Remember: Jesus was Jewish!" was the last word. At school we were inspired by stories of people like Irene Gut (who slept with an German officer to save the 12 refugees hiding in the basement), as well as Irene Sendler, the Polish nurse who smuggled thousands of Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto in toolboxes, trash cans and even coffins.

Yes, rabidly pro-Semitic Christians CAN be inept and goofy with their "red heifer" hysteria, but that's usually all they are; their hearts are in the right place.

But some things--like the kinds of diseases that can come from certain sexual practices--not only practiced by homosexuals by the way---have been suppressed in the interest of political correctness and threats of hate speech complaints, when thousands of lives could be saved. One only has to read Randy Schiltz's The Band Played On to see how political correctness in the early days of the AIDS epidemic led to thousands of unnecessary deaths. Because Schiltz was gay, he could write about it. Would a straight Christian have been charged with hate speech for saying the same things?

Of the 11 Hallmarks of hate, #2 is this:

2. The messages use “true stories”, news reports, pictures and references from purportedly reputable sources to make negative generalizations about the targeted group;

This is odious. Truth must always be a defense. Dismissing a truth defence is like the proverbial opening the window a crack to let Dracula in--the invitation to allow these censoring bodies to squash truth and eliminate legitimate dissent.

The only time I think governments should rightly engage in the censorship of truthful information is during war when truth would directly endanger our troops or our national security and I mean directly endanger. And censorship should cease when the war is over.

I have a great, great sympathy and respect for the Jewish people. My mother, sister and grandparents were stateless persons in France during World War II as Russian refugees. Though they were not Jewish, stateless persons also ended up in the camps. They managed to flee to the United States, but I grew up with the horror of Nazism. I remember seeing the pictures of stacked bodies in the camps that were in the Family of Man, a picture book we had in our living room. Could these truthful pictures one day be banned because they are seen as disparaging of Germans?

Yet there is a strange lack of sympathy among official Jews concerning the fact that HRCs have been used systematically to persecute Christian believers. When I brought this up with B'nai Brith's [correction, he is with the Simon Wiesenthal Center] Leo Adler at the March 25 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal his attitude in response to the concerns I raised bordered on rude. He seemed to not care about Christian mayors being forced--against their religious beliefs and conscientious objections---to proclaim Gay Pride Days, under penalty of huge fines, of Calgary Bishop Fred Henry facing complaints for a pastoral letter on marriage, of youth pastor Stephen Boissoin facing a life-long ban on every saying anything "disparaging" about gays and being forced to publicly renounce his deeply held religious beliefs.

Even though the tide of public opinion is turning our way, we have a long, long fight ahead of us.
As I reported yesterday, the Justice Minister wants to hand this off to the Commons Justice Committee, which in the last Parliament was so dysfunctional it didn't even meet last spring.

And Jennifer Lynch seems to be acting as if the recommendation to ditch Section 13 of the act doesn't exist. There is an appalling quote from her in Brean's report. He writes:

Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the CHRC, called the report "one step in a comprehensive review" of her hate-speech mandate, which she described as "a hybrid of both regulation and education."

"We can envision Section 13 being retained with some amendments," she said.

She said the report was commissioned to introduce "fresh thinking" on the problem of Internet hate speech, which has changed drastically.

"It's kind of like microwaving popcorn, you know? For the first while on the Internet, there was this little pop, pop, pop. And now, the popcorn is in full popping formation. It's just omnipresent, 24/7, popping up here, popping up there, and so it seems to make it difficult for measured voices to respond," she said.

"The key thing here is that our commission exists to protect Canadians from discrimination, and I'm fervently going to uphold this core principle, and we're going to strive to find more effective means to protect Canadians from exposure to hate on the Internet," Ms. Lynch said.

Pop! Pop! Pop!????????? This is an example of fresh thinking?

I am a journalist and not a polemicist or even a columnist, so I have resisted some of the caricaturing of Lynch that is out there in the blogosphere. Let's just say I find these quotes deeply troubling for many reasons. First of all, she seems to be ignoring the top recommendation in the report she commissioned. As Ezra Levant notes, she is not passing this report to Parliament, she is continuing with her own investigation, until she gets the results she wants. He writes:

The CHRC was surprised, too, and obviously not pleased. Although Moon’s report used the word “repeal” 11 times — it was his primary recommendation — that word appears nowhere in the CHRC’s press release announcing his findings.

