Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Public education and hyper speed sex ed

original article: Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board
February 13, 2018 by AUSTIN RUSE

I usually avoid really sick, appalling spectacles. I skip movies like Saw. But last Thursday I saw something worse. I went to the sex-education committee meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. I have never seen anything as shocking.

Understand, that I have sat through years of shocking meetings. My day job is monitoring and lobbying the United Nations. But, I have never seen or heard anything like this. This meeting was a horror show. And a Soviet one at that.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC, pronounced flea-cack) advises the Fairfax County School Board for the content of the sex-education lessons taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This group has come up with over 80 hours of sex-education for these poor kids. And some of it is straight-up pornography.

Rich, Leftist, and Libertine

This school district in Northern Virginia, one of the largest and richest in the country, is among the most leftist in the country. No big surprise there. Twenty-five years ago, they were already promoting “Two Mommies” to the little tots.

But the sexual revolution ideology kicked into hyper speed a few years ago. Fairfax leftists put transgender ideology into schools a full year before Barack Obama’s Department of Education mandated it for the rest of the schools in the country. Last year the Trump administration cancelled the mandate, though Fairfax County is clinging onto it.

This committee has long embraced the rest of the LGBT program. “Oral sex” is introduced to kids as young as 12.  Thirteen year olds are told about “anal sex” 18 separate times in one year’s lessons.

The FLECAC committee is made up of about two dozen people. They’re appointed by the overwhelmingly leftist Fairfax County School Board. Four voting members are students, chosen no doubt because they’re members of student LGBT clubs, and most other members appear to be teachers and administrators.

If the idea behind the committee is to get community input, why stack it with people on the county payroll?

The School Board’s Supreme Soviet

Last Thursday night, two regular citizen members of the committee tried to offer amendments to the curriculum. What happened to them is right out of the Politburo of the Supreme Soviet.

The subject was the phrase “sex assigned at birth,” which appears numerous times in the lessons. This is a politically-charged slogan that teaches that it’s wrong for a delivery room doctor to say a penis means boy or a vagina means girl. A child should be left to his own gender choice later in life.

One citizen member made a motion to remove this phrase from the lessons and to simply use the word “sex” instead. Through parliamentary maneuvers, other members of the committee made sure the amendment was put off indefinitely without debate. The vote to cut off debate and never speak about it again passed 23-3.

The member who offered the amendment asked for a roll call, so that those voting to keep in “sex assigned at birth” would have their names associated with their votes. The motion for a roll call was killed by voice vote.

No debate, no accountability.

Another citizen member made a motion that, somewhere in the numerous lessons about various contraceptive methods taught beginning in eighth grade, there ought to be something about the possible health risks of certain contraceptives.

This, too, was shut down without debate, by a vote of 23-3. A roll call of the vote was shouted down by voice vote.

Hush, Adults Are Listening

The first citizen member made a motion to include a discussion in the lessons about the health risks associated with hormonal and surgical “transitioning.” This, too, was not allowed.

One county employee member asked why there was no lesson on anal sex for the seventh graders. There was oral sex, but why was anal sex missing? The chairman of the committee assured her that the anal sex begins with lessons in the eighth grade.

This revealing moment was followed by another: The chairman actually apologized, with a nervous laugh, for using those graphic terms.

Did it not occur to her, or anyone else on the committee, that she was apologizing to the adults in the room for using words that are scripted into the lessons they have created for children?

It was clear to me that much of the reaction to these motions was a kind of animus toward traditional morality. The glee with which the majority cut off the legitimate concerns of the minority was breathtaking.

Christians as the Taliban

One new member of the committee is a democratic activist named Daniel Press. He was the one who was most vociferous that these motions not only be trashed, but that they not even be discussed. On his Facebook page he calls Christians the Taliban and has an image of Christ on the cross over the mocking words: “Total Winner.”

The other thing that struck me was the sheep-like attitude of most of the members of the committee. There were a few loudmouth ideologues, to be sure.  One student member treated us to an anti-American diatribe ending with the charge that transphobia stems from white supremacy. For the most part the members were silent. But they were lickety-split to raise their hands whenever called upon to vote against debate, discussion, and accountability. That they could not allow.

Finally, it’s remarkable how fast such new and fantastical notions have entered the leftist mindset. The notion of “sex assigned at birth” was itself born just a few years ago. And yet, these people are so certain of its truth, they clap hands on their ears to avoid hearing anything contradictory. Even more, they clap their hands on the mouths of anyone who might want to question this new tenet of faith.

Blind Faith, False Faith

This brings to mind two things: brainwashing, and bad religion. The committee members may not know it, but they have been brainwashed to believe things that are simply not supported by either science or reason. Theirs is faith plain and simple, and the worst kind of faith, the kind that contradicts reason, the kind that can only be imposed. Theirs is a blind faith, taking as gospel whatever the sexual zeitgeist vomits forth.

And so what are parents to do? Opt their kids out of Family Life Education and take over the school board. One is easy, but both are necessary. Sexual Stalinism, of the kind I witnessed a few nights ago, has no place in the education of our children.

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anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

The religion of sex: is rape in the eye of the beholder?

In the 1990s Whoopi Goldberg played wise, ancient sage in a popular TV show. In one episode her character and another were discussing matters of truth, and Goldberg’s character voiced this popular tenet of progressivism: “Truth is in the eye of the beholder”.

This was nothing innovative even back in the 90s. It was merely another example of how the political left revels in customizable reality. But the quote is a good reminder of the underlying problem: some people don’t know the difference between fact and opinion.

People who wish to genuinely understand the world freely recognize the difference between fact and opinion. We recognize there is no such thing as “your truth” or “my truth” or “true to you but not to me”. If something is “true to you”, it’s your opinion, not truth. Your opinion is yours, reality is not yours.

Truth is reality, what ever reality happens to be. Our views, preferences, beliefs, feelings about reality matter not to the universe. Reality is what it is, regardless of what you or I wish it to be. We can change some aspects of reality, which is best accomplished one heart and mind at a time, by persuasion and understanding. This is the antithesis of modern progressivism, both in the acknowledgement of truth and in the peaceful, non-coercive means of accomplishing change.

Recently, another Hollywood-ite once again entered the light of controversy. Quentin Tarantino once defended known pedophile Roman Polanski. There is now a published audio recording from 2003 of Tarantino stating “I don’t consider him a rapist”.

Consider what he’s saying here. Social norms and sexual mores, even the law, are irrelevant as far as Tarantino is concerned. What matters is the fact someone wanted to have sex, and that should be the end of it.

Consider this attitude in some other contexts. Business owners don’t have the right to do anything and everything they want with their businesses, and people don’t have the right to do anything and everything they want with their money. Given the more recent limitations imposed on us all via political correctness, one could legitimately argue we no longer have the right to free speech either. But never mind all the areas of life where limitations imposed by culture or by law are widely considered good, healthy, and necessary.  On the matter of putting one’s genitals where one wishes, in this one area, our same progressive culture would have us believe any limitations here constitute a grievous form of oppression.

So we find this curious contradiction in progressivism. On matters related to money, ownership, speech, and more, progressive culture has no problem imposing limitations on individuals who challenge societal pressure (such as florists, bakers, photographers, or pizzaria owners). The culture gets to dictate what is acceptable, such as the transgender controversy taking the United States by storm. But on matters of sexuality the opposite is demanded, society must acquiesce to the demands of individuals who challenge cultural norms. Here, it is the outlier individual who gets to dictate what is acceptable, and the broader community must give way.

And that leads us back to the failure of progressive culture to distinguish between fact and opinion. Reasonable people recognize words mean things. If we intentionally distort the meanings of words we can find ourselves in a heap of trouble where no one wanted to go, such as the asinine but inevitable position of a pedophile raping girls as young as age 6 claiming he is a 9 year old boy trapped in an adult’s body. This is where customizable reality leads us. An acknowledgment of genuine truth protects us from such things.

Tarantino offers us another example of the insanity Western culture has embraced, an insanity where actual rape is not to be considered rape, but false allegations of rape are treated as unquestionable, depending on who the accused happens to be (such as Roman Polanski or Bill Clinton on one hand, and the Duke Lacrosse team on the other.)

Rod Dreher has good insight into this problem in his short piece “The Religion of Sex“. Give it a read.

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crisis, culture, diversity, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, law, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences

Filed under: crisis, culture, diversity, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, law, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences

HOW THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION BECAME A DOGMA

original article: THE ZEALOUS FAITH OF SECULARISM
January 2018 by Mary Eberstadt

 

Begin with a sobering fact. During the past ten years, some of the sharpest observers of our time have come to believe that the tectonic plates underlying Western civilization have shifted momentously. One result is a deep, creative struggle among the thoughtful for new imagery and fresh analogies to illuminate what’s perceived as a darkening time.

