Deborah Gyapong: May 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I denounce this in no uncertain terms

An abortion doctor has been murdered in the United States. Hat/tip The Corner. I unequivocally denounce this violence. And so does Operation Rescue, one of the more visible pro-life organizations:

"We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down," anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said in a statement on its Web site. "Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."

Protesters blockaded Tiller's clinic during Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" protests during the summer of 1991, and Tiller was shot by Rachelle Shannon at his clinic in 1993. Tiller was wounded in both arms, and Shannon remains in prison for the shooting.

The clinic was bombed in June 1986, and was severely vandalized earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, his lawyer said wires to security cameras and outdoor lights were cut and that the vandals also cut through the roof and plugged the buildings' downspouts. Rain poured through the roof and caused thousands of dollars of damage in the clinic. Tiller reportedly asked the FBI to investigate the incident.

No arrests were made in the 1986 bombing.

Sgt. Bart Brunscheen of the Wichita Police Department said there has been no activitiy today at Tiller's clinic, although security crews were being brought in to make sure the building was secure. Officials also were going to check the clinic's security cameras to see whether there was any activity over night.

Tiller and his clinic have faced continuous threats and lawsuits. A Wichita jury ruled in March that he was not guilty of illegal abortion on 19 criminal charges he faced for allegedly violating a state law requiring an "independent" second physician's concurring opinion before performing later term abortions. Immediately following the ruling in this criminal case, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts made public a similar complaint against Tiller that was originally filed in December 2008.

Whoever did this act, you do not speak for me or for any of the pro-life people or organizations that I know of.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Laureen Harper and me at 24 Sussex



After the big Shakedown event in Ottawa, I tagged along with a smallish group of Ezra Levant's friends for pizza and conversation at 24 Sussex with Laureen Harper. I had an extra copy of The Defilers with me and brought it in as a hostess present. She said to give it to her husband, who loves mysteries, and just passed his 50th birthday and she asked me to sign it. He was out of town that night, though. Then she suggested she have a photo taken with me and look what she's holding!

Jill Propp of the Prime Minister's Office took the photos.

Laureen Harper is a terrific, down-to-earth person. Lots of fun. And I thought, awfully gracious, too!

Read what people are saying about The Defilers here. An excerpt here.


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A very dangerous time, indeed

Victor Davis Hanson writes:

This is a very dangerous time-somewhere there is a nutty cadre of Islamists who in their twisted minds collate the Obama apologies, the al Arabiya interview, the serial denunciation of Bush, the airing of the interrogation processes, the demonization of Guantanamo, the constant evocation of Abu Ghraib, and conclude that this particular government either cannot or will not unpredictably strike back at Islamic extremism, and therefore this is now a moment of opportunity not to be missed. I worry we are in for some very dangerous times, as we begin to get a glimpse of a world in which the U.S. allows natural forces to work their way to the surface.

On matter of race, one detects beneath the therapeutic calls for inclusiveness, an unfortunate renewal of identity politics with a new harder edge-we saw that in the campaign with the slips about reparations and oppression studies, the clingers speech, Rev. Wright, and the ‘typical white person’ put down. Then with Eric Holder’s blast about Americans as “cowards” and now with the Supreme Court nominee’s somewhat derogatory remarks about the proverbial white male judge. We are not hearing praise of the melting pot ideal of intermarriage, assimilation, or integration-even if such elites in their private lives do not predicate their daily regimens in terms of racialism. I spent 21 years in a university in which quite affluent elites sought any multicultural patina possible for an edge in professional advancement and general leverage–the hyphenated name, the addition of the accent mark on the name, the non-American accentuation, occasional ethnic dress, the relabeling of one as a designated minority who otherwise had not previously emphasized race, etc.—that would suggest they were not part of the popular capitalist culture-supposedly centered on the white male-around them. Yet I left sensing the industry of race was doomed, due to the power of popular culture, the unworkable labyrinth of racial identification due to intermarriage, the laughable contradictions (the jet-black immigrant from India got no favored treatment, the light-skinned Costa Rican name Jorge piggy-backed onto the Mexican-American experience), the son of the Mexican father who used his name Gomez was authentic, the son of the Mexican mother who carried his non-Mexican father’s name Wilson was not. And on and on with this ridiculous neo-Confederate practice of adjudicating percentages of race to the sixteenth, and drops of targeted minority blood—a racist enterprise to the core. The only constant? The white male was fair game. It mattered little that more women were graduating than men, that under the racial spoils system we were beginning to see white males in less percentages than those found in the general population at the university; instead, it was sort of OK to trash, as in the manner of Sotomayor’s comment, the proverbial white male, as if we are collectively ashamed of everyone from the Wright Brothers to Lincoln to John Wayne to JFK.

I am part of the human race.

Obama as plastic surgeon

We who follow human rights commissions know about labiaplasties.

But "Spengler" takes plastic surgery to a new level in his analysis of the Obama administration:

The television cartoon South Park offers a useful allegory for the administration's flight from realism. In one episode the children's teacher, Mr Garrison, gets a sex change, little Kyle gets negroplasty (to turn him into a tall black basketball star), while Kyle's father undergoes dolphinplasty, that is, surgery to make him look like a dolphin.

Looking like a dolphin, of course, doesn't make you one. Sadly, the Barack Obama administration hasn't figured this out. Out of the confusion of its first 100 days, we can glimpse a unifying principle, and that principle looks remarkably like the sort of plastic surgery practiced in South Park.

Like dolphinplasty and negroplasty, it has given us cosmetic solutions that we might call civitaplasty, turning a terrorist gang into a state; fiducioplasty, making a bunch of bankrupt institutions look like functioning banks; creditoplasty, making government seizure of private property look like a corporate reorganization; matrimonioplasty, making same-sex cohabitation look like a marriage; and interfecioplasty, making murder look like a surgical procedure.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Honoring Dr. Allen Churchill and his faithfulness in proclaiming the true Gospel




Usually I'm on the other side of the podium or pulpit, taking notes and reporting on other Christian speakers. Last Sunday night, I had the rare opportunity to speak at Dominion Chalmers United Church to people gathered to celebrate Dr. Allen Churchill's 50 years of Christian ministry.

I have posted my speaking notes at The Daily Offices. Here's an excerpt:

I don’t remember exactly when I first met Allen, but I first heard about him in the 1990s when I was a CBC television producer. The United Church was going through the crisis that would soon hit the Anglican Church and other denominations and he was in the thick of it.

The news media have misnamed this as a crisis about homosexuality and same sex blessings and gays and lesbians in ministry. But that’s just tip of the iceberg. It is really a crisis over the authority of Scripture and the true identity of Jesus.

Do we believe in a therapeutic Jesus who loves everyone they way we are? A kind of Dr. Phil with long hair and a beard who helps us with our self-esteem issues? Or do we believe in the Jesus of the New Testament, who is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament?

This Jesus is God the Son, who became man and died on the Cross to save sinners so we can live forever with Him as adopted sons and daughters of God the Father.

I needn’t tell you which Jesus Allen Churchill has consistently proclaimed throughout his ministry.

He has been steadfast in preaching the real Gospel and that hasn’t always made him popular among the powers that be.


This was a wonderful event. Kanata Baptist Pastor Doug Ward also spoke, as did Alma Churchill, Allen's lovely wife. She gave an overview of her husband's 50 years, including a goosebump raising incident that set him on the road to ministry. Allen was working as an RCMP officer in a Manitoba detachment and he heard an audible voice telling him it was time to turn in his badge and his gun and serve Jesus Christ in full time ministry. He thought his colleagues were playing a joke on him, so he looked around the precinct and no one was there. He told the elders of the church he was attending and entered into a process of discernment. So began the 50 years of ministry that has so blessed Ottawa and the surrounding region.

