Sex is more than skin-deep by Msgr. Charles Pope

6 06 2015

Family cavorting at the beach September 1, 1999

The latest tragic twist in the “Bruce Jenner saga” (more on that below) illustrates yet again one of the great errors of our day: the rejection of the truth that our bodies have something to tell us about who we are and what we are called to do and be. Most moderns see the body as merely a tool of sorts. Assertions are made that one can do as one pleases with one’s own body, and that a person’s sex (male or female) is purely incidental—merely an arbitrary quality one “happens to have.” Many say that our sex should not speak to anything deeper than genitals and that other “mere” physical differences are to be set aside to one degree or another. In effect, it would seem that our bodies have little or nothing to say to us. According to modern culture they are incidental.

The rejection of the body as instructive or in any way determinative has reached its zenith in the attempted normalization of homosexual activity, the redefinition of marriage, and now, sexual “reassignment” surgery.

As regards homosexual acts, any non-ideological analysis of the body will indicate that the man was not made for the man, nor the woman for the woman. Rather, the man is made for the woman and the woman for the man. This is set forth quite clearly in the pure physicality of things. St. Paul calls homosexual acts pa?? f?s?? (para physin), meaning “contrary to the nature of things.”

As regards so-called sex “reassignment” surgery, I must point out that the soul is the form of the body. Now of course I can hear the objection that somehow we are not only physical beings and thus to use simply physical arguments is not proper. While this is true, but the body cannot be ignored. The soul is the form of the body. That is to say, our soul, its essence and abilities, gives rise to the structure and physical attributes of the body.

What is meant by saying that the soul is the form of the body? Consider for a moment a glove. What is the form of a glove? What determines how a glove is formed, shaped, and designed? Well, of course, it is the hand. It is both the shape of the hand and its capacities that give rise to the design and function of the glove. A glove with only three fingers or one with eight fingers would be a poor glove indeed. The proper form of the glove is the hand. And it is not just the shape of the hand that dictates the design of the glove, it is also the required functioning of the hand. Fingers need to move and work together for the hand to achieve its purpose. A glove that was extremely stiff and permitted the fingers no movement would be a poor glove. A good glove protects the hand but also permits it to achieve its proper end. Thus the fully functioning hand is the form (or blueprint) of the glove.

St Thomas says of the soul as form of the body: Since the form is not for the matter, but rather the matter for the form, we must gather from the form the reason why the matter is such as it is; and not conversely. ST I, 76.5 Aquinas says that because matter of the body exists for the sake of form, rather than form for the sake of matter, the reason the matter of our body is the way it is due to the form itself. [***]

So in this way, the soul is the form (or blueprint) of the body. Our bodies have the design they do because of the capacities of our souls. We are able to talk because our souls have something to say. Our fingers are nimble yet strong because our souls have the capacity to work at tasks that require both strength and agility. We have highly developed brains because our souls have the capacity to think and reason. Animals have less of all this because their souls have little capacity in any of these regards. My cat, Daniel, does not speak. This is not because he has no physical capacity to form words; but because he has nothing to say. The lack of capacity in his animal soul (or life-giving principle) is reflected in the design of his body. Another old saying goes: “Birds don’t fly because they have wings, Birds have wings because birds can fly.”

Sexuality is more than skin-deep. When it comes to sexuality in the human person, our sex (or as some incorrectly call it, gender, (gender is a grammatical term that refers to the classification of nouns and pronouns)) is not just a coin toss. Our soul is either male or female and our body reflects that fact. I don’t just “happen” to be male; I am male. My soul is male; my spirit is male; hence, my body is male. So called “sex-change” operations are a lie. Cross-dressing is a lie. “Transgender” and other made-up and confused assertions cannot change the truth of what the soul is. You can adapt the body but you cannot adapt the soul. The soul simply says, “Sum quod sum” (I am what I am).

The modern age has chosen simply to set all this aside and to see the body as incidental or arbitrary. This is a key error and has led to a lot of confusion. We have already seen how the widespread approval of homosexual acts has stemmed from this, but there are other confusions that have arisen as well.

Consider for example how the body speaks to the question of marriage. That the body has a nuptial (i.e., marital) meaning is literally inscribed in our bodies. God observed of Adam “It is not good for the man to be alone.” This fact is also evident in our bodies. I do not wish to be too explicit here but it is clear that the woman has physical aspects that are designed to find completion in union with a man, her husband. Likewise the man has physical aspects that are designed to find completion with a woman, his wife. The body has a “nuptial” meaning. It is our destiny; it is written in our nature to be in a complementary relationship with “the other.” But the complementarity is not just a physical one. Remember, the soul is the form (or blueprint) of the body. Hence, the intended complementarity extends beyond the physical, to the soul. We are made to find completion in the complementarity of the other. A man brings things to the relationship (physical and spiritual) that a woman cannot. A woman brings things to the relationship (physical and spiritual) that a man cannot. It is literally written in our bodies that we are generally meant to be completed and complemented by someone of the “opposite” (i.e., complementary) sex. And this complementarity is meant to bear fruit. The physical complementarity of spouses is fertile, fruitful. Here, too, the body reflects the soul. The fruitfulness is more than merely physical; it is spiritual and soulful as well.

It is true that not everyone finds a suitable marriage partner. But, from the standpoint of the nuptial meaning of the body, this is seen as less than ideal rather than as merely a neutral “alternative” lifestyle called the “single life.” (Uh-oh, there I go again.) If one is single with little possibility of this changing, then the nuptial meaning of the body is lived through some call of love and service to the Church (understood as the Bride of Christ or the Body of Christ), and by extension to the community.

Another consideration in this has to be the question of celibacy in the Church and of the male priesthood. If the body has, among other things, a nuptial meaning, whence do celibacy and virginity for the sake of the Kingdom find their place? Simply in this: priests and religious sisters are not single. A religious sister is a bride of Christ. She weds her soul to Christ and is a beautiful image of the Church as bride (cf Eph 5:21ff). Fully professed sisters even wear the ring. As a priest, I do not consider myself a bachelor. I have a bride, the Church. She is a beautiful, though demanding, bride! And do you know how many people call me “Father”? The religious in my parish are usually called “Sister,” but the Superior is called “Mother” by all of us. And here, too, our bodies reflect the reality of our call. A woman images the Church as bride. A man images Christ as groom.