Thus, nine years ago, the late Richard John Neuhaus called this new place “American Babylon.” Today, in another eponymous book, Rod Dreher speaks of a “Benedict Option.” George Weigel called in his 2017 Simon Lecture for a new Great Awakening, and elsewhere for what he dubs “the Panula option” after the recently deceased Fr. Arne Panula, a tireless evangelizer. Using T. S. Eliot as a touchstone, First Things editor R. R. Reno argues for Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. In Strangers in a Strange Land, Archbishop Charles Chaput develops an analogy between our time and that of the Book of Exodus. And in yet another book just published, Anthony Esolen evokes the image of the phoenix with Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture.

As this profusion of literary and historical analyses goes to show, to be Christian today is to be a sailor in search of an astrolabe. And no wonder: We are in open, roiling, uncharted waters, so looking up to fixed points would help. One other way to orient ourselves is to peer down beneath the currents and focus on what’s done most to shape the “post-Christian” or “ex-Christian” world: the sexual revolution.

That the revolution is what’s catapulted us to this place is a fact that more and more analysts now affirm. What may be less obvious, though just as important, is what the widespread Western embrace of the revolution has wrought not only in individual lives, but macrocosmically: It has given rise to an increasingly systematic, zealous, secularist faith. We cannot understand either the perils or opportunities of Christianity today without first understanding this developing, rival body of beliefs with which it contends.

To begin with a point to which many Christian thinkers would agree, the United States and other nations rooted in Judeo-Christianity have entered a time of paganization—what we might also call “re-paganization.” The gravitational pull of traditional religion seems to be diminishing, even as a-religious and anti-religious elements accumulate mass. This paganization is especially ascendant among the young, now famously more prone than any other group to checking “none of the above” when asked for their religious affiliation; according to the Pew Research Center and others, the combination of self-described atheists and self-defined “nones” is now the fastest-growing “religious” group.

Wider manifestations of this ongoing paganization have also become commonplaces: the proliferation of religious liberty court cases, legal and other attacks on Christian student groups at secular universities, demonization and caricature of religious believers, intimidation aimed at those who defend Judeo-Christian morality, and other instances of what Pope Francis himself has dubbed the “polite persecution” of believers in advanced societies. Paganization is also evident in the malignant conflation of Christianity with “hate speech,” a noxious form of ideological branding destined to unleash new forms of grief on believers in the time ahead.

So far, so familiar. And yet, we’ve not fully understood this new paganism after all.

According to the dominant paradigm shared by most people, religious and secular alike, the world is now divided into two camps: people of faith and people of no faith. But this either-or template is mistaken. Paganization as we now know it is driven by a new historical phenomenon: the development of a rival faith—a rival, secularist faith which sees Christianity as a competitor to be vanquished, rather than as an alternative set of beliefs to be tolerated in an open society.

How do we know this? We know it in part because today’s secularist faith behaves in ways that only a faith can.

Consider, for example, the scene on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States on June 27, 2016, following the announcement of the decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a decision about Texas abortion clinics that was taken as a victory by proponents of abortion on demand. After that decision was made public, videos documented the outdoor party that resulted, spilling from the court steps on out into the city: a gyrating, weeping, waving, screaming sea of people, mostly women, behaving as if they were in the throes of religious ecstasy. Occam’s razor says they were in religious ecstasy—their kind of religious ecstasy, in which abortion on demand becomes the gnostic equivalent of a central sacrament, the repetition of which is judged essential to their quasi-religious community.

Or consider another snapshot: the so-called Women’s March on Washington following the election of Donald Trump. This public demonstration, too, was driven in large degree by a single force: animus against traditional Judeo-Christian moral teaching—specifically, teaching about sex. The totemic hats used to brand the event were named not for any conventional political concern—jobs, taxes, defense, the economy, health care, immigration—but for female genitalia. To clinch the point, the only women’s organization disinvited from this supposedly universal “women’s march” was a pro-life group. When forced to choose between women and abortion on demand, the women in charge chose abortion. That’s because, within this new church of secularism, pro-life women are heretics: despised transgressors of a religious community’s teaching and norms.

If the so-called right to choose were truly an exercise of choice—if the rhetoric of the people who defend it matched the reality of what they actually believe—one would expect its defenders to honor choosing against it here or there. But this does not happen: No “pro-choice” group holds up as an example any woman who chooses not to abort.

That this doesn’t happen tells us something noteworthy. For secularist believers, abortion is not in fact a mere “choice,” as their value-free, consumerist rhetoric frames it. No, abortion is sacrosanct. It is a communal rite—one through which many enter their new religion in the first place. The popular, Internet-driven rage for “telling one’s own abortion story”—the phenomenon known as #shoutyourabortion—illustrates this point. Each individual story is a secularist pilgrim’s progress into a new faith whose community is united by this bloody rite of passage. Add the suggestively popular term “woke”—today’s gnostic version of “awakened”—and there’s more evidence that secularist progressivism has erected a church.

So the fury directed at Christianity can be pressed into a single word, sex. Christianity today, like Christianity past and Christianity to come, contends with many enemies. But the adversary now inflicting maximal damage on the Church is not dreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy. It is instead the absolutist defense of the sexual revolution by its faithful.

Christians and other dissidents aren’t being heckled from Hollywood to Capitol Hill for feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, or defending the commandments against lying and stealing. Bakers aren’t landing in court because of trying to follow what’s said in the Song of Songs. All of the expressions of animosity now aimed against Christianity by this new secularist faith share a common denominator. They are rooted in secularist dogma about the sexual revolution, according to which that revolution is an unequivocal and fundamental boon.

This substitute religion pantomimes Christianity itself in fascinating ways. It offers a hagiography of secular saints, all patrons of the sexual revolution: proselytizers for abortion and contraception such as Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem. Every year, Planned Parenthood confers on pro-abortion journalists, politicians, activists, and others prizes known affectionately as the “Maggies,” for Margaret Sanger—its “highest honor,” in the organization’s words, awarded in recent years to luminaries such as Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

This brings us to another feature of the new secularist faith: its lack of transparency. For decades, scholarship has established Sanger’s moral roots in eugenics, her faith in the inferiority of certain other people, her cynical use of African-American ministers to evangelize the black population about birth control in the hope of bringing their numbers down, and related beliefs out of odor today. Yet in a moment when Confederate statues are targets in the name of scrubbing racism from the public square, Margaret Sanger remains immune from moral revisionism. Why? Because she is the equivalent of a secularist saint of the revolution, off-limits from second thoughts.

Similar status and protection are accorded to pseudo-scientist Alfred C. Kinsey, founder of the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, whose fabled “reports” on human sexuality included allowing so-called research “subjects” to inflict what is now called child sexual abuse. According to biographer James H. Jones in Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life, the icon also filmed sex acts of employees and subordinates, walked in on students as they showered, had sex with people involved in his “research,” wrote letters of erotica to assistants and others, and otherwise appears to have fallen short of today’s standards concerning sexual harassment and coercion. Even before “Harvey Weinstein” became global shorthand for such depredations, Kinsey’s legacy would have been reviled—were he anything but Kinsey, a founding father of the new secularist faith. Instead, Kinsey and all his works, like Sanger’s, remain untouchable.

The rival faith sports foreign “missionaries,” too, in the form of progressive charities and international bureaucracies—those who carry word of the revolution and the pseudo-sacraments of contraception and abortion to women around the planet. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to name one prominent example, recently made the provision of contraception a centerpiece of its overseas work. It hopes thereby to reach “an additional 120 million women and girls in the poorest countries by 2020.”

Who, exactly, are these women? Judged by the photos on the Gates Foundation website, they do not hail from Iceland or Denmark. As the foundation explains, “Less than 20 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa and barely one-third of women in South Asia use modern contraceptives”—making these women targets of quasi-religious zeal.

In fact, preoccupation with the fertility of certain other people is a constant theme in the church of the new secularism. In July 2017, French president Emmanuel Macron revealed his own fealty to the faith when he dilated at an appearance in Germany—of all places—upon the “civilizational” challenges facing Africa, singling out the fact that women in some countries still have “seven or eight children.” Elsewhere that same summer, Canada’s minister of international development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, called abortion “a tool to end poverty.” In 2009, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a similar slip in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, reflecting that “at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

Again, it’s the lack of transparency that makes this faith go round. Under any other circumstances, if well-heeled white people were to proclaim that the solution to the world’s problems is to have fewer dark people, public outrage would be the result. Yet in secular quarters, these statements above, and others like them, get a pass. This is what happens when one’s religion takes as its cornerstone the teaching that the sexual revolution and its consequences are beyond question—eugenics, sexual violations, and other transgressions be damned.