One of the most touching elements of the evening was hearing CFRA morning talk show host Steve Madeley talk about the impact Allen has had on his life. Ten years ago, Allen began broadcasting Good News in the Morning at 6:30 a.m. on CFRA, the only radio station among 15 that Allen applied to for hosting the program. Madeley said he first started listening to the program for the music, because he had grown up in the United Church and loved the old hymns and the other ecclectic offerings on the program. Then the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Madeley said that event represented a major turning point for him and set him on a spiritual search. He was so dismayed, however, that the attacks were not mentioned at all on the following Sunday at his church that he stopped going. But he continued to listen to Allen's program and soon he was hungry not only for the music but the message as he set his alarm every Sunday for 6:30 a.m.

Then when his dear wife began treatment for a second bout of cancer, the program and his conversations with Allen became all the more deep and meaningful. Allen's first wife Helen died of cancer, so he knew something about the journey Steve Madeley and his wife are on. When Allen would come in on Tuesday's to tape his Sunday broadcast, he and Steve would engage in conversations about why God allows suffering, especially that of innocent people. Steve Madeley is one of my favorite radio personalities, so it was great to hear this message.

The pictures show Dr. Allen Churchill, Allen and his wife Alma cutting the cake, and Steve Madeley and Doug Ward.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What is happening to the United States?

This is amazing. Sounds more like some Communist country busting a house church.

A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold bible studies in their home, 10News reported.

Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

Broyles said, "The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.'"

The county employee notified the couple that the small bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of county regulations, according to Broyles.

Gagdad Bob's most interesting take on liberty

He writes at One Cosmos:

For the vast majority of human beings, liberty is not a particularly important value, much less the most important one. They would just as soon barter it away for security, as they have done in western Europe.

Once you understand this, then much about the left begins to make sense. In Europe, we can see how the welfare state puts in place a system of incentives that creates a new kind of enfeebled man, but that's not exactly correct. In reality, it simply reveals man for what he is -- a lazy, frightened, selfish, superstitious, instinct-loving and lowdown rascal. Leftism aims low and always reaches its target.

H/t Dr. Sanity, who writes:
At any rate, his words got me to thinking about why it is that the left, whose policies as Bob suggests, always end up enabling and exposing the worse aspects of human nature, are the same people who are always coming up with these utopian schemes that promise a veritable paradise of human love, compassion, kindness and brotherhood and deliver a toxic brew of hate, envy, and discord? How can they be so completely clueless about something as obvious as the reality of human nature?

Perhaps, the best answer to that question is that, when it comes to themselves, the left is constitutionally unable to understand or accept the dark side of their own natures with any degree of clarity, let alone honesty.

The squalid utopian fantasies of socialism, communism--or any variant of Marxism for that matter--appeals primarily to people who refuse to acknowledge their own human imperfections, and hence their own capacity for evil. They don't want to admit it, but those who are drawn to the leftist view of the world, tend to see themselves as superior; above all the boring, ordinary human beings around them; more virtuous, more compassionate, smarter; and of course, much better qualified to decide what's best for lesser beings like you and me.

It is extremely ironic, considering the left's rhetoric to the contrary, to realize that it is conservatism and its underlying priniciples that fundamentally embrace the truth about human nature; and understand that nature is closer to the "lazy, frightened,s elfish, superstitious, instinct-loving, lowdown rascal" than to the utopian "ideal man", promoted in the rantings of communists, socialist, or any collectivist or totalitarian (whether from the left or the right side of the political spectrum). And, as a consequence of understanding that reality, conservatism and its economic policies (i.e., capitalism) are able to harness even the most negative aspects of human nature to bring positive good both to the individual and to the larger society as well.

Conservatism and capitalism are both ideas that have worked amazingly well for one reason: they do not pretend that human nature is something it is not. Leftism of any stripe fails miserably and catastrophically because they routinely pretend that human nature can be changed and perfected.

Ravi Zacharias at the National Prayer Breakfast


World-renowned evangelist and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias addressed the Canadian National Prayer Breakfast this morning here in Ottawa. What a privilege to be there.

This morning, he told a version of this story that he told to the American National Prayer Breakfast last year.

But the last day, I saw one of the leaders of Hamas, one of the four founders. I went there for one reason; I had one question for him. He gave us a great meal, told us of eighteen years he’d served in prison, some of his children had been lost in suicide bombings, and this and that. And I had a question. I said, “Sheik, I may never see you again and forgive me if I’m asking you the wrong question. Please tell me, what do you think of suicide bombing and sending your children out like that?” I didn’t like his answer. I couldn’t say much. The room was full of smoke.

After he finished his answer, I said, “Sheik, you and I may never see each other again, so I want you to hear me. A little distance from here is a mountain upon which Abraham went 5,000 years ago to offer his son. You may say the son was one; I may say it’s another. Let’s not argue about that. He took his son up there. And as the axe was about to fall, God said, ‘Stop.’” I said, “Do you know what God said after that?” He shook his head. I said, “God said, ‘I myself will provide.’” He nodded his head. I said, “Very close to where you and I are sitting, Sheik, is a hill. Two thousand years ago, God kept that promise and brought his own Son and the axe did not stop this time. He sacrificed his own Son.”

I said, “Sheik, I just want you to hear this. Until you and I receive the Son God has provided, we’ll be offering our own sons and daughters on the battlefields of this world for many of the wrong reasons.”

It was quiet. We walked out and the Archbishop just put his arm around me. As I was about to get into the SUV, the Sheik came over and he just patted me on my face. He kissed me on both sides. He was a strong man; he pulled me to him. He said, “You’re a good man. I hope I will see you again someday.” That’s all he said.


Wow. While Googling around for information about the Sheik's name, I found this about another Hamas leader's son who converted to Christianity. Thank God for people like Ravi Zacharias who have the courage to share the Gospel.

This was the 44th Canadian National Prayer Breakfast. And it keeps growing in size. This year it had to be held off the Hill because they needed a hotel-sized ballroom. Even then it was packed.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Multiculturalism and immigration

I am an immigrant to Canada. So is my husband. So, obviously, I think immigration is a good idea. But neither of us believes in hyphenated Canadians.

I oppose the relativistic doctrine of multiculturalism that in effect allows new comers to Canada to settle here and colonize this country the way European settlers colonized North America and that treats our own Western cultural heritage as uniquely evil and worth apologizing for and setting aside to accommodate even some appalling practices among newcomers.

I think immigrants should integrate into the variant of Western Civilization that Canada represents and graft themselves onto its history and its founding stories. While I think there should be lots of room for religious freedom and unique cultural expression, it should not be a kind of "anything goes." Practices like honor killings, widow burnings, genital mutiliation, cannibalism (even if the victim volunteers on E-Bay) should be circumscribed by reason founded on Judeo-Christian principles that form the bedrock of everything that is good about the West.

Hmmmm. I wonder how differently things might have gone if the Aboriginals in North America were more unified (instead of fighting each other tooth and nail) and had jointly insisted the settlers integrate to their culture and not vice versa. But I digress.

This piece about the effects of multiculturalism in Europe and how, instead of forming a happy, integrated society where differences don't matter, has created enclaves that amount to colonies on European soil. And oddly enough, governments are paying for this to happen, changing the laws to help it go faster, and the powers that be threaten anyone who objects with hate crimes prosecutions.

"Here an immigrant no longer has to struggle, study, work, he can live at the expense of the state," Spruyt tells us. "We have ended up creating a parallel society.
It's interesting as well, that this piece on a Catholic website, reveals the tremendous danger posed to homosexuals in this not-so-subtle transformation of Holland.

