In this year's survey, the top seven spots were David Suzuki (193 votes), Mike Holmes (112), Michael J. Fox (96), Queen Elizabeth II (89), Lloyd Robertson (64), Sheila Fraser (64) and Stephen Lewis (50). Not until we get to the 8th spot do we hit Stephen Harper at 48 votes - just 4% of all votes cast.
Friday, April 30, 2010
"A baby boy abandoned by doctors to die after a botched abortion was found alive nearly a day later. The mother, pregnant for the first time, had opted for an abortion after prenatal scans suggested that her baby was disabled."
Phoenix has also been dubbed the kidnapping capital of the U.S. amid a surge of extortion-related abductions tied to drugs and human smuggling. The city has averaged about a kidnapping a day in recent years — some resulting in torture and death. Victims' legs have been burned with irons, their arms have been tied to the ceiling, their fingers broken with bricks.
“We’ve met it often enough to see it as a factor,” he tells the magazine, out today. “That’s what the vow of celibacy refers to, being married. If it’s not an adult woman, then somehow they’re not breaking their vow.”
But the larger point is that Arizona is moving forward because the government in Washington has completely abdicated its responsibility. For 10 years—at least—through two administrations, Washington deliberately did nothing to ease the crisis on the borders because politicians calculated that an air of mounting crisis would spur mounting support for what Washington thought was appropriate reform—i.e., reform that would help the Democratic and Republican parties.
Both parties resemble Gordon Brown, who is about to lose the prime ministership of Britain. On the campaign trail this week, he was famously questioned by a party voter about his stand on immigration. He gave her the verbal runaround, all boilerplate and shrugs, and later complained to an aide, on an open mic, that he'd been forced into conversation with that "bigoted woman."
He really thought she was a bigot. Because she asked about immigration. Which is, to him, a sign of at least latent racism.
The establishments of the American political parties, and the media, are full of people who think concern about illegal immigration is a mark of racism. If you were Freud you might say, "How odd that's where their minds so quickly go, how strange they're so eager to point an accusing finger. Could they be projecting onto others their own, heavily defended-against inner emotions?" But let's not do Freud, he's too interesting. Maybe they're just smug and sanctimonious.
The American president has the power to control America's borders if he wants to, but George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not and do not want to, and for the same reason, and we all know what it is. The fastest-growing demographic in America is the Hispanic vote, and if either party cracks down on illegal immigration, it risks losing that vote for generations.
But while the Democrats worry about the prospects of the Democrats and the Republicans about the well-being of the Republicans, who worries about America?
Secure the border, she insists. I agree.
Then let's discuss how to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants in a calm, reasonable manner that may include provisions for most to become citizens.
Miss Davies said: “I objected to Amy being made to dress like a Muslim girl, the original letter from the school gave a dress code for the visit, including long skirts, leggings or tights and covering up her head.
“She's been brought up in the Catholic faith and religion. Amy is not a Muslim and shouldn’t be told to dress like one.”
Miss Davies handed in a letter setting out reasons why she wouldn't be attending and the school asked if it was a problem with payment.
She said: “I asked them not to patronise me, it's £3 to cover the cost of the bus.”
Despite requesting that any further communication about the proposed Year 9 trip, part of the students’ religious education class, be conducted strictly between her and Mr Lee, Miss Davies was upset to hear that Amy had been pulled out of her lessons and told the mosque excursion was ‘compulsory’.
Why is a Catholic school ordering this? Which reminds me of an excellent interview I read yesterday that Frontpagemag.com did with Christine Williams, a national talk show host with Canada's Crossroad's Television Network. She said (my bolds, because they explain why a Catholic school would court Islam in the wrong way):
Take my country of origin for example: Trinidad was a model country of a predominantly Christian, Muslim and Hindu population living peaceably together, even celebrating each others’ holy days. That was until the beginnings of aggressive Islamism in the late 80s. Abu Bakr, the leader of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, a Muslim group in Trinidad, had long-standing links with Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi. Under the leadership of Abu Bakr, the group staged an attempted coup d’état in 1990. Since then, radical Islam is on the radar in a once very peaceful country.
Through the combined forces of political correctness and multiculturalism — Canada is now struggling with what reasonable accommodation means as conservative Muslims push for special rights according to their customs: to wear the niqab, have segregated swimming sessions, and even segregated living communities. The most dangerous aspect has been the effort to curb free speech as we saw with the Human Rights Commission shakedowns of Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and Macleans Magazine.
FP: What concerns you about multiculturalism in Canada?
Williams: Multiculturalism is a loophole which threatens our national security and rich heritage. Under the Multicultural Act, all cultures are deemed equal, including those that subjugate women. This clashes with our cultural mores. Yes, we are a country of many cultures, but equality, human rights and democracy are important to us and enshrined in our constitutions. The promotion of multiculturalism and sensitivity toward visible minorities has become a power tool of special interest groups.
Is racism alive and well in our culture? It certainly is and obviously needs to be fought against. It is insidious and appears in both subtle and overt forms. But rather than tackle it directly, some groups have chosen to target free speech instead. So when Mark Steyn reports about Radical Islam in Macleans Magazine, he and the publication get dragged to the Human Rights Commission because special interest groups cry that the report is promoting racism. We need to get serious about fighting both racism and Radical Islam, not fighting the truth. Free speech in the West has been an issue raised repeatedly by the O.I.C as a human rights issue, calling on the U.N. to adopt an International resolution to counter Islamophobia. Islamists wanting to push their global agenda against the ‘infidels’ know how to manipulate the multicultural loophole very cleverly. We have to stand up to them and their agenda.
FP: You have talked quite a bit about “choice” in this discussion. Free choice is obviously something that matters to you a lot and it is an issue that concerned you, and that you have thought about, since your youth. The radical Left and radical Islam do not allow choice. I think it is no surprise that you never became a leftist or an apologist for Islamism, for this reason (among others). Can you talk a bit about this?
Williams: Choice is power, period. It determines what you become. On a practical level, carefully thought out choices usually produces favorable results. However, if life deals unexpected blows, you can stand on something intangible, yet deeper: integrity, personal self worth and dignity. You emerge with an honored sense of self that no one can take from you. For a culture to offer no choice to women, it is an unconscionable, horrifying amputation of a woman’s human value. How anyone in our culture can undermine this is mystifying. But this is totally what the radical Left and radical Islam support doing.
FP: What concerns you the most about the radical Left’s alliance with radical Islam and the inroads that unholy alliance is making in our free societies? What do you think is the best thing concerned citizens can do to stand up to what the radical Left and Islamists are trying to perpetrate?
Williams: I see it as being about two things: courting the Muslim vote and lack of knowledge about the various branches of Islam. The radical Left has sucked up to leaders in the Islamic community without screening who they are. This is actually a derogatory display of how they see all Muslims, virtually dumping all Muslims who appear integrated in the same pile. They can’t be bothered to do their homework, so it’s an embarrassing expose of their own ignorance and how Islamists can use this ignorance against Western civilization. The leftist elite is largely unable to differentiate between subtle radical agendas and the goals of honest moderate Muslims, which inadvertently leads to the unholiest of alliances because of their burning lust for the Muslim vote, particularly in multicultural Canada. Concerned citizens need to understand their personal value in protecting the hard work of our founding fathers for the sake of the future generations and let their voices be heard by politicians.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Well, there are stories of Muslims converting to the Catholic faith and worshipping in the empty cathedrals of Europe, but you don't see any news stories about that.
The upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom has been soured--to the point where some Vatican officials have considered calling it off--by a scabrously anti-Catholic memo written by a British civil servant and circulated among senior officials by way of "preparing" for the papal visit. The document suggested that an "ideal" papal trip would include the pope blessing a same-sex union, reversing the Catholic Church's teaching on the ordination of women, opening an abortion clinic, and launching a brand of "Pope Benedict" condoms.
-snip-It later emerged that the author of the memo is Oxford-educated Anjoum Noorani, 31, whose official title was Head of the Papal Visit Team. According to the Daily Mail, "Mr Noorani is understood to be British Pakistani - but colleagues say he is not a Muslim."
If he is a secularized Muslim, Noorani's case suggests that the "best-case" scenario for Muslim assimilation in Britain is this: Those who give up their aggressive, intolerant faith in Islam will adopt instead the aggressive, intolerant secularism of the British elites--who use "multiculturalism" as a stick with which to beat just one set of institutions: those traditional to the West.
But this story goes to show that those who hope for the revival of Western Civilization's Judeo-Christian foundations have to fight on two fronts. Not only is there the threat of radical Islam, there is also the homegrown threat of secular fundamentalism. While there are the odd times that the secular fundies oppose the Islamists, usually they are in cahoots, acting as useful idiots for each other. But alas, the secular fundies, who don't reproduce at replacement levels, thank God for that, are no match for the muscular faith of jihadists who are ready to kill and die for their cause.
Radical Islam would not be a threat to the West if the secular fundamentalists hadn't eaten away at our civilization's foundations.
Canada now officially has a new Apostolic Nuncio from the Holy See. Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana presented his credentials to Governor General Michaelle Jean yesterday at a ceremony at Rideau Hall. Archbishop Lopez has been in Canada since February and has spent much of his time meeting Canada's bishops. I hear he's met most of them already! Here are some pictures from the event, including some pictures of the devoted administrative staff at the Apostolic Nunciature.
Having demonstrated its inability to address this issue calmly and comprehensively when they had the chance, the right is being tempted to repeat its mistakes again. The provocation worked beautifully in 2006. The Dems are counting on it working well this time, and saving their majority or at least tamping down on their losses.
The right does not need to replay their reaction, though; the left is counting on the sight of nationwide rent-a-mobs and obnoxious signs to drive the right into shrill, passionate, uncompromising and self-defeating spams of hate and hysteria.
If they manage that, the left will have obliterated the images of peaceful teaparty demonstrations that they have been working so desperately to define as something else. That alone will be a huge victory for them. If the right gets really exercised and emotional about this, they will be weakened. Emotionalism does not convince people to get behind you. It makes people run in the other direction.
Keep the powder dry. This plan is one of extreme provocation, and if the right allows itself to get sucked into it all -and defined by the left and the press – then the left will have won a huge PR battle, and that is the win they want.
Obama treats the press with arrogant contempt—and you can’t say they haven’t earned it by their fawning shilling for him in the past. For someone like Obama, that sort of adulation breeds an increase in condescension; he knows he can abuse them with impunity. And so he does, when he thinks it suits his purposes.
Obama’s last lingering need to cooperate with the press or to treat them with any sort of respect ended when he was elected and ascended to the powerful post of POTUS. Now, the more they try to please him, the more he realizes he has nothing to fear from them, and the more they realize they have something to fear from him.
It reminds me a little of that scene in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, when Ferris opines that Cameron will marry the first girl who has sex with him, but “She won’t respect him,” Ferris says, “’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.”
Anyone who does not believe that “history repeats itself” has only to take a look at the unfortunate new law in Arizona.
Throughout American history, whenever there is tension and turmoil in society — economic distress, political rifts, war, distrust and confusion in culture — the immigrant unfailingly becomes the scapegoat.
It’s a supreme paradox in our American culture — where every person unless a Native American, is a descendent of immigrants — that we seem to harbor an ingrained fear of “the other,” which, in our history, is usually the foreigner (immigrant), the Jew, the Catholic, or the black. (cf. Religious Outsiders, by R. L. Moore, or Immigrants and Exiles, by K. Miller).
So we can chart periodic spasms of “anti-immigrant” fever in our nation’s history: the Nativists of the 1840’s, who led mobs to torch Irish homes and Catholic churches; the Know-Nothings of the 1850’s who wanted to deny the vote to everyone except white, Protestant, native-born, “pure” Americans; the American Protective Association of the 1880’s and 1890’s who were scared of the arrival of immigrants from Italy, Poland, and Germany; the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920’s who spewed hate against blacks, Jews, Catholics, and “forn-ers”; the “eugenics movement” of the 1920’s and 1930’s who worried that racial purity was being compromised by the immigrant and non-Anglo Saxon blood lines; and the Protestants and Other Americans United of the 1950’s who were apprehensive about Catholic immigrants and their grandkids upsetting the religious and cultural concord of America.
And, here we go again! Arizona is so scared, apparently, and so convinced that the #1 threat to society today is the immigrant that it has passed a mean-spirited bill of doubtful constitutionality that has as its intention the expulsion of the immigrant.
What history teaches us, of course, is that not only are such narrow-minded moves unfair and usually unconstitutional, but they are counterproductive and harmful.
Because the anti-immigrant strain in our American heritage, however strong, is not dominant. Thank God, there’s another sentiment in our national soul, and that’s one of welcome and embrace to the immigrant.
Why does the archbishop make no distinction between legal and illegal immigration? Why should someone who breaks America's immigration laws crowd out all those who wish to come to our shores but have to board a plane from Africa or get out of a refugee camp in Syra to get here?
There are huge problems in the Southwest and the de facto open borders approach of the U.S. government is exacerbating them. And I am tired of the West's knee-jerk default to liberal guilt. We have become paralyzed by our own sense of moral inferiority to the point of civilizational suicide. It is why we tout multiculturalism and no longer insist that people become Americans or Canadians because we are so ashamed of our racist past and thus all the good in our Founding Fathers is tossed into the dustbin along with the ideas of other dead white males. Thus we no longer have much will to assimilate the new comer to an American identity.
Victor Davis Hanson has I think a far wiser take on this issue.
Racist! Nativist! Profiler! Xenophobe!
Write or say anything about illegal immigration, and one should expect to be called all of that and more—even if a strong supporter of legal immigration. Illegal alien becomes undocumented worker. Anti-immigrant replaces anti-illegal-immigration. “Comprehensive” is a euphemism for amnesty. Triangulation abounds. A fiery op-ed grandstands and deplores the Arizona law, but offers no guidance about illegal immigration — and blames the employer for doing something that the ethnic lobby in fact welcomes.
Nevertheless, here it goes from a supporter of legal immigration: how are we to make sense of the current Arizona debate? One should show concern about some elements of the law, but only in the context of the desperation of the citizens of Arizona. And one should show some skepticism concerning mounting liberal anguish, so often expressed by those whose daily lives are completely unaffected by the revolutionary demographic, cultural, and legal transformations occurring in the American Southwest.