Traditional religious believers should strive to bring the hidden premises of this rival faith into the open. For example, when people say that they hope the Church changes its position on marriage or birth control, they are not talking about one religious faith—i.e., the Christian one. What they really mean is that they hope the Church will suborn or replace its own theology with the theology of the new church of secularism. Or when politicians say they are “privately opposed to abortion”—even as they vote for policies that will ensure its ubiquity—they are using language to conceal rather than clarify their intention. What they really want is to enjoy a kind of dual religious citizenship, according to which they are “Catholic” or “Christian” in some circumstances, and followers of the church of secularism in any circumstances bearing on the sexual revolution.

This effort to keep a foot in both churches won’t work, any more than one can be simultaneously Muslim and Buddhist. Even so, the effort to enjoy dual religious citizenship, particularly among politicians and others in the public eye, remains commonplace. It should be understood for what it is: an attempt to serve two very different—indeed, competing—religious masters.

The fact that two faiths now compete in the West also explains the vehemence aimed at public figures who are practicing Christians—in particular, practicing Catholics. In September 2017, at the confirmation hearing of judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic, several senators remarked upon and denounced her faith. The most telling rhetorical moment may have been Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s declaration that “the dogma lives loudly within you”—an expostulation more fitted to an exorcist preparing for battle with Satan than to an American elected official charged with ascertaining the judicial fitness of a highly qualified candidate. Which is exactly the point.

In sum, secularist progressivism is less a political movement than a church, and the so-called culture war has not been conducted by people of religious faith and people of no faith. It is instead a contest of competing faiths. One believes in the books of the Bible, and the other in the evolving, figurative book of orthodoxy about the sexual revolution.

What does this tour of the new church of secularism mean for those outside its congregation? First, traditional believers need to distinguish the competitive character of this new religion from the cooperative qualities of other, more familiar ones. At long last and after great troubles, Americans have grown accustomed to the peaceful coexistence of multiple faiths and denominations. The rival church of secularism seeks no such comity, as today’s unprecedented attacks on Christian schools, charities, colleges, and other works go to show. The new church of secularism serves a very jealous god.

We see this, again, in the new church’s chronic, self-perceived imperative to interfere with the fertility of other people. This spectacle—of pale people in increasingly barren societies telling certain other people not to have their own children—is going to look grotesque in history’s rearview mirror. It also shows that the Christian idea of the intrinsic dignity and worth of all human beings stands as an especially vivid sign of contradiction to secularism’s understanding that certain people would be better off dead, or otherwise not among us. And it’s at least ironic that a movement known by the slogan “keep your rules off my body” has no trouble telling other people what to do with theirs.

Its missionary aggression also explains why the new secular faith has insinuated itself successfully into many Christian institutions, and why this insinuation has been invariably destructive. At the micro level of personal behavior, the new faith tempts people toward disobedience and cafeteria Christianity. At the macro level, it’s institutionally divisive like no other issue of our day. It turns the followers of Christ into political interest groups. The scramble over doctrine in the Catholic Church today, conducted entirely by advocates who mistakenly believe that the dogmas of both faiths can be somehow reconciled, is a powerful example of the sexual revolution’s virulent workings within Christianity itself.

The most insidious threat to the real Church, and even to religious liberty, is not the new secularist church in itself. The greater threat is self-censorship. There is understandable temptation, including among Christians, to preemptively accommodate to this new faith, for all kinds of reasons: saving face, not being “judgy,” preventing the ostracism of one’s children, and other motivations plumbed so searchingly in Rod Dreher’s work, especially. As he also proves, it’s hard to find comity with a foe that wants to drive one’s own Church to perdition. Christians need to know that what’s paramount is confronting secular religion and its sex-fixated dogmas, not accommodating them.

This vocation of religious opposition is necessary not only for the protection of the Church, but also for the sake of the sexual revolution’s real and many victims. The new church of secularism, rooted in a false anthropology that mismeasures humanity and deprives it of redemption, generates human misery throughout Western societies. The malign consequences of secularist doctrine are playing out especially tragically among the young. The scene on many American campuses, to offer one example, has become surreal, replete with demonstrations and high emotional drama and seemingly inexplicable animosities. But why are more and more students behaving so bizarrely in the first place?

One novel thought is this. Maybe they’re claiming to be victims because they are victims—not so much of the “isms” they point to as putative oppressors, but of the church of the new secularism and its toxic works. Up until the sexual revolution, expectations remained largely the same throughout the ages: that one would grow up to have children and a family; that parents and siblings and extended family would remain one’s primal community; that one would have parents and siblings and extended family in the first place.

The revolution has upended every one of these expectations. It has erased the givenness into which generations are born. “Who am I?” is a universal human question. It becomes harder to answer if other questions are out of reach. Who is my brother? Who is my father? Where, if anywhere, are my cousins, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and the rest of the organic connections through which humanity up until now channeled everyday existence—including our relations with God?

It’s this loss of givenness that drives the frenzied search for identity these days, whether in the secular scholasticism concerning how to speak about ethnicity, or in the belligerent fights over “cultural appropriation.” Such phenomena are indeed bizarre, if we examine them under the rationalist assumptions of the pre-revolutionary world. But if instead we understand them against the existential reality of today—one in which the family has imploded, and in which many people, no matter how well-off or privileged, have been deprived of the most elementary of human connections—we can grasp why “identity politics” is the headline that just won’t go away.

“Who am I?” An illiterate peasant of the Middle Ages was better equipped to answer that question than many people in advanced societies in this century. He may only have lived until age thirty—but he spent his days among family and in towns, practicing a shared faith, and thus developed a vivid sense of those to whom he was elementally connected, not just in the course of his life but before birth and after death. Post-Pill, confusion rules the earth. No wonder itinerant erotic leanings and ethnic claims have become substitute answers to that eternal question, “Who am I?” Many people, especially younger people, experience these as the only reliable answers to that question of identity—or at least, as the answers that seem less ambiguous and fraught than answers that refer back to their family, or families, or lack thereof.

In this ongoing catastrophe over the fundamental question of who we are,there is great opportunity. It is shocking but true: The overbearing secularist culture is itself sowing the seeds of a religious revival.

The wide range of fresh cultural and religious analysis mentioned earlier is one measure of a counterculture that’s thriving in this hour of paganization. Even the dominance of the secularist church in familiar venues looks to be less monolithic than is usually understood. Witness again how the conflagration that started with Harvey Weinstein has gone on to illuminate wrongdoing elsewhere, on the part of others who have acted on the premise that women are available for recreational sex anywhere and anytime. Meanwhile, new Catholic and other Christian associations proliferate on campuses and elsewhere, despite fierce secularist pushback. If the rise in “nones” is one emblematic story of our time, so too is the birth of countercultural campus communities like the Thomistic Institute, the Love and Fidelity Network, and FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students); the sharp rise in high schools grounded in classical education; the Leonine Forum for young professionals in Washington, D.C., now expanding into other cities; related ongoing intellectual projects like the Tertio Millennio Seminar in Poland, the Free Society Seminar in Slovakia, and more; and many other organic responses, both protective and proactive, to competition from the rival church of secularism.

These and other platoons like them will transform the American landscape. They encourage the search for transcendence in a world where neo-paganism insists there is none; they help those damaged collaterally by the sexual revolution to find answers to the question “Who am I?” The rival church of secularism shortchanges humanity, and humanity, plodding and delinquent though it may be, still shows signs of wanting more than the church of the new secularism can deliver.

Two such witnesses to that reality appeared in Washington, D. C., a few months ago, in the middle of a heat wave. They had gotten in touch with me to discuss a documentary they were creating to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Their studio in D.C. turned out to be their hotel room. The entourage for the shoot included their three very young children, with whom they took turns throughout the interview. They had made many sacrifices and traveled hundreds of miles because, they said, they were on a mission to tell the truth.

The young woman had grown up without knowing who her father was. Her mother, a radical feminist, raised her to fear and hate men. The young man came from Scandinavia, growing up as secular as Scandinavians can be. Both, if encountered earlier in their lives, would have been categorized as “nones.”

In their own estimations, they had escaped from behind enemy lines of the sexual revolution. Somehow, they found each other. Somehow, falling in love led them to question what had happened in their pasts. Somehow, they encountered a priest. Somehow, they read some books by faithful authors. And what with one improbable development and another, both ended up converting to Catholicism. Now they want to share with others the truths they discovered the hard way. That’s how the Church of the future will be rebuilt: stone by stone, picked up from the rubble, by witnesses to the initial blast.

Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles has connected our moment in the West to Juan Diego’s in Guadalupe, almost five hundred years ago. Today’s world, like Diego’s then, overflows with human damage. Today’s world, like his, has now raised up whole generations of men and women subjected to an inhuman account of human life. The resulting deformations are everywhere, and confusion can’t help but abound. Even so, the secularist faith remains vulnerable for the same reasons that a once-triumphant Marxism did: because its promises are false and its anthropology deluded.

The church that the sexual revolution has built is thriving, all right, and those outside need to know what’s in there. But its pews are packed with casualties—every one of them a convert waiting to happen, for the Church that does keep its promises.

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abortion, american, anti-religion, atheism, crisis, culture, ideology, liberalism, philosophy, progressive, religion, sex, study, theology, unintended consequences

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Climate change, scientific fraud, and population control work hand in hand

original article:
Climate change is ‘the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated’: scientist
October 18, 2017 by Fr. Mark Hodges

Social scientist and author Steven Mosher called the global warming movement an enemy of the sanctity of innocent human life at an international symposium that began online Tuesday to address the anti-Christian nature of population control.

Mosher, long recognized as an expert in China’s domestic policy, started his address by explaining that the earth’s temperature has always fluctuated, sometimes dramatically.

“I did a historical study of climate change in China, which shows that the climate in China 2,000 years ago was several degrees warmer than it is today,” Mosher said, adding, “And of course that was a long time before we started hearing about climate change and global warming.”

The bestselling author, who went through a Ph.D program in Oceanography at the University of Washington, further noted that during the Jurassic period, the earth was 15 degrees warmer on average than it is today.

Criticizing global warming fearmongers, Mosher said not long ago the same “experts” were frantically making the exact opposite claims. “In the 1970s … the climate ‘experts’ were warning about a coming ‘ice age,’” he said. “Now it has flipped over 180 degrees to be global warming.”

“The truth is, nobody really knows what’s going to happen to the climate in the future,” Mosher explained. “We’ve seen extremes of temperatures on the cold side and on the warm side that make any projection of one or two degrees pale in comparison.”

Mosher spoke on “Environmentalism and Climate Change as an Avenue for Population Control.” The International Conference on Population Control is sponsored by the Lepanto Institute. Its theme is “How Radical Enemies of Life are Pushing Their Global Agenda to End Poverty by Eliminating the Poor.”

“We had global warming and ice ages a long time before human beings invented the internal combustion engine, and a long time before there were a million of us running around the planet giving birth to little ‘carbon dioxide emitters,’“ he quipped, quoting how climate change activists refer to children.

Turning to his compromised colleagues, Mosher said too many are swayed by the government dole. “I’m really appalled at how the scientific community has sold out for big research grants and to get their name highlighted in the faculty journal and get invited to U.N. conferences,” Mosher said. “This is the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated on the family of man.”

Mosher accused “experts” of jumping on the global warming bandwagon because “they are well paid to do so.” “When you spend billions of dollars subsidizing research, you generally get what you pay for,” he charged. “The climate scientist who gets the million dollar grant and says, ‘After study, there’s really no danger of global warming,’ doesn’t get his grant renewed.”

“But the guy who gets 10 million dollars for ‘finding’ global warming probably gets a hundred million after that,” Mosher illustrated.

Mosher, who received the Blessed Frederic Ozanam award from the Society of Catholic Social Scientists for “exemplifying the ideal of Catholic social action,” mentioned that meteorologist Anthony Watts has tallied government payouts related to global warming.  Watts estimates $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion are “tied up in the climate hoax.” ClimateDepot‘s Marc Morano described the racket as the “Great Climate Hustle.”

But even if the earth’s temperature is rising, Mosher says that does not translate into the doomsday predictions of Al Gore — that the state of Florida sinks into the ocean in a decade.

“In my view, a little bit of warming is not necessarily a bad thing,” Mosher claimed. “Even if the earth does warm in the next hundred years, I argue it will be a good thing for humanity.”

A warming planet will open up land for much needed farming. If temperatures rise, “we will see Canada be able to bring vast areas of land under cultivation.  We will see Siberia bloom. We will see food production go up,” Mosher said.

“More people die in the winter of cold than die of heat in the summer,” he explained.  “We’ll see mortality rates among the very young and the very old go down.  Lives will be saved,” Mosher said. “There will be less hunger in the world.”

Other speakers at the conference include Child Advocacy attorney Lis York, LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen, Human Life International’s Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI president Fr. Shenan Boquet, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana’s Riccardo Cascioli, Italian economist Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Sacred Heart Institute’s Raymond De Souza, and Dr. Philip Chidi Njemanze.

Mosher calls the current politically correct environment a billion-dollar a year “giant propaganda effort” against science and common sense. “This is a myth of guilt,” he said. “This is a myth that drives population control. This is a myth that will decrease the use of energy that will literally kill poor people.”

“This is ultimately about radical environmentalists (engineering) their idea of paradise before man,” Mosher charged, saying radicals believe that people “ruined it.” “They have seized upon global warming as an excuse to justify their war on people to promote abortion, sterilization, and contraception around the world.”

Mosher emphasized that the ultimate goal of global warmists is population control. “They cheered China’s one-child policy from the very beginning,” he mentioned.

The Q&A session then turned to Catholic leaders’ part in the anti-life global warming movement.

“Catholic teaching promotes stewardship of the environment,” Mosher reminded listeners, “but some of the participants of recent Vatican conferences have a history of promoting population control (and) abortion. That’s in opposition to Catholic teaching. I’m surprised they were invited to these conferences (and) given a platform by the Vatican itself to propagate views to directly violate Catholic teaching.”

According to Michael Hichborn, president of conference sponsor the Lepanto Institute, pro-abortion population control activists have established a foothold inside the Catholic Church under the pretext of environmental protection. Now they are “actively working to undermine and subvert the Church and her teachings from within” in an “unprecedented attack.”

Mosher agreed. “The radical environmental movement is using the borrowed authority of the Vatican to propagate its false view of humanity (and) its false view of the relationship between man and the environment,” he charged. “Unfortunately, some in the Vatican are allowing themselves and the Catholic Church to be misused in this way.”

The pro-life researcher and social activist questioned the motivations of those in the Vatican who would give pro-abortionists a voice. “I’m afraid there are certain people in the Vatican who are more interested in winning applause from the world than … evangelizing and getting as many people home to heaven as possible,” he said.

Mosher quoted one Vatican guest speaker, former colleague Paul R. Ehrlich, who claims  “the biggest problem that we face is the continuing expansion of the human enterprise.”  Mosher quoted Ehrlich as saying, “Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell.”

Mosher criticized Ehrlich for his extremist view of population growth and for “comparing it to a cancerous growth. I can hardly imagine a more derogatory description of the human family than comparing it to a cancer cell,” Mosher said.

“When my wife and I had nine children, we didn’t think that they resembled cancer cells.  We thought that we were new souls into existence, cooperating with God in populating this world and hopefully in the next,” Mosher commented.

Mosher then took on worldwide abortion promoter Bill Gates. “Bill Gates tried to argue that he was only funding population control programs in countries where the population was increasing at three percent a year,” Mosher quoted, adding that he disagreed that high birth rates are a problem in the first place. “But I said, ‘Bill, there are only a few small islands in the Pacific where the birth rate is still that high.’”

Then Mosher got to his point with Gates. “If you’re worried about high birth rate, cure childhood diseases, reduce the infant mortality rate, and the birth rate will come down naturally,” he told the Microsoft billionaire. “The reason why families in Africa still have four and five children is because they expect to lose one or two children to disease before they reach adulthood.”

Mosher went on in his address to assert that climate changers have the solution all wrong. “This is all done under the false assumption that if you reduce the number of people on the planet you will somehow increase the number of seals and whales and trees and other things that the radical environmentalists seem to value more than human beings,” Mosher revealed. “What we need to have is continued economic growth, because once a country gets above $2,000 per capita, they have the resources to set aside natural parks and nature preserves and national forests and so forth.”

“It’s poverty that’s the enemy of the environment, not people,” he summarized.

“It’s poverty that leads the poor to cut down the last tree, as they have in Haiti, to build a house or cook their food,” Mosher pointed out. “It’s poverty that leads them to pollute the water that they need to drink because they can’t afford to dig a well or build a sewage treatment plant. It’s poverty that leads them to plant the last square foot of land because they … can’t afford fertilizer or they can’t afford proper irrigation.”