It is another error of modern times to say that a woman can be a priest. Jesus Christ didn’t just “happen” to be a man. He is the Groom of the Church; the Church is His Bride. The maleness of the Messiah, Jesus, was not just the result of a coin toss. Nor was it rooted merely in the “sociological requirements of the patriarchal culture of his time.” It is not merely incidental to His mission. He is male because He is groom. The priests who are configured to Him are also male because the body has a nuptial meaning and the Church is in a nuptial relationship to Christ. Christ is the groom; the priests through whom He ministers to His bride are thus male. To say that a female can image the groom is, frankly, silly. It demonstrates how far our culture has gone in thinking of the body as merely incidental, rather than essential and nuptial.

The body does not lie. Our culture lies and distorts, but the body does not. Many today choose to consider the body incidental, a mere tool that can be refashioned at will. But the Church is heir to a well-tested and far longer understanding that the body is essential, not incidental, to who we are. Our differences are more than skin deep. The soul is the form (or blueprint) of the body and thus our differences and our complementarity are deep and essential. Our dignity is equal, but our complementarity cannot and should not be denied. God himself has made this distinction and intends it for our instruction. The body does not lie and we must once again choose to learn from it.

Bruce Jenner needs our concern, not our applause. He cannot undo his maleness by amputation and silicone bags. There is something deeply sad here in him and those like him. They need real help to accept themselves as God made them. Some years ago, Johns Hopkins Hospital stopped doing these surgeries since many of the staff there were uncomfortable cutting off healthy organs and mutilating bodies. Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins explained recently why it is better to understand this issue as one of mental illness that deserves care not affirmation:

This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken–it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.” [Elsewhere in the article he notes the high suicide rates, etc.]

The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh. [**]

There is something equally sick in the so-called “transabled” movement, wherein people cut off their own limbs because they “feel” that their body is “supposed to be” disabled. They disown certain limbs and use power saws to cut them off. Please tell me the difference between those who cut off limbs and those who mutilate their genitals or cut off their breasts. More on the “transabled” movement can be found here: Choosing to be disabled.

We are in a time of grave distortion and even the loss of simple common sense. It doesn’t seem that things can get much more confused than “gender reassignment.” I am sure, however, that things are going to get a lot more confused. But this confusion is not for us, fellow Christians. Our bodies are not ours to do with as we please. They are not canvases to be tattooed with slogans or endlessly pierced; they are not to be used for fornication, adultery, or homosexual acts. Neither are they to be mutilated or carved up into apparently new forms.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:19-20).

Do not be deceived. Do not be confused. God was not “mistaken” in the sex He made you. Whatever internal drives, temptations, or disturbing thoughts one might have, the body was not made for sexual immorality or to be mutilated based on any internal rejection of our self. The call for every human being is to be chaste and to love our body as from God.

Here is a quirky and clever video that turns the table on the question of ordination. It also goes a long way to say that we cannot, in the end, simply pretend to be what we are not. Our bodies do not lie, even if we try to.
This article was originally published by the Archdiocese of Washington





Obama and Michelle Celebrate the Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

29 04 2014

Obama and Michelle Celebrate the Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

Today, Michelle and I join Catholics around the world in celebrating the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

The work and witness of both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II shaped not only the Catholic Church but the world. Pope John XXIII articulated powerful roles for the Church in the cause of global peace and justice, and by convening the Second Vatican Council he revolutionized not only aspects of worship but the Catholic Church’s relationship with other faith communities. Pope John Paul II helped inspire the Solidarity movement in Poland, a movement that spread and eventually helped to end communism in Eastern Europe, and he spoke out forcefully against apartheid in South Africa and genocide in Rwanda. He had a special rapport with young people, drawing many of them to the Church’s work and teachings.

We celebrate these Saints and the leadership of His Holiness Pope Francis, and we look forward to continuing to work with Pope Francis and Catholics around the world to advance peace and justice for all people.
—-President Barack Obama, The White House





Sochi Winter Olympics In A Dying Russia by Anne Morse

9 02 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics  In A Dying Russia  by Anne Morse

Reports of terrorist threats, human rights abuses, and general economic incompetency have already marred the opening of the 2014 winter Olympics. These failings in Russia represent the face of the greatest myth propagated this past half-century: that low-fertility creates a successful society.
Population controllers lure countries into population control programs with the promise of nice things; they promise democracy, economic prosperity, and increased longevity.[1]Russia has incredibly low fertility—1.6 children per women—but the low fertility still hasn’t delivered the good-fortune which the population controllers promised.
Russia should be a population controller’s dream come true: it has had consistently low fertility, vast amounts of natural resources and a shrinking population—in fact, Russia has shrunk by 13 million people since the 1994 winter Olympics.[2]

But instead of being the poster-child for the population control movement, Russia is instead a public health disaster.

• Russian women on average have 3 abortions for every 4 births, which is actually an improvement from their past; only since 2007 has the number of annual births in Russia outnumbered the number of annual abortions.[3]
• Russia has dangerous patterns of alcohol consumption: the average Russian consumes 10-12 gallons of vodka per year (that’s a half cup of vodka per day).[4]
• Suicide rates in Russia are 2-3 times higher than in the US or Europe: they have the second highest rate of male suicide in the world, and their female suicide rate is also among the top ten worst in the world.[5]
• The average Russian lives only 70 years. Russian men fare even worse with an average life expectancy of a mere 64 years.[6]
• Among countries with more than a million people, Russia has the highest divorce rate in the world.

Russia remains a cold, desolate country which population controllers like to ignore because it remains a glaring exception to their claims.
Population controllers claim that low-fertility promotes economic equality: they claim that having lots of children keeps a woman in poverty [8] They say rich women have fewer children, and having few children keeps a woman in prosperity. By giving contraception to the poor, population controllers claim that they can reduce economic inequality. Nowhere does this claim seem more ludicrous than in Russia. The per capita income in Russia is only $17,500, but inequality is thriving; 35% of Russia’s wealth is owned by only 110 people.[9]
Population controllers claim that low-fertility promotes democracy: population controllers claim that “populations with excessive numbers of young people invite a higher risk of political violence and civil strife.[10]Yet Russia has had fertility below replacement level since 1965 and has endured an abundance of political and civil strife since the 1960’s.[11] Even now, Russia is not democratic, but strains under rampant electoral fraud and a repressed press.[12]
When people think of the political and economic situation in Russia, their first reaction is not: “How odd that Russia has struggled, since it has had such low-fertility!” but they do think of the many problems Russia struggled with in the past half century: changing regimes, wars, rampant corruption, and deep economic depression. This intuitive response to Russia’s problems stands in stark contrast to population control ideology, and it illuminates the reason why population controllers remain puzzled by Russia. It also highlights the flaws with their most basic assumptions about fertility: population statistics are not like other statistics. Population statistics are simply numbers representing unique, unrepeatable individuals in the aggregate, and these unique individuals have their own intellect, imagination, and free will.
It is this human free will and ingenuity that makes humanity the world’s most valuable resource. It is also the reason why even countries with healthy fertility struggle; sometimes humans make really bad policy decisions. But low fertility does not ensure prosperity, democracy, or equality. Only humans can choose to ensure prosperity, and Russia is running out of them.