Here's a bit of VDH's analysis:
Confusion between legal and illegal immigration is essential for the open borders argument, since a proper distinction between the two makes the present policy indefensible—especially since it discriminates against those waiting in line to come to America legally (e.g., somehow our attention is turned to the illegal alien’s plight and not the burdensome paperwork and government obstacles that the dutiful legal immigrant must face).
Why Wave the Flag of the Country I Don’t Wish to Return To?
Second, often the protests against enforcement of immigration law are strangely couched within a general climate of anger at the U.S. government (and/or the American people) for some such illiberal transgression (review the placards, flags, etc. at May Day immigration rallies). Fairly or not, the anger at the U.S. and the nostalgia for Mexico distill into the absurd, something like either “I am furious at the country I insist on staying in, and fond of the country I most certainly do not wish to return to” or “I am angry at you so you better let angry me stay with you!” Such mixed messages confuse the electorate. As in the case with the Palestinians, there is an effort to graft a foreign policy issue (protecting an international border) onto domestic identity politics, to inject an inflammatory race/class element into the debate by creating oppressors, victims, and grievances along racial divides.
Ninth, we are at last turning to the issue of remittances: How can expatriates send back some $20-30 billion in remittances, if they are impoverished and in need of extensive entitlements and subsidies to cushion the harshness of life in America? Do those lost billions hurt the U.S. economy? Are they a indirect subsidy for Mexico City? Were such funds ever taxed completely or off-the-books cash income? Remittances are Mexico’s second largest source of foreign exchange; that it comes so often off the sweat of minimum-wage workers seems especially ironic, given Mexico’s protestations about human rights.
The California Canary
Tenth, California’s meltdown is instructive. If about half the nation’s illegal aliens reside in the state, and its problems are in at least in some part attributable to soaring costs in educating hundreds of thousands of non-English-speaking students, a growing number of aliens in prison and the criminal justice system, real problems of collecting off-the-books income and payroll taxes, expanding entitlements, and unsustainable social services, do we wish to avoid its model?
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has accused Arizona of opening the door “to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement.” But Arizona has nothing on Mexico when it comes to cracking down on illegal aliens. While open-borders activists decry new enforcement measures signed into law in “Nazi-zona” last week, they remain deaf, dumb or willfully blind to the unapologetically restrictionist policies of our neighbors to the south.
Archbishop Dolan writes:
To welcome the immigrant, to work hard for their legalization and citizenship, to help them feel at home, to treat them as neighbors and allies in the greatest project of human rights and ethnic and religious harmony in history — the United States of America — flows from the bright, noble side of our American character.
To blame them, stalk them, outlaw them, harass them, and consider them outsiders is unbiblical, inhumane, and un-American.
Yes, every society has the duty to protect its borders and thoughtfully monitor its population. The call is to do this justly, sanely, and civilly.
But the problem is that when people who want to discuss this issue justly, sanely and civilly get labeled off the top as scapegoating immigrants (in other words as bigots), the archbishop is not helping the debate. What suggestions does he have towards solutions towards "the duty to protect borders and thoughtfully monitor its population?"
I don't know enough about the Arizona Law's details to comment about them, but 70 per cent of Arizonans support it. Are they all bigots?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
To the average Canadian, the obvious objective of maternal health programs would be to make motherhood and childbearing safer. Not so for many UN agencies, donor countries and powerful NGOs working at the United Nations. Their approach is to make motherhood safer by making it rarer. At the expense of the world's pregnant women, maternal health has become the latest vehicle for an old idea -- population control as a path to development.
Since the early 1970s, the United Nations has interwoven population control measures (including "voluntary" sterilization) into its development programs.
This has largely been done through a range of conditions placed on foreign aid. A donor country, like Sweden might say: "We will fund your primary health program as long as you ensure a specific level of uptake of contraceptive methods among local women and report on it. This is how we interpret primary health."
Desperately needing resources to strengthen primary health and other services, developing nations have had little choice but to acquiesce to these types of requirements.
If the debate on maternal health continues as it is, it too will come with population control strings attached. As with previous programs, patients will have to accept those strings (for example by helping to fill quotas for sterilization), or be denied the care they are actually seeking.
By any standard this is an abuse of power.
Here is what Graves is quoted as telling the Liberals in his column last Wednesday, “I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy. If the cranky old men in Alberta don’t like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin.”
Now to the party faithful living in Toronto’s Annex or Montreal’s Westmount neigbourhoods, all of this likely sounds like just the ticket. Then again, those people are already on your side and casting their ballots for you. Will it work for the rest of the population? Will it bring enough voters over to your side to make your team the one that wins the election?
The answer here is a clear no.
While Lawrence Martin appears happy to declare that Ignateiff is finally tacking left, the populace remains in the mushy middle, a spot the Conservatives have moved to without losing their right-wing base, at least not yet. If the Ignatieff Liberals move too far to the left they will, barring any major mistakes from the Conservatives, cede the middle ground to Harper and Co. and fight for the left-wing vote with the Bloc, NDP and Greens.
Meanwhile, Ezra has gone ballistic.
And Globe columnist John Doyle has noticed the Culture War is on in Canada but the lefties seem unwilling to engage:
What I saw was cowardice, a failure to engage with the outrageous rants of Levant. Wells mentioned with disdain that Levant had recently referred to Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, as “the Liberal Party's porch Jew, Irwin Cotler.” Levant promptly repeated the phrase. It was a “come on, buddy, let’s rumble” attitude. No rumble ensued, mind you.
On TV panel after TV panel, from CBC NN to CTV’s Question Period, debate is dreary, if it exists at all. What’s happened on TV is that the Conservative party and its representatives grasp this, and take advantage. On CBC, the recent addition of former Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke is a fascinating development. Teneycke is sharp and very, very good at pushing the Conservative agenda. Whip-smart about TV, he never hides his allegiance and is adept at gazing-directly-at-the-camera sincerity. His opposite numbers are amateurs in comparison and seem utterly unwilling to stand for any principle.
Monday, April 26, 2010
As South Park's Sheila Broflovski would say: "What, What, WHAT?"The outcry from Comedy Central's decision to censor an episode of South Park with depictions of Muhammad last week led a cartoonist and a Facebook user to fight back. That is until they realized it might be controversial, apparently.
In declaring May 20th to be "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day," Seattle artist Molly Norris created a poster-like cartoon showing many objects -- from a cup of coffee to a box of pasta to a tomato -- all claiming to be the likeness of Muhammad.
Such depictions are radioactive as many Muslims believe that Islamic teachings forbid showing images of Muhammad."I am Mohammed and I taste good," says the pasta box in the cartoon. On top of the cartoon images (but no longer on her website) was an announcement explaining the rationale behind the event.
"In light of the recent veiled (ha!) threats aimed at the creators of the....
...television show South Park (for depicting Mohammed in a bear suit) by bloggers on Revolution Muslim's website, we hereby deemed May 20, 2010 as the first annual "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," the original artwork reads.On Friday, Norris told a radio talk show host in Seattle that she came up with the idea because "as a cartoonist, I just felt so much passion about what had happened..." noting that "it's a cartoonist's job to be non-PC."