“Poverty is the enemy of the environment,” the human rights advocate said. “And we know how to cure poverty: You have the rule of law, you have property rights, you have an open and free economic system. And once you cure poverty, people will take care of the environment.”

But the radical environmentalists’ have it backward, Mosher claimed. Their “more people equals less of everything else” narrative is not true, he said. “More people as good stewards of the environment means more of everything else: more whales, more trees, more land set aside.”

The author described the global warmist movement as “anti-people.” “Here we almost have a demonic hatred of our fellow human beings,” he said. “They cry copious tears over a mistreated dog or cat, but they ignore that 4,000 babies are being brutally killed — torn limb from limb — in wombs across the United States today.”

“The other side of the evangelization coin,” Mosher said, “is allowing the human beings to come into existence in the first place.”

Back on the subject of Catholic response to global warming threats, Mosher said the Christian response cannot be legislated. “The questions of how we should be good stewards of the environment are prudential questions that will never be settled dogmatically,” the Population Research Institute president concluded.

Part of the Catholic solution is the Pontifical Academy of Science should invite as contributors “only people who were Catholic,” Mosher offered.

“If you do not have a Trinitarian worldview,” he explained, “then your position on many of these issues are going to be radically different than what the Catholic Church teaches.”

Global warmists “are people who have radically different views of what humanity is,” Mosher said. “It makes a real difference if I think that mankind is only a little lower than the angels, created in the image and likeness of God. Paul Ehrlich believes that we’re only a little higher than the apes, and it’s necessary now to thin the herd. He believes that we’re only animals, (so) there’s no moral question to be answered; it’s just a simple question of numbers and power.”

“Such a radical reductionist view of what human beings are should not be endorsed by the Vatican,” he opined.

Mosher commented that after listening to some of the non-Catholic Vatican conference speakers, Pope Francis himself has talked about climate change as the cause of world hunger. “That gets the facts exactly backwards,” he said. “I think we need to go to Rome … and talk and educate people.”

Hichborn noted the significance of the issue today. “Population Control is an agenda that ties together nearly every major cause of the anti-family left,” he said. “Homosexuality, environmentalism, poverty reduction, foreign aid, and even mass immigration are connected to the population control agenda.”

“For the sake of souls, lives, and the family, it is vitally important for everyone who calls themselves pro-life to stand up now,” Hichborn added. “If we don’t fight this now, it won’t be long before there won’t be a civilization left to defend.”

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bias, climate change, corruption, elitism, environment, ethics, fraud, funding, government, greed, ideology, political correctness, politics, propaganda, public policy, scandal, science, scientists, study

Filed under: bias, climate change, corruption, elitism, environment, ethics, fraud, funding, government, greed, ideology, political correctness, politics, propaganda, public policy, scandal, science, scientists, study

Slaves sold in open market in 2017. Really?

original article:
Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks, Hillary Clinton.
November 27, 2017 by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Black Africans are being sold in open-air slave markets right now, and it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault. But you won’t hear much about that from the press or the foreign-policy pundits, so let me explain.

Footage from Libya, released last week by CNN, showed young men from sub-Saharan Africa being auctioned off as farm workers in slave markets.

And how did we get to this point? As the BBC reported back in May, “Libya has been beset by chaos since NATO-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Oct. 2011.”

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And who was behind that overthrow? None other than then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Under former president George W. Bush in 2003, the United States negotiated an agreement with Libyan strongman Gadhafi. The deal: He would give up his weapons of mass destruction peacefully, and we wouldn’t try to depose him.

That seemed like a good deal at the time, but the Obama administration didn’t stick to it. Instead, in an operation spearheaded by Clinton, the United States went ahead and toppled him anyway.

The overthrow turned out to be a debacle. Libya exploded into chaos and civil war and refugees flooded Europe, destabilizing governments there. But at the time, Clinton thought it was a great triumph — “we came, we saw, he died,” she joked about Gadhafi’s overthrow — and her adviser Sidney Blumenthal encouraged her to tout her “successful strategy” to the press as evidence of her fitness for the highest office in the land.

It’s surprising the extent to which Clinton has gotten a pass for this debacle, which represents a humanitarian and strategic failure of the first order. (And, of course the damage is still compounding: How likely is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, after seeing the worthlessness of U.S. promises made to Gadhafi?)

Back during his brief stint in the Democratic Primary, former Sen. James Webb raised the issue, saying:  “We blew the lid off of a series of tribal engagements. You can’t get to the Tripoli Airport right now, much less Benghazi.” But as the Libya disaster continues to unfold, Clinton’s role in it gets surprisingly little attention.

Maybe it’s buried under the other Clinton/Obama debacles in the Middle East, like the botched Syrian policy that The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt called ”a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions.” Remember Obama’s “red line” that Syria crossed, and that Obama didn’t enforce?

That led to a destabilizing flood of refugees hitting Europe, too.

And, of course, there’s the Yemen policy, which Obama bragged about as a model for the war on terror. But now Yemen is another war-wracked humanitarian and strategic disaster.

Still, Libya is in a class of its own. In Syria and Yemen, at least, the situation was already bad. Libya, before Clinton got involved, was comparatively stable and no strategic threat to the United States or its allies. Now it’s a shambles, with people literally being sold in slave markets.

Back in the 2012 presidential campaign, former vice president Joe Biden told a group of African Americans that the GOP was going to ”put you all back in chains.” But it turned out that it was Clinton’s policies that led to black people being sold. As some ponder another Hillary Clinton run in 2020, that’s worth pointing out.

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corruption, Democrats, foreign affairs, government, ideology, politics, scandal, tragedy, unintended consequences, war

Filed under: corruption, Democrats, foreign affairs, government, ideology, politics, scandal, tragedy, unintended consequences, war

This, above all else, is why Roy Moore has as much support as he does

original article: ‘Reckoning’ Attempts Display A Left Still Unable To Face Bill Clinton’s Alleged Sex Crimes
November 15, 2017 by Daniel Payne

It is fascinating and welcome to see liberals discovering their consciences on Bill Clinton’s alleged rapist tendencies. True, this moral revelation comes about two decades later than it should have, and at precisely the moment the Left can no longer reasonably ignore it and not a moment sooner.

Just the same, it is nice to finally see some honesty on this issue. It is nice to see liberals, having no more use for the Clintons, finally undertaking what MSNBC host Chris Hayes calls “a real reckoning” with the very real possibility that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick nearly 40 years ago.

And yet. One is tempted to believe we’re witnessing not a “reckoning” but a quick and guilty kind of moral shrug, a sort of Kansas City shuffle meant to absolve a bunch of deeply culpable people of their own deep and stinking culpability. For a real “reckoning” of American liberalism’s wink-nod approach to Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes would implicate American liberalism itself, or at least the last few decades of it. That is understandably not something many liberals are willing to do.

Still Too Scared to Face Themselves In the Mirror

A great example of this evasive genre can be found at The Atlantic, where Caitlin Flanagan has written an article titled, simply, “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning.” The article itself is actually not a reckoning of Bill Clinton or even an overture toward a reckoning.

Indeed, Flanagan only comes to the sexual assault allegations leveled at Clinton only about two-thirds of the way through, after bringing up Clarence Thomas’s alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill. She places most of the blame for Clinton on “machine feminism” rather than Democratic opportunism, then lamely asserts Democrats need to “come to terms” with how they “abandoned some of [their] central principles” in their unthinking defense of Clinton.

At The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg offers a similar pastiche of self-serving pseudo-reflection. “I Believe Juanita,” her most recent column declares upfront. After that she spends a great deal of time grumbling about Breitbart, “the right’s evident bad faith,” “right-wing propaganda,” “the right-wing press,” “epistemological warfare,” and “various figures in conservative media.” Only after six paragraphs do we get to Broaddrick, after which Goldberg quickly returns to the conservative-led “blizzard of lies” that led progressives to doubt Broaddrick 20 years ago.

Almost as an afterthought, Goldberg writes: “It’s fair to conclude, that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society.” Goodness, after two decades this is the best we can manage?

Even Hayes’s own viral tweet is couched in a tired and evasive formula. “As gross and cynical and hypocrtical [sic] as the right’s ‘what about Bill Clinton’ stuff is,” he wrote, “it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.” Got it: so the Right is “gross and cynical and hypocritical” regarding the Left’s steadfast avoidance of Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes, but we’re also correct? Are liberals capable of discussing Clinton’s sordid history without having to obsessively refer back to conservatives?