The modern welfare state, the Savior State as Douglas Farrow calls it, is euthanizing itself.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Want to know why I'm concerned about Obama?

David Solway has a litany that pretty well sums it up over at Pajamas Media. (H/t FFoF). It's pretty alarming to see all the reasons in one place, but there they are.

And interestingly, he doesn't even include some of the worst things---Obama's support for partial birth abortion and infanticide of babies born as the result of botched abortions; his support of embryonic stem cell research; his funding of abortions overseas with American taxpayers' money; and his apparent willingness to trample on the conscience rights of medical practicioners and the policies of Catholic hospitals.

Solway writes:

To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., I have a nightmare. I sense that the political and electoral temper of America has been “revolutionized” and that millions of young, poorly educated but successfully indoctrinated Americans may bring their country to its knees. I suspect their efforts will be abetted by the approximately 40% of Americans who do not pay taxes, living off the rapidly melting fat of the land. And I’m afraid the situation will get worse before it starts to get even worser — at least for the next several years. The best we can anticipate is an unlooked-for series of events that may bring “hope and change,” given a different acceptation from the original resonance of the phrase.

We can hope against hope, for example, that a sufficient number of Americans will rethink themselves and rally to ensure that Obama, like the lamentable Jimmy Carter before him, will prove to be a one-term president.

And yet one term may be enough for Obama to remake and subvert the country so profoundly — recall his campaign countdown that “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America” — that it may not be able to recover, or at any rate not in our lifetimes. Despite his soaring approval rating and the media’s starry-eyed love affair with their mesmerizing paramour, it must be said that almost everything Obama does is either actually or potentially destructive.

But the cohort I am most concerned about is the educated, liberal elite, including the news media, that are still starry-eyed about this man.

Also, I like Rod Dreher and David Frum, but I wish they would stop attacking people on the Right. Isn't there enough to criticize in the Obama administration? But hey, I guess it drives traffic to their sites.

I don't like Mark Levin's screaming or insults either. He has an awful voice. But on the balance, the ideas he puts forward, the fact that he reads from people like de Tocqueville and our founding documents, makes him an ally in the cause for liberty and civil rights.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Funny, I share similar reactions

Dr. Sanity writes the following about her reactions to Obama and Bill Clinton.

Frankly, I can barely stand to listen to the man. I have to read transcripts of most of his speeches because my reaction to his style is so negative. I don't like the sensation of being manipulated; nor do I like being lectured to by someone who instinctively believes they are far more virtuous than I am-- and intends to show me the error of my ways.

Understand that I listen to people for a living. I hear various degrees of honesty, sincerity, and real emotional pain being expressed on a regular basis. I also hear some of the most self-serving, dishonest and completely irresponsible utterings that it is possible to imagine. Yet, in my professional career, I have to freely admit that I have heard nothing like the deceitful and self-aggrandizing utterings of Barack Obama, which seem to get more and more pathological with every speech he gives. His most recent scam, in the National Archives in front of a fake copy of the U.S. Constitution just about takes the cake. This is not irony, so much as it is the grandiosity of tyranny.

Bill Clinton--who I actually liked for the most part; even his amusing narcissism, which seems so childishly innocent in retrospect--was completely harmless compared to the sociopathic statist that is our current POTUS.


I liked Clinton, too. He was the archetypal charming "bad boyfriend," a loveable rogue who acted out of neediness and though he left a lot of hurt and harm in his wake he didn't intend it.

I too prefer to read transcripts of Obama rather than listen to his strange pauses and clipped delivery. And yes, there is a sanctimoniousness that I find grating. For example, lecturing Americans about "torture" when he has no problems with leaving newborn babies born as the result of a botched abortion to die without comfort or medical care is the height of hypocrisy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More on Obama at Notre Dame

From the Litany, which we have been saying up until today, Ascension Day:

From all sedition, conspiracy, and rebellion; from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and Commandment,
Good Lord, deliver us.


And now, Fr. Landry explains why Obama is a bad theologian and manipulated Christian terminology and Biblical phrases to promote relativism:


In his commencement address on Sunday, President Obama, rather than vindicating the university’s decision against its countless critics, reinforced the validity of the critics’ arguments and the wisdom of the U.S. Bishops’ policy. For beneath his ever genial tone, uplifting images and eloquent delivery, President Obama made several major points contrary to the Catholic faith. Packaged as they were, however, in mellifluous pseudo-Christian phrases enunciated in front of applauding Catholic priests by a man adorned with newly-bestowed doctoral garments, many failed to realize what he was doing.

The most audacious part of the address was when the President tried to change the meaning of the Christian faith and draw erroneous conclusions from the false notion. “The ultimate irony of faith,” the president declared, “is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen.” He seemed to be quoting from Hebrews 11:1, one of the most famous definitions of faith found in Sacred Scripture, but, whether intentional or not, he got its meaning completely wrong. The passage reads, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not a “belief” in things not seen — which would be tautological and nonsensical — but the “substance” or “evidence” of things not seen. Faith leads not to doubt, nor merely to subjective conviction, but to objective truth discoverable through revelation and grace.

In a challenging part of his 2007 encyclical on Christian hope, Pope Benedict described the real meaning of the passage the President failed to cite properly. Faith, the Pope said, is the“‘hypostasis, the ‘substance’ of things hoped for; the proof of things not seen.’ … The concept of ‘substance’ is therefore modified [by the words ‘proof of things not seen’] in the sense that through faith, in a tentative way, or as we might say ‘in embryo’… there are already present in us the things that are hoped for: the whole, true life. And precisely because the thing itself is already present, this presence of what is to come also creates certainty … [and] constitutes for us a ‘proof’ of the things that are still unseen.”

So, according to the triple witness of the Letter to the Hebrews, Pope Benedict and the consistent teaching of Christianity, faith does not “necessarily admit doubt,” as the President claims. In fact, true faith and doubt cannot coexist. We cannot believe in the Resurrection and at the same time doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. We cannot simultaneously believe that God is a Trinitarian communion of love and doubt his existence.


Read the whole thing.

Then read Fr. Z on the new golden calf (both of these posts via the Anchoress)

A great goal has been held up for us. Gaze with wonder upon the new calf. Our new goal is dialogue. Common ground is our promised land. There we will find healing from divisions and lots more talk. Endless dialogue and then more dialogue. Our side might not be able to say very much, but that is neither here nor there. It’s the goal of dialogue which is important. But this dialogue must not be allowed to become mean-spirited. Forefend! We must not "demonize" – a favorite new word – anyone with their past records or the Church’s clear principles about the sanctity of human life.

In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.

The progressivist side knows they will not win by arguments. They win by projecting the image of deep-caring, of brow-furrowed nuance, of struggling with those hard decisions.

Remember: If you will have first "struggled" you are thereafter justified in anything you chose.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dr. Sanity weighs in on the torture debate

I think what she has to say is most interesting.

Our uncertainty about our own values is what is destroying us already. Value by value, we are ceding morality to an enemy that joyfully destroys life; laughs at liberty; and mocks our entire historical tradition. Look how willing much of the West has been to compromise our cherished freedoms in order to accommodate the enemy's threats.

Soon, we will have compromised away all that matters to us; our civilization and all its values chipped away, little by little, as it is taken over by the barbarians who love death more than we love life.

If the cost of this war must include acknowledging the horrific reality of the kind of death and terror the enemy will bring to us if we allow it; if we must dishonestly and cunningly conduct an intelligence war and be willing to obtain victory knowing that it will require sacrifice; then so be it. I love to read fantasies as much as anyone, but in the real world, the good and virtuous whose cause is just do not always automatically win.