That passion, it appears, has lessened. And fast.
Her stark website today reads: ""I am NOT involved in "Everybody Draw Mohammd [sic] Day!"
I know! My bulletproof 'peace sign' tee shirt will protect me!!
thinks sucky female artiste now making a roadrunner cloud away from her own "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" idea.
Last week, as I made my way to the final hour of debate on the euthanasia and assisted-suicide private member's bill, I noticed hundreds of people sitting in clusters or standing around on the Parliament Hill lawn, plastic bottles and other trash strewn around them and a pall of smoke rising above them.
I asked the driver of the little green bus what was going on and he said it was 4/20 or National Weed Day, and the demonstrators were publicly smoking marijuana to mark it.
So, I got off the bus, and sure enough the stench of cannabis enveloped me as I went up the steps
of Centre Block.
That pall of smoke seemed an apt metaphor for the confusion and distortion emanating from the House of Commons on the euthanasia debate. The House was nearly empty--maybe 20 MPs altogether, and it seemed the only arguments those in favor of giving doctors or others the license to kill other human beings were resorting to the same arguments as I imagine the potheads outside were using. Kinda like "everyone's doing it," so why should it be a crime?
In other words, proponents of this draconian law relied on confusion about what is the legitimate withdrawal of treatment or nutrition and hydration at end of life (when it becomes too burdensome) with the deliberate taking of a human life through action or omission.
We are all going to die, and Catholic teaching does not insist that we be kept alive at all costs. But there is a huge difference between allowing a natural dying process to take place vs. getting out the needle or the barbiturates to hasten it along. Thankfully, the House overwhelmingly rejected Bill C-384 in a vote the next day.
It made me sad, though, to see so many outside pushing for the legalization of a drug that has done more than anything to sap the masculinity, adulthood and initiative of a whole generation of young men. But no one was demonstrating against a bill that would have been the coup de grace for any foundational notion of a right to life recognized by the state. I think I was the only journalist covering the debate.
Which brings me to the latest concern over Comedy Central's censorship of South Park.
Mark Steyn called my attention to this column by Ross Douthat, perhaps the only good thing the New York Times has going for it. Douthat writes (my bolds):
In a way, the muzzling of “South Park” is no more disquieting than any other example of Western institutions’ cowering before the threat of Islamist violence. It’s no worse than the German opera house that temporarily suspended performances of Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo” because it included a scene featuring Muhammad’s severed head. Or Random House’s decision to cancel the publication of a novel about the prophet’s third wife. Or Yale University Press’s refusal to publish the controversial Danish cartoons ... in a book about the Danish cartoon crisis. Or the fact that various Western journalists, intellectuals and politicians — the list includes Oriana Fallaci in Italy, Michel Houellebecq in France, Mark Steyn in Canada and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands — have been hauled before courts and “human rights” tribunals, in supposedly liberal societies, for daring to give offense to Islam.
But there’s still a sense in which the “South Park” case is particularly illuminating. Not because it tells us anything new about the lines that writers and entertainers suddenly aren’t allowed to cross. But because it’s a reminder that Islam is just about the only place where we draw any lines at all.
Across 14 on-air years, there’s no icon “South Park” hasn’t trampled, no vein of shock-comedy (sexual, scatalogical, blasphemous) it hasn’t mined. In a less jaded era, its creators would have been the rightful heirs of Oscar Wilde or Lenny Bruce — taking frequent risks to fillet the culture’s sacred cows.
In ours, though, even Parker’s and Stone’s wildest outrages often just blur into the scenery. In a country where the latest hit movie, “Kick-Ass,” features an 11-year-old girl spitting obscenities and gutting bad guys while dressed in pedophile-bait outfits, there isn’t much room for real transgression. Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place.
Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing.
This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.
So what does this have to do with the Pope?
Look at how our news media has been in a rush to trash the Catholic Church and the Pope. We have some brave folks who want to insist on the same freedom to trash Islam as anyone has to trash Christianity or Buddhism or other religions. Freedom of Speech has become about transgression, pushing the envelope in sexual taboos, and, in effect, pushing spiritual slavery---slavery to the senses, to the animal nature, to unrestrained appetites. It is about selfishness and the fiction of autonomy.
It makes me sad that the best response that can be mustered up against radical Islam is today's Boobquake, launched by a 22-year old girl to show cleavage in response to some Imam's blaming a recent earthquake on the immodest dressing of westerners.
Sorry, but sitting around smoking dope and displaying cleavage while snickering at the Pope and devaluing the Christian faith and every good principle underlying western civilization from the roots of Athens, Jerusalem and Rome is not going to stop the growing totalitarian onslaught against everything that has made a free and prosperous west possible.
I just finished reading Leon Podles book The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity
which you can read online. He makes some important observations about how much the Christian faith has become a church for women, while the men mostly just stay home.
If we want to save our fundamental freedoms, we have to revive a masculine Christian faith, one that will wake up and engage some of those dope-smoking, videogame playing, porn-watching young men who have become enslaved by their own weaknesses and self-indulgence.
Only a robust Christian faith that raises up protective, self-restrained, virtuous men and women who show their hope for the future by having children can stop this tide of decadence.
Flashing our boobs and finding the courage here and there to trash Islam may be a freedom of sorts, but it is not the freedom Christ died for or the freedom the Pope tells us about, even as his words are drowned by a cacaphony of derision.
If any of us are wondering how most of us would have responded if we were living in Germany during the rise of Hitler, I think the West's craven capitulation to even the possibility of a jihadist threat tells us we would have done little or nothing to stop the trains when the jackboots were everywhere.
We need to find the freedom of a Maximilian Kolbe, or a Deitrich Bonhoeffer, a freedom that finds itself in the willingness to shed one's blood for the love of others. The "freedom" of lighting up a joint on Parliament Hill, of offing grandma when she becomes inconvenient, of trashing the religious leader of one's choice, of baring one's boobs, and aborting one's babies, is an illusion that leads to slavery.
The pictures were taken by my friend Christopher, who I am sure agrees with this post.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
What can be expected, though, is that you comport yourself with a minimum
of integrity and elementary decency in the controversies in which you engage. I
understand odium theologicum as well as anyone, but I must, in all candor, tell
you that you crossed a line that should not have been crossed in your recent
article, when you wrote the following:
There is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005).
That, sir, is not true. I refuse to believe that you knew this to be false and wrote it anyway, for that would mean you had willfully condemned yourself as a liar. But on the assumption that you did not know this sentence to be a tissue of falsehoods, then you are so manifestly ignorant of how competencies over abuse cases were assigned in the Roman Curia prior to Ratzinger’s seizing control of the process and bringing it under CDF’s competence in 2001, then you have forfeited any claim to be taken seriously on this, or indeed any other matter involving the Roman Curia and the central governance of the Catholic Church.As you perhaps do not know, I have been a vigorous, and I hope responsible, critic of the way abuse cases were
(mis)handled by individual bishops and by the authorities in the Curia prior to
the late 1990s, when then-Cardinal Ratzinger began to fight for a major change
in the handling of these cases. (If you are interested, I refer you to my 2002
book, The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church.)