They Let Bill Clinton Keep Legitimacy for 18 More Years

There is a deeper and more cynical politics at work here. “Reckoning” with Bill Clinton’s alleged crimes is not just a matter of the Democratic Party saying sorry for not believing Broaddrick in 1999. Bill Clinton has remained a prominent fixture of the party in the intervening 18 years, including as a major fundraiser during his wife’s two failed campaigns for president and as a stump for other Democrats, including President Obama.

Progressives, meanwhile, adore him. “Bill Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants, but he was a great president!” one very liberal woman told me years ago. Broaddrick would surely agree with the first part. Summing up the feelings of millions of progressive millennials, comedian John Mulaney described Clinton as a “smooth and fantastic hillbilly who should be declared emperor of the United State of America.” This kind of hero-worship is only possible if one disbelieves Broaddrick’s testimony entirely—testimony that, 20 years on, remains very credible.

A “reckoning” of the accusations against Bill Clinton must thus also function as a reckoning of the last couple of decades of Democratic politics, a politics that has featured Bill Clinton as an ancillary yet still near-permanent fixture. Every Democrat has known of Broaddrick’s accusations for years. Yet Bill Clinton was still eagerly accepted within “decent society,” and his wife—who is quite reasonably seen as both an apologist for her husband’s perverted behavior and possibly a criminal conspirator regarding his crimes—became the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party itself in the last election.

To reckon with all of this means to reckon with the Democratic party in toto—its political instincts, its morals, and its public credibility and future viability. The Left predictably isn’t very keen to do that. So we get what we’ve witnessed in the past week: liberals feigning a kind of come-to-Jesus public confessional over Bill Clinton while ultimately just complaining about conservatives.

It is true that, in the end, we do not know if Bill Clinton raped Broaddrick. It is virtually impossible to prove it one way or the other, as it generally is with these types of claims. It would not be wholly unreasonable for someone to doubt Broaddrick after a careful review of the evidence. Then again, her claim, and the evidence surrounding it, is compelling enough to be believable, more so than many.

So what does it say about the Democratic Party that it has nevertheless allowed Bill Clinton a revered and permanent spot in its ranks? And what does it say about liberals that, even now, after all of this time, they cannot truly come to grips with it?

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abuse, bias, corruption, culture, Democrats, elitism, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, politics, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences, victimization

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Government is not enough to rebuild a broken society

original article: Why America Will Not Solve Its Existential Crisis Without A Rebirth Of Faith
November 8, 2017 by Emilie Kao

Country music legend Johnny Cash had hit rock bottom. Exhausted by his struggle with drug addiction, he literally crawled into a cave to die. But then, as he described it later, a feeling of tranquility came over him and drew him back from the brink: “There in Nickajack Cave I became conscious of a very clear, simple idea: I was not in charge of my destiny. I was not in charge of my own death. I was going to die at God’s time, not mine.”

Cash’s spiritual awakening gave him new hope. His story of redemption rings true among countless Americans who credit faith with helping them overcome addiction and other self-destructive behaviors.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans are living only the earlier part of Cash’s story—the misery, futility, and sense of hopelessness. The Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Culture and Opportunityreports that Americans are now four times more likely to die from opioid overdose than in 1999. Teens are 13.5 percent more likely to use drugs than in 2006, with just under a quarter of high school seniors reporting drug use last year. President Trump was right to recognize that the opioid crisis is really a national emergency.

The suicide rate has risen so sharply that the overall life expectancy of Americans is declining for the first time since the 1930s. Meanwhile, the marriage rate continues to decline. A likely related trend is the unemployment of young men, which has doubled in the last 15 years.

Money and Programs Can’t Provide Existential Meaning

Clearly, many Americans are stressed out—economically, emotionally, and psychologically. But what ails America cannot be remedied with just money or counselling. A genuine cure must include cultural revival in which religious communities come alongside individuals and families to reweave the frayed ends of broken relationships. Empirical research demonstrates that religion contributes to individual and societal prosperity. In his book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” J.D. Vance shows how religion can help generate holistic flourishing.

Like Cash’s story, Vance’s memoir brings to life the statistics about divorce, domestic violence, and drug addiction. He credits his own upward trajectory to acquiring “social capital.” Through personal networks, he learned “soft skills” like conflict resolution and financial management that fueled his upward mobility. He cited both the military and churches as critical institutions that form social capital.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber’s research has demonstrated a causal connection between children’s church attendance and their ability to stay off drugs and out of prison. After analyzing religious attendance, Gruber also observed an “incredibly strong correlation” with higher education, more stable marriages, higher income, and lower likelihood of being on welfare. A study at Harvard showed that those who attend religious services at least once a week are five times less likely to commit suicide.

A Commitment to Morality Increases Social Trust

The role of faith in preventing and treating opioid addiction is increasingly evident. New Hampshire and West Virginia present a contrast in addiction and religiosity. New Hampshire confounds purely economic explanations of addiction, since it has both high employment and high addiction. It doesn’t fit in well with mainstream media narratives, but states like West Virginia, Utah, and those in the Deep South have both high levels of religiosity and low levels of addiction.

As the Trump administration builds a strategy to combat this public health emergency affecting 21 million Americans, it should consider not only criminal punishments and opioid alternatives, it should also take into account the empirical evidence of faith’s role as seen in the states. Similar to Gruber’s observations about faith’s effects in the lives of individual Americans, a Chinese economist saw faith’s effects on business transactions in America’s national economy. Zhao Xiao traces America’s prosperity back to the Puritans.

He sees a relationship between their transcendental motives and a high degree of personal integrity, which generated trust and minimized friction in economic transactions. Zhao’s research has influenced policymakers in the Chinese Communist Party, who are increasingly emphasizing the role of morality in fostering trust.

Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen also attributes America’s economic success to civic virtues religious communities teach, such as obedience to the law, respect for private property, and honesty. While earlier generations created the cultural momentum that led to American prosperity, Christensen warns that momentum is dissipating as religious belief wanes: “If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police”

Religion Is Important for a Thriving Country

The importance of personal virtue for society is something Vance takes seriously. He urges Americans to incorporate cultural causes into our discussions of the structural factors that contribute to poverty. When individuals feel hopeless, marriages dissolve, and children get caught up in families’ breakdown, government solutions are not enough to make up the difference. Religious communities, however, are there when life falls apart.

Just how critical are religious organizations to the fabric of American life? Religious networks provide $161 billion in medical services annually. Religious schools and colleges provide $138 billion in education. Religious charities contribute $95.2 billion, religious businesses $438 billion, and religious congregations $326 billion. Eliminate religious organizations, and Americans would lose $1.2 trillion in services.

Communities also benefit greatly from partnerships between government and religious groups. Consider the relief efforts needed to deal with natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Nonprofits provide 80 per cent of recovery efforts, and they are mostly faith-based. But faith is equally as powerful in less visible day-to-day interactions. In Gadsden County, Florida, partnerships between faith leaders and city officials have transformed programs in women’s prisons and schools.

In the words of the town sheriff, “We cannot incarcerate our way out of crime. When all else fails, you sometimes have to appeal to the spiritual side of offenders.” Local churches in Gadsden send members to teach inmates the Bible and life skills. Other churches help find jobs and housing for newly released inmates. Gadsden County’s story is one of countless examples showing the “spiritual capital” that religion provides on top of its tremendous economic value—more than that of Facebook, Google, and Apple combined, according to the research of Brian Grim.

Faith Provides Private Accountability We All Need

Faith infuses lives with greater meaning, and faith communities help us make and keep wise commitments. They help us to stay engaged in the lives of our spouses, children, and friends. They help us to stay in school and at jobs when we might prefer to quit. Most of us are more likely to keep commitments when others help. But this kind of accountability, which requires face-to-face contact over a long period of time, is not something the government is well-equipped to provide.

Religious communities help parents raise their children. They provide counseling to individuals while they are dating, after they get married, and even when they lose a spouse. They provide assistance, loans, and job contacts to those who are unemployed. And they are a source of encouragement and hope for people desperate to stay out of addiction.

The American Dream is still alive, but it needs renewal. Government can help. But it takes communities of faith to fully rebuild what has been broken and to restore hope where it’s been lost.

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crisis, culture, economy, ethics, family, ideology, religion, study, unintended consequences

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Pro-abortion lobby spread false statistics

original article: Study: Activists Misleading About Number of Illegal Abortion Deaths
December 13, 2012 by DR. PETER SAUNDERS

 

One of the principal techniques used by the pro-abortion lobby to advance their agenda of legalising abortion in developing world countries is to argue that ‘safe, legal abortion’ will decrease overall maternal mortality whilst not appreciably increasing the overall number of abortions.

In order to make this case they obviously have to establish first that there are already lots of illegal abortions happening and that many women are dying from them.

To achieve this end lobbyists need statistics about levels of illegal abortions and this where the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) comes in.