When America is finally cornered or down to the wire; when it comes down to the scenarios outlined by Krauthammer and others; then we must allow our own barbarism to surface to combat theirs head to head; AND, we must be prepared to live with the consequences, including even guilt and remorse. Otherwise, everything we hold dear, everything we aspire to become and all that we have achieved, will forever perish from this earth.

These barbarians we fight--who do not let reason or life interfere with their jihad; who abide by no treaties, follow no rules, and scorn the very values upon which western civilization is founded--must be defeated. We could have lived with them they did not insist that we must become what they are or die. They are the ones who have defined the ground rules (or the non-rules) of this conflict; and eventually, we will have to meet them at their level--or they will win. We should hold tight to the thought that it is they who have set up the playing field on which the war is being waged.

Physicians and the Conscience

I recently attended an excellent conference on Physicians and the Conscience. I see Western Catholic Reporter has posted versions two of the stories I wrote.

OTTAWA — Efforts to protect the most vulnerable members of society are being hampered by a lack of shared moral norms in society, says the head of the U.S. National Catholic Bioethics Centre.

“If we try to protect the most vulnerable in our midst, the unborn, the dying, we are told that we cannot impose our moral beliefs on anyone else,” said John Haas, president of the Philadelphia-based centre.

Haas was one of a roster of speakers at a May 8-10 conference inaugurating the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies (CFCPS) and focusing on threats to conscience rights of physicians.




and:

OTTAWA — If euthanasia or assisted suicide is legalized, do not allow it to be practised by palliative care units, said Ottawa’s palliative care director Dr. Jose Pereira.

Otherwise, people will think physician assisted suicide (PAS) is part of palliative care and a gateway to it, he warned.

Pereira told a conference of Catholic physicians in Ottawa May 8-10 the separation must be “crystal clear,” based on his experience working in Switzerland where assisted suicide (AS) is legal.

He also said AS or euthanasia must not be called “death with dignity” in any upcoming debate in Parliament, because “it implies there is no other form of dignified death.”

Alas, one of the drawbacks of being a reporter is my stuff often gets cut to fit the limited space the editors have available. Oh well.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jamie Glazov's United in Hate is a profoundly insightful book

Jamie Glazov's book United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tryanny and Terror tries to answer the questions I and many others have had about the silence and even complicity on the part of the West with Islamist terrorists. Why the silence on the part of feminists about the gender apartheid in places like Saudi Arabia? Why the silence from gay activists about the hangings of gays in Iran, the beatings inflicted on gays in cities like Amsterdam?

Glazov has dug into a mother lode of insight that is so rich and so vast that this book can only serve as substantial first course. And in some ways, because his critique seems to come from a kind of Enlightenment-version of Western civilization that does not refer too deeply to the West's Judeo-Christian roots, he may not even realize the full depths of what he has uncovered.

Glazov documents, with extensive footnoted excerpts, the Left's romance with dictators from Hitler, to Stalin, to Castro, to Mao, to the North Vietnamese commununists, to the Sandanistas, showing that this romance is the strongest at the height of the terror unleashed by each regime and falls off when the terror is abated. The new darlings of the Left are the barbaric jihadists of radical Islam that he shows has elements of western-style tyranny borrowed from Hitler and Stalin and mixed with religious texts advocating Islamic supremacy and death to the infidel and to the Jews.

But don't let the footnotes and the quotes from primary sources deter you. This book reads like a thriller. I could not put it down. I want everyone I know to read it.

Glazov writes:

Just like religious folk, the believer espouses a faith, but his is a secular one. He too searches for personal redemption--but of an earthly variety. The progressive faith, therefore, is a secular religion. And this is why socialism's dynamic constitute a muted carbon copy of Judeo-Christian imagery. Socialism's secular utopian vision includes a fall from an ideal collective brotherhood, followed by a journey through a valley of oppression and injustice, and then ultimately a road toward redemption.


Later in the book, he shows how this redemption is built on the blood of those killed for the sake of the new society and calls up a suicidal longing in true believers on the Left. He also points out the parallels between the socialist utopia and that of the reign of Islam. In other words, profound insights into the old Leftist phrase of having to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelet--so what you purge society of the intellectuals and the bourgeois, and those who refuse to sink their individuality into the collective.

Glazov writes:

In rejecting his own society, the believer spurns the values of democracy and individual freedom, which are anathema to him, since he has miserably failed to cope with both the challenges they pose and the possibilities they offer. Tortured by his personal alientation, which is accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, the believer craves a fairy-tale world where no individuality exists, and where human estrangement is thus impossible. The believer fantasizes about how his own individuality and self will be submerged within the collective whole."


These assertions come relatively early in the book and some might have a hard time accepting them at first, because they so go against the grain of progressive thinking that's like a miasma arising from a cauldron of toxic ideas. But he provides the proof, over and over again, from diaries, from writings of prominent leftists who turned a blind eye to the Stalinist purges etc. etc. and romanticized the blue pajamas that obliterated sexual distinctions and individuality at the height of China's cultural revolution. He even makes a convincing case for why the burka holds such allure for western feminists.

Back in my radical days I recall someone saying the personal is political. I don't think they realized how right they were, but not in the sense the phrase-coiner meant. Glazov has hit the nail on the head about how personal dysfunction leads to certain political views (which is not to say all people who are progressive have this pathology, some really do strive for equality and to help the poor, but are not doing so as the result of a death wish).

I confess I used to hate my father and hate men, white men especially. I resented the authority my father had over me and my dependence upon him, and I resented the privileged place men had in society. But after my religious awakening, when I realized profoundly how wrong it was to resent and blame, and I started to resist those tendencies and forgive, as I forgave my father and stopped resenting men, low and behold, I no longer felt inferior or felt imaginary barriers to my being treated as an equal and with respect. And my politics started changing as well. But of course, none of my blame game and politics of resentment and its relationship to self-hatred and self-destruction was conscious. And when it became conscious, it was a difficult, humbling journey of recovery. Thankfully, as I changed, I realized my father was a good man who was doing his best to raise a difficult, rebellious daughter.

What struck me were the yearnings for utopia, for immersion in some embracing collective, for heaven, for what Douglas Farrow calls "the savior state." It makes me think of the argument from desire for the existence of God and of heaven. We have thirst, therefore something must exist like water to quench it. We hunger, therefore food exists to satisfy it. We long for a Supreme Being, therefore God exists to satisfy what Blaise Pascal called that God-shaped abyss that only God can fill. But to settle on anything but the living God, is to settle on a deception thrown up by the evil one, who perverts those impulses and longs to destroy us body and soul.

I'm reading a thriller by a friend of mine called "Mohamed's Moon" that I will write more about later--in the meantime, I'm utterly enjoying this great read---and he uses a deftly written novel to get across the big differences between Islam and Christianity in story about twin brothers separated at birth. One is raised by the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt to flawlessly penetrate western society to advance the Caliphate. It's a timely contemporary novel and it dovetails perfectly with what Mark Steyn writes about in Lights Out and Jamie Glazov writes about in United in Hate.

We long for a Savior. There is a Savior. We long for heaven. There is a heaven. But it is not here on earth. In the meantime, we do the best we can for the common good, in what Farrow describes as a "modest" way that does not grant the state or some modern day Pharoah savior status.

I think it is mega cool that someone who bought United in Hate also bought my book, according to Amazon.com.

Oh the delights of listening to Mark Steyn


Mark Steyn guest hosts Wendy Sullivan's program on Brass Balls Radio, with "shaved legs" no less.

He even does a little singing and platter spinning. All in all delightful, funny, and sobering when he talks about the threats to liberty.

And he talks about his desire to put together an album of Songs for Swinging Sexists.

