Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Home Schooling Obama's Next Target?

Recently, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that homeschooling is not a parent's right. It is a statement some are saying should frighten American parents.

Nations like Germany and Sweden show that when governments take away homeschooling rights, it's a slippery slope to no parental rights.

Read it all here.

Related reading: Government Tries to Block Homeschooling Refugees; Swedish Home School Leader in Exile; New Hampshire Attacks Homeschooling; Home Schooling in America

If you wish to eliminate free thinking, make home schooling illegal.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Metropolitan Hilarion on Persecution of Christians

"In Iraq only one tenth of a million-and-a-half Christians that lived there ten years ago have survived. In Egypt we are witnessing a mass exodus of Christians. There are practically no Christians left in Libya. Ninety five percent of Christians have abandoned Homs in Syria. We, Orthodox and Catholics, must raise our voices jointly in defense of Christians subjected to persecution and repression in these countries, as well as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria and in a number of other countries as well."-- Metropolitan Hilarion

Pray for Abducted Bishops!

Orthodox Bishops still held captive

BEIRUT: Two Aleppian bishops were kidnapped by Syrian rebels in the outskirts of the city Monday evening, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

The driver of Boulos al-Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and Iskandaroun and Yohanna Ibrahim, the Syrian-Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, was killed during the attack.

The NNA reported that Ibrahim, Yazigi and the third man, also a priest, were driving from a village near the Turkish border to Aleppo. As they approached the city, they were met with an armed group that forced them out of the car.

The bishops are believed to alive and efforts are ongoing to secure their release.

Source: The Daily Star

AlJazeera falsely reported that the two bishops who were abducted by gunmen while traveling in northern Syria have been released. Read that report here.

Lake Baikal one of the world's wonders

The unique life that's evolved over millions of years in Earth's deepest body of freshwater is under threat, says Anson Mackay.

Lake Baikal in central Asia is one of the natural wonders of our planet. Known as the 'Galapagos of Russia', it contains a unique flora and fauna - most of the 2000 plus plants and animals that live in its deep waters are endemic - found nowhere else.

A top predator in the lake, Pusa sibirica, is one of the world's very few species of freshwater seals, and up to 40 per cent of Baikal's species have not even been described yet. It is a major biodiversity hotspot, declared a World Heritage Site by the UN in 1996.

Baikal's endemic species have evolved over tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of years, to occupy niches that may never have been disturbed before the last three or four decades.

The lake's unique ecology stems from its physical properties. Baikal is the oldest lake in world; it started forming over 25 million years ago when a fissure in the continent began to open up. It is also the planet's deepest lake, averaging 744m deep and going down to 1642m in places, due to a tectonic pulse that made the rift's shoulders rise up while the bottom continued to deepen.

Astonishingly, Lake Baikal accounts for over a fifth of all surface fresh water on Earth, outside polar ice caps and glaciers. And unlike other deep lakes, it contains dissolved oxygen right down to the bottom.

Read the whole article here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chechnya Terrorism and the Obama Administration

At a Friday congressional hearing, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will begin what’s sure to be the lengthy process of lawmakers diving into the Islamic terror threat from Chechnya and Dagestan.

But disturbing ties between the U.S. and Islamic radicals in the Caucasus region were known to authorities long before Tamerlan Tsarnaev was referred to the FBI by Russia and let go for what was deemed a lack of proof that he posed a threat to America.

The FBI’s Operation Blackbear back in 2001 identified people in the U.S. who were funding Islamists in Chechnya, including three individuals who met with Osama bin Laden.

In 2010, the former leader of an Islamic charity, the Ashland, Ore.-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, was convicted of two felonies — filing a false tax return and conspiring to file a false tax return — in relation to the group’s effort to shuffle money to Islamic militants in Chechnya with an obscured money trail. Pirouz Sedaghaty faced a maximum of eight years behind bars but was sentenced to 33 months in prison in 2011.

Al-Haramain, which had its headquarters in Saudi Arabia, was disbanded by the Saudi government and labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. The feds caught on to a $150,000 donation from an Egyptian via London that the organization told the IRS was used to purchase a building for prayer in Missouri but really was carried from Oregon to Saudi Arabia, where the funds were ultimately smuggled into Chechnya.

“The FBI‘s role in battling crime takes many forms,” said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, at the time. “Our agents and our partners have to aggressively chase the evidence down whatever path we find… in this case, a trail of cash leading half way around the world.”

Also in 2010, Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari was sentenced to 121 months behind bars for charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the financing of terrorist training in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The New York bank underwriter was busted by trying to transfer money through an undercover officer.

During meetings with the undercover officer, Alishtari offered to introduce him to a “fire-breathing” imam member of the Muslim Brotherhood who worked as a “recruiter” for the Islamists in Bosnia and Chechnya. That imam had the worldview that “the axis of the Islamic world is about Jerusalem and defeating the Jews.”

The Islamic charity Global Relief Foundation, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006, “was actually a conduit for funding Islamic fighters engaged in battle throughout the world, including Chechnya.”

In August 2003, Enaam Arnaout, chief executive officer of the Benevolence International Foundation, another Islamic charity front, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on racketeering conspiracy charges for funneling donations to fighters in Chechnya.

These are just some of the cases linking American networks and Chechen Islamists in a pattern of support that undermines Vice President Joe Biden’s assertion today that the Tsarnaev brothers were simply “two twisted perverted cowardly knock-off jihadis here in Boston.”

“The truth is on every frontier, terrorism as a weapon is losing,” Biden insisted. “It is not gaining adherents.”

Not that the administration, which is juggling the failure of intelligence cooperation with its meme that terror networks are wilting under President Obama’s tenure, was even on the same page about the Boston Marathon attack Wednesday.

“We just had a young person who went to Russia, Chechnya, who blew people up in Boston. So he didn’t stay where he went, but he learned something where he went and he came back with a willingness to kill people,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in Belgium. “I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system, no policy for jobs, no policy for education, no policy for rule of law, but who just want to kill people because they don’t like what they see.”

From here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Fuelling Poverty" Banned in Nigeria

A film documenting corruption in the management of oil profits has been banned in Nigeria.