I therefore speak with some assurance of the ground on which I stand when I say
that your description of Ratzinger’s role as quoted above is not only ludicrous
to anyone familiar with the relevant history, but is belied by the experience of
American bishops who consistently found Ratzinger thoughtful, helpful, deeply
concerned about the corruption of the priesthood by a small minority of abusers,
and distressed by the incompetence or malfeasance of bishops who took the
promises of psychotherapy far more seriously than they ought, or lacked the
moral courage to confront what had to be confronted.I recognize that authors do
not write the sometimes awful subheads that are put on op-ed pieces.
Nonetheless, you authored a piece of vitriol—itself utterly unbecoming a priest,
an intellectual, or a gentleman—that permitted the editors of the Irish Times to
slug your article: “Pope Benedict has made worse just about everything that is
wrong with the Catholic Church and is directly responsible for engineering the
global cover-up of child rape perpetrated by priests, according to this open
letter to all Catholic bishops.” That grotesque falsification of the truth
perhaps demonstrates where odium theologicum can lead a man. But it is
But even I was surprised at how Sabrina Tavernise, and her paper, The New
York Times, managed to carry this story and not once mention the fact that the
girl who was beaten to death was a Christian, that her employer is Muslim, and
that the Muslim lawyers of Lahore have refused to take up her case or cause, and
have even terrified the handful of Christian lawyers, too, from making her case
a cause célèbre.
For this is merely one case among many, of repeated miseries
and murders inflicted by Muslim Pakistanis on Christians in Pakistan. If you
seek examples in the modern world of the Christian heroes and martyrs to rival
those of the ancient world, then surely they are to be found among the
Christians in Muslim-ruled lands, and perhaps above all today in
Well thank God for the Citizen and the National Post.
The Citizen spoke with Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast:
TORONTO — Two prominent Ottawa Catholic leaders — including Archbishop
Terrence Prendergast — spoke out Wednesday on the province's new sex-ed
curriculum, pointing to what appears to be an emerging rift between the
government and its publicly funded Catholic schools.
The most obvious element rejected by Catholic schools will be a third-grade
lesson on "visible and invisible differences" that features discussion of
Neither McGuinty nor Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky gave any
indication Catholic boards would be entitled to their own version of the
document. "This is the Ontario curriculum, and it's the curriculum for all
schools and all students," Dombrowsky said Wednesday.
Dombrowsky, a former Catholic school board trustee in eastern Ontario,
went on to say the ministry had worked with the Catholic Church on the document.
"We have listened to their input and it is my understanding that they do support
the document we have presented."
Religious groups have raised concerns over that treatment of
homosexuality in the document, as well as questioning the timing of its
introduction into the curriculum. It is currently set to be discussed with eight
In an interview, Prendergast said he didn't believe in the need
for a revised, 21st century curriculum that begins with lessons on body parts in
Grade 1 and explicitly mentions "vaginal and anal intercourse" in Grade 7.
"I think parents are the first teachers of faith and moral issues to
children," he added.
Prendergast urged parents to assert their own thoughts
on the new course design and then relay them to officials. Government would have
to act if they were met with "a firestorm of response," he said.
Then this excellent editorial in the National Post:
Ontario is poised to inaugurate a new and explicit sex education curriculum
in September. According to a detailed outline posted on the Ministry of
Education's website in January, children in Grade 3 will for the first time
learn about "invisible differences" between people, including those of gender
identity and sexual orientation, while Grade 6 and 7 students will receive
information about "vaginal lubrication" and "anal intercourse."
You don't have to be religious to recognize the incompatibility of
early instruction around sexuality with, dare we say it, the "settled" science
around the "latency period" of childhood. In this schema, the second sexual
phase in children following infancy and early childhood, from the age of six to
12, is a period in which direct sexual energies fall dormant. During this phase,
the child gathers his inner resources and develops mental and physical strength
for entry to young adulthood. Only at adolescence do hormonal changes create the
appropriate psychological context for absorbing ideas about "gender identity"
and sexual ethics in a meaningful light. Until that time schools should butt out
of sex education.
Latency-period researchers explain that it is precisely
because children are not dominated by sexualized thinking between early
childhood and adolescence that they are optimally attuned to, and most highly
educable in, the areas crucial to cultural self-realization: reading, 'riting
Bending children's imagination in a sexualized direction they
would not naturally take distracts them from the work they should be devoting
themselves to, and raises fears in social conservatives, possibly
well-founded--for these are very uncharted waters, whatever liberal theorists
may say -- that the curricula will promote early, indiscriminate and amoral
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Here's a letter Law professor John Cloverdale sent to the New York Times:
"Like many other people, I have felt in recent weeks that some news outlets have
unfairly targeted Pope Benedict XVI in connection with sexual abuse by priests.
In part this is a question of emphasis, with daily coverage of what may or
may not have been minor mistakes in judgment decades ago and almost no attention
to the major efforts Pope Benedict has made to remedy what is undeniably a
With some frequency, however, I have observed what
strikes me as deliberate distortion of the facts in order to put Pope Benedict
in a bad light. I would like to call your attention to what seems to me a clear
example of this sort of partisan journalism: Laurie Goodstein and Michael Luo’s
article “Pope Put Off Move to Punish Abusive Priest” published on the front page
of the New York Times on April 10, 2010. The story is so wrong that it is hard
to believe it is not animated by the anti-Catholic animus that the New York
Times and other media outlets deny harboring.
Canonical procedure punishes priests who have violated Church law in serious ways by “suspending” them from exercising their ministry. This is sometimes referred to as “defrocking.” (According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary to “defrock” is to deprive of the right to exercise the functions of an office. )
A priest who has been suspended may request that he be released from his vows of celibacy and other obligations as a priest. If granted, this petition to be “laicized” would leave the former priest free to marry. Laicization (which is altogether different from defrocking and which may apply to a priest who has committed no crime but simply wishes to leave the priesthood) is not further punishment. It is something a
priest who has already been punished by being suspended might well desire, as do
some priests who have committed no crime and who have not been suspended.
The priest who is the subject of the article had already been punished by
being suspended long before his case reached Rome. He asked to be laicized.
Cardinal Ratzinger delayed his laicization not his “defrocking” as the article
incorrectly says. He had been defrocked years earlier when he was suspended from
the ministry. All of this is clear without reference to outside sources to
anyone who knows something about Church procedure and reads the article with
sufficient care. It is anything but clear, however, to a normal reader.
My complaint here is not that the article misuses the word “defrock”
but rather that by so doing it strongly suggests to readers that Cardinal
Ratzinger delayed the priest’s removal from the ministry. Delaying laicization
had nothing to do with allowing him to continue exercising the ministry, from
which he had already been suspended.
Not only does the article fail to make these distinctions, it positively misstate the facts. Its title is “Pope Put off Move to Punish Abusive Priest.” [italics added] It describes Cardinal Ratzinger’s decision as involving whether the abusive priest “should be forced from the priesthood” [italics added]. Even a moderately careful journalist would have to notice that all of this is incompatible with the fact (reported in the second paragraph of the article) that the priest himself had asked for what
Cardinal Ratziner delayed.
