(WASHINGTON, DC – C-FAM) A resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives this week condemning two United Nations committees. The non-binding resolution was introduced by Republican Thad McCotter (R-MI) and specifically condemns actions taken by the Human Rights Committee (HRC) and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The resolution singles out these two committees for reinterpreting hard-law treaties to include a right to abortion and trying to force sovereign states who have ratified the treaties into accepting these new interpretations.
The resolution charges that the committees’ "unelected members...operate without any formal oversight and entirely unaccountable to the United Nations system and Member States." The resolution further charges that these "unelected members…change the meaning" of the documents they are charged with monitoring "from the original text negotiated by sovereign states."
Though neither the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights nor the CEDAW treaty mention abortion and, as stated in the Resolution, "establishes or implies a right to abortion," the Committees routinely tell governments they must change their laws protecting the unborn.
The resolution cites five examples where the Committees criticized Ireland on abortion. In August 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Ireland "the Committee is concerned that, with very limited exceptions, abortion remains illegal in Ireland" and told the government to "facilitate a national dialogue on women's reproductive rights, including on the restrictive abortion laws." Six years later the Committee admitted that a national dialogue had taken place "with five separate referendums held on three separate occasions." Even so, the Committee again told Ireland again to facilitate a national dialogue on abortion.
In July 2000 the Human Rights Committee told Ireland that "the State should ensure that women are not compelled to continue with pregnancies where that is incompatible with (committee directives and decisions)."
UN Committees that oversee the implementation of UN treaties are made up of "experts" in each area and are generally drawn from academia, advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations. These Committees take it upon themselves to reinterpret the treaties and then ask governments to act on these changes. These statements by these committees are then used by radical lawyers on the ground to initiate law suits.
The Congressional Resolution "strongly rebukes the efforts" of the two committees, "calls into question the merit of using United States taxpayer-generated revenues to support them," and "urges countries with restrictions on the practice of abortion to remain steadfast in the time-honored traditions and verities of their cultures…"
David Quinn, president of the Dublin-based Iona Institute told the Friday Fax, "Congressman McCotter deserves congratulations for bringing this to public attention. The bullying behavior of the UN towards countries which have pro-life laws, such as Ireland, is deplorable, unconscionable and needs to be brought to an end."
Given the political make-up of the US House of Representatives, it is unlikely that the resolution will pass. However, McCotter's staff told the Friday Fax they expect to continue with such efforts in the future.
Ireland is set to appear before the CEDAW committee in January.
26 settembre 2008
By Austin Ruse
25 settembre 2008
CAIR files FEC complaint: Obsession distribution a Zionist plot
Despite the fact that the film Obsession contains no political content and was made well before the 2008 election cycle began, CAIR, those paragons of Islamic moderation and honesty, would now have you believe that the national distribution of the DVD was an Israeli plot to elect John McCain.
This is a very revealing action for CAIR to take. It reveals in particular two key aspects of CAIR's mindset:
1. It shows that CAIR is fully aware that the jihad against Israel is an integral part of the global jihad, and is not just a struggle to recover Palestinian "stolen land." Thus a film that reveals the nature and goals of that global jihad -- Obsession -- benefits Israel.
2. It also shows that CAIR believes that John McCain will fight against the global jihad in a way that Barack Obama will not -- and that it believes therefore the distribution of an anti-jihad film, which in a sane world would be welcomed by both the Left and the Right since the global jihad wishes to destroy and remake the West utterly, must be some partisan plot.
It further shows CAIR yet again on the wrong side of the jihad, as they are again and again. The Flying Imams threaten the ability of airline passengers to report suspicious behavior without getting harassed legally, and CAIR is right there. Sami Al-Arian for years bamboozles the Left into thinking he is a gallant freedom fighter for the Palestinians without the shadow of a hint of support for terrorism, and CAIR backs him all the way. The Patriot Act? CAIR was against it -- and not just the legitimately questionable parts, either. Has CAIR ever sponsored a single anti-terror initiative that would actually make it easier for law enforcement to identify and apprehend jihad terrorists? Nope.
Yet this shady group still enjoys mainstream media support, and is routinely depicted as a neutral "civil rights" organization.
"CAIR Asks FEC to Probe Anti-Muslim DVDs Sent to Swing States," from MarketWire, September 23 (thanks to all who sent this in):WASHINGTON, DC - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today announced that it has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over the distribution of an anti-Muslim film to 28 million homes in presidential election swing states.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging the FEC to investigate whether the Clarion Fund, a non-profit organization that distributed DVDs containing "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," is really a front for an Israel-based group seeking to help Sen. John McCain win the U.S. presidential election. (No information about a board of directors, staff or even a physical address is offered on the fund's website.)
In its complaint to the FEC, CAIR wrote in part:
"The Clarion Fund recently financed the distribution of some 28 million DVDs containing the film 'Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West' in what many political analysts describe as 'swing' states in the upcoming presidential elections. Those same analysts say the distribution of the 'Obsession' DVD was designed to benefit a particular presidential candidate, namely Sen. John McCain...
"According to the website for the Secretary of State for New York, Clarion Fund Inc. is incorporated in New York as a Delaware-based foreign not-for-profit corporation. According to the Delaware Department of Corporations, Robert (Rabbi Raphael) Shore, Rabbi Henry Harris and Rebecca Kabat incorporated Clarion Fund. All three of whom are reported to serve as employees of Aish HaTorah International, an organization apparently based in Israel. Also according to the Delaware Department of Corporations, the incorporators of the Clarion Fund used Aish HaTorah's New York City address (150 West 46th Street, New York) to incorporate Clarion Fund in Delaware... [SEE: http://www.aish.com/aishint/wwprogram.asp]
"It appears that the funding for the production, marketing and distribution of 'Obsession' may have originated from Israel-based Aish HaTorah International." [...]
"American voters deserve to know whether they are the targets of a multi-million-dollar campaign funded and directed by a foreign group seeking to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria as a way to influence the outcome of our presidential election," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad....