Update:
By the way, I think his album would be great.
I am all for getting rid of this unisex claptrap and to allow some romance back into our popular culture, instead of "Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips" garbage. I mean, that has to be the most repulsive song out there, save for 50 Cent's disgusting Candy Shop.

When we were at 24 Sussex a few weeks back, I tried to muster up the courage to ask Mark to play something on the piano, recalling how one Christmas a bunch of us journalists were singing in four part harmony to Rosemary Thompson's piano playing. Now I am kicking myself that I didn't just barge right in and do it. What fun we would have had.

I am not for the rigid sex distinctions found in Islam, but I do think there is a nice complementarity of the sexes that is lost in present day political correctness and so is a wonderful buzz from the old romantic songs that recognized the beauty of courtship.

I love old-fashioned sexists of the kind that treat you like a lady, open doors for you, tell you you are beautiful, and would protect you from leches and louts. I love men who know how to flirt without being fresh. Men who know how to take the lead. Men who love women, but remain faithful to their wives and families at the same time because they keep their promises out of a sense of honor.

Too bad the present progressive crop of males is so effeminate and resentfully egalitarian. And these men are often resented by the very women who push them around the empty the dishwasher and change diapers with equal frequency. Ugh.

A patriarchal, loving man is a beautiful sight to behold. Men who love women and children---
my heart melts. At the March for Life the other day, there was a handsome young man with an infant girl in his arms. He was making googly eyes at her, adoring her, and whisked her out when she started to cry. Without men like this there is no future.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More parsing of the Obama Notre Dame speech

Rush Limbaugh:

George Orwell wrote 1984, and in the book he created Newspeak: using language to mislead, to confuse and control. Some of the examples from 1984: War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength. This is Newspeak in 1984. Now we have a real life addition to this given President Obamas speech at Notre Dame yesterday, and it is this: Morality is immoral. That's the message Obama delivered yesterday, morality is immoral. Pro-life is a moral position. Pro-life is the extremist position, rather instead of being a moral position. Pro-life is an extremist position, according to President Obama. The entire abortion debate is manipulated. There are two manipulations of the language. It's not about abortion. It's about choice. That's one manipulation of the language, and morality is not morality. It's extremism. Pro-life is the extreme position; pro-choice is the moderate or normal position. This is how the liberal mind works, this is how they do it, and the treachery here is spreading.


And there's more. You go! Rush.

Now, I have two thoughts about this. I have often asked, "Where is the middle ground between good and evil? Where do you compromise, where's the compromise between life and death? Where's the compromise between killing and birth? Where do you compromise on that?"

So the assumption here is, find ways to respect one another's basic decency. Well, what's decent? Language still matters to me. What the hell is decent about abortion? What's decent about it? This is the first time I've ever heard abortion categorized as a form of decency. Even the pro-choice crowd in trying to justify it, has tried to say that pregnancy is a disease, or that pregnancy is a sickness that can threaten the life of the mother, or a fetus is an unviable tissue mass. But I've never heard them say that abortion is decency. But Obama has now just said that both sides of the argument feature people who are advocating decency. And then he said we need to work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. This is right out of Bill Clinton's mouth back in the nineties where abortion needs to become safe but rare, or something like that. Now, my question is, if President Obama at Notre Dame yesterday says that everybody on this debate is decent and we gotta work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, is he not admitting there's something wrong about it, then? If there's nothing wrong with an unwanted pregnancy and if there's nothing wrong with abortion, why do we have to limit them?

Why do we hope it's rare, if there's nothing wrong, if it's really nothing more than an issue of liberty and freedom for women, then why do we have to make liberty and freedom rare for women? So I think he bastardizes his own argument here, while trying to sound triangulated, above the fray, understanding both sides.

Powerful analysis of Obama's speech


I watched some of Obama's speech at Notre Dame yesterday and, well, he sounds so eminently reasonable about people agreeing to disagree and so on. But the problem is he talks a good game, but who is actually doing the demonizing? I'm sorry that a few people heckled Obama in the audience. I don't like that kind of uncivil behavior. Those who objected could have found other ways to show their opposition. But interestingly, this speech of Obama's was crafted to marginalize Catholics who actually hold to the teachings of the Church.

I dunno, I'm also really uncomfortable with Obama's blessing the graduates. As if he is the Primate of the Catholic Church in the United States or something. Will he not only take communion in Catholic Churches, but find a way to distribute it as well?

George Weigel writes:

What was surprising, and ought to be disturbing to anyone who cares about religious freedom in these United States, was the president’s decision to insert himself into the ongoing Catholic debate over the boundaries of Catholic identity and the applicability of settled Catholic conviction in the public square. Obama did this by suggesting, not altogether subtly, who the real Catholics in America are. The real Catholics, you see, are those like the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who are “congenial and gentle” in persuasion, men and women who are “always trying to bring people together,” Catholics who are “always trying to find the common ground.” The fact that Cardinal Bernardin’s undoubted geniality and gentility in bringing people together to find the common ground invariably ended with a “consensus” that matched the liberal or progressive position of the moment went unremarked — because, for a good postmodern liberal like President Obama, that progressive “consensus” is so self-evidently true that one can afford to be generous in acknowledging that others, less enlightened but arguably sincere, have different views.

Cardinal Bernardin gave a moving and powerful testimony to Christian faith in his gallant response to the cancer that finally killed him. Prior to that last, great witness, however, the late archbishop of Chicago was best known publicly for his advocacy of a “consistent ethic of life,” in which the abortion issue was linked to the abolition of capital punishment and nuclear arms control. And whatever Bernardin’s intentions in formulating what came to be known popularly as the “seamless garment” approach to public policy, the net effect of the consistent ethic of life was to validate politically the intellectual mischief of Mario Cuomo’s notorious 1984 Notre Dame speech and to give two generations of Catholic politicians a virtual pass on the abortion question by allowing them to argue that, hey, I’m batting .667 on the consistent ethic of life.

The U.S. bishops abandoned the “seamless garment” metaphor in 1998, substituting the image of the “foundations of the house of freedom” to explain the priority to be given the life issues in the Church’s address to public policy — and in the consciences of Catholic politicians. The foundations of the house of freedom, the bishops argued, are the moral truths about the human person that we can know by reason. Those truths are embodied in law in what we call civil rights. Thus, the life issues are the great civil-rights issues of the moment. This powerful argument did not, however, sit well with Catholics comfortable with the Cuomo Compromise (“I’m personally opposed, but I can’t impose my views on a pluralistic society”), for these good liberals and progressives had long prided themselves on being — like Father Hesburgh — champions of civil rights.

So the “seamless garment” went underground for a decade, only to be dusted off by Douglas Kmiec and others in the 2008 campaign; there, a variant form of the consistent ethic was used to argue that Barack Obama was the real pro-life candidate on offer. As casuistry, this was risible. But it worked well enough that Catholic Obama-supporters on the Notre Dame board saw their chances and took ’em, arranging for the president to come to Notre Dame to complete the seamless garment’s dust-off and give it a new lease on life by presenting the late Cardinal Bernardin — “a kind and good man . . . a saintly man” — as the very model of a real Catholic in America. Not the kind of Catholic who would ever criticize Notre Dame for bestowing an honorary doctorate of laws on a man determined to enshrine in law what the Catholic Church regards as a fundamental injustice. Not the kind of man who would suggest that, with the life issues, we’re living through the moral equivalent of the Lincoln/Douglas debates, with Barack Obama unhappily choosing to play the role of Stephen A. Douglas. Not a man, in other words, like Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Cardinal Bernardin’s successor, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and one of the most articulate critics of Notre Dame’s decision to honor a president who manifestly does not share what Notre Dame claims is its institutional commitment to the Church’s defense of life.


Read the whole thing.