Fuelling Poverty” examines the mismanagement of Nigeria's oil wealth in the context of protests against fuel subsidy suspensions in 2012.

Produced in partnership with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), filmmaker Ishaya Bako told Media Rights Agenda (MRA) that the film examines “real issues, on everyday life."

Issues, it seems, that are too real for the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to want to share. In a letter dated 8 April 2013, the NFVCB states that “Fuelling Poverty” is not permitted to be distributed, aired or exhibited, due to contents that "are highly provocative and likely to incite or encourage public disorder and undermine national security”, according to the Media Rights Agenda (MRA).

The film was released in November 2012, but was only banned when Bako submitted a request to show the film publically, the Associated Press reported.

In NFVCB's letter to Bako, the young filmmaker was warned that "all relevant national security agencies are on the alert" to ensure that he does not exhibit or distribute the film, said the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).


"Instead of banning the documentary 'Fuelling Poverty,' authorities should look into the important questions it raises about corruption and impunity in the country's oil sector and at the highest levels of government," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita from New York. “We urge Nigeria's National Film and Video Censors Board to overturn this censorship order."

Contrary to the NFVCB's intentions, however, the ban has only increased the popularity of the documentary. News reports cited by CPJ says that activists have been sharing the film on social media since the ban was issued; as of 24 April the video has over 57, 000 views on YouTube.

The film has also gained international recognition. CPJ notes that “Fuelling Poverty” was screened at the 20th New York African Film Festival this month. It also recently won “Best Documentary” at the 2013 African Movie Academy Awards.
Media Rights Agenda is still seeking to understand the reasoning behind the ban.

On 18 April, the group submitted a Freedom of Information request to the director-general of the NFVCB, asking for detailed information about the decision-making process that led to the ban.

Bako himself is also considering appealing the board's decision, says CPJ.

From here.

Related reading: Britain and Nigeria Cooperate on Energy; Nigeria and Corruption

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chechen Brothers Grew Up as Refugees

James Brooke

Russian TV reported Friday that two ethnic Chechen brothers are suspects in terrorist bombings. But, for Russians, there was a new twist: the bombings were in Boston.

In recent years, ethnic Chechens were charged in bombings of the Moscow metro, a Moscow airport and a train from Moscow. But this time, Russian reporters fleshed out the biographies of two young Chechen men, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspected of attacks in the United States.

In Dagestan, a traditionally Islamic republic bordering Chechnya, school principal Temirmagomed Davudov said the Tsarnaev family came to Dagestan in 2001 from the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan. During World War II, Stalin deported most of the population of Chechnya to Central Asia.

Davudov told reporters that the two brothers and their two sisters attended school for one year, in 2001, in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. Then, he said, the family emigrated - apparently first to Turkey, then to the United States.

Read it all here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Musharraf Arrested in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, April 19: Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf was finally arrested on Friday in judges’ detention case and was shifted to the Police Line Headquarters from his Chak Shahzad farmhouse. Interestingly, the former military dictator has been detained at a place which is opposite a graveyard where unidentified bodies of people killed during Lal Masjid operation had been buried.

The general who is the first former army chief and head of state to be arrested has been kept at the Officers’ Mess and given the suite of Inspector General of Police. Sources said Gen Musharraf who was wearing a light brown Shalwar Kamiz looked depressed.

“He was not happy over the room given to him and his feelings were visible on his face,” they said, although policemen, including officers, were treating him as if he was still the country’s president.

The sources said the retired general had been assured that he would be shifted to his residence or a better place after some legal proceedings.

Read it all here.

Quote of the Week - Benjamin Franklin

"In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity." -- Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Nicolai Sennels

Muslims regularly accuse the West of Islamophobia. The constant violence and terror attacks by Muslims, as seen recently in Boston, show that many Muslims actually want us to fear Islam. But we are not afraid. We have islamonausea. We feel disgusted by their unconstitutional religion whose holy book literally orders its followers to harm and kill non-Muslims. It is shocking to see how media and politicians, first of all Barack Hussein Obama, avoid mentioning the terrorists' religion and thereby keep the population ignorant concerning uncomfortable truths about the world's fastest growing religion.

Recent polls show that Islam is the most disliked religion in Denmark and France, where only one fourth do not dislike Islam. If you feel a bit Islamonauseated, you are not alone.
Source: Jihad Watch

Related reading:  Boston Marathon Bomber Tweets

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Omani Activists Missing

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information 19 April 2013

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) holds the Omani government accountable for endangering the lives of human rights defender Saleh Al-Azri and blogger Noah El-Saadi, both of whom had disappeared a few days ago.

Al-Azri, who is quite active on social media networks, is known for his continued demands to reform the health care system in Oman and for his solidarity with those who were accused of insulting the Sultan, for peacefully assembling and for violating the Information Technology Act (IT). He disappeared on 14 April 2013 after being summoned for investigation by the Omani Internal Security Intelligence Department. He was told to appear at the Special Unit's office with his personal documents. Al-Azri has been missing ever since. Certain activists exchanged news on social media networks claiming he had contacted his family from his unknown location.

Blogger and activist El-Saadi disappeared on 16 April 2013 in pretty much the same way as Al-Azri. He was summoned to court then moved to a secret detention centre employed by the country's internal security services. He is one of the participants of the Sahar demonstrations in 2011 where he was detained as part of a campaign of mass arrests conducted by the authorities.

“The arrest of the human rights defender Al-Azri and the blogger El-Saadi and their detention in unknown locations is a serious violation to freedom of expression. It proves that the arbitrary arrest of activists is continuing in the Sultanate,” said ANHRI.

The network calls on the Omani authorities to reveal the activists' locations, release them, and grant their safety. It also demands that authorities publicly provide reasons for the activists' arrest.

Related reading:  World Report 2012: Oman

Friday, April 19, 2013

Western Media Ignores Plight of Eastern Christians

Indifference to the fate of Middle East Christians has ancient roots

The Western media is using an centuries-old playbook in its treatment of Iraqi, Syrian and Egyptian Christians.

In 2010 an al-Qaeda front group attacked one of Baghdad's main cathedrals during Sunday mass. More than 50 people were slaughtered. The militants had a clear and simple explanation for this atrocity: "All Christian centres, organisations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the muhajideen wherever they can reach them. We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood."