________________________________________
[1]Potts, Malcolm, et al. “Niger: Too little, too late.” International perspectives on sexual and reproductive health 37.2 (2011): 95-101.
[2]International Programs. – Information Gateway. United States Census Bureau, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2014. .
[3] United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. .
[4] Leon, David A., Vladimir M. Shkolnikov, and Martin McKee. “Alcohol and Russian mortality: a continuing crisis.” Addiction104.10 (2009): 1630-1636.
[5] Pridemore, William Alex, Mitchell B. Chamlin, and Evgeny Andreev. “Reduction in male suicide mortality following the 2006 Russian alcohol policy: an interrupted time series analysis.” American journal of public health 103.11 (2013): 2021-2026.
[6] “Central Intelligence Agency.” The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2013. .
[7] United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. .
[8] Kremer, Michael, and Daniel L. Chen. “Income distribution dynamics with endogenous fertility.” Journal of Economic growth7.3 (2002): 227-258.
[9] Synovitz, Ron. “Russia Has Highest Level Of Wealth Inequality.”RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 10 Oct. 2013. .
[10] Cincotta, Richard P. “How democracies grow up.” Foreign Policy 165 (2008): 80-82.
[11]United Nations. Department of Economic. World population prospects: The 2004 Revision: Volume I: comprehensive tables. No. 244-246. United Nations Publications, 2006.
[12] Fish, Steve M. Democracy Derailed in Russia. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.





Married To Four Wives: I Told You So by Jessica Prol

27 01 2014

Married To Four Wive: I Told You So by Jessica Prol

I was not allowed to say, “I told you so” as a kid. If I’d had an argument with my siblings and ended up, somehow, on the right side of history… well, I was to be the bigger person and resist the urge to gloat. I am the oldest of five kids. I have been right before.

By the end of high school, I had learned the sophisticated German term for such gloating at another’s expense. I enjoyed the way the word rolled off my tongue—Schadenfreude. The word was fun to pronounce. The impulse, however, was to be avoided.

Here at Marriage Generation, we “understand that marriage is a lasting promise between one woman and one man.” Many people disagree with that understanding. Some are even dedicating their lives to changing our definition. They have been redefining marriage from several angles.

Our nation’s no-fault divorce policies have been dismantling the “lasting promise” part and we have begun to feel the cultural consequences. Our courts and culture have begun to dismiss us as bigoted for believing that marriage is shared only by a man and woman (rather than two consenting adults).

Some of us, or the public figures who share our commitment to marriage, have also been suggesting that polyamory could easily be the next cultural experiment in the redefinition of marriage. If marriage is open for redefinition, why not question its exclusivity between two consenting adults?

This prediction has been roundly scorned and dismissed. For a sampling of such scorn, simply scroll through the comments after Rick Santorum’s recent Tweet on the topic.

But, as it turns out, polygamy is turning out to be the next frontier.

On Friday, December 13, 2013, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups struck down Utah’s law making polygamy a crime. One of the plaintiffs, Kody Brown is the husband at the center of the TLC Show “Sister Wives.” He is married to four different women and moved his family (families?) out of Utah, to avoid being criminally prosecuted for maintaining a polygamous family.

In his 91-page opinion in Brown v. Buhman, Judge Waddoups ruled that Utah’s criminalization of cohabitation violated the due process and First Amendment religious freedom rights for Kody Brown and his family.

Brown v. Buhman does not require Utah to legally recognize polygamous marriage and issue multiple marriage licenses to the same individual. But Brown’s attorney and George Washington University Prof. Jonathan Turley has shown his hand: first decriminalize polygamy and then assert a right to its official recognition.

This is no slippery-slope fallacy. Legal analyst Ken Klukowski notes that Turley and Judge Waddoups chose to apply reasoning from Lawrence v. Texas (a court case decriminalizing sodomy) and other more recent legal developments regarding same-gendered marriage in order to trump previous Supreme Court ruling on polygamy. Klukowski notes the following:

“As Turley explained in previous court filings, he believes there is a ‘right to self-determination of private relations and family matters free of government intrusion.’ He noted that many oppose polygamy, and goes on to assert that polygamists ‘are entitled to protection from such majoritarian animus and bias vis-à-vis their private lifestyles and relations. Their status under domestic law is a civil rights issue deserving the same protections afforded to homosexuals and other minority groups.’”
Some will whole-heartedly embrace same-gendered marital unions but look askance at the practice of polygamy. I imagine that many of my peers do just that. But our courts and culture are changing the definition of marriage to place an adult’s sexual preference and love above the stability of the family unit and the health of the next generation. Our courts are leaning on the same reasoning that they used to rearrange marriage to include same-gendered adult. I imagine that our culture will evolve and soon have fewer and fewer reasons to exclude polyamory as a legitimate form of marriage.

And so, we’re not laughing. Schadenfreude would be a waste of time. We don’t and shouldn’t wish to see marriage disassembled. We think a healthy marriage culture is good for our cities, good for our families, and good for kids (or our nieces and nephews… as the case may be).

So, since we’re not going to gloat, what should we do?

Admit that some people think polygamy is a good idea:

Let’s not put our head in the sand. Smart people are writing articulate op-eds and blog posts in mainstream publications. Jonathan Turley is one of them. But there are others. Mark Goldfeder thinks that “Morals-based legislation has been unconstitutional since 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas, and so we cannot just continue ignoring the polygamists’ clamor for acceptance.” Psychologist Nigel Barber suggests three reasons from his study of evolutionary biology. I know there are others and it’s entirely possible that their ranks will grow.