Had the facts been reported accurately, the article would have said that the priest was promptly punished by being removed from the ministry for his crimes, but that when he asked to be reduced to the lay state, which would have given him the right to marry within the Church, Cardinal Ratzinger delayed granting the petition. That, of course, would hardly have merited front page treatment, much less a headline accusing the Pope of “Putt[ing] off Move to Punish Abusive Priest.”
The second half of the article reports that the priest later worked as a volunteer in the youth ministry of his former parish. This is obviously regrettable and should not have happened, but he was not acting as a priest (youth ministers are laymen, not
A careful reader who was not misled by the inaccuracies in
the first part of the article would, of course, realize that his volunteering as
a youth minister had no factual or legal connection with Cardinal Ratzinger’s
delaying the grant of laicization.
There's more. Read it all.
A declaration written on buckskin and signed by 8 Algonquin chiefs was
delivered to Parliament Hill today. The chiefs were there to tell politicians
that the land the Parliament Buildings stand on is Algonquin land and so is much
of Ontario and Quebec.
A map distributed with the declaration shows an area
stretching from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to Drummondville, Quebec as belonging
to the Algonquins, the area includes cities such as North Bay, Ottawa, Montreal
Grand Chief Lucien Wabanonik says this is not a land
claim it is a statement of fact. "We will not be entering into the current land
claim process devised by the government," says Wabanonik in a statement,
"because these lands are ours." Wabanonik says that the government land claims
process is not about recognizing rights but extinguishing them.
The declaration says that the Algonquin will no longer allow development within their territory "without our free, informed and written consent." Wabanonik says he and his people are willing to cooperate and share resources but that they clearly own all the land in question, including homes in cities like Montreal and Ottawa. He says any development on Algonquin land, including homes, is an infringement of their rights and title.
Representatives from the Liberal Party and the NDP attended the rally and addressed the crowd of several hundred.
Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic Todd Russell telling those assembled, "I
accept your statement, I accept your statement of self-government." Russell also
said he accepts the map and territory claimed by the Algonquin and encouraged the Conservative government to sit down and negotiate nation to nation with the chiefs.
Monday, April 19, 2010
“What galls me,” says retired Supreme Court justice John Major, “is that people like Bob Rae and Ignatieff vote for it.”
It’s shocking for a former justice of Canada’s highest court to make such a direct statement about current politicians but Major is clearly annoyed at the passage of Bill C-232 in the House of Commons. The private members bill from the NDP’s Yvon Godin passed third reading in the House on March 31st with very little media attention and is now up for debate in the House of Commons. The bill would require every judge appointed to Canada’s high court to be able to understand English and French without an interpreter.
On the face of it, that is a mild bill and many would say not a terribly taxing demand to make of a judge that will hear cases in both official languages. That view however takes the bill at face value and does not consider how official Ottawa implements things like language laws.
Justices on the Supreme Court hear very complex legal cases from both the common law and civil code systems, the impact of this bill is that it would require all judges to be able to hear cases at the highest level with no interpretation or translation assistance.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope, and there is chance – just a chance – that it also marks the beginning of the end of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Yesterday, the Pope was reduced to tears when he met victims of predatory priests in Malta. His horror at these crimes is not in doubt. And now, at last, sections of the secular media are grudgingly acknowledging that those journalists who tried to paint the former Cardinal Ratzinger as the protector of paedophiles made a serious error of judgment.
Still, the Vatican could have done much more to stop the frenzied misdirection of public outrage towards the Holy Father. That it failed to do so tells us something depressing: that Benedict XVI, the cleverest pope for centuries, an important thinker in his own right and the author of wonderful teaching documents, may lack the administrative skills and support that he needs to push through desperately needed reforms.
How to sum up the particular vision of Benedict? In an article for Catholic World Report, the Ratzinger scholar Tracey Rowland quotes a line from the 1963 Hollywood film, The Cardinal: “The Church … thinks in centuries, not decades.” Fr Ratzinger is reported to have been a consultant for the film; he would certainly endorse that particular line. As Dr Rowland argues, Benedict wishes above all to lay the groundwork for healing the schisms that have torn limbs from Catholic Christianity, by purifying the worship of the Church in a way that enables Christians who are Catholics at heart to return into communion with Peter.
He understands – as no Pope before him has done – that conservative Anglo-Catholics are not Protestants, but aspiring Catholics for whom the scandalously bad worship of the post-Vatican II Church is a spiritual, not just an aesthetic, obstacle to reunion. Hence the Ordinariate provision, a structure for ex-Anglicans that will be set up soon but will take years to reach maturity (if it is not sabotaged). Hence also the removal of virtually all restrictions on the celebration of the classical form of the Roman Rite – to my mind, the boldest and finest single achievement of Benedict’s pontificate to date.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
From Creative Minority Report:
City Harvest is a large non-denominational Church in Singapore. Its founder, Kong Hee, has a huge TV presence too. The Church's website refers to Kong's "relevant style."
If this is what counts for relevant, count me out.
(Give it a minute to get to the real silliness)
When you compose praise songs to the tune of a Lady Ga-Ga song, may I humbly suggest that it is time to re-evaluate the whole enterprise. Jesus does not need Lady Ga-Ga to be relevant I am quite sure.
We have our problems for sure, but boy am I glad I am Catholic.
By the way, please nobody send this to the organizers of the Los Angeles Religious Education conference or else this will be next year's opening act.
The mouth of Hell? No, it's an overhead radar image of the Icelandic volcano now ruining air travel in Europe.
So what was the major breakthrough announced by Obama at the end of the two-day conference? That Ukraine, Chile, Mexico and Canada will be getting rid of various amounts of enriched uranium.
What a relief. I don't know about you, but I lie awake nights worrying about Canadian uranium. I know these people. I grew up there. You have no idea what they're capable of doing. If Sidney Crosby hadn't scored that goal to win the Olympic gold medal, there's no telling what might have ensued.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” - St. John 15:18
How many times have we read or heard that verse, and thought about how Christ was hated during His lifetime? He was hated so much that those who were driven by it insisted on His crucifixion. But when it comes to that hatred, I tend to think in the past tense. I allow myself to forget that there are still those who loathe Him with an intensity that defies imagination, and their revulsion extends to His Church and to the Pope, who is the earthly head of the Church.
We’re inclined to underestimate the power of hatred, because we’ve sanitized it through an over-use of the word. Children “hate” school and they “hate” broccoli. A lot of people “hate” getting up on Monday mornings. I “hate” polyester vestments and bad music. Now, I suppose we could take the path of some Scripture scholars and say that “hate” really means “to love less,” and that’s how they interpret the words of Jesus when he tells us, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). And I’m sure that softer interpretation is correct. It’s how we tend to use the word now. When the child claims to hate school, what he really means is that he’d prefer to stay home and watch cartoons, or play with his friends. When a person says he hates to get up in the morning, he’s really saying that he’d like another hour in bed.
But there is such a thing as a vicious and deep hatred for something or someone – a hatred which is primal and demonic. That’s the kind of hatred which nailed Christ to the cross. It’s a hatred which is traced back to Lucifer himself when he asserted “Non serviam,” and who then went on to plant the same attitude in our first parents, Adam and Eve. And it’s the kind of hatred which we’re seeing in some of the present attacks on the Holy Father.