American voters also deserve to know whether they are the targets of a campaign, multimillion-dollar or no, funded and directed by Islamic supremacists to mislead and deceive them about Islamic jihad terrorism as a way to influence the outcome of our presidential election, and to influence much more besides.
Notes Apostle's Faithful Transmission of Tradition
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The importance that Paul gave in his letters to sacred Tradition proves false the claim the Apostle invented Christianity, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this today during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, which he dedicated to a continuation of his series of catecheses on St. Paul. Some 15,000 people gathered for the audience, including several groups from Eastern Europe and Oceania.
The Holy Father spoke about St. Paul's relationships with the Twelve, which he said were "always marked by profound respect and by the frankness that in Paul stemmed from the defense of the truth of the Gospel."
He particularly stressed the relationship with Peter, noting that the Apostle to the Gentiles stayed with the first Pope for 15 days to learn about Christ's earthly life.
During Paul's time with the Twelve, the Pontiff explained, he received teaching on central elements of the Christian tradition. He then transmits this Tradition faithfully. Benedict XVI particularly noted passages from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians where the Apostle explains the Christian faith on the Eucharist and the Resurrection.
"The words of Jesus in the Last Supper really are for Paul the center of the life of the Church," the Pope explained.
And the "other text, on the Resurrection, transmits to us again the same formula of fidelity," he continued.
"The importance that [Paul] bestows on the living Tradition of the Church, which she transmits to her communities, demonstrates how mistaken is the view of those who attribute to Paul the invention of Christianity," the Holy Father contended. "Before proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he encountered him on the road to Damascus, and met him in the Church, observing his life in the Twelve, and in those who had followed him on the roads of Galilee. [...]
"The mission received on the part of the Risen One in order to evangelize the Gentiles must be confirmed and guaranteed by those who gave him and Barnabas their right hand, in sign of approval of their apostolate and evangelization, and of acceptance in the one communion of the Church of Christ."
The Pontiff concluded by affirming that faith is born from an experience of the risen Christ.
"The more we try to follow in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth on the roads of Galilee, so much the more will we understand that he has taken charge of our humanity, sharing in everything except sin," he said. "Our faith is not born from a myth or an idea, but from an encounter with the Risen One, in the life of the Church."
24 settembre 2008
By Kimberly Zenarolla
Source: an excellent website, www.cephasinstitute.org
The annual conference of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the world's largest association of academics who research or teach topics related to religion, was recently held in Washington D.C. This meeting brought together thousands of religious academics to discuss issues ranging from bioethics to scriptural studies. Expecting a diversity of opinion, I was surprised to find such a decisive slant towards heterodoxy. Several sessions were held on homosexual “queer theory” and there was even a session entitled “Watch out Roe! Religion and Reproductive Freedom.” Many panelists spoke of the need for a more vocal presence in the media from the so-called “religious left” which approves of such things as abortion, embryonic stem cell research and normalizing homosexual relations. In order to offer an alternate view to traditional Judeo-Christian morals, this movement attempts to distort religious values, twisting them to promote a culture of death.
In one session there was unanimous approval of embryonic stem cell research from every panelist. One member on the panel, a Jewish ethicist who also holds a prominent role at a major biotech company, scolded the other panelists for referring to “therapeutic cloning.” She warned that, hereafter, no scholarly publications that she edited would print this term, and instead, the new term “somatic cell nuclear transfer” was to be utilized. She explained that the term “therapeutic cloning” was disingenuous since no therapies had yet come from this technology. After speaking with a scientist on the panel, he confirmed that the motivation behind this had much more to do with the term “cloning” than “therapeutic.” With a wide majority of the public opposed to cloning, biotech firms are cloaking once unthinkable technologies in scientific jargon to deliberately cause confusion. And then it seems they are paying off “ethicists” to affirm the deceit.
An illustration of this deception in practice is the recent passage of an amendment to Missouri’s constitution forcing taxpayers to fund therapeutic cloning. Of course, in the $29 million ad campaign supporting the amendment (funded primarily by the state’s most prominent biotech firm, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research), scientists and celebrities argued that this amendment had nothing to do with human cloning. They explained that invoking the claim of cloning was only a scare tactic from the other side to hold back promising therapies to suffering patients. One commercial showed a pastor supporting this amendment because it might possibly “save lives.” This attempt to confuse people by redefining terminologies and then passing off such destruction of human life as the proper Christian response is subtle and duplicitous. This common strategy to discredit a unified religious response supporting the sanctity of human life is often seen in the halls of Congress where all manner of “religious” clergy are regularly called upon to testify in favor of embryonic stem cell research and other such atrocities.
A second, and even more insidious, approach of the “religious left” is to downplay the horror of abortion and other attacks on innocent life by emphasizing issues such as the death penalty and war. One such group that is working to shift the Catholic vote away from its focus on ending abortion is Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good which recently distributed a booklet entitled “Voting for the Common Good: A Practical Guide for Conscientious Catholics.” The booklet questions whether it is possible for a Catholic to vote for a pro-choice candidate.
Many “prolife” candidates talk a good talk on ending abortion but don’t produce results. On the other hand, there are candidates who don’t believe in making abortion illegal, but who support effective measures to promote healthy families and reduce abortions by providing help to pregnant women and young children. Catholics must look at a candidate’s position on other life issues. Can one really claim to be “pro-life” and yet support the death penalty, turn a blind eye to poverty, and not take steps to avoid war? Our Church teaches that the answer to this question is “no.”
While at first glance, this statement might appear to be accurate, there is a subtle move to equate the horror of abortion with the death penalty and war. In the 2004 document Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion to which this voting guide refers, Cardinal Ratzinger declares:
Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
The shrewd tactic of encouraging Catholics to vote for candidates “who don’t believe in making abortion illegal” and elevating “other life issues” such as the death penalty and war over the deliberate destruction of innocent life in the womb is emblematic of this new “religious left.” This unorthodox Catholic group distributed millions of these brochures to Catholic parishes across the country and boast that they helped change the Catholic vote in several states in this most recent election.