Be real about consequences of polygamy:

In her 2011 Wall Street Journal piece, Brown University political science professor Rose McDermott cautions against embracing such a family structure. She notes:

“When small numbers of men control large numbers of women, the remaining men are likely to be willing to take greater risks and engage in more violence, possibly including terrorism, in order to increase their own wealth and status in hopes of gaining access to women. Whatever their concerns about protecting religious freedom, or demonstrating cultural sensitivity, Western nations should think twice before allowing the kinds of family structures that lead to such abuses.”
For a deeper look at the cultural differences between monogamy and polyandry, you may wish to review Dr. Pat Fagan’s paper, “Culture Clash: Monogamy vs. Polyandry.”

And just last year Slate (not quite a bastion of traditional views on marriage) published a piece with the sub-heading: “A new study shows that despite what you see on reality TV, plural marriage isn’t very good for society.” Culturally, we’re not quite there yet.

Do the next thing:

We appear to be right… marriage is under attack. Polygamy may be next. But there’s no Schadenfreude here. There is a patient, cheerful, faithful little life to be lived. There are marriages to strengthen, children to protect, court cases to be argued, blog posts to be written. Carpe diem, friends.





Obama Fights Little Nuns: War on Religion by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

4 01 2014

nun1jpg-065cf5f65d3ed5ae_largeWASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Justice registered its opposition to a temporary injunction for the Little Sisters of the Poor, after Justice Sonia Sotomayor directed the administration to respond by Jan. 3, 10am Eastern.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order of nuns who care for the elderly and the poor, had petitioned the high court for an 11th-hour reprieve, and, on Dec. 31, Justice Sotomayor granted a temporary stay, while requesting the administration to respond to the petition within three days.
“The solicitor general, on behalf of respondents, respectfully files this memorandum in opposition to the emergency application for an injunction pending appellate review or, in the alternative, a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment and injunction pending resolution,” stated the Justice Department in papers filed with the high court at the Jan. 3 deadline.
The administration’s stance underscored its commitment to upholding one of the most contentious elements of the Affordable Care Act, even when the plaintiff challenging the law was a religious order dedicated to sesrving the needy.
The brief, filed by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., echoed many of the administration’s past objections to an exemption for religious nonprofits and restated the importance of providing contraception and other services free of charge to female employees. It further argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to the Little Sisters’ specific concerns, and it noted that not one court of appeals had ruled on the merits of cases filed by religious nonprofits.
The White House has provided an “accommodation” for religious nonprofits that object to the mandate on moral grounds but are not exempt from compliance with the federal law. Under the accommodation, the government requires objecting religious employers to sign a self-certification form that allows the mandate’s provisions to be implemented by a third-party administrator. The Little Sisters contend that signing the form makes them complicit in the provision of services that violate their deeply held moral and religious beliefs.

‘Permission Slip’ for Abortion Drugs and Contraceptives
“The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives or pay millions in fines. The sisters believe that doing that violates their faith and that they shouldn’t be forced to divert funds from the elderly poor they serve to the IRS,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead counsel for the Little Sisters, in a statement released after the Justice Department filed its brief opposing a temporary injunction.
The Obama administration has defended its “accommodation” as a reasonable solution for religious nonprofits that oppose the mandate on moral grounds, arguing that nothing more is required than for the Little Sisters and other plaintiffs to sign a self-certification form.
But Rienzi said that the government’s insistence that plaintiffs sign the form suggested that the action was important.
“The government now asks the Supreme Court to believe that the very thing it is forcing the nuns to do — signing the permission slips — is a meaningless act. But why on earth would the government be fighting the Little Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court if it did not think its own form had any effect?” Rienzi said.
“If the administration believed its contraceptive mandate was valid, it would join the Little Sisters’ request for Supreme Court review because the government has lost almost all of the cases in the lower courts. Instead, its brief today is devoted to trying to keep the court out of the issue, which would leave hundreds of religious organizations subject to massive fines for following their religion.”
For-profit and nonprofit employers have filed a total of 91 legal challenges against the HHS mandate. The U.S. bishops have pressed for a broad exemption that would shield all employers who object to the mandate on moral grounds.
The Becket Fund is representing a number of for-profit and nonprofit plaintiffs that have filed legal challenges to the mandate, including the Eternal Word Television Network. The Register is a service of EWTN.
The Becket Fund also represents Hobby Lobby, a large craft-store chain, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral argument for this case in March, with a decision expected by late June.

Government’s Arguments
In the brief filed with the high court today, the Justice Department was intent on explaining why the legal issues in the Hobby Lobby case were different from the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters, with the apparent goal of discouraging the justices from taking up this case or granting a temporary injunction for all religious nonprofits that will face massive financial penalties if they do not comply with the mandate.
“Applicants are not … situated like the for-profit corporations that brought suit in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. … The employer-applicants here are eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations that exempt them from any requirement ‘to contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage,’” stated the brief.
The Justice Department’s brief further noted that the religious order was covered under a “church plan,” which meant that it was “exempt from regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).”
While ERISA is responsible for enforcement of the mandate, church plans are specifically excluded from its enforcement authority.
Since the church plans would not be subject to enforcement, the government argued, the religious freedom of organizations holding such plans was not under threat.
The administration offered the same argument in papers filed in a Brooklyn court, where the Archdiocese of New York and four New York-area Catholic nonprofits sought relief from the mandate.
In that case, Judge Brian Cogan provided two Catholic schools and two healthcare services with a permanent injunction. He said the legal challenge had merit, despite the fact that the church plans were actually shielded from ERISA’s enforcement authority.
According to Cogan, “Plaintiffs allege that their religion forbids them from completing this self-certification, because, to them, authorizing others to provide services that plaintiffs themselves cannot is tantamount to an endorsement or facilitation of such services. Therefore, regardless of the effect on plaintiffs’ TPAs [third-party administrator], the regulations still require plaintiffs to take actions they believe are contrary to their religion.”