The picture shows Cardinal George and me when the cardinal was in Ottawa last September to receive an Alumnus of the Year Award from his alma mater Saint Paul University.

This is laugh out loud funny


Congressman's Son Won't Shut The Hell Up During Hearing

Enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Upcoming lecture to put on your calendar

The Centre for Cultural Renewal does some excellent work and usually their annual Hill Lecture is a good event. So here's some information about this year's:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 15, 2009

Dr. Leah Bradshaw to deliver The Eighth Annual “HILL” Lecture:
“Ties of Friendship and Citizenship in a Globalized World"
Hosted, and Opening Remarks, by the Hon. John McKay, PC, MP
Parliament Hill, West Block, Room 308, May 26, 2009.
7:00pm Registration Confirmation 7:30pm Lecture 8:30pm Reception

The Board of Directors of the Centre for Cultural Renewal (Ottawa based think-tank), and Mr. Iain Benson, Executive Director, are proud to announce this year’s speaker:
Dr. Leah Bradshaw.

Dr. Bradshaw teaches and writes on the history of political thought, as well as on contemporary issues in political theory. Much of her career has evolved from the study of the work of Hannah Arendt, and has been preoccupied with understanding the break between classical and modern theory. Publications include a book on Hannah Arendt, articles and book chapters on canonical figures in the tradition of Western thought (Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Rousseau), and articles and book chapters on themes such as the relationship between emotions and reason in making judgments, the difference between philosophy and narrative, and the dissonance between polis and empire.

EXCERPT: Ties of Friendship and Citizenship in a Globalized World
“In a globalized world, in which individual rights take moral precedence over ties of territory and belonging, economies are intertwined, and in which democracies are the refuge for peoples of varying religious and ethnic commitments, what is the true meaning of citizenship? Can we defend citizenship as friendship in such a world? The paper argues that Aristotle’s original definitions of politics still hold true. Democracy and citizenship are fragile and relatively rare phenomena in Western history, and we are in danger of losing our contemporary democracies to over-reaching ambitions of universal rights and economic empire. The paper will situate the dyad of citizenship and friendship within contemporary debates in political theory, and draw upon recent political experiences in Canada.”

Admission is free, however, voluntary donations are welcome (cash or cheque only please) – tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20.00 or more. Please Note: because seating is limited and because of security reasons, pre-registration is necessary. To register, please provide your full name along with some contact information by email at info@culturalrenewal.ca or by phone at (613) 567-9010. Media Passes are also available.

The Centre for Cultural Renewal is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan charitable organization that strives to produce an enriched analysis of the role that beliefs (including religious beliefs) play within pluralistic culture. In all its work, the Centre seeks to focus on the complex connections between public policy, culture, moral discourse and religious convictions.

The tide is changing

This is good news:

In other polling news... Gallup said that a new poll, conducted May 7 to 10, found “51 percent of Americans calling themselves ‘pro-life’ on the issue of abortion and 42 percent ‘pro-choice.’ This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.”

This also won't help Barack Obama or the democrats. Obama is the most radical pro-abortion and infanticide president in history. One of his first actions as president was to lift a ban on funding for foreign abortions. He's also voted 4 times during his political career to support infanticide.

What can a celibate priest counsel on sex?

Kathy Shaidle writes today:

No, Father: it's 'Sex As YOU Don't Know It'

I hate it when Catholic priests write about sex.

No, he does NOT know about sex just because he's "counselled married couples," anymore than Tom Wolfe "knows" how to fly the Challenger because he's interviewed a lot of astronauts.

Reader discretion advised if you follow the link. It's to a post about a Polish priest who has written a book about sex and "married love" that sounds to me like he's been listening to far too many men complaining about how their wives aren't interested in wearing sexy lingerie and turning themselves into pretzels to provide interesting sexual positions so as to put a little more zest into their sex lives and women complaining that their husband never bothers to "satisfy them."

I dunno. I do think it is rather unseemly for a priest to be offering this kind of advice and, frankly, that he is even allowing himself to dwell on thoughts like this for more than a flashing, unbidden momentary temptation, strikes me as immodest and unchaste. But I think a celibate, heterosexual, fatherly priest has a great deal to teach both a husband and a wife about the nature of sacrificial love out of which a properly ordered, meaningful, loving and chaste married sexual life flows.

For quite some time, in evangelical circles some have argued that whatever happens on the marriage bed is sacred. And that includes oral sex. I remember getting into a strange argument with an evangelical pastor about this matter when I mentioned at a small prayer gathering that as I was beginning to understand how important it was not to divorce procreation from marriage, I was also coming to see the importance from a natural law standpoint of not divorcing sex from procreation and what Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae called the "unitive significance" of the marriage act.

Paul VI wrote:


11. The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, "noble and worthy.'' (11) It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life. (12)

Union and Procreation

12. This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.

The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman.

What I was coming to see was that if Christians or anyone pro-traditional marriage argued that "anything goes" in the bedroom, then we were undercutting our arguments against homosexual marriage. Because if, as gay erstwhile Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan famously wrote: "We are all sodomists now" , then really, what arguments other than prejudice can we possibly have against gays marrying?

The pastor became quite dogmatic about the "anything goes" thing to the point where it was pointless to say anything else. I was up against a brick wall, like I have found with people who defend abortion.

What I have come to see is that chastity is tough, whether one is single, a priest or religious who has taken a vow of celibacy, or married. Just because one is married does not give one a pass to "anything goes."

I have also come to see that holy chastity whatever one's state in life is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. And I also recognize that often we will fail to live up to our ideals in the level of sacrificial love we hope to give in all aspects of our lives, but that does not mean we revise down the requirements of holiness.

In a conversation with some friends yesterday, we spoke about the sacrificial love that family life requires and the ways the demands of children force one to grow and to become less selfish and more loving in the sense of caring for the good of another person.

The conversation reminded of some things an Opus Dei priest said to a small group of us in Rome last September about family and married love, because in my Anglican Catholic faith, we have married priests and often a family at the heart of the parish. He said that the life of a priest can be very pleasurable and that it would be easy to become quite content and satisfied with the lifestyle. He said the example of the kinds of sacrifices of love that must be made within the family provide a good example for those who have been called to celibacy to remember to also make those sacrifices as priests, to be with those who are less popular, the more needy and the less lovely in ways that demand a dying to selfishness.

But the selfless giving and love of a chaste priest is also something that married couples --especially men---need to look at and take as an example. Because a celibate priest sacrifices his sexual love for the sake of His Bride, the Church, the love that he offers does not use the other as an object--that is if the priest is living this out properly. A wife yearns to be loved by her husband for who she is, to be honored and cherished. She hopes her husband might exercise self-sacrifice and willingness to put his sexual desires under discipline for her sake, and not to have him expect her to dance around in some stupid bustier and garter belt, kama sutra-ing around the house for his use and pleasure. Or on the other hand, for a wife to turn her husband into an object or a performer for her gratification and to be self-sacrificing in understanding that it's not all about her either.

There is something extremely beautiful about an obviously heterosexual man who could easily have experienced the goods of a beautiful wife and many loving children who sacrifices that good for the sake of the Church. And the Church, in her earthly institutional form often seems a critical, nagging, rebellious, unthankful and unattractive spouse for these men at times, I imagine. Yet for those men who are able to cultivate serenity and express the love of Christ because they see the image of God in the disguises of the sinners in their midst, well, that love transforms lives.

That kind of priest I would think might have a great deal to say about human sexuality, but it would never devolve to positions or techniques. Instead it would focus on Jesus and a call to holiness and to loving the way Christ loves us. Most wives would be so grateful to have their husbands love them that way. Christ's love puts everything in its proper place and always puts the dignity of the whole human person at the forefront.