In this environment, it’s no wonder that Christianity is dying in the land of its birth.

What’s more puzzling is why the Western world couldn’t care less. As recently as a century ago Christians made up 20 percent of the population of the Middle East, with thriving communities in what is now Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt. Today thanks to persecution and instability, that estimate has fallen to less than 5 percent. But instead of alarm bells- or even a flicker of interest -- this calamitous decline has been greeted with yawns by the Western media.

Read it all here.

Related reading:  Africans Puzzled by Western Antagonism to Christianty; Boko Haram Butchers Christian Factory Workers; Coptic Christians Fear Future in Egypt; Nuns Threatened in Upper Egypt; Britain Denies Protection to Iraqi Christians; Another Example of Media Bias Against Christians

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Conspiracy Theorist Charged in Ricin-laced Letter

CORINTH, Miss. — A Mississippi man who allegedly mailed poison-laced letters to the White House, a U.S. senator and a judge from Mississippi was charged Thursday with threatening the president and the two other officials, according to Justice Department documents.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, appeared in shackles and a Johnny Cash T-shirt at a federal courtroom in Oxford, Miss., according to the Associated Press.

Read it all here.

Curtis is a conspiracy theorist. Curtis posted the text and image below to his Facebook page on April 16:

I'm on the hidden front lines of a secret war. A war that is making Billions of dollars for corrupt mafia related organizations and people. (bone, tissue, organ, body parts harvesting black market) when we lay our loved ones to rest....we hope and pray their bodies are not violated but I am here to tell you, as long as the bone, tissue & organ harvesting indu$try is NOT REGULATED....on any level(s) whether it be local, state, federal or national...........your loved ones body parts are NOT $AFE. It's not fun for me to be the Me$enger here. It was not fun in 1999 when I made accidental discovery and became a "Person of interest".

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Suicide Bomb Kills Lawyers and Journalist in Somalia

ARTICLE 19 condemns the killing of a journalist and two human rights lawyers in a suicide attack on a court complex in Mogadishu on 14 April 2013. Mohamed Hassan Habeeb, a journalist who acted as a media adviser to the Bandir regional court, was killed along with the head of the Somali Lawyers Association, Mohamed Mohamud Afrah and the campaigning human rights lawer, Abdikarin Hassan Gorod.

ARTICLE 19 urges the government to launch a prompt and effective investigation into these attacks, for which the militant group Al Shabaab is reported to have claimed responsibility.

"This is one of the deadliest attacks in Mogadishu since 2011. We send our condolences to the families of those who were killed, including the journalists and the lawyers. We strongly urge the government to ensure justice is done for the victims. An urgent investigation is needed, and those responsible should be brought to justice", said Henry Maina ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Director.

On Sunday 14 April, two car bombs exploded outside the Mogadishu law courts and gunmen stormed the building. A gun battle followed between the group and the security forces, which lasted for more than two hours. Later, another car bomb exploded at a building housing Somali intelligence whilst Turkish and African Union (AU) vehicles were passing.

No official death toll has been published, but ARTICLE 19's Somali partners estimate over 20 people could have died in the twin attacks.

Journalists and human rights defenders in Somalia are frequently the target of violence.

In 2012, 18 journalists lost their lives in the line of duty.

Source: www.ifex.org

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Karzai angry over border gate

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi has accused Pakistan of violating “international norms” by installing a border gate and checkpoint along a disputed Durand line between the two countries.

Karzai suspects US aided Pakistan in building the gate.

Read the report here.

Human Evolution and Media Attention

Darren Curnoe

It’s probably a truism to suggest that the study of human evolution gets more that its fair share of media attention and hype.

Brace yourself!

There’s more on the way this week, with a set of seven papers out in the journal Science providing new details about the anatomy and evolution of almost 2.0 million-year-old Australopithecus sediba specimens from South Africa.

The find raises many questions about the scientific and public prominence of human evolution research and about the remarkable and unprecedented space provided to sediba in one of the scientific establishment’s top journals.

Unprecedented exposure

Many of my palaeontology and evolutionary biology colleagues wonder why it is that fossils belonging to the human evolutionary bush (“hominins”) get so much space in prestigious scientific journals like Nature and Science when sometimes scientifically more significant discoveries struggle to get a look in at these high profile outlets.

Read it all here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Anglican Bishops Recognize Authority of Bishop Mark Lawrence

Amidst allegations that Anglicans worldwide do not recognize the Diocese of South Carolina and its bishop, Anglican Bishops from East Africa strongly announced their support for the diocese’s dissociation from The Episcopal Church Tuesday during comments at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.

The Bishops from Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania proclaimed unqualified endorsement of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the diocese. Their comments seemed to dispute the claims of Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, the newly elected bishop of the recently formed diocese - The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. In January, vonRosenberg announced that the Anglican Communion has not acknowledged Lawrence’s diocese, even though it represents the vast majority of local Anglicans. However the four bishops, all members of the Anglican Communion in good standing, specifically recognized the diocese during the gathering.

The four were guests of the diocese following their participation in the New Wineskins Conference in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, the largest Anglican missions conference in the world.

“We came to encourage Bishop Mark Lawrence to stand firm in the faith,” said the Rt. Rev. Abraham Yel Nhial, Bishop of the Diocese of Aweil in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. Bishop Nhial was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan whose story aired recently on 60 minutes.

US Lawmakers React on N. Korea Negotiations

Michael Bowman April 14, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's suggestion of negotiations with North Korea has provoked a mixed reaction from U.S. lawmakers.

Speaking in Tokyo Sunday, Secretary Kerry reiterated America's longstanding commitment to Japan's defense. At a news conference with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishada, Kerry urged dialogue with Pyongyang.

"Hopefully, North Korea will hear our words, and recognize that for the future of its people and for the future stability in the region, as well as on the [Korean] peninsula itself, there is a clear course of action that they are invited to take. And they will find in us ready partners to negotiate in good faith to resolve this issue."

In Washington, Democratic Senator Richard Durbin applauded the Obama administration's offer of negotiations.

"I think Secretary Kerry has it right. We are willing to step forward, but we want to see some positive measures from the North Koreans that bring down this harsh and hot rhetoric."