Other Concerns
In its brief filed with the high court today, however, the Justice Department acknowledged the plaintiffs’ fears that the self-certification form could be used in the future to authorize enforcement of the mandate. Such enforcement could be put in effect, stated the Justice Department, “if Congress were to amend the Affordable Care Act … to grant the government ‘some authority outside of ERISA to enforce’ the contraceptive-coverage provision or if the departments ‘promulgate new regulations that apply to church for the courts.’”
While dismissing the plaintiffs’ concerns as irrelevant in the short term, the government’s brief noted, “if relevant new regulations were issued, applicants could renew their request for injunctive relief in light of the changed circumstances.”
During a Jan. 3 conference call with the press, Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel with the Becket Fund, also noted another reason for the Little Sisters’ concern about signing the self-certification form. The Little Sisters had also contracted with another third-party administrator, Express Script, Inc. (ESI), a prescription drug provider, which is not a “church plan.”
During a Jan. 3 interview with the Register, Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, told the Register: “ESI provides pharmaceutical drugs, such as Plan B and ella, and they have made no such guarantees [that they will not provide it to patients covered under their plans] and have no religious objection to providing it.”
The self-certification form “authorizes whomever receives it that they have permission to provide the drugs, and it is the means of reimbursement for ESI. Until Express Script receives that form, they will not get paid for the cost of the drugs,” added Bloomberg, who noted that the government accomodation provides incentives for third-party administrators to offer such provisions when religious employers refuse to do it directly.
He noted that, in papers filed with a lower court, the government had dismissed the Little Sisters’ fears about signing the form as an “invisible dragon.” In fact, said Bloomberg, the LIttle Sisters had every reason to avoid signing a document that would trigger such provisions. And he noted that when criminal conspiracy charges are filed, those who “give material aid and assist someone to do wrong” are also held accountable.

Next Step Is Unclear
It is not yet clear what steps the high court will take now. Rassbach said during the press call that the Little Sisters’ lawyers would file a reply with the court, but he could not provide a timeline for when Sotomayor, or the entire court, might respond.
Douglas Laycock, an expert on religious-freedom issues at the University of Virginia Law School, told the Register, “A stay for three days after hearing from only one side tells you that she takes the issue seriously, but it doesn’t tell you what the whole court will do after they hear from both sides.”
Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.

Courtesy of NCR





Nelson Mandela’s ‘I am prepared to die’ speech

6 12 2013

Here is  Nelson Mandela’s ‘I am prepared to die’ speech, which he gave from the dock during the Rivonia Trial, Pretoria Supreme Court, 20 April 1964. The full transcript is as published on the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory website.

“My Lord, I am the First Accused.”
” I am a convicted prisoner, serving five years for leaving the country without a permit and for inciting people to go on strike at the end of May 1961. I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe and that I played a prominent role in its affairs until I was arrested in August 1962. At the outset, I want to say that the suggestion made by the state in its opening that the struggle in South Africa is under the influence of foreigners or Communists is wholly incorrect. I have done whatever I did, both as an individual and as a leader of my people, because of my experience in South Africa, and my own proudly felt African background, and not because of what any outsider might have said. In my youth in the Transkei, I listened to the elders of my tribe telling stories of the old days. Amongst the tales they related to me were those of wars fought by our ancestors in defense of the fatherland. The names of Dingane and Bambatha, Hintsa and Makanna, Squngthi and Dalasile, Moshoeshoe and Sekhukhuni, were praised as the pride and glory of the entire African nation. I hoped then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my own humble contribution to their freedom struggle. This is what has motivated me in all that I have done in relation to the charges made against me in this case. Having said this, I must deal immediately and at some length with the question of violence. Some of exploitation, and oppression of my people by whites.

“We of the ANC have always stood for a nonracial democracy, and we shrank from any action which might drive the races further apart than they already were. But the hard facts were that fifty years of nonviolence had brought the African people nothing but more repressive legislation, and fewer and fewer rights. It may not be easy for this court to understand, but it is a fact that for a long time the people had been talking of violence — of the day when they would fight the white man and win back their country, and we, the leaders of the ANC, had nevertheless always prevailed upon them to avoid violence and to use peaceful methods. While some of us discussed this in May and June of 1961, it could not be denied that our policy to achieve a nonracial state by nonviolence had achieved nothing, and that our followers were beginning to lose confidence in this policy and were developing disturbing ideas of terrorism. . . . Umkhonto was formed in November 1961. When we took this decision, and subsequently formulated our plans, the ANC heritage of nonviolence and racial harmony was very much with us. We felt that the country was drifting towards a civil war in which blacks and whites would fight each other. We viewed the situation with alarm. Civil war would mean the destruction of what the ANC stood for; with civil war racial peace would be more difficult than ever to achieve. We already have examples in South African history of the results of war. It has taken more than fifty years for the scars of the South African [Anglo-Boer] War to disappear. How much longer would it take to eradicate the scars of interracial civil war, which could not be fought without a great loss of life on both sides?

Sabotage, I said, offered the best hope for future race relations. The reaction of the white rulers to our first efforts was swift and brutal: sabotage was declared to be a crime punishable by death. We did not want civil war, I said, but we needed to be prepared for it. Experience convinced us that rebellion would offer the government limitless opportunities for the indiscriminate slaughter of our people. But it was precisely because the soil of South Africa is already drenched with the blood of innocent Africans that we felt it our duty to make preparations as a long-term undertaking to use force in order to defend ourselves against force. If war were inevitable, we wanted the fight to be conducted on terms most favorable to our people.

The fight which held out prospects best for us and the least risk of life to both sides was guerrilla warfare. We decided, therefore, in our preparations for the future, to make provision for the possibility of guerrilla warfare. All whites undergo compulsory military training, but no such training was given to Africans. It was in our view essential to build up a nucleus of trained men who would be able to provide the leadership which would be required if guerrilla warfare started. We had to prepare for such a situation before it became too late to make proper preparations.