For many years AGI’s astronomical figures of illegal abortions from developing countries have gone virtually unchallenged by both prolife and prochoice campaigners alike.

But this is about to change now that more rigorous research is being published.

Jacqueline Harvey
 this week writes about a new study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health showing that AGI’s figures for illegal abortions in Mexico in 2006 and 2009 were grossly overestimated.

The study titled, ‘Fundamental Discrepancies In Abortion Estimates And Abortion-Related Mortality: A Reevaluation Of Recent Studies In Mexico With Special Reference To The International Classification Of Diseases’ was conducted by a panel of six epidemiologists at four universities in the U.S., Mexico and Chile and examines the actual figures produced by the Federal District of Mexico and confirmed by an independent, non-governmental agency that supports legal abortion.

AGI’s estimate for illegal abortions in Mexico in 2006 was 725,070-1,024,424. But the actual number of abortions in 2007 after abortion was legalised (which typically increases rather than decreases the numbers), was only 10,137! So AGI’s estimate was 70-100 times the actual figure.

After legalisation the AGI estimate for legal abortions in Mexico in 2009 was 122,455. But the actual number was 12,221. This is a 10 fold overestimation.

These gross disparities discredit not only AGI figures for illegal abortions and abortion-related mortality in Mexico, but in all countries where they apply their flawed methodologies to create these bogus estimates.

The researchers also discovered that AGI purposefully includes women who died from ectopic pregnancies, miscarriage and assault in their calculations of illegal abortion-related mortality, a case of intentional deception. This leads them to over-estimate abortion-related mortality rate by almost 35%. I have previously blogged about gross overestimates of maternal deaths in the US and UK abortions before legalisation here.

Harvey concludes:

‘Nonetheless, AGI uses these false calculations and deceptive figures about illegal abortion deaths to push for decriminalization of abortion around the world. This new study authoritatively discredits the Alan Guttmacher Institute and its findings.’

This new study adds hard evidence to suspicions I have had for some time. Last July I was speaking at an ICMDA (International Christian Medical and Dental Association uniting over 70 national bodies of which CMF is one) conference in Nigeria where there were 1,700 Christian doctors and medical students from all over Africa.

A leading obstetrician in Kenya told me then that she thought the AGI stats for death from abortion for Kenya were grossly inflated and based on small urban samples along which included miscarriages and other gynaecological diagnoses.

And another doctor who was working in the main teaching hospital in Lagos, Nigeria had done a research project on abortion deaths and said that the actual number of illegal abortions was very small relative to AGI estimates.

This strategy used in Kenya and other developing countries is similar to that used by US abortion supporters in their efforts to legalize abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Dr Bernard Nathanson, a leading supporter of abortion rights and an abortionist himself, later admitted to deception:

‘We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000.’

The most impressive catalogue of known abortion statistics on line is that of William Johnston whose latest totals of abortions worldwide (last updated in August 2012) are listed here.

What struck me about these numbers was how much lower they were than AGI figures for all developing countries.

When I raised this discrepancy with Johnston he answered as follows (reprinted with permission):

‘(My) figures for worldwide abortions differ because AGI includes estimates of unreported illegal abortions, estimates which are inflated by bad methodology (in my opinion).

My figures cover only reported abortions (with limited use of estimates, eg. interpolation for missing years) thus, while they are incomplete they are well documented. They are also limited to countries with legal abortion and where statistics are compiled. Some of the higher AGI/WHO figures involve estimated underreporting from countries with legal abortions, but most of the difference is from their estimates for developing countries where abortion is illegal or legal under very limited circumstances.

These latter estimates are generally based on hospitalisation samples, household surveys, and a variety of assumptions. This process yields illegal abortion rates that are as high as legal abortion rates in the developed world, coincidentally supporting the AGI thesis that abortion should be unrestricted everywhere because laws have no effect on occurrence rates.

The key here is of course the set of assumptions that turn small sample sizes into multi-national estimates of abortion rates. Some obvious issues I see include: surveys of urban populations on abortion, and treating results as applicable to the general population; bias by basing results on surveys of people willing to talk to these survey takers; the validity of the assumptions used for underreporting, for deciding what fraction of hospital miscarriage cases are illegal abortions, or for turning such “detected” abortions into figures including “undetected” abortions.

I do not dispute that many illegal abortions take place in developing countries but I suspect that the actual numbers are significantly below the AGI/WHO estimates, because the methodology of their estimates involves assumptions biased by their policy position. I have little evidence to produce an estimate of total worldwide abortions, but I’m inclined to suspect that the AGI/WHO figures (of 42 million per year) are high by about a factor of two.

A few years ago Laura Antkowiak and Randall O’Bannon analyzed the AGI methodology in an article series in the National Right to Life newsletter. They indicate, for example, that some of the sample sizes involved are only a few dozen. Here are links to their articles.

1. WHO Claims of Unsafe Abortions and Deaths
2. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 1)
3. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 2)
4. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 3)
5. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 4)

Here are figures for comparison: AGI/WHO estimate worldwide abortions at 45.6 million in 1995, 41.6 million in 2003, and 43.8 million in 2008. (This is from the jointly AGI-WHO-authored article Sedgh et al., 2012, The Lancet, 379(9816):625+) For those three years what I can document are 18.1, 15.1, and 16.0 million. The drop to my current figure of ~12 million/year is mostly due to fluctuations in reported figures from China.

Some perspective on using AGI as a source: for current abortions in the US, their data is better than official data because the abortion providers provide statistics to AGI that they withhold from state health departments. In contrast, AGI survey-based statistics (based on estimates) tend to be biased.

Another point: the above Lancet article claims: ‘The abortion rate was lower in sub-regions where more women live under liberal abortion laws’ – a counter-intuitive claim to anyone but an abortion proponent, one that rests entirely on methodological assumptions, and one that is refuted by regional-level data in the US and Europe.’

Harvey and Johnston’s work needs much wider circulation to counter the ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ that pro-abortion campaigners and population control advocates are using to advance their case. More research is also needed.

The fact that abortions in developing countries have been overestimated does not in any way of course alter the fact that abortion remains the number one cause of human death worldwide.

Even when one takes Johnston’s ‘revised-down’ figures the total number of abortions is utterly staggering. Johnston has documented almost 1 billion abortions worldwide from figures gleaned for the 90 years between 1922 and 2012, a figure equivalent to one seventh of the world’s current population.

Given the timespan the vast majority of these babies, had they not been aborted, would still be alive today.

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abortion, babies, corruption, false, fraud, ideology, propaganda, scandal, study

Filed under: abortion, babies, corruption, false, fraud, ideology, propaganda, scandal, study

Antifa are more than ‘anti-fascists.’

original article: Antifa Is Not Fighting For Freedom, But For Communist Revolution
November 1, 2017 by Joseph D’Hippolito

In the immediate aftermath of the Charlottesville violence, several prominent figures—including CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic—equated left-wing “Antifa” activists with the thousands of Allied soldiers who stormed Normandy’s beaches to invade Adolph Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” on D-Day.

A more appropriate equation would be with the thousands of soldiers in the Red Army, who brutally marched toward Berlin, where they would establish Soviet hegemony in the so-called German Democratic Republic after defeating Hitler.

Antifa returns to the news this week. On Tuesday night, former Breitbart.com editor Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at California State University, Fullerton in a program sponsored by that university’s College Republicans. Seven were arrested amid reports of head-punching and pepper-spraying. Protesters of the event chanted “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand!” and held signs reading “Only socialist revolution can defeat capitalist reaction.” In February, Antifa militants committed such mayhem while protesting Yiannopoulos’ appearance at the University of California at Berkeley that university officials cancelled his speech at the last minute.

On Saturday, Antifa will join other leftist groups in massive nationwide protests designed to force President Donald Trump’s administration out of office. Organizing those protests is “Refuse Fascism,” which declares that “in the name of humanity, we REFUSE to accept a Fascist America!”

Despite antiseptic portrayals throughout American media, Antifa are more than “anti-fascists.” Antifa represent the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic and provide the violent complement to academic neo-Marxism. Like their philosophical comrades, Antifa seek to destroy the American emphasis on liberty under law and to impose a revival of one of history’s most repressive ideologies.

Antifa Is Anti-West and Anti-Capitalist

Bernd Langer, whose “80 Years of Anti-Fascist Action” was published by Germany’s Association for the Promotion of Anti-Fascist Literature, succinctly defined the rhetorical subterfuge. “Anti-fascism is a strategy rather than an ideology,” wrote Langer, a former Antifa member, for “an anti-capitalist form of struggle.”