Speaking on the Fox News Sunday television program, Durbin said efforts to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula would be strengthened by more robust efforts from China, North Korea's main economic partner.

"It is time for you [China] to step up and show some leadership in this region of the world. We are prepared to work toward a common goal of peace. But we need the Chinese to tell the North Koreans that if they want to continue this escalation of rhetoric, it is at the expense of the safety of this world as well as their own economy."
Some U.S. lawmakers are wary of possible negotiations with North Korea. Also appearing on Fox News Sunday, Republican Senator John Cornyn said the United States must not reward Pyongyang's belligerence.

"I am not for paying an unhinged leader like Kim Jong-un ransom in order for him to tone down his rhetoric. It is like a bad movie. We keep seeing the re-runs."

Monday, Kerry meets with Japan's prime minister. Japan is within range of North Korean missiles.

From here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quote of the Week - St. John of Kronstadt

"When the darkness of the accursed one [the devil] covers you — doubt, despondency, despair, disturbance — then only call with your whole heart upon the sweetest name of Jesus Christ, and in Him you shall find all — light, strengthening, trust, comfort, and peace; in Him you shall find the greatest mercy, goodness and bountifulness; all these mercies you will find contained in His name alone, as though in a rich treasury."--St. John of Kronstadt

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Justice Dept Launches LGBT Emphasis

The United States Department of Justice has launched a “Special Emphasis Program” to recruit and provide professional development to gay and transgender employees according to an internal memo obtained by PJ Media. The institutionalization of the Special Emphasis Program will ensure an “annual LGBT special observance event in June, outreach and awareness events, and professional development seminars (for LGBT employees).” Apparently the sequester was no obstacle to implementing this program.

See the document here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gosnell Faces Murder Charges in PA

A Philadelphia doctor who performed abortions is on trial for murder. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is accused in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies who the prosecutor says were born alive. District Attorney R. Seth Williams laid out the case in disturbing detail in a grand jury report last year.

When authorities raided Gosnell's clinic in 2010 they found squalid conditions: blood on the floor, the stench of urine and a flea-infested cat wandering through the facility.

Gosnell catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the Women's Medical Society

In court, Gosnell's attorney said his client is unfairly being held to standards one might expect at the Mayo Clinic. A jury will decide Gosnell's fate, but what is clear now is that state regulators were not doing their job.

"Unfortunately and tragically in Pennsylvania, facilities were going uninspected for years," says Maria Gallagher, a lobbyist with the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. Gosnell's clinic went 17 years without an inspection, according to prosecutors.

Read it all here.

Related reading:  The Washington Post, Why the Gosnell trial shocks; Abortion Blindness in the New York Times; Leon Kass: The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial

“There was nothing 'underground' about #Gosnell clinic,” wrote a California-based writer who goes by the handle “Joe the Patriotic.”

“National Abortion Federation, Board of Medicine looked the other way,” he noted.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Social Science Study Spooks Gay Advocates

By Austin Ruse

WASHINGTON DC, April 12 (C-FAM) Homosexual advocates seem obsessed by a social science study that goes against them. They say the research is unimportant but can’t stop talking about it.

A year ago Dr. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas published a 15,000-person study showing that children do best in a household with their married mother and father. He further found that no other family structure works this well and by contrast often did worse.

A tsunami of protest and personal attacks engulfed him. His university and the journal where he published his findings investigated the research and cleared him of any suspicion. Even so, the attacks on him and those who use his research continues.

Dr. Susan Yoshihara, research director of C-FAM, used the Regnerus study before the legislature in Rhode Island and came under attack by political fact checkers who claim some of her testimony was false. Yoshihara countered the popular wisdom that it makes no difference whether gay or biological parents raise a child. She said such claims have been “shattered by the latest and best social science research.”

Yoshihara also pointed to a study that challenges social science claims that sexual orientation of parents makes no difference. Loren Marks of LSU analyzed 59 studies used to make this claim and found all of them scientifically wanting.

Politifact, a self-styled watchdog of political truth, branded Yoshihara’s claim as false. Yoshihara, however, says the Politifact piece itself backed up her claim when they quoted a “prudent scholar” who said the issue is not settled in the scientific literature, which was Yoshihara’s claim in the first place.

The Regnerus study came up again this week in the pages of the New York Times. Former Times executive editor Bill Keller said, “The study was pretty well demolished by peers.”

And the Huffington Post got into the Regnurus act this week by reporting that he had media training before his study came out last year and that he received money for his study from a conservative foundation and had spoken to conservative groups.

The Huffington Post also pointed out that Regnerus signed a friend of the court brief submitted to the Supreme Court in their deliberations on same-sex marriage. They called his “little noticed” though out of nearly 50 briefs from both sides it was one of the only ones discussed during oral arguments.

Yoshihara said she brought the Regnerus study to the Rhode Island legislature because at similar hearings last year the committee chairman insisted there was no “peer reviewed” literature rebutting the “it makes no difference” claim. The Regnerus study scientifically rebuts that claim and is peer reviewed, which appears to have spooked the New York Times, Politifact, the Huffington Post and many other advocates for homosexual marriage.

C of E Rejects Gay Marriage as Pastoral Provision

The Church of England has reaffirmed its rejection of gay marriage stating the public blessing of marriage can only take place within the context of a lifelong, monogamous, male-female relationship. Marriage is a gift from God, not a right granted by the state nor cultural construct said a paper released today by the church’s Faith and Order Commission entitled “Men and Women in Marriage”.

“In calling it a gift of God, we mean that it is not simply a cultural development (though it has undergone much cultural development) nor simply a political or economic institution (though often embedded in political and economic arrangements). It is an expression of the human nature which God has willed for us and which we share. And although marriage may fall short of God’s purposes in many ways and be the scene of many human weaknesses, it receives the blessing of God and is included in his judgment that creation is ‘very good’ (Genesis 1.31). In calling it a gift of God in creation, we view marriage within its wider life-context: as an aspect of human society and as a structure of life that helps us shape our journey from birth to death.”

Read it all here.