“The ideological creed of the ANC is, and always has been, the creed of African Nationalism. It is not the concept of African Nationalism expressed in the cry, “Drive the white man into the sea.” The African Nationalism for which the ANC stands is the concept of freedom and fulfillment for the African people in their own land. The most important political document ever adopted by the ANC is the Freedom Charter. It is by no means a blueprint for a socialist state. . . . The ANC has never at any period of its history advocated a revolutionary change in the economic structure of the country, nor has it, to the best of my recollection, ever condemned capitalist society. . . . The ANC, unlike the Communist Party, admitted Africans only as members. Its chief goal was, and is, for the African people to win unity and full political rights. The Communist Party’s main aim, on the other hand, was to remove the capitalists and to replace them with a working-class government. The Communist Party sought to emphasize class distinctions whilst the ANC seeks to harmonize them. It is true that there has often been close cooperation between the ANC and the Communist Party. But cooperation is merely proof of a common goal — in this case the removal of white supremacy — and is not proof of a complete community of interests. The history of the world is full of similar examples. Perhaps the most striking illustration is to be found in the cooperation between Great Britain, the United States of America and the Soviet Union in the fight against Hitler. Nobody but Hitler would have dared to suggest that such cooperation turned Churchill or Roosevelt into Communists or Communist tools, or that Britain and America were working to bring about a Communist world. . . . It is perhaps difficult for white South Africans, with an ingrained prejudice against communism, to understand why experienced African politicians so readily accepted Communists as their friends. But to us the reason is obvious. Theoretical differences amongst those fighting against oppression is a luxury we cannot afford at this stage. What is more, for many decades Communists were the only political group in South Africa who were prepared to treat Africans as human beings and their equals; who were prepared to eat with us; talk with us, live with and work with us. Because of this, there are many Africans who, today, tend to equate freedom with communism.

“I am not a Communist and had always regarded myself as an African patriot. I did not deny that I was attracted by the idea of a classless society, or that I had been influenced by Marxist thought. This was true of many leaders of the newly independent states of Africa, who accepted the need for some form of socialism to enable their people to catch up with the advanced countries of the West. From my reading of Marxist literature and from conversations with Marxists, I have gained the impression that Communists regard the parliamentary system of the West as undemocratic and reactionary. But, on the contrary, I am an admirer of such a system. The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights and the Bill of Rights, are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world. I have great respect for British political institutions, and for the country’s system of justice. I regard the British Parliament as the most democratic institution in the world, and the independence and impartiality of its judiciary never fail to arouse my admiration. The American Congress, the country’s doctrine of separation of powers, as well as the independence of its judiciary, arouse in me similar sentiments.

The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of white supremacy. White supremacy implies black inferiority. Legislation designed to preserve white supremacy entrenches this notion. Menial tasks in South Africa are invariably performed by Africans. When anything has to be carried or cleaned the white man looks around for an African to do it for him, whether the African is employed by him or not. . . . Poverty and the breakdown of family life have secondary effects. Children wander about the streets of the townships because they have no schools to go to, or no money to enable them to go to school, or no parents at home to see that they go to school, because both parents (if there be two) have to work to keep the family alive. This leads to a breakdown in moral standards, to an alarming rise in illegitimacy and to growing violence which erupts, not only politically, but everywhere. . . . Africans want a just share in the whole of South Africa; they want security and a stake in society. Above all, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. . . . This then is what the ANC is fighting for. Their struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.

{I had been reading my speech, and at this point I placed my papers on the defense table, and turned to face the judge. The courtroom became extremely quiet. I did not take my eyes off Justice de Wet as I spoke from memory the final words.}

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

{The silence in the courtroom was now complete. At the end of the address, I simply sat down. I did not turn and face the gallery, though I felt all their eyes on me. The silence seemed to stretch for many minutes. But in fact it lasted probably no more than thirty seconds, and then from the gallery I heard what sounded like a great sigh, a deep, collective “ummmm,” followed by the cries of women. I had read for over four hours. It was a little after four in the afternoon, the time court normally adjourned. But Justice de Wet, as soon as there was order in the courtroom, asked for the next witness. He was determined to lessen the impact of my statement. He did not want it to be the last and only testimony of the day. But nothing he did could weaken its effect. When I finished my address and sat down, it was the last time that Justice de Wet ever looked me in the eye.}

Nelson Mendel

Culled from the book: Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela  





Pope Francis Appeals Strongly For Peace and Declares September 7 Day of Prayers for Syria

31 10 2013

Pope francis ask for prayers

“Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgement of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

“May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

“What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love.

“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

“I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

“May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

“To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Pope Francis

 





Debunking The Myth of Overpopulation By Anne Roback Morse and Steven W. Mosher

14 10 2013

Debunking The Myth of Overpopulation  By  Anne Roback Morse and Steven W. Mosher

Before we start, however, let’s define overpopulation. Overpopulation describes a situation where the number of people exhausts the resources in a closed environment such that it can no longer support that population.

Let’s imagine that our PRI offices were to suddenly become a closed environment, with nothing allowed in our out. Obviously, I and my colleagues would exhaust the available resources very quickly: The water cooler would be drained dry, the refrigerator would be emptied out, and the oxygen would be all used up.

Obviously, my office has too many people for its natural resources, but I haven’t started trying to eliminate my co-workers to ensure my own survival. I haven’t launched a sterilization campaign against my younger colleagues or encouraged my older colleagues to jump out of the windows. Why?

Well, of course I am constrained by moral teaching. But aside from that, I know that my office is not a closed environment. Neither are most instances cited by overpopulation zealots, such as crowded cities or poor countries. None of these are closed environments.

Other instances of phony overpopulation occur when humans create artificially closed environments. If someone locked me in my office, most people wouldn’t blame my resulting demise on “the overpopulation of the office” but on the cruel person who locked me in. Similarly, if government policies prevent food from being transported to where it is needed, or distributed to those who are hungry, “overpopulation” is not to blame. It’s the policy, stupid.

In addition, overpopulation is defined as a problem created by the numbers of people, not their behaviors. If every person demanded his or her own continent or island, the world would seem “overpopulated” very quickly.

Let’s keep these things in mind as we consider the argument that the earth, as a closed environment, is overpopulated. Is Spaceship Earth (as they like to call it), running out of resources? Let’s evaluate:

1) “Food: there isn’t enough!” Since the time of Thomas Malthus, who lived in the early 1800s, doomsayers have gloomily predicted that mankind would outbreed its food supply, resulting in catastrophic famines. Yet the world currently produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, and there are only 7 billion of us. That is, with 7 billion human minds at work, we produce enough food for 10 billion human bodies.[1] Imagine how much food we can produce with 10 billion minds!

“But there are still hungry people in the world!” Yes, hunger remains a problem in some parts of the world, but it is not caused by the number of people. Commenting on the recent Somali famine, Oxfam, an international humanitarian organization, stated, “Famines are not natural phenomena, they are catastrophic political failures.”

“Well, we got lucky with the Green Revolution, and food production shot up, but we can’t count on something like that to occur again!” Why not? There is no reason to think that we are running out of human ingenuity. If anything, a larger population means more opportunities for the kind of scientific collaboration and increased specialization that results in such scientific leaps forward.