The “religious left” is attempting to co-op “social justice” as its mantra, turning such concerns as the “right” to abortion and the requirement to pursue all scientific technology even at the expense of nascent human life into matters of compassionate, religious justice. In appeals to the “common good,” they are hoping to fool the American public into believing they represent true religious values. The threat of this “religious left” will likely increase in the upcoming election as forces gather to secure the votes of the religious majority in America. We need to be on guard against these and other attacks on human life, especially the ones coming from within the Church. All attacks on human life are antithetical to religion and cannot be justified or trumped by any other issues. While we must work together to fight injustice and promote a true culture of life that includes caring for the poor and promoting peace, we must always remember that our first priority must be to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us who have no voice of their own.
Source: an excellent website, www.cephasinstitute.org
A Political Agenda Is Trumping Science, Says Rick Fitzgibbons
WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PA, SEPT. 18, 2003
(Zenit.org). - Amid the push for same-sex unions in Canada and the recent overturning of Texas' sodomy law, an aspect of the underlying issue is sometimes overlooked: the medical consequences of homosexual behavior.
To shed light on the medical and scientific research into same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior, ZENIT approached Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons. Fitzgibbons is a principal contributor to the Catholic Medical Association's statement on "Homosexuality and Hope."
Q: Could you explain why homosexuality is not normal, from a medical standpoint?
Fitzgibbons: Homosexuality was diagnosed and treated as a psychiatric illness -- abnormal behavior -- until 1973, when it was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in psychiatry because of political
Numerous conflicts make homosexual behaviors abnormal, including rampant promiscuity, inability to maintain commitment, psychiatric disorders and medical illnesses with a shortened life span.
The sexual practices of homosexuals involve serious health risks and illness. Specifically, sodomy as a sexual behavior is associated with significant and life-threatening health problems.
Unhealthy sexual behaviors occur among both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Yet the medical and social science evidence indicate that homosexual behavior is uniformly unhealthy. Men having sex with other men leads to greater health risks than men having sex with women, not only because of promiscuity but also because of the nature of sex among men.
Q: Is homosexuality associated specifically with psychological problems? Can an active homosexual lifestyle lead to adverse psychological consequences?
Fitzgibbons: Two extensive studies appearing in the October 1999 issue of the American Medical Association's Archives of General Psychiatry confirm a strong link between homosexual sex and suicide, as well as a relationship between homosexuality and emotional and mental problems.
One of the studies in the journal, by David M. Fergusson and his team, found that "gay, lesbian and bisexual young people are at increased risk of psychiatric disorder and suicidal behaviors."
The youth suffering from these disorders were four times as likely as their peers to suffer from major depression, almost three times as likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, nearly four times as likely to experience conduct disorder, five times as likely to have nicotine dependence, six times as likely to suffer from multiple disorders, and over six times as likely to have attempted suicide.
An extensive study in the Netherlands undermines the assumption that homophobia is the cause of increased psychiatric illness among gays and lesbians. The Dutch have been considerably more accepting of same-sex relationships than other Western countries -- in fact, same-sex couples now have the legal right to marry in the Netherlands.
So a high rate of psychiatric disorders associated with homosexual behavior in the Netherlands means that psychiatric disease cannot be attributed to social rejection and homophobia. The Dutch study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, did indeed find a high rate of psychiatric disease associated with same-sex sex behaviors.
Compared to controls who had no homosexual experience in the 12 months prior to the interview, males who had any homosexual contact within that time period were much more likely to experience major depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Females with any homosexual contact within the previous 12 months were more often diagnosed with major depression, social phobia or alcohol dependence.
In fact, those with a history of homosexual contact had higher prevalence of nearly all psychiatric disorders measured in the study.
Also, a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health has shown that 39% of males with same-sex attraction have been abused by other males with same-sex attraction.
Q: What are the medical illnesses associated with homosexuality?
Fitzgibbons: The list of medical diseases found with extraordinary frequency among male homosexual practitioners as a result of abnormal homosexual behavior is alarming: anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, giardia lamblia, herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, human papilloma virus -- HPV or genital warts -- isospora belli, microsporidia, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis types B and C, and syphilis.
Sexual transmission of some of these diseases is so rare in the exclusively heterosexual population as to be virtually unknown. Others, while found among heterosexual and homosexual practitioners, are clearly predominated by those involved in homosexual activity.
Men who have sex with men account for the lion's share of the increasing number of cases in America of sexually transmitted infections that are not generally spread through sexual contact.
These diseases, with consequences that range from severe and even life-threatening to mere annoyances, include hepatitis A, giardia lamblia, entamoeba histolytica, Epstein-Barr virus, neisseria meningitides, shigellosis, salmonellosis, pediculosis, scabies and campylobacter.
Q: Many professional medical groups have stopped classifying homosexuality as abnormal behavior, and pro-homosexual organizations actively promote it as just another option that is perfectly normal. Is this responsible from a medical point of view?
Fitzgibbons: Most medical groups have embraced the homosexual agenda and are advocating that lifestyle, despite all of the scientific studies and medical evidence that demonstrate medical and psychological risks. It seems the politically correct homosexual agenda is trumping science.
Doctors have a responsibility to inform their clients of the dangers of a homosexual lifestyle. In his study "The Health Risks of Gay Sex," my colleague Dr. John R. Diggs Jr. wrote, "As a physician, it is my duty to assess behaviors for their impact on health and well-being. When something is beneficial, such as exercise, good nutrition or adequate sleep, it is my duty to recommend it. Likewise, when something is harmful, such as smoking, overeating, alcohol or drug abuse, it is my duty to discourage it. ...