For a different take on this, see David Virtue's report here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Black Clergy Oppose Gay "Marriage"

Members of the African-American Clergy Coalition — Pastor Andrew Singleton, from left, Bishop Willie James Campbell, Pastor Byron Brazier and Bishop Horace Smith with Cardinal Francis George.
(Photo: Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)

And it is happening in President Obama's hometown, but the mainstream media once again has failed to take note.

On Thursday April 4th, the Chicago Tribune ran a front page, above the fold story with the headline “Black lawmakers may hold key on gay marriage in Illinois.” It was revealing, in so many ways.

The Rev. James Meeks took to the pulpit of the enormous House of Hope at Salem Baptist Church of Chicago and exhorted his congregation to make its voice heard by lawmakers who will vote on whether to allow gay marriage in Illinois.

“We’re living in a time where, here in our own state … they are about to make the law of the land that a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman. I think it’s time for the church to wake up,” Meeks, a former state senator, said on a recent Sunday.

With the measure a dozen votes or less shy of the 60 required for final approval, advocates on either side of the issue consider the 20 black Illinois House members key votes in the spring session.

Some African-American lawmakers reject attempts to characterize gay rights as the latest civil rights cause.

Bishop Lance Davis, senior pastor of New Zion Christian Fellowship Church of Dolton said, "Nature and the Bible dictate our stance today. It is not our personal opinion about the lifestyles of any individual that comes in our church or outside of our church. It is merely based upon the word of God."

“When I saw that the lawmakers were excited about passing legislation about same-sex marriage, it’s a slap in the face of the Bible,” said Bishop Davis. “I didn’t see that kind of enthusiasm about stopping children from killing children in the streets.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Moon and the Mysterious Nautilus

G. Tracy Mehan, III

Noted ecologist Daniel Botkin provides a remarkable description of a natural phenomenon which is also the title of his new book, The Moon In The Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered. Botkin describes the chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius Linnaeus), one of “the humblest and most obscure creatures”, which dwells in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is “a cryptic creature with nocturnal habits, living in the depths of the ocean, as much as 1,000 feet below the surface, and rarely seen alive by human beings.” Its oldest fossil ancestors date back 420 million years.

The nautilus lives in the outermost chamber of its shell. As it grows it needs a larger protective shield, and the chambers grow in size, the shell “coiling into the convoluted shape of a logarithmic spiral, following a simple but elegant mathematical formula.”

Along the opening of the outer chamber of its shell, small deposits of calcium carbonate are laid down in groups of three to five, separated from the others by a ridge or “growth line.” On average there are 30 growth lines per chamber, one for each day in the lunar cycle, “suggesting that a new chamber is put down each lunar month and a new growth line each day. From this it can be inferred “that the chambered nautilus contains in its shell two clocks: one timed to the sun, the other to the moon.”

“Strangely, the number of growth lines per chamber has increased over time,” writes Dr. Botkin. Older fossil shells have only nine growth lines per chamber. Modern shells have thirty. This, in turn, suggests “that the lunar month has grown longer and that the moon used to revolve faster around Earth than it does now.” Ergo, “the moon must have been closer to Earth, since the closer a satellite is to a planet, the faster it must revolve to remain in orbit.” It would seem that the revolution of the moon 420 million years ago took only nine days. Since then there has been a loss of energy from friction of the tides, causing the moon to recede slowly as it continues to do.

This loss of energy from friction increased when the continents emerged about 600 million years ago. “Thus in the chambered nautilus, the solar system, the physical Earth, and life on Earth are linked,” Botkin writes.

An interesting question arises: if the moon’s orbit continues its drift, what might its impact be on inter-tidal life at some future point in time? As Heraclitus said, “All is flux.”

Professor Botkin sees in the image of the chambered nautilus a model for a new unity in which human beings can live and thrive within a wondrous, unsettling, and dynamic ecosystem. No longer should nature be characterized in terms of a “balance of nature” which assumes that nature, undisturbed by human beings, achieves a steady state or equilibrium, a kind of constancy in terms of maximum biomass and diversity. It is the deconstruction of this old view of nature which takes up most of the book.

The Moon In The Nautilus Shell is an expanded and updated version of Botkin’s 1990 landmark book Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the 21st Century.In it he challenged the idea that nature maintains its equilibrium indefinitely as long as people just leave it alone -- since they can only have negative effects on it. Take the case of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota, a remarkable place which would meet most people’s conventional idea of wilderness. According to Dr Botkin it has, from the end of the last ice age until the time of European colonization, “passed from the ice and tundra to spruce and jack pine forest.” From there it shifted to paper birch and adler, and then back to spruce, jack pine and white pine driven by variable climate. Botkin asks: “Which of these forests represented the natural state?”

“If natural means simply before human intervention, then all these habitats could be claimed as natural, contrary to what people really mean and really want,” claims Botkin. “What people want in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is a wilderness as seen by the voyageurs and a landscape that gives the feeling of being untouched by people.” Nothing wrong with that, but a choice must be made.

Botkin offers numerous case histories where failure to appreciate the role of change and disturbance led to bad management decisions such as the total suppression of fire in forests. This resulted, for instance, in the decline of the giant sequoia trees on the west coast of the United States. However, letting nature take its course, without any human intervention, can also be fatal as in the case of the elephant herd in Kenya’s Tsavo national park in which game managers ignored a population explosion, stood by and waited for “the attainment of a natural ecological climax.” That elephant population crashed and did not recover for years.

Another contributor to this conversation is Emma Marris, a writer for the science journal Nature and the author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. She uses the metaphor of an unruly garden to illustrate the dynamic, changing nature of nature, and the predictably unpredictable role of human beings. “We are already running the whole Earth, whether we admit it or not,” asserts Marris. “But from the point of view of a geologist or paleo-ecologist, ecosystems are in a constant dance, as their components compete, react, evolve, migrate, and form new communities.”

It may be impossible to restore conditions, say, in an Australian sanctuary to 1770 by trapping and killing thousands of introduced rabbits. Yet, it might be possible to manage it for something achievable such as avoiding extinction of rare or endangered species. Humans have lived in Australia for 50,000 years. “Aborigines increased the amount of flammable plant material… This, combined with their fire-setting ways, may have changed the dominant species in many parts of the country,” she writes.