“Ok, but humans now eat higher up the food chain that we used to. We can’t keep that up and still have enough for everyone!” Sure, people in the developed nations eat more meat, which require much more energy input per calorie eaten than if we ate grains and plant proteins. But that doesn’t mean that we will run out of food. We are eating higher energy foods because they are relatively cheaper than they used to be—and prices don’t fall when goods are scarce. The falling price of high energy foods indicates that they are becoming more plentiful, not less so. According to the World Education Service, “world agriculture produces 17% more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago…This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day.”

2) “We are running out of water!” The earth is awash in water. Oceans cover 70 percent of the planet’s surface to an average depth of 6,000 feet. That’s why the earth looks blue from space. You cannot use up or destroy water; you can only change its state (from liquid to solid or gas) or contaminate it so that it is undrinkable.

“That’s a great theory, but if I’m thirsty, theory doesn’t mean much to me. There is not enough fresh water for everyone!” There is! Since 1900, freshwater withdrawals (i.e. production of usable water) have increased much faster than the human population has increased. Freshwater withdrawals have increased seven-fold since 1900 while the world population has increased only four-fold.[2] This suggests our ability to access usable water increases faster than population growth.
“Tell that to the people living in the Sahel!” You’re correct, lack of water is a serious humanitarian issue. But it is not an overpopulation issue. Water, although plentiful, can be difficult to move to those who need it, hence local water scarcity. As Karen Bakker (2003) states: “Water is one of the heaviest substances mobilized by human beings in their daily search for subsistence….Water is expensive to transport relative to value per unit volume, requiring large-scale capital investments in infrastructure networks which act as an effective barrier.” In other words, we need more dams, canals, and pipelines, not more abortion, contraception and sterilizations.

3) “But we’re growing exponentially!” Um,…No. We’re not. We are growing, but definitely not at an exponential rate. In fact, our rates of growth are declining. Between 1950 and 2000, the world population grew at a rate of 1.76%. Between 2000 and 2050, it is expected to grow by 0.77 percent.[3] So yes, because 0.77 is greater than zero, it is a positive growth rate, and the world population will continue to grow.

Most of this growth will come from developing countries—their life expectancies are expected to shoot up in the next 50 years, contributing to their population growth. Africa’s growth is not something to worry about.

Europe’s decline, however, is something to worry about. A UN report titled “World Population to 2300” paints a picture of Europe’s future if European fertility rates don’t rise above current levels: “The European Union, which has recently expanded to encompass 452-455 million people (according to 2000-2005 figures) would fall by 2300 to only 59 million. About half the countries of Europe would lose 95 per cent or more of their population, and such countries as the Russian Federation and Italy would have only 1 per cent of their population left.” In other words, the French, German, Italians and British will virtually cease to exist. Arrivederci, Roma!

Other fun thoughts:

– Human knowledge can be passed on through the written and spoken word in ways that evolutionary or biological advantages can’t be.

– Demographers estimate that at least 20 billion people lived on earth between the years 8000 B.C. and 0 A.D. (That’s right, the idea that half of all people who have ever lived are alive currently is a myth!)[4]

– Plankton make up 3 times more biomass than all 7 billion humans combined.[5]

– Every man, woman, and child on earth could each have 5 acres of land.[6]

– Every man, woman, and child on earth could each have a half acre of arable land.[*7]

– If we wanted to squeeze close, everyone in the world could stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the island of Zanzibar.[8]

– About 48% of all people live in a country with below-replacement fertility.[9]

– The global total fertility rate is 2.53 children per woman.[10]

– By 2050, Nigeria is projected to have a larger population than the United States.[11]

Endnotes
[1] Holt-Giménez, Eric, et al. “We Already Grow Enough Food for 10 Billion People… and Still Can’t End Hunger.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 36.6 (2012): 595-598.

[2]Gleick, Peter H. “A look at twenty-first century water resources development.” Water International 25.1 (2000): 127-138.

[3] “WORLD POPULATION TO 2300.” The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (2004): .

[4] Wachter, Kenneth W. “Cohort Person-Years Lived.” Essential Demographic Methods. Berkeley: University of California, 2012.

[5]Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al. “Estimates of global cyanobacterial biomass and its distribution.” Algological Studies 109.1 (2003): 213-227.

[6]Calculated from numbers found on: “Central Intelligence Agency.” The World Factbook. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. .

[7] Ibid.

[8] “A Tale of Three Islands.” Demography. The Economist,.

[9]”World Population Prospects the 2012 Revision.” The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (2013):.

[10]Ibid.

[11]Barnes, Hannah. “Is Population Growth out of Control?” BBC News. BBC, 28 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Oct. 2013. .

References

“A Tale of Three Islands.” Demography. The Economist, .

Bakker, Karen J. “A political ecology of water privatization.” Studies in Political Economy. 70 (2003).

Barnes, Hannah. “Is Population Growth out of Control?” BBC News. BBC, 28 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Oct. 2013. .

“Central Intelligence Agency.” The World Factbook. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. .

Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al. “Estimates of global cyanobacterial biomass and its distribution.” Algological Studies 109.1 (2003): 213-227.

Gleick, Peter H. “A look at twenty-first century water resources development.” Water International 25.1 (2000): 127-138.

Holt-Giménez, Eric, et al. “We Already Grow Enough Food for 10 Billion People… and Still Can’t End Hunger.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 36.6 (2012): 595-598.

Michael, Webber E. “How to Make the Food System More Energy Efficient: Scientific American.” Scientific American, 29 Dec. 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. .

Wachter, Kenneth W. “Cohort Person-Years Lived.” Essential Demographic Methods. Berkeley: University of California, 2012.

“World Population Prospects the 2012 Revision.” The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (2013):.

“WORLD POPULATION TO 2300.” The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (2004): .

“2013 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics by World Hunger Education Service.” Weblog post. World Hunger Education Service. Hunger Notes, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. .