In fact, the CHRC has already thrown Moon under the bus, minimizing his report as merely some “suggestions,” and announcing that they want a do-over. In the very same press release, they announced another round of consultations on the subject, at untold public expense — and this time they’ll be more careful about who’s allowed to participate.

It’s a lot like Quebec separatists and their referendums. They’re just going to keep on asking the question until they get the answer they want: the power to censor Canadians.

When I worked as a journalist in Nova Scotia, I remember growing so tired of writing about Donald Marshall, the MicMac Indian who spent 11 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Yet it wasn't until journalists and columnists were about ready to shoot themselves if they had to write about this miscarriage of justice one more time that the general public caught on and a groundswell arose for a public inquiry.

People who support the censorship regime in place at various HRCs hope that the blogosphere will grow tired of this issue. They will keep postponing action and deepening the defences around their bunker until people like Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn and the Binks at FreeCanukistan move on to other interests. They hope columnists like Margaret Wente, Rex Murphy, Michael Coren and others will grow weary of this struggle.

Hey, who cares about a bunch of Christians getting fed to the HRC lions, eh? I mean, we had the Liberal government in several elections calling anyone who supported traditional marriage "unCanadian" and "anti-Charter" and "anti-Canadian values" when if it weren't for the Judeo-Christian basis of Western Civilization we would have no recognition of human equality or fundamental rights to freedom of expression, of religion or of conscience.

We have had our own government using hallmarks of hate against us, and using state coercion to silence some of our members.

By the way, the Canadian Family Action Coalition calculated that each page of Moon's $50,000 report cost more than $1,000.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Truth has to be a defense in hate speech cases

But Professor Moon says in his report that hate speech is by definition untrue.

Here are his exact words:

No Truth Defence: In my view, a truth defence is not required because hate speech is necessarily untrue. Hate speech makes the claim that the members of an identifiable group share a dangerous or undesirable trait – that they are by nature violent or corrupt or dishonest – and must be stopped by violent means if necessary.
As I said over at Jay Currie's combox, truth has to be a defense and yes, sometimes it is true that members of an identifiable group share a dangerous or undesirable trait. How about the Ku Klux Klan? What if some other group, different race perhaps, set up a racist, hate-oriented religion that had a creed that nonbelievers should be killed unless they join up?

We saw in the Maclean's/Mark Steyn case that the "obligatory 'of courses'" were deemed to be a smokescreen for hate speech, so even if we say that 'of course' not all people from a race or a religion are more inclined than others to do certain things but a troubling-sized minority of them are prepared to do things like strap on explosives or fly passenger jets into buildings for the sake of their God.

Andrew Coyne live-blogged about how the "of courses" passage was dealt with by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal:

Now we’re reading the “of course” passage, which has been a peculiar object of fascination througout the hearing. This is the one where Steyn specifically disavows generalizing his concerns to all Muslims. But here it’s interpreted to mean that he is. I’ll reprint it here, so the reader can judge:

Time for the obligatory “of courses”: of course, not all Muslims are terrorists — though enough are hot for jihad to provide an impressive support network of mosques from Vienna to Stockholm to Toronto to Seattle. Of course, not all Muslims support terrorists — though enough of them share their basic objectives(the wish to live under Islamic law in Europe and North America) to function wittingly or otherwise as the “good cop” end of an Islamic good cop/bad cop routine.

My own interpretation of those weary “of courses” are that Steyn feels he shouldn’t have to even say them — that a criticism of some Muslims should not open him to the charge that he is talking of all Muslims, but that since it probably will, he will spell it out explicitly. Fat lot of good it did him.

The example I used at Jay's site concerned a bizarre religious cult like that of Jim Jones. If someone knew in advance its leader planned to have them all commit mass suicide, that might be deemed hateful concerning this left-leaning former human rights commissioner who was such an eloquent speaker.

No, truth has to be a defense. Because it is possible that human beings having both the possibility of being depraved or divine that a whole group of them can start acting in a depraved fashion.

Now in general, I would agree that most hateful speech--the crap that's laced with conspiracy theories, that refers to various groups as vermin, that scapegoats them for every problem, that categorizes everyone in the group as stupid, dishonest, violent etc. and is false most of the time. But for the sake of that one per cent of the time when it might be important--on the level of warning of the fire in the crowded theatre---truth needs to be a defence.