"There are differences between men and women in the consequences of same-sex activity. But most importantly, the consequences of homosexual activity are distinct from the consequences of heterosexual activity. As a physician, it is my duty to inform patients of the health risks of gay sex, and to discourage them from indulging in harmful behavior."
Same-sex attraction is a manifestation of serious emotional conflicts that are preventable and treatable. Gender Identity Disorder in children regularly leads to same-sex attractions in adolescence, and now there's even a move to remove it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
The media or major health organizations communicate none of the serious medical and psychiatric problems associated with homosexuality. School programs don't present this information, so children are encouraged and taught that the homosexual lifestyle is a healthy alternative to marriage.
These youngsters are not being told about the dangers of this lifestyle. I think schools and school psychologists should be legally liable because they are not providing informed consent while promoting the homosexual lifestyle.
Also, pediatricians know children raised without a father are subjected to serious psychological problems, and raising a child without a mother also predisposes the child to serious emotional and mental illnesses.
Q: Legalizing abnormal behavior would seem to dissuade people from seeking the help they need to overcome it. Would that be a fair assessment?
Fitzgibbons: I think that is a very fair assessment. There are attempts to prevent people from seeking help for same-sex attraction. There's definitely a movement to stop mental health professionals from providing treatment.
The Spitzer report from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, which will publish in October, surveyed ex-homosexuals who were out of the lifestyle for five years, and it found that 64% of the men and 43% of the women considered themselves to be heterosexuals after they received treatment. Dr. Spitzer of Columbia University led the task force of the American Psychiatric
Association in 1973 that removed homosexuality from our diagnostic manual.
In a number of studies, when people with same-sex attraction were treated, a third of the patients get better, a third get mixed results, and a third don't get better. In my clinical experience, when a spiritual component is brought in to the treatment, the recovery rate is much higher.
Q: What do you think would be the long-term impact of legalized same-sex unions? How would this affect future generations?
Fitzgibbons: Marriage between a man and a woman is based on commitment and is an expression of Judeo-Christian morality. Same-sex unions are based on neo-pagan, Kinseyian morality that doesn't expect loyalty.
In a recent study from a major journal conducted on males, it found that males in same-sex unions stayed together for an average length of two years, and would regularly have sex with others outside of the relationship.
In this Amsterdam study, 86% of new HIV infections occurred in men who considered themselves to be in same-sex unions.
Same-sex unions cause emotional trauma and pain to individuals, and damage to the culture. Equating same-sex unions with marriage is a false belief -- it's delusional.
Q: What about adoptions by homosexual couples? How would that affect the children involved?
Fitzgibbons: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document on homosexuality that addressed adoptions by homosexual couples. The statement noted that intentionally depriving a child of a father or mother is doing violence to that child. The office's document and the Catechism of the Catholic Church's section on homosexuality are supported by medical science.
Also, raising children in an environment with same-sex parents goes against the values of the common inheritance of humanity. The absence of a father in the home leads to sadness, anger, difficulty in trusting and conflict disorders. The absence of a mother is worse. One's mother is one's fundamental basis of feeling safe in relationships; denying a child of a mother wounds the child's ability to trust and have faith in the world, which can lead to anxiety and attachment disorders.
Children should not be subjected to this cruel deprivation, as it does serious damage. Even Belgium, which approves of same-sex unions, does not allow same-sex couples to adopt. Not all adults necessarily have the inherent right to have a child. But all children have a right to a mother and a father.
Q: What are the psychological strategies in the homosexual agenda?
Fitzgibbons: The homosexual agenda aims to desensitize people to homosexuality via the media and "diversity weeks" held in many schools -- including Catholic colleges and high schools.
It portrays those who oppose homosexual behavior and unions as being troubled, in violation of the law and in need of help, similar to those who have racial prejudices. It also attempts to claim that homosexuality is genetically determined in spite of research studies that fail to support this theory.
And of course, the main goal is to convert people to the homosexual agenda.
Q: What can Catholics do to protect the sacrament of marriage?
Fitzgibbons: Catholics can pray more for the protection of marriage and families and can learn the truth about homosexuality by seeking information at reliable Web sites: the International Association of Catholic Medical Associations at www.Fiamc.org; the Catholic Medical Association at www.cathmed.org; and the National Association for the Treatment and Research of Homosexuality at www.narth.com.
They can communicate the fullness of the Church's truth about sexuality in their family, their parish and in their children's schools.
They can also support the proposed marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
And they can ask priests to offer prayers for marriages as part of the daily petitions at Mass.
18 settembre 2008
Notes Religious History of Europe, Anti-Catholicism
By Anita Bourdin
By Anita Bourdin
LOURDES, France, SEPT. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The religious history of Europe calls for the "open secularism" that Benedict XVI promoted in his visit to France, says the archbishop of Paris.
Cardinal André Vingt-Trois affirmed this Sunday in Lourdes during a meeting with journalists. The Pope was in France from Friday through Monday, stopping in Paris and Lourdes, in the context of the 150th anniversary of the Virgin Mary's apparitions there.
During the press conference, the president of the French episcopal conference weighed in on the debate in France regarding the role of religious belief in public life. Some voices have opposed President Nicolas Sarkozy's remarks advocating a "positive secularism," claiming that secularism does not have adjectives.
The cardinal, however, noted how at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, there emerged in Europe a movement whose objective was "to combat Catholicism."
The 1871-1880 Kulturkampf, a conflict led by Otto von Bismarck against the Catholic Church, was not, as the chancellor of the German empire himself said, "directed against Islam or Judaism," the cardinal recalled.
"And in the title of the French law called 'Separation of Churches and State,' as the whole world knew, the Church from which one must separate was, in fact, the Catholic Church," he said. "This question of the secularism of the political system and the state has been lived controversially and from a militant perspective. But the state does not exhaust society's expressions."
"Historical ups and downs," Cardinal Vingt-Trois continued, referring to the history of France since World War I, have led "to progress in a pragmatic practice of secularism, putting militancy aside, and leading, instead, to a coexistence that we can call peaceful."