“A consequence of throwing out the ‘pristine wilderness’ ideal is that conservationists, and society at large, now have to formulate alternative goals for conservation,” says Marris. “In a nutshell, give up romantic notions of a stable Eden, be honest about goals and costs, keep land from mindless development, and try just about everything.”

Marris echoes Botkin who observes, “Nature in the twenty-first century will be a nature that we make; the question is the degree to which this molding will be intentional or unintentional, desirable or undesirable.” Botkin recognizes that abandoning the belief in the constancy of nature is very discomforting leaving us in “an extreme existential position.”

Environmental historian and Bancroft prize winner William Cronon wrote a challenging essay in 1995, “The Trouble with Wilderness; Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”, in which he claimed it was time “to rethink wilderness.”

Wilderness is “profoundly a human creation” and a “flight from history that is very nearly the core of wilderness represents the false hope of an escape from responsibility, the illusion that we can somehow wipe clean the slate of our past and return to the tabula rasa that supposedly existed before we began to leave our mark on the world.” This results in a dualism that sets humanity and nature at opposite poles. “We thereby leave ourselves little hope of discovering what an ethical, sustainable, honorable, human place in nature might actually look like,” wrote Cronon.

Still, many resist this admittedly disturbing revisionism. Tulane environmental law professor Oliver Houck demurs on the question of deconstructing nature and ecology. In a 1998 article he declared, “While ecosystems contain humans, human actions are not their measure. The best available measures of ecosystems are representative species that indicate their natural conditions.”

“This measure taken, the role of human beings is to manage ecosystems, and themselves, toward that goal,” maintains Houck.

The environmental historian Donald Worster worries about a new “era of agnosticism” in which the very idea of the ecosystem or nature is nothing more than fiction. Is the idea of “some comprehensive order in organic nature now totally suspect?

The famous Jesuit palaeontologist Teilhard de Chardin wrote in The Phenomenon of Man (1952) that, “The order and the design do not appear except in the whole. The mesh of the universe is the universe itself.” One must recognize great variability and discontinuities in the here and now, in the realm of contingency so to speak, with chance and randomness playing their part within a broader context of probabilities and logic. Botkin pulls back from describing this dynamism in nature as chaotic. Chance and randomness, yes. But not chaos. Is this new, dynamic view of nature really disorder or just a more sophisticated, non-static version of order?

Nevertheless, there is a bit of irony in the image of the moon in the nautilus shell in a book on discontinuities and disequilibrium in nature. Just how random is the interaction of life, tides, lunar orbits and continents rising from the sea? Neither Botkin nor Marris engage in a discussion of final causes at least in these books. But the philosopher or theologian might, understandably, be drawn into such a stimulating and important discussion of questions which science can only inform but not answer.


G. Tracy Mehan, III, served at the U.S. E.P.A. in the administrations of both Presidents Bush. He is consultant in Arlington, Virginia, and an adjunct professor at George Mason University School of Law. Parts of this article were previously published in The Environmental Forum (Environmental Law Institute www.eli.org) and The American Spectator (www.spectator.org).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Marriage More Than a Lifestyle

Tristan McLindon

Marriage is, I believe, a supreme calling from God which will require our humbly saying “Yes!” to our particular vocation and to repeat that “yes” each and every day of our lives to make sure we are living it out as completely and truthfully as possible.

Pop culture tells us love is easy. The lyrics of McFly’s latest song show this so clearly: If this is love then love is easy. It's the easiest thing to do. I’d have to wonder whether he’s singing about true love there.

Love is amazing. It’s invigorating, uplifting and euphoric; it makes you want to conquer the world… But -- it takes commitment. It’s a decision, a conscious decision whose consequences have to be lived in difficult as well as easy times. And because it has to endure pain as well as joy, love is far from easy. So then, is it just “lovey” love that makes us want to get married?

I don’t think so. If only the romantic element of love was involved, it wouldn’t take long for the relationship to cool down. It’s impossible to sustain the level of euphoria often depicted in Hollywood films. But rather than being a disappointment this should be celebrated, because in the case of sincere love this indicates that romantic love is not the full story.

Marriage has been described as the ultimate friendship. This friendship should be founded upon a true and authentic love that wants, more than anything else, the good of the other. First and foremost it’s a team, a partnership, a union of two best friends.

I can say the eight months of our engagement have been the best and most exciting times of our lives, and I look forward to sharing the years and exhilarating road ahead with my fiancé, my best friend.

The last scene of the movie Into The Wild comes to mind. Chris McCandless spends his youth travelling across America searching for the meaning of happiness. Moments before this lonely search brings him to his last breath he scribbles down that ‘happiness is shared’.

I’m glad that my fiancĂ© and I are so blessed as to be able to make this decision so early in our lives. We know we will only be able to fulfill this by God’s grace; but the excitement of the shared journey ahead definitely surpasses any fears of which, surprise, surprise, there are some.

(This is an excerpt. Read it all here.)

Tristan McLindon worked in the Queensland Parliament for three years before completing a Diploma in Acting and Film in New York and Los Angeles in 2012. He has recently moved to Melbourne in preparation for his marriage in July.

Related reading:  "The Case for Getting Married Young", The Atlantic magazine

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What's wrong with the world?

As Cardinal Dolan told the U.S. Catholic bishops: "The Premier answer to the question 'What's wrong with the world?' is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalism or global warming - none of these, as significant as they are. As Chesterton wrote, the answer to the question 'What's wrong with the world?' is just two words ... 'I am.'"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Arms Treaty Blocked by Iran, N.Korea and Syria

NEW YORK, March 29 (RIA Novosti) – Delegations from 193 UN member states failed to reach unanimity on the first international treaty establishing rules for cross-border conventional arms trade, due to objections from Iran, North Korea and Syria.

The three states have criticized the draft as "unbalanced" and giving an advantage to the world's biggest weapons exporters.

The negotiations at the UN headquarters in New York lasted ten days. Peter Woolcott of Australia, who presides the Final UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), suspended the final session for last-minute consultations with the three nations.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today was "deeply disappointed" by the failure to agree on the treaty, according to a statement attributable to his spokesperson.

"The treaty had been within reach, thanks to the tireless work and spirit of compromise among Member States," the statement reads.