Here's an excerpt from Western Catholic Reporter:
OTTAWA - Speaking to a euthanasia conference March 26, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told the health professionals in attendance: "We are at war."
The latest battlefront in this spiritual war is the mass media's fueling of a desire for legalized euthanasia and desensitizing people to the mystery of death, he said.
While the war is fought in public, the archbishop made clear who he believes is the ultimate foe.
The struggle is not against "flesh and blood enemies but against spiritual forces of evil," he said. "The war we fight as Christians will not end until the world ends."
This war is nothing new; it's a central fact taught by Jesus, St. Paul and St. Ignatius that has been rejected in our modern era, he said.
NO ORDINARY WAR
But this is no ordinary war, he stressed, because the Lord has already won the battle. "We can't be defeated; the danger is that we will surrender."
Prendergast urged the dozens of health professionals and anti-euthanasia advocates gathered for the Catholic Organization for Life and Family's (COLF) annual bio-ethics seminar March 25-26 to commit themselves to a defence of life in caring for the elderly and the dying.
The archbishop warned against giving up and giving in. He also urged people to be on the lookout for new strategies on the part of the enemy.
OTTAWA - As new revelations about old cases of priestly sexual abuse dominate the news, Basilian Father Tom Rosica urges Catholics not to forget the Church's Gospel message.
"We must address these issues but we cannot and must not become imprisoned in the past," the CEO of the Salt and Light Media Foundation said in an email interview. "We cannot allow the freshness, newness and reconciliation of the Gospel message to be anesthetized."
"We must recognize the wounds and be about the work of healing and reconciling," Rosica said. "Recognizing our woundedness will become our great strength if we witness authentically and transparently to Jesus who heals and raises the dead to life."
In recent days a new lawsuit against the St. John's Archdiocese and Bishop Raymond Lahey alleges he sexually abused a boy living at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. Lahey already faces child pornography charges.
In a lawsuit involving victims of Bernard Prince, a defrocked priest who served as a Vatican official, a letter has surfaced that shows the bishop of his diocese in 1993 worried a credible abuse complaint might become public and hurt the Church.
"What has come to light over the past weeks are a number of cases from the past that have not been dealt with in the same ways that we deal with the cases today," said Rosica, also a consulter to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
He admitted the Church had responded poorly or inadequately in the past, putting more emphasis on "saving face for the institution than on restoring dignity to the victim."
But Rosica said it is wrong to apply what we know now to the past because "we were not fully aware of the gravity of the issues in the past."
"Every abuse case involving a minor, no matter when it took place, is a crime and we must respond to those who have been victimized and hurt by any person acting in the name of the Church," Rosica said. "The Church stands by the victims and wishes to be an instrument of reconciliation and healing."
The Church, he said, has made "heroic efforts" in its response to abuse cases.
First he quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.
2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.
2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.
Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible." This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.
2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!"
You can see how even well-meaning bishops and others would think that it's so important to protect the image of the Church in the eyes of the people that they would try to conceal this dirty business. But that ethic led to gross corruption. As a friend of mine put it to me, "Only God knows how many lives have been ruined by fear of giving scandal." That friend also said, "If an institution stands to be ruined by the revelation of the truth, then it probably doesn't deserve to exist."
Do you think there's a good general rule, or set of rules, for deciding when one shouldn't reveal something out of a justified fear of giving scandal, and when it is a greater risk to harm by keeping quiet about it? Not everything should be disclosed, but how do you know when withholding information protects not the common good, but scoundrels?UPDATE: Let me clarify my point here, because comments suggest that at least some aren't getting me. I don't intend for this thread to be another discussion of the Catholic Church's problems. Rather, I'm using that as a jumping off point to discuss the idea of scandal, and the virtues of keeping silent about something that's true but scandalous, versus making it known.
Journalists deal with this all the time. I think many in the public assume that reporters are dying to reveal embarrassing information about public figures and institutions. It's just not true. I've seen it happen on more than one occasion that a decision was made not to reveal something the reporter knew was true, because the judgment was made, in consultation with editors, that it would be more harmful to reveal the information than to keep it secret. I have done this myself, and wondered later if I'd made the right decision. It's a difficult thing, and the Church is not wrong to call giving scandal a sin.The question, though, is just what constitutes a sinful giving of scandal. In the case of the RC Church's sex abuse situation, it is clear now that far worse evil was done by covering up the evil in the name of avoiding scandal.
This is interesting. In a conversation with a veteran journalist about the recent feeding frenzy concerning Rahim Jaffer, I was reminded that there are many, many things journalists know about the private lives of politicians in Ottawa that they do not put in the news.
Actually, I'm not so sure the "covering up" of the evil was the worse evil. It's not worse than child abuse itself. What was worse was that abusers were allowed to continue abusing sometimes for years and years, shuffled from parish to parish or sent to other dioceses or countries. If they had been dealt with promptly and steps had been taken to ensure they never were allowed to be in contact with children or vulnerable teens or adults again, I don't think we'd be too concerned about cover up, as long as the victims were treated humanely and the perpetrators put out of business.
He defends himself here:
John Podhoretz excoriated me for a characterization of Barack Obama that has earned wide if not universal acceptance among conservatives. Surely he protests too much. John is a very good journalist; if he had read my essays rather than react to a one-line reference to them in a blog post, I am convinced he would have come away with a different impression.
On pages 38-39 of his new book Conservative Victory, for example, Sean Hannity approvingly quotes my two-year-old sketch of how Obama’s family background cultivated a hostility to the United States:
But it’s been suggested that one of Obama’s voluntary relationships is more revealing of his radicalism, anti-Americanism, and anti-capitalism than all of the others: his choice of marital partner. The columnist known as Spengler, writing for the Asia Times, quoted Alexandre Dumas: “When you want to uncover an unspecified secret, look for the woman.” In Obama’s case, wrote Spengler, there have been two principal women in his life: his late mother and “his rancorous wife Michelle. Obama’s women reveal his secret: he hates America.”
Michael Ledeen has had some things to say about this as well.
. . . As we walked back to the car, we passed a small clothing store full of cheap dresses and brightly colored sweaters, two aging white mannequins now painted black in the window. The store was poorly lit, but toward the back I could make out the figure of a young Korean woman sewing by hand as a child slept beside her.
The scene took me back to my childhood, back to the markets of Indonesia: the hawkers, the leather workers, the old women chewing betel nut and swatting flies off their fruit with whisk brooms . . . I saw those Djakarta markets for what they were: fragile, precious things. The people who sold their goods there might have been poor, poorer even than folks out in Altgeld [the Chicago housing project where Obama engaged in community organizing]. They hauled fifty pounds of firewood on their backs every day, they ate little, they died young. And yet for all that poverty, there remained in their lives a discernible order, a tapestry of trading routes and middlemen, bribes to pay and customs to observe, the habits of a generation played out every day beneath the bargaining and the noise and the swirling dust. It was the absence of such coherence that made a place like Altgeld so desperate, I thought to myself.