"The step taken by President Sarkozy," in his conference in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome on Dec. 20, 2007, and in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 14, 2008, has made it possible "to present an analysis of social functioning in which religious membership ceases to be a taboo, and is considered as a specific contribution that is useful for the life of society."
"To say that this approach is an 'open secularism' means that we no longer find ourselves in a situation in which one could cooperate with social services on the condition of staying quiet about the motives for such participation. One could be a good citizen 'despite being a believer.' Today one can say that it is not impossible to be 'a good citizen because one is a good believer.' That's not the same thing," he stressed.
"This means that many men and women, who have committed themselves to non-confessional social service activities, such as the 'Restos du Coeur' [Refectories of the Heart, a social service promoted by French musicians and actors], for example, can express at least part of their reasons for doing so and are not embarrassed."
Nevertheless, some views of secularism still maintain that Catholic activities, engaged in for religious reasons, cannot be manifested. The cardinal called for an end to the shadows of the prosecution to which religious congregations were subjected at the beginning of the 20th century in France.
"It is not embarrassing for a Catholic to try to put solidarity into practice," the cardinal said. "It is not a crime that must be punished by the courts."
11 settembre 2008
By Piero A. Tozzi, J.D.
(NEW YORK – C-FAM) The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the global abortion provider co-founded by US-based Planned Parenthood Federation of America, recently issued a primer to help affiliated “Member Associations” and abortion-rights activists navigate abortion laws around the world. In addition, the 87-page publication provides guidance on how “to advocate for the removal of restrictions” on abortion, such as by arguing that international treaties should be interpreted broadly to trump national laws.
The primer, entitled “Access to Safe Abortion: A Tool for Assessing Legal and Other Obstacles,” claims that international legal support for abortion “can be found in numerous international treaties and other instruments” as well as in customary international law, which is non-treaty law “that is established from the practices and beliefs of nations” evolving over time.
A detailed chart sets forth articles from “Important treaties, covenants, conventions, declarations and programmes of action which address the abortion issue” which IPPF asserts can be used to support abortion rights.
None of the enumerated treaties or conventions, which are legally binding on governments that ratify them, mention the term abortion, however. Treaties are documents negotiated by sovereign states, many of which proscribed abortion at the time of ratification. Where silent on a subject, treaties are intended to leave the domestic laws of ratifying nations unchanged, in accordance with traditional principles of interpretation.
Among the assertions made by IPPF is that the "right to life" language in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, that “Every human being has the inherent right to life," actually requires a right to abortion.
With respect to non-binding documents, IPPF offers a similarly expansive reading. For example, IPPF interprets the term “reproductive health,” as adopted in the non-binding Programme of Action of the International Conference of Population and Development issuing from the 1994 United Nations (UN) conference in Cairo, to include abortion. Conceding that abortion “is not mentioned” in connection with the phrase, IPPF claims that it “can be interpreted as including the right to abortion,” attributing opposition to this as coming from countries like the United States and the “Vatican.”
Language in the Cairo document itself indicates a more limited interpretation, however. Paragraph 7.24 states that “Governments should take appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion, which in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning.”
Paragraph 8.25 similarly appears to undercut an argument that the document can be used to impose a “right to abortion” upon sovereign nations: “Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process.”
IPPF, together with its many national branches, is one of the world’s largest providers of abortion. Last year it received over $115 million in grants from individual nations, the European Commission, UN agencies like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and various foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
By Samantha Singson
I must interrupt here... what about the 100% infant death rate of abortion? Oh, I must have forgotten, "right to choose" doesn't include one's own choice to live.
Hopefully when Murder Stopes presents their impressive 477 signature petition, they are laughed off the stage....finally I make a post with good news. :-)
(NEW YORK – C-FAM) After nearly a year of soliciting signatures as part of a campaign for global “safe abortion,” Marie Stopes International has little to show for it. Less than 500 people have signed an online petition which calls for “full access to legal, voluntary, safe and affordable abortions as part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care” around the world.
The campaign, which was co-sponsored by the pro-abortion groups Ipas and the UK-based group Abortion Rights, was launched at the International Global Safe Abortion Conference that took place in October 2007 in London, an event that was held in conjunction with the UN and UNICEF sponsored Women Deliver conference. Both the conference and the campaign seek to bolster international commitment to abortion and call “for women’s access to legal, safe abortion to be recognized as a fundamental human right.”
A detailed look at the list of campaign supporters reveal that nearly 20% of the signatures are from employees of the three sponsoring organizations. Of the 498 signatures on the campaign website, 77 are from Marie Stopes employees, 16 from Ipas employees and 3 from those who work at Abortion Rights.
The campaign says that it is “intolerable” that restrictive laws, lack of resources and “politically and ideologically-motivated interference” remain obstacles for women to access “contraceptive and abortion technologies to save women’s lives.”
The campaign disparages government programs which focus on Millennium Development Goal 5 to improve maternal health but “neglect the 13 percent of maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortion globally and fail to support the full range of preventive actions required.”
I must interrupt here... what about the 100% infant death rate of abortion? Oh, I must have forgotten, "right to choose" doesn't include one's own choice to live.
Abortion proponents often link unsafe abortion and maternal mortality to push for legal, so-called “safe” abortion. Critics of the Marie Stopes argument are quick to point out that the 13 percent figure is highly suspect, as few countries even record the sex of an individual at time of death, let alone keep records on cause of death.
Critics also challenge the assertion that legal abortion would result in fewer maternal deaths. In Poland, after abortion was severely restricted in 1993, the country showed a sharp decline in both the abortion rate and in maternal deaths. Ireland, where abortion remains illegal, reports one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Marie Stopes boasts that last year alone it provided over five million people in 40 countries with sexual health and family planning counseling, “safe abortion” and post-abortive care, as well as training health professionals. Around the world, Maries Stopes has become a major player in the national health care systems of developing nations. In 2006, Marie Stopes, a registered charity, reported “amounts receivable for the provision of services” totalling almost 56 million pounds sterling, or roughly, $100 million US.