Russian Foreign Ministry Security and Disarmament Department Director Mikhail Ulyanov said the treaty contained "no provisions that would be absolutely inadmissible" for Russia. He added, however, that it has "many loopholes" and other drawbacks, and thus requires improvement.

The document will be put to a General Assembly vote.

"We are set to thoroughly study this draft [treaty] in Moscow, and then we will decide on our stance toward it, including on whether we should join it," he said.

The idea to establish standards for all cross-border transfers of conventional weapons was voiced by a group of Nobel Prize laureates in 1995, but the UN General Assembly started preparations for this year's conference only in 2009.

According to the draft text, the treaty applies to all conventional arms, including not only small arms and light weapons, but also battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers.

It would also create binding requirements for nations to review all cross-border arms contracts to ensure arms will not be used in human rights abuses, terrorism or violations of humanitarian law.

Source: GlobalSecurity


Friday, April 5, 2013

Planned Parenthood Endorses Infanticide

Florida legislators considering a bill to require abortionists to provide medical care to an infant who survives an abortion were shocked during a committee hearing this week when a Planned Parenthood official endorsed a right to post-birth abortion.

Alisa LaPolt Snow, the lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, testified that her organization believes the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman seeking an abortion and her abortion doctor.

"So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief," said Rep. Jim Boyd. "If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

Read it all here.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Prop 8 and Wishful Thinking

Rick Moran

Gay-marriage advocates have been laying it on thick these last few days, building what appears to be an unstoppable momentum that will contribute to the inevitable: legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

It’s only unstoppable in their imagination, and if they don’t start taking a longer view of things, they are apt to be royally disappointed. Exactly five polls have come out in the last fortnight that show a majority support for gay marriage — today. Those polls also show a strong minority — more than 40% — still opposed. Such a rapid change in public opinion on an issue that has been controversial for 20 years should be suspect. Other factors could be in play that help explain the shift.

What will those numbers be six months from now? As we’ve seen with the abortion issue and other sensitive social issues, there appears to be a portion of the U.S. population that flits back and forth between the pro and anti positions, depending on which way the political wind is blowing.

One could even argue that the toxicity of the GOP and conservatism in general may be driving some of the increased support for gay marriage. Who wants to take a position on an issue associated with the party of old, bluenose fuddy-duddies?

The bottom line: Anti-gay marriage advocates aren’t giving up and aren’t going anywhere. Those who see opposition to gay marriage as a moral calling or as a cause to save “traditional marriage” may lose a round or two in the courts, but rest assured that they are girding their loins for battle in state legislatures across the country. There are still 41 states that have not approved same-sex marriage, and for the marriage-equality crowd, it’s still going to be a long, uphill climb to achieve their goal.

Jonathan Chait has designated himself obituary writer for the anti-gay marriage movement, claiming that Maggie Gallagher, a prominent figure in the movement, has all but given up:

Now the movement is in a state of total collapse, with every day seeming to bring new converts to the gay-marriage cause and the opposition losing all of its courage. There is no more telling sign of the opposition’s surrender than the public demoralization of Maggie Gallagher, the leading anti-gay-marriage activist and writer.

The unusual thing about the campaign to ban gay marriage is that it was dying from the moment it was born. Even at its peak, at the very outset, the portents of doom were visible on the horizon — polls showed that young voters strongly supported gay marriage. The best case for Gallagher and her allies appeared to be holding on for years, or even decades, but eventually gay-marriage opponents would age out of the electorate.

If Mr. Chait’s crystal ball is that good, he should change careers and become a stock touter. Attitudes of the young can change from generation to generation. For example, more women today are pro-life than were 10 years ago. It’s true that opposition to gay marriage is highest among older Americans. But Chait, who has been touting a similar end to the GOP because of changing demographics in America, should take a closer look at his pet numbers: 66% of black Protestants say that “same-sex marriage would violate their religious beliefs.” And 69% of Catholics — a large percentage being Hispanics — also believe gay marriage would violate their religious tenets. At least 58% of black voters backed Proposition 8 in California (exit polls showed 70% support).

In short, the reported demise of the anti-gay marriage movement has been greatly exaggerated and is based more on wishful thinking than cogent analysis.

Just because a few politicians have recently stuck their fingers into the wind and had a Road to Damascus moment on gay marriage does not denote overwhelming, unstoppable momentum for universal gay-marriage rights in the U.S. This is especially true given the probability that the Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 will serve only to open the door a little wider for states to decide the issue themselves. Yes, it’s a perilous game trying to predict how the Supreme Court will rule in those two cases. Recall that many of the same court watchers predicting victory for gay marriage also predicted the Roberts court would overturn the individual mandate in Obamacare. But the range of possibilities points to partial victories for gay-marriage supporters, with the justices leaving it up to states to decide the issue.

Source: PJ Media

Related reading:  Legal Equality of Marriage Redefined?; Today's Savage Mind

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jesus Will Return to a Faithless World

A recent Pew study indicates that less than 50% of those surveyed believe that Jesus Christ will return within 40 years. Since the return of Christ is a dogma required to be believed to be a Christian, this signals failure of the Churches to teach the full Gospel.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Homosex Not Universally Accepted

Alice C. Linsley

The Pew Research Center's 2007 Global Attitudes Survey found that "people in Africa and the Middle East strongly object to societal acceptance of homosexuality." It should not come as a surprise that societies that value the traditions of their ancestors resist acceptance of homosexuality while societies influenced by the Enlightenment, i.e., Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, accept and even advocate for gay rights.

Blue shades represent areas where homosex is most accepted. There are groups within the blue areas which do not accept homosex. The Micmac (Ainu) of northeast Canada and the Aborigines of Australia are examples.

Wisdom Based on Empirical Observation

When the Bible is referenced in conversation about homosexuality, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is usually cited. Some argue that the destruction of the cities was an act of divine punishment on those who practiced homosex. Others argue that the sin of Sodom was not homosex, but a lack of hospitality. Both sides miss the point. These Canaanite cities represent a religion quite foreign to that of Abraham's Horite people and it is Abraham's people who tell the story.