Short for the German phrase, “Antifaschistische Aktion,” Antifa served as the paramilitary arm of the German Communist Party (KPD), which the Soviet Union funded. In other words, Antifa became the German Communists’ version of the Nazis’ brown-shirted SA.

The KPD made no secret of Antifa’s affiliation. A 1932 photo of KPD headquarters in Berlin prominently displayed the double-flagged Antifa emblem among other Communist symbols and slogans. In a photo from the 1932 Unity Congress of Antifa in Berlin, the double-flagged banner shared space with the hammer and sickle and with two large cartoons. One supported the KPD, the other mocked the SPD, Germany’s Social Democratic Party.

Today’s Antifa embrace those roots. During February’s protest in Berkeley, masked Antifa agitators caused nearly $100,000 in damage by starting fires, breaking windows, assaulting bystanders with pepper spray and flagpoles, painting graffiti on nearby businesses, and destroying automatic teller machines. “Refuse Fascism,” the group organizing Saturday’s protests, is controlled by the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, which seeks to create a Marxist United States through violent revolution.

Law and Order Are Among Antifa’s Enemies

Antifa’s goal to suppress “fascism” reflects the views of neo-Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse. “A policy of unequal treatment would protect radicalism on the Left against that on the Right,” Marcuse wrote in “Repressive Tolerance,” his 1965 essay. “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left” extending “to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word.”

Marcuse dismissed the idea of individual liberty protected by law in favor of a Marxist society favoring ostensibly oppressed groups at the expense of everybody else. Such a society, Marcuse wrote, would demand “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements” that not only “promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion” but also “oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.” and “may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions.”

Marcuse even justified violence: “there is a ‘natural right’ of resistance for oppressed and overpowered minorities to use extralegal means if the legal ones have proved to be inadequate,” Marcuse wrote. “Law and order are always and everywhere the law and order which protect the established hierarchy; it is nonsensical to invoke the absolute authority of this law and this order against those who suffer from it and struggle against it … for their share of humanity. If they use violence, they do not start a new chain of violence but try to break an established one.”

In expressing his contempt for “the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for ‘the other side,’” Marcuse maintained in 1968 ”that there are issues where either there is no ‘other side’ in any more than a formalistic sense, or where ‘the other side’ is demonstrably ‘regressive’ and impedes possible improvement of the human condition.”

Elements of Today’s Left Embrace Marcuse’s Ideas

K-Su Park, a University of California at Los Angeles law fellow, reflected Marcuse’s thought when in an op-ed in The New York Times she challenged the American Civil Liberties Union to reconsider its approach to the First Amendment. The ACLU represented Jason Kessler, who organized the “Unite The Right” rally and sued the City of Charlottesville for revoking his permit for the protest.

The ACLU’s approach “implies that the country is on a level playing field, that at some point it overcame its history of racial discrimination to achieve a real democracy, the cornerstone of which is freedom of expression,” Park wrote. “Other forms of structural discrimination and violence also restrict the exercise of speech, such as police intimidation of African-Americans and Latinos. The danger that communities face because of their speech isn’t equal.”

Park’s fellowship is with UCLA’s critical race studies program. Critical race studies comes from critical theory, a sociological approach developed by Germany’s neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, where Marcuse was a leading thinker. Johns Hopkins professor N.D.B. Connolly blended Marcuse’s philosophy with Antifa’s militancy in a Washington Post op-ed, where he compared the United States’ racial history to a game of rock-paper-scissors.

“For a long while, we’ve been throwing a lot of ‘paper,’” Connolly wrote. “Liberalism — our paper — preserves our country’s long commitment to contracts. Under liberalism, citizens stand in contract with their government. The government’s job, in turn, has been to enforce contracts between individuals and groups. Truly, when people ask for rights, be they women’s rights, gay and transgender rights, or rights as people of color, they are asking for contract rights.”

‘Rock Breaks Scissors’

But racism, Connolly argued, serves as scissors: “Right at the country’s founding, racists cut black and indigenous people out of liberalism’s contract. Black bodies and Native American land did not deserve the protection of contract. They deserved bondage and expropriation.”

The solution? “No matter its form, rock breaks scissors,” Connolly wrote. “A half-century ago, nothing less than radical anti-racism could reduce white supremacy to an outlaw religion. … In April 1968, amid a flurry of other ‘rocks,’ riots shook American cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It took that rolling unrest … to spur President Lyndon Johnson and Congress to action. Within a week they had passed the Fair Housing Act.”

Connolly concluded by advocating similar measures. “Segregationists have again assumed their pedestals in the Justice Department, the White House and many other American temples,” he wrote. ”Paper alone won’t drive them out. Start throwing rocks.” In slandering those who hold opposing views, and in essentially calling Martin Luther King Jr. a failure, Connolly reflected the true “Antifa” spirit: Neo-Marxism über alles.

culture, Democrats, extremism, government, history, ideology, left wing, liberalism, marxism, political correctness, politics, progressive

Filed under: culture, Democrats, extremism, government, history, ideology, left wing, liberalism, marxism, political correctness, politics, progressive

The importance of society being rooted in marriage between one man and one woman

original article: Defense of Marriage Is a Social Justice Issue, Scholar Says
October 10, 2013

 

Maintaining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is a matter of social justice, said Ryan Anderson, a political scholar and editor of the online journal Public Discourse, in a recent talk.

Speaking to students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Anderson acknowledged that efforts to redefine marriage are often characterized as being rooted in a sense of justice.

However, he said, the case against redefining marriage is actually an argument based upon justice, “precisely because marriage exists as the prime institution of social justice that guarantees and protects the rights and well-being of children.”

“If you care about social justice and you care about limited government; if you care about the poor and you care about freedom – it’s better served by a healthy marriage culture than by government picking up the pieces of a broken marriage culture.”

Anderson, a Ph.D. candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, is also co-author of the book, “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”

Determining marriage’s definition and limits is the primary concern of the marriage debate, Anderson said in his Oct. 9 talk.

“Everyone wants marriage equality: we all want the government to treat all marriages as equal, but that begs the question – what is marriage?

He explained that many of those who promote the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples understand marriage to be an intense kind of romantic relationship between sexual partners. In this view of marriage, adult desires and sexual needs are of primary concern, and the needs of children produced by such a union are secondary.

However, this understanding of marriage is lacking, Anderson said, as it does not take into account the needs of children, “nor can it describe or define or defend” the norms surrounding marriage, such as why government is involved in it; its restriction to two people; why it is sexual; and why it should be permanent.

This understanding of marriage “makes it more about the desires of adults and less about children” and their needs, said Anderson, adding that “the consequence of redefining marriage is that more people will think of their relationship in those terms and that it will produce bad social outcomes, especially for children.”

But across diverse societies and throughout history, he contended, marriage has been understood as a “comprehensive union” in which man and woman become “one flesh,” particularly in their ability to create children. As a whole, in this understanding, “marriage is ordered to the comprehensive good in the creation and raising of children.”

This understanding is also “based on the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father” and that “there’s something about gender that matters” in the raising of children.

“There is no parenting in the abstract: there is mothering and there is fathering,” he said, and both mothers and fathers “bring different gifts” to children.

He pointed to studies examining socio-economic factors, which show that children raised by their biological mothers and fathers fare better than those raised by other family structures, particularly same-sex parents.

In addition, Anderson observed that “the breakdown of the family” in the latter half of the 20th century was accompanied by a rise in social dysfunction, marked by a widespread number of indicators ranging from school performance to crime rates to decreased adult happiness. These indicators show a marked correlation with fatherlessness rates in the home.

Mothers are always present at a child’s birth, the scholar continued. “The question for culture is whether a father will be present, and if so, for how long?”

“If you redefine marriage in law, there will be no institution left that even holds as an idea the right of a child to have a relationship with both a mother and a father.”

Such a redefinition “holds up in law that men and women are functionally interchangeable” thus preventing the law from teaching “that fathers are essential.” Rather, it “will make fathers optional,” likely compounding the already-existing consequences of fatherlessness in society.

“If you care about the poor, what can we do to make it more likely that these men commit to the women that they are in relationships with, and then take responsibility for the children that they create?” Anderson asked.

“The reason why the state is in the marriage business is to maximize the opportunity that every child will be raised by a mother and a father, and preferably by the mother and the father that created the child,” he said.

“The state wants to ensure that a man and a woman commit to each other as husband and wife, permanently and exclusively,” he stressed, “and when this doesn’t happen, the social costs run high.”

children, culture, family, ideology, philosophy, public policy, reform, relativism, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, culture, family, ideology, philosophy, public policy, reform, relativism, unintended consequences

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