Ipas is also a giant in the abortion industry. Ipas works to “expand the availability and accessibility of medical equipment and supplies that health professionals need to deliver high-quality reproductive health services.” Ipas’ manual vacuum aspiration instruments, suction devices used to perform early abortions and “menstrual extractions,” are used and distributed worldwide.
Maries Stopes plans to present the collected signatures to world leaders at the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2008.
Hopefully when Murder Stopes presents their impressive 477 signature petition, they are laughed off the stage....finally I make a post with good news. :-)
10 settembre 2008
by Nirmala Carvalho
As the situation gets back to normal amid fears and tensions, what happened is slowly emerging. Victims talk about the violence inflicted upon them, a true “attack against the sacredness and dignity of human life”. Beaten repeatedly and left unconscious for hours in the forest, Fr Bernard Digal tells his story.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – “The attack on Christians in Orissa was an attack against the sacredness and dignity of human life. The world must know this,” said Fr Bernard Digal. “In some countries even animals have rights and laws. In Kandhmal we were treated worse than animals. Every possible indignity, obscenity and torture was meted out against helpless Christians. Men, women, children; everyone was targets of brutal atrocities.”
Fr Bernard Digal is the treasurer of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar. He spoke to AsiaNews about his pain over what is happening in Orissa. He, too, was wounded, beaten for hours by radical Hindus, left for a whole night unconscious, half naked, in the forest, until he was found by his driver. Now he is in the intensive care unit in Mumbai’s Holy Spirit Hospital.
During his talk with AsiaNews he was given another unit of blood. But his thoughts were with his people and family, all forced to flee to save their lives, now stranded in a refugee camp near Bhubaneshwar.
“My heart is filled with gratitude because God saved my life. But whilst I am being treated here my people are hiding in the forest and even there, there is no security,” he said. “There are mothers breast-feeding their infants, children, young and old people, all hanging on a precarious thread, in terror. Even refugee camps are not free of dangers.”
“I was visiting the parishes in Kandhamal district exactly on 23 August when Swami Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his followers were killed by Maoists. On 25 August, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other radical Sangh Parivar groups decided to go on a dawn-to-dusk strike, bringing thousands of people together.”
On the 25 Father Bernard went to visit Father Alexander Chandi in Sankrakhol Parish when a Hindu mob attacked the latter’s church.
“On the night of 25 August the parish church and the priest’s house were sacked and set on fire. From far away we could hear the crowd shouting hate-filled slogans, levelling accusations against Christianity. . . . Fearing for our lives we fled into the forest.”
“The extremists also set my car on fire,” Father Bernard said. “Whilst Father Alexander stayed in the forest I went looking for some relatives who were in the area. I walked at least 15 kilometres. At one point the extremists caught me and beat me with iron rods, lances, axes and big stones. I don’t know for how long they beat me because I lost consciousness. My driver found me the next day, after ten hours, and I was taken to hospital. It is only there that I regained consciousness.”
Without acrimony but also without any warmth, Father Bernard said: “I was beaten and left naked in the forest for ten hours. Others were cut to pieces or burnt alive. Is all this human? Or is it an attack against life itself?”
“In Kandhamal the lives of Christians are under attack from Hindutva radicals,” the priest said. “The police and the government are incapable of doing anything about it. Sometimes they are not even willing to take preventive measures to contain these forces who are destroying our life and dignity.”
Even though there are still tensions and fear, the situation is getting back to normal in Orissa, said Fr Babu Joseph, spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference of India.
Still refugee camps need tighter controls to prevent Hindu radicals from infiltrating them. The wounded require medical treatment. And everyone is wondering when they can go back to rebuild their homes.
By Christine Williams, FrontPageMagazine.com | 9/2/2008
Support for Israel has never ranked high on the United Nations’ agenda. And the upcoming World Conference Against Racism, scheduled for early 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, presents a valid case. Many observers are concerned that the UN-sponsored event will simply serve as yet another a platform to launch attacks against Israel -- as the previous world anti-racism conference did in Durban, South Africa, seven years ago.
Even by the standards of the organization’s traditional antagonism toward the Jewish State, the U.N.’s 2001 Durban gathering marked a low point. To the extent that “racism” was discussed, it was only to condemn Israeli policies. Little wonder that the conference, known as “ Durban I,” is largely remembered as a U.N.-backed assault on Israel.
Now it’s back. And if early evidence is any guide, Durban II, as the Geneva event is already being called, will be a replay of its predecessor. Consider that the chair of the conference’s planning committee is Libya, whose longtime leader, Muammar Gadhafi, has recently claimed that the Israeli Mossad aims to assassinate Barack Obama. The vice chair of the conference, meanwhile, is communist Cuba. And the fact that Iran's president has notoriously called for Israel’s destruction has not, expectedly, prevented it from playing a key leadership role in the upcoming conference.
Nor does it bode well for Durban II that its agenda will be set by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). In particular, the conference will consider responses to “Islamophobia.” In this connection, the OIC’s members will consider what they regard as the problematic Western right to free speech. Referring to the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed published in Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten and to “Fitna,” Dutch politician Geert Wilders’s documentary about Islam, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu recently promised to send “a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed.” He went on to warn Western countries to “look seriously into the question of freedom of expression.”
For their part, Western countries should make clear that they will not allow the OIC to dictate what can and cannot be said about Islam. Instead, they should shift the focus onto the OIC. Instead of concerning themselves with alleged Western prejudices, Islamic states would do well to ponder the rampant racism in the Muslim World. Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 Muslims have been killed by their fellow Muslims, prompting the United Nations to call it the worst human rights disaster in the world, would be a logical starting point. From there, the OIC might consider the continued bloodshed between Shiites and Sunnis, and the fanatical suicide bombers who have claimed the lives of thousands of their co-religionists. One need hardly look to the West to find “Islamophobia” in action.