This Romantic notion about the authenticity of Third World people as opposed to the alienation of Americans comes right out of his mother’s doctoral dissertation, on the struggle of Indonesian blacksmiths to survive in a globalized market. It is true, as John says, that one could have picked up this sort of ideological orientation at an American university. That, presumably, is where Ann Dunham absorbed the left-wing views that took her to Indonesia. But there is something more: Obama spent four formative years in Indonesia and was raised by an anthropologist with a fierce ideological attachment to the Third World. It is one thing to acquire a general ideological view, and quite another to feel an existential connection to the struggles of the Third World.
Goldman is a first class intellectual AND he knows how to gain attention for a magazine that could have become a relic with the death of its founder Father Richard John Neuhaus.
The debate itself is interesting. Carry on.
We are instructed (just as a pedophile priest might have told one of his victims) that our proper response to the media as Catholics ought to be gratitude for the massive eruption of unapologetic lies that have been told about Benedict over the past month because, you know, we depend on them as the mediators of truth and light, and we would live in darkness but for their ministrations. So yeah, even though they may have committed a few peccadilloes in the performance of their sacred duty, still it would be foul ingratitude for any Catholic to offer them anything but abject thanks for the debt we owe them in saving us. Indeed, we are to take it for granted that, with the sole exception of the fact that the MSM has pretty much gotten everything dead wrong in the whole "Benedict, the Nazi pope, protected perverts and endangered The Children" narrative it has ginned up for the past month, it mostly got everything right. On the other hand, those who question that narrative are "deflecting blame" and not taking that "searching and fearless inventory" of Benedict's wretched moral failings that the MSM are just about to discover after several false starts, lying headlines, and craptastic pieces of lousy reportage.But, nothing daunted by their ignorance and transparent malice, the MSM marches on in its war on Benedict, determined to get the Nazi pope, even if they have to completely throw aside all their journalistic ethics to do it.Much of this is due to pride and vanity as much as to malice against Benedict and the Catholic Faith. When a journalista has documentably screwed up not just once but multiple times in his hysterical vendetta, he presses on, hoping that he can find some sort of dirt to prove that he is the brave crusading journalist and not a hack with a grudge who is afraid of looking stupid. So we keep getting a succession of dramatic "Ah-HA!" flourishes from the press, with the assurance that this time, for sure, they've nabbed the Nazi with the goods.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In other words, follow the money and keep in mind that it can be a litigation strategy to use the news media for leverage.
Here's an excerpt of William McGurn's piece, but read it all:
Ms. Goodstein cites internal church documents, which the Times posted online. The documents were provided by Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan. They are described as "lawyers for five men who have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee."
What she did not tell readers is that Mr. Anderson isn't just any old lawyer. When it comes to suing the church, he is America's leading plaintiffs attorney. Back in 2002, he told the Associated Press that he'd won more than $60 million in settlements from the church, and he once boasted to a Twin Cities weekly that he's "suing the s--t out of them everywhere." Nor did the Times report another salient fact about Mr. Anderson: He's now trying to sue the Vatican in U.S. federal court.
None of this makes Mr. Anderson wrong or unworthy of quoting. It does make him a much bigger player than the story disclosed. In fact, it's hard to think of anyone with a greater financial interest in promoting the public narrative of a church that takes zero action against abuser priests, with Pope Benedict XVI personally culpable.
Asked about the omissions in an email, Ms. Goodstein replied as follows: "Given the complexity of the Murphy case, and the relative brevity of my story, I don't think it is realistic for you to expect this story to get into treating other cases that these attorneys have handled."
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
When people wag a finger in my face, I reach out and cover their hand and say some variation of “don’t say another word to me until you put that finger away.” The variations are not always courtly, but they get the point across.
Awful picture. Awful optics. But I get the impression that Obama and his crew think these sorts of pictures make him look good. He’s sticking it to the man, or something.
The look on Harper’s face, I can’t read. He’s either cowed or repressing his own anger. He appears to be looking directly at Obama’s finger. He is making a fist. Anyone want to supply a caption?
[Read the comments section at her site for a link to the whole sequence of pix and don't jump to conclusions, as juicy as they might be]
What I want to suggest here is that the bill represents but a late stage in the transformation of the relationship between the individual and the state. To do this, I must insist on a fuller definition of the "political" than we have become accustomed to. We now consider politics to be the realm, principally, of national legislation, executive order, and court decision. But what is lost is the life of the polis itself, a community of free people who live together, celebrate together, work together, and provide together for the common good. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, who held a generally sunny view of the polis, the community is a natural outgrowth of man's capacity to reason: to participate in divine law by enacting measures in accord with the natural law, with an aim toward providing goods that embrace but also transcend the individual.
The Thomistic view of the polis underlies the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity, which asserts that communities closest to the issue at hand should be allowed the freedom to tackle it. That is not simply because they do a better job of it, as some conservatives insist. It is because the fullness of community life is essential to our being human. It is doubtful that the state, much less the federal government, is better at educating children than were the fully engaged American townsmen of old, who hired and fired their own teachers at will, and had a fairly clear idea of what their children ought to learn. But even if it could do the job well, its assumption of that role would take from the community one of the most important responsibilities it possesses. It would overstep its own zone of authority to usurp another. Supposing some state agency could, with wonderful efficiency, feed children and make them do their homework and put them to bed; still, its exercise of this role would rob from the people one of the great challenges and joys of life, the raising of children according to one's own best lights.
When Alexis de Tocqueville observed America, he saw a democracy, for the time being, both bolstered and buffered by free associations of people -- by families, community schools, churches, fraternities and sororities, beneficent organizations, and so forth. These made for a vital public life -- and were correctives against both the ambitions of the state and the radical individualism that democracy can encourage. There was still the strong sense that government at all levels was but the creation of free citizens, who possessed, in their families and in other associations, their own duties and even their own rightful giving of laws.
But what we have seen, in the last century and more, is the progressive centralization of power, allowing the functions and the authority of communities to wither and, paradoxically, freeing the individual from the constraints once imposed upon him by his neighbors, his church, his workmates, and his family. It is the strange collusion of a certain kind of libertarianism with a supine submission to the authority of the suddenly all-competent state.
From my Notes on a show trial, two years ago:
When I arrived at the courthouse, an officer of the BC Sheriff's Department, said because of 'security threats' he'd be sticking by me everywhere I went in the building. I found this rather reassuring for about 90 seconds until it occurred to me he almost certainly meant not that the court had been apprised of security threats against me but that I myself was the security threat.
True. It was the same in Ottawa a couple of months earlier, after Julian Porter, QC had successfully petitioned Judge Hadjis, on behalf of me and my Maclean's colleagues, to reject the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission's absurd contention that there was so much "anger" out there it would be unsafe to hold anything other than a secret trial. So in March, very reluctantly, the Canadian "Human Rights" Tribunal opened up the Marc Lemire trial to members of the media and the public. In an idle moment during the proceedings, I asked the Ottawa police officer standing next to me what he was doing there. I meant that, as the CHRT was a federal body, why was a municipal officer there rather than a Mountie? He explained that, being as how they normally held their trials in secret, they didn't usually need any security. But, having been ordered to open the doors to the likes of me, they'd put in a request for some emergency protection - ie, in case I or Deborah Gyapong suddenly lunged at Judge Hadjis and attempted to shove the Royal Coat of Arms up his keister as a reminder of the travesty of justice his court represents.