Their repudiation of homosex proceeds logically from their doctrine of creation. God created humanity in two sexes that the human race might be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. All non-procreative acts are viewed as immoral in this context. This includes onanism, homosex and refusal to fulfill the levirate marriage law (Deut. 25:5-10). Such acts frustrate God's purpose and go against the divine order in creation.

The levir's duty was to produce an heir for his deceased brother by his brother's widow. This practice insured that none of the priestly divisions would cease to exist. This was important to God's purpose since Jesus would be born of these priestly lines. The Virgin Mary's father was a priest who married a daughter of a priest, following the Horite marriage and ascendancy pattern.

The spilling of semen (onanism) is still regarded as an unrighteous deed among Afro-Arabians and most tribal peoples. The seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. This is the ancient wisdom which observed patterns in nature.

From the earliest days, Christians have upheld the Biblical teaching on non-procreative acts. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 A.D. 191).

Ancient Morality

The most ancient moral codes, such as the Law of Tehut, have many common features. They appeal to the authority of the deity who was recognized by the ruler and they view the ruler as the deity's earthly representative. Another common feature is concern for purity among the priestly caste as they were regarded as the mediators between the deity and the ruler and his people. Often the rulers themselves were priests, but when it came to ritual purity, especially to cleanse from blood guilt, ruler-priests turned to other priests for purification of absolution rituals.

Ancient moral codes have a religious quality because religion and government were never separate in the ancient world. Among ancient peoples religious laws governed every aspect of the community’s life. Taboo is an aspect of ancient law that regularizes a community’s recognition of boundaries and supernatural power. In ancient Egypt none were permitted to touch the ruler except his queen who was usually his half-sister or his cousin. Among the ancient Polynesians, the high chief’s “mana” was such that people even avoided having his shadow fall on them. Taboo extended to objects, persons, words, and even numbers. Those who broke a taboo were punished or shamed by community.

An example of a taboo among the ancient Israelites was boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deuteronomy. 14:21). This was taboo because it blurred the boundary between life-giving and life-taking. This same boundary applied to blood. The blood shed in hunting, war and animal sacrifice could not be confused with or even physically near the blood shed by women in their monthly cycle or in birthing. The two bloods represent the binary oppositions of life-taking and life-giving. To blur the distinction between them was a serious matter as this boundary was established by the Creator.

Ancient wisdom was empirical in the sense that it based moral decisions upon boundaries observed universally in the order of Nature. Ethics has always been grounded in what is universally observable and in the uniformity of nature. It is the recognition of and honoring of established boundaries in nature. In evolutionary biology this is called "horotely" a referent to Horus who was said to be the fixer of all boundaries: seas, wind, earth, sky, human populations, kinds/essences, east-west, etc. Even strict empiricist recognize that there are boundaries. Consider these statements:

"The proposition that the course of Nature is uniform, is the fundamental principle, or general axiom, of Induction."--John Stuart Mill

"To be is to be the value of a bound variable."--Willard van Orman Quine

There are boundaries everywhere. They are sensed, observed and generally honored. It is a sign of perversion, spiritual rebellion and foolishness to reject and attempt to overthrow those boundaries.

Modern Morality

Modernity springs less from profound philosophical conversation than it does from the will to do whatever one wants and to find justification for one's decisions and choices. This is to say that the individual has become the sole judge of what is right and good, apart from concern for the community's welfare.

That being the case, we not that only western societies have made provision for same-sex partnerships, though these are never called "marriages."

Norway has had "registered partnerships" since 1993.

Sweden has called them "registered partnerships" since 1994.

Hungary and Iceland have had "registered partnerships" since 1996.

France has called them “civil solidarity pacts” since 1999.

In Denmark “registered partnerships” were first recognized in 1998 as an alternative to marriage and an option for heterosexual couples. Adoption by homosexual couples was approved in 2000.

The Netherlands, Finland and Germany have had "registered partnerships" since 2001.

In the USA same-sex partnerships are recognized in nine states and the District of Columbia. It has been argued that the Federal government should apply federal "marriage" benefits uniformly, but the states decide what constitutes a civil union or marriage. It is clear that other countries do not uniformly recognize same-sex partnerships either. Argentina has had "partnership registration" since 2003 only in Buenos Aires city and Rio Negro province. Likewise, Australia implemented "cohabitation rights" in 1994 in the Capitol Territory, and in 1999 in New South Wales, and in 2001 in Victoria.

In Spain, despite the Socialist Party push to grant equal status to same-sex partnerships through the "Law of amendment of the Civil Code in the matter of Marriage," homosexual partnerships are not recognized by the Church and are limited to some states. The law is intentionally ambiguous. Zapatero remembers how the Spanish Republic, a coalition of Leftist groups, attempted to impose a new morality on Catholic Spain in 1936 and cast that nation into a bloody civil war.

Switzerland has permitted homosexuals to form "civil partnerships" since 2005.

Liechtenstein has had "registered partnerships" since 2002.

New Zealand passed a "civil union" bill in 2005.

None of these nations has chosen to call homosexual partnerships "marriage." The world consensus appears still to regard marriage is a unique institution between a man and a woman.

In the recent attempt to repeal DOMA, the opposition argued that the human race has "evolved" beyond the binary framework that is universally and empirically observed in the order of Nature. The Justices of the United States Supreme Court did not appear to be convinced by this unsubstantiated claim. Perhaps they recognize that this implies overthrow of the very basis of the empirical method.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Malala's Book Expected to Make Millions

Malala Yousufzai with her father and brothers

LONDON, March 28: Malala Yousufzai is to tell her story in a book due out later this year, the publishers said on Thursday, in a deal reportedly worth around $3 million. The book will be entitled “I Am Malala”.

“I hope the book will reach people around the world, so they realise how difficult it is for some children to get access to education,” the 15-year-old girl from Swat said in a statement.

“I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61m children who can’t get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”

Malala was shot at point-blank range by a Taliban gunman as her school bus travelled through Swat Valley on October 9 last year, in an attack that drew worldwide condemnation.

The book will be published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in Commonwealth countries and by Little, Brown elsewhere. It is due to be published in the next six to nine months.—AFP

Related reading:  Malala Survives: Wake up, Biden!; Malala in UK HospitalMalala Recovering from Surgery; Malala to Pursue Her Dreams