As for “racism,” the conference’s nominal subject, it is worth bearing in mind that slavery - the most racist of practices - endures in the Islamic world even as it has been abolished in the West. In OIC member states like Sudan and Mauritania, Arabs still keep black African slaves. Sudan 's president, Omar al-Bashir, who was indicted by the World Court for human rights abuses in Darfur, is reputed to have black slaves in his own house. According to NGO reports, some 200,000 southern Sudanese have been enslaved during Bashir’s reign, a practice that the UN has charged is “deeply rooted in Arab and Muslim supremacism.” (Such grim statistics did not deter the Sudanese Minister of Justice from demanding, in a stunning act of hypocrisy, reparations for historical slavery during Durban I.) And while Mauritania legally abolished slavery in 1980, it is still practiced secretly. Even Muslims in the West have not accepted its ban on slavery. For example, four Arab princesses were found in July living in Brussels with 17 slaves.
The persistence of slavery in the Muslim world is not, of course, surprising. In August 1990, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights was affirmed by the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). It stated that Islamic Sharia law is the sole source of the Islamic perspective on human rights. And slavery is codified in Sharia law. It is doubtful, naturally, that this detail will be much discussed during Durban II.
In light of recent history, it makes sense that Israel has decided to boycott next year’s conference. Canada has also decided to boycott Durban II, and other Western countries should consider following the Canadian example. It’s the height of absurdity for free nations to have to endure lectures on human rights from its preeminent abusers. In 2001, they could have claimed to be unaware of the conference’s sinister agenda. Seven years later, ignorance is no longer an excuse or an option.
Jim Brown - OneNewsNow - 9/10/2008 6:00:00 AM
A conservative media analyst says the decision by MSNBC to drop Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as co-anchors of its political night coverage is an effort to regain some of the credibility that the network lost when the liberal bias of the two hosts was challenged on the air by their colleagues.
Veteran reporter David Gregory will now anchor MSNBC's coverage of the presidential and vice presidential debates, along with election night. Olbermann and Matthews will remain as commentators on the cable news network's coverage. During the Republican and Democratic conventions, Olbermann, Matthews, and MSNBC pundits engaged in a series of spats.
Bob Knight, director of the Culture and Media Institute, believes MSNBC did not make the move sooner because it had risen in the ratings.
"There is a segment of the population out there that likes to hear Keith Olbermann rant against any conservative, but you can only do that so much and still have credibility," Knight contends. "Over the last couple of weeks, obviously Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann unleashed so much venom toward Sarah Palin and other Republicans that they felt that the reputation of the network was at stake, so they finally made the move."
According to Knight, it is yet another reminder that the major television networks are suffering from liberal bias.
"It's not just MSNBC. There've been two revealing polls in recent days. One of them was of uncommitted voters, and 50 percent of them believe that the media were trying to elect Barack Obama – they saw that much bias," Knight adds. "And then another poll that just came out said that a large number of people thought the media were being very unfair to Sarah Palin. And then when you have US Weekly losing 10,000 subscribers [who were] furious at how they treated her on their cover, you can see the public rising up and saying 'enough is enough.'"
Knight says it hurts a network's credibility any time the objectivity of an anchor is being questioned on the air by his own colleagues, as was the case with MSNBC. He recommends that if the networks really wanted to stop their declining ratings, they would employ more conservative commentators because they "speak more to the heart of America."
Encourages Sardinians in Seeking Solutions
CAGLIARI, Sardinia, SEPT. 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the world of politics and the economy needs a new generation of committed laypeople.
The Pope affirmed this during a Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria in Sardinia, a semi-autonomous Italian island located in the Mediterranean Sea. The Holy Father visited the island for a one-day pastoral visit on Sunday, meeting with priests and young people and marking the centenary of the proclamation of Our Lady of Bonaria as patron of Sardinia.
During his homily, the Pontiff asked for Mary's intercession to help Christian families, "which today more than ever are in need of confidence and support at the spiritual as well as the social level."
May she help you to identify appropriate pastoral strategies so that young people will find Christ since, by nature, they bring a new energy but are often victims of widespread nihilism," he continued.
Benedict XVI asked that the Virgin Mary make believers capable of "evangelizing the world of work, the economy and politics, which needs a new generation of committed lay Christians, capable of seeking with competence and rigor moral solutions for sustainable development."
Later in the day, the Pope met with priests, seminarians and students of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Sardinia.
He encouraged the professors to help their students have a "daily personal experience of God," especially through the Eucharist, "celebrated and experienced as the center of existence."
Theological formation, the Holy Father added, "must lead you to achieve a 'complete and unitary' vision of revealed truths and of their assimilation into the Church's experience of faith. From here arises the dual need to know the totality of Christian truths and to know them not as separate from one another, but in an organic way, as a unit, as a single truth of faith in God."
Trap of individualism
Before leaving the island, the Bishop of Rome met with youth, with whom he spoke about the true measure of success.
"What can we say of the fact that in modern consumer society, earnings and success have become the new idols before which so many prostrate themselves? The consequence of this is that people are led to give value only to those who [...] 'have found fortune' or who are 'notorious,' and not to those who must struggle with life every day," he said.
"There is a risk of becoming superficial, of taking dangerous shortcuts in search of success, thus giving life up to experiences that bring immediate satisfaction but that in themselves are precarious and deceptive," the Holy Father continued. "There is a growing tendency to individualism, and when we concentrate only on ourselves we inevitably become fragile."
The Pope concluded: "May each of you rediscover God as the meaning and foundation for all creatures, light of truth, flame of charity, bond of unity. You will no longer be afraid to lose your liberty, because you will experience it fully by giving it for love. You will no longer be attached to material goods, because in yourselves you will feel the joy of sharing them. […]
"If you really discover God in the face of Christ, you will no longer think of the Church as an institution external to yourselves, but as your spiritual family."