The Archbishop outblogs me on the March for Life






Archbishop Prendergast already has a detailed post about yesterday's March for Life!

Here's an excerpt---go over and read the full account:


Last night I picked up Cardinal Marc Ouellet when the last flight from Quebec/Montreal arrived at 11:30. He was weary from a full day visiting the retired priests' residence in his diocese.

But His Eminence had bounced back by morning as we headed over to the Centre Block on Parliament Hill for an off-the-record conversation with MPs and members of the Knights of Columbus on Pro-Life issues.

Our meeting over, we headed back to Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica for the Feast of St. Mattias and the Pro-Life Mass: the church was "blocked" as Newfoundlanders would put it--filled to overflowing (1100 capacity) and with an additional 200-300 seated in the parish hall where a giant screen allowed these faithful to view the Liturgy (the same was true at St. Patrick's Basilica).

Before the Final Blessing, Cardinal Ouellet and Toronto Archbishop Collins gave us brief encouragement to marshall the faithful to the cause of overcoming the ills of abortion and the justice of this cause.

The speeches from 12:30-1:30 on Parliament Hill were done in dripping, sometimes heavy rain--but this did not deter the 12,000 demonstrators who marched the parade route in good cheer: not troubled in the least by the pro-abortion counter-demonstrators on Elgin Street (the high school students behind me clearly outdid them in energy and joy).

I got home so beat from running around in the rain taking photographs and trying to take notes that the last thing I thought about was firing up my computer and writing about the day's events. I watched a little of "the Factor" and CTV News, but when nothing about the March was high up in the newscast I gave up.

I can't find anything on the March in my National Post this morning. I had to dig deep to find a short, slightly snarky article in the Ottawa Citizen. Michael Coren warned about the likely lack of coverage in yesterday's Post.

It was an amazing day. Two "blocked" basilicas in Ottawa in the morning, and the Protestant prayer service tripled in size. Despite rain and high winds, the March, dubbed Exoduc 2009, saw a 50 per cent increase in the size of the crowd on the Hill than last year. Campaign Life Coalition's Jim Hughes stands on a corner and counts the crowd with a clicker as people pass by. He counted 12,300 people. They reached a record 8,000 last year.

About 25 MPs and 13 or more bishops participated in the days events.

The Socon has lots of pictures and video, including the incredible speech of a young girl.

LifeSiteNews.com reports here:


Eyewitnesses at the Catholic masses said that both churches were filled to, and beyond, capacity. Approximately 900 people squeezed into St. Patrick's Basilica, while over 1,100 overflowed Notre Dame. As well, an additional 200 or so at each location had to watch the mass on a screen in the basement of each church, due to the lack of space.

Hughes said he was especially pleased by the unprecedented show of support from the Canadian Catholic bishops, with at least 12 bishops celebrating at the masses. This was the first year in the history of the march that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has thrown its official support behind the event.

At 3 p.m., after the rally on Parliament Hill and the march, representatives of Silent No More Awareness Campaign began delivering powerful testimonies about their personal experiences with abortion, repeatedly moving their listeners to tears. Just as the clock on the Hill was striking 3:00, many in the crowd marvelled that the sun suddenly broke through the clouds for the first time that day and soon afterwards the sky cleared with hardly a cloud in sight. Also, some pointed out that as each of the Silent No More Awareness speakers was introduced, as if on cue a strong wind would blow, with the strongest occuring when the Canadian leader of the group, Angelina Steenstra, was introduced.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Want to contact me or buy a signed copy of my book?


Go here.

And by the way, not only is my picture on the dust jacket of Mark Steyn's latest book, inside he quotes me.

How cool is that? More on Mark's book later.

It's a joy to read and reread, especially for sentences like this:

A while back it was a local government council telling workers not to have knick-knacks on their desks presenting Winnie-the-Pooh's porcine sidekick, Piglet. As Martin Niemoller famously said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I'm more of an Eeyore. Soon then they came for the Three Little Pigs, and Babe, and by the time I realized my country had turned into a 24/7 Looney Tunes, there was no Porky Pig to stammer, "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!" and bring the nightmare to an end."

Order your signed copy of Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech and the Twilight of the West through the SteynStore

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mitchell Raphael`s pictures from the Shakedown event last week

Go here.

Check out the comments. My goodness, what odd preoccupations leftists have.

If you would like to look at all the pictures I took that night, go here and follow the links.

Remember, this blog works best in FireFox. Explorer will make you navigate away from the blog and back in order for links to work.

In search of the Ezra Levant of the pro-life movement

Andrea over at ProwomanProlife.org interviews Ezra (my bolds):

PWPL: When the Ontario College drafted “Physicians and the Ontario
Human Rights Code” many doctors in Ontario became concerned about being
forced to refer for abortion. The policy was subsequently redrafted, but
should Ontario doctors still remain on alert? How real do think the threat is?


E.L.: Quasi-judicial tribunals and other outside-the-public-consciousness
forums are the preferred battleground for radical social engineers. They know
they can’t win in the court of public opinion, and often not even in the court
of law. So they’ll try it through agencies and boards and commissions — places
where scrutiny is lower, rules of procedure are weaker, and the ability of
radicals to hijack the process is higher.

PWPL: The debate on abortion has
become so polarized it is, often, called a dialogue of the deaf. We could try
shouting louder and see if our voices get noticed that way (doubtful), or we
could try something else. Do you have thoughts on what this “something else”
might be?

E.L.: It’s not my forte; I’m not well briefed on the state of the
debate. I’d agree that simply turning up the volume — such as shock tactics —
probably won’t work, and might even turn people off. I think that approaching
the subject from creative and counter-intuitive points of view, such as focusing
on sex-select abortions, might be more productive. I also think that the simple
visual of that fetus, in utero, holding on to the finger of a doctor doing
surgery, is very powerful.

PWPL: Finally, I’m looking for an “Ezra Levant” for life: someone who would bring your spunk and vigour to Canada’s pro-life scene. Any thoughts on taking up the cause after you finish up with the whole
HRT thing?

E.L.: Thanks for the offer. But after working for free for a year
and a half fighting against HRCs, I think I have to earn a real living
now!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nausea-inducing story from Sweden

Via The Corner:

Doctors expressed concern over this and brought it to the attention of Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare. They asked how to handle requests where doctors felt “pressured to examine the [fetus’s] gender” without a medical rationale.

The Board came back and said that requests to for abortions based on a child’s gender cannot be refused.

What's worse? The "jokes" or the reaction

I agree with David Frum on this one:


What draws gasps is not the comedian's description of Rush Limbaugh as a traitor, wishing him dead, etc. What draws gasps is the president's laughter and pleasure in these words.

As experienced a television performer as the president knows that there will be a reaction shot after jokes like these. Suppose he had frowned and shook his head? That would have done more to cement his reputation as a post-partisan uniter than anything he has done to date. Instead, his expression and the motions of his body betrayed his real feelings - and betrayed his promises.

And just as it's not about Sykes, it's not about Rush. That Rush Limbaugh has said harsh things about the president is no excuse for either Sykes or the president. Barack Obama is president in large part because he persuaded Americans that he stood above petty name-calling. Now we see that he may not do the name-calling -but he's sure not above it.

President Obama diminished himself. Very possibly he did something even worse and more self-damaging: very possibly, he revealed himself.

But I thought the president revealed himself here, too, when he giggled and laughed about the dire economy that has put thousands out of work and reduced the life-savings and retirement nest eggs of North Americans by 25%.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dr. Sanity diagnoses Mark Steyn!!!!

"Bitingly brilliant," she says of his piece about Colin Powell and whether conservatism is over.

Amnesty International in financial trouble--hmmmm

Mark Shea wonders why.