 





Obama-Care The Worst Thing To Happen Since Slavery By Dr Ben Carson

12 10 2013

Obama-Care The Worst Thing To Happen Since Slavery By Dr Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson didn’t mince words: Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
Dr. Carson made the declaration about President Obama’s sweeping health care mandate Friday during a speech at the Values Voter Summit.
PHOTOS: Civil disobedience: Angry Americans flout shutdown rules
“It is slavery because it aims to make all of us subservient to the government,” he said. “It was never about health care. It was about control.”
Dr. Carson further compared the new health care reform to policies envisioned by Vladimir Lenin, one of the fathers of socialism and communism.
“Socialized medicine is the keystone in the establishment of a socialist state,” Dr. Carson told the audience of some 2,000 supporters of traditional values.
Such a comment may seem paranoid to some, he said, “but I would say if you know anything about history, how could you not bring it up?”
When people in the executive and legislative branch don’t have to participate, but everybody else has to, “that’s not America, that’s Russia,” he added.

-Washingtontimes.com

 





What can we do to make peace in the world?: Pope Francis

3 09 2013

Pope Francis Appeals Strongly  For Peace In Syria Declare September 7 Day of Prayers For Peace

“Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.
“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.
“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgement of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.
“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.
“May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.
“What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love.
“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!
“I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.
“May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
“To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
“Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”

Pope Francis





Nigeria to grow to 1 billion People by 2100? “We are rejoicing,” By Chinwuba Iyizoba

16 06 2013

 

LAGOS1The United Nations recently published its two-yearly update of world population projections. These suggest that Nigeria could rise to 725 million people by 2100. Western media are shrilly calling for Nigeria to put a check on her population growth.

No way, sorry. We Nigerians are rejoicing.

Africans love children. First for financial security. In the past children helped in the farms and the more of them the better. Today, with little or no social security, children are needed to support their parents in old age. Their contributions constitute an informal pension scheme. And having more children means a better pension.

Second, many children ensure that we avoid the problem of ageing populations. We know that in Europe and America, birthrates are far below replacement level. Their populations are ageing and a huge pension debt is resting on the shoulders of a shrinking number sof their working youths. A day of reckoning is looming for them. Nigerians want to avoid this.

Third, our large population supplies our economy with the dynamic and youthful workforce it needs to grow, as well as huge markets for all types of businesses.

Why are Westerners so nervous? Perhaps they believe that Africans will consume all the food. Critics of large population argue that population grows geometrically and food production arithmetically and that soon the human population will outstrip food production and we will all starve. This theory was first floated by Thomas Malthus.

What Malthusians fail to take into consideration is the human spirit of enterprise. Necessity is the mother of invention. This was the case with the breakthrough of Norman Boulaug, the famous scientist who invented high yield crops. Even though Boulaug did not realize it, he had refuted Malthus.

Nor is our large population the primary reason why we are poor. “For these countries to overpopulate themselves like this is a burden on themselves and the world. They are driving themselves into poverty. I suppose they will be expecting other nations to accept their overflow when their irresponsibility makes life in their own countries unbearable,” sniffs a Malthusian reader of The Economist. “High rates of population growth is the number one indicator of under-development,” shouts another.

Such nonsense is often based on ignorance. Even that paragon of exactitude, The Economist, mixed up Niger and Nigeria in its comment on a graph of population growth. But this is a salutary mistake. Let’s compare the two countries. Niger has a population of 15 million and suffers from high unemployment, poverty and an unskilled workforce. It is poorer than Nigeria with its 150 million people by a long margin. Are population and poverty really linked?

The real reason for poverty is corrupt rulers, not a lack of birth control.

Most Africans are ruled by sit-tight leaders who are supported by Western countries because they guarantee secure access to resources. “Rivalry between the United States and the USSR for the rich resources of Congo culminated in General Mobutu Sese Seko’s rule, an extremely corrupt regime that lasted 32 years and sapped the country of its income and stability,” says Paul Johnson in his book Modern Times. African democracy – with some exceptions like Ghana and Botswana — is replete with power-hungry men who cling to power even if it destroys their country. Just think of Kenya, Gabon and recently the Ivory Coast. Such men loot and steal the resources entrusted to them for the development of their people. In many cases they stash their loot in Western banks while the Western governments look the other way.

In 2009 US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton flew around Africa and spoke tough words to many African strongmen. But she sadly refused to comment when asked what the US and its allies are doing to ensure that embezzled funds are returned. Surely this evasive and insincere attitude keeps many Africans poor. Until corrupt leaders know that Europe will not shield them because of their wealth, they will not stop bleeding Africa dry.

Yet the Western propaganda that people make us poor blares on. It is often parroted by our own local media and now many Africans fear having many children. When I was young, I was taught that the world was overpopulated by my primary school teacher. My relatives complained about my mother’s seven children. “A modern woman,” they said, “shouldn’t have so many.”

But we all grew up to be healthy, normal adults and are now a great source of joy and support to my mother and father in their old age. Many of those relatives are envious because in their twilight years they have to deal with few children whom they spoilt silly.

The comfort of a small family is deceptive. Many young people in advanced countries are so spoilt by luxury that even the smallest setback feels intolerable. Euthanasia and birth control result from an inability to cope with suffering, pain and self denial. As one American lady said to me: “My biggest fear is suffering and I am so scared of pain.” No wonder they have high suicide rates!

According to The Economist, “many people in the rich world live alone and die alone.” Even in the US, white people will be in minority in the next ten years because of their low birth rate.

Nigeria and other African countries stand a good chance of becoming world leaders in the coming decades. They will helping Europe and the US to fill gaps left by acute shortages of manpower. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that a Nigerian father of five is the new head of the United Nations Population Fund. “A world of 7 billion is both a challenge and an opportunity,” says Dr Babatunde Osotimehin.

I totally agree with him.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





The Honest Gay : Jonathan Soroff

11 06 2013

The Honest Gay : Jonathan Sorof

Homosexual lobbies and groups pushing Gay agendas achieve their aims principally by falsifying truth, manipulating the media and hence public opinion, intimidating and vilifying dissenting voices. But one gay man has chosen to speak the truth, his name is Jonathan Soroff, Here is what he says about homosexual marriage “It’s demonstrably not the same as heterosexual marriage – the religious and social significance of a gay wedding ceremony simply isn’t the same.” Jonathan Soroff lives in liberal Massachusetts with his male partner, Sam. He doesn’t fit the common stereotype of an opponent of gay marriage. But like half of his friends, he does not believe that couples of the same gender should marry. “We’re not going to procreate as a couple and while the desire to demonstrate commitment might be laudable, the religious traditions that have accommodated same-sex couples have had to do some fairly major contortions,” says Soroff. Isnt that nice for a change. Thank you Mr Soroff, you have restored our confidence in Humanity.








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