09 settembre 2008
A conservative media analyst points out that it took the wire services and major television networks a year to discover who Reverend Jeremiah Wright was -- yet only 48 hours to begin running "sneering pieces" about Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin's religion. Tim Graham says that shows a glaring double standard.
The Associated Press has written an article claiming that Governor Palin's biography for the National Governor's Association "obscures" her "deep roots in Pentecostalism." According to the AP, Pentecostalism is "a spirit-filled Christian tradition that is one of the fastest growing in the world" and "often derided by outsiders and Bible-believers alike." (Read commentary on the AP report)
Although Palin attended a Pentecostal Assemblies of God church up until six years ago, she is currently a member of Wasilla Bible Church, an independent evangelical congregation.
Tim Graham of the Media Research Center says he finds it strange to see secular reporters trying to report on Sarah Palin's religious beliefs "when they don't seem to have any" themselves.
"For them to sort of suggest that Sarah Palin is an inauthentic Christian, that the churches she's belonged to are derided by Bible-believers -- it reads like opposition research; it doesn't read like news from a wire service," he remarks.
Graham says many Democrats in the media are still upset about the Jeremiah Wright story and are trying to "fictionalize a Jeremiah Wright scenario" in Palin's life. "You've already seen these leaked videos of Sarah Palin talking about how our soldiers are hopefully on a mission from God," he notes. "That is the sort of language that scares secular reporters and doesn't really bother Christians at all."
The first media attack on Palin's faith was launched by NBC News, which criticized her for once saying that the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq is a "task that is from God."
By Jim Brown - 9/8/2008 Source: Onenewsnow.com
07 settembre 2008
Barack Obama continues to be dogged by claims that he is misleading people about his past opposition to a bill in the Illinois legislature protecting babies who survived late-term abortions.
New audio reveals that while arguing against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) in the Illinois Senate in 2002, state lawmaker Obama suggested two doctors tending to a baby who survived a botched abortion would be too much of a burden to the child's mother.
"And that essentially adding an additional doctor -- who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments -- is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion," he stated.
Jill Stanek is an Illinois pro-life activist and columnist who has written extensively about Obama's record on abortion. She says the Democratic presidential hopeful "definitely does not have one iota of concern" for the baby.
"He only cares about the doctors, making sure they get enough sleep -- and the mom, making sure that even though her pregnancy is terminated, that she can have the dead baby that she wanted," says Stanek. "So that's apparently his goal with abortion."
Obama has claimed that he opposed the Illinois infant protection bill because it threatened Roe v. Wade and that he would have supported it if it had included language identical to the federal bill. However, the bill did contain language identical to the federal measure -- and Obama still opposed it.
Last week the pro-life group National Right to Life produced legislative records it claimed proved Obama had "blatantly misrepresented" his opposition to BAIPA. After Senator Obama returned from his Hawaiian vacation, his campaign finally admitted the two bills contained identical language.
Stanek says Obama owes her and National Right to Life an apology for accusing them of lying about his record. "He misrepresented for four years the fact that he had voted the way that he did," she says. "As recently as Saturday night, he was denying that what was true was true."
Columnist Brian Fitzpatrick notes that major media outlets have virtually ignored the fact that the Obama campaign admitted he has misled the public on the matter since 2004.
By Samantha Singson
I can only wonder when these people will start saying that the sun is blue and the sky is yellow, and people will start believing that, too.
(NEW YORK – C-FAM) Last week, the Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights, which is responsible for overseeing treaty compliance committees, released the concluding observations of the most recent sessions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee and Human Rights Committee (HRC). Both committees used the July sessions to pressure countries appearing before them to liberalize abortion laws, even though no UN human rights treaty mentions abortion.
The HRC, which monitors state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), told Ireland that it “should bring its abortion laws into line with the Covenant” so that women would “not have to resort to illegal or unsafe abortion that could put their lives at risk or to abortions abroad.” The HRC cited Article 6 of the ICCPR, which states “every human being has the inherent right to life,” as justification for the concluding observation.
Since 2003, HRC has pressured at least 14 countries to legalize abortion or liberalize laws by misinterpreting the ICCPR provisions like the “right to life.” Abortion rights advocates claimed victory in the HRC in 2005, when the Committee made an unprecedented ruling against Peru for allegedly violating the rights of a woman who was denied permission by the government to obtain an abortion.
According to an analysis by Focus on the Family’s Thomas Jacobson, who has been monitoring the work of the CEDAW Committee and the HRC, “The HRC now interprets this article to mean that the ‘right to life’ of a pregnant woman is violated if she is not permitted to terminate the life of her preborn child. Pregnancy has come to be viewed as life-threatening (instead of life-giving). To the HRC, the ‘right to life’ has become the ‘right’ to abortion.”
No binding UN treaty includes a right to abortion. Observers are becoming increasingly concerned, however, by how mainstream committees like the HRC are following the CEDAW trend of misinterpreting treaty articles and questioning nations about their abortion laws. Over the last ten years, CEDAW has pressured over 60 nations on abortion.
At the last CEDAW session alone, CEDAW Committee members questioned Lithuania, Nigeria, Finland, the United Kingdom and Slovakia on their abortion laws, using lowering maternal mortality as a pretext. CEDAW Committee members blasted Lithuania on a draft law which would limit when and in what circumstances abortions are allowed. Committee members also sharply criticized Slovakia’s concordat with the Holy See, which protects the right of health care workers to conscientiously object to participating in abortions.
While the rulings of treaty bodies are technically non-binding, abortion activists have brought litigation throughout the world citing the ruling of UN human rights treaty bodies, like the CEDAW Committee, in challenging laws against abortion. Such arguments helped convince the Colombian constitutional court to liberalize that country’s restrictions on the practice.
Both the CEDAW Committee and HRC are scheduled to hold their next sessions in October in Geneva.
I can only wonder when these people will start saying that the sun is blue and the sky is yellow, and people will start believing that, too.