"We are faced with a severe crisis here at Amnesty International," goes the pleading donation appeal.

Yes. Well. I have no doubt you are, Mr. Cox. That could have something to do with the fact that you are no longer about helping political prisoners subjected to torture and death, and have instead dedicated yourselves to expanding the abortion license worldwide? When you mutate into another garden-variety promoter of the culture of death, it rather stands to reason that people who think you should be doing what you were founded to do and not the exact bleedin' opposite will find other places to send their money. Somehow your appeal letter neglects to mention this salient fact.

Klees or Hillier?

Joseph Ben-Ami says Hillier. Campaign Life says Klees.

Me? I'm voting Hillier on the first ballot, with Klees as second choice to register my concerns about run- amok- 'human rights' commissions, religious freedom, freedom of speech and conscience rights. (My bolds).

Ben-Ami writes:

Late last week Canada’s largest anti-abortion lobby group, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), issued a public statement endorsing Frank Klees’ bid to replace the recently departed John Tory as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. The endorsement raises a number of important questions regarding both the criteria that is used by CLC to determine who is – and who is not – pro-life, and the process whereby that determination is made.

Full disclosure on three matters; First, I am a consultant to Klees’ opponent Randy Hillier, who is also running for the leadership of the Ontario PC Party; second, I am a personal friend of several senior officials in CLC; and third, I too recently sought out the support of CLC and its members on behalf of Hillier.

I reveal these three items to preclude any criticism that I have a hidden agenda in raising these questions, as well as to blunt any accusation of “sour grapes” which may be directed against me – I am motivated by neither.

Obviously I believe that Hillier makes a better pro-life candidate than Klees. This is because, unlike any of his rivals in the race – Klees included – he is prepared to take concrete action to defend the right of doctors and other health care professionals to decline, as a matter of conscience, to participate in or to facilitate abortions.

Hillier plans to accomplish this by first, abolishing the province’s corrupted Human Rights Commission, something all freedom-loving Ontarians can and should support. He then intends to introduce legislation that would prohibit the government from forcing private individuals to act in a manner they consider to be morally wrong.

What about the issue of whether or not abortion should be against the law in Canada and if so, at what point during the pregnancy?

On this Hillier’s position is crystal clear. Whatever his personal views, constitutionally, this question can only be decided by the federal government and the courts, not the provinces. For the provincial government to become fully embroiled in the controversy would at best be irrelevant; given the full slate of problems the government must confront in the present economic crisis, it could be regarded as irresponsible as well.

Read the whole thing.


Are we emasculating our police forces?

I have a soft spot in my heart for police officers because in researching my novel about an RCMP constable, I had to spend some time around them researching the book. Most of the officers I have met are upright, honest people who care about justice and got into police work because of that.

Yet I wonder if we have emasculated our police forces with all kinds of so-called "human rights" codes and affirmative action policies and tiptoeing sensitivities about not offending this group or that. Of course, police have to respond to the desires of their civilian political masters, but isn't that part of the problem? The weak, appeasement-oriented responses. Then of course there is the harsh criticism that descends with all the benefits of hindsight on even the slightest transgression.

So, we get this---

And we get this, where a couple of harmless, middle-aged pro-lifers get hassled by the police. Maybe it's out of frustration, kind of like the man who kicks his friendly dog because he can't take out his real anger at the boss who could fire him.

I feel bad for the police, because it is the weakness of our civilian leaders that is sending a message to every illiberal group that they can take over our streets and disrupt civil order and nothing is going to happen to them.

I would think it is a Canadian value not to use your children as human shields, no? Where is Children's Aid? Probably looking for some Christian family that gently spanks their child.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Archbishop is out-blogging me!!!!!!


I often run into Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast in the course of my duties as a journalist who writes mostly for Roman Catholic papers. Often he's making the news while I'm covering it, or blogging about it.

Well, the archbishop started a blog on Good Friday and lately he's been outblogging me! Some readers who check out both our blogs noted that he had material up on his blog about the same events I wrote about first!

This week he really outdid me.

First we both attended Bishop Carl Reid's vernissage on Thursday night. Well, the archbishop got in many more details about where and how long it's going to run and so on. He writes:

This evening I took the Ottawa River Parkway to the Island Park exit and headed for Westboro where Bishop Carl Reed (Ontario suffragan bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, with whom I have become acquainted through the Pro-Life cause) was holding the vernissage of his exhibition of photographs taken in his garden, on his pastoral journeys, recent vacations and overseas travel.

The exhibition at the Ottawa Bagel Shop (1321 Wellington Street) will run for a few more weeks. Sales will assist with the costs of his cathedral and be used in his charitable works. I purchased a few cards to send to folks for special occasions: my only concern--will the label on the back, "Photographs by the Bishop" give recipients the wrong impression?


Then we both attended a conference for Catholic physicians over the weekend, and he's been blogging on that too, when I've been too tired out to do more than mention I was there and blogging would be light.

He does at least two posts on it!

In one he writes:


I was able to attend most of the major presentations at the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies General Meeting:

9:30 Douglas Farrow (McGill U.), "Doctors without Borders: Excising the Conscience, Emasculating Medicine"

1:30 Francois Pouliot, O.P. (U. Laval), "Conscience et Cooperation"

4:00 Jose Pereira (U. Ottawa), "Working Under the Shadow of Legalized Assisted Suicide: Experience and Lessons from Switzerland"

As well, at 11am and 3pm, there were concurrent workshops on Family Practice, Geriatrics, Medical Education and Pediatrics.

The festive dinner was at 6 o'clock, after which I spoke briefly a word of encouragement--on the role of doctors and medical personnel in building today's needed civilization of love.


He received a standing ovation for the encouragement he provided.

It was an eye-opener for me to see the many ways Catholic physicians and other health professionals are being challenged in ways that aim to violate their consciences and thus their integrity.

One of the consistent themes of the conference was the relationship of conscience to an objective moral order, to the law written in our hearts by our Creator, and the importance of reason and natural law. Now that western nations have lost this sense of an objective moral order, the conscience is viewed as subjective and morals as relative, and no one is supposed to impose their morality on anyone else---unless, of course, you are a patient demanding a certain medical service or procedure or drug--and then the health provider has to provide, regardless.

So, if euthanasia becomes legal, then health providers may be punished if they refuse to provide the means for people to kill themselves or actually do the act themselves at a patient's request.

Douglas Farrow told the group they should not talk in terms of being forced to violate one's conscience, but instead of being punished for remaining true to one's conscience. I think he's right that the issue needs to be framed in this way. We either choose to violate our conscience or not and the price required of us may be stiff--a fine, a lost license, a prison term or worse.
What are we doing to prepare ourselves to stand firm if the time comes? Though there was advice that no one go out and seek confrontation with the authorities, there was attention paid to helping to prepare oneself spiritually to courageously handle a confrontation should it occur.

There was one medical student who told me he worked for a while with an ear, nose and throat specialist, thinking to himself that this was one area where one was unlikely to run into problems. There was some concern that whole specialties, such as obstetrics and gynecology, were being abandoned because of demands for abortions, sterilization, and referrals for in vitro fertilization. Medical students and residents face the possiblity they wil not get a license if they do not peform an abortion as part of their training. Well, this medical student said that he found out about an ear, nose and throat specialist who was asked to alter the vocal chords of a man to make him sound like a woman. Ooops.

I sat in on a session for family doctors---and for Catholic doctors who want to be faithful to their religion and their consciences, they cannot prescribe contraceptive pills, or refer for abortions, or in vitro fertilization, sex change hormones or operations and so on. I imagine it's pretty scary wondering if you are just a human rights complaint away from losing your license to practice medicine after that huge investment in training.